Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Draw for Dilwen Ding in Round 3

17th ASEAN Age-Groups Open Championships
Pattaya, Thailand

Date: 2016.05.31
Round 3

White: Joshua Ruthur (UR)
Black: Dilwen Ding (2429)

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 e6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 a6 6. Be2 Qc7 7. a3 b5 8. O-O Bb7 9. Be3 Nf6 10. Nxc6 Bxc6 11. Bf3 Be7 12. g3 O-O 13. Bg2 Rad8 14. Bf4 d6 15. Qe2 Qb7 16. Rfe1 a5 17. Bd2 

17. ...b4 18. axb4 axb4 19. Nd1 d5 20.e5 Ne4 21. Bf4 Ra8 22. Ne3 b3 23. Bxe4 dxe4 24. cxb3 Qxb3 25. Rxa8 Bxa8 26. Rc1 h6 27. h4 Qb7 28. h5 Rc8 29. Rxc8+ Qxc8 30. Nc4 Qa6 31. Qc2 Qc6 32. Ne3 Bc5 33. Qc1 Bd4 34. Qxc6 Bxc6 35. Nc4 Bd5 36. b3 

36. ...Bxc4 37. bxc4 Kf8 38. Kg2 Ke7 39. f3 Kd7 40. fxe4 Kc6 41. Kf3 Kc5 42. g4 Kxc4 43. Bg3 Kd3 44. Bf4 Bc3 45. Bg3 Bd2 46. Bf2 Bc3 47. Bg3 g5 48. Bh2

Loss for Dilwen Ding in Round 2

17th ASEAN Age-Groups Open Championships
Pattaya, Thailand

Date: 2016.05.31
Round 2

White: Dilwen Ding (2429)
Black: Paolo Bersamina (2378)

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 d6 3. g3 c6 4. Bg2 Qc7 5. O-O e5 6. dxe5 dxe5 7. Nc3 Be7 8. e4 O-O 9. Qe2 b5 10. a3 Be6 11. b3 Nbd7 12. Bb2 Rfd8 13. Rad1 Bc5 14. h3 h6 15. Rd2 Nf8 16. Rfd1 Ng6 17. a4 a6 18. Rxd8+ Rxd8 19. axb5 axb5 20. Rxd8+ Qxd8 21. Nd1 Qd6 22. Nd2 h5

23. Qd3 Qxd3 24. cxd3 h4 25. Kh2 Nh5 26. gxh4 Nhf4 27. Bf1 f6 28. Ne3 Nxh4 29. Kg3 Bb4 30. Kxh4 Bxd2 31. d4 exd4 32. Bxd4 Bxb3 33. Nf5 Kf7 34. Bc5 g6 35. Nd4 Bd1 36. Nxc6

36... Nh5 37. Be2 Bxe2 38. f3 Bxf3 39. Ne5+ fxe5 40. Be7 

40... g5+ 

Monday, 30 May 2016

Loss for Dilwen Ding in Round 1

17th ASEAN Age-Groups Open Championships
Pattaya, Thailand

Date: 2016.05.30
Round 1

White: Che Quoc Huhu (2022)
Black: Dilwen Ding (2429)

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. c4 Nc6 4. Nc3 Qb6 5. Be2 Nf6 6. d3 Be7 7. O-O O-O 8. Rb1 a6 9. h3 Rd8 10. Bg5 h6 11. Bh4 d6 12. a3 Bd7 13. Qd2 Nd4 14. b4 Nxf3+ 15. Bxf3 cxb4 16. Rxb4 Qc7 

17. e5 dxe5 18. Rxb7 Qc5 19. Bxf6 Bxf6 20. Rxd7 Rxd7 21. Bxa8 Qxa3 22. Be4 Bg5 23. Qc2 f5 24. Bf3 e4 25. dxe4 Rd2

26. Qa4 Qxc3 27. Qe8+ Kh7 28. Bh5 Qf6

29. e5 1-0

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Dilwen Ding Is In Pattaya!

