Friday, January 18, 2008

The Most Avid Chess Fan You'll Ever Meet

Apologies if I haven't been blogging much of late.

I've been shuttling to and fro my father-in-law's place. My father-in-law recently suffered a minor stroke which unfortunately restricted his mobility (his right leg had gone numb) so he has to move around in a wheelchair. Thankfully, he is otherwise relatively unaffected although he has been a little down the last couple of days so I've been over keeping him company and playing a few rounds of chess with him.

Oh, did I mention my father-in-law being close to a ripe old age of 80, once beat the pants off me in a table-tennis match before he had his stroke more than 5 years ago? Naturally, this is something I try not to announce too much to my friends. The same goes for my mother-in-law, she beats me in badminton in 3 straight sets! The fact she was also a former school champion might have something to do with it.... hmmmm.

My father-in-law is undergoing physiotherapy at the moment and the therapists reckon he'll be back to normal within 3 months.

My father-in-law is truly what you call a chess aficionado. No bones about it.

Never have I seen someone who owns so many Fritz Trainers, Chessbase stuff, Roman's DVD etc.

The picture on the left is just a small fraction of his chess materials. Yikes!

Oddly enough, he doesn't actually play competitive chess. He plays it socially and for the love of it.

He related to me a very interesting story.

In the mid 1960s, his father had recently passed away and he was feeling extremely depressed. Then he met Lim Kok Ann. For those unfamiliar with the name, Lim Kok Ann or rather, Prof. Lim is by and large considered the chess patriarch of Singapore. Prof. Lim introduced him to the game of chess and since then, he became hooked on it.

At one time, he was at the Singapore Chess Federation. At that time, my father-in-law only knew how to play Chinese chess so the rules of chess while seem odd, he soon took to it like a duck to water. Anyway, when my father-in-law just started out in chess, he met a very obnoxious opponent at the chess club who looked down on my father-in-law and loudly boasted that he could beat my father-in-law in 10 moves.

So the two started playing and after 10 moves, not only did his opponent failed to beat him, my father-in-law managed to hold his own pretty well. Throughout the game, his opponent started to mock him hoping to upset him. When my father-in-law got up for a bit of a breather, Prof Lim who was observing the whole fiasco nearby, pulled my father-in-law aside and hinted to him how to move his Knights. When my father-in-law went back to the board, he beat his opponent in less than 10 moves! His opponent had to make a retreat from the board so fast you thought he was Speedy Gonzales. :)

Till this day, he still chuckles at the event whenever he tells me the story.


  1. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful story about your father-in-law. It's always nice to see some loud mouth bore get their come-uppance even if it did involve a little spectator interference. :-)

    I wish the best, and a speedy recovery for your father in law.

  2. hi polly,

    Thank you for your well wishes. :)