Friday, 11 November 2011

The Future Is With Our Tried And Tested Young!

Been back to the realities of work for over a month now so I unfortunately could not make it to the World Youth U-16 Olympiad let alone put any time into this Blog!

Like most Malaysian chess enthusiasts I tried to follow the games late at night and at the end of it all I think all members of the team did as well as could be expected, the performance was good and the result perhaps fair all things considered.

Some observations (and proposals) that will no doubt annoy some who insist on reading my Blog!

1. For sure this was as good and as representative a team of young players that we could have out together for such an event and they should be allowed to form the nucleus of future national teams. Yes, of course there are other young talents and next year at least two others will be able to join Elgin, Roshan and Li Tian  for another shot at glory. But my argument goes further in that as early as two Singapore-Malaysia matches ago, it was clear that the current 18+ years generation have largely exhausted their potential and the very real demands of college and a good career after that makes future investment in them a difficult proposition.

2. The five players who represented us with so much courage and effort are to be commended and they all have their own stories which I cannot pretend to know but my understanding is that Eng Chiam is very experienced but under trained, Elgin is where he is due to the massive private investment by his parents in international tournaments and grandmaster level training (and he is not alone in having this!), everything is still possible for Li Tian, of course Jianwen lacks international experience and also had the burden of top board, and that Roshan has only had serious help in the last nine months or so. But interestingly enough, none of the five have actually taken advantage(?) of the services being offered by our many self proclaimed expert local coaches.

3. So I call upon the Malaysian Chess Federation to include this event as an important part of its official international tournament calendar including a clear and early selection process and proper training for the team (nice also if sponsorship can be found) - in other words to prepare and treat these young players to be an integral part of our national team at senior level representation e.g. Olympiad, Asian Teams, SEA Games, etc. While Mas may have a new lease of life as a newly declared professional, we cannot count on Mok and Jimmy forever being available. It is only by playing in the top events and having the best possible competition that will allow our best talent to flourish.

Monday, 26 September 2011

An Update from the Campomanes Memorial Yangon International GM Tournament!

I happened to catch Maung Maung Lwin on Google Talk and he started to tell me about how Mok was doing but then agreed to send me the tournament cross table (apparently after 8 rounds of play).

IM Wynn Zaw Htun is probably Myanmar's No.1 and has suffered more than most from his country's long isolation and is grossly underrated perhaps in part due to FIDE deducting 100 rating points from all their players in one of their most unfair and unwarranted actions and it is no surprise to see him leading the tournament with 6/8.

Vietnam's FM Nguyen Van Hai is a bit more of a surprise and is in joint second place half a point behind with his countryman GM Bui Vinh.

Mok is of course playing his usual fighting chess and although perhaps disappointed to be on minus one with 3/7 (with 13 players there is a bye every round), I think this will be valuable practice to get him into shape for the coming SEA games as he thrives on playing frequently to sharpen up his game.

55,000 USD prize fund for the Indonesia Open Championship

Susan Polgar Chess Daily News and Information: 55,000 USD prize fund for the Indonesia Open Championship

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Singapore's Latest IM?

Given that several players achieved their final titles at the DYTM Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah Invitational Masters & International Open (and with renewed interest amongst our local players in achieving the Grandmaster title), I looked with interest at to see if any if them were listed for confirmation at the 82nd FIDE Congress in Krakow, Poland from 15-22 October 2011.

Then I saw a surprising application - that of Singapore's Ravindran Shanmugam with a new high rating of 2329 after playing some 34 games and probably reflected in the three International Master norms he had managed to achieve in three successive events played from July to September 2011!

I always saw Ravindran as a 2100/2200+ player especially having played him in a IM event in Singapore a couple of years ago when the beginning of my falling out with Ignatius Leong begun when over coffee two hour before the start of play he mentioned that this fine young man had spent over SGD 20,000 on training at his (our?) academy and so I should not look to try too hard to beat him (?).

