Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Exciting Times - As Usual! - At The Selangor Open

The Selangor Open has always had a special place in Malaysian chess - in fact as a kid I cut my teeth on it and have even been a winner (although I can't remember when or how long ago!).

Over the years there have been many great battles and of course also upsets galore, so I am not the least surprised at what has been going on this year even if some would like to read a little too much into it (why not, chess players are optimistic by nature, parents will be parents, and Malaysians are particularly quick to congratulate themselves).

The main question going into the last two rounds is whether Wong Jianwen can hold on to the lead and I am sure we all wish the young man to succeed.

Roshan Singh who has not worked at chess since the World Youth Championship and Jimmy Liew who like our latest National Master is also obviously preparing for the Malaysian Masters in June are both looking to get into some form and their eighth round encounter will be of interest to many.

Nur Najiha and Nur Nabila Azman Hisham have been giving the boys a run for the money in every game and  once again they will face serious competition without fear!

Finally, congratulations to the Chess Association of Selangor and especially its President and Secretary for doing such a good job including being constantly there to make sure everything runs well and I must also state my admiration to the many chess mummies that are there. day in and out, for their children!  

Friday, 26 April 2013

Two Veterans & The Future of Malaysian Chess

Jimmy

In many recent years Jimmy Liew has become very active in chess and with his recent retirement he seems to be ramping it up even further.

Jimmy is particularly interested in still being a part of the national team set-up when others of his generation would have long given way to younger players and choosing to make a contribution to the game in other ways or simply enjoying playing for fun.

He is so far our only applicant to play in the Asia Continental Championships and told me that he is also intending to attend the FIDE Trainer Seminar.

Why not? Not everyone might know that Jimmy is married to a Filipina and both these events are in Manila so it could be a combination of business and pleasure! But I should know Jimmy well enough that when he does chess it is a very serious matter indeed!

I have always understood him to be a player. He will become a FIDE Trainer and is already a National Arbiter but ultimately he is a player, good and bad, and I wish him all the success in competition.


Mok

Mok Tze Meng is currently ranked No.1 in our active rating list and while not as young as he thinks, is a generation younger than Jimmy even if all of us had chess playing careers that overlapped, mine earlier but Jimmy for sure in two different periods of time!

But he seems to be going in the opposite direction from Jimmy even if I understand they have an intention to work together to offer chess lessons.

Mok is a rich man, having done well for himself, and known for having an "austere" life (those who know him will understand exactly what I mean by that!) so when with his famous single mindedness he has gone about acquiring FIDE certificates and paying licence fees and seeks position in MCF and KLCA, something is up!

I was not surprised he opted out of the Malaysian Masters which effectively ends his international career for at least the next year although if he plays the National Closed Championship he will prove me wrong.

Will Mok live up to all those titles he has? It is possible but there is a need to switch from self to service and that is always the most difficult thing for a chessplayer and even more difficult when you have lived this way all your life. Good luck to you, the former Mighty Mok!


Jimmy or Mok?

As a former No. 1 and long time national player I understand well, perhaps even better than most, the many challenges and I have also experienced the the life of organiser! I was also an investor in a serious chess business and continue to be associated with a relatively successful local chess academy.

Obviously Jimmy still believes he can contribute while Mok still can but perhaps knows that it is time to move on? I think that is a question all our "senior" players have asked or should be asking themselves given the pressures of career and/or family.


Beyond Jimmy & Mok!

The future however is certainly with our young players - at least with those having both talent and the determination to succeed - and I can only say that unfortunately with very few exceptions, very clearly their parent's really don't actually know better!

Which parent can be objective over their child? This is where everyone needs to get real over what it takes and not be satisfied with being 'Juara Kampung' or to 'Shiok Sendiri'. Jimmy and Mok in this respect, if not looking at solely becoming your child's coach, are among those who can certainly tell you the truth!

Over the years I have seen several batches essentially miss the boat. Today a large group U-11 (and some U-13) show great promise. Unfortunately there are big talents U-17 soon to be lost and although some will not differ and be angry, those above that age should better be looking to college.

Argue about ratings all you like but remember everyone suffers alike from the system. Not even 2000? Grow up. If there, then get to 2100. Then look to break 2200. Make all the excuses you like but around you in Malaysia some have managed to do it.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Whose Up For The Challenge?


