Punking the Rabbi

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In the cosy air-conditioned surroundings of the posh Serangoon Gardens Country Club (founded as Serangoon Gardens Sports Club by British private developer Steven Charles Macey in 1955) well shielded from the hazy air enveloping Singapore these days, a fierce chess encounter unfolded between two masters.

So it seems that the IM has outplayed the ex-British Junior Champion (and now full time Rabbi at United Hebrew Congregation) strategically and  subsequently played for the better minor piece plus pawns ending. Though Black allowed White a chance to get back into the game with 33 e4?, White missed it and Black wrapped up the proceedings adroitly. Ho hum, par for the course for the International Master, with a routine strategic win. Let’s have a look at the picture of the match.


Hold your horses….it’s Alfred who has to contend with 16 other opponents at the same time as fending off Terry!

In actual fact, he was conducting a simultaneous exhibition against 17 opponents at the country club and had to make almost instant moves whereas a harried Terry even made 3 passes on the board due to Alfred’s swift moving from board to board.

Other than losing this game to Terry, he only lost another game where he left his rook en-prise in a Rook and pawns ending one pawn up. Thus, he chalked up a highly respectable score of 13 wins, 2 draws and 2 losses.

So what was Terry (ELO 2419) doing on the other side of the board, playing rabbi rouser, when he already out-rated Alfred by more than 100 ELO points? Well, cheeky Terry claimed that it’s for ‘redemption’. He had pulled the same stunt against FM Tin Jingyao (now IM) in December 20, 2014 when the latter was holding a simultaneous exhibition in United Square Shopping centre. However, instead of punking Singapore’s top junior, Terry got thoroughly routed in a marvellous display of minor piece control (See Simul Stories from Singapore).

So, Terry’s initial attempt at the chess version of ‘Punk’d’ backfired miserably, as Jingyao played marvellously (he was to complete his IM title and earn a GM norm in a matter of months). For the next few months, our chess gang had a jolly good time ribbing him. However, instead of getting revenge the standard way by challenging Tin to a match, Terry chose to enter another simul with our friendly neighbourhood rabbi to extract some kind of redemption…if that makes any sense to you.

Anyway, when we confessed to Alfred after the event that he had been ‘set-up’ as Terry was introduced to him; he laughed good naturedly and exclaimed “He killed me” in response.  


Terry won’t last a round at chessboxing against the rabbi for sure!

So, it is for a good reason Garry Kasparov sets a bar of U2000 for his simultaneous exhibitions though he has convincingly beaten the national teams of Germany, Argentina, Israel and the Czech Republic  in clock simuls. So, a note to chess organizers. Do keep an eye out for cheeky Terry on vacation signing up for your event and giving the master a hard time.  And then again, it might be a good idea to let the simul master suffer and get your money’s worth!