Well anyone who knows me would understand how I take such "advice" but it was not for me to ruin the prospects of a young player and so I decided to play hard but handicap myself a bit by playing 1.e4 (essaying the King's Gambit and Centre Game) and defending 1.e4 with 1... e5 and 2....d6 (with even ....Qe7 thrown in) and leave it to them to prove they could do the job!

It is good that since that setback Ravindran has continued trying (and probably still working with resident Georgian-Singaporean trainer Zurab Azmaiparashvili) and this effort is well reflected in the norms he achieved playing these tournaments in Georgia and I am sure he will soon get the 2400 rating he needs to convert the likely provisional award of International Master to become Singapore's latest title holder.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Mok to play GM Tournament!

Before asking if any of the players at DYTM Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah Masters and Open would be interested, I checked once again with my good friend Maung Maung Lwin about the status of entries in his GM tournament in Yangon and he confirmed that among the foreign entries was none other than Malaysia's own International Master Mok Tze Ming!

That is fantastic news - another veteran stepping forward to show our juniors what it will take.

Jimmy Liew's incredible activity in the last few years was always something I wondered about and then came the shocking news that our No. 1 Mas Hafizul had turned fully professional by walking away from his Petronas job!

Going back to Mok, I realised he had attended the FIDE Arbiter seminar recently held in KL when he called me and offered his services as an arbiter! I was a bit taken aback as he had played the SEA Games Selection but was not intending to play the Malaysian Open and it seemed he was satisfied with getting the International Master title after so many years of trying.

I have to be frank to say I declined his offer not only because I saw him still as very much as a player who should have been playing (although clearly a very much better businessman!) but also because Ignatius Leong conducted the seminar and when that little man is involved I know things would not have been done properly and as a result, Malaysian chess would have been short changed once again by FIDE.

Let's all welcome the return of Mok Tze Ming and wish him every success in getting a Grandmaster norm!

Earlier Lim Yee Weng had given it a shot too and so it really doesn't matter whether any of our players make it or not but that they actually tried and in doing so gave it their very best.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Emperor without Clothes?

Dato' Tan Chin Nam did not show up to play at the DYTM Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah International Open like he promised and I like to believe he really wanted to. He did come on one of the days and while I was occupied dealing with an organisational challenge but I could not help but see how seriously ill he was.

Since the start of the Malaysian Chess Festival which began on 17 August until the end of the DYTM  Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah Invitational Masters & International Open on 10 September, I have heard - from so many parties bar a certain nobody and more surprisingly the current Malaysian Chess Federation Hon. Secretary Gregory Lau - about practically nothing else but how the old man is interested in once again running Malaysian chess!

Dato' Tan's hand (or at least that of the people that surround him - and there have been many over the years with a few constants) has guided Malaysian chess at least since 1974 and that is a very long time indeed.

History has shown that leaders that stay beyond a second term of office tend to fail, seemly not because of themselves but in spite of their better qualities as those around him would have enjoyed certain benefits of office by then and would have worked hard to convince the leader that he or she is indeed irreplaceable!

After numerous failures, the mid 80's was perhaps a golden period for Malaysian chess and it is a pity that Dato' Tan will no longer be remembered for what he did then.

Like all Malaysian chessplayers I was so happy that Hamid managed to pull off another DATMO after it was announced by Dato' Tan last year that it would be his last as he had now a put in place a "dream" replacement in Tan Sri Dato' Seri DiRaja Ramli Ngah Talib.

To me it was strange as his successor did not play chess and was a retired politician and Dato' Tan's judgement was then further called into question with the humiliation he faced backing Hamid for FIDE General Secretary at last year's FIDE Election (as I had predicted) but now it seems besides offering to sponsor next year's DATMO he is also offering to help out with other existing events and if that is so I will certainly also be asking him if he would also be interested in sponsoring next year's DYTM Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah's.

