Finally, an Undisputed National Senior Title for Timothy Chan! Tim Sweeps the Field at the National Rapid 2010
by ICCF IM Junior Tay

FM Timothy Chan Wei Xuan - IM Ashot Nadanian [B01]
National Rapid 2010 (3), 31.07.2010
Notes by Junior Tay

1.e4 d5

This opening has been topical in Singapore for more than 50 years. Violating the principle of chess development by jockeying the Queen around the board, it has been played by top local players such as GM Wong Meng Kong, IM Hsu Li Yang, IM Tan Lian Ann, IM Giam Choo Kwee, FM Lim Hoon Cheng and IM Jason Goh.  I blame the proliferation of this line on IM Nikola Karaklajic who taught this line to our masters in the past and IM Tibor Karolyi who 'spread the disease' to members of the National Team and Junior Squads and wrote New In Chess monographs touting the Qd6 line. Even my wife plays this line, no thanks to FM Wong Foong Yin teaching it to her. Of course, the fact that the abovementioned masters have essayed the lines with much success led to its popularity. 

2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qd6 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 c6

This solid continuation is the favourite of Dutch GM Tiviakov. 


6.Ne5 is the main line. If you want to join the fan club, it would be better if you consult New in Chess Yearbooks 66, 70 and 90 to see Tibor's total treatment of the topical theory.


6...Be6!? was GM Gata Kamsky's preferred choice 7.Bxe6 Qxe6+ 8.Ne5 Nbd7 9.Qe2 g6 10.0–0 Bg7 11.Re1 0–0 12.Bg5 Nxe5 13.Qxe5 Qxe5 14.dxe5 Ng4 with equality. Charbonneau,P-Kamsky,G/Montreal CAN 2007 (1/2–1/2, 52 moves).

7.Be3 Nbd7 8.h3

The world's top exponent in the Qd6 line could not make headway against a 2145 player last year. 8.Bb3 e6 9.h3 Bh5 10.Qe2 Be7 11.0–0–0 0–0–0 12.g4 Bg6 13.Nh4! Nd5 14.Nxg6 hxg6 15.Nxd5 cxd5 Playing to win and in the process, risking a loss. 16.Qf3! Rdf8 17.Bf4 Qc6 18.Rd3! Bb4 19.Kb1 Kd8± Lewandowski,R-Tiviakov,S/Warsaw POL 2009 (1/2–1/2,35 moves). Black has to defend very accurately against a future c2-c4 break.

8...Bh5 9.g4 Bg6 10.Qe2 e6 11.Bb3 a6 12.0–0–0

The Lewandowski idea 12.Nh4 seems like a stronger option.

12...Be7 13.Rhe1 0–0 14.Qd2

14.Nh4 Nd5 15.Nxg6 hxg6 with a street brawl was what Ashot was aiming for. 16.Ne4 Qc7 17.Bd2 b5 Hard to tell who will reach the finish line first.


A mysterious Rook move by Ashot. Surely he isn't going to play c5 with his pieces lined up on the d file?

15.Bf4 Qb4 16.Ne5?!

16.Nh4 Bd6 (16...Ne4 17.Nxe4 Qxd2+ 18.Rxd2 Bxh4=/+) 17.Nxg6 hxg6 18.Be3=/+.

16...Nxe5= 17.Bxe5 Rfd8 18.Qe2 Nd5 19.Ne4 a5 20.a3 Qb6 21.Qf3 Qa7 22.c4

It seems that White has managed to make his Bb3 count for something after relocating it to c2. However, Ashot's mysterious Rook move comes into play suddenly with the paradoxical...


Now Tim is forced to defend like a superstar.

23.c5 a4 24.Bc2 b4 25.Nd6


Ashot contines to play in creative (overtly?) vein by sacrificing the exchange. As pointed out by Tim, the prosaic 25…Bxd6 26.Bxd6 Bxc2 27.Kxc2 bxa3 28.Qxa3 Rd7! gives Black the superior minor piece and sustained pressure down the b file.

26.Bxg6 Bg5+ 27.Kc2 hxg6 28.Ne4 Be7 29.Bxb8 Rxb8

Here, Tim explained, “I had around 2.5 minutes to his 5.  I only caught up on time when he tried to catch my King. I totally panicked when he opened up the centre. “

30.Rb1 Qa6 31.Qd3 Qa5 32.Qc4 b3+ 33.Kd1


I think this is the turning point of the game. Although Black has marvellous compensation for the exchange, by allowing the White King to run out of the central domain to the Kingside, his defence is considerably easier.  33...Nf4! keeping the monarch on his toes in the centre will not auger well for Tim's nerves.


"On the fields of Revolution, Where England's traitor King runneth, Passion's dew is stolen The undercroft keeps the salve of enemy wounds" - Nostradamus quatrain. OK, I'm pretending to be profound. But basically, Timothy has an easier time finding moves now that his King is on friendly soil. Ashot, in an attempt to catch the King, has to exert much more effort now.

