Thursday, July 29, 2010

Malaysian Olympiad Team named

The final list of the olympiad team has been named (deadline was yesterday). Below is the team composition.

Bakri, Alia Anin AzwaPlayer (Women)
Marmono, RoslinaPlayer (Women)
Wahiduddin, Nurul HudaPlayer (Women)
Fong, Mi YenPlayer (Women)
Nur, Nabila Azman HishamPlayer (Women)
Nizam Bin Ab Bahar, Megat MuhammadCaptain (Women)
Lau, GregoryPlayer (Men)
Long, PeterPlayer (Men)
Mas, HafizulhelmiPlayer (Men)
Mok, Tze-MengPlayer (Men)
Tan, Khai BoonPlayer (Men)
Majid, Abd HamidCaptain (Men)
Majid, Abd HamidDelegate

The men's team is as I predicted except that a fifth player is included. That's none other than MCF Secretary, Gregory Lau. Now, Greg is a decent player but what is the rationale? I might understand if he is taking on the role of captain but that has gone to Hamid Majid.

Hamid is also acting as delegate so we know who Malaysia is voting for in the coming FIDE elections (the delegate gets to vote). Probably he does not trust anyone else for this position :)
Anyway he has to be physically there when Karpov wins (as he will).

Nizam Bin Ab Bahar (hope I got the spelling right) is the women's captain. Nizam who? Yup, I do not recognize the name either. But some time ago, I was told that someone from Petronas will be in the team so that should explain it. What is the rationale? Maybe Petronas is a sponsor.

And talking about sponsorship here is a little story from the last olympiad. The three members - Yee Weng, Mok Tze Meng and myself - were asked to put up RM1000 for the trip. MCF was short of funds (actually they had none) and were waiting for Petronas to pump in some money. We were told that our money will be refunded once this is in.

I was actually skeptical about the whole thing but in order not to jeopardise the whole team, we agreed. Till today, I have not been re-imbursed. More interestingly, I was told that if I joined the current olympiad team, I will have to pay RM1000 as non-refundable deposit. To make it easier for me, the money will be contra with the previous sum so I did not have to come up with any cash. I was quite thankful for this last gesture. But since I am not in the team, MCF still owes me.

So everything is set and all is well again. Khanty Mansiysk at that time will be cold , but not so cold as to be unbearable. Hope everyone will enjoy it and come back with a good result!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

More on the Malaysian olympiad team

Further to my previous blog post on this subject, here is another interesting angle.

Each federation is to register their team members for the entire delegation online. Malaysia had no finalized line-up  (as did a few other federations ) as the deadline passed. Someone thought of the bright idea of entering dummy for the names - see picture.

Can you see something really strange? No? Let me point out to you.

For the men's line-up there are four dummy names but for the women's, you can see five. Which means women team have a reserve but not men (for both sections there are four boards). It seems that MCF already decided that men team does not need any reserve.

Both teams also feature a captain. We also have a head of delegation, delegate and commission member for a total of fourteen pax.

By the way, the deadline for completing the names is 20th July which have already passed.

If the MCF have not already submitted the actual names then there are more troubles ahead. Khanty Mansiysk is not a final destination stop for major airlines. In order to get there, the organizers have arranged charter flights from some major cities like Dubai and Moscow. The flight costs (each federation has to foot the bill) vary depending on the city. The flight costs USD2,000 from Dubai and USD1,000 from Moscow. That is quite mind blowing for me. A team of fourteen persons will cost USD28,000 via Dubai. That works out to roughly just over 90,000 ringgit, much more costly than a KL to Dubai flight. If you include the regular flight to Dubai plus various taxes and expenses, the total budget can easily come up to 110,000 ringgit.

And also by the way, without a confirmed team list, getting on one of those chartered flights could be a problem. Logically, the organizers will arrange just enough flights for the registered teams.

