Tuesday, 31 December 2013

FIDE Ratings - MAS - January 2014

Sensibly deciding to have a quiet evening at home on New Years Eve, I just noticed that FIDE has published the FIDE Rating Lists for January 2014.

Thanks to their participation in Asian Cities, we already know that our current No. 1 Nicholas Chan has now been back as an active player while young No. 3 Yeoh Li Tian took the opportunity to get past 2300!

Sandwiched between them is No 2. Mas Hafizulhelmi who braved India and returned with 10 points less.

Masters champion Lim Yee Weng (No. 4) has no rated events since winning while his fellow national team members Ronnie Lim (No. 5) and Ng Tze Han (No. 7) have played both the Malaysian Open and Penang Open.

After enjoying an almost uninterrupted series of good results and often commendable performances, young National champion Aron Teh had his first (small) ratings set back at the World Youth Championship but remains No. 8 ahead of veteran Jimmy Liew on No. 9.

By virtue of participation, respectively, Jonathan Chuah (No. 6) in the Malaysian Open, and Marcus Chan (No. 10) in the Penang Open, their ratings have also been activated.

I have kept to the top 10 as it is not that our amateurs have such high ratings and also very conveniently it cuts off as 2200+ so my apologies to several of our best young players like Lim Zhouren, Fong Yit San and Wong Jianwen, all who if remember correctly are also part of the current national team.

I have of course no forgotten our women, Tan Li Ting still at No. 1 despite also braving India and with Nur Nabila Azman Hisham a close No. 2.

Fong Mi Yen who plays only occasionally is No. 3. and it the last of our 1900 girls.

Their fellow national team members Nur Najiha Azman Hisham, Puteri Rifqah Fahada Azhar and Masters champion Camilia Johari are Nos. 4, 5 and 6.

No. 7, Lee Yin Lee was our best player at the Summer Universaide while in No. 8 is Renitha Naravanan.

Why top 8 and not top 10? Well, our women's ratings are pretty low and to look lower than 1800 I think would make it an even worst exercise.

For example, a couple of years back our girls were competing (although admittedly a little worst) against their counterparts in the region but the likes of WGM Medina Warda Aulia, WIM Chelsie Monica Shite and WFM Dewi Citra are now 2300+, 2200+ and 2100+ (see http://ratings.fide.com/topfed.phtml?tops=1&ina=1&country=INA) and it is the same if we wish to compare with Vietnam (see http://ratings.fide.com/topfed.phtml?tops=1&ina=1&country=VIE) while the even girls that would represent the Philippines in the same age groups would be 2000+ (see http://ratings.fide.com/topfed.phtml?tops=1&ina=1&country=PHI).

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Malaysians at the World Youth Chess Championships 2013

For me, the results of our representatives at the World Youth Chess Championship that just concluded in Al Ain is confirmation once again that we are a amateur chess nation and that we should be happy with this and perhaps for the Malaysian Chess Federation to accept it as reality and perhaps to start to plan accordingly.

I (and many others) have for several years now provided an analysis which showed how as our kids grow up they become less and less competitive on the world stage and that is fair enough given that all kids are bright with unlimited potential at an early age and over time various environmental factors begin to kick in (especially school demands not to mention growing up distractions such as computer games and social media).

And I am not going to talk about the need for systematic coaching with the right trainer.


Our current national champion and co-winner of the Malaysian Masters is Aron Teh and if hype would have it, great things would be expected at the World Youth Chess Championships. But luckily sanity prevailed (at least in his family) and this young 15 year old work in progress opted to push up and play in the  U-18 open where IM norm chances would have been greatest. In the end, with 2272 starting ranked 53 and finishing 44th with 6/11 was not bad at all (see http://chess-results.com/tnr119502.aspx?lan=0&art=9&fedb=MAS&fed=MAS&flag=30&wi=821&snr=53).

