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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Of Pesta Sukan Kementerian Kewangan - Day 3

This year's edition of the Pesta Sukan Kementerian Kewangan has produced one of the most intense, interesting and the closest rivalry between the 8 chess teams competing for the top podium finish. With one more round to go, only a single point separating the top 4 teams with host KWSP leading the pack with 22.5 points, Bank Simpanan Nasional in second spot with 22 points and sharing the third spot are Kastam DiRaja Malaysia and Security Commission - clearly the surprise team of the event, with 21.5 points each. 

To make things more interesting, even the fifth placed team in Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri which has amassed 19 points, has a slim mathematical chance of leap frogging all the other teams to share the top spot - only if they can wipe out their last round opponent in Kastam Di Raja Malaysia 6 - 0, an unlikely thing to happen but not totally impossible. 

Team Standings after Round 6

Host and current leader KWSP will face Security Commission in their final round encounter and with fine performances coming in from Yeoh Thearn Jern and Azman Hisham of Security Commission on Board 1 and 2, it is very unlikely that KWSP can walk away with an easy win. A wrong line up by KWSP in the final round may just be enough for Security Commission to create an upset and secure a medal placing for the team and knocking KWSP from a podium finish. For a team that can only list 7 players in the  team for last year's event, Security Commission has done well this year to become the new force within the Ministry of Finance chess circle which has been dominated by KWSP, BSN and Kastam DiRaja Malaysia. Even Security Commission head honcho Azman Hisham took the trouble to ensure that his office meetings do not clash with the team chess schedule, traveling between KL and Bangi to contribute his time and it was well worth it, scoring a perfect 5 points from 5 games. Had he played in his team first round encounter against Bank Simpanan Nasional, the situation now would have been more favorable for the Security Commission's team.

The encounter between KWSP and Security Commission will be closely monitored by Bank Simpanan Nasional and Kastam DiRaja Malaysia who will face Bank Negara Malaysia and Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri respectively. Any points dropped by KWSP (and earned by Security Commission) will allow both Bank Simpanan Nasional and Kastam DiRaja Malaysia to climb to the top of the pack, provided they themselves are able to score convincing victories against their opponent. Similarly, any further drops of points by these two teams, Security Commission may just be able to pull the most amazing feat of the year by becoming a first time champion in the annual sports meet.

Whilst Bank Simpanan may have the easier opponent in Bank Negara Malaysia - at least on paper, anything can still happen and if Bank Negara is able to strategically placed their players at the right board, they may just be able to hold Bank Simpanan Nasional to a low scoring game. 

Kastam Di Raja Malaysia will have a slightly tougher time facing Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri as the team has a more consistent and stable line up. Although Kastam may have better players on board 1 and 2 in Rizal and Amir, the remaining 4 boards will be coin tosses between the 2 teams.

With too many probabilities and outcomes that may happen, the only way to know for certain who will win, is to wait for the rounds to conlude after it is scheduled to start at 9:00am. By 11:00am tomorrow, will we see BSN retaining the title for the second consecutive year or, will we see host KWSP victorious for this year? Or,will this year be the year for the new kids on the block in Security Commission? We have 12 more hours to go before all this will be answered.

May the best team wins!
The team in red - Bank Simpanan Nasional lost 2 - 4 to Kastam DiRaja Malaysia in their 5th round encounter
Deputy Arbiter, Nik Ahmad Farouqi having a chat with the Bank Negara Malaysia team during lunch break
Yeoh Thean Jern - Board 1 player for Security Commission who has done well to record 5.5 points out of 6 games
Scene at the tournament hall

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