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. chessdom.com/
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.
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 / email@example.com). 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Gregory Lau (email@example.com). 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@ streamyx.com) 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 / firstname.lastname@example.org) for details.