Towards Better Selection and a Committed National Team

With the publication of the 1 April FIDE Rating list, the cut-off date for the Malaysian Masters has been reached and we officially have our top six men and women to join the three qualifiers from the National Closed Championship to be held in Kuala Terengganu from 9-13 May.

Now as the organiser I will be waiting for replies from the players who have been given a week to confirm their participation.

There is no wild card for the men because with the Malaysian Masters now being designed as the National Championship Final for FIDE title purposes (subject of course to the average rating being sufficiently high), it was agreed that Roshan Singh should be allowed to defend his title.

Young Roshan most recently has added the MSSM title to his U-16 National Age Group Championship.

It was a little more complicated with the women as Nur Najiha Azman Hisham has qualified twice by being both in the top six and also the defending champion!

But after some deliberation Camilia Johari by virtue of being ranked seventh and also having an excellent performance at the World Chess Olympiad and generally being very competitive and in the running for all recent national teams, she has been given the last automatic spot.

What I find interesting is that the MCF Council has decided to allow the top three qualifiers from the National Closed Championship and five from the Malaysian Masters to form a National Team of eight (that could still be expanded up to ten if needed) from which specific national teams in the next twelve months would be drawn from, and when taking account the need to submit team lists early to organisers of major events, these are potentially the SEA Games (December 2013), Asian Nations Cup (February 2014) and World Chess Olympiad (August 2014).

I know of and am personally supportive of MCF's resolve to take a blank slate approach once we have the eight players and then to select for each event based on each being active as player, committing to regular training sessions, and also contributing to the success of the national team.


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