Monday, October 23, 2017

MAY ALLAH BLESS YOU, SHAHIFUL BAHRY

Today, one of my chess playing friend died. He was warded for about a month in the ICU, Kubang Kerian Hospital. I only visited him once, and was not able to talk to him then because he was unconscious. 

Now, what remains is the memory of him playing chess against me when we were in high school, SMU (A) Maahad Muhammadi, Pengkalan Chepa. Luckily, I have a habit of keeping games even though they were only casual games, so, I have three games playing against him in my database. I was quite surprise when I reviewed the games again as they were quite entertaining. 




(I'm sorry for only giving the links, it seems that I don't know how to put in game replayers nowadays. They simply don't work!)

Now let us pray for his well-being the hereafter.


Saturday, September 16, 2017

CHESS ANIME?

Take my advice - don't start watching them or you'll be stucked.



I have just finished watching 'Ace of Diamond', an anime about baseball. Initially, I wasn't planning on watching any cartoon and wasting my precious time away from my tasks, but one day, I accidentally watched it when my brother switched it on television and I ended up finishing all the 126 episodes! 

I also found out that he has a lot of other animes too, most of them about sports. Among others are:

Baby Steps - an anime about tennis.

Haikyu - an anime about volleyball.

Slam Dunk - an anime about basketball. 

This makes me wonder, if Japan has a lot of animes on sports, does it have an anime on chess? Apparently not. Maybe chess is not a popular sport among Japanese people. However, they do have board games, and one of the animes is Hikaru no Go, an anime about the game Go. 





Wednesday, September 06, 2017

IM YEOH LI TIAN vs GM VISWANATHAN ANAND TBILISI 2017



FIDE World Cup had my attention this year. It is held in Tbilisi, Georgia and it featured one of the best current Malaysian player, IM Yeoh Li Tian. 



I was on holidays but I still found some time to watch the games.



It only lasted two games, but our own IM made them very eventful. I don't have anything but praise for the way IM Yeoh Li Tian took GM Anand in the games. In fact, many of his moves surprised me as they were really energetic. Going for the Queen sacrifice in Round 1 and taking the initiative with the Black pieces in Round 2 gave me goosebumps. It was clear that the ex-World Champion was going for the draw by choosing the exchange variation so Yeoh was forced to play aggressively. In the end, he went down fighting. 

Congratulations. 



The games

Round 1


Round 2



Some video coverage on the games from Youtube









Friday, August 25, 2017

GOOD LUCK TEAM PARA ASEAN 2017!

Tonight I was asked whether I would stop blogging for good. I did not give him a definite answer, but gave him a good hint instead. I cited being busy with school work as the culprit, but I knew that it was not the main reason. Being far away from half of my family really robbed me of weekend treasure. Every Friday and Saturday when I didn't have school events would be filled with programs for my sons and daughters who are currently living separately as siblings. 

However, I managed to arrange a family time even though I am currently reprsenting my state in a chess tournament. In between the two playing days, Kelantan state teams spent some time at Zaaba College, University of Malaya playing chess as friendly gestures with Malaysian PARA chess team which will be playing their games starting on 18 September. The results won't matter, as the experience they got tonight would surely help them to improve before taking on their opponents in the real tournament. 

I played Black with Shaharuddin Sidek. Hopefully he got something from our game.










Friday, April 07, 2017

MSSD TOURNAMENTS COMING UP

Starting this month, each district in Kelantan would be organising their own selections hoping to find their best players for the MSSK event which will be held in July. Here are the dates:

10-12 April - Gua Musang
10-12, 17-19 April - Kuala Krai
17-18 April - Machang
24-25 April - Jeli
2-3 May - Tanah Merah
3 May - Tumpat
3-4 May - Pasir Puteh
16-17 May - Bachok
23-24 May - Pasir Mas

Only Kota Bharu selection is still in the dark. 

SO MANY THINGS TO DO, YET SO LITTLE TIME..

.. and I wonder if I can ever blog again. This is only the second post for 2017 and we are already in April. It was 5 posts for 2016 and 8 posts the year before. It will be just a matter of time before I stop blogging for sure. SIGH. 

I don't like to copy materials from other sources like many bloggers do, and I rely mostly on my own chess experience in order to write something, therefore, the posts will be lesser and lesser as I play lesser and lesser each year. It doesn't help much that I am newly appointed as the head arbiter for MSSK this year, and is re-elected during the Annual General Meeting on 28 January as the PCNK president which means I can no longer play as much as organising chess events in Kelantan. 

