One Week to the KL Open 2009 - So what does KLCA Hope to Achieve?
With one week to go, the KLCA has confirmed the majority of international participants for the 2nd Kuala Lumpur Open Chess Championship 2009 (see http://www.chess-results.com/tnr24792.aspx?lan=1) – and there are more than we expected given the switch of dates to dovetail the Malaysian Chess Festival and so join in our national day celebrations but also a bit stronger than I wanted - and so I must apologise to the many grandmasters and international masters who wished to take part but simply could not without help with hotel and meals.
Very simply, the KL Open is not meant to be a big event like what leading chess nations in the region (who have many grandmasters and numerous professional players) successfully host annually (and sometimes as in the case of the Philippines, even multiple times in a year!).
Yes, indeed some smaller (but aspiring) chess nations also try to do this too but KLCA is a small association in a country with just a handful of professional players and we have always to balance our member needs together with our long term vision of what chess can offer to national building.
There is after all, already a Malaysian Open, and our prize fund was deliberately made attractive only to the biggest winners – I really do not see any point in having an event that does not further KLCA's stated agendas and making a strategic contribution to the development of the game in KL (and Malaysia) and frankly do want to get it right as everything costs us both valuable time and money and that is a luxury today.
Personally I see the KL Open, now in its second year, aspiring more to be a long standing regional event like the Bangkok (now Thailand) Open, and which offers something to the enthusiast who tries to combine his hobby (passion?) for chess with demands of career and family as well as the young player looking to improve his game in serious competition and perhaps even to valid his talent by achieving an international title norm.
KL (and Malaysian) chess players are basically those who have largely missed the boat (or whose best time has gone) but still enjoy the game or young talent who need opportunities and a benchmark to understand where they are and perhaps even what else might be required to excel.
After all, our guests (the chess players from overseas participating) do seem to think that Malaysia is a most attractive destination with a great deal to offer and so we will continue to capitalise on this when organising the Kuala Lumpur Open Chess Championship in 2010 and beyond!