Monday, January 18, 2010

minutes of the meeting held on Dato’ Arthur Tan Chess centre

Attendance List DATCC Meeting @ 10am 17 January 2010


1 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam

2 Tan Lei Teng

3 Eddy Fong

4 Gregory Lau

5 Mihajul Bin Ejul

6 Lim Chong

7 Tan Lian Ann

8 Choo Min Wang

9 Larry Parr

10 S. Balendran

11 Tan Vooi Giap

12 Jax Tham


14 Yat Gue Jie

15 Victor Vijiarungam

16 Chew Yaw Chong

17 Mohd Fadli Zakaria

18 Mohd Faisal Zakaria

19Nurul Farah Omar

20Andrew Ooi

21Quah Seng Sun

22Yeoh Chin Seng

23Collin Madhavan

24Ooi Chern Ee


26Tan Kok Heng

27Najib Wahab

28Mohamed Sirajudeen

29Jimmy Liew

30Hairul Abdul Hamid

31Razali Hamzah

32M. Nasri M. Nordin

33Giam Choo Kwee

34Abd Hamid Majid

35 Mok Tze Meng




Dato’ Arthur Tan Chess Centre, January 17, 2010, 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

DATO’ TAN CHIN NAM:  Since I became involved in chess nearly 40 years back, I have noticed that there are camps in the chess world, which typically quarrel over nothing of substance.  The proper attitude of all of us, which is also mine, is to forgive, but not necessarily forget.

     Some have suggested that the Chess Centre is being boycotted.  Having been around the world, I strongly believe that there is no center for chess that can match this one here at Wilayah Kompleks.  We need to bring life to the Centre.

      The purpose of this meeting and of the Centre as an ongoing operation is to discover how to make use of it.

      If the Centre cannot or is not popularized, I will have to close it down.  It deserves two years to prove itself. Give me the solutions, not the problems. We need to promote the Chess Center to a level where it can sustain itself.

      We will be having Grandmaster Ziaur Rahman at the Centre.  I plan to book the spare time of the GM for myself.  I would like all of you to pay for one lesson with the GM.

       I request that this meeting confines itself to the promotion of chess and the promotion of the Center.

CHOO MIN WANG:  The Centre needs to be used for puposes other than merely holding chess tournaments.  We need to sell the Centre to other areas in the country.

THAM TICK HONG:  We need to have a tuition center that brings in students on weekdays after school.

HAMID MAJID:  Working people are not available during the day, so they must come in the evenings.  Students are not able to come during the day and are available only during break periods.  Dato’ Tan is now seeking feedback on how the Centre can serve you.  He would like your opinion on membership categories and the prices. 

THAM TICK HONG:  To begin charging for membership, the Centre must begin to provide value – people must feel they are getting value for their money, or why will they come?

EDDIE FONG:  There are problems with setting up membership entities.  Take golf clubs which are not owned by a corporate entity.  Members may have obligations for club maintenance and debts.  Better than membership is just to pay money for use of facilities.

GREGORY LAU (speaking only for himself, not as a MCF officer):  We need a made-in-Malaysia chess academy, and that place can be spearheaded by the Dato’ Arthur Tan Chess Centre.  But we cannot make money from one center.  The Centre needs to spread and work with the MCF and state associations as well as with coaches and other organizers.  It can be involved with private projects.  As a business, those using the Centre would pay a percentage.

QUAH SENG SUN:  In Penang we experimented with a tournament segmented by rating categories separated by 100 to 200 points.  Prizes were given to the best players in each group.  It gave players an opportunity to win prizes.  It seemed to me a successful experiment, but it was not repeated.

TAN VOOI GIAP:  I have read in Chess Life about tournaments with rating group prizes, and it is the major method for promotion in the United States and seems to work.

