Singapore Internet Chess Carnival

by ChessBase
9/10/2003 – Thousands of students in sunny Singapore took part in the biggest Internet Chess Tournament of all time! This year's edition included international qualifiers, which led to a Grand Final with top Singapore school players competing against Internet blitz experts. Here is organiser Junior Tay's extensively illustrated report.

ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024 ChessBase 17 - Mega package - Edition 2024

It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


Singapore Schools Internet
Chess Carnival 2003 Grand Final!

Here is the first report on this event

Finally, after a week of intense qualifying rounds, 113 school players made it to the Grand Final of the Singapore Schools Internet Chess Carnival Final. It was held in the heart of Singapore’s most popular shopping district, Orchard Road at Cathay Cineleisure Orchard at the E-games Cyber café.

Finding parking space in Orchard Road is a fiendish business especially on weekends. Hence, we had to thank Meritius Mandarin Hotel (which is next to Cineleisure) , especially its chief concierge, Saifuddin for arranging a spot for our Guest of Honour, Mr Zainul Abidin Rasheed in its private parking lot. Making his way to Cineleisure, Mr Rasheed was unaware of what was in store for him!

Meanwhile, at the entrance of Cathay Cineleisure, a lion dance troupe, a keyboard band and a bevy of dancers all from Rivervale Primary School await the arrival of the Mayor.

One might ask, what has all this got to do with chess. Well, nothing in particular. However, it is Rivervale Primary’s way of showing our gratitude to the Mayor for gracing the occasion despite having touched down in Singapore the day before via a long flight from South Africa!

Mr Rasheed (with Rivervale Primary’s Principal, Mr Yeo Ah Tee and Vice-Principal Mr Balbir Singh) ‘ambushed’ by the ‘lions’.

The entourage made their way to E-games Cybercafe, and were met by the strongest young chessplayers in Singapore. Mind you, only 5% out of the 2800 strong field made it to the finals!

Of course, the event started with the traditional speeches, with Mr Yeo stating that “Chess is not only an art and a sport, but a science, a technological science to be more exact’, when Chessbase and Rivervale Primary bring Internet Chess to a new level unmatched anywhere else in the world.

The Mayor also related that he used to play casual chess against his schoolmate, who happens to be International Master Tan Lian Ann! He also reminded the participants that Singapore’s strongest assets are ‘its people’s ability to adapt, their brain power and analytical strength, traits necessary in the game of chess with its evolving ideas, strategizing and risk-analysis’. He wished the participants good skill, sporting play, sharp wits and quick fingers!

Following the speeches, the Mayor was introduced to our guest VIPs, Grandmaster Tu Hoang Thong and IM Dr Hsu Li Yang who were to play in an exhibition blitz match on the server. Mr Rasheed made the first move for GM Tu, which was the "best by test -Fischer" 1.e4!

International Master Dr Hsu Li Yang (left). To his right is National Master Lee Wang Sheng, a former Asian Junior Championships Silver Medalist (to GM Tu!).

Despite this being the first time GM Tu had set eyes and fingers on the server, he nevertheless outplayed IM Hsu to emerge the winner.

A very important person in this event, Mr Bharwani, besides providing the venue for the Grand Finals, had arranged for the TDs to run the event during the massive preliminaries from E-games as well as arranged for increased bandwidth from Starhub Internet and also the prize-giving venue. Kudos to this man for making SSICC 2003 possible!!

With the sounding of the gong (!), the Grand Final began!

Let the games begin – children battling it out on the server

When the smoke settled, the fastest fingers in the Lower Primary Section proved to be Favian Soon of Yangzheng Primary School!

Nathanael Ong of Anglo Chinese School (Independent) upset his more fancied National Junior Squad teammates to win the Lower Secondary School Section!

Another surprise winner emerged in the Upper Secondary Boys Section where Ong Wei Jian from The Chinese High bested the opposition.

Your scribe announcing the final results of the Primary Section as well as briefing the qualifiers for the International Finals. Of course, the participants were more anxious about getting their hands on the Chessbase software and Snow City vouchers (courtesy of NTUC-Income) which they have won.

After all, any Primary School kid knows how to check the standings of their tournament…

These 12-year-old girls (Jayen, Debbie and Biqi) are TDs of the Grand Finals!

After the event, Mr Huang Chong Swee, Senior Head in the Educational Technology Division of the Ministry of Education, presented the prizes for the Primary School Section.

I am pleased (it doesn’t show in the picture because I was really tired…) to report that the Junior College Boys Champion is Yu Peigen (left) whom I used to teach chess to when he was in Primary School while the 5th place winner is XiaoYuhong (right), another ex-student of mine. They used to be little runts…Now they’re studying in National Junior College. My, how time flies…

At 4pm (10am server time), the International Finals commenced and I took over as TD this time.

