I was shocked on Sunday night to receive news that Fadzil had passed away minutes earlier. Just on the previous day, I was asking Yit San and Yit Ho whether they had any news of Fadzil’s recovery and I was hoping to see him next week at Sungei Siput for the 1st leg of the 2015 series of PCNP-KLK tournaments.
Fadzil’s passing is a real loss of a chess talent which was still blossoming. I had known Fadzil since he was just 9 years old. Back in the mid-1990s, Nayan Mahmud and his two older teenage sons were regulars at the monthly chess tournaments I organized at Ipoh. One day, Nayan brought along his youngest son to play. It was hard not to notice this small-sized skinny 9-year old boy beating older players. Nayan told me that he usually plays chess at home with his two elder sons and daughter, leaving out the still very young Fadzil. Then one day he asked the boy to play and was surprised that the boy could play and pretty okay too, and decided to bring young Fadzil along for his first competition.
Fadzil was a natural chess talent if ever there was one. Slightly more than a year later, I was there when Fadzil won the U12 Boys bronze medal at the 1997 MSSM Championship at MRSM Cheras. 10-year old Fadzil finished just behind 12-year old Aaron Yee (Gold) and 11-year old Jonathan Chuah (Silver). Fadzil did well purely on natural talent not having received any proper coaching.
In terms of higher level chess, Fadzil was a late bloomer. He made a quantum leap in playing strength while studying at the International Islamic University in his early twenties. Fadzil developed a smooth positional playing style to go with an already good eye for tactics. He was still improving when he made the senior Malaysian team and represented Malaysia at the 2014 Chess Olympiad at Tromso just a few months ago.
Fadzil is a 2-time Perak State Champion winning in 2010 and 2011. Yit Ho and Yit San have gotten to know Fadzil well having been in the same Perak team on numerous occasions and regularly crossing swords at the PICA KL Kepong – Tan Sri Lee Loy Seng series. Fadzil played almost every leg of this series the last few years and winning the overall Grand Prix title for the 3rd series in 2012 and 4th series in 2013. The 2015 PCNP KLK-LLS Grand Prix series will definitely feel different without Fadzil around.
Perak chess and Malaysian chess will definitely miss you, Fadzil.