The 17th ASEAN Age-Group Chess Championships has a big name in Malaysian's Dilwen Ding who is playing in the U-20 Open.

He is of course accompanied by both his Manager-Mother and his personal Grandmaster Coach and so this proven and tried Team Dilwen can most confidently look forward to even more success.

I have many requests to provide special coverage of the performance our No. 1 player here and will do my best even if my tight schedule here makes that difficult (if not unlikely).

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

We Have No One Playing In The Asian Continental Championships?

The Asian Continental (or Individual) Championships is together with the Zonal Championships the qualifying competition for the World Cup and therefore the World Chess Championship cycle.

While we Malaysians like to talk about becoming Grandmasters when not even anywhere near able to fight for the International Master title, it seems that we do not even take the opportunity to participate in top level competitions when we can.

Besides the Zonals and the Asian Continental, the Asian Nations Cup must be included in these.

So while we are all so excited with going to the World Chess Olympiad later this year, funds have yet to be found and there is still no plan for preparing the team.

I have already said so in a particularly well read piece published in my weekly Malay Mail Online column (see: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/opinion/peter-long/article/choosing-players-for-the-national-team...-why-bother) and I will repeat that if we are not serious to set targets with the relevant national sports authorities then let whoever qualified go as they will.

We are of course an amateur chess country so our lack of participation at the Asian Continental Championships held from 25 May to 5 June in Tashkent, Uzbekistan is not a major disaster but I wonder how many of our top or more ambitious players knew about it and perhaps might have applied to go for a perhaps once in a lifetime opportunity?

From what I have gathered from the entry list, only Vietnam, Indonesia and Singapore from the ASEAN region are represented.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Missed Opportunity

I had unfortunately missed the Selangor Open due to the Churchie International in Brisbane but on my return to KL I dropped by the DAT Chess Centre to discuss the FIDE Arbiter's Seminar to be held in Pattaya from 31 May to 4 June 2016 where I will be assisting Hamid Majid.

After we concluded, Hamid, to my surprise, asked my opinion about the decisive game played at the Selangor Open between Yeoh Li Tian and eventual winner Oliver Dimakiling which he was watching as Chief Arbiter and even had some specific questions. I am of course quite familiar with Li Tian's game and understand well his weaknesses (and of course also his strengths) and so I was a little reluctant to discuss what I know.

But as we went through the game, actually one that was rather typical of Li Tian's play, we reached a position where Jimmy Liew (who was watching us analyse) immediately agreed with me was lost after the exchange of Queens but then I suddenly realised that capturing the pawn on f3 was a blunder by Oliver and that the position was in fact drawn!

Instead of capturing with 52. Qxf3, he had 52. Qh4+ and after 52...Kg6, 53. Qg5+! 

This loss was a big price to pay as it was not only the difference between first and second place but also cost Li Tian his final International Master title norm.

For the record, the game concluded: 52...Bxf3 53. g4 Kg6 54. Kg3 Bd1 55. Kf4 Kf6 56. h4 Be2 57. h5 Bd1 58. g5+ Kg7 59. h6+ Kg6 60. Ke5 Bc2 61. Kd6 Kxg5 62. Ke7 f6  0-1

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Malaysian Chess Festival Announcement

So many people keep asking me about this - and I do not know any more than what has been announced - so please find the link below:


The organiser's contact details should be on this website but if not or unable to find, please email IA Abd Hamid Majid at ahamchess@yahoo.com

IM Kevin Goh Wei Ming - Ex-Singapore National Player!

Open Letter (and the rant of an ex-National player)

This is going to be a long post (read "rant") as the announcement I am going to make is a rather painful one. These days, people are generally a lot more careful with what they post online but I think it is about time that someone voices out the frustration that an experienced and chess player often has playing chess in Singapore.