We had one other representative playing U-18, but in the girls section, and rated 1694 and ranked 72 she finished 73 with 4.5/11 and I congratulate this young lady for keeping up her interest in chess at her age while at the same time also wondering about her level of competitiveness.


Only one player, rated 1580 and ranked 146 in the U-16 Open, 3.5/11 resulted in 151st place.

U-14 & U-12

At U-14 level, for me always the benchmark if a young player would have matured and show his or her potential, we had one boy and two girls, one of which has in the last year been on the fringes of senior national team selection but always falling short. Nithya's score was 6/11, placing her in 46th place, a big improvement from her initial ranking of 63 based on a 1705 rating (see http://chess-results.com/tnr119453.aspx?lan=0&art=9&fedb=MAS&fed=MAS&flag=30&wi=821&snr=63). The other girl probably had no business being there at 1164 and ranked 109, her final score of 3.5/11 giving her 112th position.

The boy on 1803 was seeded 107 and finished with 5.5/11, enough for 91st place.

Equally one must pay careful attention to our U-12 representatives, usually where the results of our young talents who shown earlier begin to decline (even if the sometimes have their last hurrahs), two well known, almost veteran(!) players from Penang who have had extensive exposure and so always been amongst the top locally in their respective age groups took part and their results showed that both with 6/11 to finish, respectively Yinn Long 67th in open when ranked 77 on 1824 (see http://chess-results.com/tnr119508.aspx?lan=0&art=9&fedb=MAS&fed=MAS&flag=30&wi=821&snr=77) and De Zen 54th in girls section when ranked 60 on 1621 (see http://chess-results.com/tnr119454.aspx?lan=0&art=9&fedb=MAS&fed=MAS&flag=30&wi=821&snr=60).

U-10 & U-8

Now to the U-10s and U-8s where almost all our excitement (and hopes) over the years have come from and we have a mix of very serious young talents and wannabes, many who have been and are extremely well supported in their chess by either well heeled and/or fanatical parents (of course nothing is wrong with that)!

Very young players cannot be criticised - we don't know their ultimate motivations in chess are and all should be encouraged to continue to enjoy the game even if the World Youth Chess Championship is a serious competition.

In U-10 open, our best two young players took part, the older Jun Ying at 1710 ranked 43 with 7/11 finishing 33rd (see http://chess-results.com/tnr119506.aspx?lan=0&art=9&fedb=MAS&fed=MAS&flag=30&wi=821&snr=43) and the younger Lik Zang on 1609 ranked 65 with 5.5/11 finishing 91st (see http://chess-results.com/tnr119506.aspx?lan=0&art=9&fedb=MAS&fed=MAS&flag=30&wi=821&snr=65). One other also played, supported by his father-player-coach and at 1587 ranked 70 ended up 106th.

U-10 girls section also saw the very active Jia-Tien on 1453 ranked 48 score 5.5/11 to finish 64th (see http://chess-results.com/tnr119456.aspx?lan=0&art=9&fedb=MAS&fed=MAS&flag=30&wi=821&snr=48) while the daughter of the same father-player-coach and her friend, with 4.5/11, ended up 107th and 108th.

Finally we had three representatives in U-8 open, all bright sparks and two with 5/11 were 100th and 110th respectively while the youngest at just 6 years of age got 4/11 and placed 147th.

So in conclusion, no one in top 30, most thereabout their ratings and rankings (especially those with lots of exposure), and a few who were perhaps not ready. And a little worryingly, no heros yet in the lower age categories that have in past years provided Malaysian chess with buzz.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Saying Goodbye to 2013 and Looking Forward to 2014!

Gens Una Sumus

I am looking forward for a 2014 more like what I have enjoyed in previous years barring a 2013 that instead became one of constant and often unpaid national service.

First up was to develop and conduct a National Arbiter Course at the National Age Group Championships in February, something which I repeated at the Inter State Team Championships in September.

