Monday, 22 October 2018

Dato' Tan Chin Nam is No More

The father of Malaysian chess, Dato' Tan Chin Nam, born 18 March 1926, has passed away on 21 October 2018 at 93 years of age in his home in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Since 1974 Dato' Tan had been at the helm of Malaysian chess - for many decades he the President of the Malaysian Chess Federation while also being its biggest patron - and from 1986 to 1990 also served as FIDE Deputy President for Asia and then from 1990-1994 as a member of the FIDE Executive Board.

Not many people today know that it was Dato' Tan who originated and introduced Rapid Chess to FIDE and to the chess world.

The FIDE and Asian events he brought to Malaysia are simply too many to list, and include a World Championship Match, Interzonals, World Youth U-16 Olympiad and numerous Zonals, the only one missing was perhaps the World Chess Olympiad, and even today it is because of his vision that we have the region leading Malaysian Chess Festival for 15 years now and still counting.

Dato' Tan was a man of many interests, or more accurately, passions, where chess perhaps just trumped horse racing, but more important was that in all that he did, he was a huge success.

A successful entrepreneur and businessman who rapidly became one of the top ten richest men in Malaysia, he was always a visionary and innovator, and was instrumental in bringing to and supporting chess in China - the Big Dragon Project - whose rise as both a global economy and chess powerhouse he long foresaw.

Dato' Tan's passing will leave a vacuum in Malaysian chess that will be impossible to fill and Asian chess will be very much poorer for it while FIDE has lost a good friend who embodied "Gens Una Sumus".

Yet, for those who knew him best, it was not his leadership, his generosity and patronage of the game with the endless sponsorship, or even the paradigm changing initiatives, but the many hours watching and playing chess with a man who came to chess late but whose love for it was second to none and who just wanted to be a better player than he was the day before.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Holiday Workshops in Tactics, Combinations & Attack

I am now back from an unexpected visit to Dubai and from there on to Batumi and after recovering from 48 hours of travel, am fully recovered and teaching again.

My weekend classes are broken down now to three levels i.e. Enjoy Chess 0-1400, Young Talents 1400-1800 and Future Stars 1800-2200 but not many of my students are serious tournament players although a few will be going to the Penang Open from 3-10 December to get much needed experience.

So I decided the most useful thing I could do to help them would be put together a rather comprehensive program of lessons on tactics, combinations and attack, and the best time is at the very start of the school holidays.

I think that this course I have put together will also be useful to all players and especially those rated around 1400-1800 strength even if their actual FIDE ratings might be lower and so decided to open it up to everyone and if interested as in my post on the Institute for Chess Excellence FaceBook page, do call (or WhatsApp) me as soon as possible because places will be limited.

Mukhriez Shah Mahmood Shah (Malaysia) vs Joseph Mwale (Malawai)
Round 11, Batumi Olympiad

Participants might be interested at some of what is will be taught and as a sweetener, here we have a position where in the Batumi Olympiad, young Mukhriez Shah was up against an experienced opponent rated 200+ points more in last round match that Malaysian needed to win against an even lower ranked Malawi.

Here Muhriez showed his lack of experience by playing 27 Rec3 when the simple 27 b3 would have kept the position equal.  

In response his opponent could not control himself and played 27... b5 when in fact 27... Rf1+ was better and after 28 Kd2 , perhaps c5 would have kept a small advantage and all the chances.

Mukhriez now played 28 Ra7! If instead 28 Bf5?, of course 28...Rxf5 and then 29... b5 wins. Yet after his opponent replied 28...b5, it was Black who had the attack!

The game continued 29 Rb3 Rf1 30 Kd2 Rf2 31 Ke1 Rf4 32 Bf5 Ke7 33 Rxb7

Here White seems to be getting some counterplay but with his next move Black is able to activate his remaining piece and begin an attack on the king.

33...Nf3+ 34 Kd1 Rxh3. The threat is 35... Rh1, winning.

Now R3xb4 would have kept things safe but Mukhriez blundered with the seemingly natural looking 36 Re3+ and after 36...Kf6, was lost. Again lack of experience and playing by intuition and not with concrete analysis.

In a very difficult, perhaps lost position, Mukhriez tried 37 c3 but then followed 37... Rh1 38 Kc2 Rh2 39 Kc1? Of course 39 Kd1 Ne5 40 Rxb4 would have kept the game going longer.

Now his opponent played Ne5 and 40 Re1 was forced to in order to defend against the back rank mate.

Simplification into a won endgame then followed beginning with Rxf5 41 gxf5 Nd3 42 Kd1 and now instead of rushing to capture the Rook, 42... Nxb2 to pick up a pawn and bring the b pawn into the attack.

Then followed 41 Kc1 Nd3 42 Kd1

But now, instead of 43... Nxd1, 43... bxc3 with the threat of 44... Rd2 mate! It's all tactics! Now 44 Re2 is forced and the pawn queens! 

The finish was 44... Rxe2 45 Kxe2 c2 46 Rxc7 c1=Q 47 Rxc1 Nxc1 with a last move 48 Ke3 thrown in from inertia before resigning. 0-1.

Luckily the Malaysian team pulled through with a narrow 2.5-1.5 win to achieve a 50 percent overall score with 5 wins, 1 draw and 5 losses and in doing so turned what was going to be a total disaster into something of a save in Batumi.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Malaysia, Round by Round in Batumi

Malaysia is ranked 83rd in the World, and was seeded 107th at the Batumi Olympiad.

We finished 93rd (tied 82nd-101st with a group of 20 teams on 11 points, a 50 percent score).

R1: Loss: 0.5-3.5 vs Belarus, Europe/Ex-Soviet

R2: Draw: 2:2 vs Afghanistan, Asia/Middle East

R3: Win: 3-1 vs Kuwait, Asia/Middle East

R4: Loss: 1-3 vs Madagascar, Africa

R5: Win: 4-0 vs Saudi Arabia, Asia/Middle East

R6: Loss: 1-3 vs Mongolia, Asia

R7: Win: 3.5-0.5 vs Libya, Africa/Middle East

R8: Win: 3.5-0.5 vs Botswana. Africa

R9:  Loss: 1-3 vs Canada, Americas

R10: Loss: 0-4 vs Belgium. Europe

R11: Win: 3-1 vs Malawi, Africa

4th ASEAN Chess Championships (Open//Women) 2018


1. Organization

Organized by the Myanmar Chess Federation under the auspices of the ASEAN Chess Confederation.

2. Eligibility

Only players from the ASEAN member Federations can participate.

ASEAN Open Champion will be awarded a 9-game GM norm, in case of tie, up to first three will be given IM Title; similarly, 9-game WGM norm and WIM titles for women will be awarded.

3. Schedule

Subject to the number of players, the system shall be between 9 rounds Swiss / Round-robin.

20th December: Arrival

  Technical Meeting at 20:00 hr.

21st December: Opening Ceremony - 09:00 hr.

  Round 1 - 10:00 hr.     

22nd December: Round 2 - 09:00 hr.; Round 3 - 16.00 hr.

24th December: Round 5 - 09:00 hr.; Round 6 - 16.00 hr.

25th December: Free Day

26th December: Round 7 - 14:00 hr.

27th December: Round 8 - 14:00 hr.

28th December: Round 9 - 09:00 hr.

                          Closing Ceremony - 16:00 hr.

29th December: Departure

4. Time Control and Format

Swiss System. FIDE-rated and FIDE-titled. Rate of play: 40 moves in 2 hours, followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game, all without time increment. Zero Start shall apply. 

5. Prize  

Trophies will be awarded to the Winners, 1st Runner-Up and 2nd Runner-Up. There’ll be no prize money.  

6. Entry Fees

6.1. Registration must be made by National Chess Federations for the registering player.

6.2. Entry Fee for Open Championship (FIDE Rating above 2300)

GMs with FIDE Rating above 2500: Free (but a deposit of US$100 is required)

2401 to 2500 - US$150; 2301 to 2400 - US$200

Note: Each Federation may nominate one player below FIDE Rating 2300 for the Open Championship and it should not be lower than 2200. In case of odd number, the host country has the right to add another player.

6.3. Entry fee for Women’s Championship (FIDE Rating 2100 and above)

FIDE Rating above 2300: Free (but a deposit of US$100 is required)

2201 to 2300 - US$80; 2101 to 2200 - US$120.

After 7th December 2018, a late surcharge of US$50 will be imposed.

7. Accommodation:

7.1. For Open and Women, the organizer will provide twin-share room with 3 meals for 1 player (Open) and 1 player (Women) from CACDEC countries.

7.2. The players from the other countries shall have to pay for the rooms of their choice. 

Room rates (3 meals included)                       Single              Double/Twin

                                                                        US$ 90            US$ 60

8. Playing Venue: 

Oattara Thiri Hotel, Naypyitaw, Myanmar.

9. Entry Fees and accommodation are payable upon arrival.





Family Name:                                            First Name: 

Federation:                                             Gender: M / F (circle one)

Age:                                                         Date of Birth (DD/MM/YYYY):                                 

FIDE ID:                                              Rating:                                     Title:

Room Type: (Single / Double) 

Sharing with:

Email Address:

Office Telephone:

Mobile Telephone:                              

Arrival Date:                      Time:             Airline:                 Flight No.:             From:                                        

Departure Date:                 Time:              Airline:                Flight No.:               To:


Endorsement of Federation: (Name of Responding Official, signature)

Please return this entry form by email to:        

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

With Four Rounds To Go...


With four rounds to go, Malaysia is in a large group of teams on 7 points and tied 79th to 104th.

Our actual current ranking of 86th outperforms our seeding of 107th with the team playing to their "real" ratings against opponents between 2100-2200, a level of competition we are used to.

The luck of the draw gives us Botswana next, a team seeded 116th which is even lower than we are.


The Malaysian women came to the Olympiad ranked 68th and on 9 points, are now in a group 24th to 43rd.

Li Ting on top board and Nithya on last board are outperforming their ratings while the rest are playing to their normal level.

We play 76th ranked Tajikistan and with a win can break into the top group for the next round.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Top Malaysians - FIDE Rating List October 2018

Once again we have the monthly ranking of our players according to FIDE (World Chess Federation) and it is particularly relevant given it is coming out during the World Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia.

Why? Well, because its as indicative as it can be of the current level of the teams we have sent to participate in this global event that takes place every two years. 

Starting with the men, we can see that two are in the top ten, one is in the top twenty (or top fifteen if you prefer to measure like that), another is just outside the top twenty, and one who is not shown because he is not 2000+ is ranked 90th.


With the women is much easier to understand, all five are in the top ten including the first, second and third ranked.