Well, it looks that now a family dynasty (or a Sendirian Berhad?) is on the cards but the new Emperor's court will be made up of pretty much the same people who have dragged Malaysia into the ground the last 15-20 years and as far as I understand it, Gregory Lau who probably has good intentions but does not seem to have either means or support will not be part of the the incoming administration of horribly familiar faces.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Playing for Dragon One... at the Merdeka Rapid Teams

My first games since last year's Olympiad and a milestone of sorts as I finally found time to play in a local event after a very very long time (even if only at this 25 minute time control which is really neither blitz or rapid and was rather hard for me to adapt).

The five rounds on day one left me exhausted on getting home and then the four more on day two proved to be really hard going. So I suppose I could not complain too much from scoring 5/9 on board one (probably after having being designated as the sacrificial goat on the assumption that match points would be used!).

I did find it interesting to play some of the players, some of whose names which were vaguely familiar from being mentioned to me by others from time to time and on my impressions, I can only say that young local players should only be encouraged and not criticised on public forums.

Generally (and to my surprise?) I did not have any special difficulties n the technical side of things - even the one opening which I had some problems I was able to successfully steer it into a playable position albeit without any advantage but then was able to gradually develop a winning endgame until a wild hallucination after all the hard work had been done allowed it to become a draw!

That was the sign of things to come on day two when obvious tiredness started to kick in!

On day one the loss to IM Yue Li was annoying but my own fault as after playing very sharply I then played a safe move after reaching the decisive moment after which my initiative disappeared and it was rapidly downhill from then on. (IM Jimmy Liew's advice after: "In this format, take risks").

Losing to IM Oliver Barbosa was just a matter of stronger player pressing until I made a mistake. But the loss to Jahongir Vakhidov following the draw I gave away was really stupid as I saw a win and got a little too clever and played another move that looked easier, saw it become refuted where in the process he found time to coordinate his pieces and then I foolishly decided to close up the attacking side of the board to block up the position and make a draw and in one careless (fatigued?) moment simply blundered away a rook.

By that time I knew I was in serious trouble physically but luckily the all important last round came after lunch when I had a bit of a catnap and despite having Black I did all the pressing and IM Gary Lane was I think slightly fortunate to find a drawing resource.

Dragon One still went down 2.5-1.5 when a big win was needed and given games points were used, we were of course left empty handed (GM Wang Rui put it very well: "I think we have no task to perform later at the closing ceremony").

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

On the Malaysian Chess Festival

First congratulations are in order to Hamid and his team for managing to again do a Malaysian Chess Festival and I think that any activity is a good thing and that the response shown in increased participation is due reward.

While the various supporting events are going from strength to strength, the original Malaysian Open is clearly diminishing, be it in the quality of local representation (lack along competitiveness) and even the foreign entries are not what it used to be.

There are many reasons and some obvious solutions but I appreciate how hard and difficult it is to organise and it is easy to criticise when you have not done it and while I have, a public forum is not always the place to provide feedback no matter how well intended.

So, well done guys and I sincerely hope it continues on next year because what I can say here is that the money to do it was not anything like what we understood from previous years so I ask our local chess community to start stepping forward now to start to make a difference.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Asian First Saturday?

Campomanes Memorial Yangon International Grandmaster Chess Tournament 2011 Yangon, Myanmar. { 21 Sep - 01 Oct, 2011 }

1. Organization

This event is organized by Myanmar Chess Federation in honor of late FIDE Honorary President Florencio Campomanes under the auspices of the Myanmar National Olympic Council.