In March/April, against my better judgement I also accepted appointment to Head the MCF Technical Committee and by June/July I was more than happy to give up that position together with that of FIDE Delegate.

Of course one key initiative was the organising, sponsorship and running of a revamped Malaysian Masters, a round robin FIDE rating and title tournament where our women were not forgotten. Then it was hoped that the design of the championship would introduce a new chapter for Malaysian chess - transparency in national team selection, proper training and support for our national players and targets set for and by professional team management for major events.

Along the way I turned down the chance to be at the Asian Indoor Games in Incheon and also the Myanmar SEA Games.

However I did agree to support KPT chess and join the team for the Summer Universaide in Kazan.

Besides the Malaysian Masters, I also served as Chief Arbiter for two MCF national events in two places I never expected to go to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah for the above mentioned Inter State Teams and more recently at the start of December in Johor Bahru for the National Junior Championships, both places where the wonderful hospitality often puts city folk to shame.

So for 2014, so far I have agreed to again be at the Bangkok Open in April (no-brainer when held in Bangkok!) and should things work out in Brunei for an international event to be held just before I might have the opportunity to visit one of my favourite places again.

It has been a long time since I have attended an ASEAN+ Age Group Championships and with the next edition in Macau, I will certain try to make the school break work and also make it to Hong Kong and Disneyland!

And of course I hope that Indonesia will have use for my services and continue to invite me to their fantastic Indonesian International Open Championship!

2014 is also an Olympiad year, albeit with a FIDE election, and the timing could not be better for Norway with Magnus Carlsen becoming World Champion. Equally intriguing is finding the time and money to be at the World Youth Championship to be held in South Africa. (And if KPT asks I would not easily decline joining a team at the World University Championships in Poland!).

Christmas in Hanoi

Enjoying a day out in the park with two of my very best friends in Vietnam, GM Nguyen Ang Dung and IM Nguyen Van Hai.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Last in SEA Games?

Oops, Singapore with two players, and newcomers Laos also took part... but it also seems that Brunei and Cambodia did not make it.

More pertinent perhaps is that it seems that in all forms of standard chess, the professionals of VIE, PHI and INA are clearly ahead of the rest and that MAS and SIN, perhaps now also being joined by rapidly emerging THA and MYA, are in the second group.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Birthday and Blitz in Brunei

I was honoured to be a guest at the birthday celebration hosted by GM Tahir Vakhidov and it was double the reward when despite not remembering when I last played chess, I somehow managed to stumble to first place at the Sunday blitz (final event of the year) held later that day at the Brunei Chess Centre.

Friday, 6 December 2013

National Juniors - Yit San and Li Ting retain their Titles

Heavily favoured defending champions Fong Yit San and Tan Li Ting lived up to their seedings to easily emerge as repeat winners at the National Junior Championships held at the 35th Floor of City Square in downtown Johor Bahru.

Neither had any real trouble but Li Ting perhaps went one up on Yit San by winning a round to spare as opposed to his one point cushion!

I was very impressed by the talent from Johor (even if they are at the start of a long journey) as they have a promising future because it is clear things are beginning to pick up down south with so many of their young players enthusiastically analysing their games together after each round while their more experienced competitors from the rest of Malaysia largely prefer to waste their time playing computer games.

On paper their was a possibility that one or two others would make a breakthrough but largely that did not happen.

Whatever their current limitations, more than anyone else (and one reason why they are champions), Yit San and Li Ting clearly understood that they were playing to do a job and so, besides retaining their titles and winning the prize money, they will have the right to represent Malaysia at both the ASEAN Age Group U-20 and World Junior Championships in 2014.

(For boys results, see http://chess-results.com/tnr117795.aspx?lan=1&art=1&rd=9&wi=821 and for girls results, see http://chess-results.com/tnr117794.aspx?lan=1&art=1&rd=9&wi=821)

The event was made possible by the generosity of Johor Chess Association President Frank Goon and wonderfully organised by their Honorary Secretary Steven Cheong Kok Love who was assisted by an enormously committed team, two standouts amongst many being Eddy Kwan Nam Seng and Jonas Tan Kok Liang.