34...Nf4+ 35.Kf1 Nxh3 36.Qc3

Better was 36.Re3!? Nf4 37.Nc3 of course, all these are academic as both sides are bashing out moves by now.

36...Qb5+ 37.Kg2 Nf4+ 38.Kf3 Nd5

38...Qd3+!? 39.Qxd3 Nxd3

39.Qd2 Qb8 40.Rh1 e5 41.Nd6 Bxd6 42.cxd6 Qxd6 43.dxe5 Qxe5 44.Rbe1 Qf6+ 45.Kg3 g5 46.f3 Nf4 47.Qh2 Qh6 48.Qxh6 gxh6=


Needed was 49.Rh2 =

49...Rd2 –+

with advantage to Black. From here onwards, it's fastest fingers first and Tim proved to have the quicker hands and stronger nerves as he won with 15 seconds left on both clocks.

50.Rh2 both sides had 15 seconds left at end of game 1–0

FM Daniel Chan Yi Ren - FM Timothy Chan Wei Xuan [C23]
National Rapid 2010 (4), 01.08.2010
Notes by Junior Tay

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nc6 3.Qf3

The dreaded Scholar's Mate, most frequently seen in Junior U8 events all over the world, usually resulting in the White player reporting the win to the scoring section with a silly grin on his face and the Black player bawling to his mommy about quitting the stupid game. Just to let you know, Bulgarian IM Pavel Dimitrov plays this regularly too. 


Shucks. The scholar has been studying and won't get mated today. The Russian Grandmaster Vladimir Belov showed no respect for this line, starting out with the pawn sacrifice 3...f5!? 4.Bxg8?! Nd4 5.Qd1?! Qg5! 6.g4 Rxg8 7.c3 Ne6 8.gxf5 Nf4 9.Qf3 d5! 10.h4 dxe4 11.hxg5 exf3 12.Nxf3 Nd3+ 13.Ke2 Bxf5–+ and White's Queenside is hemmed in. Pavel Dimitrov-Vladimir Belov/Plovdiv BUL 2008 (0–1, 40 moves) ; Daniel has actually essayed this line in an international standard time control event(!) and after 3...Qf6 4.c3 a6 5.d3 h6 6.Be3 d6 7.d4 Qxf3 8.Nxf3 Nf6 9.Nbd2 Bg4 10.0–0–0 Nd7 11.Bd5 exd4 12.cxd4 Be6 13.Bxe6 fxe6 14.Nh4 g5 15.Ng6 Rg8 16.Nxf8 Nxf8 17.h4 0–0–0 18.g4 Nd7 19.hxg5 hxg5 +/= he slowly but surely took control of the endgame and snuffed out his Viet opponent.,Chan,Y-Nguyen,D/ASEAN U-20 ch, 2009 (1–0 , 38 moves)

4.c3 Na5 5.Bb5 a6 6.Ba4 b5 7.Bc2 d5 8.d3 =/+

There is some method to Daniel's madness. He got Tim out of the main lines and is now playing a sort of Reversed Philidor's defence where the focus is on overprotecting the e4 strongpoint. However, Tim does have a lot of central and Queenside space in the process.

8...Be7 9.h3 Be6 10.Ne2 c5 11.Ng3 Qd7 12.0–0 0–0 13.Re1 d4 14.Bd2?! Nc6 15.Bg5

The Queenside Bishop and Knight are getting in each other's way and hence, Daniel decides to get rid of the prelate.

15...h6 16.Bxf6 Bxf6 17.a3 Ne7

17...c4! is a strong attempt to squash White on the Queenside.

18.Nd2 Ng6 19.Nh5 Bg5 20.Rad1 Nh4 21.Qg3 f6 22.Nf3 Qf7

22...Nxf3+ 23.Qxf3 a5

23.Nxh4³ Qxh5 24.Nf5 Ra7 25.h4 Bxf5 26.hxg5 Be6

Black's space advantage persists so Daniel tries for complications.

27.g6 Qg5 28.Kh2 h5 29.cxd4 cxd4 30.Rc1 Qh6!

h5-h4, winning the g6 pawn is threatened.


31.f4 sacrificing a pawn to cover the c1–h6 diagonal is practically forced.


and White has just plain run out of moves. No choice but Daniel has to sacrifice the exchange to get some, albeit insufficient, counterplay.