2. Schedule

21 Sep             After 1200      Arrival
                        2100                Technical Meeting

22 Sep             0900                Opening Ceremony
                        0930                Rd. 1
                        1600                Rd. 2

23 Sep             0900                Rd. 3
                        1600                Rd. 4
24 Sep             1600                Rd. 5
25 Sep             0900                Rd. 6
                        1600                Rd. 7

26 Sep             0900                Rd. 8
                        1600                Rd. 9

27 Sep             1600                Rd. 10

28 Sep             1600                Rd. 11

29 Sep             1600                Rd. 12

30 Sep             1600                Rd. 13

01 Oct             0900                Closing Ceremony
                        1200                Departure

3. Format & Time Control

Total 13 players (4 GMs + 9 Others); Single Round-Robin; FIDE-rated and titled; Rate of play will be 90 minutes for the whole game with 30 seconds increment for every move starting from the first move. Zero-Start shall be applied.

4. Venue & Official Hotel

Central Hotel, Bogyoke Aung San Road, Yangon.
All the players have to stay at the official hotel. The hotel is located in the center of Yangon. There are many places of interest such as the landmark of Myanmar Shwedagon Pagoda, Sule Pagoda, Bogyoke Aung San Market, Yangon Port, National Museum within the walking distance. More information can be found at

5. Prize

No prize money. 1st. - Trophy, 2nd. - Trophy, 3rd. - Trophy.
All the winners will get the special prizes (Quantum Shields, Quantum Pendants, Quantum Flasks and Quantum Bracelets awarded by Fusionexcel International). Information on these health products is available at  
The diploma certificates are to be awarded for all players.

6. Entry Fees

For GM
Free Entry + Air Ticket + Pocket Money + Free Twin-Sharing Hotel Room (Breakfast)

For IM or >2400
US$ 500 Package (Entry Fees + Twin-Sharing Hotel Room with Breakfast) 
US$ 700 Package (Entry Fees + Single Hotel Room with Breakfast) 

For others >2300
US$ 700 Package (Entry Fees + Twin-Sharing Hotel Room with Breakfast) 
US$ 900 Package (Entry Fees + Single Hotel Room with Breakfast) 

For others >2200
US$ 900 Package (Entry Fees + Twin-Sharing Hotel Room with Breakfast) 
US$ 1100 Package (Entry Fees + Single Hotel Room with Breakfast)

The fee is non-refundable and non-transferable. There will be 10% discount for those who register and send the money to the organizer's bank accounts on or before 20th. August, 2011.

A/C Name       : Mr. Maung Maung Lwin
A/C No.          : 127-0-672262
Branch             : Soi Aree
Bank                : Bangkok Bank
                          BANGKOK, THAILAND 10400

7. Payment

Myanmar Chess Federation members shall have to pay their dues upon registration.
Foreign players have to settle the full payment (Entry Fees + Hotel Room Charges) to the organizer before 10th. September, 2011. Otherwise, they shall be expelled from the tournament.

8. Entry Visa

This is necessary to have the entry visa before entering Myanmar. The players from foreign countries have to apply and get the entry visa from the nearest Myanmar Embassy in their countries.

9. Official Airline

Myanmar Airways International (MAI).

10. Official Transport  

PARAMI Taxi is the most reliable transport in Yangon.

11. Participation

Since the numbers of players to participate in this event are limited, players are advised to make early registration and payment to confirm their participation. Payment shall be made one day after the approval from the organizer and the scanned copy of payment at the bank shall be sent by email to the organizer.

12. The organizers have the right to reject any entry without giving reasons.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

We are represented at the World Junior Championships!

Chilling out in the lobby!

Getting ready for battle!

Let us all wish our National Champion all the best in competition against the world's very best young champions!

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

World Junior Championship in Chennai Gets Underway!

The 50th World Junior and 29th World Girls Championship got underway in Chenna with spectacular opening ceremony on the evening of 1 August 2011.

Participants and guests were treated to an hour long cultural show showcasing Indian dance performed by students from a local chess school before the formalities were conducted by the other main attraction, the main VIP guest who was non other than former World Junior Champion and current World Champion, home town hero Vishy Anand!

