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Why Indonesia will be a super power in chess soon!

by Sagar Shah - 23 May 2017

While India and China are definite super powers of Asian chess, a country of around 250 million people is slowly galvanizing itself to carve out some of the best players in the world of chess. In this article we take you along with Jacob Aagaard to the Utut Adianto chess school in Bekasi, where you get to know what the current status of Indonesia chess is. Our guess is that in a few years they will have real world beaters. Final article on the Jacob Aagaard trip of Asia.

Jacob Aagaard and the Asian Adventure Part III

The final stop on the Asian tour for Jacob Aagaard was the country of Indonesia. After visiting the nation I can safely say that the people in that country are crazy about the game of chess! You can see people playing chess on the streets and the words Percasi (All Indonesian Chess Federation) and Utut Adianto are enough to get to safely through the immigration process! The love for the game is one of the prime reasons why people are so good at chess in Indonesia. They just keep playing, and keep getting better!

Jacob already indulging in a game of chess with the driver who came to pick us up at the airport!

All of you can recognize the great Garry Kasparov in the picture. But it's the other man who has brought a chess revolution in Indonesia. 

In the 90s Utut Adianto was one of the strongest players in the world. He has beaten Karpov, drawn against Kasparov and crossed swords against the best in the world. He is now 52 years old and holds the post of Senator in the Indonesian government, but that didn't stop him from playing the Olympiad in Baku and scoring 5.0/6! With a rating of 2566 he is still Indonesian number one. 

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting the man when we went to his chess academy in Bekasi. We spoke about chess in India, ChessBase India and much more, but it was too tempting to not do a small show where Adianto would show his favourite game!

"Well, there are many games," said Adianto, "but the one against Vadim Milov from Biel 1994 is one that I remember right now!"

This game against Milov is truly a masterpiece. By going over the game carefully you realize how different imbalances in chess interact with each other. When is it the right time to sacrifice an exchange and when can you make a move like Ka2, tucking your king in, even if you are materially worse. A player who can master all of these concepts is truly a great one, and that's what Utut Adianto shows in this masterclass.

While you download the files for the show, why not have a small think about what you would do in this position:


Adianto vs Milov, Biel 1994

White to play. What do you think Adianto played here?

Check out the ChessBase India show with Utut Adianto for the solution.

Adianto realized that in order to improve the level of the players in the country, he must setup training institutions. Hence, along with Kristianus Liem (left in the picture), late Machnan R. Kamaluddin and Eka Putra Wirya he formed the Utut Adianto chess school.

The main center of the Utut Adianto Academy is in Bekasi. The campus is divided into two parts. The building which has the training and playing hall... 

...and the one where chess players can reside and train

The huge and beautiful training room in the first building. This is also where Jacob Aagaard's sessions took place.

The other building has smaller training rooms like the one above

There are also rooms for players to stay and learn chess!

This is the room of Susanto Megaranto who trained at the Adianto academy for years and became a strong grandmaster

Chelsie Monica Shite in front of her room that groomed her into one of the top female players of the country!

This picture essentially encapsulates the Indonesian Olympiad team. From left to right: IM Farid Firman Syah, GM Susanto Megaranto, FM Novendra Priasmoro, FM Jodi Azarya Setyaki and IM Mohammad Lufti Ali.

Utut Adianto has the resources to build up a powerful chess community in Indonesia and he already has young and talented upcoming players as can be seen in the picture above. What is required is some serious training and high level of ambition and dedication that needs to be shown by the students. If that happens we will see Indonesia as a rising super power in not only Asia but World chess.

The Jacob Aagaard lecture in Indonesia

On the way from Singapore to Jakarta Jacob met a team of monks in the flight who have invited him to spread chess in Tibet. Seems like the next Asian tour is going to be more exotic than the first one!

Gado-gado is an Indonesian salad of slightly boiled, blanched or steamed vegetables and hard-boiled eggs (optional), boiled potato, fried tofu and tempeh, and lontong (rice wrapped in a banana leaf), served with a peanut sauce dressing. Be sure to try this when you are in Indonesia.

Jakarta is well known for its traffic. The distance from airport to Bekasi was just 60 kilometres but it took us nearly six hours! Suddenly Indian traffic starts to feel very nice!

We reached late, but Jacob was in quite high spirits seeing this huge poster!

The lecture was scheduled at 4 p.m. and it was already 7.30 p.m. but all the players had stayed back!

And so the tireless machine named Jacob Aagaard got to work! The first WIM of Indonesia Lisa Lumondong helped to translate the lesson.

White to play and your chance to win three months ChessBase Premium Account!

At the end of the first lecture Aagaard gave the players this puzzle. White to play. What would you do? The person who would find the right answer would get the book - Dynamic Decision Making in chess by Boris Gelfand. Well, I want all the readers who see this position to solve it carefully and hence ChessBase India will be offering three months ChessBase Premium Account to all the people who solve this position correctly. The answers have to be written in the comments section along with the explanation of how you found it.

