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 When our father passed away on 8 March 2003, he left behind an unpublished autobiography.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"

Saturday, February 14, 2009

General Secretary of FIDE
5:1 The Chess Olympiads
Singapore first took part in the Chess Olympiads in 1968 (Lugano, Switzerland), then in1970 (Siegen, Germany), 1972 (Skopje, Yugoslavia) and 1974 (Nice, France).
Note: The term Olympiad actually means the four-year period between the Olympic games as celebrated in ancient times. FIDE was a member of the International Olympic Committee when it was formed in 1924, but when the amateur status of Olympic athletes became an issue, FIDE was forced to resign from the IOC. FIDE however, used the English term ‘Chess Olympiad’ to describe the two-yearly International team tournament, but the term ‘Chess Olympics’ is generally used in other languages.
We had a break after Nice because the 1976 Olympiad held in Haifa, Israel, caused a controversy between the Arabs and the Israelis; the Arab countries would not come to Haifa, but they organized, instead, a “Counter-Olympiad” in Tripoli, Libya, to which Singapore was invited. We did not want to appear to take sides by playing in Haifa or in Tripoli, so we abstained, which was a pity because both organizers had offered to pay for our air-tickets. Campo was wiser than us; he sent a team to Haifa and a team toTripoli. “We play chess anywhere” he said. We did not play in the 1978 Olympiad because the venue, Buenos Aires, was too far away for us, and we skipped the 1980 Olympiad in Malta because we were short of funds. The 1982 Olympiad was held in Lucerne, Switzerland and Singapore had a team again.
When I retired from the University, I told the Singapore Chess Federation that I wished to vacate the Presidency as well, and a new President was elected in my place. After a year, however, the new President resigned before the Annual General Meeting and I was elected President again, in my absence. I had to vacate my post at the end of the Lucerne Olympiad and did not serve as SCF President again.
Four players and two reserves made up an Olympiad team. The host country gave us board and lodging in a hotel the class of which depended on our status (it was not a level playing field) and we paid our air tickets ourselves. Most socialist and some third-world countries paid the tickets for their players; Singapore relied on private donors aided by tax-exempt receipts from the Sports Council. I played board No.2 in the first three Olympiads and Board No. 4 in Nice, and No. 6 in Lucerne. My score was always poor, 30% being my best result, I believe.
In the Skopje Olympiad, because of encouragement from Nikola Karakiajic who always came to the Olympiad as our honorary coach, we had a women’s team for the first time, namely Jane (later Mrs. Tan Lian Ann), Giok Chin (later Mrs. Giam Choo Kwee) and Mok Boh Peng.
I had my first serious relapse problem with my ulcer in Skopje and felt so bad that I had to abandon the team and go home. The airline Area Manager in Rome took one look at my face and gave me a priority connection to Singapore. Luckily there were no complications and rest in bed for a week put me back on my feet. Rosie did not accompany me on my chess trips at that time, she had to stay home and mind Su Hui and Sing Yuen. As related above, in 1974 Rosie brought Su Hui to Paris to meet Carleton, then with Sing Yuen joined me in Nice for the Closing Ceremony of the Congress.


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