MCF has sent invitations to our players 2200+ (men) and 1900+ (women), 100 hundred points below that for additional players. Hopefully at least one would step up to the challenge!

Our deadline is end of this month which I suppose could be taken to be 5 p.m. 30 April (or even 9 a.m. 1 May!).

See http://www.fide.com/component/content/article/4-tournaments/7006-asian-continental-championship-in-manila.html

Chess Malaysia

www.chessmalaysia.org

Since the MCF Council Meeting, a brand new MCF website was planned for and a vendor quickly engaged but somehow, for one reason or another, we have had delay after delay and it has reached the point when termination of services is now being seriously considered.

It has really been much too long for MCF to be unable to publish various announcements and so we agreed that  until the website got sorted out I would try and quickly come up with something that would meet our most immediate communications needs.

So here it is, the product of a couple of hours work and even so still very much a work in progress, but do expect lots of public announcements (as opposed to internal communications with our members) to be put up in the next few days.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Dato' Sri Dr. Edmund Santhara - Independent MP for Hulu Selangor

It is time to put petty and often selfish chess politics aside and for the chess community to come together and support one of our own for full and direct representation in government! Go and friend Dato's Sri Dr. Edmund Santhara on Twitter @EdmundSanthara.

This is the reason why Dato' Sri Dr Edmund Santhara is in chess as he believes our beloved game is one such channel as its many positives boasts both strategic and analytical thinking.

You know how to contact him to offer help and I can of course also facilitate as needed.

Also, do see this link http://thebrightside-jenn.blogspot.com/2012/04/eagles.html for his personal story which you will perhaps find to be inspirational but surely informative as it tells the man's story!

K. Muralimohan - Cancer Appeal


It is no secret that I have a especially good relationship with Indian chess going back to the days - the mid 80's - when I was Executive Secretary of the Malaysian Chess Federation.

K. Muralimohan is one of the nicest persons you can imagine - despite his physical handicap he has been a tireless worker for chess: a very respected and giving chess trainer, prolific author of chess books, and long serving Secretary of the Tamil Nadu Chess Association.

So it was a shock when I got the following email:




Dear Chess lovers,

Tamilnadu State Chess Association is organizing Muralimohan Benefit All India FIDE Rating Chess Tournament (for Below 1800 Rating) at Velamma School, Mogappair, Chennai-37 from 4th to 7th May 2013. the Total prize fund is Rs.300000/-.

Entry fees Rs.2000/2300/2500. Out station players will be provided free Lodging, like dormitory type class rooms.

This is a benefit tournament for Mr. K. Muralimohan (former TNSCA General Secretary, International Arbiter, National Level Chess Player, Chess Coach, Author of many Chess books, etc.) has now been diagnosed for cancer.

In order to meet his medical expenses, TNSCA is organising a rating tournament for the benefit of Mr. K. Muralimohan.

We request all Chess lovers (Who are eligible) to participate in this tournament.



Sunday, 21 April 2013

Zhao Zong-Yuan Wins Thailand Open 2013 - 13th BCC Open

The winning encounter with the defending champion probably won the tournament for the Australian No. 1 player but great consistency also helped!

Second to seventh places half a point behind on 7/9 were shared by Levente Vadja, Jan Gustafsson, Oliver Barbosa, Sune Berg Hansen, Wan Wunguo and Darwin Laylo.

With 6.5/9, eight place was shared by Nigel Short, Koneru Humpy, Rogelio Antonio, Gerhard Schebler, amongst others.

Last Day at the 13th BCC Open

Unfortunately I will miss the closing ceremony thanks to Air Asia moving to an airport north of Bangkok when Pattaya is south of the city.

Will however have time to pack up the equipment for the live games, rush off a report to Chesssdom but probably not be able to update this blog post with all results as they come through (although I will certainly try)... but anyway here are the photos are our players in action!

Draw... 6/9!!

Draw... 6/9!!

Draw 5/9!

Lost... 4/9

Lost... 4/9

Lost... 4/9

Lost... 4/9

Win... 4.5/9!

Lost... 2.5/9

Lost... 2.5/9

 
Lost... 2/9

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Before the Last Round....


Malaysia's hopes to end the 13th BCC Open with a bang lie with Mas Hafizulhelmi and Yeoh Li Tian, both on 5.5/8 (the same as defending champion Nigel Short).