Perhaps we can take a leaf from Anand and do an European overland trip. We can even do some team bonding on the way to the tournament!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Ponomariov wins Dortmund 2010, Le Quang Liem second (Updated)

The 2010 Dortmund super tournament ended last night. Ponomariov finished a clear point ahead of everyone by drawing the last round against his nearest challenger, Vietnamese GM Le Quang Liem.

Le Quang Liem is a clear second thanks to Kramnik who beat Shak Mamedyarov. This was a very strange game, Mamedyarov played a very weakly , lost a pawn in complications and went straight into a pawn down ending with R+N versus R+B. All the pawns were on the king-side only and normally one can expect to draw this ending. But  Mamedyarov resigned barely three moves into the ending, allowing Kramnik to exchange the minor pieces AND create a passed pawn as well. Hardly the kind of stuff you expect from a 2700+ grandmaster.

Peter Leko tried very hard to win against Arkadij Naiditsch. At the last look, he had  a knight ending with two passed king-side pawns versus a single centre pawn. But I do not think this is winnable as Naidistsch king is placed actively in front of the two pawns. I predict a draw which means Leko will be the only one not to win a single game. Rather disappointing for someone who was a previous winner here.

It is great to see Le Quang continue his fine form in Dortmund. Finally we have someone from Asean who can compete with the best Europeans!

Update -  Leko won the ending but still finished in the cellar. His consolation was he had Naiditsch for company.

Final standings

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Malaysian Chess Festival 2010 under threat

This year's Malaysian  Chess Festival is seeing a serious competitor in the Philippines. The Florencio Campomanes Memorial Tournament will be held in Manila from 28th August to 5th September 2010, smack right in the middle of the Malaysian Chess Festival (28th September till 7th September).

The Manila tournament consists of an Open, Woman and Challengers sections. Prizes are dwarfing the Malaysian event, with USD10K, USD5K  and USD3K for the Open, Women and Challengers respectively while the Malaysian tournament offers USD4K for the Open and RM2K (that's ringgit folks) for the Challengers. It will be very hard for the Malaysian event to attract the same attendance as in previous years.

It will be good news for the locals as the opportunity to win major prizes will be at its best this year. Unfortunately the lustre of this long running festival will be diminished if the foreign players opt to compete in Manila instead - which is highly likely.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Le draws Naiditsch

Le Quang Liem continues his good run with a draw with Arkadij Naiditsch. Playing the black side of a Caro-Kann, he had some anxious moments. But he managed to simplify into a double rook ending which Naiditsch had no way to improve. Naiditsch eventually repeated moves to signal his willingness to take the draw.

From this game, I can see Le Quang Liem is very good in calculation. I thought  he might be in a spot of trouble after the opening moves - white was threatening to invade on d6 with a knight. But the Vietnamese worked out a line leading to a drawn ending.

The other game  between Kramik and Ponomariov were drawn as well leaving Ponomariov still in the lead. Mamedyarov beat Leko to share the second spot with Le.Tonight Le will take on Mamedyarov

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Karpov's visit to KL

Yeoh Li Tian blitzing with Karpov

Press conference (left to right) Richard Conn, Anatoly Karpov, Dato' Tan Chin Nam

Friendly game with Dato' Tan Chin Nam - long time patron of Malaysian chess

Karpov playing blitz with top Malaysian player, Mas 

Photos supplied by Collin Madhavan

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Le - Kramnik , Dortmund 2010 (Updated)

Le Quang Liem has Kramnik on the ropes right now in the 5th round of the Dortmund super tournament. The diagrammed position occurs after Kramnik played 24. ...a4. Kramnik expects to exchange into a drawn position after 25. bxa4 bxa4 26. Qxa4 Bxd6.

Perhaps he overlooked Le's reply 27. Rb3!

Surprisingly the black queen has no good squares. Kramnik was forced to sacrifice his queen for rook and bishop.

27...Qxb3 28. Qxb3 Bxe5

With pawns on one side, black hopes for the best. This position is not necessarily drawn as white still has another rook. Besides Kramnik is down to thirty minutes whereas Le still has over an hour.