I have been playing active competitive chess for 13 years. Back in my JC days when I was a mere 2200 player, it would have been seen as a rather bad joke if someone had suggested that I would go on to represent the country in multiple Olympiads, SEA games and various other team tournaments. Somehow, that happened. My earlier days as a young national player was mired with actions driven by immaturity but my passion for chess and competition sustained my interest in the game longer than any chess player in Singapore. I love the game, the intensity that comes during a high level tournament, the satisfaction of winning an important game for the country but I have also experienced desperation and despair when I know I could have done better. To date, all I care about is playing and winning a game but somehow things are never that simple within the local chess community.

I have had my issues with the SCF for a long time and I know that there were people across different administrations who simply did not like my guts. Generally though, apart from the unfathomable and quite frankly ridiculous decision to omit me from the 2010 Olympiad (despite being National Champion from 2006-2009, and finishing 3rd in 2010!), the SCF and I had generally agreed to disagree on a variety of issues. I may not be the easiest person to work with (that's right, I am not a yes man!) but my arguments have always been centered around what works best for chess players. I was never interested in politics and all I had always wanted was to play and I've always pushed for a structured training regime to keep the top players of the country current.

I am almost (almost, because modesty has never been one of my strong traits and anyway I think it is overrated) embarrassed to be blowing my own trumpet but to put things into perspectives to the ignorant, my accomplishments were there for all to see. I am not any random National player or some up and coming junior who almost always inevitably gives up playing chess around the age of 18-19. 6-time National Champion in Classical Chess, Multiple SEA Games medals, just a couple of GM norms (incidentally, the only player in Singapore to have achieved this other than GM Wong Meng Kong), consistent performances for the National team (2500 TPR and beyond for my last 3 team events for Singapore) and I even managed to write a chess book that was widely acknowledged by experts all over the world.

Rather more astonishingly, my alma mater NTU awarded me the Sportsman of the Year award in 2005 in recognition of the medals that I won at the Tagaytay SEA Games. The fact that SCF let this piece of news go unnoticed - privately or publicly is a telling one but I'll leave that for another day.

As anyone who had played for the country at some point in their life would tell you, it is always going to be a tall order to manage studies, careers and having to play decent chess once in a while. I had managed to play reasonable chess while crafting out a career with KPMG and now with Econ Healthcare Group not by solving tactics for 10 minutes everyday but by being disciplined and being persistent in my beliefs. For those of you who may not understand or know the game very well, it is plenty of sacrifices that one had to make. In fact, I gave up a year of my career progression at KPMG just to get better at chess and while the sense of satisfaction from playing a good event is immense, one also gets a lot of frustrations from having a bad one.

A lot of people (including my family) have questioned me on whether it has been worth it but it is all dependent on one's perspectives, beliefs and ambitions. I take a lot of pride whenever I wear the National colors and I deem it as something worthwhile to put in the extra time, effort and energy.

An additional point that I have to make is that those who play for the country have often got to go through a lot of stress and pressure before and during the event. Maybe some of my ex-teammates and captains may see a trip as a free holiday but personally as a player, I don't see how relaxing an official tournament can ever be classed as a "holiday". 3-4 hours of prep a day, 3-4 hours of game time, and having to exhaust all your annual leave not to mention the number of no pay leave I had to take on some occasions is something that only those who had gone through will truly understand. Holiday? Not in my dictionary.

I'll like to think that the work that I've done are something good for Singapore chess. At least, I know that many of my chess friends, teammates and coaches have some degree of respect for my accomplishments. I have also been told by two of my good friends (top players) from a neighboring country that I am a "source of inspiration" for them. Although I think they were being too kind and that they definitely exaggerated to some point, it would be hypocritical of me to claim that I wasn't just a little pleased at the recognition and acknowledgement from fellow chess players.

Which nicely brings me to the true point of this article. I did not, and will never demand any privileges from the SCF administration. All I was expecting is fair and equitable treatment and a modicum of respect for someone who has been serving the nation, chesswise, faithfully for the last 13 years. I will be disclosing a series of events dating back from September 2015 that culminated in this outburst.

