Wednesday, 27 May 2009

I will be representing Susan Polgar in Asia

With the Polgar Chess University (PCU) up and running via a partnership with ICC, an infrastructure for affordable and on demand general chess courses delivered on video via the Internet is now in place.

ICC is also providing PCU subscribers with the World Chess Live platform for practice and training games, and in the near future, organise special tournaments for kids as well.

In Asia, I hope to be able to set up Polgar Chess Centres throughout the region so that kids in every country (and perhaps every city!) will have a place to go to meet to have fun chess activity weekends and during school holidays.

We hope in this way to be able to better demonstrate the benefits of chess for young children to their parents and other stakeholders such as teachers.

At the same time perhaps also being in a position to facilitate the development of young talent that would certainly emerge and I invite those who wish to participate in this initiative in any way to contact me (

Hence Susan's post taken from her blog as below:


Friday, May 22, 2009

Polgar Chess Asia

Polgar Chess is now in Asia. Check out for more information.

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Posted by Susan Polgar at 5/22/2009 08:43:00 AM

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Kalimantan - Indonesia Borneo

A month ago the organisers of the Telkom Open to be held in Bandung from 10-16 May 2009 asked if I could play. It seems they were looking to upgrade an already highly successful local FIDE rated event to become an international title tournament next year and so I agreed to check it out.

But obviously they are not ready because they postponed it at very short notice to 21 May.


Well, I could no longer play at Telkom or even visit Bandung due to other commitments but I had a ticket already purchased to Jakarta for the earlier dates and on Facebook, Noraysa Verdiana, a young participant whom I met at the Intchess Mixed in Singapore last year and who was also a successful FIDE Instructor candidate at the FIDE Seminar for Coaches held in Bali after the Dresden Olympiad invited me to her home in Banjarmasin to take a look at her chess school.

Earlier this year I had been to the much smaller town of Sampit nearby and also in South Kalimantan where my friend Joni Naik was a wonderful host and so already having experienced the hospitality of the people there I had to accept!

Two busy days with numerous interviews followed (including holding a one day workshop for local coaches and of course participating in the activities of a very fine chess school) and then it was time for a non chess highlight and that was a 4 a.m. wake up for a trip down the river to the market on the water!



Back in Jakarta, and probably some 10 kilos heavier (they like to eat there and I tried very possible local food), I met up with my good friend Bunawan for a nice dinner (food again!) and was also able to take a look at the Gunadarma University Chess School in action.

For sure a very impressive setup and like SCUAR in Surabaya that I visited earlier and Sekolah Catur Norasya Verdiana in Banjarmasin, lessons were free of charge. The main difference was that all the students there were all girls (!) and amongst them I saw several of their top women players and some very promising talent. 

In my opinion, Indonesia wants for nothing except to be taught how to teach and have programs for the same (together with better access to technology and perhaps more fluency in international languages). They have strong players willing to be trainers and these have some ability to make materials. In this respect, the fee charging Sekolah Catur Utut Adianto, the brain child of FIDE Senior Trainer and Grandmaster Utut Adianto, is the undisputed leader. 

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Some Blasts from the Past (Taken from the now defunct

KLCA applies for MCF membership – Why bother? (Wednesday 14 May 2008)

The Kuala Lumpur Chess Association (KLCA) recently enquired about Malaysian Chess Federation (MCF) membership.

Simple enough? Well perhaps, but there have been some parallel developments.

The first is that a Wilayah Persekutuan Chess Association was recently registered with the Registrar of Societies and with indecent haste (despite no activities or membership) accepted as a member by MCF with the expectation that KLCA would be forced to become it's affiliate!

And that in essence guided the answer of the MCF Honorary Secretary.

Well there is a problem is the KLCA is the legitimate organisation registered with and duly recognised by the Sports Commission whereas MCF and all its affiliates are not!

There is also a second related problem in that the Malaysian Malays Chess Association (PCMM) has been found to have been illegal for many years and yet it seems that several PCMM representatives at MCF Annual General Meetings have been happily running for and been elected to hold office in MCF while being fully aware of this situation.

(I have always wondered if the MCF Constitution actually allows a racially based grouping to be a member - and certainly if there ever was, there is clearly no need today for a PCMM).

But to get MCF membership it seems that KLCA would have agree to a merger and to allow officials from the Wilayah Persekutuan Chess Association into key positions... which explains why there needed to be a Wilayah Persekutuan Chess Association even if the national membership of PCMM would have to be sacrificed!

Perhaps in the context of a bigger picture we should also appreciate that in MCF the Honorary Life President is now also the President (although he intends to step down the minute a new President can be found - but apparently not Edmund Santhara). And dare I say that there are at least three years of accounts that raise serious questions at a glance and would certainly have difficulty standing up to scrutiny.

I also wonder if officials who allowed their association to be declared illegal can still run for office?

Of course we have to give some benefit of the doubt and part of the problem might be simply that standard paperwork to help document such as letters, even issuance of receipts is not the strong point of the Honorary Secretary and certainly procedures are very poor indeed when entry fees are encouraged to be in cash or banked into a personal account (apparently for his convenience).