I'm quite satisfied Le has good winning chances. Time to go to bed, tomorrow is another day :)

22-JULY-2010 Update - The game is drawn after another ten moves. Le is in sole second place, half point behind Ponomariov

2010 Khanty Mansiysk olympiad team

Previously, MCF already announced that the finalists of the Malaysian Masters will qualify for the forthcoming olympiad in Khanty Mansiysk. The final four are Mas, Lim Yee Weng, Nicholas Chan and Mok Tze Meng.

Except for Mok who can be considered a chess professional, the others have full time jobs. When you are working in the private sector, it is not easy to get the required leave to represent your country. True, you get a letter to your employer saying you are representing Malaysia and please allow you to take time off. In the private sector , it does not mean much, except that you are going to be away for  2 1/2 weeks and who is going to take over your responsibilities?

I already knew for some time that Lim Yee Weng had declined and Nicholas is unconfirmed, Both of them already started their careers. I know from my experience it is not easy to take extended leave when you just started a new job .

I was offered a place as well as team captain but sadly the timing is not right and I had to decline.

The current line-up is Mas, Mok Tze Meng, Tan Khai Boon and lastly Peter Long. Khai Boon got in due to his winning the current National Championship and will have his first exposure at this level.

If I remember correctly, Peter's last olympiad was in Dubai 1986 which means he has not played at this level for over twenty years. Also his past olympiad results have been mediocre.

However the circumstances of his selection are dubious. I was told he offered himself as a possibility in case there were no other suitable players and also his willingness to pay his own way.  I understand from MCF Secretary , Gregory Lau , MCF have obtained the funds necessary to send a team this year. I'm trying hard to understand why Peter is picked and what will happen to the money that was saved if indeed he is funding his own way. I hope it will not be used to fund an unnecessary official instead of a player.

For the record, Peter has not played in a local tournament for many years (he played one game in this year's Malaysia-Singapore match) . He has competed in tournaments in Singapore, India and Bangladesh over the last two years. Strangely the tournament in Bangladesh was a women's tournament - I suppose he is just trying to help out there.

I do not have any issues with Peter Long offering his services but I do have with the way that MCF selected him. MCF does not seem to look into the future. If seniors like Nicholas and Yee Weng are declining to play who will replace them in the future? As long as we are sending an under-strength team why not give a junior a chance? Yeoh Li Tian is already rated over 2100 on the July ELO list. He accumulated a massive 141 rating points over two rating periods. I think he should be our best junior for the team. Age should not be a factor, I remember Bacrot playing for France at a similar age.

How about the others like Lim Zhuo Ren and Sumant Subramaniam? They are actively playing. Have they been offered a place?

It will be likely that there will be only four members in the team unless someone is willing to pay his own way and make up the last place as a reserve. It will be rather tough without any reserve player. In the unlikely event that someone falls ill, he will still have to play.

There are times when one member might have one or two bad rounds. In such situations the usual strategy is to rest him  and wait for a weaker opponent to field him. The idea is to let him recover his confidence and team morale. That will not be an option with a four man team.

MCF, wake up please.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Le beats Ponomariov

Dortmund 2010 is currently in progress and round four was played last night (Malaysian local time).

I was watching "Angels and Demons" on Astro last night and completely forgot to log in to Playchess to observe the Dortmund games. Which is a pity because I missed Vietnam's chess prodigy GM Le Quang Liem beat the tournament leader GM Ruslan Ponomariov. And make it look easy.

I wrote about Le here  and here . His progress is quite amazing. He won the Aeroflot Open to qualify for Dortmund, his first super GM tournament. Now he has for company such elite players like Kramnik, Ponomariov, Leko and so on. It kind of brings to mind Carlsen's career path from few years back. Carlsen won the Corus "C" group in 2004, qualified for the "A" group in 2007 and progressed from strength to strength ever since. He is currently the highest rated player on the ELO list.