I can say this because despite being a FIDE rated event, this turned out to be essentially a holiday for me as Chief Arbiter.

Steven Cheong also proved to be an expert in finding some very good places to eat!

Was also greatly honoured after the opening ceremony with lunch with Mr Goon and his management team and then getting a personal briefing of their many projects, and more importantly for chess a commitment was also made to further support the Johor Chess Association, so fingers crossed, perhaps 2014 will also see a Johor International Open!

Monday, 25 November 2013

Mas is now in India

IM Mas Hafizulhelmi is playing two Opens in India, the just concluded Chennai Grandmaster International Open from 15 to 23 November organised in conjunction with the Anand-Carlsen World Championship Match, and is now at the 2nd Hyderabad Open International Grandmaster Tournament from 25 November to 3 December (see http://chess-results.com/tnr117263.aspx?lan=1).

While Mas has not exactly shown what he is capable of, he has still managed to get a few rating points in arguably the toughest place in the world to play chess! That is already a first for a Malaysian. Let's all hope our marathon boy can keep this up...

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Tan Li Ting is in India!

In conjunction with the Anand-Carlsen World Championship Match from 7-28 November 2013 in Chennai, the All India Chess Federation, through the Tamil Nadu Chess Association, has put together a month long festival of concurrent events.

For the first time ever, India is having a Woman GM Open - see http://chess-results.com/tnr115566.aspx?lan=1 - and Malaysia is represented by our young current National Junior Champion Tan Li Ting.

This might be the toughest event ever for Li Ting so let's all wish her every success! 

Thursday, 17 October 2013

A Good & Promising Performance by Aron Teh at IOCC 2013

With Lim Kian Hwa entered as a 'local' player, Aron Teh was officially Malaysia's sole representative at the super strong Indonesia Open Chess Championship 2013.

The above extract from chess results shows our young national champion acquitting himself well and in the process getting 17.5 rating points in the process of beating one and holding one other GM and also three more IMs and one WGM as wll as beating one FM.

But it does not tell the tale of the two IM norm chances missed!

Aron had his first chance in round nine when he had to win and again in round ten when he again had to win. Perhaps he would have played more solidly if the norm was not on offer (like he did in previous games) and maybe would have ended with more points and rating points? Only he can answer that question but to get himself in that position and hold his own, time and again against so many titled players certainly augers well for him.

Well done Aron! As GM Cherniaev told you after the game, just keep playing, the title will come!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Looking Forward to a Great Indonesia Open!

On the 8th of October I will be off to Jakarta for the 3rd Indonesia Open 2013 and am very excited with an event that last year had recognised it was an achievement to repeat for a second successive year and this time around it has already grown to the point where it boasts a record (for this region and even Asia) and total prize fund of USD 100,000!

No wonder there are over 30 GMs already confirmed and there is no doubt in my mind that many more will be coming.

GM Sandro Mareco, GM Avetik Grigoryan, GM Enamul Hossain, GM Vadym Malakhatko, WGM Anna Zozulia, GM Antoaneta Stefanova, GM Nigel Short, WGM Sophie Milliet, WGM Elisabeth Paehtz, GM Hoang Thanh Trang, GM Balogh Csaba, GM Abhijeet Gupta, WGM Eesha Karavede, GM Gopal G Narayan, GM Shyam Sundar M., GM Surya Sekhar Ganguly, GM Sandipan Chanda, GM Vaibhav Suri, GM Ehsan Ghaem Maghami, WGM Nakhbayeva Guliskhan, WGM Dinara Saduakassova, WGM Batchimeg Tuvshintugs, GM Gundavaa Bayarsaikhan, GM Tsegmed Batchuluun, GM Ivan Sokolov, GM Eugenio Torre, GM John Paul Gomez, GM Mark Paragua, GM Oliver Barbosa, GM Laylo Darwin, GM Alexander Cherniaev, GM Alexey Dreev, GM Ivan Ivanisevic, WGM Maria Manakova, GM Renier Vasques, GM Dimitri Komarov, GM A.R. Saleh Salem, GM Aleksandr Moiseenko, GM Jaan Ehlvest, Anton Filippov, GM Eduardo Iturrizaga, GM Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son, WGM Pham Le Thao Nguyen, GM Dao Thien Hai, and GM Cao Sang.