A New Day Has Come… Or Has it? (Thursday 24 July 2008)

Malaysians are all caught up in the coming Dato Arthur Tan Malaysian Open (DATMO) and why not? It is the only thing going for it - thanks to 83 year old Dato Tan Chin Nam who recently stepped down from being the Malaysian Chess Federation (MCF) President again.

And apparently MCF has a new President, perhaps the man that Dato Tan was referring to when he said that he had finally found the right person after waiting over 20 years to replace him.

But what are the facts? I am not involved much in the local scene but this I do know:

1. The new MCF President does not play chess

2. New Honorary Secretary Gregory Lau has avoided me since I proposed we organise an IM/rating event for just RM 10,000 to help Lim Yee Weng meet his title requirements and for talents like Nicholas Chan to get on the IM track. Why? He was enthusiastic and sought an immediate meeting with the new MCF President to facilitate this. I think we all can easily guess why!

3. Malaysia will not be in the 1st World Mind Sports Games being held in Beijing from 3-18 October 2008 because somehow we did not enter. But 77 National Chess Federations did knowing that even the airfare was paid for!

4. This is not new because I know that last year we did not enter anyone in the Asian Individual Chess Championship where the costs was an Air Asia flight (RM 450 return when I last looked), forgot to send our top young player to the Asian Junior Championship, and not enter a team in the Asian Team Championship where the trophy bears the name of our second Prime Minister but I did hope this would change.

5. Hopefully we do remember to register in time for the Olympiad - this is one event I am sure we cannot ignore.

6. Is our youth development going anywhere? At ASEAN Age Group level Malaysia failed miserably, our 40 odd delegation finishing well behind the 10 or so from Brunei. Maybe that explains the 3 Malaysians in the World Schools Championship in next door Singapore.

7. Finally, do we understand that Dato Tan can't live forever and I have been told that DATMO is coming to a close? But being what he is, he also cannot let go and while he lives will still insist knowing it all and on organising whatever he wants from time to time - whether a GM Tournament for Mas Hafizul (no problems with that but how about our No 1. IM Wong Zi Jing?) or an offer to sponsor a GM Trainer, etc. Is this good or bad? Go figure!

I am not optimistic for my country - the MCF Council looks like nothing more than a reshuffle and so the level of competency/commitment remains the same.

New President, new day? It does not seem so.

But if we are just looking to get a new Dato Tan, (although he is really nothing more than a patzer who does not understand that in chess his only value is that of a dumb patron when he spends) at least there will be some money for the game.

Then I fully agree that Dato Tan's 20 year quest would have not been in vain!

Is this the new MCF? Please prove me wrong! (Wednesday 5 November 2008)


It has been a long time since I commented on the local chess scene because it is almost always bad.

My good fortune was I was able to avoid this by travelling a great deal in the last few months but recently I was forced into some interaction with some would be and also current members of our national teams (more hearing from them about the behaviour of MCF officials) at both youth and senior level.

With the Singapore-Malaysia match now in limbo it is hard for MCF to sell the prestige of national representation and the new "hot deal" is the World Youth Championships. So we did send some players to Vung Tau - good kids all and with some talent and I hope they all develop their promise in spite of the environment they have to play and train in - but the real story is why so few?

No one dares to be named for fear of being victimised further but apparently if you are not part of "the gang" then you cannot be selected!

In the meantime we still ignore the obligations of participation in major events in Asia such as the Asian Junior Championships to be held in Chennai, India in December (there is also the Asian School in Kandy, Sri Lanka in the same time frame). I thought my readers would like to know about these events!

And there is the team that is going to the 38th Chess Olympiad in Dresden that was selected via at best an obscure process but what is worst is that it was clearly without any rationale for the future (of course assuming there was indeed a national development plan in place).

Does anyone think it makes a difference sending players past their sell by dates to try and fight for a bit better than 80th place as opposed to 90th or 100th place? That is why if I was actually asked to play (as feared necessary by some) I would have burst out laughing and be the first to admit that 9 year old Yeoh Li Tian would be a much better choice!

I also understand that our players had to come up with RM 1,000 each as MCF was short of funds! Sadly it would seem that the useless new and non chess playing (and still not paying) MCF President is proving me right!

The inaugural KL Open is a Big Success! (Monday 22 December 2008)

Top seeded Grandmaster Anton Filippov of Uzbekistan today emerged winner of the inaugural Raja Nazrin Shah Challenge Trophy at the Kuala Lumpur Open Chess Tournament.

Filippov received RM10,000 for the win in the Open category at the six-day tournament, which attracted 140 participants from 11 countries.

The field included eight International Grandmasters, nine International Masters or 2,400+ rated players, one Women Grandmaster and two Women International Masters.

China's Wang Rui who lost out on tie-break to finish second was still a happy winner as he completed the requirements for the International Master title with his fine performance.

Just half a point behind the winners, in third to sixth places respecively, were Grandmasters Nguyen Anh Dung (Vietnam), Susanto Megaranto (Indonesia), Magesh Chandra Panchanathan (India) and Intenational Master Sadikin Irwanto (Indonesia).

Vietnam National Champion Nguyen Van Nuy also achieved the International Master title with his excellent performance at the KL Open.