1) Upon reading the finalisation of the dates of the National Championships, I wrote the following note to John Wong, the current VP of the SCF. I have also copied and pasted the full correspondences via FB here:
  • Kevin Goh Wei Ming

    Hi John,

    I would like to play in the Nationals if not for the fact that I am flying to Hungary to play in a couple of GM tournaments on the 26th Dec. I am wondering if the SCF is open to having flexible arrangements if the event turns out to be a round robin? Naturally this is not a viable option if the event is a Swiss Open. If the SCF is not open to this, it is fine too and I understand.

    Thanks, Wei Ming
  • September 28, 2015
  • John Wong
    9/28, 9:33am
    John Wong

    Wei Ming, Thanks for your message. The Nationals this year is run on a Swiss format. Wishing you every success on your quest.
  • Kevin Goh Wei Ming
    9/28, 9:50am
    Kevin Goh Wei Ming

    Ok thanks much
  • January 28
  • Kevin Goh Wei Ming
    1/28, 2:47pm
    Kevin Goh Wei Ming

    Hi John,

    Now that the EOGM is out of the way, can I ask who's within the HPE committee and what is the process for selection? I am keen to participate in the Baku Olympiad but have not seen any selection criteria on the website. Pls let me know, thanks.

    Wei Ming

    SCF website is not updated by the way, those guys on the HPE have left 2 months ago
  • John Wong
    1/28, 2:49pm
    John Wong

    Drafted and sent to EXCO pending approval.
  • Kevin Goh Wei Ming
    1/28, 2:49pm
    Kevin Goh Wei Ming

    Sorry, what is drafted? HPE composition or the selection of the team?
  • John Wong
    1/28, 2:50pm
    John Wong

    I have drafted the selection guidelinwws and submited to EXCO for approval. It shd be released soon.
  • Kevin Goh Wei Ming
    1/28, 2:51pm
  • John Wong
    1/28, 2:51pm
    John Wong

    Am on the road. will comm later
  • January 29
  • Kevin Goh Wei Ming
    1/29, 9:35pm
    Kevin Goh Wei Ming

    Hi John, sorry to ask, so who is currently in the HPE?
  • John Wong
    1/29, 10:02pm
    John Wong

    Me Nisban Tony
  • Kevin Goh Wei Ming
    1/29, 10:05pm
    Kevin Goh Wei Ming

    Wow ok

    And the 3 of you determines the Olympiad squad, or its submitted for Exco approval?
  • January 30
  • John Wong
    1/30, 11:46am
    John Wong

    All decisions by HP committee in consultation with National Coach
  • Kevin Goh Wei Ming
    1/30, 11:54am
  • February 6
  • Kevin Goh Wei Ming
    2/6, 5:16pm
    Kevin Goh Wei Ming

    John, may I know when will the team selection for Baku be out? I am planning my tournament schedules and I have to take my leave in advance. I am planning for 2 tournaments this year.
  • John Wong
    2/6, 5:27pm
    John Wong

    likely end Feb a decision will be reached
  • Kevin Goh Wei Ming
    2/6, 5:28pm
    Kevin Goh Wei Ming

    Ok, thanks.
  • March 4
  • Kevin Goh Wei Ming
    3/4, 10:31am
    Kevin Goh Wei Ming

    Hi John, any news on the selection? I really need to plan my leave at least 6 months in advance.
  • Kevin Goh Wei Ming
    3/4, 10:42am
    Kevin Goh Wei Ming

    If the SCF is not selecting me for whatever reasons, it would only be fair to let me know early so I can plan my schedules.
  • March 5
  • Kevin Goh Wei Ming
    3/5, 4:15pm
  • March 8
  • Kevin Goh Wei Ming
    3/8, 3:04pm
    Kevin Goh Wei Ming

    John, I have wrote to the SCF formally about the above. You have to understand that if you want adult players to play, you gotto give them due respect and at least respond to their queries. I am reporting directly to my CEO and all leave plans must be approved in advance. If the HPE doesn't want to select me, I just need to know early so I can make plans for other tournaments in the calendar year. I think with a record like mine, I deserve a bit more respect and I should not be left hanging in the air like this.