Malaysia will be represented by current national champion Aron Teh and hopefully he will be joined by other members of our national team.

As before I will be helping with international media and working with the many local journalists so expect many insightful interviews (besides the usual daily reports) together with the great photography of Kristianus Liem at the special tournament website built in partnership with Chessdom at http://indonesiaopen.chessdom.com/.

It's Official - Mas Hafizulhelmi is Malaysia's No. 1

While some talk about how good they are, Malaysia's best ever player has quietly gone around doing his job and with the latest FIDE rating list published, Mas Hafizulhelmi is again officially our No. 1 player!

Despite playing at half pace, Mas was the easy winner of the prestigious Board 1 prize at the Inter State Teams and at the last major event, the Malaysian Masters, he shared first place with Lim Yee Weng and Aron Teh despite coming right off the exhausting top level KL Masters GM Tournament.

By no means however am I praising Mas... we all know he could do much better. At the point in time he was fully motivated, his rating was in excess of 2460 and today, with inflation taken into account, it would be a rating in excess of 2500 and he is still only in his early 30's.

If we look at the rating list I am alarmed that we have hardly any players 2300 and only 8, including veteran Jimmy Liew is above 2200!

Our IM's are not at 2400 level.

Yee Weng on the back of winning the Malaysian Masters is a little above 2300 while Ronnie's disaster at the same event (despite a decent outing at the Malaysian Open) has brought him under 2300 while we welcome back Jonathan Chuah to the active list!

Li Tian remains one of our very best young prospects even if he has stagnated somewhat in the last year and a half while globe trotting Aron Teh goes from strength to strength and will almost certainly become our next IM and hopefully a 2400+ IM and perhaps even a genuine GM candidate even if it is much too early to talk him up (as Malaysians tend to do!).

Today Malaysia is ranked 85, a steady drop over the years. When we looked to get our first IM there were no so many in Asian and even GMs were a rarity. After Jimmy, Mas was a long time coming but he too was able to compete with the best in our region.

Since then, a long time after, today(!), where the credentials and strength of many GMs are called into question we are still talking about getting a first GM?

Let me share two perspectives: A top GM who was in Malaysia recently noted that if by 18-21 years old a player was not getting to 2650, then is was unlikely he could close in on 2700 and make a good living from chess and this reality I think has been picked up by some other Malaysians already. The other is from someone who bluntly told a group of people that we have to stop measuring progress by getting a mere when it has to be done by looking at how others have also progressed and in relative terms. Don't forget that all the things we complain about is experienced by everyone else too.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Medina Warda Aulia is Indonesia's Youngest WGM!

Medina Warda Aulia is Indonesia's youngest ever Women Grandmaster, achieving her third and final norm at the ongoing World Junior Championship.

Last time around she almost won the championship, ultimately finishing fourth on tie-break and in fact was the leader in Turkey after six rounds till back to back losses pushed her back and essentially end her challenge.

But Medina has shown great strength of character to bounce right back to make the WGM title with one round to go!

I remember first seeing her as a 10 year old winning the World School Championship in Singapore and was privileged to be present as Chief Arbiter to watch her demolish the entire French team and carry her country to victory at the MAKITA Indonesia-France Match last year!

