Gong Gong says

This is a posthumous blog of our father's (Lim Kok Ann) life. When our father passed away on 8 March 2003, he left behind an unpublished autobiography. We'd like to celebrate his life by sharing his autobiography through this blog.


"I have dredged these anecdotes from memory just to pass the time; if they amuse my grandchildren their purpose will have been served; if they provide any instruction, it will be a happy coincidence; that they are disjointed is probably to be expected.

Aurora was the name of my grandfather’s house in Kulangsu.   Amoy, where I spent the first five or six years of my life.   I still have vivid memories of events that took place when I was barely three years old.

Lim Kok Ann
October 1996"

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Tribute to LKA on tenth anniversary of his death

KEVIN GOH posted a tribute to Lim Kok Ann on 19 January 2013.  Please follow this link:

http://kgwm.blogspot.sg/2013/01/remembering-prof-lim-kok-ann-by-junior.html




Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Test 2014

Are we still here?

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Ivan Skezevinski

Ivan Skezevinski Skevar Song
Lyrics

Oh, the sons of the prophets were hearty and bold
And quite unaccustomed to fear.
But the bravest of all is a man I am told
Named Abdul Abulbul Amir.

If they wanted a man to encourage the band,
Or to harass the foe in the rear,
Or to storm a redoubt, they would send up a shout
For Abdul Abulbul Amir.

There were heroes aplenty and men known to fame
That fought in the ranks of the Czar.
The most famous of all was a man by the name
Of Ivan Skezevinski Skevar.

He could sing like Caruso both tenor and bass
And play on the Spanish guitar.
In fact quite the cream of the Muscovite team
Was Ivan Skezevinski Skevar.

One day this bold Muscovite shouldered his gun
And marched down the street with a sneer.
He was looking for fun when he happened to run
Into Abdul Abulbul Amir.

"Young man," saidAbdul, "is existence so dull
That you're anxious to end your career?
For, infidel know, you have trod on the toe
Of Abdul Abulbul Amir.

"Then take your last look at the sunset and brook,
And send your regrets to the Czar.
By this I imply you are going to die,
Mister Ivan Skezevinski Skevar."

Then the Moabite drew his trusty shaboo
And crying, "Allah al Allah ackbar!"
With murderous intent he most suddenly went
For Ivan Skezevinski Skevar.

On a stone by the banks where the Nebo doth roam
There is written in characters clear:
"Oh stranger, remember to pray for the soul
Of Abdul Abulbul Amir."

And the Muscovite maiden her vigil doth keep
By the light of the cold northern star.
And the name which she constantly shouts in her sleep
Is Ivan Skezevinski Skevar.

Comment: LKA learned this song in scouts and used to sing it dramatically

Labels:

Monday, December 06, 2010

The legend continues

The legend continues....
This week we got Tan Lian Ann to explore the chess potential of Euan, great grand son of Lim Kok Ann...

Lian Ann made approving noises and some!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

FIDE mourns


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..."

College of Medicine Building













College of Medicine Building
27 September 2010
Hero 336 Pen
Diamine Jet Black Ink & Wash
7X5"


Wife went for physiotherapy at SGH today,
and I decided to sketch the COMB (College of Medicine Building).


This building is particularly nostalgic to me for number of reasons,
including the link to Tan Tock Seng/Tan Chay Yan

I was a medical student there:

I met wife-to-be in the Anatomy Department, housed in the former Women's Mental Asylum,

My father was lecturer/ professor of Bacteriology:His office window level 2 on the left at the rear:

When he was Dean Faculty Medicine, he had a car park slot just 10 paces behind that fellow walking in the foreground.

We lived at College Road just up the hill facing his office, not 300 metres away.



FROM WIKI:
The College of Medicine Building (Chinese: 医药学院大厦) is a historic building in Singapore, located within the grounds of the Singapore General Hospital at Outram Park, within the Bukit Merah Planning Area near Singapore's central business district.

Singapore's first medical training institution was established in 1905 in a former women's mental asylum at Sepoy Lines.

The start of this medical school was significant in two ways. It was meant to train local men and women to bring Western medicine to the local population. It was handsomely supported by local merchants who took advantage of the tax exemptions of the time not to garner more wealth, but to give generously to public causes. Tan Jiak Kim gave the largest individual sum. Another donor, Tan Chay Yan even gave a building to the school in memory of his father, Tan Teck Guan.In 1911, the Tan Teck Guan Building was a useful as well as elegant addition to the establishment.

Originally named the Straits and Federated Malay States Government Medical School, the school was renamed King Edward VII College of Medicine in 1921. Around this time, a new building was planned.The College of Medicine Building that stands today was built in 1926. When the University of Malaya was founded in 1949, the college became its Faculty of Medicine. Since then Singapore and Malaya have emerged as different nations. From 1982, the Faculty of Medicine was a part of the National University of Singapore.

New buildings and a new National University Hospital were erected at the new Kent Ridge campus. However, the College of Medicine Building in Sepoy Lines is preserved to be used as the seat of the National University of Singapore's Academy of Medicine, whose members are alumni. The building was restored from 1985-1987. The College of Medicine Building was gazetted as a national monument on 2 December 2002.

Architecture
The College of Medicine Building was built in reinforced concrete with a massive, floral Neo-Classical façade of Doric columns. This grand colonnade, designed by Italian sculptor Cavaliere Rudolfo Nolli, dominates the building's façade, with bas reliefs depicting the Allegory of Healing on the walls on either side. Behind this colonnade are a row of eleven enormous doors. A sculptured Roman spread-eagle, encircled by a wreath, emblazons above the central doorway.