Both have tough matches but I am confident they can at least draw against their higher rated opponents.

Wong Jianwen is a point behind on 4.5/8 which is a result around his rating and he has a chance tomorrow to exceed his expected score even if his challenge in terms of opposition is perhaps not is much different from that of Mas and Li Tian!

Ismail Ahmad, Muhd Syazwan Zulkifli. Fong Yit Ho and Ahmad Fadzil Nayan are all on 4/8 and all have a chance to remain at least on 50% with Ahmad Fadzil having the best chance to take home the full point.

Fong Yit San started the 13th BCC Open with a great deal of confidence and high expectations for himself and will be disappointed to only have 3.5/8 at this stage but there is no doubt he will get to 4.5/9 and perhaps even do better than some in the group of Malaysians ahead of him.

Tan Jun Ying and Ryan Chan, two 10 year old friends and team mates from Penang are on 2.5/8 and will benefit from the quality of opposition they have faced in making further progress.

Let's not forget Sri Shiva Kumar on 2/8 who played well but not managed to keep the level through a game.

Pairing and results are at www,chess-results.com and live games are on tomorrow from 9 a.m. Thailand time (+7 GMT) on www.bangkokchess.com.

Round 8 is Going On So Soon it will be Just One More Game to Go!

Mas Hafizulhelmi has made it to the top ten - hence his game is being broadcast live! Mas is now on 5/7 and a win would most certainly keep him seated there.

In the meantime Yeoh Li Tian recorded a quick win when his opponent decided he wasn't going to suffer a long hopeless ending a pawn down and instead resigned! That brings Li Tian to 5.5/8.

It is also a moment of truth of sorts for Ahamd Fadzil Nayan as he is playing Andika Pitra and any result would give him a 50% score with one round to go! That is how well he has played.

Wong Jianwen is going to college soon and is getting used to being the big kid as little Cyrus Low from Singapore is standing to better see their game!

Ismail Ahmad has his hands full too with another Singapore kid in Tommy Tan but players are now used to sitting across kids round after round.


Just Two Rounds to Go....


With two rounds to go, Mas Hafizulhelmi continues to be the best Malaysian performer with 5/7 with Yeoh Li Tian following closely with 4.5/7. Not surprisingly, Ahmad Fadzil Nayan is doing well having played consistently and has now been joined by Fong Yit Ho on 4/7.

Three of our younger prospects, Wong Jianwen,  Muhd Syazwan Zulkifli and Fong Yit San are on 3.5/7, having been going up and down throughout the event but all will certainly benefit from having played the games they lost or should have drawn or won against quality opposition.

Ryan Chan finally got the second win he deserved after being unlucky for several rounds while his good friend Tan Jun Ying should also have had a much better result but both, at just 10 years of age, are very young and the future is certainly theirs.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Two Thirds...

Round six is over and we are two thirds way through the 13th BCC Open, and Mas Hafizulhelmi is still our best performer with 4/6.

Yeoh Li Tian and Ahamd Fadzil Nayan are right behind with 3.5/6 while Ismail Ahmad, Muhd Syazwan Zulkifli and Fong Yit Ho are on 3/6.

But the Swiss System is a bit of a yo yo so it can be up one day and then down another so the pairings in the last three round will be crucial in determining the final results.

Dominant Mas Hafizulhelmi Qualifies for Blitz Finals!

Mas Hafizulhelmi who together with Yeoh Li Tian are on 3/5 and lead the rest of the Malaysians at the 13th BCC Open, qualified with some ease for the traditional winner takes all BCC Blitz Tournament.

There were seven qualifying groups of 14 players each and Mas tied for first in Group B with a 12.5/13 score, his only draw coming in a no holds barred encounter against the Georgian GM Coach of the young Kazakhstan team taking part.

15 players will play a 14 round robin final tonight.

Back to the 13th BCC Open,  Ahmad Fadzli Nayan, Wong Jianwen, Muhd Syazwan Zulkifli and Fong Yit San are on 2.5/5, 50 percent, while Ismail Ahmad is joined by Fong Yit Ho on 2/5 while youngsters Tan Jun Ying and Ryan Chan are on 1.5/5 and 1/5 respectively.

While Mas salvaged a draw, Li Tian was outplayed in a complex attacking game against an IM.