32.Bb3 Rxc1 33.Bxe6+ Kh8 34.Rxc1 Qxc1 35.Qxh5+ Qh6 36.g4 Re8

Mature play by Timothy who did not try to refute White's concept outright. He merely took advantage of White's pussyfooting with the Queen to increase his Queenside space. 36...Re8 37.Bf5 Rd8–+.  0–1

By then, Tim had established a 1/2 point lead, courtesy of Ashot outlasting IM Goh Wei Ming. Wei Ming had just flown back home on the morning of the tourney from Barcelona and the inevitable jet lag made it tough for him to contend for the title. Usually, he would engage in tactical melees but in this event, he hardly landed a single tactical blow. Weiming only barely managed to rescue a draw from a worse position against Andre Jerome Eng thanks to perpetual check and succumbed to Ashot during the blitz shootout. By the time he met Timothy in Round 8, he was already 2 points behind and had virtually no chance of winning the event.  One point to note was Ashot's clever use of the Hippopotamus Opening with White against Wei Ming to avoid the latter's theoretical knowledge and to bring the fight into the middlegame.

In Round 5, Timothy was paired against Andre Jerome Eng and had to contest the latter's beloved Hedgehog. A quick a4-a5 break allowed Tim to produce a passed b-pawn quickly and Andre just could not stop it from advancing.

FM Timothy Chan Wei Xuan - Andre Jerome Eng [A31]
National Rapid 2010 (5), 01.08.2010
Notes by Junior Tay

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4!?

Junior Tay: Timothy had beaten GM Bui Vinh's Sicilian Kan in a pleasing miniature at the 2010 Asian Continental Championships  3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Nc3 Ne7 6.Be3 Nbc6 7.Nb3 g6 8.Qd2 b5 9.0–0–0 Rb8 10.Bf4 e5 11.Bg5 Qc7 12.Nd5 Nxd5 13.exd5 Nb4 14.Kb1 Bb7 15.Bf6 Rg8 16.d6 Qxc2+ 17.Qxc2 Nxc2 18.Kxc2 Be4+ 19.Kd2 Bxd6 20.Ke3 1–0 T Chan Wei Xuan-Bui Vinh/Olongapo City PHI 2010.

3...d6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 a6 6.Nc3 Nf6 7.Be2 b6 8.0–0 Bb7 9.f3 Be7 10.Be3 0–0 11.Qd2 Nbd7

The a4-a5 concept had been used by the top German and British Grandmasters Jan Gustafsson and Michael Adams. 



12...Qc7 13.a5 bxa5 14.Nb3 Rab8 15.Nxa5 Ba8 16.Rfc1 Rfc8 17.Kh1 h5!? 18.Nd1 Ne5 19.Nf2 Nfd7 20.b4± Rd8 21.Rab1 Nc6 22.Nxc6 Qxc6 23.b5 Qc8 24.Nd3 h4 25.Qa5 Bb7 26.b6± Gustafsson,J (2611)-Balogh,C (2513)/Deutschland - Magyarorszag 2004 (1–0, 47 moves).

13.a5 bxa5

13...Ne5 14.axb6 Nxc4 15.Bxc4 Rxc4 16.Nb3 Rb4 17.Na5 Ba8 =, ½–½ Adams,M (2680)-Van Wely,L (2655)/Tilburg 70 1997/(1/2–1/2, 35 moves). 

14.Nb3 Qc7 15.Nxa5 Ba8 16.Rfc1 Rb8 17.Bf1

17.b4!? d5 18.cxd5 Bxb4 19.Nc6!? =/+ (FM Timothy Chan).

17...Rfc8 18.Qf2 Nc5 19.Rcb1 Rb4 20.Ra3

This is the critical position as Andre had a last chance to unravel his position.


Timothy suggested the very strong Maroczy un-bind with 20...d5! 21.exd5 exd5 22.cxd5 Nxd5 23.Nxd5 Bxd5 24.Rc1 Qb6 with complicated play.

21.Na2 Ra4 22.Rxa4 Nxa4 23.b4 Bf6 24.Rc1 Ne5 25.Nb3?! Rb8?

Missing out on ¹25...Nb2! 26.c5 Ned3

26.b5± axb5 27.cxb5 Qd7 28.Qc2 Bb7 29.Na5 Nc5 30.Nxb7 Nxb7 31.Nb4± Nc5 32.Na6 Rc8 33.Qd2 h6??

Weakened by Tim's continuous pressure, Andre misses the next move which allows the former to snare one Knight or the other.

34.f4!+- Nxe4

34...Ng6 35.Nxc5 Whoopsie-daisy...

35.Rxc8+ Qxc8 36.Qb4 Ng4 37.Qxe4 d5 38.Qd3 d4 39.Bxd4 1–0

10-year-old FM Tin Jingyao had made it to the top board by Round 6, facing Tim who described the young prodigy as an "Incredible" talent. The Nanyang Primary schoolboy had carried the fight to Tim and was only edged out after 64 moves of tough slugging.

FM Tin Jingyao - FM Timothy Chan Wei Xuan [E43]
National Rapid 2010 (6), 01.08.2010
Notes by FM Timothy Chan

In this game I was looking to extend my lead with ease, but my young opponent had different ideas. After an unimpressive opening, he handled the isolated pawn with maturity and held the balance all the way to the time troubled end, when the game finally turned in my favour.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 b6 5.Bd3 Bb7 6.f3!?