At one time, there was a long, elliptical pool of water in front of the building, which helped to reflect and soften its massive image, but this pool has long since vanished.During the building's restoration in the 1980s, a grand staircase in the main lobby, which was in the original plan but somehow never built, was at long last installed where it belongs.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Epilogue
In 1995 Su Min asked me to move over and stay with his family in Cavenagh Road. I had the use of a large room in the same apartment which was my bed-room and study, and from which I commuted round the world on chess trips. Four of my children were living in Singapore, one in Canada. Stella was separated from her husband and living with Sing in Devonshire Court. Stella was continuing her successful writing career, and Sing was well established as copy writer for Inter-Ads, an advertising company. Stella’s two sons were both living in London, the older, Mark, was training to be a cardiac surgeon, and the younger son, Luke, training to be an orthodontist. Su Min and Sing Yu were living in Cavenagh Road with their son, Min Yu, a doctor doing National Service, and daughter En Yu, an Arts student in first year. Su Hui and his wife Shirley were living in Cairnhill Road with their two sons, Bernard and Christopher. Su Chong and his wife Joanna and their children, Jacqueline and Alexander, both were living in Calgary, Canada.

6:4 World Seniors

The first World Senior Championship was an open event held in Bad Worishofen in November 1991. I brought Rosie to this health resort in the Black Forest where she spent a pleasant two weeks while I struggled through 11 rounds of this inaugural event. The “Kur” in this resort, was invented by a friar in the 19th century who believed that a regime of cold baths, long walks and a vegetarian diet would cure a variety of ailments, including over-weight. Rosie went on one or two walks but neither she nor I took a cure. Campomanes came for the first half (he did not take a cure, either) and saw me score 4 points from 6 rounds but after he left I could only score 1 point from five rounds for 5/11, or “minus half’ (deviation from 50%).
Rosie did not accompany me when I went back again for the 2nd World Seniors in 1992 and to Bad Wildbad for the 3rd World Seniors in 1993when my scores were, respectively, 5 ½ and 6 points, thus averaging exactly 50% for the 3 events. I did not play in 1994, but when the event was held in 1995 in Bad Liebenzell, my score was 6 points, giving me an average of over 50% in four outings!
For the 1993 event, Rosie and I took an extended holiday, beginning with British Chess Championships in Dundee (the British rotated their annual championships all over Britain). The British Veterans was for players over 60 and not very well supported, there being only twelve entries. With a little difficulty I tied for the first place with R. D.Westra. Rosie and I went on from Dundee to visit the Edinburgh Festival where we saw, inter alia, a performance of Stella’s “Emily of Emerald Hill”. I then took off for Bad Wildbad alone as Rosie wanted to stay in England a while. I made arrangements for us to visit Monte Carlo immediately after Bad Wildbad to see the end of the Women’s World Championship Match, but Xie Jun won the match within the distance and we visited Monte Carlo and Nice as ordinary tourists, without a chess purpose.

Campo had called me while I was in Dundee and made arrangements for me to be Chief Arbiter of the FIDE World Championship match between Timman and Karpov. I was to be responsible for the first half (12 games) of the match to be organized by the Dutch in Holland. The Dutch had very little time in which to prepare for the event and in order to get wider support, they organized the twelve games in the three Dutch venues that were used when Botvinnik won theWorld Championship Tournament in 1948, namely, Zwolle, Arnheim and Amsterdam. It was a jolly little tour of Holland for Rosie and I. Sad for the Dutch, Timman lost the match which was concluded in Jakarta; sad for Campo, both the Dutch and the Indonesians had said they could not raise any of theprize fund and FIDE had to provide the entire prize-fund.

In February 1994 we heard the glad news that Stella was to be a grandmother and on 14 February1994, Valentines’ Day, our grandson Luke’s wife, Gini, presented us with our first great-grand-daughter, named Madeleine, but this was the last of the wine.
One day Rosie fell down in our front drive as we were going out and after that she was unsteady on her feet. A few weeks later she lost her balance right in our apartment, sat down rather hard and fractured her pelvis. It was quite painful for her before the fracture was mended. Rosie never complained but she became rather withdrawn and I believe that the scars of the stroke she had some five years back were breaking down. I think she must have had a recurrence of strokes, for one night she was sleeping at my side and next morning she was gone. The date was 7 July, 1994, three days after her 72nd birthday, and we had been married just over 52 years. Isaac Lim spoke at the wake and Noel Goh at the cremation. Rosie’s ashes rest in Mount Vernon Crematorium, No.263/93. There is room in the niche for my urn.
Through sheer inertia my life goes on without my better half; but it has not been so much fun. On my 75th birthday in January 1995,I decided to forego a birthday party, but instead, to hold a Rose Memorial Tournament to which old FIDE friends would be invited. Tan Chin Nam kindly agreed to be a joint host of the event which we held in the Hotel Sucasa in Kuala Lumpur. Giam Choo Kwee won the Rose Bowl with Campomanes the runner-up; among the competitors were Tan Chin Nam, Matsumoto and Sun Lianzhi and I felt it was a fitting conclusion to the story of Rosie-Ann.

6:3 Golden Wedding!

The great event of 1992 was, of course, the celebration of our 50th wedding anniversary which we had to hold in Penang so that Su Chong could attend.

Note: Because he went AWOL near the end of his military service, Su Chong had been posted ‘Arrest on sight’ and could not enter Singapore without risk of imprisonment! The story was rather sad. Su Chong had returned from Canada after taking his degree in medicine at Edmonton. He had also married Judy Goodwin, a Canadian girl who had taken a degree in Physical Education. After his basic military training Captain Lim Su Chong was posted to Sports Medicine but Judy could not get any employment in Phys. Ed., and moreover, she was not able to settle down to life in Singapore. Judy wanted to go back to Canada and Su Chong decided to go back with her without finishing his national service. The really sad part of it was that Judy divorced Su Chong after all. A couple of years later, Su Chong found another partner in Joanna Reaville, settled in Calgary and became a Canadian citizen.

We got a chalet at Tanjong Bungah and had a festival of music on the theme of Rosie and Ann. Each of our five children played a part in the narrative and the final group photo lacked only three grand-children who were unable to attend. Chong Eu, who was Best Man at our wedding was a guest of honour.