Of course this leads me to my favourite topic - when will Malaysia produce a player of similar strength? If we do, my money is still on Yeoh Li Tian to be the one.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Stories from beyond the board - The lion and the lamb

In 1983, I had a call from the Malaysian Chess Federation secretary, Mr Lawrence How. There was a masters tournament in Jakarta, Indonesia and a Malaysian representative was requested. This event was part of the Asian Masters Circuit where countries in the region took turns to organize a masters tournament with the intention of generating new titles amongst the countries.

The organization was superb and the locals very friendly. At night, the tournament helpers and chess fans would gather with the players in the hotel lobby. Someone brought a guitar and everyone had a grand time singing oldies. The highlight was when one of the Indonesians surprised the Indian IM Raja Ravi Sekhar with the opening lines of an Indian song. Ravi Sekhar or RRS as he liked to be known, soon joined in. That was one unforgettable night.

Back to the chess, my first two rounds were against old friends, Singapore's Chia Chee Seng and RRS which ended in draws. Next I had a winning game but made a bad blunder and was lucky to escape with a draw. Another short draw followed. Four draws out of four rounds - not too bad I thought.

The fifth round I was to meet one of the lower rated Indonesians. This should be my first point, I thought. Instead I played too optimistically and  overlooked a series of unexpectedly good moves from my opponent. I resigned as I was losing a piece.

So after 5 rounds, I had 4 draws and one loss. At this point, I was quite close to the bottom of the
tournament cross-table.

Then a strange thing happened. Probably because I had no more expectations from this tournament, I started playing without inhibition. I won my first game against another low rated Indonesian. The next game I faced the late Edhi Handoko and won. In succession, I won another three games, one of them against an old nemesis, the late Ruben Rodriguez. What surprised me was how easy it was. These were players I were struggling with previously.  I felt like I had finally broken through a barrier.

After ten rounds and five wins in succession I had seven points! The international master norm requirement was nine points. I needed only two more points from the last three rounds.

I secured another win and a draw and with one more round to go, I was close to the prize that all Malaysian chess players was dreaming of but had eluded them - an international master norm.

At this stage this was the tournament standings:

Ardiansyah   9
Jimmy Liew   8.5
Ginting      8.5

The pairing was Jimmy - Ardiansyah and Ginting - Bachtiar. If Ginting won he could tie with Ardiansyah for first assuming that Ardiansyah drew. The question was whether Ardiansyah would be satisifed with a draw.

As I went over the possibilities I decided my best strategy was to play a safe game and wait for a draw offer. I literally could not sleep that night until towards the early morning perhaps around 5:00 AM I fell asleep from exhaustion.

I was certainly not in the best condition for this most important game. Due to lack of sleep my head was buzzing. Literally.

Usually my openings are sharp tactical games which served me well so far.  Today I opened move 1. Nf3 and headed into a Colle System, in accordance with my plan.

Players and officials kept coming over to my board, expecting the expected. I avoided meeting their eyes.

After a few moves,I glanced at Ardiansyah. The Indonesian is a short stout man with a muscular body. His neck is so short it is looks like his head is directly connected to his body. He would not look out of place in a boxing ring. He has a disarming smile - I heard it is quite a hit with the ladies - and in contrast to his physical appearance, his voice is deceptively soft.

He had his usual calm passive face - his eyes completely focused on the board. Oh my god! He is playing to win. I knew in my present state of mind, I would definitely lose the game. I felt like a lamb in the presence of a lion. No matter what I did, I would end up in his vice like jaws.

I made another move.

Out of the corner of my eyes, I saw one of the Indonesian official gesturing me over. 

"Why are you not offering a draw?"

I replied quietly, "I think he is playing for win"

"Offer him a draw!" was the command.

I dutifully crept back into my seat. I was so nervous I could not trust myself. Fearful that I would make a blunder, I searched the board for the safest move that I could play. Finally, I settled for 10. h3 and whispered "Draw?".

Ardiansyah immediately looked up at me, smiled his little smile and offered his hand. I had drawn with an old nemesis and made my first master norm.

