Friday, 26 October 2012

Preparing for the World Youth Championship 2012

It is no secret that I have been working for almost two years now with current national champion Roshan Ajeet Singh and in the last few days have spent time with him preparing for the World Youth Championships to be held in Maribor, Slovenia from 7-19 November 2012.

Roshan has just come off his exams - the reason why he had to opt out of playing at the World Chess Olympiad in Istanbul - and is clearly very rusty but is starting to pick up a little.

I will also be going along as was my promise to him should he qualify and also become National Champion, and in the last two years he has been first U-14 champion and then, this year, even if only having turned 15, become both the U-16 and the senior champion.

The preliminary participants list is out - see official website at where they have a nice tool with the participants list viewer that allows you to group players by category and by country.

Besides being a bit out of practice Roshan will have his work cut out for him as at his 2016 rating he at the low end of players 2000 and in fact with 20 other 2000+ ahead of him is only ranked 79th with 7 players 2400+, 13 players 2300+, 22 players 2200+ and another 16 players 2100+.

U-16 is not U-14 as the talents would now have matured so assuming he plays to his strengths and at 2100 level he can at best be looking for a top 50 finish and that would in itself be quite an achievement!

Malaysia has 16 representatives in all and I have also been working with two other young players going, both very young, and the training for one particularly talented boy has gone rather well and so although like Roshan, he is at the entry side of his age group category, a surprise is entirely possible.

I do not have too much information about most of our representatives but most are very young and are going for the first time to such an event even if they are not at all unknown to the local chess community.

But I do know from the horses's mouth that Nigel Short will be there for Amier Hamzah as well as Tibor Karolyi for the three Lee siblings and that Mas Hafizulhelmi will be coming along with Camilia Johari so at least half a dozen of our representatives will have their trainers there with them!

No doubt too many of the others will have been preparing well with their usual local coaches and in the case of Azman Hisham's daughters Nabila and Najiha, I understand they even have Indonesian help.

I see this event for many of our young players to be an  opportunity to confirm their talent while also seeing where the stand in relation to their peers and for those young for their category it is a chance to get valuable experience before looking to target a good finish in next year's event.

With few exceptions I am sure all Malaysians in chess, be they players, organisers or parents, would wish every of our representatives every success and be quick to praise rather than condemn.

They are after all children playing the game they love and doing the very best they can with as much support as those around them can provide so whether they win or lose, become champion or finish last, it really does not matter in the bigger picture.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Building on the Indonesia Open 2012

As I briefly mentioned in an earlier post, from 9-18 October I was privileged to be part of the media team at the Indonesia Open Chess Championship (IOCC) 2012 and it was a hectic time indeed!

What surprised me what not so much the scale of the event but the huge number of people that were involved in the organising and it would be no exaggeration to say that practically everyone in Indonesian chess came together to help out.

Indonesians are a tolerant people and I was really impressed at the pride and unity to make the tournament work!

One challenge that Indonesia has always had was that because it is such a huge country it is often unnecessary for locals to look beyond the borders of a country spanning three time zones and with a territory of 1,919,440 sq km making it the 16th largest in the world.

But I well remember the incredibly strong Indonesian teams of the 80's where they could beat just about anyone and were constantly challenging for top honours in Asia.

The PERCASI leadership is determined for IOCC to become one the world's premier international open chess championships and so is now confirmed that there will be another in 2013 and indeed the foreseeable future.

What is perhaps even more interesting is that new efforts are going to be put into local chess development in parallel with IOCC.

In this road, as that of every National Chess Federation in the world, PERCASI has no silver bullet and may have to wait for between 5-10 years to restore Indonesian chess to some of its former glory and while I think many understand this, in today's fast paced work it would take something special to stay the course.

But in four years their women's chess has seen a transformation so I wish them all the best with their men!

Monday, 22 October 2012

New York! New York!

Seems like New York is also the centre of the Universe where chess is concerned! Recently came across this book (no, I did not buy or read it) which documents a year with a chess team. From browsing however I think there is much to relate to if a coach, administrator or parent.

But more to the point for the purpose of this blog post is perhaps the video story in this link on the BBC website as follows:

Monday, 15 October 2012

Enjoying the Rest Day in Bogor

On the rest day of the ongoing Indonesia Open Chess Championshp (IOCC) 2012 being played in Jakarta, many players took advantage of the excursion planned by the organisers to nearby Bogor to visit the Presidential Palace and Botantical Gardens.

As it was so aptly put when everyone assembled on the hotel lobby to depart: "Today is a holiday, tomorrow we fight again!".

I don't know about the players but it was a welcome break after two successive days with double rounds and one more double round to follow the next day! From my experience coaching our Woman Olympiad Team, it is much better to be a player and I can certainly say the same once again now that I am experiencing being part of the huge team here that churns out the media component of a big event!

For happenings at IOCC 2012, do visit the incredibly informative official website hosted at It has regularly updated reports, numerous interviews with participants, of course the results and pairings, links to various live feeds and even the games in PGN and bulletins you can download.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

The Indonesian Open 2012 Gets Underway...

Official tournament website:

Here you can also get a great number of interesting and often insightful interviews with the various participants.

The opening ceremony was also covered at as well as numerous other leading chess websites.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Indonesia Open Chess Championship 2012

The Indonesia Open Chess Championship will be held from 10-17 October 2012 at the Puri Ratna Convention Hall, Level 2, Grand Sahid Jaya Hotel, Jakarta.

Once again organised by PERCASI (All Indonesia Chess Federation) with sponsorship from its President Hashim Djojohadikusumo, this year's second edition builds upon last year's highly successful inaugural event with a top class, diverse and representative field of old and young talent, both male and female, from as many as 18 countries!

Our congratulations to PERCASI which has certainly put together the best International Open tournament seen in Asia in 2012!

Hashim Djojohadikusumo, the PERCASI leader, at last year's opening ceremony 

Indonesia does chess in the grandest possible fashion and no one who has ever played in an international tournament there will ever forget the experience, so the 27 Grandmasters playing including 9 rated 2600+ will be looking forward to the competition in more ways than one!

Top seeded will be Ivan Sokolov from the Nederlands but he will have serious competition from Li Chao and Yu Yangyi from China while Vlad Tkachiev representing France, the other Vietnam superstar Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son, Jaan Ehlverst now playing for the USA, India's Surya Sekhar Ganguly and the large delegation from the Philippines of Oliver Barbosa, Rogelio Antonio, John Paul Gomez, Mark Paragua, Darwin Laylo, Eugene Torre and Richard Bitoon will also be looking to be winners.

Local hero Susanto Megaranto will lead Indonesia's challenge and the former World Cup qualifier will have all of the top Indonesia players for company including veterans Saidikin Irwanto, Denny Juswanto, Cerdas Barus, Ronny Gunawan, Awan Wahono, Nasib Ginting, Dede Lioe, Herman Ardiansyah, Salor Sitanggang, and Tirto.

Young Indonesian talent will also be on show, led by Olympian Tirta Chandra Purnama, Asain Continental Champion Irine Kharisma Sukandar and Brunei Open winner Andika Pitra amongst many others.

PERCASI website:
Official tournament website: