Monday, January 2, 2017

Interview with IM Yeoh Li Tian

Yeoh Li Tian was already identified as a chess talent at a young age. At the age of 10 he was sent to a six week training stint in Beijing, China, sponsored by Dato' Tan Chin Nam. In the next four years, he came tantalizingly close to IM norms in several tournaments.

In 2015 he finally made his first norm and last December, Yeoh Li Tian made back-to-back International Master norms at two tournaments in Australia, fulfilling the norm requirements of 27 games.

Recently, I did an interview with him to find his thoughts, his preparations and how he sees his future  chess career.

JL: You recently finished your SPM examinations and straight after flew to Australia to play two tournaments. What expectations if any did you have when you were invited to these two tournaments?

LT: Frankly speaking I didn’t expect much before these tournaments. As it was right after SPM examination, I didn’t have time to prepare for my opponents beforehand as if they were round robin tournaments. Hence I was just aiming for IM norms before these tournaments. I was actually quite confident on the chances as my performance has always been stable and seldom become rusty even if I have not played in any tournament for a long time. It turned out to be correct as I got my IM norms with one round to spare in both tournaments.

JL:  How did you prepare for these tournaments? 

LT: As mentioned above, I didn’t prepare for any of the 2 tournaments due to my SPM examination. However, in a round robin tournament, I will normally first check the age and rating of my opponents to estimate their strength. I will then check the required points to achieve IM (maybe GM in future) norm and set a target score (win or draw) for each game, based on my colour if possible. After completing all these only I will start to prepare on a particular opponent by his opening and try to find out which type of position he/she normally loses in.

JL: Which game did you like the most from these two tournaments?

LT: I like some of my smooth wins against lower rated opponents, but I think the most interesting game is my game against Patrick Gong in the Lidums Young Master. (Game below)

JL: Any stories you want to tell us?

LT: There was really not much interesting moment in Australia. It was all about mind duel during the game and resting my mind after the game. I was hosted by a local family in Adelaide and they were really friendly. We actually saw a wild koala on a hill road while getting back home. 

JL: How old were you when you learnt the game?

LT: Around 2-3 years old. I must be literally “playing” with the chess pieces at that time.

JL: How much time do you spend on chess?

LT:It really depends on my other activities. At the very least, I will spend some time daily to follow the current tournaments to keep my chess-mind awake. I will put it as 10 hours per week.

JL: Young talented chess players often make their IM titles even before the age of 14. Why did it take you until 17 years old?

LT: The first factor is of course being an amateur player. Even though I focused in chess as much as in academic, it is still a big disadvantage to not work on chess full time compared to those young professional players. Besides, there are also not many suitable sparring partners in Malaysia as chess is not a mainstream sport. There are also few problems with myself such as easily distracted when I face difficulties during training.

JL: How much the computer plays in your chess preparations? Do you bring it to you every tournament?

LT: Computer definitely plays a crucial role in my chess preparation. Basically all my preparations require computer, including checking opponent’s basic information, database and opening. Computer is a necessity for me in all important and big chess tournaments. I only leave it at home in event like MSSM [Note: MSSM is an annual schools chess competition in Malaysia] or rapid events.

JL:  Who is the player you admire most?

LT: I really admire Magnus Carlsen. Sometimes I simply couldn’t understand how he wins such drawish position against strong players. I really hope I can learn that skill.

JL: What is your career that you think you most likely be in. Is it chess?

LT: To be honest I don’t plan to have a profession related to chess. I may contribute to chess in future, but definitely not full time. I am interested in actuarial science, computer science and engineering.

JL: What subjects are you good in or like at school?

LT: I am really good in mathematics compared to my peer. I like math, physics and chemistry in school. I like part of biology but I have never obtained good results in biology.

JL: What advice will you give to others who wish to pursue their ambition to be a good player?

LT: Study midgame and endgame. I can see many players and coaches focusing too much in the opening. Trying to win fast by trapping your opponent in a sharp opening can never bring a player to high level.

JL: Are you going to be world champion :)

LT: As far as I am concerned, no. It is pretty impossible to reach the elite without doing chess full time.

JL: Thank you for your very informative answers. I believe other young chess players as well as chess parents will find it very useful

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Invitation from DAT

DAT Chess Center is issuing an open invitation to high tea in celebration of Yeoh Li Tian's IM title. There will also be a blitz event at the venue.

Venue: DAT Chess Center F-03A-9 Starparc Point, Jalan Taman Ibu Kota, 533000 Kuala Lumpur
Date: 7th January 2017
Time: 4:30 PM

All are welcome!

Monday, December 26, 2016

GACC Chess Championships

The GACC chess championship returns for the 21st Edition. There are three events
- Open Age Group for Under 8/10/12/14/16/18
- Open and Team
- Inter -Varsity

The registration for Inter-Varsity is already closed. Registrations for the other two events  are open until 10th Jan 2017. See below for details.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Play chess this New Year

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Congratulations IM Yeoh Li Tian!