I did not receive any further responses.

As you can see, I have tried to be reasonable and my queries were out of genuine concern as I have limited leave and flight tickets need to be bought early if I have decided on other tournaments. As a working adult and a national player, this is the least I can expect from my federation.

I then wrote to the SCF via an enquiry mail on the 8th of March and did not receive a reply. I then forwarded my query to Leonard Lau, the president of the SCF on the 11th of March who then responded 4 days later that the selection would likely be finalised by the end of March. It is the 7th of May today and I have yet to receive a response.

While the federation has repeatedly emphasized the desire to be open and transparent to the community, I could not understand how that works in practice when they don't respond to an important query from the number 2 player in the country. In a reasonably well-functioning body or organisation, this would mean that the non-responding party has no regard for the other party and has no interest in working with them.

2) The selection guidelines published on 27th March included the following paras:
1.3 The following guidelines apply for selection to represent Singapore in SCF sanctioned 
international competitions (refer Annex A). Requirements include: 
a. Being a Singapore Citizen or Singapore PR 
b. Being a member of the National Training Program (NTP) 
c. Attaining minimum attendance during NTP during training 
d. Attained performance requirements in past tournaments 
e. Having participated in at least the last edition of the National Championship or 
National standard event (National Age Group or SG Amateur) for the last 12 
months prior to the event. 
I don't know about you but the last time I checked, a requirement to participate in a tournament for any purposes is typically announced BEFORE the tournament itself. It would have made sense if it is stated somewhere that the guidelines are in effect from 2017, or National Championships 2016 as that will allow the readers to decide for themselves whether they are keen to participate. However, I had not read any exemption or exception to the guidelines and from 1.3e, it is easy to assume that that will then mean that both myself and GM Zhang Zhong will not qualify for the team.

This is almost as equitable as the selection criteria for the 2010 Olympiad that was announced AFTER the Nationals, i.e. top 2 qualify automatically for the squad. I had finished 3rd in the event. :)

3) This is my biggest issue with the current administration and the one that pushed me over the precipice.

I had met Grandmaster Zhang Zhong for lunch the other day and he had told me that his request to be selected as the official player for the Asian Continental Championships was rejected because of "youth policy" and apparently because he did not fulfill the selection guidelines stipulated under 1.3e. His attempts to communicate with the SCF in person were rejected and he was even ignored in subsequent exchanges.

I think any chess player will find these "reasons" inexplicable.

To me, the amount of disrespect that was dished out to Zhang Zhong was incredibly astounding. Zhang Zhong is one of the best things that can ever happen to Singapore chess and I say this having worked with him in several training sessions and playing along side him on 3 separate occasions. He has a great understanding of chess and has always been very helpful when consulted during any team or even individual events.

I would not bother going into detail but real chess players who understand the game will know just how critical Zhang Zhong could be for the progress of Singapore chess. The fact that he had been coaching young kids consistently while continuing to perform incredibly well (2730 TPR at the recent Qatar Masters Open) should already suffice to show just what a great player he is. The Singapore Chess community should count themselves fortunate that they have gotten a truly world class player who was willing to commit to contribute to chess development in the country.

This is the issue when the Exco does not have a single decently strong chess player who has represented this country in a major team chess tournament. There is no appreciation of the work and sacrifices of chess players and that corresponds to a lack of respect for people who understand the game far more than them.


I guess this is a long time coming and there will be many who will be clapping in glee after reading this, but yes, I have decided to stop playing for the Singapore team under this current administration. Instead, I will play in open tournaments to try and attain my final Grandmaster norm.

To the current exco, I'll just like to say a big well done - you have successfully managed to ostracize the top 2 players of the country and in doing so, torn apart one of the strongest ever Olympiad teams (Tromso 2014) within a very short period of time since taking office.