Rosie had mentioned something about celebrating our golden wedding in church but I was cool about it, not knowing what that would entail. Some weeks later, it chanced that Rev. Chiu Ban It, formerly Bishop of St Andrew’s Cathedral, was present at a Wednesday meeting in YY’s house. He was an old acquaintance and I told him about our Golden Wedding Anniversary in Penang. When on an impulse I asked him if he would bless our golden anniversary he said he would do better than that; he was qualified to conduct a wedding, we were in a house-church and he would marry us properly since we only had a registry wedding the first time. So, there and there, without anyone present being aware of what we were doing, Ban It led us through the questions and responses and the vows, “...till death do us part.” It is droll that Chong Eu and Ban It who were deadly rivals in their youth should jointly serve in our weddings fifty years apart.

6:2 Chairman again

Campo called me in the summer of 1990 and asked me to be a member of the Appeal Committee in the World Championship Match that was to be organized, half in New York and half in Lyon with a total prize-fund of USS3 million. After failing to topple Kasparov in Saville, 1967, Karpov had qualified again as Challenger to make a fifth K-K encounter. Campo did not turn up at all for the New York half of the match because he had a motor accident in Zambia in which his driver, the President of the Zambia Chess Federation was killed, and Campo was hospitalized for a week and was wearing a neck-brace for months afterwards. I had to write and deliver a speech for Campo at the Opening Ceremony and I was Chairman of the Appeal Committee in Campo’s absence.

Kasparov had earlier expressed his disagreement with the USSR Chess Federation which he thought (rightly) favoured Karpov by saying that he would play under the flag of the Russian Republic and not under the USSR banner, and the organizers had hoisted the Russian flag in the playing ball. A question from Karpov’s delegation faced me before the start of the first game: was the display of the Russian Republic flag in accordance with FIDE regulations? This was an easy question to answer for it recalled the question posed in Baguio 15 years ago, whether Korchnoi could use the flag of Argau, the SwissCanton where he resided. The Appeal Committee ruled that the Russian flag was not an official flag recognized by FIDE regulations and should not be displayed in the playing hall; further, neither player should use table flags as they would obstruct the spectators’ view of the board. The Soviet delegation did not see or pretended not to see that under the respective name-cards of the players below the chess-table, minature flags of the USSR and of the Russian Republic were painted. The first twelve games in New York were tied 6:6; in Lyon, Kasparov gained an early lead and held Karpovoff to win the match by 13:11 and retain his title.

Rosie enjoyed very much the visit to New York as the matches were staged in the Hudson Theatre right next to Times Square and we were lodged in the adjoining Macklowe Hotel. We did not get to see any Broadway shows but we took in a dinner show that featured Eartha Kitt whom we had seen thirty years earlier. It was nostalgic. In the two weeks interval between New York and Lyon, we made a flying visit to Su Chong’s family in Calgary. We were surprised in Lyon to meet Singapore’s Ambassador to France, David Marshall, who had come to speak to some Singapore school-children on a cultural exchange visit. David Marshall remembered us and invited us to visit him in Paris, saying he would put us up, so on the first opportunity we went by train to visit Paris.

When I mounted the train I was misled by a notice which said we should place our suitcase in the luggage compartment provided at the end of the carriage. When we arrived in Paris and I went to collect our suit-case, wefound it had been stolen. I had missed another notice that said passengers should watch their baggage. The notices were all in French, of course, and I was so proud that I understood the first, that I did not try hard to understand the second. So it was that we turned up at Marshall’s house without any change of clothing, stopping only on the way to buy some nightwear and under-clothes. What really hurt was that Rosie had packed her best Chinese gown to wear at a possible Embassy reception and it was gone with the suit-case. On the way back to Lyon, Rosie recognized Peter Brook, the producer of the Mahabharata, a celebrated epic then playing in Paris, in the carriage corridor, and complained to him that we had been unable to get tickets for his play. Without hesitation, Peter Brook told us to call his secretary and said she would give us a couple of tickets. This required another ride to Paris where we stayed just over-night after seeing the play. It was terrific and well worth the trouble.

Campomanes called me again soon after that and asked me to be Chief Arbiter of the second half of the Candidates’ Final Match in the Women’s World Championship between Alicia Marie(Yugoslavia) and Xie Jun (China) to be held in Beijing. As was often the case, no neutral country was willing to host the match of eight games, so it was played in February 1991, half in Belgrade and half in Beijing. In the first half Xie Jun led by 2½ to 1½, in the second half, in Beijing, Xie June won the third game after two draws to qualify as the Challenger. Later the same year, Campo asked me to be Chairman of the Appeals Committee in the Women’s WCM to be organized in Manila. Thus it was that in 1991, Rosie and I were present when Xie Jun defeated the Champion Maya Chiburdanidze to break the 62-year monopoly of the Soviets on the women’s world title. Later that year I was Chief Arbiter in the Men’s Interzonal Championship, and in 1992 I was Chief Arbiter again, of the Olympiads, both these events being held in Manila.

Soon after Xie Jun’s success, I got a call from Lee Seng Tee, brother of Lee Seng Ghee who was a Scout in my patrol when I was Patrol Leader. Seng Tee explained that his wife’s uncle, a former Minister in the Chinese government living in Beijing, had told him with enthusiasm of the success of a Chinese girl in international chess. Seng Tee wanted to encourage the Chinese in their efforts so he had donated a library to the Chess Centre (Qi-Yuan) in Beijing. Actually, Seng Tee had donated a large sum to endow a International Chess Foundation in Beijing (and made his wife’s uncle the chairman of the board of the foundation), the income from which was used for construction and further expenses of the library, including organization of international tournaments. The annual income from the endowment was about US$100,000, a great sum, especially as it was in foreign currency. I gladly agreed with Seng Tee’s request to advise the Chinese Chess Association on the books they should buy for the library. In fact, I had on my own, given some help to Xie Jun by getting a donation to buy her a lap-top computer. Hitherto, when she travelled to play chess, she had to carry two suitcases of books, mostly back issues of Chess Informant, all now available on hard disk in a portable. The Chinese Chess Association made me an Honorary Adviser, and I helped them organize the S.T. Lee Cup Open Tournament in Beijing with prize fund of US$16,600.