At that time the Indonesia coach, a former Georgian super GM, told me that she was now clearly the best woman player in her country.

Yes Medina is a super talent with the only reservation being she is growing up and sometimes that makes for inconsistency but when it comes together (as is starting to become the norm more and more often) her play is a a real pleasure to watch indeed.

Congratulations Medina! I look forward to seeing you at the Indonesian Open next month!

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Big deal indeed: After 15 Years, an Inter State Team Championship!

The Malaysian Inter State Team Championship returned, after 15 long years, and fittingly, to Kota Kinabalu, capital of beautiful Sabah which is celebrating its 50th birthday!

Organised as part of the Sabah Chess Festival which saw numerous supporting events - Sabah Junior Championships, National Arbiter Seminar, Sabah King Blitz and the first ever FIDE Rated Rapid in the Sabah Grande which is ongoing, having started on 15 September.

While the majority of teams arrived on 11 September, a few came a day earlier to have a bit of a holiday and although I managed to beat all of them by coming on the evening of 8 September, it was to conduct the National Arbiter Seminar from 9-10 September, an activity that turned into a three day training program helping prepare the many enthusiastic locals attending to help run the Inter State Team Championships.

On the final day of the Inter State Teams, numerous officials from the Malaysian Chess Federation joined a well represented leadership from the various participating states attending in great show of support for Sabah chess and this was clearly appreciated at the closing ceremony by the Minister of Sport and their City Mayor patron.

These were Kelantan (two teams), Terengganu, Pahang, Perak, Selangor, KL, Negeri Sembilan, Johor and Sarawak joined hosts Sabah (four teams) but conspicous by its absence was Penang who with Kedah were the only two states not participating.

We all know some leaders of state associations think that they are by themselves the reason for chess alone and even if KL (and I understand at least one other state too) was approached by many unhappy Penang players to be allowed to play under their banner, I had to decline to help as it would have been hard to defend them against their vindictive self serving state association head (after three terms still a non playing chess parent?) who even clearly stated his sad (and I must say rather pathetic) reasons electronically when asked if Penang would be participating but we already know that is the man.

Going back to chess, I must congratulate the Sabah Chess Association which has the largest number of active and actually working chess officials I have ever seen and everyone would have been impressed by the energy and passion of all, with their President Muammar Jukarain the best example!

In the end the heavily favoured Selangor team emerged winners but like everyone else also suffered defeat, surprisingly badly in the fifth round against a KL team which opted to expose some young talent rather can field a representative national team. KL unfortunately lost their last round match against Perak to finish second on tie-break to and Johor proved to be a worthy third place winner.

But in fact there were no pushovers thanks to the adoption of match scoring which ensured players fought as teams and which gave a lot of room for strategy.

See details at: http://chess-results.com/tnr110741.aspx?lan=1

As Chief Arbiter I did my best to ensure the best playing conditions possible at Masterskill Global College in Likas together with the huge team from the Sabah Chess Association in line with the requirements of a national championship as mandated by the Malaysian Chess Federation while adopting international standards and practices.

Yet there was at least one idiot who really should know better than to believe his own high opinion of himself gives him such special privileges and rights that as a spectator he could enter the playing area, sit down, talk loudly, even read newspapers, and to tell those who ask him to leave that rules did not apply to him because he was the No.1 player.

However, the fact that the event ran smoothly with players wanting for nothing is satisfaction enough and I thank my newly adopted arbiter team (all who passed as National Arbiters) for being excellent students.

Friday, 6 September 2013

At the 9th Asian Schools Championships...

The obligatory Malaysian group photo

Goh Jie Yi was the standout performer amongst Malaysian's participating at the 9th Asian Schools Championships with one gold and two silver medals (which with a little luck could easily have been two golds and one silver).

The rest contributed two more medals, both bronze.

