Arman wins the 2017 Club Championship

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After six rounds of play, my son Arman takes home the 2017 Kingston Chess Club (KCC) Championship, with 5/6 points. He had only ONE loss against Sid Anjilvel, but won against stronger opponents like Frank Dixon, Sudhir Pokhrel and myself. He also beat John Lukezich who performed well this tournament, beating both Jake Van Rooy and Dave Gordon. Naturally, Arman also ended up with the biggest improvement if CXR Chess Rating points.

Complete results are here: http://www.cxrchess.com/tournaments/WC1025.html

I, on the other hand, finished with 4/6 points. In addition to losing to Arman, I also lost to Jake Van Rooy, who turns out to be the 3rd seed (and I’m the first seed, based on CXR Chess ratings). I guess I’m a little rusty. I didn’t make much attempt to book-up, but it was still a pretty good tournament for me.

I actually enjoyed my game against Van Rooy. He plays just like me, preferring the Hypermodern philosophy, where we allow the opponent to occupy the center, and then try to break down the center from the flanks with stronger pieces (like bishops and knights). But seeing as we both played the Hypermodern style, the 4th and 5th ranks were relatively unoccupied through most of the middle game. More

QuickSchools in Review

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I have been working with QuickSchools for close to 8 years now. The journey has definitely been interesting, as I reflect back on our accomplishments over the years. Here’s what my journey has looked like so far:

Year 1 (2009-2010)

My first day at QuickSchools, we only have a handful of early adopters to our name, and I’m tasked with onboarding these schools. We launch the product in August, and hit the conference trail hard to try and get more customers, all the while looking at the market on what to develop next.

Year 2 (2010-2011)

With the help of our customers, we improve and release new features, like the Student and Parent Portals. We continue to hit the conference trail hard in search of new customers. Around this time, we hone our target market to smaller schools, and my role as Account Manager slowly evolves to Head of Support, which incorporates an element of Product Development (mainly because I spend a lot of time speaking with customers).

Year 3 (2011-2012)

We continue to see growth year-after-year. We open our new office in Sunnyvale CA. We start work on transitioning QuickSchools from Flash to HTML5. And we begin to focus less on conferences and more on online traffic. We transition our website to Weebly, we start split testing, and spend more on online marketing campaigns. We launch our “Teacher of the Year” marketing campaign. More

Chess for the New Year

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After a 2 and a half year hiatus, I’m back at the chess club for a tournament – the Kingston Chess Club Championship. The last time I was at the club was back during the 2014/2015 season.

We have quite a few new faces, and a few that no longer come. And there’s still quite the range of players, from beginner/intermediate, all the way to expert. Seeing as people are still on school holiday, turn out for round one was a little low, about 10 players on 5 boards, with one person taking a bye.

I was seeded third, so being in the first half of the draw put me with a lower rated player. It’s been a while since I played, so I relished having the opportunity to dust off the cobwebs, and start off easy. And since this was the first round, I didn’t know who my opponent was before hand, so I was not able to prepare before hand. I had to rely on my basic knowledge of openings.

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My first game was a good warm up. I played White, and started with the English Opening. I stayed true to the modern style, and let Black control the center, and then chipped away positionally with small advantages over time. There were moments where I had a strong initiative, but I wasn’t able to convert it to a tactical advantage. I was only able to fall back to a positional advantage once the attack sequence was complete. I also made sure to manage my time well. It was a slow game, but towards the end, the sum of all the small advantages led to a definite win. More

Thank you 2016

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Despite 2016 being a tough year, there were still quite a few things to be grateful for. After dinner on New Year’s Day, I took the family out to McDonald’s for some dessert. We reflected on the year. Photos on my smart phone were a good source for reflection. So as a reminder, I thought I’d post some highlights for 2016 down below (just the good stuff):

BBQ with Friends

We hosted several barbecues throughout the year. And although most of them have returned to Malaysia, we’ll hopefully host more in 2017.

 

 

Science Fair – April 1

 

Melur won second prize for the “Queen’s University Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Award”, while Arman won the Bronze Medal in the “Physical and Mathematical Sciences Division Award – Junior Age Category”. More

Good Bye 2016, Hello 2017

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I guess it’s important to reflect on your life every now and again. You can learn from mistakes made, feel good about accomplishments, and be thankful for the good (and the challenges) that happens in life… And what better time to do this, then at the end/beginning of the year.

The first time I heard the phrase “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger” was from the movie Trading Places, where Eddie Murphy’s character quotes German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche. Those words have been paraphrased many times – “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. And every time I hear it, it rings true to me.

This year in particular has been challenging both personally and professionally. Sure, it was not all bad. But it wasn’t a walk in the park either. I’d like to say I’ve emerged stronger from the experience, but I think I’m still reeling, not quite ready to regroup and start over (although I know I should).

Is this all a test? More

Why write a blog

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It’s been over 3 and half years since my last blog entry (basically when I stopped playing chess at the chess club). It’s been a pretty crazy 3 and half years. Some updates, which I hope to write about at some point in the future:

  • I bought and moved to a new place – a townhouse central to Kingston
  • My role within QuickSchools.com has evolved immensely. I’m now Head of Engineering (instead of Head of Support). This alone has provided me with a lot of interesting and difficult challenges personally and professionally.
  • I visited my brother’s family and sister in-law (on my wife’s side) in Houston. They moved to Houston just 1 – 2 years prior.
  • I took my kids back to Malaysia this past summer, to rekindle their relationship with their home country and their extended family
  • My brother came to stay with me for about a month and a half (first time one of my extended family members came to stay over). We had a chance to reconnect, where we realized that we were really never that close to begin with.

So back to why I write/keep a blog. Looking back at my previous entries, it’s like keeping a diary. I get to see not only what I’ve done in the past, but also my thought processes, changes in perspectives and motivations, as well as my goals and accomplishments. Facebook certainly does a good job of keeping track of my previous activities. Although it does allow me to reflect on the past, I haven’t quite utilized it as a means to record my thoughts and reflections. And the sheer volume of activity in Facebook makes it difficult to go back and look at previous posts. Hence, I think a separate blog would do a better job.

Anyway, to make a long story short, I’m gonna start writing again, and hopefully not just about chess, but on more personal subjects and reflections. And some time in the future, I’ll hopefully look back on this day and thank myself for making this effort.

Exploring Chess Openings

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Every chess season, I try to improve my knowledge of opening theory by trying out a few new openings. Opening theory is just one aspect of chess, and frankly, some might consider it the least important, compared to the Middle Game and End Game. The idea is, when playing with players of similar strength, the game is usually decided in the End Game (and sometimes the Middle Game). But my problem is that against tougher opponents, I usually find myself at a disadvantage out of the opening, and end up with an inferior end game. Some preparation in opening theory simply should not be dismissed. More

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