Thursday, June 22, 2017


It is heartening to note the Pahang Chess people took turns to be with Gregory at the hospital.

Hopefully his medical cost will be covered to and he can have a speedy recovery.

 For those going there, look for this building as the landmark. Corner building, Restoran Stone Steam Pot. (The abbreviation ICE (or TICE) is mine because I hate to type out long names :) )

 



Incidentally the place is within a Pokemon Go stop :)

For those going by public transport, there is the LRT. Just stop at Taman Perindustrian Puchong LRT station (which incidentally holds the distinction for the longest name among the LRT stops). After crossing the overhead bridge, the chess centre is only 4 minutes normal walking speed. 2 minutes if you run ! :)



 



"Stonemaster" Fadli is also here and listening intently!



All chess sets here are wooden pieces which is really nice.

 

The primer person and Director at ICE here is of course FM/FT Peter Long.  



I like that Maxis internet is super fast here. But that also means my quota will finish super fast too if I'm not careful.



Pictures of famous chess personalities with frame.

 The preview clashed with other events but still the attendance is more than respectable.

I didn't take notes and many things were discussed and presented about training juniors but one thing that stuck with me is Peter's explanation about the mundane. It is the mundane and boring process that improves chess the most and not there are no short / fast quick fixes. It is the boring, repetitive processes like doing tactical exercises, reading up, keeping up with opening nuances etc.

 



Again, I really like that ALL the chess pieces here are wooden :)



Stonemaster Fadli and Mr Michael Yeap chatting while waiting for the registration for the ad-hoc blitz event.

 

 

Blitz registration!

The start of blitz!







Winner of blitz: Lye Lik Zang



No need to go into details but I remember over a decade ago Peter Long's similiarly suggested program cooperating with  MCF for training sadly died a premature death because of some problems and resistance. Glad that it finally has a chance now.

My conclusion from the preview:

Not to take anything away from hard working local coaches as there are many local doing their bit training the kids but what ICE is doing is by far  the most ambitious, comprehensive and focused junior training program I have seen. Also, from the preview it was stressed there is no competition with local coaches as what ICE is doing is different. Exciting times!!

Related links:

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Keep this coming Saturday (June 10, 2017) free for National Junior Development Training Program Preview.
There were a ton of interesting chess events taking place just before Ramadhan but I skipped all of them as they all appear pretty typical. This one however gets my attention.
 The venue:
69 Jalan Puteri 2/3 Puchong New Village, Selangor, Malaysia.
The place is called  The Institute for Chess Excellence (TICE?).
 
What's it about this preview thingy? I am not sure but I will definitely try to attend (if I can be awake in time) to find out and blog about it.  I am sure many other chess players/trainers/students etc will be going too.
In their about page :
It says:
"The Institute for Chess Excellence seeks to develop and provide best of its kind education and training programs for chess excellence and to grow, support, and enable local chess communities in Malaysia and the region."
Sounds interesting and promising.
In their Facebook page they mention they will be officially opened on the 29th June (after Ramadhan fasting period).
Also, to find out more, check out their new website at http://instituteforchessexcellence.org/
New, but they already have affiliations with MCF which names the Institute of Chess Excellence as it's National Chess Academy.
Also after the preview (between 4-8pm) there will be blitz chess and Buka Puasa food.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Chess is boring when it comes to attracting the general public interest. That is why even though live viewership is depressingly low (5-15 viewers per session) for a typical live local DGT broadcast game, it is still  attractive to organisers to be able to project the on going games on screens. It's a novelty and attracts attention even from non chess playing public. Perhaps that's the reason we see a boom in live DGT broadcast in and around Malaysia.

A live DGT tournament certainly adds some "prestige" to a tournament. At the very least it let's non chess enthusiast think "Oh so this is how a REAL chess tournament looks like" :)

I know I blogged about this before but for some reason cannot find that post. So for posterity sake I am blogging this again.

DGT chess boards are too expensive for the average chess player and we only see it in "special" tournaments where the organisers are willing to pay for live broadcast from services such as AI Chess and Kedai Catur.

This technology is not new. Programmers have already written visual recognition software like this one by Vietnamese Vinh Le over 7 years ago :




Unfortunately, the programmer lost her source code to a hard disk crash :(

Fortunately today there is an app that use similiar ideas and even implemented it in some strong tournament. It's also called Chess Vision.








