Karpov wowed by Singapore chess fans

by ChessBase
7/25/2010 – “Chess is for Everybody in Singapore” is a movement that believes that chess keeps the mind alert and is beneficial to the young, adults and veterans players alike. The organisation and the chess fans of the island country last week were visited by the 12th World Champion Anatoly Karpov, who was in campaign mode for his FIDE presidency bid. Pictorial report.

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Karpov wowed by Singapore chess fans

By Alvin Ong and Jimmy Ng

Serangoon Gardens Country Club (SGCC) played host to the 12th World Chess Champion, Grandmaster Anatoly Karpov, on 17 July 2010 (Saturday) 2.30 to 5pm. Grandmaster Karpov was met on arrival at the club by a VIP welcoming group comprising SGCC President and club officials, Leong Keng Thai, Anthony Lim, Catherine Tan, and the “Karpov Visits Singapore 2010” organizing committee members, Jimmy Ng, Alvin Ong, Tan Poh Heng and Watson Tay. Chess lovers, Jimmy Ng and Alvin Ong, are spearheading the “Chess is for Everybody in Singapore” movement.

The VIP welcoming contingent poses with Anatoly Karpov and FIDE Deputy President Candidate Richard A Conn Jr (in the middle) at Serangoon Gardens Country Club

The “Chess is for Everybody in Singapore” movement believes that chess playing keeps the mind alert and chess is most beneficial to the young, adults and veterans players alike. As chess develops logical thinking, creativity and discipline of mind and character, it is of great help to players of all ages. There is also a strong correlation between chess playing ability and scholastic achievements.

Emcee Mr Lo Tak Meng of Serangoon Gardens Country Club welcomes the 12th World Chess Champion Anatoly Karpov and Deputy President candidate Richard A Conn Jr

Jimmy Ng, chess lover and chairman of “Karpov visits Singapore 2010” organizing committee, Richard A Conn Jr, Anatoly Karpov and Leong Keng Thai during the opening ceremony

The highlight of Karpov’s trip was meeting up with prominent chess fans and supporters; and engagement in a blitz exhibition chess match with some of Singapore top adult and junior chess players at the club. The list of Singapore players are Dominic Lo, Timothy Chan, Andre Jerome Eng, Liu Yang, Benjamin Foo, Jonathan Koh, Tin Jing Yao and Alvin Ong. He also signed autographs on his recently published chess books and chess boards for the fans in Singapore.

A cheering crowd of more than a hundred chess players, parents, organizers, supporters and fans turned up to witness the event which was well organized by the Serangoon Gardens Country Club, having within its activities a chess club of active players of all ages. One SGCC chess club member is Mr Tay Cheong Ann, who is 93 years old but he did not play against Karpov. The youngest chess player who played at the event was Tin Jing Yao (ten years old). Mr Anthony Lim (Vice President of SGCC) played a symbolic opening match against GM Karpov to kick off the chess matches.

SGCC Vice President Anthony Lim plays a symbolic opening match against Karpov

The game ends with Karpov a piece up, but offering a diplomatic draw

During the exhibition blitz tournament against some of Singapore’s top chess players

Karpov in battle against the youngest player, Tin Jing Yao, ten years old

To add fun to the event, organizing committee Chairman Jimmy Ng cajoled Karpov to adopt woman national player Miss Liu Yang as Karpov’s disciple in a traditional Chinese tea ceremony, which Karpov sportingly obliged.

The former World Champion get a traditional Chinese tea from national player
Liu Yang and makes her a “disciple”

... and enjoys the cuppa with other friends and fans

Grandmaster Karpov was the world chess champion from 1975 to 1985 until he lost his title to the Garry Kasparov in an epic match in 1985. Kasparov, the 13th World Chess Champion, then held the title from 1985 to 2000 and is widely acknowledged as the best player in the history of chess. Kasparov retired from competitive chess in 2005.

The two grandmasters, Karpov and Kasparov, are best remembered in chess history for their titanic battles over five world championship matches from 1985 to 1990, which saw a clash of contrasting styles between Karpov’s deep positional sense and intuitive placement of chess pieces and Kasparov’s dynamic pawn sacrifices and innovative attacking play. In the world championship matches, Kasparov retained his title each time with a narrow margin. Both grandmasters have formed a lasting bond and are now in the same team campaigning for Anatoly Karpov to become the President of FIDE at the upcoming FIDE elections in September 2010.

SGCC President Leong Keng Thai presenting mementos to Karpov and Richard Conn

GM Karpov was accompanied by Richard A Conn Jr, who is vying for the post of Deputy President of FIDE. Mr Conn is the Managing Director of Conn International Group LLC, a Moscow / New York based financial and legal advisory firm.

In his speech, Karpov announced a US $4 million worldwide chess development program. He added, “Youth chess programs and producing titled players in developing federations produce long-term benefits for the entire chess world. This package does not count sponsorship for the World Championship and other major events. Those will have their own sponsors, and we do not foresee any difficulty in supporting popular professional events. It is time to get back to the era when major corporations bid competitively to invest in chess and to break this dependency on unreliable sources. It is time to stop begging for money and to put chess back on the map, bigger and better than ever.”

Anatoly Karpov responding to a question...

... and soon Richard Conn joins in the animated discussion

It is interesting to note that the Singapore Chess Federation has nominated its President Ignatius Leong Chee Weng for the post of General Secretary of FIDE, but on the opposing ticket which has the incumbent FIDE President Mr Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. Notwithstanding this, for the love and promotion of the game of chess, Serangoon Gardens Country Club must be praised for hosting Grandmaster Karpov and Mr Richard Conn as it reflects the spirit of magnanimous understanding and rising above any perceived chess rivalry.

Signing posters for fans and chess dignitaries

Singapore Olympiad-bound player FM Timothy Chan receiving his autographed
copy of Karpov’s “Find The Right Plan”

Promising junior chess player Andre Jerome Eng also gets an autographed copy

The Singapore Chess Federation’s national training squad players were also among the players who played with GM Karpov. During his visit here, Karpov was impressed with the vibrant chess scene in Singapore, “I am delighted with the hospitality shown to me by the organizing committee and would certainly like to visit Singapore again in the near future“. Many Singapore chess players and parents would be delighted to hear this. One of them commented that “this is the best Singapore chess event that I have ever attended”. Later in the evening, the organizing committee hosted Anatoly Karpov and Richard Conn to a dinner function at the Singapore Temasek Club.

The Organizing Committee of “Karpov Visits Singapore 2010” and chess fans poses
with Anatoly Karpov and Richard A Conn Jr

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