Lee Seng Tee subsequently called me occasionally to ask me about chess matters and I was invited to lunch at the Garden Club, an exclusive businessmen’s lunch presided over by Seng Ghee at one table for about fifteen Hokien speaking business friends, some carried over from his father’s time, and by Seng Tee at another table for about ten English speaking friends. The latter was English speaking because a co-host was Henry Eng, an American-born Chinese who had married Seng Tee’s sister and who spoke only a Cantonese dialect, apart from English.

CHAPTER SIX:
JOURNEY'S END
6:1 A Visit with Father Thames.

We closed our apartment and Rosie left for England before me. A few days before I was due to follow her I called Rosie and suggested that she should rent a boat for a cruise up the River Thames. This delighted her enormously, for Rosie had a passion for boats, as I knew, and when I arrived in London, I dumped my baggage with Sing Yuen (Sing) who had been working in London with Greys, an internationally renowned advertising agency, and we all went to pick up the boat. Rosie had rented a six-bunked river-cruiser, large enough to take Sing and her friends with us on a river holiday up to Reading, but she had failed to convey her idea fully to Sing for although a large party escorted us to the boat and we had a sort of picnic, Sing and her friends said they could not go with us because of their work commitments. It was rather of a blow to Rosie, but I did not see any problem in managing the boat with Rosie’s help. The driving instructions were simple: push the gear lever forward or backwards, and the boat followed accordingly; turn the wheel clockwise and the boat turned to the right, anti-clockwise and she turned to the left. After a couple of turns in the pool just outside the docks, I signed on as Captain of the boat - Rosie was my cabin-boy, deck-hand and mate. It was romantic.

I did not even ask for a map of the river as I knew we only had to go upstream to reach Reading where a good friend of mine, Cohn Kaplan, was Professor of Bacteriology at Reading University. I was told that I had to negotiate some 20 locks on the way to Reading, hut locks did not seem to present any problems: you wait outside the (down) lock-gates until they open and the boat(s)inside leave to proceed downstream: you bring your boat inside the lock and tie up; they shut the lower gates and let in water until the water level equals that up-stream; the upper lock-gate open and you exit and carry on. Each lock brought us two or three metres higher in the stream, and the mainstream went past at the side of the lock down an incline known as a weir that was not navigable. We went like this past a couple of locks, once tying up to await our turn while a boat in front of us cleared the lock first. Rosie enjoyed her deck-duties tremendously but was met with a tart retort when she called to the dock-hand as we went into a lock,
“Would you please pass this rope round your bollocks?”
“Not bloody likely,” was the reply. Rosie had meant bollards, of course.

I could see that the lock-gates were shut as we approached the third lock on our journey, so I drew alongside the wharf that was provided to let boats tie up. The wharf level was just alongside the wheelhouse of the boat, so I stopped the motor and stepped out on to the wharf .
“Pass me the rope,” I said to Rosie sitting on the wheel house just a yard or so away.
“Right-Oh,” she said and tossed at me the rope she was holding in her hand. Unfortunately, she tossed the rope upwards instead of laterally and the end of the rope landed in the water between us. After the initial contact with the wharf when I had stepped off, the boat was drifting away from land. I had visions of Rosie merrily sailing down the Thames, riding on the wheelhouse, not knowing how to control the boat in any way. I made a dash for the side of the wharf and leapt over the widening gap of a yard or more. My feet landed on the gunwales, my hands on the roof of the cabin, just missing the railings. I fell back into the Thames with a colossal splash.

Though I was weighed down by my leather jacket I was able to surface immediately and swimming to the wharf I was able to put one foot round the end of the wharf and hoist myself out of the water. It was lucky that I did so because the boat had drifted back to the wharf, driven by the current from the lock whose gates had just opened, and I might have been crushed between the boat and the wharf if I had been in the water still. Rosie jumped off the boat with the rope and asked me if I was all right. I could not answer, because I was in some pain, having wrenched my back in climbing on to the wharf. Rosie was wondering what to do next when a hitch-hiker named Steve Croydon appeared out of the blue, stepping on to the wharf from the bushes alongside.

“Can you help us tie up the boat, please?” Rosie asked him.
“Certainly,” Steve said and helped us tie the boat, fore and aft, while I got back my breath.

I was able to get about, but my back was hurting a bit and I was not confident about continuing the voyage on my own. On an inspiration I asked Steve, having learned his name, if he was free and if he would take us up to Reading, for a fee, of course. Steve said he would be delighted to do so. 1-lewas a part-time labourer, competent with boats, and was uncommitted for the moment. I learned later that Steve’s father was a doctor in general practice, but rather than learn a profession, Steve had decided to earn a living using his hands. He was one of the last of the flower children, I thought to myself. Steve took us up the lock to the next stretch of the Thames near Hampton Court where we tied-up and had dinner after making a quick tour of the place. Steve was a vegetarian for a reason that I had never heard of before. He said that he would eat neither fish, fowl nor good red meat because man obtain such foods by exploiting other forms of life, trapping them or rearing them with an ulterior motive.

I did not sleep too well, but I got up early and made breakfast. When I went to call Rosie to breakfast she looked at me blankly and could not speak coherently. I knew at once that she had had a stroke in the night that was very likely a delayed reaction to the shock of seeing me dive in the river. It was lucky that we had Steve to give us a hand. I went to dial 999 for assistance, called Sing to ask her to come and help. When the ambulance came, I took Rosie to the neighbourhood hospital where the neuro-specialist confirmed that Rosie had had a stroke that affected her speech centre, not too badly as she was already able to say a few words. The specialist then insisted I should have an x-ray and told me that I had fractured some bones in my back. Rest in bed for both of you was his advice!