In retrospect it seems that everyone knew Ardiansyah would accept a draw, except dumb old me.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Stories from beyond the board - IM Andronico Yap (1961 - 1990)

The story of this young Filipino master is a tragic one. But let's start with the chess part first.

Andronico Yap talents was given a chance to shine at the 1979 Marlboro Chess Classic in Manila. He was a helper at the event, operating those huge demonstration boards in the days when such things were still done manually.

When one of the participants was unable to show up in time, Yap was picked to take his place - apparently because he was the strongest chess player amongst the staff. So from being a board operator he ended up as one of the participants in a major grandmaster tournament! At that time he was still unrated so his final score - six wins ,five losses and a draw can be considered a wild success. Among his wins are those over the Russian grandmaster Dorfman, fellow Filipinos , Maninang , IM Bordonada and IM Mascarinas, Indonesian IM Bachtiar and Australian master Shaw.

For an unknown , it was certainly a dream debut. At the time, he was widely considered to be the next Filipino grandmaster after Eugene Torre.

I first met Yap when he was in Malaysia for the Asian Junior. He was short and physically small for his age with a round almost angelic face. He looked a good 3-4 years younger than his real age, which I later found out was only three years younger than me. Yet at the time, I thought he was perhaps fifteen when he should already be in his late teens.

I noticed he hardly spoke and only smiled when I asked him questions about himself. I thought he was just shy but I remember the way he behaved which was rather inapproriate. Perhaps this was a manifestation of his disturbed mind which again I only found out much later.

The story was that one day his parents took him to Rizal Park. This is a famous and popular park in Manila. On week-ends you can find thousands of foreigners and visitors there. At the park both of his parents were killed  by robbers right in front of the boy. The damage to his mind is unimaginable.

Orphaned at this early age, he had to work  variously as a dishwasher, shoeshine boy and even as a jaga kereta (someone who watches your parked car for a fee).

Yap eventually became and international master but the grandmaster title eluded him. He did make a first norm but his chess started deteriorating. By the age of twenty-nine he was dead - drowned in the sea. Speculations were that it was a suicide.

When I was informed by my Filipino friends of his death by drowning. I immediately suspected that he had killed himself. Personally, I believe he was mentally unstable all his life, due to the tragedy that happened to him as a child. One does not overcome something like this without professional help and I do not know if he received any.  Another reason could be that he never succeeded in his career. He never managed to achieve the grandmaster title even though he had many chances playing in the USSR and Europe. Going through his games, I found many well-known chess names -Romanishin, Inkiov, Tal, Bagirov, Smagin, Speelman, Sax, Balashov, Tukmakov, Dorfman , Keene and so on. It did not help that at that time, Philippine chess was going through a dark age after Campomanes became FIDE president.

It is quite a cautionary tale for those who choose chess as the only career in their life. You need a fallback in case the chess don't work out so if you think education does not matter as long as you have your chess, think again.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Stories from beyond the board - One night in Bangkok

In 1981, I was playing a master tournament in Bangkok. I was playing against a up-and-coming young Filipino master when I accidentally fell into a winning position with an exchange up. In those days, there were such regulation called adjournment. After five hours of play and both players reaching move forty, the player will the move could adjourn the game. The arbiter would give you an envelope and after considering your move you wrote it on a paper and the arbiter would seal the envelop. On resumption, the envelope would be opened and your move played out on the board.

So my game was adjourned. Later that night a knock came on my door. On opening the door, I found my opponent and his room-mate, Filipino IM De Guzman. The first thing I noticed was my opponent had some cuts on his hands. Guzman explained that he had cut himself "while shaving". Very odd, I thought. It looked to me they were deliberately self-inflicted.

To cut to the chase, I was offered USD50  to let my opponent off with a draw. As I stood there trying to get to grips with the situation, the pair seemed to have an inspiration. In an excited tone, I was offered double to lose the game.

