Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Chan Mun Fye

I just learnt of the demise of Chan Mun Fye yesterday. He would be about 67 years old. Mun Fye was a chessplayer who represented Malaysia twice at the Chess Olympiads in 1972 and 1974. (In this picture, that's him on the far left.)

At the Skopje Olympiad in 1972, Mun Fye was formidable enough to play on the second board behind Dr Foo Lum Choon and that was an indication of his relative stature among chess players in the country. He played 20 games (+6=7-7) and scored 9½ points.

Two years later at the Nice Olympiad, he displaced Dr Foo on the top board. Despite his magnificent efforts, he scored only 5½ points from 19 games (+3=5-11).

The year 1974 was about the same time too that I first got to know him from the Selangor Open events although our paths on the chessboard did not meet until decades later.

Yesterday, I read a moving tribute to Mun Fye in facebook. I would like to reproduce here the tribute by Doris Wong. It shed some light on a very private person.
He looked much older than his age. Hair all white, placid mien and toothless. He was never intrusive, shy and barely audible when he spoke. Walked in shuffling steps. For many years, he worked at a petrol kiosk. Gave no troubles and was often overlooked, overworked. Made to the night shifts. But he took it all in stride.

Never judge a book by its cover. He was quite sharp and a tough nut to crack at chess. A very simple fellow whose other passion is calculations of numbers. He was quite lucky in 4D. One time he struck special prize, first prize and was almost a millionaire (all within weeks of each strike)! He missed a single digit and so had to settle for second prize in Mega/52.

The last couple of years, a kind hearted philanthropist took him under his wings. All he had had to do was play chess with him. I heard he gently faded away last night. Rest in peace, Mun Fye. I shall miss you.
Yes, Mun Fye and I did meet eventually over a chess game. And of course, it had to happen two years ago at the Malaysian Chess Festival in Kuala Lumpur. Rest in peace, old chess warrior.

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