Quite a rare move.


Junior Tay: The inventive mind of Israeli GM Yacob Murey came up with 6...d5 7.a3 Bd6 8.b4?! dxc4 9.Bxc4 Ng4!? 10.g3 a5 11.b5 h5 12.Qc2? (12.e4÷) 12...h4! -/+ 0–1 Danilov,V-Murey,J/USSR 19/557 1974, (0–1,31 moves).

7.Nge2 cxd4 8.exd4 0–0 9.0–0 d5 10.Bg5 Be7 11.Qc2?!

Junior Tay: The solid 11.Bxf6 Bxf6 12.cxd5 exd5 did not trouble the great David Bronstein as he fashioned a Queenside pawn majority after 13.Qb3 g6 14.Rad1 Bg7 15.Kh1 Qd6 16.a3 Rd8 17.Bb1 Nc6 18.Ba2 Ne7 19.Bb1 Rac8 20.Bd3 Nc6 21.Qa4 a6 22.Bb1 Na5 23.Ba2 Nc4 24.Bxc4 dxc4 25.Qc2 Qc7 26.Qd2 b5 -/+, Filep,T-Bronstein,D/Debrecen 1967/(0–1, 40 moves); 11.Rc1.

11...dxc4 12.Bxc4 Nc6 13.Rfd1 Nb4 14.Qb3 Nbd5 15.Kh1

15.Bxf6 was also possible.  15...Nxf6 (15...Bxf6 16.Bxd5 exd5 17.Nf4!+/=) 16.d5 Bc5+ 17.Kh1 and now Black try to play on with 17...e5!? which is admittedly double edged.(17...exd5 18.Nxd5 Nxd5 19.Bxd5 Bxd5 20.Rxd5 Qh4=).

15...Rc8 16.Rac1

16.Bxf6?! now is not good because of  16...Bxf6 17.Bxd5 exd5 18.Nf4 Rc4!


16...h6 was not bad. 17.Bxf6 Bxf6 18.Nxd5 (18.Bxd5 now fails to  18...exd5 19.Nf4 Bg5!) 18...exd5 19.Bd3 Qd6 =/+.

17.bxc3 Nd5 18.Bxe7

18.Bd2 Bg5!?


19.Bxd5 Bxd5

19...exd5!? was interesting, to fix the c-pawn. However...I could not bring myself to make this move. Perhaps I should not have asked my bishop what he thought of the pawn capture!  20.Nf4 Qd6 21.g3 g5!? One of the favorite moves of a certain local trainer.  22.Ng2 Rfe8 23.Re1 Qf6! Provoking 24.f4 h6 and Black looks somewhat better.

20.c4 Bb7 21.Rd2 Rc7 22.Rdc2


22...e5!? is interesting. 23.d5 Qc5 and it looks like Black has pressure on the fixed pawns. But White may try  24.Qc3 f6 25.Ng3! when things are not so simple as White threatens to break the blockade.

23.c5 Bd5 24.Qd3 Rfc8 25.Qe3 Bb7 26.h3 Qf6 27.Ng3 Rd8


28.c6?! looks good but the pawn is hard to defend after  28...Ba8! 29.Ne2 (29.Ne4 Qe7 30.Qd3 Qe8 with compensation for Black) 29...Rd6 with compensation.

28...Bd5 29.Ne4 Bxe4 30.fxe4 bxc5 31.dxc5 Rdc8 32.Rdc2


32...Qe5 33.Rc4 Rc6

From here, I am not sure of the exact sequence of moves that led to the position after 37. Rc4. 

34.Qa3 a6 35.Qe3 Rb8 36.R4c2 Rb4 37.Rc4 Rxc4 38.Rxc4 Qa1+ 39.Kh2 Qxa2 40.Qd4 Qa5 41.e5 Qc7 42.Kh1 a5 43.Qc3 g6?!


44.Qe3! Kh7 45.Qf2 a4 46.Rf4 Kg7 47.Rxa4 Qxe5 48.Ra7 Qf5 49.Qb2+ Qf6?

49...e5 was necessary


50.Rxf7+! Kxf7 51.Qb7+=

50...e5 51.Ra8 Qe6 52.Qb8 Kf6 53.Qh8+ Kg5


54.Re8! Qf6 55.Rxe5+ Kf4 56.Qe8 Qxe5 57.Qxc6 Qe1+ 58.Kh2 Qg3+/=



55.h4+ was a strong try for the win. After a forced series of moves 55...Kf5 56.Qe8 h5 57.Qd7+ Qe6 58.Qd8 Qb3! it seems that Black survives.