As expected, the prize winners were all non-Singaporeans. The winner list looks more like one from a European (over-the-board) Chess Open event rather than an Internet tourney.

1 Christian Matevzic
2 Alexsei Litwak
3 Hoang Thong GM Tu
4 Zybniew Pakleza
5 Volker Michael CC-GM Anton ICCF 
6 Rudolf Gukasian
7 Georg FM Meier
8 Roman IM Popov
9 Karl Rudolf FM Wornath
10  Hoang Thai FM Tu

The top four players, Matevzic, Litwak, GM Tu and Pakleza qualified for the Semi-Finals KO. Here, I realized that it would take too long for me to download the latest software which would allow me to conduct double round KO events. Fortunately, Gaby Assmann came to the rescue by taking over as TD!

Ironically, the positions in the Swiss were entirely reversed when it came to the KO stage! 20 year old German Aleksei Litwak (right) had GM Tu Hoang Thong hanging on the ropes at many a juncture in their match, but the experienced GM came back from the brink of defeat to claim the final spot.

In the other Semi Final, Polish junior Zybniew Pakleza turned the tables on Christian Matevzic (who had beaten him in the Swiss) to set up a showdown with GM Tu.

Semi Finals:
Zybniew Pakleza
Christian Matzevic
GM Tu Hoang Thong
Aleksei Litwak

Pakleza stifled Tu’s queenside attack by charging down the centre with his pawns in the first game. In the second, Tu sacrificed a piece in an attempt to complicate but Pakleza defended stoutly to claim the point...

Zybniew Pakleza
GM Tu Hoang Thong

So the Singapore Internet Champion is Zybniew Pakleza of Poland! Congrats! He wins a handsome 1000 Ducats, a year’s subscription to and a year’s subscription to ChessToday! Not bad for a blitz event, eh?

Of note is that 20 out of 24 qualifiers from the International Section turned up despite the unusual 10 a.m. server time start. Grandmaster Petr Kiriakov, who is still playing in the Russian Championships, turned up one hour too late to participate. I would like to thank him nevertheless for enriching our event with his presence during the Qualifiers (which he had won, of course). The tournament consisted of two GMs, four IMs, five FMs and one CC-GM, a sight you rarely see in Singaporean events!

Another chap worthy of mention is Bylorussian International Master Eduard Kolesnik (left). In the penultimate round of the International Finals, he was pitted against GM Tu. In a slightly better position, his connection went south and I was forced to award Tu a win due to Kolesnik’s chronic lag problem (more than one minute lag per move).

When Kolesnik later queried me on the result, I was very surprised when he accepted my explanation immediately and thanked me for explaining my rationale! He was just deprived of a shot at first position and he did not even try to argue his case. That’s a true sportsman for you!

On this note, I would like to thank the following for making this event possible.

  • Matthias Wullenweber, CEO of Chessbase, for once again providing the use of the server and its HTML pages, creating of the 20 SSICC tournament rooms, and the generous sponsorship of the 100 Chessbase software prizes.

  • Rainer Woisin, arranging for Chessbase to underwrite the 6000 Ducat prize fund for the International qualifier and Final.

  • Mathias Feist, for setting up the thousands of accounts necessary for the students to get free server play.

  • Martin Fischer, for coming out with the concept of the International players merging with the Singapore players group, which culminated in Singapore Chess Carnival International Final (and its KO finale) and creating the HTML pages for the event.

  • Gaby Assmann, for pointers on how to get sponsorship, helping to arbitrate the International and Singapore Qualifiers, solving technical problems during the duration of the whole event, and for stepping in to act as TD for the KO final.

  • Dexter Lee, for giving the event much publicity by writing about it in the local newspaper, Streats (‘Sengkang school makes its mark on chess map’, pg 10’ 28th August, 2003) which boast of a 300,000 copy circulation.

  • Teachers from Rivervale Primary School for admin matters, scheduling, tournament directing during the prelims, giving training sessions and much more…

  • Students (and the teachers in charge of them) from Rivervale Primary School for the impromptu performance held in the Mayor’s honour.

  • Last but not least, all the sponsors for the event, Chessbase GmbH, SNP Pan Pacific, NTUC-Income, HK Education Centre, Boon Keong Transport, Daichi Multimedia, E-Games, Chess Today,,, Chess Ninja, Mr. Roger Yap and Mr. Wang Mong Lin for their generous support.

Thanks to all!

Reported by Junior Tay, Organising Secretary
Singapore Schools Internet Chess Carnival 2003.

Here is the first report on this event

Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register