FIDE Mourns for Dr. Lim Kok Ann
Tuesday, 11 March 2003 00:00
FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has led other members of the Presidential Board to mourn the passing of FIDE Honorary Member and former General Secretary of FIDE, Prof. Lim Kok Ann who died 8 March 2003 at 83.
In his message to the late Prof. Lim's family, President Ilyumzhinov described Prof. Lim as "a guiding light in our effort to propagate the game of chess not only in the Asian continent, but in all of FIDE". President Ilyumzhinov added that the late Prof. Lim's legacy as "the one person, who contributed enormously to the FIDE Handbook lives on".
On LIM KOK ANN by Florencio Campomanes...
Kok Ann leaves us not to rest and be done with toil ... he is simply going somewhere to start a fresh venture in a new field for the good of brethren. That's the way he took up with FIDE in Luzern 1982 to press his handprint in world chess ... leaving the academe, and launching into the uncharted and complex waters of the international chess ocean.
And, how he influenced it in myriad, imperceptible yet most valued ways! Without him at the base in Luzern, FIDE could have had many false starts and could have fallen asunder. But, Kok Ann was there to map a golden path for his colleagues in the leadership as well as players, grandmasters and youth champions alike.
His greatest contribution though is the little known fact that he triggered, nursed, aye, led by the arms, the rise of China in the chess world to eventually conquer the field of women's chess in the individual and team competitions. This is his most glowing achievement among many others, too many to mention. If Asia, Latin America and Africa have surged forward as FIDE has become a truly universal organization, credit Kok Ann as my constant partner in that vast task.
On the personal level, Kok Ann, a few years my senior, by sheer force of example enabled me to become a somewhat better member of the human race. He touched my life as well as many others in world chess. With his passing on to new worlds, we are all diminished!
Doyen of chess dies at age 83...
Family finds him on floor, dead from an apparent heart attack.
SINGAPORE'S doyen of chess was also a loving father and a generous and kind coach who was passionate about everything he did, said family and friends gathered last night at the wake for Professor Lim Kok Ann, who died on Saturday.
Ex-national champion Prof Lim helped chess gain a wide following here. He never lost his temper, said one of his five children, Dr Lim Su Min, and was probably cracking jokes with the angels now.
Prof Lim, 83, was best remembered for his achievements in medicine - he gained worldwide fame in 1957 when he isolated the flu virus at the height of the Asian influenza epidemic - and for helping chess gain a wide following here.
Family members found Prof Lim on the floor of his room in the morning, dead from an apparent heart attack. "But he was very composed, he was just lying there, and he looked very peaceful indeed,’ said Ms Stella Kon, his daughter. Till the end, Prof Lim remained active and lively, she said. Despite having a heart attack about two years ago, he was still very independent. He took a taxi to Tekka Market in the mornings, just to have his favourite minced pork or raw fish porridge, along with some soya bean milk. "I just couldn't keep up with him, he went out to have his meals all the time," said Ms Kon, a writer, with a wry smile. She paused. "Now, I'll have to go and tell the lady selling the porridge that he won't be coming around any more." She remembers the passion her father had for the things he did, the long conversations about books he had read, his love for Shakespeare, and his commitment to the game of chess. "He never held back. He always said 'do something for the sheer love of it’, not because of what you can get back in return. I suppose I got that from him in my writings."
Prof Lim was the grandson of one of Singapore's pioneers, Dr Lim Boon Keng. He was dean of the medical faculty at the University of Singapore and headed what became the Microbiology Department there until he retired in 1980. His students remember him fondly, especially his days as Master of King Edward VII Hall in the university. Though an excellent gamesman at billiards, bridge, or mahjong, it was in chess that he made the biggest impact. He was Singapore's first champion when the national chess competition was inaugurated in 1949. He built up the game here in the 1950s and 1960s, actively setting up chess clubs in schools and establishing the Singapore Chess Federation, which he headed for 18 years. Later, between 1982 and 1988, he served as the secretary-general of Fide, or the World Chess Federation, in Switzerland. He also contributed articles on chess to The Straits Times and the now-defunct New Nation tabloid. Among all the things he did for chess, he was most passionate about nurturing a youth movement in the game.
A protege of his, Ms Yip Fong Ling, remembered: "He would tutor us very patiently for hours on end. He was generous with his time, his books, and would fight for scholarships so that we could play overseas. We will miss him..."