Now White had to play for a brilliant draw with 56.Rh4+!! Qxh4 (56...Kxh4 57.Qxh6+ Kg3 58.Qe3+=) 57.g4+ Kg5 58.Qxe5+ f5 59.Qe7+ Rf6 60.Qe3+ f4 61.Qe5+ Rf5 62.Qe7+= A nice line!

56...Rxc5 57.Qa1 g5

Now Black escapes and wins with his extra pawns.


58.Qb1 Qf2!

58...Kg6 59.h4 Rc6 60.hxg5 hxg5 61.Qd2 Rc8 62.Rg3 Rh8+ 63.Rh3 Rxh3+ 64.gxh3 Qf3+ ... 0–1

Tan Weiliang, who fought IM Goh to a draw in Round 5, was Timothy's next opponent. Unfortunately for the former, Tim was just at the top of his game. To say that Timothy rose to the occasion would be an understatement as he literally overwhelmed poor Weiliang in a positional crush.

FM Timothy Chan Wei Xuan - CM Tan Weiliang [B52]
National Rapid 2010 (7), 01.08.2010
Notes by FM Timothy Chan

In this game my opponent was surprised in the opening. He played in too standard fashion and then had to suffer in a very passive position. I managed to keep control of the game until the end.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Bd7 4.a4!? Nc6 5.0–0 Nf6 6.Re1 a6 7.Bf1 e6 8.c3

Now the position resembles the hybrid line 3. Bb5+ Nc6 where White retreats his bishop to f1. As Weiliang does not play this line, I was glad to enter this position. 

8...Be7 9.d4 cxd4 10.cxd4


10...d5! was stronger. It entails a pawn sacrifice for which Black will obtain excellent compensation. 11.e5 Ne4 12.Bd3 (12.Nbd2 Nxd2 13.Bxd2 Nb4=) 12...Nb4 13.Bxe4 dxe4 14.Rxe4 h5!? with compensation for Black. (14...Bc6 15.Rg4).

11.Nc3 e5?!

11...0–0 was now better.

12.d5! Nb8?

This move allows White to fix favourably the position on the queenside.  [12...Na5 had to be tried, but I had prepared 13.b4! Nc4 14.Qb3 Qc7 (14...b5 15.axb5 axb5 16.Nd2!±) 15.Bg5 b5 16.axb5 axb5 17.Rac1+/=.

13.a5 Bg4! +/=

It is vital to exchange pieces as Black is horribly cramped. 13...0–0 14.h3!


Hoping for a chance to avoid the exchange of pieces.


14...Bxf3 was probably stronger, then 15.gxf3 Rc7 16.Be3 and White retains a definite advantage. At least, though, Black has exchanged one pair of pieces. For example, 16.f4!? Nbd7 17.Na4 0–0 18.Qb4 Qb8 19.Rec1 Rfc8 20.Bc4! preparing Nb6 with strong pressure.


Now the knight cannot be taken and all of Black's pieces do nothing.

15...Nbd7 16.Nc4

White is close to winning.

16...0–0 17.f3 Bh5 18.Be3 Bg6 19.Rec1 Qb8 20.Qa2 Ne8 21.g4!?

Just to kill any Kingside counterplay.  However 21.Bd3 might have been a better way to do so. 


Black intends to exchange the dark-squared bishops from g5, but he never got the chance.  21...h5 22.h3.

22.b4 Nc7

22...Bg5!? anyway might be stronger. 23.Bxg5 hxg5 24.Qf2 Rc7 25.b5 Nc5 26.Rab1 Qa8 27.h4±. 

23.Qf2 f6


24.Nb6± Nxb6 25.axb6 Nb5 26.Nxb5 Rxc1 27.Rxc1 axb5 28.Bxb5 Rc8 29.Qb2 Kf8 30.Bd7 Rd8 31.Bc6!

31...Be8 32.b5+- Rc8 33.Ra1 bxc6? 34.bxc6

34.bxc6 Rxc6 35.dxc6 Bxc6 36.Rc1+-. 1–0

Personally, I feel that Timothy works harder at the game than his contemporaries. A staunch Christian, he is well-mannered and unassuming. I asked him if his success can be attributed to him working harder at opening preparation than his contemporaries. He indicated "In part, but I have a long way to go". Back in 2005 when I first encountered him in Cairnhill CC, I felt that he carried himself very well. Then a primary schoolboy, whether he wins or loses, he would always have a pleasant smile for his opponent after the game. I also noted that he listens attentively to his opponents during post mortems patiently before offering suggestions on possible continuations.

As far as I know, IM Hsu Li Yang and IM Goh Wei Ming had already achieved the local grand slam - comprising the National Open, National Rapid and National Blitz Championships (and if I'm not wrong, all in the same year).  Perhaps there are others who have done so and most probably Ignatius Leong would be able to quote such examples off his head.  Timothy is already two-thirds on the way there, having been National Blitz Champion 2008 (IM Yves Ranola is not a citizen or PR) and becoming National Rapid Champion now. Will his hard work and dedication lead to a future National Champion title? We await with great interest.