Anand welcomed all and assured us that we would enjoy our stay in Chennai while acknowledging the role of the Tamil Nadu Chess Association who have from its inception ensured that Chennai is the chess capital of India. He noted it took his 4 times before winning the World Junior Championships but in the process the friends he made were among his greatest and longest standing friendships and than even to day he remembered the games and the wonderful moments!

Very much in evidence too was FIDE Vice President D.V. Sunder who recently handed the baton to lead Indian to Bharat Singh and that bodies well for Chennai!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Beautiful Yangon... and that goes for the Rest of Myanmar too

Last year I was unable to attend the inaugural Campomanes Memorial (which was of course held in the Philippines) so this year I made the point of going to the second which was as a bonus, held in Yangon, Myanmar.

I was pleasantly surprised that a number of Malaysians were able to make it and that in the weeks before we were constantly on email sharing information and getting each others help.

Because I was on primarily a business trip (wasn't easy to change the dates to coincide with the chess and unfortunately I could not manage to fix it so I could play more than 5 of the 9 games which meant I got to take lots of photos, see plenty of places, and have long chats with lots of parents!).

Which meant I could also do a report as follows:

See also my tribute to Gilachess whom I had invited to join me as we are both in-between projects (he preferred to play with his iPad in Cameron Highlands and why not if you have one too?) in the photo below 

Pretty good in my opinion but certainly not to everyone's taste and which helped me understand why the Myanmar workers in KL like their Nasi Kandar! (Note that as an affluent visitor we could afford to select a number of side dishes as opposed to the standard rice, soup and simple vegetable salad that most, given their USD 30 a month income, would eat and when done at a restaurant that is indeed a special occasion).

Friday, 1 July 2011

Opportunity for Our Best Young Talent

The Kuala Lumpur Chess Association, with sponsorship from Polgar Chess Asia - the Polgar Chess University in Asia - has agreed to MCF's request to offer places to all National Age Group Championship winners to play in the Raja Nazrin Shah International Open Chess Championship 2011.

Our only conditions are that entries must be received by the 31 July deadline and that only the winners qualify, not the second or third place finishers!

Polgar Chess Asia is also offering a pre-event workshop for these young talents, to be coordinated by MCF during the school holidays in August to help with their preparation based on providing individual assessments made through an analysis of their games.  

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Messy Minds

When organising the KL Open (and now the Raja Nazrin Shah Individual Masters & International Open 2011) each year, I am constantly amazed how so many chessplayers wishing to play just cannot do simple things like fill in the entry form.

I get players who can find me on Facebook and then messaging me that they will play. But not only do they not give me essential information to facilitate their entry such as their rating and title but they also have incredible difficulty getting out of Facebook and to the website I give them to get details of the event. (And of course they cannot understand why they need to send me an email let alone the entry form and let's not even pretend to get into making payment of the entry fee).

These chessplayers don't read very well either because they miss seeing the actual dates and the schedule and they even often ask about how to get to the website where they first saw the information about the event.

Of course there are also those who have done their homework but feel it is the organisers obligation to provide them with everything they want - be it an IM with a 2200+ rating or an FM with no standing, results or prospects. They demand or beg for conditions such as room, free entry, etc., and when they happen to be well funded professionals from India they even tell me I have to help as they will have no money because they would be coming by after campaigning in a number of events in Europe!

But there are those who take trouble to do all that is necessary. Emails are sent, forms are filled, and they are prompt and polite. And very often they are the top players and real professionals, basically the guys who win the event and if not, who always do well.

Contrast this to the messy minds of the nobodies (I am using this term in the best possible way) or even those "superstars" who get by somehow but somehow have not achieved all that they could and wonder why if you must.

I at least understand what the difference is!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

It's always complicated with FIDE

Of course FIDE constantly changes the rules so I may be mistaken but I have long understood that a rating and/or title tournament needs to be published on the FIDE calendar a month in advance and that has to be done by the National Chess Federation's rating administrator (who has been given access to the system).