I arranged with Steve to return our boat to the hirers and went home with Sing. Rosie stayed in the hospital a week, by which time she had recovered her speech entirely and appeared none the worse for wear but I still had some pain in my back and could not lift anything. I decided we should go home as quick as possible, and both of us travelled first class by SQ so that we could lie flat (well, almost) when we slept. It was the first time ever that we travelled First! We asked for wheel-chair service and were whisked through immigration and customs at both ends. Su Min put us to bed in his apartment in Cavanagh Road where we stayed temporarily, as our Devonshire flat had to be renovated. Meanwhile a visit to the radiologist confirmed that I had avulsion fractures of two lumbar transverse processes (my back muscles had pulled so hard on the bones to which they were attached that they ripped the bones out). Rosie had a brain-scan that showed that a cerebral haemorrhage had destroyed an area in her left temporal lobe about two cm in diameter. “A hole in my head,” Rosie said with a shudder.

Few people believed that I had taken a dip in the Thames. It was truly a close call for me, but Rosie had an even closer brush with death when she was in Lucerne. Rosie had learned that the rear door of the bus where we exited did not close if one stood on the step and that the bus did not start if the door was not closed. One day, she changed her mind after leaving the bus and tried to get back on. Rosie just had her foot on the doorstep when the door closed because the indicator (a light beam about knee high) that someone was on the step was no longer interrupted. The bus door closed firmly on Rosie’s foot and the bus moved off dragging her about ten metres along the road before the driver heard shouts from bystanders and halted the bus. Rosie sustained some bruises only, no broken bones, but she surely would have been killed if the driver had not stopped the bus in time.

It took us a few months to regain our confidence and to re-install ourselves in Devonshire Court. We found then that in our absence our family ranks had been thinned. Grandma Yin who had been living alone in Pasir Panjang had passed away, and so also had Sai Soo. My Aunt Ena who had been living apart from her husband was also no more. Aunt Ena had helped to take care of me when I was a child in Kulangsu, and in my teens had more than once taken an interest in me, her last effort being to get me acquainted with Rosie. In the summer of 1989 I decided to take a trip to Puerto Rico, via the Pacific, to attend the World Youth Chess Festival for players of Under-10 to Under-18 as Coach and Manager for Singapore’s young hopeful, Hsu Li-Yang. After the Under-18s, Li Yang and I went on to Tunja, Columbia (drug-barons’ country!) for the World Junior (Under-20s) Championship. It was a great experience for Li-Yang who not many years after became Singapore Champion as well as an International Master. Rosie did not go with me to Puerto Rico. She branched off at San Francisco to visit Su Chong in Calgary, Alberta, where he had settled with a wife (Joanna) and two children (Jacqueline and Alexander). I joined them after Tunja and brought Rosie home.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

5:4 Lazing by Lake Lucerne.

The above lay in the future as we returned from Manila to Lucerne and I occupied myself with the work of the Secretariat while Campo went globe-trotting being the FIDE President. In between dealing with the K-K Matches, I helped to organize the Olympiads and FIDE Congresses as well as meetings of the Executive Council in various parts of the world: New York, Alicante (Spain),Timisoara (Rumania), Tunis (Tunisia), etc. In most of my travels for FIDE, Rosie was able to accompany me and to enjoy the hospitality, especially in the FIDE Congresses. She was a great help in these because I was so busy with my work as General Secretary that I could hardly have managed without someone to take care of my laundry and meals. She was also the most beautiful of all the wives of FIDE senior officials and was very popular with them.

After he had subdued the Soviets in the matter of Kasparov’s disqualification, Campo reached a mutual understanding with the Soviets in the organization of the world championship matches when the Soviets saw that they could benefit from large prize-funds only if Campo brokered matches outside the USSR, though time ran out for the Soviets by the end of the 1980s. But when we returned to Lucerne after Manila, another storm broke out, this time with the Americans, on account of Campo’s decision to award the organization of the 1986 Olympiad and FIDE Congress to the United Arab Emirates, in Dubai. Venezuela had been given an option by the Manila General Assembly to organize the above events and the Emirates had been given the second option. When Campo announced that Venezuela had abandoned its option and that the Emirates had exercised theirs and he had awarded the organization to them, few gave the matter little thought at first.

Note: When a national federation asks for the right to organize a FIDE championship, the General Assembly grants the federation an ‘option’ for a given period, say three months, by the end of which the federation is obliged to make a ‘firm offer’ with a deposit fee which would be forfeit if the offer is subsequently withdrawn. An option fee is also payable before the end of the Congress, and this is forfeit if the firm offer is not made.

When the Israelis were alerted to it and confirmed that they would not be invited to Dubai because the Arabs considered themselves at war with Israel, they made loud protests and gained the support of the Americans and most West European countries. Campo had done his home-work well, however, and though it took him many long hours of discussions in the 1984 Congress (Thessaloniki) and the 1985 Congress(Graz), he brought the Israelis round to acceptance of their fate because all had been done within FIDE regulations. Thus he averted a clash in FIDE that could have led to boycott of the Dubai Olympiad by a score of Western teams, and I was so impressed by his statesmanship that at the end of the Graz Congress I told him I would see him through the 1986 FIDE elections though I had given notice that I would resign after Graz. Since Campo terminated the 1984 match 1 had been aggravated by the abuse heaped on Campo by Western media led by Raymond Keene who averred that Campo had been summoned to Moscow by Karpov to save him, and having to answer the disinformation put out by Keene and his allies. I thought for the sake of my ulcer I should leave FIDE after Graz and let Campo find a new assistant for his 1986 election campaign but after he had succeeded in turning the Israelis around, I felt obliged to support him. In the event, Campo was elected FII)E President for a second term in 1986, and re-elected again in 1990 in Novi Sad. I resigned from FIDE, however, after the 1987 Congress in Seville and left Lucerne on March 30, 1988.

5:3 Dancing with Bears
If the Soviets had quietly taken the rebuke Campo administered them in March over the Hoogovens affair, they screamed “foul” in June when Campo awarded the organization of the Korchnoi-Kasparov Candidates Semifinal Match to the United States Chess Federation, in Pasadena, and the Smyslov-Ribli Semifinal Match to the UAE Chess Federation, in Abu Dhabi. Campo had chosen these venues in furtherance of his campaign promise to promote chess everywhere, but the first venue, particularly, did not suit the Soviets because they were about to boycott the Good Will Games in Los Angeles in revenge for the American boycott of the Moscow Games the year before, and it would not do at all if Kasparov was playing in Pasadena throughout the L.A.Games. Chess was a victim of the athletic Cold War, it would seem.