Oh yes. No tournament report would be complete without some gossip.

Excuse me, Mr Arbiter?

The 68-year-old IM Giam Choo Kwee was one of the arbiters in the event. He had been based in Malaysia for quite a while. Well known as the chess master with the most aggressive style of play, Giam's games is frequently marked by exchange and pawn sacrifices. Many chess players of my generation would remember being terrorized by the famous 'Giam Knights'. Here's an example of the Giam Knights riding roughshed.

The Kid

FM Tin Jingyao finished in a tie for 8th to 11th position together with notable players such as Andre Jerome Eng and IM Chan Peng Kong, another feather in his short yet successful chess career. I would rank this achievement as more prominent than his National Junior Blitz Championship title and his ASEAN U10 Champion title. Future reports on this event will feature some of his nice wins in this tournament.

The “Zero Start”

The rule in which one gets a full point when his opponent did not appear at the start of the game was applied in this event. Jimmy Ng, a former National Player and the main mover behind the "Chess for Everyone in Singapore" initiative, was visibly upset when he was defaulted in Round 1 when he missed the official start of the game. He engaged in a verbal tussle with the tournament officials over this as he felt that the organizers should take into account extenuating circumstances such as traffic accidents (apparently, there as a big one in the CTE that day). There were a dozen if not more empty boards in the hall at the start of Round 1 as pointed out by a participant. One wonders how many participants got zero-started. Personally, I don't see how this rule can encourage chess participation. Perhaps beneficiaries of the free point would be pleased but they had actually been short-changed of a round's game by default. I recall IM Julio Catalino Sadorra trying to persuade the arbiter to let his late-coming opponent play during the National Blitz 2010. Sadorra was trying to reason that the zero-start win which he would be rewarded with actually meant that he would be penalised unnecessary when it comes to calculating tie-breaks. Maybe this rule helps in tournament administration but I don't suppose the arbiters relish facing the wrath of black-faced zero-starters.  In any case, the SCF’s website page on the National Rapid registration had indicated that the zero-start rule would apply and they even put up a hyperlink to a PowerPoint file indicating what zero-start means. Perhaps the SCN editors might consider starting a poll to see how well received zero-start is in local chess events.

The "Aquarium"

It was a strange sight (to me at least) to see many people (made out of mostly parents and some coaches), peering from outside the tournament hall, trying to get a glance of the players through the glass windows and doors. Of course, the measure of not allowing spectators into the tournament hall would ensure better tournament administration. However, this would eliminate chess as a spectator event. Unless of course, you don't mind peering into the 'Aquarium' every now and then to admire the 'fishes'.

Kasparov in Singapore?

John Wong from the  “Chess is for Everyone” movement was seen circulating fliers for an event indicating the arrival of former World Champion Garry Kasparov on the 15th of August 2010 for a simultaneous exhibition and blitz matches against two top local players. In my opinion, Kasparov is the world's greatest chess player ever (though Bobby Fisher fans would beg to differ) and it would be significant to local chess fans.

The Prize list mix-up

During the prize giving, the trophies for the National Championships were handed out to the winners. IM Goh Wei Ming was indicated as having emerged 4th in the event and given the 4th position trophy as a result. However, in that event, the players who tied for 3rd to 5th took part in a playoff to decide on the 3rd place finisher. Hence, IM Goh, by virtue of outpointing IMs Daniel Fernandez and Enrique Paciencia in the playoff, should have been awarded the 3rd place trophy. Not very pleasant to win a tough playoff only to be erroneously handed the wrong (lesser) trophy.

What?! Another Playoff?

Once again, another play-off for IM Goh. FM Dominic Lo and him had to contest a four-game blitz playoff to decide who emerges National Rapid runner up (IM Ashot is Armenian, you see),  After nine rounds of positional manoeuvring during the main event, IM Goh decided to 'dedicate the playoff games' to the SCN editors with the following openings. I guess this requires an explanation:

For quite a while, on Chessbase's, your scribe and IM Goh have been messing with NM Olimpiu Urcan's opening repertoire by suggesting ultra-crap lines such as 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.b4?! (some call this the Portsmouth Attack) and 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cd 4.Bg5?! (the so called Aussie-Attack). NM Urcan have since "walked the talk", using these lines in competitive play with some success. He even tried my suggestion of the one trick pony Petroff Gambit (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 Nc6?!) during the National Inter-Clubs 2009. We had an online discussion about us having 'polluted' his chess instead. In defence, I would like to point out that NM Urcan is capable of dishing out even more rubbishy lines such as 1.e4 d5 2.d3 dxe4 3.Nc3 and 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a5 (no, you didn't read wrongly) or even 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.c4 Nb6 4.e6?!, without our cajoling.

