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 When our father passed away on 8 March 2003, he left behind an unpublished autobiography.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

Sunday, February 08, 2009

4:12 FIDE Golden Jubilee
The World Chess Federation (FIDE) was founded in 1924 in Paris and in response to a call by FIDE that its affiliates should organize special events to commemorate its Golden Jubilee, I organized the 1st Asian Team Tournament in Penang. I was the President of our Zone (Campomanes was FIDE President for Asia), and I chose Penang for the venue because the Chief Minister of Penang (Dr. Lim Chong Eu) agreed to give us the Penang Town Hall as the venue along with other assistance, and my new-found friend, Dato Tan Chin Nam, the President of the Malaysian Chess Federation, had agreed to get the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Razak, to donate a Challenge Trophy. The Tournament went very well, I ran the tournament with the help of Tang Tuck Hing, one of my laboratory assistants who took leave for this purpose, and we published all games ready for distribution the day after they were played. Philippines, led by Eugenio Torre won the event.

Concurrent with the Team Tournament, the FIDE Bureau (Executive Council) held one of its quarterly meetings, and Campomanes organized a meeting of Asian Presidents for consultations on FIDE matters. China had been an inactive member of FIDE for a number of years, understandably so because of the social upheavals of the past few years. When I wrote to the Chinese Chess Association as President of our Zone to urge them to send a team and to attend the Asian Presidents’ meeting, they replied that they were not ready to send a team of players, but that they would be represented at the meeting by their consular officials in Malaysia. It was the first participation by China in a FIDE event, although only by proxy. This was the opening that Campo and I had been waiting for because we had agreed that our best hope of breaking the Russian strangle-hold on the world championship was to encourage the Chinese to take up “international chess” seriously. Chess was a part of the Chinese culture and it should not be difficult for them to adapt to the international rules.
The following year Campo led a large team of Philippines players in a Good-will tour of China and brought with him gifts of chess equipment and books. Philippines had somehow legally got round the copyright laws and had re-printed many chess books, including Chess Informant, a most valuable tool for the chess master. Ultimately the Soviet colossus was brought low, though not in the way Campo and I might have imagined. In 1991, 17 years after China first took part in a FIDE event (by proxy at a conference!) Xie Jun of China won the World’s Women’s Chess Championship, terminating 62 years of an unbroken line of Russian (Soviet, actually) champions.

The Chess Olympiads and FIDE Congress were held in Nice that year. Our team did modestly, occupying its usual place somewhere above the middle rankings. I was a reserve, but I spent most of my time in the Congress where Campomanes was elected FIDE Deputy President, and Tan Chin Nam a member of the Bureau. As FIDE Deputy President, Campo was Co-Chairman of the Commission for Assistance to Chess Developing Countries (CACDEC) and was able to win the support of many third-world countries with donations of books and chess sets, nominally from the Philippines Chess Federation, but in fact, largely from his own pocket.

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