Sunday, 17 March 2013

Malaysian Masters

The Malaysian Chess Federation (MCF) today approved a Malaysian Masters - a National Championship Final - that will be organised by the Kuala Lumpur Chess Association for MCF with support from the Chess Association of Selangor from 22-26 June 2013 at the National Centre for Chess Excellence to be located at the Asia Metropolitan University.

It will be 10 player, 9 round robin FIDE rated and titled tournaments for both our men and our women!

Yes, indeed FIDE allows National Championships to be title events. But of course the opportunity for IM norms for the participants is very much subject to the average rating of the participants.

What MCF has agreed to is for the top three finishers among the men and women at the National Closed Championships to qualify and they will be joined by the Malaysian top six men and top six women in the active FIDE rating list as at 31 March 2013. One wild card, one each for one man and one woman, will be decided by MCF on the recommendation of its Selection & National Team Committee headed by Ghalam Sani Dato Abdul Rashid.

The national players I asked are excited about this format and like a possible big picture where the group playing forms the bulk of a national team from which players representing Malaysia in team competiton in the period from one Masters till the next could be selected (of course we are talking to date of submission of team list to the relevant organiser).

But that is a matter for the Selection and National Team Committee to figure out and then of course to get the MCF Council's agreement.

Thanks to sponsorship from MCF Deputy President & KLCA President Dato' Sri Dr. Edmund Santhara, there will be a prize fund and allowances for IMs taking part. Not a huge amount of money but very decent when you consider the short duration of the event and the fact we have several big international tournaments coming up that all would like very much to play in!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Going to AIMAG 2013?

The Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games will be held in Incheon, Korea from 28 June to 7 July 2013 and I have been invited by the Asian Chess Federation to attend as a lowly match arbiter, the usual fate of those qualified but without access to the corridors of power within club FIDE!

No, I am of course joking(?), seriously I would gladly go if the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) does approve our national team's participation.

Do see the official website at but I can't say it is looking particularly exciting right now although of course the event is still some time away and details of teams, etc. will be better as it gets closer to the start.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

At The Crossroads With This MCF Elections

During the time of the National Age Groups, I got a call from KLCA President Dato' Sri Dr. Edmund Santhara who told me that MCF President Tan Sri Ramli Ngah Talib had asked to see him and it turned out that it was a request to come on board to strengthen the leadership of Malaysian chess.

Unlike Tan Sri, Dato' Sri is a chessplayer who is also a corporate figure, and so when he accepted the invitation to become Tan Sri's Deputy, we immediately reviewed the situation and started to draw up plans in consultation with many stakeholders for a MCF that would be world class. Of course a succession plan was also agreed to as part of the process.

It is not Dato' Sri's style to come in just like that and create conflict via an aggressive takeover and so he was happy for a period to get to know the people at national and state level and to have time to work with everyone to collectively put into place what was needed, one step at a time.

What many people do not know was that when Dato' Sri started KLCA in 2008, he was invited by Dato' Tan Chin Nam to take the leadership of a MCF then in some trouble but somehow Dato' Tan's wishes was not respected by those who had clung on to positions for years and they instead found Tan Sri and persuaded him to become MCF President.

For Dato' Sri this was a big surprise as he had been asked, but since that was what MCF wanted, he decided he would instead focus on making a contribution through KLCA, and hence the KL Open, later renamed the DYTM Raja Dr Nazrin Shah International Open, was born.

I know Dato' Sri well after organising these events for KLCA in the last five years and he loves chess and can do a lot but I also know he thinks strategically in five to ten year plans and while he will put in place a good and sustainable MCF, he also does not believe on overstaying his welcome and would from day one be looking to help the various states be stronger while already looking for a successor.

Dato' Sri has agreed to help Tan Sri to build a new and better MCF and will honour it through a collective leadership with him and this is really a case of now or never as many years ago he was ready to do this but others thought they could do better and so today we are again at a crossroads.

We have somehow again gotten an opportunity to have a chessplayer with passion, means and capability to lead Malaysian chess moving forward. Let's not throw this second chance away simply because we are frustrated at shortcomings that can finally now be addressed. Some are new to MCF so let me tell them it is not the just last six years bad but really the last twenty!