At the time of writing, PCNK had already organised and co-organised several tournaments and a coaching clinic:

28 January - Kelantan Closed & Kelantan Age Group
11 February - UiTM Open
25 February - SMK Pahi Open
25 February - Coaching Course (Beginners)
4 March - Chess2Care Open
31 March - Kuala Krai Junior Open
1 April - Kuala Krai Open (FIDE rated event)

In the mean time, Kelantan was chosen as the home of this year's Malaysian Chess Championship. The ultimate event was co-organised with MCF and it was held at Al-Khatiri Multi-purpose Hall, Kubang Kerian from 22 - 27 March. The event was nearly called off due to H5N1 outbreak, but with the cooperation of all parties involved, it continued as scheduled. 

With lots of tournaments and courses coming up throughout this year, I would really have to search for suitable time to continue blogging. 

 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

MAKSAK KUALA LUMPUR

I might be whining, but this MAKSAK was my worst to date. Three losses in winning positions spelled my doom which ensured my journey home filled with embarrassment and regret. It was all down to one factor - the time control. I accept that not everybody will see eye to eye with me on this one, but, in my humble opinion, the 45 minutes + 10 seconds increment time control was not my cup of tea, especially when I had to write until the end of the game. When my time was in the mercy of the 10-second increments, I basically had 3 seconds of thinking time after I had done all these:

1. Move the piece
2. Push the clock button
3. Take the pen
4. Write down the move
5. Put the pen down again

I did not even see basic tactics - pushing passed pawns, taking free pawns or basic forks and checks as I was too engrossed with writing down moves as per required. I might be smiling and congratulating my victorious opponents at the end of the flag, but deep down, I cursed myself for being incapable of thinking faster, which was something that I've been missing nowadays. One of my teammates suggested fatigue as the culprit, but I beg to differ on his opinion. The time control has to be reviewed, at least, as writing down moves using the 10-second increments is next to being impossible to be done. I saw a lot of players neglected writing the moves, and those who wrote, made mistakes they should have never done if left blitzing without the distraction of writing moves. 

Here are the final positions of the lost games:

Game 2: Yours Truly vs Nor Azmi (Terengganu). White to move.


Game 4: Yours Truly vs Zaidi Saleh (Melaka). White to move.

Game 6: Yours Truly vs Amirudin (Perak). White to move.

The Kelantan team fared badly also. We lost a lot of games we should have won had I not lost my games. I felt guilty and gutted, as playing as a team needs everybody's contribution which I clearly did not provide. The team even got a BYE for the last round because of my loss against Perak. This had caused my teammates their best board prizes, and Kelantan to return home empty handed. 

Here is the final rank (click on the picture for chess-results link):

http://www.chess-results.com/tnr259151.aspx?lan=1






This year also saw a handful of beautiful players playing in the women's individual category. It was a start to what I think will be the women team category next year. Each state may have to scramble to search for female players after this. 

As for Kelantan, we brought Mrs. Haslina to compete in this category, and she did okay, I believe. Here is the results for this category:

http://www.chess-results.com/tnr259150.aspx?lan=1&art=0&wi=821



Here are some pictures from the event:

Stopped by at PCNK Vice President's place in Lipis

The playing venue

First game - Lost to Sabah

The best line up

The female category contestants

Dinner at Bangi Station

A view from Bangi Station

Baharuddin missed a mate in six moves







Thursday, October 06, 2016

WINNING BY ILLEGAL MOVES

 Nowadays I become an arbiter more than being a player. I have arbitrated the Kelantan Closed back in January, the Kelantan Age Groups 1.0 - 3.0, the Mahabbah blitzes, the MSSK in Kuala Krai and the MSSM in Kota Bharu (although being only a pairing arbiter), UiTM Open in August, Cobra Blitz and SK Temangan Open in September. In two more days, I will be arbitrating the National Sports Day Open.

I admit that during my arbitration, there were many instances where I made a wrong call. Most recently in Cobra Blitz, I gave a win to the opponent when the other player made an illegal move, retracted it and played a legal move before pushing his clock. When I checked The Official Rules of Chess written by Eric Schiller, page 77, it clearly states that 'An illegal move is completed once the opponent's clock has been started. The opponent is then entitled to claim a win before making a move. Once the opponent has made a move, an illegal move cannot be corrected.'

