Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Reminisces from the past

My regular readers would have been aware I have not been active in this blog in the last few months. Besides preparing for the Malaysian Chess Festival and other personal matters I had another project. This is a book that I was writing. The publisher's dateline was near and I had only done something like 40% of the book in the last two months I spent most of my time to complete it. More about this when the time is right.

Anyway, during my book research I was digging through my old stuff which consists of newspaper clippings, old score sheets, magazines, tournament bulletins and things like that.

I still remember the day long ago when I was first taught the game. Later a cousin told me that a game of chess could be recorded and replayed over and over. I can imagine the incredulous look on my face at the moment. Games that we played, games I won and lost were gone like fragments of a memory. But they need not be!

We went down to the bookstore to look for chess books. At that time (Penang in the early 70s) , if you wanted any book you went down to The University Book Store which had the largest collection of books on any subject. My first book was a book on the Spassky-Fischer match. From this book I learnt the chess notation using English descriptive notation which the majority of books used in this time period. So my early games were all recorded using this system. In the late 70s, I had big debates with Joseph Toh on the merits of the English against algebraic notation (he being a proponent of the latter).

From this scoresheet on the left, you can see I eventually adopted the algebraic notation. Some interesting observations from this scoresheet. The event is "Subang Parade Active Chess". Active chess is the precursor to rapid chess and I believe was mooted by Dato Tan Chin Nam. Somewhere along the line, the name was changed and it stuck.

The strange language on the score-sheet is Greek. The organizer, Christi Hon, had simply taken the score-sheets from the 1984 Thessaloniki Olympiad and changed the title and made copies.

I used to record the times taken by each player. As you can see, Chin Seng took less time than me. My final score was 5.5/6 which probably won the tournament.

Most interesting is the notation that I used. All pieces are correct except for the knight which I used to record with the letter "S". This was the period when my reference books were German ones. The German word for knight is "springer" so the knight is written with an "S" in German notation. Why did I still use the English name for the other pieces? I think it is because the letters "K" and "N" are quite similar (especially if you scribble like me), so I substituted "S" for the knight. I have since switched back to using the English "N".

Below is a scan of Quah Seng Sun's chess column in The Star about the Selangor Open tournament for 2006, one of the many newspaper clippings I used to collect.


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