The Soviets said that the FIDE President had exceeded his authority by not giving full consideration to the players’ wishes and Kasparov would not play in Pasadena. As an after-thought, they added that Smyslov would not play in Abu Dhabi as the climate was not suitable. The Soviets had blundered badly, however. They had been familiar with the FIDE regulations for selection of venues for the World Championship matches in regard to the Karpov-Korchnoi matches, when each player had opportunity to object to this or that proposed venue. They did not realize that in regard to the Candidates’ Matches, for which organizers were difficult to find, the players were not given so much say in the selection of the venues, and the regulations gave the President the last word in this matter. Through the summer months, the Soviets vilified Campomanes in the media to try to get him to change the venues, and their allies bombarded him with telexes, but Campo would not blink an eye-lid. Came the scheduled day when Korchnoi solemnly sat down and started his opponent’s clock, knowing it was a no-show. Kasparov was declared in default and Campo promptly declared Korchnoi had qualified for the next round of the Candidates’ Tournament, the Candidates’ Final. When Smyslov also defaulted in Abu Dhabi, Campo named Ribli the other Finalist. The Soviets warned Campo that they would bring up the matter in the F1DE Congress and ask the General Assembly to rescind Campo’s decision.

The Soviet assault in the Congress was spear-headed by Cosmonaut Vassily Sevastianov, twice Hero of the Soviet Union, and President of the USSR Chess Federation, but Cold War tactics did not fash Campo at all. According to FIDE Statutes, the President had full authority to act for FIDE in between sittings of the General Assembly, and Campo had taken the precaution of securing the support of the FIDE Bureau (later the Executive Council) in all he did. Moreover, the Western delegates supported Campo because he had been trying to do something for the Americans, and the Third World delegates supported Campo because he had been doing something for the Emirates. Campo spent long hours in closed door sessions with the Soviets and finally convinced them that he had both right and might on his side. He listed the delegates and told Sevastianov how each would vote and invited him to sound out the delegates himself. The Soviets were aghast. In Garry Kasparov they had a potential rival and successor to Anatoli Karpov and if the General Assembly confirmed Campo’s decisions, Kasparov’s career would be set back for three years at least. They could not bear to learn what Kasparov’s god-father (his supporter in the Kremlin) would say. At last, they asked Campo what could be done, Sevastianov could lose his medals! Campo replied that he could “organize afresh the matches” if the parties concerned, meaning the players, the organizing federations and, of course, F1DE, agreed and were compensated for their expenses and loss of potential income. The terms of the agreement were never published and I did not know even the total amount involved, but it was not chicken feed. When the Semi-finals item on the agenda reached the floor of the Assembly, Sevastianov distributed copies of a telex from the Chairman of the USSR Sports Committee (in effect, the Minister for Sport) saying he hoped a misunderstanding had been eliminated and will not affect cooperation for the benefit of chess. Campo then distributed copies of his reply saying that since the USSR Chess Federation now understands FIDE President was empowered to decide venues of Candidates’ Matches... he would consider steps “to organize afresh” the Candidates’ Semifinal Matches. The matches were rescheduled in London and Kasparov and Smyslov duly beat their respective opponents to qualify for the Finals. Kasparov later beat Smyslov in the Finals held in the USSR and became the Challenger. Discussing with Campo in later years, the story of this and subsequent tussles with the USSR Chess Federation, I suggested the title, Dancing with Bears, an allusion to the title of a popular 1990s move, Dances with Wolves, featuring Kevin Costner.

Kasparov had barely six months to prepare for the title match with Anatoli Karpov scheduled in September 1984, and expected to end before the Olympiads and FIDE Congress in November in Thessaloniki, Greece. The expectation was not fulfilled, Karpov rushed to a 4-0 lead in the first 9games, then Kasparov found his feet and there were 17 draws which did not count before Karpov won a fifth game. Everyone thought the match was over as Karpov needed only one more win to retain his title but Kasparov hung on grimly with another four draws before winning his first game. Now with a 5-1 lead, Karpov pulled himself together, and there were 14 more draws. Meanwhile, after leaving the Match to attend the FIDE Congress, Campo returned to Moscow to discuss with the players how the match could be stopped. Both players accepted that it might be necessary to stop the match, notwithstanding the rule of “unlimited games”, but quite understandably, the players wanted different things and ultimately Campo declared the Match “ended without decision.” By this time, Kasparov had won two more games, so the score was 5:3 when the match ended and he believed that he could have won the match had it been allowed to continue. Campo said that there was no assurance whether the match could last another 1,2,10, or 20 more games, but his decision made Kasparov his enemy and Kasparov vowed he would destroy Campo and FIDE with him.

This is not the place to tell the story of the Five Crowns as Yasser Seirawan described the matches between Karpov and Kasparov. Suffice it to say that Campo rescheduled the terminated 1984 match with new rules in 1985: best result over 24 games, counting draws as ½: ½, and Kasparov won it. There were five K-K matches in all, with Karpov qualifying to be the Challenger each time he failed to win back his crown, but after the 5th K-K Match, Nigel Short of England became the Challenger in the world championship match scheduled for 1993. This was Kasparov’s chance; he resigned from the USSR Chess Federation which had fallen on difficult times with the dissolution of the Soviet Union and persuaded Nigel Short to reject the offer of Manchester City to host the World Championship Match. Kasparov then formed the Professional Chess Association to organise a PCA World Championship Match in London in 1993 with prizes provided by computer giant Intel. Campo declared both Kasparov and Short in default and said that Jan Timman and Karpov who had both lost to Short in the Candidates’ Matches would replace Kasparov and Short in the (FIDE) World Championship Match. This was played, half in Holland (with myself as Chief Arbiter - see later) and half in Jakarta, Indonesia, with the minimum prize fund stipulated by FIDE that Campo somehow scraped together. Karpov won the match and became the (official) World Champion.

