Sunday, 27 July 2014

Imminent retirement?

In 4 days, I'll be boarding a flight to Tromso to attend what may very well be my last Chess Olympiad and this is possibly the last time that I'll wear the Singapore colors. This is not meant to be some melodramatic post but is simply a reflection of what has been going through my mind (chesswise) for the past 1 year. 

July has always been my favourite month (Birthday, anniversaries, promotion/increment, leave etc) but for some reason, I am not the least excited this year. Perhaps, its because I just completed what had been an incredibly torrid year at work. Or perhaps at 31, I have to acknowledge that there is only so much I can do for my personal chess development going forward. Or perhaps, it is time to seriously consider quitting high level competitive chess? 

For some reason, there are many who like to categorise me as an "active" player but having played only 1 serious tournament in the last 12 months (the Nationals, in December), I am very much dormant although I have done whatever I could to stay up to date in the game. The reason for my inactivity is pretty obvious - as much as I love the game, I am inherently an extremely competitive person and I will never take part in an event if I cannot find the time to prepare and train professionally. And being an audit manager, there is only this amount of time and this amount of energy that I can play around with everyday. 

It has been 11 years since I re-entered the chess fraternity and it had been an incredible journey so far. I've made 2 (legit! These days, this is not a given.) GM norms, won some Bronze medals at the Sea Games, played in 4 and about to play in my 5th Chess Olympiad, written a chess book, and went through an entire year as a professional chess player with my own limited resources.  I am extremely proud to be given the opportunities to represent the Singapore flag and the responsibilities that are attached to these. 

I have also made loads of friends, long lasting ones, many of whom are much older than me but yet, are generous enough to share sufficient knowledge for me to know just how immature I was on many occasions. Yet, I'll like to know that lessons have been learnt and I've also grown to accept certain things that are beyond my control.

It was never smooth sailing though - I have my fair share of unpleasant experiences which have forced me to consider quitting the game altogether. My stubborness and competitive streak has pulled me through on each of these occasions and I am probably more proud of this fact than any other accomplishment. 

I still love the game and I still harbour hopes of becoming a GM. I will probably continue to play in random tournaments that pop up here and there but it is no longer a guarantee and a lot is more down to chance than anything else. I will also have to adopt a more relaxed approach to the game which may or may not mean a substantial change to my playing style. 

Whatever happens, the Tromso Olympiad promises to be the most memorable and emotionally charged tournament on a personal front. There is a lot of pressure but I will enjoy it and hopefully, be able to use this to my advantage and put up a show for the local chess community.


  1. No, you don't...once a chess player, always (forever ?!) a chess player. Keep playing ya.

    Gosh! you sounds like you are 78!

  2. Hello Kevin,

    I have sent you a friend request on FB for want of a better way to communicate with you. You must continue to play the game we all so dearly love. With perseverance, the GM title beckons I am sure!

    Following Tromso and team Singapore closely!

    1. Hi, can you send me a PM on FB so I know who you are exactly? :)

  3. When the going get tough, the tough get going!

    Keep at it......all the best for Tromso!

  4. Excellent performance in Tromso. Keep playing and you can be GM before Tin.

  5. Thank you for sharing your vast (and sometimes hilarious) experience with us.
    I hope you will get that 3rd GM norm soon!

  6. Keep playing. Look at Meng Kong. He achieved his GM in mid life too.

  7. Thank you all, for the nice comments. I honestly don't think my performance is that great though. I've had far better TPRs than this one although given how little prep I had, it's definitely satisfactory!