Thursday, September 3, 2020

Play chess for free


Fancy playing chess over the board chess for a change? The "Chess For Fun Club - eat play laugh- Meetup group" is now, starting 5th Sept 2020, meeting every Saturday 3pm-5pm at A&W Off Jalan Sultan, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Bring a mask and yourself and play with other chess-loving students and working young adults. Why can't we make chess popular in Malaysia for the masses? Join us every Saturday 3-5pm, if you can! It's free.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Incident at KL Chess Classic

My student was playing against the adult player, Lim Sim Leong A closed position was reached and both sides started repeating moves. Student offered a draws a few times, thinking that Lim Sim Leong could not make progress. Somehow Lim managed to break through but almost immediately blundered an exchange.
Student now had a R vs B ending which was easily winning. As I was looking at the online chess-results I saw that he was accorded the win. To my surprise a few minutes later, this was changed to a draw result.
I asked him about it and he related the story. Lim kept badgering the arbiter to declare the game drawn. His reasoning was that there were mutiple three-fold repetitions and also my student was repeatedly offering draws. In fact he held up the beginning of the next round by almost half an hour.
Finally the arbiter turned to student and asked him whether he agreed to the draw. In order not to create a bigger scene and to get the next round started, he agreed and a draw was recorded.
I posted this incident to Facebook and drew many comments (Over 130 at this point in time). I have tried to get the arbiter of his version of how this happened but sadly he has not given any. So I can only relate what I believe happened based on my conversation with my student and her mother.
Here I want to give a proper SOP on how to handle this type of situation which is not that uncommon actually.
Arbiter entered the result as win and posted to chess-results, as seen with my own eyes. So there is no reason to deny he already accepted the result of the game at that point.
Then Lim comes along and protests the result. Was he not present when the result given to the arbiter earlier? In such situation, the arbiter should verify the result. How? By playing through the game from the scoresheets. He will then see the final position which he being a chess player for decades he should know that the position was lost for Lim. Case closed.
So why did he start asking my student if he will agree a draw?
The arbiter commented on Facebook that Lim refused to accept the result and delayed the start of the next round. Therefore his solution was to get both players to come to a compromise (draw). The position was win for him so the results stand. It does not matter if the opponent does not agree. Pair the next round and start.
Instead, the arbiter took the coward way out. Instead of standing firm against a bully , he bullied my student instead by asking him if he agrees a draw instead. An 8 year old boy could not stand his ground against a 70 year old arbiter and gave in.
There was some comment that my student made numerous draw offers and this was the reason Lim contested the result. This is not uncommon either and the player can also protest to the arbiter. Arbiter can warn the player. If warning is not complied with, than a penalty can be imposed. Start with time penalty and the last resort forfeit the game. I do not think the arbiter did any of this.
There were also many comments defending the arbiter decision from his daughter, Ruby Kwan. Her arguments were totally irrelevant and without any reference to FIDE Laws of Chess. She did out of loyalty. I respect that last part but sorry.
Know the rules.
Be objective
Make the correct decisions from your understanding of the FIDE rules.
Stand firm on your decisions
Enforce your decisions.
This is the job of a chess arbiter.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Bullying in chess

This is a story about how a grown up man cheated an 8 year old kid of half-point in a chess tournament.

My student (let's call him S, so clever of me) was playing against the adult (I call him A). now A is the number one seed but not doing so well in the tournament. A closed position was reached and both sides started repeating moves. S offered a draws a few times, thinking that A could not make progress. Somehow A managed to break through but almost immediately blundered an exchange.
S now had a R vs B ending which was easily winning. As I was looking at the online chess-results I saw that S was accorded the win. To my surprise a few minutes later, this was changed to a draw result.

I asked S about it and he related the story. A kept badgering the arbiter to declare the game drawn. His reasoning was that there were mutiple three-fold repetitions and also S was repeately offering draws. In fact he held up the beginning of the next round by almost half an hour.

Finally the arbiter turned to S and asked him whether he agreed to the draw. In order not to create a bigger scene and to get the next round started, he agreed and a draw was recorded.

Other students have also related their stories against L, how he lied and cheated against them. I have seen many instances of adults bullying young chess players, arbiters should be alert to this. Unfortunately in some cases, even the arbiters do it as this story shows. If you are not fit to be an arbiter please do not do any arbitering.