Thus it was, that in 1994 there were two world champions, not as bad as in boxing where there were three! Intel did not like that at all though they supported the PCA in a number of great tournaments. They told Kasparov they preferred to deal with the “official” world champion, and that he should get his act together, and this resulted in a final twist in Campo’s dance with the bears. The Greeks who had been granted the right to organize the 1994 Chess Olympiad and F1DE Congress did not fulfil their obligations and FIDE had to call for new bids to organize these events. Kasparov, who was in Russia at that time got the Russian Chess Federation to organize the Olympiad with barely over a month to get things ready. Then, when Campo arrived for the FIDE Congress, Kasparov put a strange proposal to him. Campo had long declared he would not run for FIDE President again (he was much disappointed by the feeble help he got from FIDE officials in organizing the Timman-Karpov match), but KasparoV asked Campo to run again. Kasparov said that he had no confidence in any of the three candidates who bad been nominated, as required by FIDE, three months in advance for election as FIDE President. FIDE was bankrupt, Kasparov said, but he could bring sponsors to FIDE if FIDE would forget the past and organize a “re-unification match” between him and Karpov for the real world championship title, and Kasparov believed that only Campo could do that for him. Campo was entranced by the notion of being a key player once more and decided to co-operate though I advised him against it. With Kasparov’s support, Campo got the General Assembly to change its electoral regulations so that he could be nominated, then won the election against Kouatly (France),the sole candidate that remained.

The French delegate Claude Loubatiere had asked me when we chanced to meet at the opening of the Congress if Campo would run for President as rumoured, and how he could do that when FIDE regulations required nominations for President to be made three months in advance. I told Loubatiere that in the many years I had worked with Campo he never once contravened FIDE regulations, and if he ran and was elected it would be done legally. After Campo’ s election I saw Loubatiere standing outside the conference hail and looking very glum.
“There you are, Claude,” I said to him, “everything done legally.”
“Legal,” Loubatiere snapped, “but wrong,” and I suppose he had a point there.
Though Kasparov planned the Re-Unification Match as being played between himself and Karpov, he had committed himself to play defend his PCA title against a Challenger that qualified through PCA Candidates’ Matches. His opponent was Anand of India whom he defeated to retain the title. In the FIDE Camp, Kamsky of US (he had emigrated from USSR before the fall of the Soviets )had qualified as Challenger and it was well into 1996 before the FIDE World Championship Match was organized and won by Karpov. In the meantime, it had become clear that Kasparov was unable to get backing for the Re-Unification Match and told Campo it was off. Faced with this in the 1995FIDE Congress in Paris, Campo told the General Assembly he was resigning because he had been elected to organize the Re-Unification Match, and proposed as his successor, Kirsan Iljumzhinov, President of the Calmic Autonomous Republic (inside Russia) as his successor. The General Assembly reluctantly agreed, for there was no viable alternative, and left it to the 1996 FIDE Congress in Armenia to settle the issue.

5:2 Lucerne, 1982.
When we arrived in Lucerne for the Olympiad, I found Campo campaigning vigorously for election as FIDE President, his platform being to truly internationalize chess because he felt that FIDE was too Euro-centric. Campo wanted more participation of third-world countries in FIDE affairs and in organization of FIDE events.

The incumbent President was Grandmaster Fridrik Olafsson of Iceland who had succeeded Dutch President Max Euwe in 1978, and who had left the FIDE office in Amsterdam. Since Olafsson was commuting between Iceland and Holland he left much of the management of FIDE to FIDE General Secretary Ms Ineke Bakker. It was natural that Olafsson depended a great deal on Ineke Bakker in his campaign for re-election, and in her enthusiasm, Ineke said some harsh things about Campo that she probably should not have. She said, for instance, that Campo had bought the votes of third world countries when he donated books and chess equipment to them through the Commission for Assistance to Chess Developing Countries (CACDEC).

There were three presidential candidates, Olafsson, Campomanes and Bozidar Kazic of Yugoslavia. After the first ballot had eliminated Kazic, Campo won the second ballot by a good margin. It was F1DE practice that on the day following his election the President-elect would inform the General Assembly who was to be his General Secretary and the Assembly would show its approval with a round of applause. As we celebrated Campo’s success in his hotel suite, Campo went to find Ineke Bakker to ask her if it would be all right if he nominated her for the post of General Secretary the next day. After some little time, Campo returned and blurted out, “Ineke says she won’t continue as General Secretary!” In retrospect, I imagined that Ineke had told Olafsson’s supporters that she would never work for the “opposition”, and felt obliged to vacate her office, at least for a while, sort of hara-kiri by a vassal when the Shogun dies.

When Campo had recovered his breath he started to draw up a list of candidates for General Secretary. No one was indispensable in his view, and he would show Ineke Bakker he had more than one string to his bow. In short order, he recruited by telephone some FIDE personalities for this purpose: Grandmaster Raymond Keene of England, Bozidar Kazic of Yugoslavia and Roy Clues of Wales, then turned to me.
“And you, too, Lim,” he cried, “you can do the job too.”
“Who, me”, I said in astonishment.
“Yes, you,” said Campo, “your wife would like to live in Europe, won’t she?”
“Yes,” I said, doubtfully.
“There,” cried Campo, “he has agreed.”
And so the next morning, when Ineke Bakker announced that she would be no more the F1DE General Secretary at the end of the Congress, Campo rose and said:
“I have four candidates for the post of General Secretary, all good people. They are Grandmaster Raymond Keene, Chairman of Commission for Information and Publicity, Mr. Bozidar Kazic, Chairman of Commission for Rules, Mr. Roy Clues, FIDE Treasurer, and Professor Lim Kok Ann, President of East Asia Zone. I leave the choice to the General Assembly, but my preference is for Professor Lim.”
You could have knocked me over with a feather!
In a flash, Raymond Keene was at the microphone: “I believe the President’s preference is an excellent one, and I stand down in favour of Professor Lim.”
Next at the mike was Clues who said, “I agree with the President that Professor Lim would be an excellent General Secretary and I stand down in favour of Professor Lim.”
All Kazic could say when he got to the mike was, “Me, also.”
I was rising to my feet to have my say when Campo fixed me with his eye and said, “You’re elected”. This remark drew a hearty round of applause which I guessed settled the matter. I quickly called Rosie (it was night-time already in Singapore) and told her I had been elected FIDE General Secretary, and asked if she would she mind moving to Europe. Campo had guessed right, for Rosie made no objection at all, only asking when.