With the Raja Nazrin Shah Invitational Masters and Raja Nazrin Shah International Open, as in the previous KL Opens and in the many events overseas where I was the Chief Arbiter, the information needed to facilitate this registration was provided early to the National Chess Federation which in this case is the Malaysian Chess Federation (MCF).

In fact I was informed that this had already been done by both the MCF Secretary and the MCF Ratings Officer but when I checked the FIDE website on Sunday morning, I saw, much to my surprise, that the various Malaysian Chess Festival events were indeed posted but not the Raja Nazrin Shah tournaments even though we certainly announced our events much earlier.

After speaking to the MCF Secretary, the MCF Ratings Officer has now responded with the above screenshot saying that he has done his part but it is the job of the MCF Secretary to inform FIDE so that this information is also posted to the FIDE Calendar.

My response to the MCF Ratings Officer, an International Arbiter no less, was of course to stop passing the buck and instead to work with his colleagues to get this done failing which it would not be a bad idea at all if he stepped aside and let someone else do this work as it is about service and not holding on to titles and positions!

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Raja Nazrin Shah Masters & International Open Chess Championship 2011

Looking back at how successful the KL Open has been over the last three years, I was talking to KLCA President Dato' Sri Edmund Santhara whose Masterskill Education Group has long sponsored the event and after having made the decision to rename the event after our patron Raja Nazrin Shah who has supported us year in year out, I thought that we should take a hard look at our local chess scene and see if indeed the current format made any sense.

Frankly, I had delayed the KL Open this year as along as possible to see if indeed there would be a Malaysian Open and with three months to go simply had to make an announcement but now it seems it is on again and that can only be good news for the local chess community and so I do want to congratulate the man I correctly called "an embarrassment and a real disgrace" over his antics leading up and during the FIDE election for successfully getting the old man to fork out once again.

So we have decided to step back as we are no longer needed to help fill in a vacuum as we were asked to, and with freedom from this so called responsibility as an affiliate of the MCF that has the financial means, the Raja Nazrin Shah Masters & International Open Chess Championship can now take shape in the form as we have always wanted it.

We will therefore have a Masters, a 10 player, 9 round GM event and hope one of our IMs/FMs will step forward and ask for the place I will reserve for a Malaysian (as long as I can) together with a somewhat "downgraded" Open - see - in the sense that while it is still an international titled and rated event with GMs and IMs playing, we will no longer restrict but encourage participation from lowly and even unrated players (except when they are juniors who come with trainers or parents who are known troublemakers!).

Friday, 20 May 2011

Some of the Usual Suspects

It always seems to work like this. The sponsorship is confirmed and then a scramble to get venue, hotel, etc. followed by the formalities of registration, etc.

Then the initial announcements of the event. On KLchess and FaceBook, with our friends like Susan Polgar, and at Chessdom which then leads to the FIDE website. Next regional national chess federations are informed and of course with few exceptions there is no acknowledgement let alone replies and in some cases whispers are heard of jealousy and petty actions which hurt no one but the players they claim to represent.

Within a week, some of the usual suspects, regulars who have come to the KL Open before, are in contact and this is going to be pretty much it (other than dealing with an enquiry from time to time) until a month before when we will get a flood of entries (especially from India, Singapore and Indonesia).

But for now we have for sure from some dozen countries:

1. Wong Meng Kong (SIN)
2. Nguyen Ahn Dung (VIE)
3. Thomas Luther (GER)
4. Niaz Murshed (BAN)
5. Mark Paragua (PHI)
6. Tahir Vadhidov (UZB)
7. Bui Vinh (VIE)

International Masters
1. Abu Sufian Shakil (BAN)
2. Chan Peng Kong (SIN)
3. Duong The Anh (VIE)
4. Alex Wohl (AUS)
5. Oliver Barbosa (PHI)
6. Goh Wei Ming (SIN)
7. Nguyen Van Huy (VIE)
8. Richard Bitoon (PHI)
9. Ashot Nadanian (ARM)
10. Kim Steven Yap (PHI)

Women International Masters
1. Wang Xiaohui (CHN)
2. Nafisa Munimova (UZB)
3. Beverly Mendoza (PHI)

Of course, the local chess community is conspicious in its silence but then again, that is the Malaysian way!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

4th Kuala Lumpur International Open Chess Championship, 4-10 September 2011

Finally we have decided to do it - will confirm hotel by the weekend to compete the prospectus and then will be able to get the official letter out to MCF to register the event with FIDE.

