Monday, 17 December 2007

Singapore - Providing Leadership, a Model, and a Centre for Asian Chess

On the 15th of December 2007, the 19th Singapore-Malaysia Chess Challenge played over 140 matches took place. Predictably it was yet another victory for Singapore, this time by a score of 87 to 53, perhaps a flattering margin of defeat for Malaysia as for the third year in a row, Singapore opted to expose their juniors and girls and to blood younger less experienced players.

The next day, the 16th of December 2007, the Seminar for Coaches started. And one day later, on 17th of December 2007, the 4th Singapore International Chess Convention swung into full gear with the Masters, Challengers and the FIDE Arbiters Seminar all getting underway.

Every year there seems to be additions, often innovations, but all successfully contributing to the development of chess in the region - after all Singapore is a small place and much of what it does only makes sense if the rest of the world takes advantage and participates.

Early this year Singapore was selected to host the first ever FIDE (World Chess Federation) branch office, the excuse being to coordinate the work of FIDE commissions, but really a tribute to the FIDE General Secretary's abilities and the success of the ASEAN Chess Academy.

I would dare to say it is also because the FIDE President recognises the importance of Asia - both China and India as clearly amongst the leading chess nations today and more threaten to follow - and we know that in 2008 the Olympics will take place is in Beijing, Asia, and it is no secret that FIDE has long wanted the IOC to agree to chess becoming as a full fledged sport in the Olympic Games (It is no accident that FIDE's second branch office has been set up at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switerland).

Singapore this time around is not only organising the first ever FIDE Chess Administrators Management Course but is also playing host to the FIDE Presidential Board Meeting which will ensure senior FIDE officials can also be speakers while seeing for themselves as delegates what the Singapore Chess Federation and the ASEAN Chess Academy has achieved with very limited resources in a very short time.