TAN LIAN ANN:  I do not know the Malaysian chess scene well and the personalities involved beyond Dato’ Tan and a few others.  I have to read in-between the lines, which is not easy.  It is not easy to make money out of chess.  I suggest putting together a

WORKING COMMITTEE to oversee running the Dato’ Arthur Tan Chess Centre.  In Singapore it cost us $800,000 simply to have a chess centre, and we must still pay rent.  Malaysia is lucky to have Dato’ Tan providing such a center.

     The Centre’s popularity must be built up before there is a membership structure.  The Centre has advantages:  it can buy books and equipment at a discount and sell it to local players and teachers.  A goal is to have some kind of event every night.

S. BALENDRAN:  I have been teaching chess for 15 years.  One needs to go directly to the schools to give lessons.  Organizers must be friendly, polite, welcoming.  We need an MCF letter to widen entry for coaches and trainers into schools.  We must have a trainers committee.

TAN VOOI GIAP:  The Centre needs to be turned into a chess tuition centre.

THAM TICK HONG:  If we are united with a common platform, we can get things done.  The Dato’ Arthur Tan Centre can do a better job, and it can certainly play a role holding events with between 80 and 120 people.  Four such tournaments per month, and this place will catch fire.  Events and activities – these must be done. 

     There need to be extensions of the Centre in many places, including in Bangsar and Sri Hartamas, etc.

NURUL FARAH OMAR:  I am a secondary school teacher who works to promote chess in secondary and lower school.

CHEW YAW CHONG:  Concentrate on bringing students to the Centre and work within the corporate world.  There was an Interbank chess league, but it seems to have disappeared, or I hear no more about it.  There must be promotion of chess into the corporate community.

MIHAJUL EJUL:  It is important to penetrate schools, but we must understand that different titles and levels for trainers bring different pay rates from the schools.  Encourage senior students and players to teach younger ones.  There is now a pressing need for trainers and coaches at all levels.

      We need a Malaysia-wide Internet forum, along with the individual blogs.

MR. TAN (father of girl playing in China):  My children play chess.  A membership structure has to come later after value in the Centre has been developed.  There needs to be good inhouse players at the Centre.

COLLIN MADHAVAN:  It is not easy to promote chess. The person running the DATCC needs to be business-minded, does not need to be a chess player.  Has to be likable.  For the resident GM, work must be planned, he has to be accessible to customers and members, and has to be available to travel from the Centre.  As for product branding, there should be a picture of Arthur Tan at the Centre – a face to the name.  The Centre is not currently children friendly, and it seems unsuitable for evening visits.  There should be a tuition centre at Wilayah Kompleks to bring children here.  Under the rules of the Malaysian Ministry of Education, there cannot be a tuition center in Wilayah because of the nightlife places.  Yet a tuition centre would attract students to the bulding.  One ought to puruse a tuition centre.

     Right now, kids are transfixed by computer games.  So how to attract them to the Arthur Tan Centre?  There needs to be chess computers, a row of them, with accessible library and plenty of old chess magazines.

      I recommend a road show for GM Ziaur Rahman after he arrives in Malaysia.  He should visit all of the chess centres or many of them.  A mobile chess library needs to be created on trips to outlying areas because access to chess books is still rare in many places.

JIMMY LIEW:  The Centre needs more publicity – needs to send out a lot more information.  I myself do not know what is happening even in the MCF, let alone at the Dato’ Arthur Tan Centre.  Think about achieving self-funding for the Centre right NOW.  There needs to be a program for the 20 or so most talented players because it is a well-known promotional principle that a sport or anything else needs heroes.

MOHD. NASRI MOHD. NORDIN (a corporate man who has been around chess people since 2006):  What is the program of the Dato’ Arthur Tan Chess Centre?  Is it an office front for the MCF?

     There needs to be a rating board for school kids at the Centre, and it needs to be publicized.  Put it up in a prominent place on the wall.  Many students will attend the Centre to keep their name on the rating board and to raise their status. 

     It needs to be a Centre, not an office.  What can you offer the school kids?  For the first three years, the Centre needs to establish itself.  Start ranking the kids right now.

