Caissa Hong Kong Chess Club

chess in hong kong

Welcome to the New Season

August 19th, 2015

Welcome back all! We are about ready for the start the 2015-16 season. First lessons commencing on Saturday 22 August.

We do have some changes though. After 3 years of experience, we now have a better feeling of what works. As such we have decided to discontinue the membership system for only playing on Saturday in DB from 1.30pm.

Instead of membership, we will focus on increasing quality of play so our students remain interested as they learn more. We have occasionally seen interest go down with members who only play once a week for an hour and thus make no motivating progress. We will simply follow many other activities or sports like musical instruments, football, rugby or tennis where training is an integral part of the activity, before and during competition – in fact, no competition when no training seems a healthy norm.

While from September 2015 on we will thus focus on training we will also introduce a “Last Saturday of the Month” (in DB) and “Last Sunday of the Month” (in Sheung Wan) competition, only for our students enrolled in a course. Our students will thus, on a monthly basis, still be able to practice what has been learned. Saturday DB students can participate in the Sunday SW competition and the other way around. Private students or students at other locations can join also in both the DB and the SW last week of the month competition. We will give out small prizes like a trophy or medal for each such monthly competition.

All our students will be entitled to the discounts for Caissa events that were given to members previously.

Note finally that classes will start in August but only on Saturday and Sunday as per last year’s schedule. From September on we will start with a more extensive schedule which will also include weekdays after school both in DB and SW.

The tentative training schedule is already online  and we aim to have the finalized training schedule for September finished by the end of this week. In the meanwhile I hope to start seeing some of you already this weekend!

Summer Holiday Schedule

July 15th, 2015

beach photo

During the summer holiday we have following adjustment to the regular schedules:

Discovery Bay

  • From Saturday 18 July to 15 August closure and no competition from 1.30pm-3pm
  • Note: on 18 July & 25 July the morning classes at 10am-11am and 11am-12nn are still held

Sheung Wan

  • 1 August – 16 August full closure


Start of new season 17 August – all lessons and competition resume from then!!!

The Recent Changes with HKCF – We Are Positive

March 9th, 2015

Now that 3-4 months have gone by since the HKCF got refreshed after well over a decade of an unchanged previous regime, we would like to take stock for a moment. This is an important matter for us and others who see chess as their sport/activity because the functioning of a sport’s federation is crucial for progress, if not merely sustainability of the sport.

As a start it must be clear that in any situation where leadership has remained unchanged for close to 2 decades, run by the same people in all leadership functions, unchallenged for years even after multiple constitutional breaches as surfaced in the last AGM, it is difficult for a new Committee to root quickly. Succession gap, either organically grown or by design. Echoes of vested powers. Confusion with audiences. You name it. The current Committee still needs time to sort out many things, if not only balancing the chemistry of the individual members in a group who had never had the change to work together.

Of course it is a key crucial role of the President to deal with internal polemic and try to bind the new members and help bridge different points of views – and keep those indoors. And it is the role of each Committee member to sort out individual differences at Committee meetings and be a united team towards the public – as is the case in any professionally run organization.

Despite that this Committee needs to grow a little further here, especially when it comes to uniting internal diverse perspectives and how these are expressed to the public, which will surely happen with time, we see that this Committee is well on track to establishing various positive changes:

