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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Of Playing In The National Closed - End of Day 4

After drawing my morning round with Nik Farouqi, having to defend an almost hopeless position, I was really tired and mentally exhausted. It has been a long time since I played "real chess", pondering for moves after moves, for 2-3 hours in a day, cracking my head to make sense of a puzzle on a 64 square board. And because of that, the past 4 days was indeed a painful experience. Enjoyable.... but also rather painful. I guess I am not as active (and as young) as I used to be and the afternoon round had a clear indication of fatigue and lack of stamina as I lost my game to Fong Yit Ho rather easily. Perhaps the fighting spirit was no longer there - as I had already reached my 50% mark which I had targeted at the start of the event. Or perhaps, I just want to get it over and done as quickly as possible.... Either way, I lost my Round 8 encounter and maintained my 4.5 that I had accumulated thus far.

During those 8 rounds, I lost 3 games to players who are rated 2000 and above. At the same time, I also won 1 game and drew another against players of the same rating bracket ergo, I should gain some rating points by the next rating listing (due in July). Not sure how much it will increase to, but increase it should be. My last round game will be against Jamal Sulaiman who does not have a FIDE rating but has a National Rating of 1587. Whilst I am rated slightly higher than him, my aim is to seal the day with a high note and play well

As for me to go back playing actively..... Well, thanks to Jimmy for those encouraging words - that I should start to play again. I think I will but I will probably limit it to local KL circuits considering that this will be a "part time for fun venture" and further, with my consultancy work to restart at the end of June, I will not have much time to spend on chess anymore. Again... another door close, a few others opened!!

Going into the last day, and the last round, Roshan has nailed the door shut and irregardless of what happened in the last round, his unassailable lead has secured him the National Champion title for 2012. The only question now is whether he will make it a perfect 9, or will he falter in the last round. If you ask me to give him an advice, I will say - "GO MAKE YOUR DAY!". If IM Rolando Nolte made it 9/9 in Selangor Open, I believe Roshan should try the same. 

With Roshan securing the top spot, 3 players are in the run for second place - Syazwan should seal the runner up position should he win against Roshan but failing that, two Juniors with 6 points may have the chance to leap frog him to steal the 2nd best player. The two players are Yeap Eng Chiam and Yeoh Li Tian who has been paired to play each other on Table 2. Another 2 players with 5.5 points are Nik Farouqi (who has been paired to play 5 pointer Loo Swee Leong) and Muhd Nabil (who has been matched up against Zaidan).

Another 9 players with 5 points are trailing the leading pack with hopes to finish the event in the top 10 spots.

Pairing for Round 9 of the Open Section are as follows:

Similarly, the same is happening in the Ladies Section with Najiha being crowned the new Women Champion even before the start of the final round. Although her last round opponent in Siti Khadijah may spring a surprise and Fong Mi Yen won her last round game to equal the points, by virtue of tie break, Najiha would still be crowned as the 2012 champion, taking the throne which was won by her elder sister last year.

On Table 2, 2010 champion Fong Mi Yen has been paired to play against Siti Aisyah and on Table 3, Nabila is set to meet Wong Siew Ting. 

The rest of the pairing for Round 9 Ladies Section are as follows:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Of Malaysian Chess Festival 2005

A blast from the past.

My friend Masrin Erowan emailed me the following photo which was taken in 2005 during the Malaysian Chess Festival. The photo was with the late Florencio Campomanes who was here as a guest to Dato Tan Chin Nam and the Malaysian Chess Federation (MCF). 
From left: Florencio Campomanes, Masrin Erowan, yours truly, and GM Antonio Rogelio of the Philippines
I used to entertain Mr Compomanes with late night blitz game and he was still good at chess despite his age. We would sit in the lounge area at CitiTel Hotel and play endless blitz chess until wee hours of the morning.


Of Playing In The National Closed - Day 4

After 7 rounds, I have 4.5 points with the last 0.5 point coming in from my last round encounter with Kelantanese Nik Ahmad Farouqi. I had already lost the opening when I blundered a pawn but continued playing - reluctantly. At about the 10th move, I wanted to resign but told myself that I should try and continue, just to see how far I can go. Surprisingly, I managed to ward off the attack and create a counter attack of my own. At move 31, I offered him the draw - while having a piece up (but 2 pawns down) not wanting to risk further damaged as I have already survived the onslaught.... Phew!!!!