Campo and I arranged with Ineke Bakker to meet her in Amsterdam two days after the end of the Congress and there we formally “assumed office”. Campo then left me in charge to learn the ropes while he went back to Manila. He was back within a fortnight and I returned to Singapore to arrange the transfer of my home to Amsterdam. By this time Sing Yuen was already in College, soSu Min agreed to put her up when she was not in the hostel, Su Hui had finished his National Service and had decided to sign up as a regular soldier as he liked the out-door life. He agreed, meanwhile, to help Rosie pack and to accompany her to Amsterdam for a holiday. I also made hasty arrangements to transfer my duties as SCF President to SCF Vice-President Tan Hoay Gie.

Rosie had a little adventure en route to Amsterdam with Su Hui. Travelling by Aeroflot to save money, they were confined to their transit hotel in Moscow for a day and half while waiting for the connection to Amsterdam because they had “transit” visas only and could only leave the hotel for tours provided by the airline. My good friend Dr. Eddie Ho Guan Lim, former Permanent Secretary in the Singapore Ministry of Health, and who had been appointed Singapore Ambassador to the Soviet Union, learned that Rosie was in transit, and used diplomatic influence to have them released for a visit to the Singapore Embassy. It was a great kindness on Eddie’s part for Ambassadors do not ordinarily take such trouble with people of small consequence such as a retired professor. When Rosie and Su Hui got to the airport the next morning they found that they had left their passports in the hotel safe and so had to miss the plane and return to the transit hotel with the prospect of doing the Moscow tour with other transit passengers a couple more times before getting on the next Amsterdam plane. In desperation, Rosie called Eddie Ho again and that worthy came and fetched them from the hotel and put them up in the Embassy until they could leave Moscow.

When I went back to Amsterdam to await the arrival of my family I brought my Apple personal computer with me and was soon writing letters and other FIDE circulars for Campo with it. By February, Ineke Bakker had finished writing up the minutes of the Congress as she had agreed to do, and she left the office to Campo and I. Her assistant also completed the calculations of FIDE ratings for the second part of 1982, and after this had been published, I was truly on my own. I was paid the salary that Ineke Bakker was paid, I forget how much, but I and other secretaries were the only paid staff in FIDE. In this regard, Tan Chin Nam remarked, “When you lay out pea-nuts, you catch monkeys only.” Campo did not receive any salary, but was reimbursed for his travel and hotel expenses plus a small daily allowance.

The first serious business that Campo had to deal with was a complaint from the Dutch Chess Federation that the Soviets (USSR Chess Federation) had pulled out of the prestigious Hoogovens Tournament at Wijk aan Zee at the last minute, saying that they had not been informed that Korchnoi -non persona grata with the Soviets - would be a participant. The Soviets had blundered, however, because the official who had accepted the invitation to send two Soviet grandmasters to Wijk aan Zee had over-looked that Korchnoi had been named among those who would be invited. When they discovered this, they thought it a good opportunity to let the world know that if Korchnoi played in a tournament, no Soviet player would. Nasty. After a report from a fact-finding commission Campo sent a memorandum to the Dutch and the USSR Chess Federations to say that the Soviets had clearly contravened FIDE regulations and “I severely reprimanded the USSR Chess Federation for this contravention.”

When Campo found that FIDE was paying rent for its office in Amsterdam he cast around fora sponsor who would subsidize FIDE’s expenses and found a sympathetic ear in the organizers of the Lucerne Olympiad, a non-profit company that described itself as the Lucerne Chess Organizers (LCO, actually, LSO in German). The LCO offered us free use of office space and an annual cash subsidy of SF.20,000. Though there were comparable offers from other places, Campo found Lucerne most congenial and so in June we moved our office to Lucerne. The Amsterdam office had been located on the fringe of Amsterdam’s red-light district. Our new office in Lucerne was located in an unused part of a girl’s finishing school, adjacent to the convent of the nuns who ran the school. From the canals of Amsterdam to the mountains of Switzerland. and from a red-light district to a nunnery in Lucerne! What a great change that was!. Rosie and I set up house in an apartment ten minutes by bus from the Secretariat. Sing Yuen paid us a visit and helped Rosie buy the heavy furniture some of which we eventually brought back to Singapore. There was an English speaking evangelist church just a few blocks from our apartment. The prime movers in this church were Luc and Murna Bigler. Luc was Swiss and a Quaker who was in constant trouble when he did his military service because he adamantly refused to carry a rifle. Murna was from New Zealand and we were familiar with the songs she brought from her home. I decided not to invest in a car, not liking to drive on the wrong side of the road.

Su Hui helped in the office for a little while setting up the computer program to calculate ratings and to publish them. This was a most important part of FIDE’s work for players everywhere depended on us to calculate their standings in the world rankings. In 1984, the US Chess Federation agreed to calculate and to publish the FIDE ratings, thus relieving us of quite a labour and some expense. In 1985 the rating work was transferred to Yugoslavia, but by 1988, Campo decided that we had to engage a staff member and do the ratings ourselves. Campo hired a local, RoIf Kaiser, who could answer the phone in French and German as well as in English, and translate correspondence in these languages. Irma Largoza from Manila joined the Secretariat to help with correspondence in English and with the accounts. We were busy getting ready for the FIDE Congress scheduled for Manila in October 1993.

Note: FIDE Ratings were invented by Arpad Elo of USA. Players’ ratings changed according to their results in international tournaments reported to FIDE and the new rating lists published every six months were eagerly awaited. The highest rating in July 1994 was Anatoli Karpov’s 2780, same as Bobby Fischer’s best. Some years back, Kasparov made 2800. The lowest rating is 2005.