Big deal indeed: After 15 Years, an Inter State Team Championship!
The Malaysian Inter State Team Championship returned, after 15 long years, and fittingly, to Kota Kinabalu, capital of beautiful Sabah which is celebrating its 50th birthday!
Organised as part of the Sabah Chess Festival which saw numerous supporting events - Sabah Junior Championships, National Arbiter Seminar, Sabah King Blitz and the first ever FIDE Rated Rapid in the Sabah Grande which is ongoing, having started on 15 September.
While the majority of teams arrived on 11 September, a few came a day earlier to have a bit of a holiday and although I managed to beat all of them by coming on the evening of 8 September, it was to conduct the National Arbiter Seminar from 9-10 September, an activity that turned into a three day training program helping prepare the many enthusiastic locals attending to help run the Inter State Team Championships.
On the final day of the Inter State Teams, numerous officials from the Malaysian Chess Federation joined a well represented leadership from the various participating states attending in great show of support for Sabah chess and this was clearly appreciated at the closing ceremony by the Minister of Sport and their City Mayor patron.
These were Kelantan (two teams), Terengganu, Pahang, Perak, Selangor, KL, Negeri Sembilan, Johor and Sarawak joined hosts Sabah (four teams) but conspicous by its absence was Penang who with Kedah were the only two states not participating.
We all know some leaders of state associations think that they are by themselves the reason for chess alone and even if KL (and I understand at least one other state too) was approached by many unhappy Penang players to be allowed to play under their banner, I had to decline to help as it would have been hard to defend them against their vindictive self serving state association head (after three terms still a non playing chess parent?) who even clearly stated his sad (and I must say rather pathetic) reasons electronically when asked if Penang would be participating but we already know that is the man.
Going back to chess, I must congratulate the Sabah Chess Association which has the largest number of active and actually working chess officials I have ever seen and everyone would have been impressed by the energy and passion of all, with their President Muammar Jukarain the best example!
In the end the heavily favoured Selangor team emerged winners but like everyone else also suffered defeat, surprisingly badly in the fifth round against a KL team which opted to expose some young talent rather can field a representative national team. KL unfortunately lost their last round match against Perak to finish second on tie-break to and Johor proved to be a worthy third place winner.
But in fact there were no pushovers thanks to the adoption of match scoring which ensured players fought as teams and which gave a lot of room for strategy.
See details at: http://chess-results.com/tnr110741.aspx?lan=1
As Chief Arbiter I did my best to ensure the best playing conditions possible at Masterskill Global College in Likas together with the huge team from the Sabah Chess Association in line with the requirements of a national championship as mandated by the Malaysian Chess Federation while adopting international standards and practices.
Yet there was at least one idiot who really should know better than to believe his own high opinion of himself gives him such special privileges and rights that as a spectator he could enter the playing area, sit down, talk loudly, even read newspapers, and to tell those who ask him to leave that rules did not apply to him because he was the No.1 player.
However, the fact that the event ran smoothly with players wanting for nothing is satisfaction enough and I thank my newly adopted arbiter team (all who passed as National Arbiters) for being excellent students.