Sunday, April 21, 2013

Chess in Malaysia

Chess in Malaysia should be a no-brainer, right? Gabriel started playing chess in Northern California about 3 years ago. And his competition there consisted of a majority of Chinese and Indian players. What is the population like in Malaysia? Chinese, Malay, and Indian. So where is the problem? We can’t find the competition!!! 

Sure there is a chess school within walking distance of our new home, but they have very few tournaments, the kids are young, and school basketball practice conflicted with it on the weekends for weeks.

Where are all the chess players? Joe has really had to search and search to uncover the few tournaments that Gabriel has played in. But after one recent tournament, Joe finally spoke with the father of one of the chess players and found a good chess site for Malaysia (

After Thanksgiving, (almost 4 months into our year abroad), Gabriel reconnected with his chess coach Var Akobian ( who is 5th in the US. Although Var lives in the Midwest, chess tutoring once or twice a month has been fairly easy via Skype.

Gabe also participates in occasional multiday chess tournaments downtown on Jalan Dang Wangi at Datuk Arthur Tan Chess Connections in the Wilayah complex and at a newly remodeled third floor room in the Taman Tun Ismael area of Kuala Lumpur, not too far from our condo. 

Joe also found a weekly informal chess gathering at the formal (guys need to wear slacks and button down shirts) KL Golf and Sports Center just down the road from us. Happily, the weekly get togethers work into our schedule. Hallelujah! So, finally, he is hooked into the chess scene after only 8 months of searching!

One of Gabriel’s goals this year was getting an international chess rating called FIDE which tells the strength of the chess player. His FIDE rating is 1872. His USCF rating (which is the United States chess rating score) is 1966. The FIDE score is usually approximately 100 points lower than the USCF rating. 

It seems crazy, but we are now signing Gabe up for his final FIDE rated tournament this month before we leave for California at the beginning of July. What a whirlwind tour of chess it has been for us all. And what do you know, we'll be heading home (back to California), just in time for Gabriel to participate in his second summer session for Masters level players at the Mechanics Institute in San Francisco. Woo hoo!!!

Malaysia Day Chess Champion 9/2/12

Taman Tun Dr. Ismael (TTDI) chess room

TTDI chess room

entrance to TTDI chess room on 3rd floor 
entrance to TTDI chess room on 3rd floor 

Malaysia Day chess competitors

giant chess at Damai Beach in Sarawak, Borneo 
giant chess with dad in Sanur, Bali

giant chess at Damai Beach in Sarawak, Borneo 

giant chess with dad in Sanur, Bali (M photo bombing)

beach chess on Kuta Beach in Bali

Balinese employee playing chess with Gabe

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