Of our other leading prospects, Ahmad Fadzli in a marathon game suffered heartbreak when he let a draw slip away but Jianwen, Muhd Syazwan and Yit San had very easy wins.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Malaysians in Pattaya as we approach the Half Way Mark

With four rounds of play, Yeoh Li Tian on 3/4 is doing the best amongst our Malaysians participating.



Also doing well, although with somewhat mixed play are Mas Hafizulhelmi and Ahmad Fadzil Nayan who both have 2.5/4.

Ismail Ahmad, Muhd Shazwan Zulkifli, and Fong Yit Ho are on 2/4, 50 percent, while hoping to improve are Wong Jianwen, Fong Yit San and Tan Jun Ying who are all on 1.5/4, young Ryan Chan has played much better than his 1/4 while Sri Shiva Kumar has not taken his chances to be at the cellar with 0/4.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Today it is Malaysia-Singapore and Malaysia-Thailand and Malaysia-Indonesia!

One of our most experienced players is Ahmad Fadzil Nayan, already Asian Amateur Champion, and he is up against one of Singapore's brightest prospects.

 
Very intriguing is Li Tian's game against the Thailand No. 1, Thanadon Kulpruethanon, a very promising and also up and coming young man who clearly has talent.

Of course we have match up of veterans too with our own Ismail Ahmad against frequent Indonesian visitor Handjojo Limono.

Monday, 15 April 2013

A Long Day with No Happy Ending

Today was the double round day so from tomorrow maybe there will be some pool time and our Malaysians are doing pretty good and getting valuable experience if not actually doing too many amazing things even if  each are having their special moments.

 In round three Yeoh Li Tian faced yet another GM but this time it was just too difficult to repeat.


And Mas Hafizulhelmi who has been our other outstanding performer until now also failed against his GM opponent, Ralf Akesson.

Of Our Young Guns and Beating a Grandmaster....

In yesterday's post several Malaysians here in Pattaya were mentioned and here are some others!

Two well known kids from Penang.


Yup it is Yeoh Li Tian doing his usual take down of a Grandmaster act... and in round three he will have yet another in Attila Czebe.

Lim Zhou Ren to Play in Malaysian Masters

It is confirmed! The direct entries to the Malaysian Masters for men will be (in order of confirmation), Ng Tze Han,  Dr. Ronnie Liu, Mas Hafizulhelmi, Roshan Singh, Lim Yee Weng, Jimmy Liew and now also Lim Zhou Ren.

For the record, Tze Han and Ronnie emailed their thanks for the opportunity and gave their full support for the event while both Mas Hafizulhelmi and Lim Yee Weng eagerly welcomed the competition and in fact asked if there was a way that other strong players like IM Wong Zi Xing and Nicholas Chan could add to the mix!

Lim Zhou Ren was a special case as he wrote to MCF asking for consideration because of his university exams in London during the National Closed Championship and showed he had been and would continue to be active and in fact is that his good performances are even the subject of the most current blog post by IM Goh Wei Ming (see www.kgwm@blogspot.com) who is known for his monitoring of our best Malaysian talent.

For the girls, six from seven have confirmed and they are, (again in order of acceptance), Tan Li Ting, Nur Nabila Azman Hisham, Nur Najiha Azan Hisham, Alia Anin Azwa Bakri, and Camila Johari.

Pending is Dr. Nur Shazwani Zulkafli who is now doing her housemanship and only has seven days leave and had before already committed to make herself available for the University Olympiad but there are some questions as to her eligibility and if that is not resolved next week we may yet have arguably our strongest ever women line up representing Malaysia in many years!  

Sunday, 14 April 2013

At The Thailand Open

The 13th Bangkok Chess Club Open, also the Thailand Open 2013 has just started at the Dusit Thani in Pattaya and will be from today 14 April until 21 April.

Games are live at the Bangkok Chess Club website www.bangkokchess.com and results will be posted at www.chess-results.com and of course I will have reports and photos at www.chessdom.com.

As mentioned in my previous post, Malaysia is well represented and here we have a group which will be representing us at the coming FISU University Olympiad (Greg is obviously not a student but checking out and learning from arguably the biggest and best run open championship in the region).

One of our best young players, in fact the runaway U-18 National Age Group Champion Wong Jianwen is having a dream first round with a match up against Indonesia's No. 1, Grandmaster Susanto Megaranto.

