Thursday, 1 February 2018

Top 30 Men... and Top 10 Women

Yeoh Li Tian continues to edge his way up to passing the magical 2500 mark but there is no one else remotely close to his level.

His predecessor as undisputed Malaysian No. 1, Mas Hafizulhelmi, has been at this 2300+ level for sometime now while juggling work and family commitments and so is not likely to turn back the clock. Yet he remains easily a permanent and valuable member of national teams. 

Young players have been long on the rise but the jury is still out as to whether they will be able to make the jump and of these, National Champion Wong Yinn Long has most impressed.

Perhaps this year might be the chance for several senior players who have narrowly missed out on national team selection and given the unprecedented shameful 134th placing at the Baku Olympaid two years ago, it is unlikely there will be tampering in the qualification process again.  

Our No. 1 girl is Tan Li Ting and she is also ranked 19th amongst the men (more correctly is perhaps to call it the combined list) and the gap between her and a resurgent Alia Anin Azwa Bakri is almost 100 points!

National teams have always had the top four playing when all available and while not likely to change, the competition for the fifth spot is now very intense and that might also shake up the rest of the regulars who have practically taken their places for granted.

Friday, 19 January 2018

Malaysian FIDE Trainers Directory

This is a particularly important announcement for our local chess community given so many do chess coaching for a living and such titles are important to them.

Sadly many are inactive (suspended in FIDE terms) and/or in arrears of licence fees.

I would encourage those who feel these titles are still important to them to immediately make payment.

MCF's upside is we now have a directory of official FIDE licenced trainers!

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Back To Doing MCF Work

For the Malaysian Chess Federation (MCF), a very positive outcome from the Asian Summit held in UAE last December was significant help from the Asian Chess Federation with a grant given towards helping us organise a FIDE Arbiter Seminar.

This is also going to be an arbiter refresher course for existing arbiters and which is very timely indeed given the changes of the laws of chess and some marked trends which are affecting regulations.

With this MCF has also published a directory of our current FIDE Arbiters and introduced a new process for qualified individuals to apply to become National Arbiters.

It is well known that when Abd Hamid Majid left as MCF Secretary many years ago, so did all the assets and in Gregory Lau's time, new assets never really did seem to accumulate.

So I was very grateful to Hisham Al-Taher, General Secretary of the Asian Chess Federation, for agreeing to give us 100 chess clocks, 50 of which I was able to carry back with me, and another 50 which will be brought over by Casto Abundo Jr, Executive Director of the Asian Chess Federation, when he comes over to conduct the FIDE Arbiter Seminar.

So much of Malaysian chess (as in most of the rest of the world) revolves around kids who play chess and with the Asian Youth Championships in neighbouring Thailand in April, it was matter of urgency to let our community know how they could participate.

The solution was of course to open it up to all, the only caveat being that their respective state chess associations needed to endorse their participation.

Of course there was still an administrative fee charged by MCF - we are all volunteers and while we do not charge for time, surely some of the expenses incurred by the Secretariat as a whole should be subsidised - and RM 100 is just half of the amount of  what was previously asked.

What is the other question now being asked? Yes, it is how to qualify for the official place. Very simple indeed, just win your respective category at the coming National Youth Championships!

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Looking Forward to 2018 After A Crazy Six Weeks!

It all started from 20 November 2017 and finally ended on 24 December 2017... but while the travelling has temporarily stopped, the resulting work on top of what was somewhat neglected is quite overwhelming.

First up was that once again I was honoured to be asked by my good friend Sahapol Naknavich, International Organiser and Secretary of the Thailand Chess Association, to be Chief Arbiter at the Asian Amateur Championships in Chiangmai from 23-30 November 2017.

Then I had to do a Holiday Camp for a group 1200-1500 as well as prepare some students for upcoming events.

Then from 9-20 December it was off to Ahmadebad, India with a group of some of our best talent on many years to represent Malaysia in the World Youth U-16 Olympiad.

On arrival in KL it was a quick turnaround to get to Dubai and from there to Al Ain for Asian Summit where I was invited as a speaker on the topic "The Importance of Media in Chess" and to conduct two workshops the following day.

Monday, 18 December 2017

No Shame To Lose To Armenia

We were up against our strongest opposition to date and faced an Armenian team desperate to win big to have a chance of medals.

I was not sure what to make of tbe congratulations by some teams of our excellent performance till the eight round to be in 11th position and be playing amongst the top teams  because the other teams throughout that trailed us were happy to see us losing so they could leapfrog us in the standings!

The team did their best and till Tan Jun Ying miscalculated a tactical sequence in the endgame, we probably had two draws in hand and real possibilities to win one.

Earlier we had gone two games down, Lye Lik Zang's level having dropped a little in the last couple of games.

We have throughout been suffering a lot from Ng Jen Sheng's inability to play for the team and that had put a lot of pressure on the top two boards till Jun Ying was able to play himself into form.

Melanie Koo did her best but the level of competition we faced made it very tough for her.

These are young players and all three top boards had dips but Wong Yinn Long overcame that best and so had a standout performance leading from the front.

Well done!

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Important 3-1 Win Against Sri Lanka in Penultinate Round

We expected a fight but were confident we would win.

We hoped for 3-1 margin of victory over Sri Lanka and we got that but more importantly this was a team effort with all doing their part to bring home the win!

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Our Uzbek Friends Were A Little Too Strong

It was always going to be tough against Uzbekistan but we were still hopeful for a result.

Well 3-1 was a fair reflection of the difference in strength although at one point I feared a wipeout.

Narrow Win But We Will Take It!

South Africa A had in the previous round shocked Indonesia and it was clear to us their players were underated and coukd not be taken lightly.

Nonetheless a white wash was a real possibility but on the flipside, if our players failed to show up on the lower boards, we could even lose.

So a 2.5-1.5 win with at least one of our players clearly struggling for form is a result that we really cannot complain about and hopefully an indicator that the team is coming together over the board during matches.