Now, I read about this kind of situations but never really thought I would be in one. Stalling for time, I told them it was impossible for me to lose the game. Well then let us draw, was the reply. At this point, I learnt that my opponent was very poor and needed to win the prize money for survival.

I was already out of the running for any major prize. But I could not bring myself to accept. They would not leave and even started  asking for my price. Eventually I had to close the door in their face.

This incident bothered me considerably. As a chess player who had no other source of income, I understood their plight. All kinds of thoughts were coming into my head - should I be compassionate and avoid beating him? With hindsight I must say I made the wrong choice. I was still young and naive and did not understand the implications of my actions.

At the resumption, I surprised my opponent by offering a draw.  His sombre looking face suddenly turned to joy.

If I remember correctly, he managed to take a share of the first prize.
It was many many years later that I recalled this incident and with wisdom I realized how it would have looked to the rest of the participants and organizers. Anyone going through this game would naturally assume I had been bought to agree a draw in such a position. The truth was I gave him a draw for nothing - I just felt sorry for him.

My young opponent was the late International Master Andronico Yap and there will be more about him in my next post.

10,000 hours to Grandmaster

There's a story about the legendary golfer who was interviewed by a reporter after winning a major tournament.

"Mr. Hogan," said the reporter, "You were under amazing pressure in this tourney yet you consistently hit remarkable shots. How do you do it?"

"Hmm," said the laconic Hogan, "I suppose I'm just lucky."

"Just luck?" said the reporter. "But you practice more than any player on the tour."

"Well," said Hogan, "I guess the more I practice, the luckier I get."

Let me ask the question "Is a chess grandmaster born or bred?". My answer will be that it is the latter. Many chess parents asks me, "How many hours do you spend on chess". I usually try not to answer that because in my early years I spent a huge amount of my waking hours on chess, so much  that I felt embarrassed to reveal the real answer. No parent would want their children to spend that much time on what is essentially a game.
If you do not believe that it takes an enormous amount of time to be good at anything, then the book "Outliers:The Story of Success" written by Macolm Gladwell might change your mind.

Gladwell talks about the 10000 hours theory. This theory proposes that to become an expert in ANY field requires 10000 hours of deliberate practice. Not only that but the practice must be to continually push the boundaries. Just putting in an enormous amount of time but without intelligent application of these hours is just pure drudgery and unlikely to produce the expected results.

Chess players need coaches to find their boundaries and set actions for them to break through to the next level. Left on their own, players will have great difficulties to reach their boundaries and most will give up the game.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

What will they think of next?

Magnus Carlsen is currently the highes rated player in the world at 2826 on the July 2010 FIDE rating list. He just had another first. Clues? How about fashion model?

His new employer is G-Star RAW, a Dutch clothing company that produces stylish urban clothing. Their specialty is an unwashed, untreated denim. It may sound strange for a chess icon to model a line of clothing, but looking at the photo below I really think it is an inspired choice. Magnus has the kind of looks that epitomize the image G-Star clothing projects. A tough grungy kind of look. The only other top player I can think off who can carry this off  are the two Alexanders,  Morozevich and Grischuk.

I'm looking forward to Magnus next tournament.  I do hope to see him sporting this kind of apparel at the board :)

I wondor if chess organizers will start putting a clause in their invitations about dress code during tournaments.

On a side note, one of the perks of his new profession is rubbing shoulders with co-model who is none other than the actress Liv Tyler. This is one seriously hot babe as I found out after seeing her as Arwen in the The Lord of the Rings movies.

Some guys have all the luck ...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Stories from beyond the board - A bidet by any other name

As I said before, I have been around a long time. And when you have been this long in the game, you have many experiences and stories. I hope to capture some of these stories here over time.

This story was told to me by one who was present at the time of the crime. The person who told me this story swears it is true. No name was mentioned and quite rightly too as the story is quite gross. I still have the urge to cringe when I imagine the ending.

