When I arrived earlier today at 10:00am, I managed to have a short catch up with Dato Tan Chin Nam, Hamid Majid and KK Chan, and moments later, we were joind by Dato Sieh Kok Chi, OCM Hon Secretary at the hotel lobby. There were a few other players which I have not seen for some time and of course, the usual suspects that can be seen at chess tournaments including those from the Chess Festival who seemed to never get enough of Malaysian chess hospitality. And the Philippines are still there but lessen in numbers - from more than 30 at the Festival, dwindling down to 16 for this event with some notable faces and new ones as well.
As I made through to the playing hall, the hall was just nice and comfortable to fit 82 players with some rooms to move but, if the numbers of participant hit 100, both the Mokhtar Dahari and Ho Koh Chye halls would not be enough to hold the crowd. But that was the original plan anyway - keep it small but provide a good level of play. With a quarter of the players are GMs or IMs - including GM Tiviakov of Netherlands who is rated 2674, the event provides a good, challenging and attractive environment. There were also 27 Malaysian players playing and that by itself, is the highest number of participants ever recorded from the local chess community for a KL Open event
Amongst the locals playing are FM Ronnie Lim (Dr) who took some time to play. Since his recent transfer to KL, Ronnie have been rather active in the local KL circuit - definitely hungry to get his game going. It has been a good run for Ronnie in this tournament as has managed to accumulate 3 points out of 4 rounds - 2 wins and 2 draws, to stay within reach of the top boards. His next round opponent is unrated Franz Barreto of Philippines who has also amassed 3 points from 4 rounds. Another notable local figure playing is our recently crowned FM Lim Zhuo Ren who postponed his trip back to UK to take advantage of his fine Olympiad run (and luck?) to see if he can secure his second IM norm. After 4 rounds, Zhuo Ren only manages a 50% score with 2 points out of 4 games but with the event less than the halfway mark, perhaps Zhuo Ren is saving the best for later. His next opponent will be another Malaysian player in Fong Yit San.
Two ladies from the Women Olympiad team, WFM Nur Najiha and former National Champion Tan Li Ting also took some time to play in the event with both scoring 2 points out of 4 rounds. In tomorrow's morning round, Najiha will play the black pieces against Legaspi Rhobel of Philippines while Li Ting, also playing the black side of the board, will be facing Jasper Rom of the USA
The event will continue with Round 5 and 6 tomorrow starting at 9:00am and 4:00pm respectively before going for a one day break on Friday. Round 7 and Round 8 will resume on Saturday at similar times with Round 9 to be played on Sunday at 9:00am. A blitz event is scheduled at 2:00pm with the closing set to start at 5:00pm
For those who are interested to view the event, please make your way to the OCM Olympic Sports Hotel located on Jalan Hang Jebat, opposite Stadium Negara, in between Sekolah Jalan Davidson and MABA Building. If you do not want to drive, you can catch the Monorail or the LRT Star and get off at Hang Tuah station, and from here on, the OCM hotel would be around 10-15 minutes walk.
|Dato Tan and Dato Sieh having a chat during brunch|
|Current sole leader - GM Cao Sang of Vietnam with a perfect 4 points from 4 rounds|
|Top seed and highest rated player at the event - GM Sergei Tiviakov of Netherlands who is rated 2674|
|A new face to the Malaysian chess shores - Legaspo Kaye Ann of Philippines|
|Best Malaysian performer so far - FM (Dr) Ronnie Lim with 3 points from 4 rounds, winning 2 games and drawing with 2 GMs along the way. GM Deepan of India in Round 2 and GM Vakhidov of Uzbekistan in Round 4|