As for the tournament, Roshan continued his good run scoring a perfect 7 points with Zaidan becoming his latest victim. At the rate Roshan is going, Round 8 will be crucial for him to secure the title - a win against Muhd Nabil in the next round should seal the deal for Roshan. On Table 2, Syazwan is playing the Loo Swee Leong who came back from the bottom of the field storming back with 5 consecutive wins and now amongst the top of the field. 

Top seeded and early favorite Yeoh Li Tian will handle the black pieces against Mohd Khair on Table 3 and on Table 4, Yeap Eng Chiam will play against Fong Yit San. For me, I will be on Table 8 playing with Yit San's brother Yit Ho.

For me, I have already reached my target of 4.5 points - a satisfying results although I feel I should have gone worse. I survived a major onslaught against Nik and was not able to convert a crushing attack against Yit San and lost. But I did well in the game despite the score saying otherwise. I also did well against Masrin Erowan but overlooked an easy mate in two - something which I should not have missed. With two more rounds to go, I am hoping to continue playing well and gain a few rating points to add to the current one that I have.

The pairing for Round 8 to start at 3:00pm is as follows:

For the ladies section, it seems a foregone conclusion that Nur Najiha will emerge as the 2012 champion. With 1.5 points adrift from his closest rival, and with no other formidable opponent to wrestle her lead, it would be surprising if she is not able to stamped her name as the new National Champion. For the ladies, the race is now for the second placing between Nabila and Fong Mi Yen - both with 5 points, and 5 other players with 4 points - Chuah Yi Ning, Tan Li Ting, Nithyalakshmi Sivanesan, and sisters Siti Aisyah and Siti Khadijah Sabirin.

Pairing for Round 8 are as follows:

Monday, May 28, 2012

Of Playing In The National Closed - End of Round 4

It was a fast game for me playing the Black pieces against junior Kughan Ravindran on Table 10. So far after 4 rounds, I have managed to secure 3 points - a 75% performance. It will be a tough ride from here on as I have been paired to play against Yit San in the next Round 5 - pray for me!

For Liew Ken Yew, his fine run continues with a win against the higher seeded Zaidan Zulkipli on Table 2. The shocker was on Table 1 when Li Tian went down against Roshan Singh which sets up the duel between the two remaining perfect 4 pointers between Roshan and Ken Yew in Round 5. With early favorites failing against the lower seeded players, it seems that the National Closed 2012 may go down the wire and might be decided in the last 2 rounds unless of course Ken Yew or Roshan managed to maintain their momentum, then one of them may be crowned the new National Champion. With only 54 players in the field and 9 rounds to play, there is plenty of time for players to rebound and playing catch up with the leaders. 

On Table 2, the only pair with 3 1/2 points - half points behind the co leaders, is Yeap Eng Chiam going up against Muhd Nabil Azman Hisham. Following them are eight players with 3 points each in top seed Li Tian, 5th seeded Zaidan, Yit San of Perak, Veteran Lim Kian Hwa of Sarawak, customs officer Rizal Ahmad Kamal, IPT student Syazwan and surprisingly, yours truly in the same pack - all of us a single point adrift from the leaders.

One notable player in the pack that is clawing its way back up is Loo Swee Leong whom collected 2 consecutive points from his Round 3 and Round 4 encounters to climb back into the middle of the pack.

Pairing for Round 5 in the Open Section are as follows:

For the Ladies Section, WFM Nur Najiha proved to be too strong for the other competitors, bulldozing her way through with a perfect 4 points out of 4 rounds. Her latest victim in Round 4 was Nithyalakhsmi of Negeri Sembilan. On Table 2, elder daughter of Azman Hisham, Nur Nabila drew with Tan Li Ting which sets up a mouth watering duel between the two sisters for Round 5. The younger one with the ambition of scoring her first National title and a perfect run towards the title whilst the elder sister, defending the throne which she won last year. A win or a draw by Najiha would probably render her untouchable but a win by the sister may open up the field slightly. 

