Looking For a Grand Master

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IM Lim Yee Meng

First GM Chess Academy, which aims at producing Malaysia’s first chess grand master, has been established at Bercham in Ipoh.

“Malaysia has never had a chess Grand Master. Furthermore our five International masters earned their titles more than 10 years ago”, said Raymond Siew the coordinator of the academy.

As in all sports the only way to improve one’s game is to consistently play a challenging game. That reasoning is the purpose of setting up the academy to enable other like-minded chess enthusiasts to improve their skills.

The academy’s philosophy is to develop and nurture a positive environment where children are trained to sharpen their mental skills. By asking the right questions and applying analytical methodologies to the challenges before them enables students a high level of thinking under increasing pressure. As Siew summarized it “we focus on teaching how to think as opposed to what to think”.

Lim playing simultaneously with 10 Academy students

Present on opening day was 28-year-old International Master (IM) Lim Yee Meng who shared his chess experiences with the guests. Lim has been playing chess since age 10 and became a national champion by age 14. However he only achieved the title of International Master 12 years later at the age of 26, which he acknowledges is too long a gap.

Lim feels that with proper training and guidance Malaysian players could become global material. He recommends players to participate in four tournaments per year to improve their ratings. With each tournament lasting five days, that takes some planning which would involve funding, sponsorship and logistics and is the reason why First GM was initiated.

IM Lim is a consultant with the academy while their chief trainer is Abd Ur-Rahman bin Mohamed Amin.

During the launch day 10 students played simultaneously with IM Lim in which he quite naturally ‘creamed’ the field.

As a testimony of the potential of our Perak players, the Malaysian Chess Federation (MCF) had recently offered three Perak players who were successful at the National Junior Chess Championship held at Dewan Sri Pinang, Penang, in March the opportunity to represent the country at the upcoming ASEAN Chess Championships (Age Group) at Subic Bay in the Philippines in June.

“This is the first time in almost 20 years that Perakeans have been asked to represent the country”, stated Siew.

Unfortunately the offer to represent the country does not include funding and participants have to source for their own funds to compete at the tournament.

One of the players Mark Siew is from the academy and can be assured of assistance. The other two players Nur Munirah bt Mat Rahim and Putri Nurfariza bt Ahmad Darji though are not with the academy will get help to source for sponsors. Each participant needs RM4,600.

It is good to note that there are concerned citizens around that see the benefits in the game of chess. More so when they attach a Grand Master title as the goal complete with a structure to attain that goal.

To know more of the academy please visit their blogsite at http://firstgmchessacademy.blogspot.com.

JAG