Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Our No.1 Player Mas is A True National Hero to Many Malaysians

During the Chinese New Year break I dropped by the Kelantan Open in time to witness Mas Hafizulhelmi do the absolute minimum and yet win the Kelantan Open with a perfect score, in fact already being uncatchable a round before the end.
In many parts of Malaysia Mas is a big hero and a superstar amongst the local chess community and what more in his home state of Kelantan and not only was he obliged to speak at length at the closing ceremony, but he was constantly being mobbed for autographs.
There was a lot of talent seen but the event was necessarily played using rapid time controls and so the quality was very mixed - flashes of good moves followed by serious errors of judgement and even outright blunders - typical of what can be seen much too often now in local tournaments.
It was however a good turnout at a very well organised tournament - excellent hall, good playing conditions, etc. at Politeknik Kota Bahru - and the arbiters proved committed and were competent and it has been a while since I have seen such a hands-on President of a State Association. Well done PCNK!

Sunday, 3 February 2013

MCF National Arbiters Seminar

I am proud to have put together and conducted a National Arbiters Seminar for the Malaysian Chess Federation concurrently with the National Age Group Championships from 1-3 February 2013 at Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP) in Tronoh, Perak.

UTP boasts a wonderful campus, and other than being a little out of the way and having only limited nearby accommodation, it is a brilliant location for the National Age Group Championships, and the seminar room provided for the National Arbiters Seminar lacked nothing too!

This seminar was modeled on the FIDE Arbiter Course, the only difference being that the methodology used was to primarily educate while also training, and as lecturers, we encouraged the sharing of both individual and collective findings and experiences amongst the participants.

We see this seminar as Part 1 of three, the second being a workshop on the Swiss Pairings System and the use of Computers for pairings, and the third, practical training at a National event under the supervision of an International Arbiter, only after which the title of National Arbiter would be awarded and from then on, for those interested, becoming a FIDE Arbiter would not be too difficult a next step!

I was impressed by the enthusiasm of the participants, and I believe many had their eyes opened as to the importance of the Laws of Chess and the challenges of interpretation but who were at the same time also given the processes and techniques to do this well.

On the other major topic, Tournament Regulations, I understood that no amount of time would be enough if the approach included explaining and giving insights and tips on 25 years of successful organising of tournaments of all types and levels but I think a lot of useful help together with tools was imparted.   

My special thanks of course goes to International Arbiter KK Chan, my co-lecturer, who spent some of his holidays helping me make the National Arbiters Seminar a big success (I think and hope the participants will agree too that it was a big success!)

Here I would also like to take the opportunity to congratulate my three competition ready students at the National Age Group Championships on their success. Roshan Singh for retaining his title, Goh Jie Yi for continuing her unbroken record of victories at this event, and Tan Jun Ying who should not be too disappointed on a very good second place finish.