I have to say Malaysia has some of the worst arbiters (even senior ones are guilty). It does not help that it is so easy to get an arbiter title here. Almost anyone can organize a chess arbiter seminar and anyone can join after paying the fees.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Lesson on clock handling

Jimmy Liew- Cahyadi

Diagram is my fifth round game at UniKL last Saturday. Both of us less than one minute left. I played Rc2 attacking his bishop and after his bishop moves, d3-d2 wins a piece. He kept thinking and thinking and after some time he moved Bd2-b4. I thought he must have lost on time, glanced at the clock and saw I actually was the one that lost on time! My opponent had just waited and pretending to think about his move until my time ran out.

I actually did press the clock but it did not register. This can happen if the table is uneven (because it is made of two joined tables) and your side is slightly lower. When you press, the clock just moved down due to the uneveness and the feedback made you think you correctly pressed the button but actually your time is still running.

This also happened to IM Mok Tze Meng earlier this year in Pahang. I was watching and wondering why he did not move as his time counted down.

By the way I do not blame my opponent, it is up to ourself to press the clock correctly and he has no obligation to point it out.

Monday, July 29, 2019

8 year old wins Under 1600 tournament

8 year old Kavin Mohan has emerged as the U1600 FIDE Classica Edition 5 tournament at Institute of Chess Excellence today. This
is the third tournament he has won consecutively.

After 8 rounds, he scored 7 points, half a point ahead of Noor Akbar Daniel Iskandar who was the only player who beat Kavin and Benjamin Cheah the leader till the last round.

Benjamin Cheah had 6.5 points against 6 points by Kavin. A draw would ensure a first placing for Benjamin. Kavin was not having any of that even though he was playing the black pieces. He beat Benjamin decisively to take first place.

The time control of 30 minutes plus 30 seconds increment for each move suited Kavin very well. He has always been a fast player. He won a gold medal at the Asian Schools last year and a bronze in Asian Youth in Sri Lanka this year both in the blitz section. It is no surprise that out of 8 games he finished with more time than he started with! In the last round, he had 48 minutes on the clock when he checkmated Benjamin.

So how did he win this tournament against a field much older than him? Kavin used to blunder very easily but this has mostly been corrected. He showed good preparation and fighting spirit in his games. In the position from round 7 below, most of us will write it off as impossible to win even with Black's weaknesses due to the reduced material on the board. But Kavin kept pressing and eventually won!

Kavin receiving his prize from me

On Thursday, 1st August Kavin will leave for Bangkok for the Eastern Asia Youth Championship Under 08 section.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Another letter from Kaushal

An anonymous reader forwarded me this letter, again from Kaushal (he is persistent is he not?). There is  more detail which was not brought up before.
I understand that Li Tian was offered and declined. The others I have no knowledge.

