I remember how when I was a kid, I loved to play at my grandparents home.
I have the fortunate experience of having stayed in a "kampung" (a Malay term for village) before modernisation came to Singapore.
My grandparents lived in a small community called Jalan Siput that had coconut trees and sandy beaches. Sadly that place no longer exists. The beaches are gone because of extensive land reclamation by the government that extended the shores a good 2 km away. The village was also torn down to make way for sprawling rows of indistinguishable terrace houses of what is now called Hacienda Grove.
I miss my grandparents' home. I still remember it vividly. The house was of a simple construction. There was a front wooden porch painted in dark green. The roof was made of zinc and the toilet well, let's just say it won't past today's sanitation standards *grin*. There was also a well behind the house from where water was fetched. I remember the layout of the house like the back of my hand. It had a small living room with bedrooms on the left and right. The back of the living room extended to the kitchen which had a cemented floor. The floor was thus cold to the feet and my mum and aunties had to go around wearing wooden clogs when they were cooking. I remember how the sounds of the clogs "klok klok klok" that will resound throughout the house and you can tell how busy the kitchen was based on frequency of the "klok".
Every week, my dad will bring home a packet of mee goreng (see inset) which my brother and I would share.
Those were very happy and fun times and they will forever be entrenched in my mind.
But what's it got to do with chess?
For one, I play chess to have fun.
If a hobby (yes, it's a hobby after all) is not fun, then what is the point of engaging in it?
However, I also learnt that as with all things in life, people expectations towards chess are different and they vary from one to another.
Having played in 2 competitions so far, I have also experienced the bad sides of chess.
It's came to my notice that some players take chess as a form of an ego trip.
I've seen opponents trying to blatantly cheat (taking back pieces), I've heard of players trading rude remarks and of players resorting to various tricks in the book to annoy their opponents and of course, poor gamemanship or etiquette.
As the level of competition heats up, so too it seems, of people's ego and common courtesy goes out the window.
Sometimes, I'd really wonder if some of these players have their heads screwed on in the right places.