Category Archives: Chess

My Experience at Nationals

Standard

Maybe (umm… maybe not) you’ve noticed that I haven’t posted a single thing all week? Ok fine, I don’t actually post so super often, but this time around, I have a legitimate reason… I’ve been at awesome Penang for chess nationals (MSSM)! It’s my first year, so let’s just say I was super excited to the point of bursting.

Shoe shot - a tradition (credits to my namesake)

Since I’m a newbie I had no idea what I was doing. I either packed the wrong things, or didn’t pack the right things. Firstly, Penang is a beach and smart me didn’t pack shorts. Secondly, I brought along my homework. Why is this bad? Simple. We’d either be so busy with training or playing hardcore chess games. So no, no time for that. Thirdly, I didn’t bring a camera. Yes, it is true that the only camera I could bring tells you it’s out of battery every time you shoot a picture, but at least I’d have more than one of these pictures to my name. Next, I wouldn’t have brought free shampoo from another hotel because my roommates would mistake it for free ones from our hotel, and finish them off for me. The list goes on and on, but I’d better not bore you with my packing dilemmas.

That's our bus outside... This is the only photo that's mine... *cries*

The first day involved what should have been a 5-hour drive in a nice bus with nice air-conditioning. Instead, it involved an EIGHT HOUR drive in a hot bus that practically resembled a sauna (to be optimistic, it was a free one). On the bright side, though, it was fun the whole drive. I sat next to a crazy peyi (tamil for ghost) who wore sunglasses so she could sleep without people noticing (of course, everyone noticed because they were all thinking “Why is she wearing those things?) and kept whacking me on the head with a pink pillow every time I shut my eyes for a few seconds. And since there were two other people with my name in the bus… things got confusing.

View while crossing the bridge (by Pavi)

When we reached there, it was time to register for the competition. Of course, we just HAD to go to the wrong place for registration… I mean, duh, we can’t get it right. What’s the fun in that?

Registration (photo credits to our awesome captain)

We checked in to our dwelling for the week: Paradise Hotel. Right next to the beautiful beach – which we were not allowed to go to (though some of us went anyway) – and one kilometer away from the tournament hall. I was told that last year they ended up in a hut of some sort (thankfully I didn’t make it then), so our hotel must’ve been an improvement. We checked in and heaved our bags into the lift. Everyone got rooms from floors 5-8… While me and three others were the only ones all the way up on floor…wait for it…SIXTEEN!

As I said, there were four of us… And walking onto a room on a floor stories high from everyone else’s felt like a blessing due to the breathtaking view.

The beach ❤ (by Pavi)

Isn't the sea so pretty? 😀 (by Pavi)

The lovely sunset 🙂 (by Pavi)

Until we got into the bedroom and discovered two SINGLE beds. SINGLE beds. We tried pushing the beds together and had enough space for three people. Just as I was about to take the sofa, we came to a funny solution… We heaved the soft, short upper mattress off the hard, tall mattress of one of the beds and slept lengthwise on that, with our heads on the short (but soft) mattress and our legs flying up on the taller, harder one. Needless to say, we awoke with aches and pains.

We had training and game analyzation every night at 8:30 and most of the free time we had was taken up by either training (in room 606 with a coach or by ourselves in our rooms) or going completely crazy with roommates (admittedly, more of that). And even though we were next to the most beautiful beach ever we were BANNED from going there. Obviously, some of us just snuck off anyway… No big deal, right? 😉

Our photoshoot! (credits for photo to one of the parents)

The second day started off with a photo session for all competing states (yes, all 15 of them), with a banner in the background. In the afternoon of our second day we played our first 3-hour round. Maybe it was because I was a newbie, but my heart was beating so fast that I thought the world should’ve heard it by then… Like dug-dug, dug-dug… But since no one seemed to notice I guess it was fine. My stomach was twisting with funny butterflies by the time the first round was inaugurated. But of course it wasn’t as bad as I expected. I won the round (YAY!!!)

Third day… Second round today. I found out I was playing with some girl but I didn’t know who she was… I didn’t have time to find out if she was good… Until after the round. She’s supposed to be a strong player. Now this is not usually my principal, but in this case, ignorance was bliss because I won due to lack of fear that she was an awesome player. 😄 In the afternoon my category had a break and went for training in room 606… for hours. We were glad when it finally ended, so my roommates and I could go crazy dancing like maniacs in our room! 😛

Fun group shot (credits to Joyce)

Fourth day… I ended up zooming all the way up to the second table and playing with one of those super strong players. AHHHH!!! Well I lost this round. 😛 Even though I wanted to know what I did wrong by analyzing my game that night, I caught a cold and had to go to bed early. =.=