  1. Hygiene factor: (a) the Monday QES venue is bigger and we have more people playing in a good atmosphere; (b) a web site with up to date information with links that work; (c) all games played in the Prelims playable/downloadable as PGN.
  2. We have a delegation of some 10 youth representing Hong Kong in the upcoming School World Championships. This is in steep contrast with previous world or regional championships (Maribor World Youth 2012, Halkidiki World Youth 2013, ASEAN 2013, Al Ain World Youth 2013) where our youth players were the singletons from Hong Kong if not for their parents. We know about these above tournaments because the players are Caissa members and there were surely also some other tournaments where HK youth went. But as no public announcement on results have ever been made by previous HKCF we have no clue how these went.
  3. The National Arbiter course already has and will further expand the arbiter base from a select controlling few to over a dozen more. More (than the max two organized by previous HKCF) FIDE rated tournaments can now be held, also by other persons/parties who need not be Committee members, and more of our players will find motivation in improving their rating. This is an important break-through as we, Caissa, ourselves have had first hand experience to overcome the absence of support when we wanted to organize the FIDE Trainer course in Hong Kong to increase accredited trainer base by some 10 trainers, away from the good-old status quo of less than a handful trainers – with the exception of one, all of them HKCF Committee members.
  4. Rating system: although this is being reviewed for further refinement, especially in light of most active players in Hong Kong by now already having a FIDE rating (the preferred rating) showed great ambition and this work will not be wasted if it can be introduced not for its own sake but as a meaningful supplement to FIDE rating. Up to the Committee to decide.
  5. We understand from latest web entries that there is a calendar at this moment forward looking only until halfway June with a National HK Rapid and a National HK Blitz championship. That is truly great news for us – which cannot be understood by chess players from ‘spoiled’ countries where such events are simply table-stakes for a federation to stay in power.

We hope that the HKCF, despite internal Committee calibration efforts ongoing as a natural fact of the power vacuum as described above, feel encouraged to continue on this track.

Well done so far!

Hong Kong Chess Federation Starts Refreshing

January 5th, 2015

After the 11 December AGM the new Committee started ambitiously with various enhancements.

To start with, the new web site is up to date with useful information about the Commitee Members and their respective roles. The new President Dr. Hon Ki Tsang amicably articulates in his welcome message both appreciation for the former Committee members as well as his ambition for the future.

The changes in just over 3 weeks time are promising: we even have a national rating list. To create a starting list like this after a decade and more in which this highly important area was completely neglected deserves is an admirable effort. Well done!

GM Raymond Keene OBE Visits Caissa for Speech on Sochi and a Simul

November 20th, 2014

We have had the honor of some of the world’s chess best visiting our club already a couple of times. Women World Champion GM Hou Yifan held a simul earlier this year. Both Junior World Champion GM Alexander Ipatov and trainer GM Efstratios Grivas, Secretary of the FIDE Trainers Commission, visited us for simul and lectures as well. Another top trainer, GM Dimitri Komarov, visited us casually but unfortunately due to the visit of a Super Typhoon, there were very few left to meet him.

This time, on December 7, after our Blitz Tournament (you can still enrol!), GM Raymond Keene will be visiting us in Sheung Wan for a short speech on his view of the 2014 World Championship Match in Sochi between Anand and Carlsen – after which he will give a simul too.


Raymond Keene Visit Caissa on 7 December 2014

Raymond Keene Visit Caissa on 7 December 2014


GM Keene is a veteran in the chess world with an enormous track record.

As a player he was British Champion and European Gold Medalist and he represented his country in the Olympiads several years. Among his personal bests in chess displays, challenging multiple opponents at the same time, are the 107 simultaneous opponents at Oxford in 1973 where he won 101, drew 5 and lost one, and Leon, Mexico, 2013, defeating 17 opponents simultaneously without sight of the boards or pieces! Note that GM Keen is one of the co-founders of the World Memory Sports Council (HK Local branch is here:

As an organizer he was involved in various world chess championships and as an author he has (co-)written many chess articles and over a hundred of chess books.

GM Keene will hand out the prizes of our Blitz tournament on 7 December and he will also hand out the prizes to the YGP1 prize winners.

Register now to to attend his speech and play a simul against him, starting from 5pm (finishing 7pm).

Rectification HK Junior Championship

November 5th, 2014

Rectification to the previous entry:

It came to some people’s attention that although there has not been an announcement on the HKCF site, another website, of Hong Kong Junior Chess Club (HKJCC), is open for registration of HK Junior Chess Championship 2014. The website uses its own logo and it does not mention HKCF.