Dear YB Dato’ Zahidi Bin Zainul Abidin,
I am writing this letter to seek clarifications on the selection of a team of five (5) individuals to represent Malaysia in the 43rd Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia due to take place on 23rd of September 2018 to 6th of October 2018.
The individuals who are selected are as below:
1.    CM Fong Yit San (2108)
2.    FM Lim Zhuo Ren (2166)
3.    Lye Lik Zang (2345)
4.    Mukhriez Shah Mahmood Shah (1821)
5.    CM Zaidan Zulkipli (2203)
Based on the selection criteria that has been circulated prior to Malaysian Chess Championship 2018, the qualification will be based on
“7. The Olympiad Qualifiers from this competition 
7.1. Champion of the 2018 Malaysian Chess Championship shall automatically qualify himself into the Malaysian Team for representing the Federation at the 43rd World Chess Olympiad 2018 in Batumi, Georgia.
7.2. The second and the third place shall also qualify themselves as the candidates in the Team. The remaining spots shall remain as the President’s choice.”
– Rules and Regulation of MCF-UPSI Malaysian Chess Championship 2018.
Based on these criteria above, our current National Champion, 2nd, and 3rd place winners are chosen, Fong Yit San, Lim Zhuo Ren, and Lye Lik Zang respectively. And, the remaining two players, Mukhriez Shah and Zaidan Zulkipli are your choices. I assume, your decision was made with the suggestions and input from others and/or MCF Selection Committee. From MCF’s Official website, the selection committee comprises of Lim Tse Pin and Sophian A. Yusof.
Firstly, in my opinion, Zaidan Zulkipli is a skilled player with a FIDE rating of over 2200. However, the exact criteria or reason used to select your Vice-President remains a mystery to me. There are seven (7) other players (excluding those who have already qualified) who are higher rated than Zaidan on Malaysian FIDE Rating list. 
These players are as follows: 1. Yeoh Li Tian (2497), 2. Nicholas Chan (2377), 3. Mas Hafizulhelmi (2318), 4. Aron Teh Eu Wen (2286), 5. Wong Yinn Long (2243), 6. Dilwen Ding Tze How (2222), and 7. Chan Kim Yew (2215)
In order to pick Zaidan purely on skill or rating merits, one must have needed to invite all of the above seven (7) players, and they all must have had rejected in order to offer Zaidan a place in our Malaysian Team.
My question is, had all of the other seven players been offered a spot for Oympiad before Zaidan? had they all rejected the offer? was Zaidan chosen due the fact that he is your strongest MCF committee member? who had suggested Zaidan first? what was the exact reason Zaidan had been offered the spot if it is not based on rating?
Secondly, the choice of including Mukhriez Shah in the team, who finished 18th place in the recent Malaysia Chess Championship is a bigger mystery to most of us. I fail to see any logic or reasoning behind choosing a player who has a rating of 1821, and is not even ranked in the top 100 in our country, to represent Malaysia in the most prestigious team event in the world!
Furthermore, I have a revelation to make in this letter. I had heard rumours of Mukhriez Shah was going to be chosen for Olympiad few weeks in advance to Malaysian Chess Championship 2018. At that period, it seemed to me like a silly rumour and a joke, but it came true.
My question is, how is it possible, that Mukhriez Shah was chosen even before we crowned our National Champion? When did the selection committee meet to discuss on candidates of president's choice? Don’t we have any other better candidate? had you considered anyone else from the top 100 Malaysia FIDE Rating list? had you considered former NM Kamal Abdullah who had finished 4th in Malaysian Chess Championship 2018? who had suggested Mukhriez Shah first? was Mukhriez Shah’s father Mahmood Shah (who is your MCF Advisor) part of the selection committee? what is the exact criteria and reason of Mukhriez Shah's selection?
The signal that MCF gives to our chess community is of nepotism and favouritism, where if you are an MCF Committee or are related to one, you are more likely to be given a spot to abroad. Also note, that MCF Treasurer, Haslindah Ruslan is the women’ team captain and Nik Ahmad Farouqi, a committee member, is the men’s captain which only reaffirms my point
Based on this above issue, and other scandals such as (i) lack of accountability by certain officials (ii) the breach of trust, commitment and contract by MCF which had failed until now to ratified National Scholastic Championship 2017 ( despite advertised and taken entrance fee as a FIDE Standard tournament, and (iii) what about those scandals where even police reports have been made? were there any proper investigations? were there any follow-up actions? The feeling I get when I think about how MCF runs its affairs is of corruption, favouritism, nepotism, shameful, dishonest, and the list goes on.
As an official of a body, you are answerable to your members. Our chess community and I await your reply with specific answers to my questions above which are in bold.
I sincerely urge you to clean up your committee and be as transparent as possible to our small chess community.
Lead us to a better future. Lead us in this new Malaysia.
Note: I would also like to state in the matter of public interest and conflict of interests, Sophian A Yusof and Kwai Keong Chan (KK Chan) had separately initiated a defamation lawsuit against me regarding the skirt-scandal fiasco, however, the former had withdrawn his case but the latter's lawsuit is still ongoing. Furthermore, I would add that I do not have any personal problems and get along well with Mukhriez, Zaidan, Nik Farouqi and Haslindah Ruslan. I had been urged by many parents, players and coaches to pen this letter on their behalf, and my only agenda in writing this letter is to ensure we have a clean, open and fair chess community. 
Kaushal Khandhar
+6 016-5590455

An open letter from Kaushal

Open Letter to President of Malaysian Chess Federation (MCF) and Selection Committee

Dear Dato' Zahidi and other committee members,

Firstly, I would like to congratulate Mr. Hamid Majid on his appointment as MCF Secretary and I sincerely hope you would take the matter below with the utmost importance and urgency.

