Showing posts from December, 2008

First Asia Club Cup Begins

It's Christmas today. And until New Year's day, the Al Ain Hilton and InterContinental hotels will be home to 30 teams participating in the first Asia Club Cup thanks to Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifah Al-Nehyan, President of the Asia Chess Federation. Frankly I am mentally and physically exhausted after almost non-stop travel including most recently attending the Chess Olympiad in Dresden followed by coaches seminars in Bali and Sri Lanka and then to return home to organise the KL Open Championship, so what do I do for rest but end up here in Al Ain, UAE as part of an quickly put together ASEAN team under the Club INTCHESS banner playing in the first Asia Club Cup! I am the captain and Board 4 of a team that is surprisingly seeded eighth with GM Bui Vinh of Vietnam, IM Julio Catalino Sadorra of the Philippines, IM Tirto of Indonesia the "serious" players and owner Ignatius Leong of Singapore, like me, the old "patzers" trying to hold up the last board bet

KL Open - Begining of a New Chapter for Malaysian Chess?

The KL Open Chess Championship has ended - on a high with a very memorable Closing and Prize Giving Ceremony at the Legend Hotel - and by any standard is happily a great success. The buzz this event generated ensured that FIDE General Secretary and ASEAN Chess Confederation President Ignatius Leong flew in from Vietnam and that the Malaysian Chess Federation (MCF) would be fully represented by both its non chess playing President and slighly more adept Deputy President.     The Crown Prince of Perak, Dr Raja Nazrin Shah was at hand to give away the prizes which included the challenge trophy that he allowed to bear his name and that is indeed significant as he himself was not only a chess player in his Oxford days but is also someone who is very particular about his associations, being conscious of his standing and leadership role amongst the both the "rakyat" and his fellow monarchy. I once played a game with Raja Nazrin, over 20 years ago after being introduced by a mutual

Nikola Karaklajic - R.I.P.

International Master and International Arbiter Nikola Karaklajic of Yugoslavia and Serbia, a true chess great and someone I was privileged to have met and spent a great deal of time with, has passed away on December 16 at the age of 83. Karaklajic was never a full time chess professional in the fullest sense even though his accomplishments were staggering as stated in the press release by the Belgrade Chess Union  " He was one of the most important figures in Yugoslavian and Serbian chess. Player, writer, trainer, organizer, arbiter, journalist, chess ambassador - it is not easy to sum all his achievements."  Outside of chess he held a fulltime job and was a multi talented individual with so many firsts including being a radio DJ who very early discovered the Beatles and brought their music to the young people of his country! Personally I owe him a lot as he taught me what was important in chess and he was a very kind and good friend indeed. When I was in Belgrade in th

Yes, I was in Dresden

Yup. That's me working in the Press Centre. One of best places to be with Internet access and live game feeds, refreshments and lots of interviews going on through the day at official times as well as in the corners where old friends can often be seen in animated discussion. I also consulted with a couple of teams and one even gave me a room which cut down significantly on my bills and allowed me to eat very well indeed at the wonderful breakfast and lunch buffets to be had daily at the hotel. 

Coaches Seminar in Bali

I was in Bali, Indonesia from 1-4 December to conduct the first ever FIDE Seminar for Coaches in Indonesia and I am now writing this in Sri Lanka where I would be doing two national seminars in the next few days before rushing back late on 12 December for the KL Open. This seminar was organised by Gunadarma University under the auspicious of the ASEAN Chess Academy (as the FIDE Regional Academy for Asia) and is endorsed by PERCASI (Indonesian Chess Federation). A total of 23 participants took part, 21 local and 2 from Malaysia, and because they came from all over Indonesia and found the cost extremely expensive, and yet wanted badly to learn, most had to travel several days over sea and land just to attend. The full report is posted at What I would like to share from my experience teaching this seminar is that in general the Indonesian participants demonstrated a high level