A total RM45,000 prize money in cash was awarded to winners by the Raja Muda of Perak, Raja Dr Nazrin Shah, himself a strong chessplayer in his university days, and his sister Raja Dato' Seri Azureen.

FIDE General Secretary and ASEAN Chess Confederation President Ignatius Leong and of course KLCA President Edmund Santhara spoke at the Closing and Prize Giving Ceremony.

While Mr Leong congratulated the KLCA President and Masterskill CEO on his excellent work both in Malaysia and at ASEAN level, Mr Santhara confirmed a long term sponsorship of the KL Open by Masterskill and reminded the audience that the KLCA, as a registered sports body under the Malaysian Sports Council, was committed to youth development and would be taking chess nationwoide in this context as a Nation Building CSR (corporate social responsibility) project.

International Master Manuel Aaron - an Asian and Indian chess legend - also graced the occasion as the tournament guest and gave a special simultaneous chess exhibition to a National Junior Selection.

The international level chess tournament was jointly organised by the Kuala Lumpur Chess Association and Malaysian Intellect Development Foundation with the support of the Junior Chamber International, a Worldwide Federation of Young Leaders and Entrepreneurs, manged by Intchess (M) Sdn. Bhd. and sponsored by Masterskill University College of Health Sciences.

I am not sure at all that KLCA decided... but Go Figure!


Well we tried to help. The fact is that the Commonwealth Chess Association is essentially defunct and has been propped up for years by India with token support from some UK based players.

I really tried to help make this event relevant and prestigious again by offering an alternative venue and in doing so to also bring some recognition to Malaysia. When I spoke to Nigel Short in Thailand he agreed to come and we were pulling out all stops to get participation.

Lots have been said but the fact is I have two SMS confirming support to hold the event and there was even agreement to attend kick-off meetings but then excuses for no shows.

But at the end of the day, it was about others taking over an event awarded, developed, and funded by us and even if some would have agreed to this, I have to be happier that KLCA also agreed that we could not put the sponsor in such a position where we just hand over to others.

So, the event now will apparently be a minor part of the Singapore Chess Festival traditionally held in December and KLCA will need to rethink if it wants go through this again to promote chess.


Commonwealth Chess Championship 2009


Due to some very unfortunate developments in Malaysia, the Kuala Lumpur Chess Association and its sponsor have decided not to organise this year's Commonwealth Chess Championship in Ipoh, Malaysia. We spent considerable time and effort to find a solution but unfortunately are unable to satisfy the interests of ALL the parties concerned.

Instead, the event will now be organised in Singapore from 9th to 15th December 2009 in conjunction with the 6th Singapore International Chess Festival. Official invitation with full details will be announced by the first week of July 2009. For information, the dates given are dove-tailing several international open tournaments in this region and will be a great opportunity to all players.

I apologise for the inconveniences caused and look forward to your joining us in a festive chess season in the Far East in November-December.

Ignatius Leong
Commonwealth Chess Association

Monday, 4 May 2009

Off to Iraq soon... and staying in Kurd territory (which is not supposed to be a war zone!).


FIDE International Seminar for Coaches

Sulaymaniyah, Iraq

27 May – 1 June 2009

The Iraqi Chess Federation (ICF), supported by the Asian Chess Federation (ACF), and under the auspices of the World Chess Federation (FIDE), invites participants to the FIDE International Seminar for Trainers in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq.

In this program, four Titles can be achieved; FIDE Trainer, FIDE Instructor, National Instructor and Developmental Instructor, depending on the results of the examination and also the applicant’s stature as a player, trainer etc.

The FIDE Trainers’ Commission (TRG), is pleased to nominate Mr. Peter Long (MAS) and Mr. Hassan Khaled (EGY), FIDE Trainers, to conduct the course and the examination in English and Arabic...

Schedule & Program

May 27 (Day 1)

1100-1400: Introduction: FIDE & Trainers’ Commission (TRG), Regional Academies, FIDE Trainer System, Roles & Types of Trainers, Introductions by Participants, Seminar Program & Lecturer Expectations

1600-2000: Tactics: Checkmate Patterns, Tactics & Combinations, Strategy of Attack on the King. EXAM: (Checking Level of Tactical Ability)

May 28 (Day 2)

1100-1400: Scholastic Chess: The Benefits of Chess, Teaching Beginners, How to Implement Chess in Schools Programs

1600-2000: The Most Important Theoretical Endgames: EXAM: (Checking Basic Endgame Knowledge)

May 29 (Day3)

1100-1400: Principles of Opening Play: How to Teach Openings EXAM: (Knowledge of Open Game Fundamentals)

1600-2000: Classics: Teaching Positional Elements through Working with Classical Games

May 30 (Day 4)

1100-1400: Decision Making: Positional Judgement, Planning & Middlegame Strategy

1600-2000: Calculation

May 31 (Day 5)

1100-1400: Trainers’ Workshop: Conducting a Lesson, Using Computers & the Internet

1600-2000: Playing Strength Assessment/FIDE Trainer Candidate Presentations

June 1 (Day 6)

0900-1300: Summary & Results

Full article at