Singapore Chess Federation leaders voted back in after heated meeting

Former Singapore Chess Federation president Ignatius Leong. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

At Wednesday's (Jan 27) heated extraordinary general meeting (EOGM) called to oust the current leaders of the Singapore Chess Federation (SCF), the incumbents kept their positions after voting gave them a clear majority.

Now, president Leonard Lau plans to personally reach out to stakeholders including players, parents and chess clubs to "improve the chess scene collectively".

Earlier this month, over 50 members called for the EOGM after a series of disputes between current and former council members.

Among the issues were how SCF handled a complaint from the National Chess Federation of the Philippines, including rejecting sanctions, with support of the World Chess Federation, that the Asean Chess Confederation (ACC) tried to impose on the Singapore outfit. ACC was then headed by former SCF president Ignatius Leong, who has since been forced to step down from both roles after being involved in a vote-buying controversy at the international level.

There were raised voices at Wednesday's meeting at a seminar room in Bishan Community Club, where the SCF is located, according to some who attended.

From the get-go, questions were asked of Mr Lau's initial decision not to chair the meeting - he eventually did; while others complained that some had been unable to renew their memberships in time for the vote.

Instead, they had to stay outside.

But when it came to decide on whether Mr Lau and other council members should go, around 60 per cent of the 137 members voted no.

Mr Lau said that he had not wanted to chair the meeting initially as he had an interest in the matters being voted upon. He also explained that the council held its last meeting to approve applications two weeks before the meeting, so members had time to understand arguments for and against the matters being debated.

"There are really no winners tonight," said an SCF member, who declined to be named, after the meeting, adding that disagreements could lead to members leaving the chess community. "I just want my children to play chess, pure and simple."

Said Mr Lau: "While there are opposing views currently which led to the EOGM, I strongly believe that everyone has the growth of the chess community in Singapore at heart."

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