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Monday, August 20, 2012

Of the 9th IGB Dato Arthur Tan Chess Festival 2012

Finally... its here! The 9th edition of the annual Chess Festival kicked off earlier this morning at 11:00am with 176 participants taking part in the first ever Combined Rapid format time control. Before the start of August, the number of players playing in the event was less than 50 players but the reduction of the entry fees and aggressive marketing by the organizing team, the event has now managed to attract a respective number of players from local and international chess community most notably from India and Philippines. Despite the event being held over the Hari Raya festivities, it still manages to attract a surprising number of Malay players such as the Azman Hisham's family, Syakeer Azhar, Fairin Zakaria, Nor Ilhamuddin and a few others. Significantly missing from this year's edition are players from China and Vietnam, and a lesser number of entries from Singapore and Australia/New Zealand. Whilst the event did not surpass the number of players that came for last year's event (there were more than 200 players in the 3 main event combined - IGB DAT Open, KLK Seniors and AMBANK Amateur), the field provided a good mix of players with more than 20 (W)GMs and (W)IMs taking part in the event.

There were some surprises earlier in Round 2 when local Sumant Subramaniam defeated GM John Paul Gomez on Table 2. However, the winning momentum did not last long when Sumant lost to local IM Mok Tze Meng in the following round to drop a point. Malaysia Olympiad Team Captain IM Jimmy Liew also started strong with 2 quick points but fell against GM Laylo in the 3rd round. However, Jimmy returned to his winning form in the 4th round and has so far managed to gather 3 points out of 4 rounds.

Malaysian rookie in the Olympiad team, youngster Yeoh Li Tian is currently 14th in the overall standing, half point behind the leader group after collecting an impressive 3.5 points out of 4 rounds. His best was against WGM Irina Sukandar whom he had won in Round 4. In Round 5 tomorrow morning, Li Tian will be playing against IM Wahono Awam of Indonesia. 

Another impressive run by a Malaysian is from FM Nichoas Chan who have also amassed 3.5 points from 4 rounds. His half point came from Round 4 when he drew against GM Eldar of Ukraine after the latter lost on time but Nicholas having a lone king to salvage the half point.

After 4 rounds of play on Day 1, Philippines players seem to dominate the event with 5 of their players leading the pack with 4 perfect points from 4 rounds - GM Antonio, GM Mariano, GM Darwin, IM Dableo and IM Senador Emmanuel.  

Trailing half point behind are 10 players with 3.5 points each amongst which included locals FM Nicholas Chan and youngster Yeoh Li Tian, GM Richard Bitoon and IM Nolte of Philippines, GM Eldar of Ukraine, and IM Wahono Awam and Novita Anjas of Indonesia, and "adopted" Malaysian player Ian Udani of Philippines, and "adopted" Singapore players Nelson III and Luis Chong also of Philippines.

Other notable Malaysian players who are 1 point behind the leader pack with 3 points each are IM Jimmy Liew, NM Lim Zhuo Ren, Muhd Nabil and younger sister WCM Nur Nabila Azman Hisham, NM Yeoh Chin Seng, IM Mok Tze Meng, brothers Sumant and Shreyes Subramaniam, veteran Ismail Ahmad and Liew Ken Yew.

Tomorrow the event will continue with 5 more rounds with Round 5 to start at 9:30am followed by Round 6 at 11:00am. The afternoon rounds will start at 2:00pm with Round 7, Round 8 at 3:30pm and Round 9 at 5:00pm.

The last 2 rounds will be played on Wednesday starting at 9:30am with Round 10 and the final Round 11 scheduled to start at 11:00am. 

Following the conclusion of the Rapid event, the organizer will commence with the Festival Blitz event at 2:00pm with 9-11 rounds of preliminary rounds followed by Knock Out stage for the top 8 players, and the closing and prize giving ceremony to start at 6:00pm. 

For the blitz event, the entry fees is RM25 (for all players regardless of title) and the winner of the event stands to win RM500 for his/her effort. 16 players will earn cash prizes but only the top 8 players going into the knock out stages. For more information, you can contact Chief Arbiter Najib Wahab at +60163382542 or email him at najib.wahab@chess-malaysia.com 
IM Mok Tze Meng was not able to maintain his good form losing to GM Nelson Mariano in Round 4
Yeoh Li Tian did well to register against WGM Irina Sukandar of Indonesia
Sumant did well to create the first big upset of the event by beating GM Gomez in Round 2but lost to IM Mok Tze Meng in the subsequent round
FM Nicholas Chan split the point with GM Eldar of Ukraine and both players now have 3.5 points, half point behind the leading pack
Nor Ilhamuddin finding the event a bit tough to his liking
Top seed player - GM Antonio Rogelio (or Joey) of the Philippines
Scene at the tournament hall at the start of Round 1
The biggest player playing against the smallest kid in Round 1 - Carl Haessler of USA (facing the camera) against Ng Shi Yang of Malaysia
The top 46 players with 3 points or more
Pairing for Round 5 - starting at 9:30am on Wednesday, 21st August 2012
For more photo reports, please visit http://www.facebook.com/pages/Chess-Malaysia/168231673260531

For update results and pairings including standings, please visit http://www.chess-results.com/tnr79481.aspx?lan=1

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