Well, this time round, IM Goh decides to do the honourable thing by unleashing the lines during the playoff.

Caution: The following games will not do your chess any good and should only be watched as for entertainment value. Please do not try these at home or in your chess events. Do not mess with your chess coaches' heads...

IM Goh Wei Ming - FM Dominic Lo [B30]
National Rapid Playoff, 01.08.2010
Notes by Junior Tay

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.b4

Once upon a time, IM Nikolai Karaklajic seconded the young Goh Wei Ming in his Disneyland (Paris) World Youth Rapid stint and showed him this line. 

3...cxb4 4.d4 d5 5.exd5 Qxd5 6.c4 Qe4+

6...bxc3 7.Nxc3 Qa5 8.d5 e6! is the supposed refutation of this line mooted by Beating the Anti-Sicilians (Palliser) and Chess Openings with White Explained (Alburt, Dzhinzhihashivilli, Peresteyn). I have however worked out a Queen sacrifice line to complicate issues. 9.Qd2!? (9.dxc6 Bb4!) 9...exd5 (9...Bb4 10.Bb2 Nf6 11.dxc6 Ne4 12.Nxe4 Bxd2+ 13. Nfxd2 with compensation) 10.Nxd5 Nb4?? 11.Bb5+! Bd7 12.Bxd7+ Kxd7 13.Nxb4+ Bd6 14.Nc2 Re8+ 15.Ne3 Qb5 16.a4 Qa6 17.Ba3 Re6 18.Rd1 Nf6 19.Bxd6 Rxd6 20.Ne5+ 1–0, was how Junior Tay-ELO 2300+ FM went.

7.Be3 Bg4

7...e6 8.Bd3 Qg4 9.d5 exd5 10.cxd5


8.Nbd2 is probably stronger.

8...e6 9.Nbd2 Qg6 10.d5!±

Black's developmental woes are just beginning.

10...exd5 11.cxd5 Nce7 12.Bb5+ Kd8 13.h3 Bxf3 14.Nxf3 Nf5

14...Qxg2 would allow a pretty finish after 15.Rg1 Qxh3 16.Ng5 Qf5 17.Ne6++-

15.0–0 Bd6 16.Qa4 Nxe3 17.fxe3 Ne7 18.Rac1 Qe4

18...Nxd5 19.Qa5+ Nc7 20.Ne5+-

19.Qb3 a6??

Better was 19...Qg6±


The rest is just a stroll in the park for Wei Ming.

20...Qg6 21.Nxf7+ Qxf7 22.Rxf7 axb5 23.Rxg7 Ra3 24.Qb2 Rf8 25.Qd4 Ra6 26.Rxh7 Nf5 27.Qd3 Ra5 28.Rf1 Ng3 29.Rxf8+ Bxf8 30.Qg6 Ne2+ 31.Kf2 1–0

IM Goh Wei Ming - FM Dominic Lo [B40]
National Rapid Playoff, 01.08.2010
Notes by Junior Tay

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Bg5!?

The Aussie-Attack, analysed by German IM Jeroen Boensch in Secret of Opening Surprises (Vol. 6), has its advocate in IM Alexander Wohl of (no prizes for guessing) Australia. It appears to have its origins in Adelaide. They must really put a premium on speedy development Down Under, eh? For the record, I've seen your SCN Editor NM Urcan win two games with this in local over-the-board competitions against ELO 2100+ type opposition.


In and ICC bullet/blitz play, the most common responses to this are... 4...Nc6 (premove) 5.Bxd8 "Can we abort the game?"; 4...a6 (premove) 5.Bxd8 @$#%@#%; 4...d6 (premove) 5.Bxd8 "You pond scum!"

5.Bxe7 Nxe7 6.Qxd4 0-0 7.Nc3  Nc6 8.Qd6 f5

Interestingly, this position is akin to another favourite Wei Ming hack line, the Sale-Basman variation which might go 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cd 4.Nxd4 Bc5 5.Nb3 Bb6 6.Nc3 Nc6 7.Bd3 Nge7 8.0–0 and Black plays f7-f5 later and eradicate White's centre.

9.0–0–0 Qb6 10.Bd3

Wei Ming made a weird face after playing this move. Dominic hesitated a while and decided to cash in on Wei Ming's largeese.

10...Qxf2 11.Rdf1 Qb6

11...Qxg2 12.Rhg1 Qh3 is akin to the matador asking to be gored while waving the red cape to the Barca bull from centimetres away. I wonder if Wei Ming caught any bullfights at the La Monumental. Probably not, too busy gawking at the glittering trophies at the Nou Camp Stadium.

12.exf5 Nxf5 13.Bxf5 Rxf5 14.Kb1 Qb4

A friendly trade?

15.Qd3 No way, José!

15...d5 16.a3 Qe7?!