This happened at one of the olympiads, I am not going to mention which one to prevent speculation :)

Opening Scene
Malaysian team checks into hotel. One of the team members has a call of nature and steps into the toilet in his hotel room. To his surprise he found two toilet bowls. One of the toilet bowl had a tap attached to it. As he contemplated the position, his keen chess mind suggested to use the one with the tap - much easier to clean up the rear later.

After he made his move (so to speak) he found the drain hole much too small to flush his pieces (so to speak). Upon realizing his blunder he resigned (though I can think of another move to cover the blunder - also very gross).

Scene Two

Hotel chambermaid enters room for daily cleaning.

Scene Three

Hotel chambermaid runs out of room screaming.

Which candidate would you choose?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Young Talent Chess Development Program

A new chess program is being organized by Najib Wahab. His letter follows:

Dear Chess Friends

Please help by promoting the above program in your blogs and/or printed news. This is a program that was developed to help promote and accelerate the talent of our young chess players who are between the ages of 8 and 14. The entire program covers 15 months and is divided into 6 terms of 30 days each. The first term is schedule to start on 24th July 2010.

Each student will experience 68 hours of chess education (comprising of 60 hours of group session and 8 hours of personalized session) during the 30 days duration. The main trainer for the program is GM Ziaur Rahman and 2 local IMs have been identified to help him and this will only be confirmed by next week. The program is also aimed at using local expertise to couple with GM Ziaur in helping to improve the standards of local chess players. For the first term, we are looking to take 10 players into this program (we can probably increase it to 12) and subsequent terms may see us enrolling more students (up to a maximum of 24).

The preview for the program is as per the following notes, and the program details are as per the attached prospectus.


Term 1: 24th July to 22nd August 2010

The wait is finally over as we have received confirmation that a generous organization has agreed to sponsor the YOUNG TALENT CHESS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM to help develop our potential and talented young chess players. This will be one of a kind training program designed to help promote and accelerate the potential talent that we have amongst our youngsters, to help improve and develop their playing skills towards becoming a world class chess player.

The YOUNG TALENT CHESS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM is aimed at developing and improving our junior talents between the ages of 8 and 14 years old. Older youths are also welcomed to join but the focus shall be for the younger players as they represent the future of our chess achievement.

The training program is divided into 6 terms of 30 days each and will run from July 2010 until September 2011. The 1st term is scheduled to start next month from 24th July 2010 until 22nd August 2010, followed by the 2nd term to start in September, 3rd term in November, 4th term in February 2011, 5th term in April 2011 and the final term in July 2011.

The training approach is divided into 2 major sessions; a group session where all students will learn the common fundamentals and basics of chess, and a personalized session where students will be paired with either the GM or the IM to participate in a more detailed study mode. The personalize session is focused on fine tuning the student in accordance to his/her playing style, opening repertoire and specific weaknesses and areas for improvement.

The group class runs for 5 consecutive weekends and the individual classes are arranged over the weekdays. Alternatively, personalized sessions can also be arranged on weekends (after the group classes especially for those from areas out of KL) or a separate arrangement can also be made between the student and their respective trainer, with the agreement of the latter. At the end of the 5 weeks term, each student would have experienced a maximum of 68 hours of classes of end-to-end chess improvement experience and learning.

This program will feature GM Ziaur Rahman as the main trainer, complemented by some of our local IM who has been invited to be a part of this program.

The fees for the 68 hours of chess lessons will be below RM500 per student which works out to be less than RM7.50 per student per hour. In normal circumstances, such training program can cost a student anything between RM 4,000 and RM 6,000 which is between RM58 and RM88 per hour per student.

Those who are interested to sign up for the program needs to do so before the 19th July and due to space constraint, and trainers availability, we are limiting the first term program to only 10 students. Take note that the students need to be of certain playing strength and skills as such, the organizer may request for additional information to substantiate the students playing strength before confirming his/her inclusion in the program

For further inquiries, or to request for program prospectus, please contact the program organizer, Najib Wahab at or you can reach him at (6016)3382542. We look forward to meeting some of the brightest young chess stars for the program!