It is now slightly more than a month into our new term of office since the SCF AGM and election of several new office bearers on 2nd August 2015.
On 5th August, I was deeply honoured to receive a letter from FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov congratulating me on my new appointment as SCF President. Subsequently, President Ilyumzhinov and I spoke over the phone and we shared a common understanding to work towards positive chess development in the world.
By 21st August, I had met officials from Sport Singapore (SportSg) twice to share our aspirations and how SportSg can lend their support to SCF.
On 29th August, the new Vice Presidents of SCF organized our first dialogue session [with parents and players] to gather feedback on Performance/Training matters.
During the past month, I have also had the opportunity to engage many stakeholders, including international ones. They are excited about the new SCF leadership and are providing feedback on how SCF and our chess community can better contribute to the global chess community. I am happy to report that thus far our experiences in engaging stakeholders have been positive.
Moving forward, I have identified the following 5 key areas that SCF needs to focus on:
1. The Current State of Chess in Singapore:
As the National Sport Association (NSA) for Chess, our most important task must be to examine the current state of Chess in Singapore - how we can further raise our Chess profile in Singapore and the current playing standards amongst players of all age groups. SCF's supporting role as an NSA in helping to further these goals should also be reviewed, together with any reforms deemed necessary to improve the present competitive Chess structure for players of all ages.
As many of you might already know, at the international level, SCF is a member of FIDE (the World Chess Federation) and although Chess is not yet an Olympic Sport, FIDE is recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the official body for this sport.
SCF as a FIDE-member is bound principally to observe the rules and decisions of FIDE that are binding on members on both regulatory and ethical matters. It is in this spirit that I hope to steer the federation.
At the local level, SCF is governed by the Registrar of Societies as a private society, and by the Commissioner of Charities as a charity with IPC status. Additionally, we need to ensure compliance with all local laws and regulations at all times. SCF is also recognized by SportSg and Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) as the official NSA for Chess. During my Presidency, I hope to co-operate and work closely with all local authorities on issues affecting governance of SCF as an NSA and a charity with IPC status.
3. Vision for the Singapore Chess Industry:
It is my hope that we can grow the Singapore Chess industry to create better and more employment opportunities for Singaporeans and local residents in this area. Worldwide the sport of Chess is experiencing a renaissance and we should try to capitalize on this to the benefit of the Singapore Chess community.
4. Shared Identity:
To examine how we can strengthen the bond between Chess players, parents, coaches, administrators and other stakeholders in Singapore.
5. Global Presence:
To examine how we can strengthen our global presence in Chess.
I have sensed eagerness among Council members and stakeholders to see reforms - especially among players, chess parents and trainers. I agree that reforms are necessary, but it has to be introduced gradually and constructively, in such a way that the fraternity can establish new frontiers and attain greater heights in the sport.
I therefore appeal to you to join us for our very own 100-day Chess Singapore Conversation, which had begun on 29th August 2015. Besides dialogues and Focus Group Meetings, you should experience fresh approaches when interfacing with our federation. Subsequently, it is my hope that you will also see the establishment of new Sub-Committees where you will be invited to play your part in implementing reforms.
As your new President, I am committed to giving my best to facilitate and support the aspirations of our Chess people. This is possible only if you participate too, and both stakeholders and Council members work as ONE.
Do give me your patience and work with us.
For Chess. For the Glory of Singapore!
Yours very truly