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 When our father passed away on 8 March 2003, he left behind an unpublished autobiography.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, March 07, 2009

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.


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