But all this is really nothing to be too carried away about (or even be too disappointed about) as several months ago, recognising where this event really stood in the hierarchy of official international youth competition, I had asked the Malaysian Chess Federation (MCF) to make this a developmental event where our young players could get their first exposure to or training for international competition but as can be seen the implementation of my proposal has been rather mixed but to be fair the timing of the event was a little difficult for too many to participate.

Kudos for the organisers led by Sri Lanka Chess Federation Hon. Secretary, Zome President and International Arbiter, Luxman Wijesurija, which ran a very good event indeed which was held in an excellent hotel, the very well appointed beach resort Citrus Hikkaduwa where every meal without exaggeration a gastronomic delight.


Originally I had promised to go as an arbiter but then it became an opportunity to work with two young players and I think the major difference of results between the equally talented kids was both the extent of cooperation by parents given during the preparation leading up (so as to be able to take a longer term view) and also the management of priorities and time during the competition itself (sports component).

Going back to Jie Yi, like so many of our talented young players before they pass 11 years of age, the world stands before them, but in the event that really mattered, standard chess, the winner made a runaway 9/9 and in their critical match up the mismatch of their respective comprehensiveness of training and systematic exposure was already in evidence.

Yet Jie Yi, in the event that best measured pure talent, blitz, she was equally dominant with 7/7 and in the Rapid she came up in the middle of a three way tie tiebreak where the rather fortunate winner probably had the biggest success of her life already as she never was in contention subsequently in the standard and blitz chess events.

So there are already lessons for all of us beyond those that the  young talent and her parents will have taken from this event.

One thing that has always disturbed me with our players going for international competition, a point I raised there with Gregory Lau who was in attendance as Head of Delegation, is that MCF allows players to play under the Malaysian flag in international competition without proper preparation (and often without real training) lack alone understanding of what each competition is all about, and perhaps the solution is to begin with well through out and clearly stated objectives. 

The links to results:

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Polgar FIDE Rated 1800 & 2200

Polgar Chess Asia has agreed to organise, together with the Kuala Lumpur Chess Association, a series of monthly FIDE Rated tournaments to provide chess players with opportunities to either get FIDE ratings or to improve their current FIDE ratings.

There will be two sections, 1800 which is for those without ratings and up to 1799, and 2200 which is for those 1800-2199. The organisers however reserve the right to enter one higher rated player to help the average rating for a particular event.

Each tournament will be 5 games over a weekend at the minimum FIDE rating requirement which is 60 minutes + 30 seconds from move one with games starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday (three games, 9 a.m.-12 noon, 1-4 p.m. and 5-8 p.m.) and ending Sunday at 4 p.m. (9 a.m.-12 noon and 1-4 p.m.). This is to make it possible for those outstation and from neighbouring countries to play by coming Friday evening and leaving Sunday night.

The first series is planned for 2-3 November and 9-10 November and entries will be on a first come first served basis but with the possibility to have more than one six player round robin should there be sufficient extra entries.

Please contact me should you be interested to taker part but as always the organisers reserve the right to decline any entry without explanation. If the response is good we will look to have many more such events and with a sufficiently large pool we will then look to have a quarterly IM/WIM tournament.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013


Chess was part of the 27th Summer Universiade 2013 in beautiful Kazan, Russia and as you can see from the photo, we had representatives on the KPT team from Malaysia!

Some photos of the city centre including the amazing Kazan Kremlin which is its focal point and the obvious pride of the warm and friendly people of Tartastan.

The opening ceremony... held at the woman section with VVIPs, players, spectators and media in attendance.

While the players all enjoyed the Games Village together with other athletes, the hard working arbiters (or referees/judges as we were called) were put up in a hotel near the playing arena with the justification being we should not be mingling with the competitors!

Do see more at www.kazan2013.com/en as this is the biggest sporting event outside of the Olympic Games and a marvel of organisation with unbelievable hospitality shown.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

It's Yee Weng on Tie-Break!