Below are some extracts to give the local chess community something more to talk about!

1. Organisers

The 4th KL International Open Chess Championship for the Raja Nazrin Shah Challenge Trophy is sponsored by the Masterskill Education Group Berhad and organised by Polgar Chess Asia for the Kuala Lumpur Chess Association (KLCA) under the auspices of the Malaysian Chess Federation (MCF) and is registered and recognised by the World Chess Federation (FIDE) as an international title and rated tournament.

3. Prize Fund

1st - RM 10,000; 2nd - RM 7,000; 3rd - RM 4,000; 4th - RM 2,500; 5th - RM 1,500
6th-10th - RM 1,000 each; 11th-20th - RM 500 each

1st -1,500; 2nd - 1,000; 3rd - 500

U-16 - RM 1,000; U-12 – RM 500

Special Prizes:
3 x RM 500 Scholarships

1st - RM 1,000; 2nd - RM 700; 3rd - RM 400; 4th - RM 250; 5th – RM 150
6th-10th - RM 100 each; 11th-20th - RM 50 each
4. System, Rules & Regulations

The 4th KL International Open Chess Championship for the Raja Nazrin Shah Challenge Trophy will be played over 9 rounds using the FIDE Swiss System as paired using the Swiss Manager program. The time control used will be the FIDE time control of 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an addition of 30 seconds per move starting from move one.

5.  Entry Fees

GMs/ >2500 No Entry Fee; IMs/>2400/WGMs RM 150; FMs/>2300/WIMs RM 300; >2200 RM 450;
>2000 RM 600; >1800 RM 750; Others RM 900

Entries must be received in writing together with full payment of the applicable entry fee by 31st July 2011, after which a 50% penalty may apply. Participation of unrated players is at the discretion of the organisers who also reserve the right to refuse any entry without explanation.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Got a Call from the MCF Secretary

19th April

Dear Gregory,

I have spoken to Dato' Prof. Dr. Proom Promwichit, Secretary of the Kuala Lumpur Chess Association (KLCA), and can confirm that we have not endorsed or are in anyway associated with the team that claims to be representing KLCA in the coming Asian Cities Chess Team Championship.

Dato' Prof. Dr Proom has asked me to also reiterate that is is KLCA's policy to work with the Malaysian Chess Federation in all our chess activities and that there is no possibility that we would could ever attempt to participate in an international team competition independently of the national body.

Thank you

Peter Long
KL Chess Tournament Director

Monday, 11 April 2011

Thailand Open 2011

I made it! I actually managed to get to the Thailand Open that is being held from 11-17 April at the Dusit Thani in Pattaya.

Unfortunately I won't be able to stay to the end - although Pattaya has developed somewhat beyond being very much a long strip joint by the beach, it is still very much that kind of place - but the hotel is really excellent (the room I am staying in reminds me of the near apartment size accommodation I used to enjoy while in the USA) and I still can't get over a chess tournament hijacking an entire ballroom of a 5-6 star hotel for over a week.

The Thailand Open has some 140 participants from 32 countries, a statistic which very much what one should expect from a country that is embraces tourists, but 10 GMs, 14 IMs, and 16 FMs also makes for rather decent chess!

However there are very clear favourites. Besides adopted son Nigel Short and defending champion Sune Berg Hansen returning, the organisers have their first 2700+ player in Spain's Francisco Pons Vallejo and all three are joined by another 2600+ in German Jan Gustafsson.  But do see for the full list of participants.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Visiting the 'New' DATCC

Today I dropped by DATCC at the same old Wilayah Complex car park location to wish participants in the National Closed Championship before the final round every success.

I appreciated the handshakes from the likes of Jimmy Liew (in photo at right facing down Lim Zhou Ren) and Eddy Fong, even Najib... after all local chess is a very small community and sad to say that is reflected in the fact that the new DATCC was pretty much the same run down old DATCC.

Don't get me wrong. Better a place for local chessplayers to have their events on the cheap and I commend the efforts of those who are clearly trying to keep it going.

But the reality is that with such a venue for as important and event as a National Championship, Malaysian chess is clearly going backwards and for those would chose to differ, ask yourself if indeed you could bring a potential corporate sponsor (unless he or she is a crazy chess enthusiast) to DATCC.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Chess @ Selangor Times

It has been a while and I am glad that it would be with the Selangor Times, the kind of publication that serves the community. A page twice monthly (alternating with technology) gives me a chance to share my knowledge of the game from a player and trainer perspective i.e. less words and more diagrams, moves and games.

We should not forget that when in print it is not just chessplayers who will see (and read?) and so I will endeavor to do my best that the news being published shows our very best face (as much as we will allow it to!) and my editor has also kindly agreed that it will also be a place where organisers in the Klang Valley actually interested in promoting chess will be able to advertise their events without charge.

You know how it works - just drop me an email with plenty of time to spare (I too have a day job) with all relevant information.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Singapore is Different

Taken by surprised by certain developments regarding a late request and then an actual agreement to provide financial incentives, I found myself flying to Singapore very late on New Year's Eve and even playing in the fourth and final round of the long running Singapore-Malaysia Chess Challenge on New Year's Day, officially the 2011 edition, played over 38 boards with two rounds of classical chess and two rounds of rapid chess.

History was made in that Malaysia won and kudos are well deserved to the team and especially the young kids that did so well.

I was not present the first day but was told that after round one Singapore has taken a 7 point lead and everyone was bracing for a hammering but then that strange fellow Ignatius Leong (I am being polite not to call him something else), the SCF President, also recently reelected FIDE General Secretary, expressed his sincere hope that Malaysia would win and that sentiment was well beyond that of a polite host!

Was it to do with the fact he has so little credibility in his own country that with the flurry of recent activity by FIDE on the on and off agenda of chess in schools, he has instead is depending on Malaysia to make it happen because Singapore cannot? (Why again has Dato' Tan Chin Nam's gotten involved? To dump DATCC? To save his face after the FIDE Election fiasco? To help Hamid again or to finally kick him out?)

Of course Leong's "highly successful" academy is up for sale again but then again since when has it not ever been?

Back to the match: Malaysia did hold Singapore 19-19 to stop the rot and then won the third round by a whooping 10 point margin and so took a daunting 3 point lead in to the final round which was drawn 19-18 and so history was made.

I like to believe the team rose to the occasion and it was not actually the incentives offered!

But actually what really took me by surprise while I was briefly in Singapore this time around, was in learning that the inaugural ASEAN Championship had just ended and our good friend Zurab Azmaiparashvili, now apparently playing for Singapore but still listed in the latest FIDE rating list as for Georgia, played and was even declared the champion on tie-break over Oliver Barbosa who is without doubt Filipino and from ASEAN through and through.

Then again a player, a former China No. 1 no less, and still based there, played top board for Singapore at the Olympiad while home grown GM Wong Meng Kong was left out and their No. 1 local IM Goh Wei Ming also did not make it, and we already all know how the Commonwealth Championship was last organised as part of this same Singapore International Chess Festival last year.

(Disclaimer: I do not fault all the players mentioned above as they just play chess and I also do personally know them all and generally with one obvious exception can fully vouch for them).