This is of course a special rule for the blitz only, whereas in standard games, an illegal move must be replaced with a legal move once the position immediately before the illegal move is reinstated. Of course, it comes with time penalty for the offender. (Article 7.4)

Most of the tournament held nowadays in Kelantan are rapids, so coaches make it compulsory to equip their players, especially the young ones, with 'the illegal move arsenal'. I've seen a lot of these players won their games after the opponents made illegal moves. They were quick to raise their hands and claim it; you could even see many hands raised at the same time in Under 12 category.

My advice is, to coaches out there, please teach your players about the illegal move. Although according to this article it is one of the most difficult concepts to explain to beginners, at least you can teach them this simple rule: a king must never be moved into check, or left in check.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

SELECTED GAME FROM MSSK PAHI



The dust has finally settled at SMK Pahi, Kuala Krai and 36 players from 368 hopeful competitors have been selected to be the representatives for the Kelantan state team in MSSM which will be held next month at Universiti Malaysia Kelantan main hall, Pengkalan Chepa. I was selected as one of the pairing arbiters and am relishing the opportunity to perform the same task in the national chess event. 

The pairing arbiters

The state selection, which was held from 23 to 26 July, produced some interesting games. I saw a Chinese boy checkmated his opponent in the Rook + Bishop vs Rook situation, which was really a hard task to do. Nevertheless, I want to share a game where one of my students from Tumpat district failed to capitalized on his material advantage and drew the game instead. 


Danial (playing Black) moved his King to c5


Zull Heikal (KKR) vs Wan Md Danial (TPT)



From this position, as you can see in the picture above, Danial moved his King to c5. The game continued 2.Ke4 Kb5 3.Ke5 Bg4 4.Kf6 Bh5 5.f5 and Danial had a hard time defending his position afterwards.

However, he should have moved his King to d5 covering key squares and pushing the opponent's King further down the board. 

1... Kd5 2.Kf3 Bf5 3.Ke3 Bg4 



This move covers f3 so Heikal would have to make way for Danial's King to enter the key square e4 and take the Kingside pawns. As to rub salt into the wound, Heikal went on to represent Kelantan via the play offs while Danial was left painfully outside the top 10 by getting the 11th placing.

In the under 12 Boys play off, another of my student, Zal Hasani Aqil had a winning position but failed to find the correct move and lost. 

Zal Hasani Aqil (playing Black) gave check at d3
 
Md Hanif (TMH) vs Zal Hasani Aqil (TPT)

From this position, Aqil gave check at d3 and went on to lose the game. Instead, he should have found 1... Qh1+ which was winning if he really trained his eyes and looked at the board really closely. He too handed over the baton to his opponent when a win would have ensured him into the Kelantan team instead of that opponent. 
 
As a coach, you would be really upset watching your students lose this way but the experience was priceless if your students could really take something from that. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

TUMPAT DISTRICT SELECTION



After a week long of Hari Raya holidays, Tumpat chess players started up their engines and, for the first time ever, headed to SMK Sungai Pinang for the selection. It was a good venue for chess, and a good additional choice of venue for next Tumpat selections. As far as I know, the selections have so far been held at SK Kampong Laut, SMKA Falahiah and also SMK Chabang Empat. For your information, other districts have also held, or are currently holding, their selection: 

Tanah Merah (12-13 July 2016)
Pasir Puteh (13-14 July 2016)
Kota Bharu (16-17 July 2016)


Tumpat selection was held for only one day (13 July 2016) and all categories recorded very satisfactory attendance amidst the exams and school programmes:

U12 Boys (34 players)
U12 Girls (25 players)
U15 Boys (25 players)
U15 Girls (21 players)
U18 Boys (34 players)
U18 Girls (23 players)

Total : 162 players



There were 9 secondary schools and 7 primary schools sending their players for the selection: 

SMK Chabang Empat
SMK Kampong Laut
SMK Sungai Pinang
SMK Kutan
SMK Mahmud Mahyiddin
SMK Geting
SMK Tumpat
SMKA Falahiah
MRSM

SK Berangan 1
SK Kutan
SK Kampong Laut
SK Palekbang
SK Pulau Beluru
SK Pengkalan Kubor 2
SK Padang Pohon Tanjung



The Tumpat District Officer himself handed the prizes to the winners after his motivating speech of urging the sports glory to rival Tumpat being the number one district in Kelantan in the academic achievement.  