Fifth day and woke up with a fever. Sigh. Lost the morning round because one of the arbiters was (and still is) very biased against our state (coz we’re awesome, yeah), and also because concentration was low. Oh well. Then I drank 100 Plus so the fever sort of went down, allowing me to win the next round in the afternoon. We got some awesome news that day too. The boys under 15 team had played their last round and… won gold! 😀

Last day… I won the final round giving me a not-too-bad final score of 4/6. Since it’s my first time I won’t beat myself up about it. The best part? This year my state, KL, took home FOUR gold medals and TWO silver medals. And I took home an 8th place medal (oh well xP). The best part of the entire thing was feeling that amazing sensation you get from winning, and knowing you played for your state. Riding home was full of singing, cheering, junk food and just going crazy.

Victory! (credits for photo to my namesake)

Needless to say, I had a lot of fun (understatement :P). It’s sad to see all the seniors heading off because it’s their last year, though…

Next year I am so joining again… With a camera!

Game. Set. Match.

Standard
This Year's MSSMWP Chess Tourney

mssmkl.blogspot.com

I’ve been raving about my hobbies lately… So… Here’s another one for you!

I love playing chess (read: g-e-e-k). I never actually got the game when I was little – my father spoonfed me moves and let me win all the time, causing me to think I was real good… Until I joined a mini-chess tournament at school and lost in the first round.

I’ve been competing in chess since standard 5. It was funny, how I started out. Playing chess properly for one week, trying out for the team, going for it and… WHAM! First game, I checkmated my opponent in 4 moves, and not intentionally. I took a pawn with my queen and said “Check”… and the arbiter declared “Checkmate”. I walked away from the table thinking, Now, how did that happen? Our team proceeded to win first place in the Under-12 team event. And then I won the individual event by beating the defending champion. Not by checkmate, though… she ran out of time. =.=

I thought state level that year when I was 11 would be easy…

I got thrashed that year

Why? Simple. Beginner’s luck wore off.

Anyway, from then on it was practice, practice, practice. I worked hard and we got two golds again the next year.

Check... check... checkmate!

Now, I’ll have you know that in primary school, chess competitions were very straight forward. We hop into our teacher’s car or van, we’d go, play the games, go home.

Then I entered high school.

I was the youngest member on the team when I got in, and I found out that they didn’t use teachers’ cars. Our teacher hired a rackety, rickety, rockety bus, with a driver who is constantly late, anywhere from half an hour to 120 minutes. No kidding. Back in my freshman year, we waited for two full hours in front of a military school, craning our necks the whole time, on the lookout, just hoping for a glimpse of a broken-down yellow-coloured bus that looks more like a junkyard. Yeah. Sucks. In fact, last year, the boys would always joke as they got down or up the bus, “Thank you for being so early!”

A chess tournament is pretty straight forward once you arrive… You are told to arrive by 8:00 because the games will start at 8:30, but they start at least a half hour late. The worst was a full 2 hours off schedule.

This year, the bus was so late we nearly got disqualified before our first round! That sucked. What’s worse, we had been registered for the wrong category. That took some time to sort out before we could get some breakfast at the grubby canteen. Now, for the past few years, the chess tournament has been housed by a school full of weird guys. The girls and I keep looking over our shoulders and muttering to each other, “Faster, walk faster…” We rejoiced to the high heavens when the principal of the school gave a looooooong speech (that made those who won feel bad and those who lost feel worse) and announced that the tourney would not be housed there next year. The cheer for that was crazy loud.

I won good and got to State level. This year was my last year in the category, so I wanted to make it to Nationals. It was only three of us girls making it to the individual event this time around. No guys from our school made it this far. I was continually put up against the hard opponents. It gave me headaches and had mini-fevers, but on the plus side, when I won my sokoff (rating) went ZOOM.

The bus lady abandoned us this year, by the way, so we rode with an old bus driver with the meanest temper you have ever seen. His wrinkled hand was almost never off the horn! Chinese expletives were yelled over and over again at innocent passing cars. Not to mention that the van is stifling hot! I’ll have you know that it has perfectly functioning air conditioning that is never used. Then one day he abandoned us too (apparently the van needed repairing) and the three of us (plus one teacher) had to get a cab home.

On the plus side, I’m number 5 in State this year. Last year, they took the top 6 to Nationals.  And guess what? Now they decide that we have to go for selection because they have decided to only take two people. Bother! I really want to go!

My interest in chess has somewhat wavered over the years, and only came back stronger last year, which is also the year I got the most practise. Call me a nerd if you like… And a dork too. But I enjoy chess, even though it gives me splitting headaches.

So… Shall I give you a dose of corniness?

Why did the chemist combine aspirin and glue? He thought it could be a cure for splitting headaches!!! 😀

Cheers!