In view of the recent public outcry of the selection of Zaidan Zulkipli and Mukhriez Shah as the representative of Malaysia to the Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia, you have the following two (2) options at your disposal.

1. Defend your choice of both players, provide detailed answers to the exact criteria and reasoning behind the choice to include Zaidan and Mukhriez in the Olympiad team.

2. Correct your mistake, by replacing both players with other suitable and more deserving candidates who are chosen based on his merits over the board.

Please note, although we have crossed the deadline of registration of players, Olympiad organisers allows a change in players until 23rd of August 2018 for a penalty of  €100 each player.

Our chess community and I eagerly await your reply and decision.

Kaushal Khandhar

Monday, August 13, 2018

Reply (sort of) from the appointed captain of Men's Team


Apa khabar IM Jimmy yang dihormati,

Berdasarkan open letter dari IM Jimmy Liew, saya nak ucapkan terima kasih kepada MCF kerana beri peluang kepada saya sebagai kapten Malaysia ke Olympiad kali ini. 

Perlantikan sebagai kapten sebenarnya mengejutkan kerana saya sendiri tidak menawarkan diri tetapi apabila ditawarkan, saya menerima dengan penuh tanggungjawab dan berjanji akan memberikan yang terbaik. 

Secara peribadi, saya berpengalaman ke Olympiad di Norway sebagai kapten negara dan pada edisi tersebut Malaysia mendapat kedudukan yang agak baik berbanding starting ranking. Untuk pemilihan pemain kali ini juga kita mempunyai line up yang stabil dan juga mengambilkira jangka masa panjang untuk pendedahan kepada pemain2 muda catur negara. Saya percaya pasukan negara akan dapat menunjukkan prestasi yang membanggakan di Kejohanan Olympiad akan datang kerana akan memberikan komitmen terhadap persediaan sebelum kejohanan ini.

Saya tidak ingin mengulas mengenai keputusan pasukan negara pada edisi lalu dan bagaimana pemain2 tersebut terpilih mewakili negara walaupun ada yang tidak menyertai kejohanan kebangsaan pada tahun tersebut. Apa yang saya harapkan adalah sokongan peminat2 catur di negara Malaysia supaya kami dapat memberi aksi terbaik. 

Janganlah tanam sifat bermusuhan memandangkan komuniti catur kita ini kecil sahaja.. bukan kita tidak beri peluang pada pemain2 yang kuat di masa lalu tetapi result agak mengecewakan. Jadi kalau peminat memandang pasukan kali ini sebagai tidak hebat, mungkin ianya lebih baik kerana dengan kurang tekanan, kami mungkin beraksi dengan lebih baik!

Pesanan dan harapan saya kepada peminat catur Malaysia, kalau tiada apa yang baik untuk diperkatakan, lebih baik diam kerana takut mengganggu persediaan pemain. Nama pemain telah didaftar dan kami fokus dan memerlukan sokongan semua. Saya harap pemain2 saya tidak diganggu dengan isu2 sebegini lagi.

Sekian , terima kasih!
“Maju Sukan Untuk Negara”

Nik Farouqi
Sent from my iPhone

For the benefit of foreign readers, I translate as best I can.

Bismillahirrahmanirrahim ..


Based on open letter from IM Jimmy Liew, I would like to thank MCF for giving me the opportunity to be Malaysian captain to this Olympiad.

I was surprised to be appointed as captain  because I did not offer myself but when offered, I accept with full responsibility and promise to give the best.

Personally, I have experience in the Olympiad in Norway as a captain and in that edition Malaysia got a pretty good position compared to starting ranking. For the selection of players this time we also have a stable line-up and also takes a long time to expose the players of the young chess country. I believe the national team will be able to perform well in the upcoming Olympiad Championship as it will give commitment to preparations before the tournament.

I did not want to comment on the decision of the national team in the last edition and how the players were selected to represent the country despite some who did not participate in the national championship that year. What I'm hoping is the support of chess fans in Malaysia so we can do the best.

