Malaysian Chess History

Malaysia chess history is an area that i will be always interested in. I was inspired by the book of Sejarah Catur Indonesia (Indonesia Chess History) by Ds.F.K.N Harahap which contains valuable information about chess development, important facts and data, theories , hypothesis about Indonesia chess history brought by by the hindu's wanderers way back from one decade before christ ( b.c ) , the dutch colonial in the 16th century , period in world war 1 & 11 and untill Indonesia participation at the Chess Olympiad, Thessalonika, Greece in 1984.

Recently i done a so-called "research" from the internet, books and magazines regarding Malaysia chess histrory. Actually there is many important moments happens in Malaysia such as 1990 final world championship candidates' match between Anatoly Karpov and Jan Timman in Kuala Lumpur but unfortunetly there is no proper information, photos whatsoever in this important moment . I hope my small initiative here could be share with others chess enthuist to properly record Malaysia chess history for our own knowledge and perharps for younger generations.

So far my main resources is from Penang Chess Association Website - the lovely and fascinating website from Malaysia chess history point of view. The history information, photos supplied by Malaysia famous chess person Quah Seng Sun in this website and another great sources - his Online Chess Column in The Star was unbelieveable. I also done some random research in the internet and i hope that anyone that intersted to share, add and correct! this work, you are always welcome. There is a few information that is not clear were written in red.


Early Malay chess set found in Selangor

I read two theory about the origins of chess in Malaysia. The first theory by H.J.R. Murray in his voluminous work, A History of Chess, mention that chess came from India where as the second theory by (Chien Chun Ching, "Research in Chinese chess from the Tang and Song Dynasties", p. 86, Hong Kong, 1984 (in Chinese) - said that chess came from China through Burma, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. From there it reached Thailand and Malaysia and crossed to the island of Java in Indonesia, where chess relics have been found. (Chien Chun Ching, "Research in Chinese chess from the Tang and Song Dynasties", p. 86, Hong Kong, 1984 (in Chinese). Although Chinese chess itself is still played in Vietnam, other variations of the game took hold in most of the other countries. Some of these have now died out or, as in the case of Malaysian chess, have been radically modified in recent times so as to conform more closely to the rules of modern western chess. ("Rules in Malay Chess", Royal Asiatic Society - Striates Branch Journal, Singapore, No. 49, p. 87-92 (1907), also No. 8, p. 261 (1917)).

Lim Chong used to write a lot of articles on Friday, Malay Mail.  If you can get archived copies, it would give you a snapshot of the chess scene, even before Karpov v Timman.  Incidentally, a while before the Karpov v Timman match, we had Ivanchuk, Gelfand, Tal, Bareev and a few other Soviet players visited Selangor Club and played many rounds blitz with anyone sitting around.  Tal was quite something, offering odds of 5 to 2 and still smashing everyone up (some were distracted by Tal's syndactyly fingers).