The man who gave the right answer the next day and won the book!

The beautiful restaurant where we had...

...traditional Indonesian food sitting on the floor!

Jacob's training sessions ended and everyone enjoyed them a lot!

Woman power: (WGM when this picture was taken but now an IM) Medina Warda Aulia, WIM Chelsie Monica Shite, Stefani Dian Cherie, WIM Lisa Lumondong (mother of Jodi and women team manager at Baku Olympiad), and Amruta Mokal 

Jacob Aagaard was gifted a shirt by Peter Long with the Batik design by Batik Keris, a famous chain of traditional Indonesian clothing

At the mall Jacob encountered a cute little kid, whose unexpected move left Aagaard in a spot of bother! Check out the video below:

Hilarious, right!

Everyone is a millionaire in Indonesia! For Indians the easiest way to convert is to divide any Indonesian amount by 200. Hence, 100,000 Indonesian Rupiah comes to 500 Indian Rupees.

Bollywood is popular in Indonesia, especially Shahrukh Khan and I realized that everyone had seen Kuchi Kuchi hota hai (that's how they would pronounce it!)

The dream team who made this ambitious project of Jacob Aagaard in India and Asia come true!

The idea was simple: Jacob Aagaard is a great author and writer. People in India and Asia must learn from him and become better. Jacob comes down, works with them, charging very minimal fees and at the end of the day leaves a positive impact behind on the chess culture of all the players who attended his lectures.

Peter Long catching a nap during one of Jacob's lectures!

And I don't blame Peter for it! The amount of work he does is quite mind boggling. One day he is in Malaysia and the next day in Australia. He travels all over the world, but mostly in Asia, to ensure that chess develops and grows. He may sometimes come across as excessively sharp or rude, but he prefers to speak the truth. That's just the way he is. But the thing that I like about him the most is that he is always thinking about how to ensure that the game of chess grows! It was wonderful meeting you at such close quarters, Peter.

This trip witnessed start of new collaborations. Jacob and Amruta will work together on a project for Quality Chess. The details of it will be revealed soon! 

Aagaard's kind words about Amruta

This is what Amruta had to say about Jacob:

"Jacob Aagaard for me has been one of the most down to earth persons. The two most important qualities in him, which are so hard to find in this world, are honesty up to the highest level and not being money minded. Without them, for the kind of person I am, it would not have been easy to spend 23 days with someone!"


"Of course, I learnt so much about chess. He did give a new direction to my neurons. It was a completely different experience to attend all the lectures of this world class trainer. As there was lot of travelling, the rest of the times we happened to discuss a lot of philosophy, maybe even more than chess. I also got new insights about women chess. And then of course  Indian women chess. In spite of being an Indian I had to share the unfortunate patriarchal Indian mentality which also affects the career of Indian chess players. And then he said something stunningly positive, "If I ever happen to marry an Indian girl, I will make her a grandmaster. I will do everything, the dishes and cooking and everything what is expected from her!"


"We fought on a few subjects! Yet the respectful replies I got from him has really helped me boost the confidence level. He is such a gem of a person. I learnt an important thing from him: sometimes he used to start dancing absolutely anywhere, in a queue at the airport or on the street or in the hotel lobby! And i would be like,"You are insane! Don't you feel embarrassed?" to which he would reply,"Why should I be if I am expressing my happiness!" Yes, it is so true that we try to hold back our emotions so many times! Thanks Jacob for all the lectures and lessons. Those were the most memorable days of my life."

-Amruta Mokal.

Jacob's way of saying thank you!

A respectful hug to Peter

Well, the trip is now over! And all that is left are memories. Memories that will last a lifetime!

Did you know Jacob Aagaard is a very good composer as well as a guitar player. This song "Electrify me" has been composed by him:

If you liked the song, write to Jacob on and let him know

Thinking Inside the box for Rs.399/- for Indians

The tour revolved around the material that Jacob prepared for his book "Thinking Inside the box". It is the last part of the Grandmaster Preparation series. The book has now been released:

As a token of gratitude for the wonderful time he had in India, Jacob Aagaard and Quality Chess have made the book available for just Rs.399/- on Forward Chess.

In case you are interested to buy it, here's the step by step process.

Previous articles on Jacob Aagaard's trips to India and Asia:

Jacob Aagaard and the magic of Mumbai

Aagaard and the amazing Ahmedabad

Delhi and 48 hours of fun with Jacob

Jacob and joy in the city of joy

Why Chennai is the chess capital of India

Jacob Aagaard and the Asian Adventure - Part I

Jacob Aagaard and the Asian Adventure - Part II


The main idea of writing all of these articles was to make you a part of this entire program. I hope I succeeded in my aim. I am sure that if you go over them carefully you will not only get tips to become better at chess calculation, but you will also get a lot of new information about the chess culture in different Indian cities and Asian countries.

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