Yeoh Li Tian is currently playing in the 2016 Australasian Masters Tournament in Australia. He now has 7 points, the required number for his final IM norm. In the penultimate round, he drew with FM Dusan Stojic to tally six wins and two draws and not losing any game.

His close competitor GM Daryl Johansen lost to FM Liu Xiangyi and both have six points trailing Li Tian by one point. Johansen has to beat Li Tian in the final round tomorrow to have a mathematical chance of winning the tournament. Any other result will end with Li Tian winning his first international.

One wonders what is next in store. Will he continue with his winning streak to go for a GM title? Will the newly elected Malaysian Chess Federation officials extend some help be it financial or in other ways?

Yeoh Li Tian closing in on IM title

Yeoh Li Tian currently playing in the 2016 Australasian Masters Tournament in Australia is closing in on his third (some say fourth) IM norm. He has 6.5 points from seven games, winning six and drawing one. He needs just another half point from the remaining two games.

His score also means he is leading the tournament with his closest competitor half point behind. They are scheduled to meet in the last round possibly determining who will be the champion.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Yeoh Li Tian top seeded at 2016 Australasian Masters IM Norm Tournament

Yeoh Li Tian is the top seed at the 2016 Australasian Masters IM Norm Tournament. This is his second tournament in Australia after the Lidums Young Masters where he gained the IM norm. This tournament could be his try for the final norm for the IM title.

So far, only one round has been played. Li Tian drew against FM Liu Xiangyi from Singapore.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Yeoh Li Tian close to 2nd norm

Malaysian FM Yeoh Li Tian is playing in Australia at the Lidums Young Masters in Adelaide. This is a ten player round robin. After seven rounds, Li Tian has scored 4.5 points and is tied for 2nd placing. He needs another one point from the remaining two games to achieve his 2nd IM Norm.

This is quite a strong tournament with one GM and four IMs. The remaining are FMs with one exception, Patrick Gong who is also the lowest rated. Li Tian will play IM James Morris in the current round and Patrick Gong in the final.

The rankings after round 7:

Latest update 1:15 PM 
No sooner have I just posted this and results came in. Yeoh Li Tian beats IM James Morris and shares joint lead with IM Bobby Cheng!

Friday, December 2, 2016

1st Kimma Chess Tournament announcement

The 1st Kimma Chess Tournament is scheduled for 5th February 2017. The champion will receive the YB Senator Datuk Seri Syed Ibrahim Kader Trophy. This event is managed by DAT Chess Centre.

Rounds: 7
Time control: 25 minutes to finish
Venue: Dewan Serbaguna Pusat Perdagangan PT 80 DBKL,  Lorong Bunus 4,
Masjid India, 50050 KUALA LUMPUR (Belakang Haniffa Departmental Store)
Contact: Abd Hamid Majid (019 3158098) / Siraj (010 5499916) / Fadli (014 2312370)
Prizes: There are prizes for Open, Under 18 and Under 12 with the winner of the Open receiving a generous RM1000.

For the prospectus go to or Click here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Penang wins 2016 Inter-state Championship

The 2016 Inter-State Chess Championship was held at M.S. Garden Hotel in Kuantan, Pahang from 25th-28th November. The Open tournament had 14 teams and played a six round Swiss while the Womens had only six teams and a round-robin replaced the Swiss.

This tournament has always been hotly contested between Selangor  (FM Nicholas Chan, FM Lim Zhuo Ren, IM Jimmy Liew, Marcus Chan and NM Kamal Abduallah) and Penang (Looi Xin Hao, FM Wong Yinn Loong, IM Ooi Zhi Yang, Tan Khai Boon and NM Ng Tze Han). This time, the Kuala Lumpur Chess Association (Lye Lik Zang, IM Mas Hafizul, Zaidan  Zulkipli, CM Ng Jen Sheng and, WFM Tan Li Ting) secured the services of IM Mas Hafizul and they were seen as possible contenders. In a bizarre move, they put youngster Lye Lik Zang on board one instead of IM Mas and I believe this to be a mistake which eventually put them out of contention. If Lye Lik Zang was on third or fourth board, K.L. would have a fighting chance for the championship.

In round 3 , Kuala Lumpur lost narrowly to Selangor.

The match between Penang and Selangor was in round 4 and this was clearly going to decide the championship. Nicholas Chan lost a winning game to Looi Xin Hao while I was caught in the opening by new IM Ooi Zhi Yang. The other two boards were losing for Selangor as well but the Penang players surprised by offering draws to secure the match.

Kuala Lumpur was paired with Penang in the fifth round and they had to win to get back into contention for the championship. In order to move IM Mas to first board they had to rest Lye Lik Zang. IM Mas was held to a draw and they had to be satisfied with a 2-2 result.

In the womens event, it was also clear that Selangor and Penang will be competing for the championship. The two met in round four and the former beat the latter narrowly to decide the first place.

The final crosstable -