Even veterans can have their moment in the sun and Ismail Ahmad is playing a Grandmaster too and I will leave it to my many expert readers to identify him!

Monday, 8 April 2013

BCC Open 2013, Pattaya, Thailand, 14-21 April 2013


The Bangkok Chess Club is now in its 13th year of organising an International Open Tournament that simply keeps growing and growing and setting new standards in the region!

While one might say that the sun and sand and various charms of Thailand help, it is clear that the main force is International Organiser Kai Tuorila and he is well supported by as enthusiastic and as supportive a bunch of members as anyone could hope for.

Finally after letting him down a couple of times, I will be travelling up north to help out - and I just found out that Mok Tze Meng will also be there, not as one of the 11 Malaysians registered so far in the Open (and certainly not one of the 6 registered for the Challengers) but because he has offered his services as an arbiter in return for a room. (I wonder if he is doing business or has students there?)

Knowing Kai I will have a lot to do and of course I have also agreed to assist in media coverage but I am looking forward to spending some time with the Malaysians who have long told me they are going like Ismail Ahmad whose kids are in the Challengers and Tan Eng Seong who has gone further to play with his kids in the Challengers! I will of course also be happy to assist any young players there to the best of my ability while there, subject to any time and energy remaining!

Malaysia's challenge will be led by Mas Hafizulhelmi and Yeoh Li Tian but we can perhaps hope for good things too from Wong Jianwen and Fong Yit San who are now almost veterans in their own right.

Do look up the details for yourself at  http://chess-results.com/tnr94564.aspx?lan=1

The Malaysian Masters - The Players Who Have Accepted Invitations!


Today 9 a.m. was the deadline for men and tomorrow 9 a.m. is the deadline for women but we have heard from all in one way or another and as organiser I can now confirm the participants (or most of them!).

For the men, Ng Tze Han was the very first enthusiastic entry followed soon after by one of our most highly regarded but unlucky players and he is of course Dr Ronnie Lim Chiun Hoong. Then came an SMS from Mas Hafizulhelmi with his agreement. A long telephone conversation with Dr Ajeet Singh came next who was keen for his son Roshan Singh to play and once it was clarified that the Malaysian Masters was now the National Championship Finals and he did not have to defend his title there, we had our fourth player.

Along the way Jimmy Liew had of course written in with suggestions but was told it was much too late to change the format which anyway was designed to give everyone an equal opportunity to be part of the National Team set-up and generally all were happy even if arguably no one had found it perfect from their individual perspective!

Finally, Lim Yee Weng also kindly informed me, but after the deadline, that Jimmy Liew would be writing on behalf of the others to clarify both participation and the roles and responsibilities of national players before deciding to take part.

Of course I have arranged their request to meet assigned MCF officials this weekend to share their views (as we would for anyone with some standing and desire to contribute) but the fact is this came after the deadline for entries and has nothing to do with playing in the Malaysian Masters and being eligible to join the national team but I suppose MCF can give them a week's extension to reconsider?

The MCF Council will ultimately decide of course but we do have players who have written in to for an opportunity and the National Closed Championship can also increase the number of qualifiers.

We have a fantastic response from the women, K.H. Tan the first with Tan Li Ting and then Azman Hisham confirming his daughters Nur Nabila and Nur Najiha. It was great that another former National champion Fong Mi Yen too has decided to continue with chess and a  nice surprise was when Gregory Lau called to confirm that Alia Aznin Awa Bakri would also be making a comeback!

Unfortunately Dr. Nur Shazwani Zulkafli sent me an SMS that she only had 7 days of leave a year and was even cutting some classes/work to help the Malaysian team to the University Olympiad and just could not make it but that loss was made up somewhat when Camila Johari who had her heart set on winning the National Closed realised the Malaysian Masters was the new National Championship and agreed to join her many friends!

I am personally excited - for me, regarding our men, whether or not some of senior players decide that their careers come first and opt out or to continue, I think we have succeeded in leveling the playing field for the younger generation of players and perhaps the even young generation that will follow.

We have to give all our players hope and opportunity to represent Malaysia at the highest levels if chess is to progress.

For someone who has been associated with working with women players for many years, I am also excited that we will have a more representative field than in most years and I cannot wait to see which other four young girls join them. Whatever the outcome, the fact we have ten girls playing in the Masters which represents the best of what is available today in Malaysia is already a huge success!