When it comes to representing Hong Kong in FIDE tournaments based on the event, we note that there is a difference in the notes of 2014 flyer issued by HKJCC with the flyers of previous years issued by HKCF and HKJCC as below:

2014: “The HK Juniors Chess Club would support all winners to represent HK in the corresponding junior international events……”
2013: “All winners may have the priority to represent HK in the corresponding junior international events…….”

We asked Jackson Li, President of HKCF some questions, to please:

– 1: clarify the relevance, if any, of these differences for the players
– 2: explain what the relationship is between HKCF and HKJCC
– 3: in that context, confirm that HKCF is the only organisation which can nominate both junior and adult players to represent HK in the FIDE tournaments organised by FIDE and the Federations of other countries

In response we learned that historically the HKJCC Championship was founded by Ms. Ho and only later run under the HKCF support. This year Ms. Ho decided to go on her own and that’s why that event no longer has HKCF endorsement.

Answers to the concrete questions were as follows:

-1: Previously, winners had priority to represent HK and now not.
-2: The relationship between HKCF and HKJCC is just like HKCF and Caissa; while HKCF respects the efforts of various clubs in promoting chess, HKCF do not have any preferential terms over one and another.
-3: HKCF is still the only organisation that can nominate both Junior and adult players for FIDE events.

We are making a fuzz out of this because:
1) there is a strong impression among public that this is an official qualifying tournament – which it is not, it is not even endorsed by HKCF;


Information on Ms. Ho's website gives the idea there is an official status to HKJCC tournaments

Information on Ms. Ho’s website gives the idea there is an official status to HKJCC tournaments


2) because of this impression some events had been cancelled, like the HK-Macao Interport because of the wrong reasons – trying not to clash calendars. In that sense the late notice of all HKJCC organized tournaments is disturbing – but now less so as these tournaments are not any more official than e.g., the upcoming Quarry Bay School Junior Star (9 Nov) event, the Active Kids Novice (16 Nov) tournament or Caissa Rapid and Blitz tournaments (29 Nov and 7 Dec).
3) Ms. Ho is the HKCF Juniors coordinator and we find this set-up a serious breach around managing conflict of interests.

Whereas in our previous entry we recommended U13 and U17 to join the HKJCC tournament we take back this recommendation and invite players of that age group to freely choose between HKJCC or DB Rapid on 29 November as both are not officially FIDE qualifying events without any official status, however, the DB rapid is a Youth Grand Prix qualifing tournament for U14 to get a fully sponsored trip to a prestigious international tournament. Don’t miss it out!

Macao Chess Federation 2015 Chess Calendar

November 3rd, 2014
Macao Historic Center

Macao Historic Center


As any proper Federation the Macao Chess Federation has planned their 2015 activities well ahead and shared this with us.

Hong Kong adults and youth can play in any of these tournaments, however, to represent Macao in an international event requires a Macao ID. Fair enough, of course. For Hong Kong youth (and adults) and Macao players it is in itself already a good experience to play against different opponents.

Registration is on the spot around 2.30pm and play starts around 3pm. If you are interested to join any of these events let us know or go straight to the City of Dreams to register.

The Interport between Hong Kong and Macao (planned in November but cancelled because the Hong Kong Chess Federation still hasn’t announced when it will hold the Hong Kong Youth Championship in November) is going to be rescheduled to beginning 2015.

Hopefully the Hong Kong Chess Federation will also produce a calendar for 2015 so we can work around their planned events efficiently.

GM Amonatov cancels visit due to Hong Kong Demonstrations

October 15th, 2014

Farrukh Amonatov have let us know that taking into account the worries of his family about the situation in Hong Kong he decided to cancel his visit.

Although the situation is getting better and we do not foresee any problems we understand and respect Amonatov’s decision. All players who have registered for any of his events 6-8 November will be refunded before the end of this week.

We look forward to working with Amonatov and other top GMs in the future.