In the end it was Lim Yee Weng on tiebreak over Aron Teh and Mas Hafizulhelmi when all the leaders could only drawn their last round games.

Yee Weng understandably took a quick draw against Mas but then it was a long wait for the game between co-leader Aron and Ronnie Liu.

Ronnie played sensibly for once and pressed without too many risks but in the end Ronnie decided not to gamble and accepted the inevitable draw.

Aron, Yee Weng and Mas Lead with One Round to Play

With one round to go, Aron Teh, Lim Yee Weng and Mas Hafizulhelmi continue to share the lead on 5.5/8 in a hard fought event.

Aron is certainly with the best chance as he plays the off form Dr Ronnie Lim while Yee Weng and Mas play each other and Lim Zhouren who is on 5/8 and half a point behind will be hoping to win his last round and benefit from any slip up by the leaders.

It is clear that veteran Jimmy Liew will be last - sometimes your age just catches up with you - and it will be interesting if Roshan Singh who plays Fong Yit San can keep his eighth place and qualify for the National Team as the seven players ahead of him, assuming no withdrawals due to work or other priorities/commitments, have already booked their places.

Once the national team is formed players would be required to commit to being available for international representation and to play and train regularly as in other sports and in line with what is expected from the Minstry of Sport, National Sports Council and Olympic Council of Malaysia.

It will certainly be a tense and exciting afternoon/evening for the very best players we have available and playing today!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Camilia Johari Comes Of Age

With a dominant display where she led from start to finish, Camilia Johari has now won the biggest prize of all - the first Malaysian Women Masters!

The top six finishers are now officially our national team.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Young Aron Teh, Camelia Johari Leads After Five Rounds

After the third day of play, 14 year old Aron Teh has taken the lead with a stunning upset of a clearly out of sorts Mas Hafizulhelmi and now has 4/5.

In joint second and third places together with Mas is the also unbeaten Lim Yee Weng with 3.5/5.

Wong Jianwen has seemed to have curbed his aggression and is learning to making draws now, the benefits perhaps which can be seen from being in fourth place with 3/5 while Lim Zhouren is not trying to win every game too after failing to convert against Aron and then blundering badly against Fong Yit San.

As a result Zhouren is on 2.5/5, a 50% score, the same as Ng Tze Han, and half a point better than Yit San who clearly still has all to play for.

Defending champion Roshan is paying the price for a year of inactivity and has carried his indifferent play over from the Selangor Open and the ASEAN+ Age Groups but has showed glimpses of his talent and today would have been a good day for him after starting with three losses as he has now scored 1.5/2.

Top seeded Dr Ronnie Lim also started the event trying to win every game but it was only in the fifth round that he recorded a win and with three losses to date and four rounds to go his chances are very slim indeed.

Camilia Johari has led from the first round and on 4/5 is in the drivers seat. However, even with two rounds to go Nur Nabila Azman Hisham on 3.5/5 cannot be counted out.

On 3/5 both Fong Mi Yen and Puteri Rifqah Fahada Azhar still have a good chance, especially the latter who is really on 4/6 as she has not yet gotten the bye and so her remaining game with Camilia will be essentially the decider.

Tan Li Ting who is in fifth with 2.5/5 is also going to get a bye so is really 3.5/6 but her fellow Istanbul Olympiad team mate Nur Najiha must be shocked to be on just 2/5 and without a win.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

After the First Three Rounds of the Malaysian Masters

After three rounds IM Mas Hafizulhelmi remains perfect with 3/3 with young Aron Teh in second place with 2.5/3.

Of course with a round robin positions can change quickly and it is quite early days yet with six demanding rounds over three days to go.

No one is perfect in the women's section but Camilia Johari is the only player yet to lose and so leads with 2.5/3 with Nur Nabila, Fong Mi Yen and Puteri Rifqah all close behind with 2/3.

There is only six rounds with the no show of Alia Bakri although there will be seven rounds withe each player enjoying a bye.