Do not plant hostility as our chess community is small .. it is not we did not give a chance to past strong players but the results are a bit disappointing. So if fans look at the team this time as not great, maybe it's better because with less pressure, we might even do better!

My message and hopes to Malaysian chess fans, if there is nothing good to say, it's better to be silent for fear of disturbing players' preparation. The player's name have been registered and we are focused and need all support. I hope my players are not bothered with these issues anymore.

My reply below.


Your reply is misleading and does not address the real issue. 

1. The question was how the choice of Zaidan and Mukhriez was made. I presume the President did not pick their names out of a hat and he has his valid reasons. It should not be too difficult to state them.

2. How strong or weak the previous team was and their results are totally irrelevant to this issue.

3. It is not my intention to do any damage to the team. I do wish any Malaysian team the best in the competition.

4. FYI, I have received many praises, publicly and privately, for having the courage to bring up this matter, which nobody dared to do for fear of repercussions.

IM Jimmy Liew

Readers can draw their own conclusions. On the point of not lobbying, I believe the posts of captain, head of delegation and FIDE Delegate have always being lobbied. But when they start inserting themselves into the players area, the line is crossed.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Open letter to President of Malaysian Chess Federation

Open letter to the President of Malaysian Chess Federation

Dear YB Dato’ Zahidi Bin Zainul Abidin,

I am writing this letter on the selection of the Malaysian team to the 43rd Batumi Open Chess Olympiad, the premier team event, due to take place in September 2018.

The team composition are:


Fong Yit San
Lim Zhuo Ren
Lye Lik Zang
Mahmood Shah Mukhriez Shah
Zulkipli Zaidan


The first three are the qualifiers from the Malaysian Championship. I presume the next two players are your choice, probably with input from others. The selection of Mukhriez Shah and Zulkipli Zaidan raises questions.

I think Zaidan is a competent player as reflected in his FIDE rating of 2203 even though he is not very active over the chess board. However, your choice of your Vice-President of the MCF into the team needs to be based on very strong credentials over the chess board.

The signal that is sent is that MCF committee have good chances of being sent abroad as team officials as a reward for their “hard work”. This will encourage the wrong people to start vying for positions in the chess federation. I note that MCF Treasurer, Haslindah Ruslan is the women’ team captain and Nik Ahmad Farouqi, a committee member, is the men’s captain which seem to prove my point.

The choice of Mukhriez Shah is even more questionable. He finished in 18th place in the Malaysian Championship. His current FIDE rating is 1821 which puts him outside the top 100 Malaysian rated players. A player who is not even ranked in the top 100 is representing us at the most prestigious team event in the world! I hope to get your reply on how this is remotely possible. Were there no other suitable candidates?

I look forward to your reply. I can be contacted below.

Note: This letter has been emailed to all the MCF members as listed in the website of the Malaysian Chess Federation.


IM Jimmy Liew Chee Meng

Mobile: 019-6571628



YM. Mej (K) Tengku Ahmad Badli Shah Bin Raja Hussin,Deputy President MCF

CM Dr. Zaidan Bin Zulkipli,Vice-President

IA Lim Tse Pin, Vice-President

FI Muammar Julkarnain, Vice-President

FA,FI Sophian Bin A.Yusuf, General Secretary

FI Haslindah Binti Ruslan, Treasurer

Zuraihah Binti Wazir, Committee Member

FI Muhammad Firdaus Bin Ismail, Committee Member

AGM,FI Nik Ahmad Farouqi Bin Nik Abdul Aziz, Committee Member

FA,FI Yeap Joo Hock, Committee Member

IA Steven Cheong, Committee Member

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Simul with IM Yeoh Li Tian

Play simultaneous chess against IM Li Tian Yeoh ! Malaysia's highest rated player and international master Yeoh Li Tian will be at Summit USJ this Saturday 14th July 2018.

Where: Summit at USJ, Concourse area
Time: 2:00 PM
Date: 14th July 2018 (Saturday)
Participants: Free to all registered players for the 7th Summit Junior. For others, a nominal fee will be charged.

Register with IM Jimmy Liew at 019-6571628 or email to to book a place!