The Masters - Who Will Qualify?

All attention is now shifting to the Malaysian Masters where our top ten men and top eight women players will seek to establish themselves as members of the national team to the coming SEA Games, Asia Nations Cup and World Chess Olympiad.

There were three places up for grabs for the men and Aron Teh and Fong Yit San, by virtue of taking clear first and second places are automatic, while Wong Jianwen and Muhammad Syazwan Zulkifli will have to play off for the remaining slot.

It has been a good run for the foreign based Aron as he is coming off a joint first place finish at the World Amateur (for players rated under 2000) and he clearly played a smart tournament to take his chance with both hands even as the other perhaps more fancied favourites largely self destructed and several of these young players would be well advised to take a hard look at themselves if these want to progress.

For the women, there were four places up for grabs, a situation mitigated in a small field when the Azman Hisham sisters who had direct entry chose instead to win and qualify!

No surprise that Nur Nabila and Nur Najiha took the top two places with some ease and in fact Nabila could afford a surprise last round loss and still emerge the winner. The beneficiary, Puteri Rifquah Fahada Azhar, also qualifies by virture of outright third place, but there will be no less than five girls playing off for the last slot!

Congratulations to all - the quality of the games was very mixed (I think!) but everyone will have to salute the great fighting spirit shown (at least that was the impression I got from the men results) as I was not there first hand to witness.


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