Personally, only one player from my school won the top prize in her category. Nor Muniera Farhin, a fifth former, made it a priority to win the chess selection even though she is a target SPM student for this year. The others were first timers and did not make the Tumpat team. 


Friday, March 18, 2016

MAKSAK SELANGOR

Kelantan 2016 MAKSAK Team

This year MAKSAK was held at the Bluewave Hotel in Shah Alam, starting from 11 to 13 March. This time, Kelantan could not field its usual team as Nik Mohd Nazri was waiting for his newborn. Thus, we searched for one of our previous member, Nik Mazlan Nik Soh to complete the team:

  1. Baharuddin Hamzah
  2. Muhammad Ariez Azman
  3. Md Anis Rahimi
  4. Yours Truly
  5. Nik Mazlan Nik Soh
  6. Mohd Saufi Deraman
Our van, which also brought along a member of MAKSAK Johor team, Dr. Nasrul Humaimi, the Vice President of PCNK, took the usual Kelantan - Pahang - KL - Shah Alam route. We stopped at Lipis for lunch at the home of another Vice President of PCNK, Mr. Rhozisham. 

Mr. Rhozisham prepared us a very delicious lunch

We finally arrived at Intekma Resort, a resort under UiTM Shah Alam management, at approximately 5.30 p.m. We checked in after our chief de mission, Tg Petra, confirmed our room numbers. I was with Baharuddin and Ariez at fourth floor while Anis, Nik Mazlan and Mohd Saufi, all of whom were smokers, were in the other room at second floor. The room was okay and the service was excellent, in my humble opinion at least. We even got to know the room service worker, thanks to our talkative Ariez. However, it was not until I wrote this post that I stumbled upon information that the resort was haunted as we did not encounter any happenings during our stay there.

The official resort for Kelantan MAKSAK team

The playing ground, the five-star rated Bluewave Hotel, was situated in the middle of the city. The playing hall for chess, however, was quite cramped compared to the playing halls for dart and carom. Therefore, nobody except the officials and the players were allowed inside the hall during the games. There was also a podium where the first pairing locked their horns using digital boards, which broadcasted the games live. The Kelantan team only managed to play on it once, that was in the final game against the eventual champions, Kuala Lumpur. 

Yours Truly waiting for the opponent

Imagine our surprise when we saw that the Deputy President of PCNK, Mr. Nik Ahmad Farouqi, was the coach for the Selangor MAKSAK team. Our teams were paired in the second last round, and we eventually drew. I was the last one to draw my game against Syed Abdul Rahman and I regretted it as I was in the winning position which, if won, would surely guaranteed at least a prize. 

Kelantan vs Nik Farouqi's Selangor
Kelantan team was dubbed as 'the master of draws' for drawing too many times, including games where we should have won. We drew against PDRM in our first game, Pahang in our third game, Selangor in our sixth game and Kuala Lumpur in our last game. 

Kelantan vs Pahang, one of the games which were drawn

Were were seeded sixth because of our last performance in Kedah, and were paired against PDRM for the first round. We finally ended seventh after drawing 4 times, winning twice and lost once to Terengganu, which was EXACTLY the same results in Kedah! (We drew 4 times, won twice and lost once to Terengganu also). What a coincidence. 

Kelantan vs PDRM, our first game

Our ex-Vice President, Mr. Abdul Haq, who is currently living in Shah Alam, stopped by to see the team. He brought the team for lunch at D-Wok, a branch of Kak Wok rice, in Section 13. We were quite astonished when he informed that there were 5 similar restaurants in Shah Alam area alone. 

The team having late lunch at D-Wok, Section 13

The team performance can be summed up below (taken from chessresults):


The final standing:



This MAKSAK was special to me as I had the opportunity to face one of my respected coach, Mr. Rizal Ahmad Kamal from Kuala Lumpur MAKSAK team. He was the one who shaped my chess repertoire during my IIUM days and I am forever thankful to him for that. Although I initially surprised him by playing one of Kuala Lumpur's pet line in our game, he, who has vast knowledge in chess openings, quickly had good positions. Nevertheless, with Kuala Lumpur needing only a draw, and indeed, all the three boards had already drawn their games, he gladly offered me a draw. (You may click on the picture below to see our game).

Facing my mentor, Mr. Rizal Ahmad Kamal


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