Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Another break from chess

I received a piece of not-so-welcoming news this afternoon. An email from a friend and former Ban Hin Lee Bank colleague who is now working as the editor of the Star Two section of The Star newspaper. Harbinger of bad news, he turned out to be, but it was his duty after all. A short message to tell me that the chess column in the Friday edition of the newspaper will be discontinued with effect from 2 Mar 2012. Terrible news, he admitted to me, but the newspaper was considering its editorial content and well, specialised columns like chess would likely be among the favourites to be reviewed first. Despite, of course, that the chess column remains well read around the country with even an overseas audience.

But it's okay, the last four years have not been that bad. Although I might have slogged a bit more in churning out my chess essays, I am actually proud to admit that I had made so much more inroads to make the stories more interesting and gripping for my readers. Some readers and acquaintances actually asked whether I was there, overseas or local, to see the action for myself. That, I would take as a compliment for my work. If people can believe that I was there to witness a chess game up close, it means that I had convinced them enough through my output.

In the last four years over a course of about 200 weekly columns, I must had added the weight of another 240,000 words to The Star's library. The last I estimated, until 2006 or 2007, my output was already about a million words. But unfortunately there is no way for me to actually confirm my exact output.

So that's it, my dear chess friends, that's it for The Star's chess column. I don't know whether there is any going back to the newspaper soon. It may be several more years before they have another round of editorial revamp. By that time, I wonder whether I'll still be able to write about chess activities or gone on to other fascinating aspects of life.

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