Mo­men­tary slow­down

The fourth quar­ter of the year is a good time for chess en­thu­si­asts to pur­sue a lit­tle di­ver­sion.


LAST week, I asked a few chess play­ers what they would be do­ing if they were not play­ing chess on week­ends. Right now there is a lull in lo­cal chess ac­tiv­i­ties. Chess ac­tiv­i­ties haven’t stopped but have slowed down con­sid­er­ably.

It hap­pens al­most like clock­work be­cause the main bulk of chess play­ers get too pre­oc­cu­pied with school re­vi­sion work and ex­am­i­na­tions un­til the end of Novem­ber.

The re­sponses I re­ceived were var­ied but al­most pre­dictable. Watch foot­ball on tele­vi­sion. Visit the shop­ping malls. Join the gym. Go for cin­ema shows. In­dulge in pho­tog­ra­phy pur­suits. Catch up on read­ing. “Chess books?” I mur­mured. “No, just news­pa­pers,” one replied.

Go web-surf­ing. Yeah, right, I thought, turn to the In­ter­net for some in­stant chess grat­i­fi­ca­tion.

“Maybe I’ll catch up with you on one of the In­ter­net chess servers,” I told a friend, adding: “There are some great top-level tour­na­ments go­ing on.”

“Erm, no,” he replied, “maybe I’ll see you on Face­book in­stead.”

My own non-chess hob­bies may over­lap with many other peo­ple’s, and it is dur­ing this stretch that I in­dulge more in them than at any other time of the year.

There is one per­son I know who turns him­self com­pletely off from chess in a big way at the end of the year. Come midOc­to­ber, he would jet off to Mel­bourne to im­merse him­self in the Spring Rac­ing Car­ni­val there. He owns a num­ber of thor­ough­bred horses, you see.

Just last Satur­day, he watched his horse, So You Think, thun­der down the track at Mel­bourne’s Moonee Val­ley race course to lift the Cox Plate for the sec­ond time in two years. Come to­mor­row, So You Think is again the favourite to win the Mackin­non Stakes at the Vic­to­ria Derby.

In Aus­tralia, Datuk Tan Chin Nam is re­garded as one of the most suc­cess­ful, if not the most suc­cess­ful, horse own­ers in re­cent his­tory. A four-time win­ner of the Mel­bourne Cup which takes place on the first Tues­day of Novem­ber.

And come to think of it, that’s just next Tues­day, four days away.

There are two ways to en­joy the Mel­bourne Cup races in Aus­tralia: be there your­self at the Flem­ing­ton race course in Mel­bourne, or en­trench your­self in one of the drink­ing holes around Aus­tralia and cheer on the horses on tele­vi­sion with scores of other beer guz­zlers.

Or al­ter­na­tively, be an au­di­ence of one and watch the races on tele­vi­sion at home here in Malaysia. The Aus­tralia Net­work says that they’ll be car­ry­ing the races live and it so hap­pens that this chan­nel is avail­able on Astro. It of­fers the same thrill as the two op­tions men­tioned above, but that’s what I’ll be do­ing.

I shall leave you this week with a men­tion that the an­nual World Youth Chess Cham­pi­onships are cur­rently tak­ing place in Greece. The of­fi­cial web­site is wycc2010. chess­

Among the 814 boys and 573 girls from around the world tak­ing part, 14 of them are our own boys and girls bat­tling in the un­der8, un­der-10, un­der-12, un­der-14 and un­der16 age group events in the cham­pi­onships. The event ends to­mor­row.

Up next

Gi­ant Ku­lai open The Jo­hor Baru Chess As­so­ci­a­tion, Rakan Muda Jo­hor Baru and the Gi­ant Ku­lai Hyper­mar­ket are jointly or­gan­is­ing the Gi­ant Ku­lai open chess tour­na­ment at the hyper- mar­ket’s premises in Ku­lai, Jo­hor, this Sun­day. Seven rounds, 25-minute time con­trol games. En­tries close to­day. De­tails from Narayanan Kr­ish­nan (013771 7525 / jb_chess_as­so­ci­a­tion@ya­ Ke­pong ju­nior open SJK Cina Ke­pong Dua in Kuala Lumpur will or­gan­ise its 16th ju­nior open chess tour­na­ment for un­der-18, un­der-14, un­der-12, un­der-10 and un­der-8 play­ers at the school this Sun­day. Six rounds, 30-minute time con­trol games. De­tails from Mdm Goh (012988 3351) or Lim Tse Pin (012-298 4922). MSSM-Master­skill chess The Pol­gar Chess Asia has post­poned in­def­i­nitely the or­gan­is­ing of the MSSM-Master­skill na­tional scholas­tics chess cham­pi­onship that was sched­uled for Nov 8-12 at the Master­skill Uni­ver­sity Col­lege cam­pus in Ipoh. For de­tails, con­tact Peter Long (pe­ter­ or Gre­gory Lau ( SJKC Jln Davidson open SJK Cina Jalan Davidson in Kuala Lumpur will or­gan­ise an open chess tour­na­ment for un­der-16 play­ers at the school on Nov 14. Six rounds, 30-minute time con­trol games. En­tries close on Nov 12. De­tails from Collin Mad­haven (016-212 3578) or Bob Yap (012287 8378). WE seem to pos­sess a twisted sense of moral­ity in our per­cep­tion of in­tel­lec­tual copy­right, even those of us who un­der­stand what the phrase means. Our most com­mon jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for buy­ing pi­rated discs is, “but the orig­i­nal is just too ex­pen­sive!” Thus do we ban­ish our guilt, if any, to the dark places and blithely con­tinue to sup­port the thieves.

Ask your­selves this – would you buy a car or phone or com­puter if you knew it was stolen, just be­cause it is cheaper?

We were re­cently given to be­lieve that once an amended act was put in place, en­force­ment of­fi­cials would con­duct house-to-house searches to nose out great big stacks of pi­rated discs from Malaysian homes and haul us to court. That po­lice­men at road­blocks would be on the alert for pi­rated discs be­ing car­ried in cars, even if just a sin­gle piece. That the act of buy­ing such discs it­self would be a crim­i­nal of­fence.

Of course, all these elicited a good amount of blus­ter from the pub­lic, on how it would be an in­va­sion of pri­vacy and the po­lice force be­ing needed for fight­ing “real” crime.

Imag­ine, if the au­thor­i­ties were to ac­tu­ally pros­e­cute ev­ery house­hold in which pi­rated discs were found, our courts would col­lapse be­neath the sheer vol­ume of cases. Pe­nang open The Pe­nang Chess As­so­ci­a­tion will or­gan­ise the Pe­nang Her­itage City in­ter­na­tional open chess cham­pi­onship at the Pe­nang City Hall in Ge­orge Town, from Dec 8-12. This will be a Fide-rated event with a RM5,000 first prize. Nine rounds, full time con­trol games. Con­tact Tan Eng Seong (012-429 9517 / es­tan64@ for de­tails. Sarawak open The Lanang Chess As­so­ci­a­tion and Sarawak Chess As­so­ci­a­tion will jointly or­gan­ise the Uni­ver­sal Chi­nese Sports Sarawak open chess cham­pi­onship at the Premier Ho­tel in Jalan Kam­pung Nya­bor, Sibu, Sarawak, from Dec 17-19. This will be a Fide-rated event with a RM2,500 first prize. Eight rounds, full time con­trol. Con­tact Joseph Ting (016-8893185 / fax: 084-331451) or Lim Kian Hwa (0168603180 / for de­tails.

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