Ironically, this cautious move allowed White tactical chances.



17...Rf4 18.h4


18...h6 19.g5!


19...h5 20.g6!


20...Bd7 21.Ng5± Ne5 22.Qe2+- Rxf1+ 23.Rxf1 Ng4 24.Nxd5! Qd6

¡Ay, caramba! - also known as "ouch".


Overawed by the glut of attacking pieces on his Kingside, Dominic succumbed with


I was very surprised that Wei Ming decided to take it easy with


Better was 26.Nxh5 Nh6 27.Nxe6+-

26...Bb5?? 27.Nxc5

Stronger was 27.Qf3! Qe7 28.Qf7+ Qxf7 29.gxf7+ Kh8 30.f8Q+ Rxf8 31.Rxf8#.

27...Bxe2 28.Rf7 b6 29.Nce6

Not that it makes much difference. Black is still utterly and irretrievably lost. 

29...Ne5 30.Rxg7+ Kh8 31.Rh7+ Kg8 32.Ne4 Ng4 33.Rg7+ Kh8 34.N4g5 Ne5 35.Rh7+ Kg8 36.Ne4 Ng4 37.Rd7

and Black lost on time and the tiebreak 0.5-2.5 as well.

I wanted to include Dominic Lo vs. Goh Weiming but I think that game would be a strong candidate for the future SPG - Singapore Pathetic Games) or GSS (Great Singapore Swindles) columns so I prefer to let Dominic or Wei Ming do the honours.

[Published August 4, 2010]

© Junior Tay & S'pore Chess News. All Rights Reserved 2010

Editorial Postscript:
[August 5, 2010]

In the above article, ICCF IM Junior Tay wrote: "There were a dozen if not more empty boards in the hall at the start of Round 1 as pointed out by a participant. One wonders how many participants got zero-started."

The SCN editors received an email note from the official tournament staffers answering that question. We publish it below with thanks to Mr. Philip Chan for providing the data:

"In the Open Category, there were 2 walk-overs in Round 1. One of this was a boy whose parents explained that he had to withdraw at the last minute due to work on a school project. The other was Jimmy Ng who was zero-started as he arrived about 10 minutes later after the official start time.

In the Challengers Section, there were 20 walk-overs in Round 1. Three players were late and apologized for being late, requesting the Pairing officer reinstate them for the 2nd Round.  The other 17 did not show up for the event and were subsequently withdrawn.

In the Challengers Under 8, there were 5 absentees and 1 participant who was zero-started. He was reinstated in Round 2 at his request.

In total there were 5 participants who were 'zero-started' for this event in Round 2. There were no further zero-starts thereafter for the duration of the 2 day event."

Related items:

22nd National Rapid - Image Gallery
Video File

Other articles by ICCF IM Junior Tay:

Index of articles by author

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In very recent years, FM Timothy Chan had come close to winning the National Blitz Championships, but  had to settle for second spot on tiebreak on two occasions, to IM Yves Ranola in the 2008 National Blitzand to IM Enrique Paciencia in the 2010 National Blitz. This time, in the National Rapid 2010 (31 July – 1 Aug) at Bishan Community Centre, Timothy was on a hot streak, winning seven consecutive games and coasting home with two quick draws against IM Goh Wei Ming and FM Dominic Lo.

Seeing that Timothy could not be caught, IM Ashot Nadanian drew quickly against Tan Weiliang to emerge clear second, one point behind the former.

It wasn't all that easy for Timothy, though.
"I was losing against John Harry Pereira in Round 2", he recalled extricating himself from that mess. "I played badly against Ashot too and was probably lost at some point. My opponent sacrificed the exchange and could not hunt down my King in time trouble".
FM Timothy Chan - National Rapid Chess Champion 2010
Photo © S'pore Chess News

The win ensured the Round 4 encounter with his long-time rival FM Daniel Chan who was the only other person with maximum points. Daniel, according to Tim, played his "usual rubbish opening". The two had a long-time rivalry and knew each other’s' lines too well. Hence Daniel would tend to avoid mainline theory with the audacious 1.e4 2.Bc4 3.Qf3. "I had this line against Daniel on at least 5 occasions!" added Tim. But what made the difference was that Timothy had, in his words "figured how to play it as I had SERIOUSLY prepared the night before". How does one prepare against the Scholar's Mate opening? Let's watch how Timothy does it...

FM Daniel Chan
Photo © S'pore Chess News
Jerome Andre Eng with a new look
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FM Tin Jingyao on top board after 5 rounds - facing the leader FM Timothy Chan
Photo © S'pore Chess News
FM Timothy Chan vs CM Tan Weiliang on the top board in Round 7
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Veteran IM Giam Choo Kwee arbitering with genuine understanding for the youngest
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The playing hall at Bishan Community Club
Photo © S'pore Chess News
FM Dominic Lo
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