One more day to the start of the QCD-Prof Lim Kok Ann Grandmasters Invitationals.

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The tournament will be held at Metropolitan YMCA (Palm Room), 60 Stevens Road, with the first round starting at 3.30pm to 8.30pm on 7th June. The opening ceremony will be held at 2.30 PM on the first day, and I know that top coach Junior Tay has prepared a moving tribute to Prof Lim Kok Ann – Singapore’s chess doyen who has touched many young men and women through the game. Junior’s earlier write-up can also be found on the tournament website here.

I was very young when I met Prof Lim, as I had recounted in an earlier post. In all my interactions with him over several years, he never once mentioned his signature works in microbiology, and I only learned of these after I became an infectious diseases physician, and also through his children whom I spoke to for the SG50 project.

He was however very proud of his billiards (or perhaps it was snooker) skills – subsequently I heard several independent accounts of how he used to beat students at this game when he was Master of King Edward VII Hall between 1961 to 1966. He was also very generous with his time and resources. I visited his residence at Devonshire Road a few times (my family used to live 2 streets away) as a teenager, and he would freely lend me his latest chess books and notes (some of which he ordered delivered from Germany and Russia). Chess (both within Singapore and internationally) – just like many other sports – had its share of quirky, incompetent, unscrupulous and corrupt players/officials but I have never heard Prof Lim complain about or disparage any of these persons. The closest he came to that – at least with me – was to remark somewhat cryptically that sometimes one had to keep a thief close in order to watch that person. Unfortunately, we no longer have such a prominent, high-minded and astute individual committed to developing chess in Singapore.

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