I like technology like Chess Vision where simple gadgets such as a phone and a phone holder is enough to record and broadcast any game of chess. It's cheap and makes it easy for just anybody to record live chess games.






So the only issue might be the phone holder. Is it intrusive to the players?

Personally I think it's ok.

The other issue might be FIDE laws prohibiting mobile phones in the playing area. But used as a recording device, I am sure this special case can be an exception.

Chess Vision offers their app as subscription service for USD 4.99 per month for one device. Relatively cheap compared to purchasing standard DGT chess boards or rental of it's service.

The other issue left is how accurate is the game recording. If it's anything like DGT, we have a winner here :)

Hoping to see something like 5-10 chess boards being broadcasted easily from events such as the Malaysian Open, Penang Open, Johor Open etc.


P/S: the coding is nothing special and if Chess Vision subscription app (USD 4.99) is too expensive, some other programmer can easily write similiar chess board recognition software.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

This happen weeks ago at the Selangor Open 2017 but it hit me today and I just have to share it lest it it be lost to memory :) (which would be unfortunate).





I was on my way out after taking some pictures for a break when one parent stopped me. Apparently a chess player was lying down on the stage and had fallen asleep there. (from the picture, right around where Hamid is standing). The games were going on and no one else noticed so I thought it was no big deal. Then the parent added that this player had started to snore. I couldn't believe it. Going closer and it was true. I heard snoring!




It was awkward. I am not an arbiter and with the on-going "skirt" fiasco going on, I didn't want to start another viral incident :) so I went to Encik Hamid to tell him. I was hoping that he would wake the player himself or have another arbiter to to this but alas he told me to wake him up.

So I did. He stopped snoring. Looked up and was disoriented. And when he knew where he was, he smiled and got up. He apologised and laughed it off. Crisis averted! No viral incident.

Will not disclose who this person was but I can say he is one of the top prize winners of the Selangor Open. (you know who you are!!)


Friday, May 12, 2017

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Weekend tournaments aplenty but we Malaysians are not serious and lack the drive to push our chess to the next level.



For me personally I can see the vast difference in "drive" can be seen in how hard working Indian chess players are especially in the juniors. 

I saw 10 year old Gukesh pressure the first seed Selangor Open GM on first board and only his inexperience in the endgame saw him lose a forced drawn game. A very hard and long game.

He cried when the GM showed him the drawing moves post mortem. There is passion and great determination in the kid and I rarely see Malaysian kids in any strong match up (though amateur kids vs kids crying incidents are many)  except perhaps I did see Yeoh Li Tian cry once losing when he was Gukesh age. Perhaps that's why he is our best hope for a GM for the moment. The crying incident just show how invested they are in the game. Maybe that is why India now has 47 GMs!

Also, the emphasis on chess playing countries like India is different. Using Gukesh as an example again: I asked his father why is Gukesh here playing in our local Selangor Open ? The reason I was curious is because Gukesh is one of four players who qualified to represent India for the 2017 World Schools. To me it seemed a big sacrifice to forego the honor of representing the country. Any Malaysian parent would kill to have their kid represent the country. His answer was they wanted the international exposure. If Gukesh (also the current Commonwealth Under 10 champ) had gone to the World School,  he most likely will win his age group again that was less appealing and challenging compared to playing in the more serious Selangor Open. 

Malaysians on the other hand seem to favour international exposure a lot and go even as far as selling property just to fund their children's travel expense. I am not saying it is wrong..just that our emphasis is different.

Another example of this "different emphasis" is our non-interest to invest in improvement of the game. Take the recent Jacob Aagard lectures in Malaysia recently. Quoting Chessbase India's article : No titled Malaysian players attended the lecture! 

"While players like Adhiban, Ganguly, Diptayan Ghosh, Aravindh Chithambaram, Murali Karthikeyan etc. all around 2600 and more attended the lectures in India and learnt a lot from Jacob, it remains a question to me as to why the top guys of Malaysian chess didn't take this opportunity to learn and grow better. "


I am not saying Malaysians are indifferent to improving their game. Malaysian parents for example invest quite a lot in travelling and coaching expenses. It's just that the commitment to go as far as serious countries like India or China is not there.

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