      Promotion and Branding:  one needs to promote the Centre as a HANGOUT.  Arrange student bus trips to the Centre – day trips. 

      There needs to be DVDs and screens at the Centre to show students things – for example, a GM explaining the greatest game or games ever played.  There must be value to be seen if people are going to come.

MOHD. FAISAL ZAKARIA (has own chess centre and can organize a tournament at the Dato Arthur Tan Centre): One needs to send the GM out to homes and other centres to give training and lessons.       

       The Centre seems positioned right now to handle quality rather than a high quantity of students.

NAJIB WAHAB:  The DATCC must be marketed and be treated like a business.  If the place is worth a player’s money, the player will show up at the Centre.  There has to be training rooms, screens, DVDs, etc. to bring in people.

OOI CHERN EE:  The Centre should make use of senior players to advise younger players.

MOHAMED SIRAJUDEEN:  The Dato’ Arthur Tan Chess Centre needs to be run as a business – but NOT to make money.  Money has to be plowed back into the business.  To enlarge the center will require vision.

LIM CHONG:  There should be a series of cross-promoting Centres.  There ought to be a least one very serious monthly training session between the GM and the top players.


  1. I have been involved in Malaysian chess partially as a trainer for the early years of the CTEP program as well as a participant of the many events organised by the MCF.

    Seeing Singaporean IMs Giam and Tan involved in the meeting, I join them as another well-wisher wishing to contribute some ideas to make DATCC a viable centre for chess in Malaysia.

    Malaysia definitely has a much more vibrant chess tournament scene for adults than Singapore. However, many in the meeting realised that the juniors are the ones with the time and money to indulge in chess.

    I feel that in order for DATCC to trive, there should be activities organised to attract both adults and children to come together and learn something. Weekends are precious and should be kept for tournaments, so weekday nites like Thursdays or Fridays are best.

    In times where the Centre is lull,one idea is to have freelance trainers use the Centre to give lessons in the afternoons.Partitions can be set up for this. It may save the students and trainers valuable time in meeting at the Centre for chess training rather than for trainers to drive round in giving them (knowing the traffic is bad in KL). In return the Centre gets income, looks frequented and after the lesson, the students may stay to play online. For this, it is important for the Centre to have good Internet access to chess-playing servers only.

    Another possible project is for the Centre to work with trainers to broadcast their lessons from the Centre to the respective students at home. DATCC can develop this facility and recover the cost by renting it to the trainers at hourly time-slots.For schools with good Internet access, this may be a useful way to receive chess training. I stress that not only local trainers should have the privilege of using the facility.Visiting GMs can too, but managed by DATCC who can collect the fees upfront as memberships.

    If this value-added service is offered to the chessplayers, collecting memberships should not be a problem.ICC has been offering that under their ChessFM. However, new material can be developed by engaging the top Malaysian players to contribute. This will address the passing of knowledge and experience from the older players to the young juniors.

    As for the adults, many would prefer to just play in tournaments. The DATCC chess league is a good one and should continue, however what about a junior league? Or even an interstate league? Where players from different northern and southern states can meet in DATCC fornightly. Team leagues are fun to organise and participate and can generate large numbers of players to come.

    For DATCC to be run as a business, it needs to organise interesting value-added activities which can generate income and interest among players of different age-groups. We can definitely learn from ICC and adopt some of their best practices in promoting the use of the Centre.

    As a parting remark, I have always wondered why the Malaysia-Singapore match cannot be run on the server instead of having teams to travel?? I'm sure the logistic and technical issues can be worked out.Better yet, have the Malaysian team play from the DATCC and the Singapore team from their SIGC.

    I wish DATCC every success in the future.

  2. Wish to arrange a demonstration at Chong Hwa SJK Jalan Pahang for DATCC. 012 325 0923 Mr Ong.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. wow! demo for DATCC? what an amazing idea



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