On Table 3, Camilia Johari did well to hold 2010 Champion Fong Mi Yen to a draw whilst on Table 4, Latifah Kaiyisah proved to be too strong for Najihah Mohd Saufi. On Table 5, sisters Siti Aisyah and Siti Khadijah game ended in an amicable draw.

For Round 5, six players with 2 1/2 points are paired against one another - Latifah Kaiyisah against Mi Yen on Table 2, Sarika and Li Ting on Table 3 and Camilia against Nithya on Table 4

The rest of the pairing are as follows:

Proud parents - Azman Hisham and Zazaluma talking to another parent Zurin (center)
Table 3 encounter between 2010 Women Champion Fong Mi Yen against another rising star, Camilia Johari
IM/FA and FT Mok Tze Meng having a chat with MCF VP Haslindah Ruslan
Zaidan Zulkipli (right) had it tough against the lower rated Ken Yew and lost this encounter leaving Ken Yew with a perfect 4 points out of 4 rounds.
Ladies in black - defending champion Nur Nabila (right) up against Tan Li Ting which ended in a drawn game.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Of Playing In The National Closed - Round 3 Going To Round 4

For Round 3, there were a few minor upsets on the top tables when higher rated Mohd Khair lost to junior Roshan Singh on Table 4 and Liew Ken Yew won against Muhd Syazwan Zulkifli on Table 5. 

8th seeded, Junior Fong Yit Ho finding it hard to secure a point against Syazrin and managed only a draw on Table 9 as Syazrin continues to display fine playing form. 2nd seeded Loo Swee Leong finally managed to secure his first point after a win against David Tan.

For Round 4, only 4 players with perfect 3 points will meet one another - juniors Roshan and Li Tian will face off on Table 1, and Zaidan will be up against Liew Ken Yew on Table 2. Senior national player Ismail Ahmad will be playing against Junior Yeap Eng Chiam on Table 3 and Nik Ahmad Farouqi will meet Muhd Nabil on Table 4. 

Pairing for Round 4 in the open section are as follows:

For the Ladies section, Nur Najiha proved to be too strong for Fong Mi Yen and the former secured a win at the 48th move. On Table 2, elder sister Nur Nabila scored easy against Latifah Kaiyisah whilst on Table 3, Camilia drew with Tan Li Ting. On Table 4, Siti Khadijah who had earlier held Tan Li Ting to a draw, could not repeat her performance and went down to Nithyalakshmi. 

In Round 4, Nur Najiha is the only player left standing with a perfect 3 points our of 3 rounds and her next opponent in waiting will be Nithyalakshmi. On Table 2, defending champion Nur Nabila Azman Hisham will face against another former champion Tan Li Ting with the latter handling the white pieces. 2010 champion Fong Mi Yen is up against Camilia Johari on Table 3 and Najihah Mohd Saufi will be playing against Latifah Kaiyisah on the next table.

Pairing for Round 4 Ladies section:

Round 4 for both Open and Ladies section will start at 3:00pm today

Of Playing In The National Closed 2012 - Day 2

Thanks Ilham for your good luck wish but I think I need more than just luck! It was a painful and harrowing experience as I am not used to sitting down thinking for more than 2 hours over a game of chess.... Stressful la!

For my second round game against Mohd Khair Wahiduddin, I believe I had managed to hold him well but somewhere in the middle - of course, I gave away the initiative to him and with two connected passed pawn in the center, it was just a question of when I would succumbed to the pressure. Nonetheless, for someone who played chess as a hobby, and teaching 7 and 8 years old to play chess, I think I did rather well. For this event, my target is to achieve anything between 50% and 60% score - a moderate goal but a realistic one.

For the open section, the main surprise is 2nd seeded Loo Swee Leong of Penang who found out how tough the event is going to be, losing his first 2 games to youngster Wong Yinn Loong in Round 1 and Sabahan Jamal Sulaiman in Round 2. 

For Round 2 yesterday, the top two Tables were a pair of Juniors facing 2 veterans - Li Tian against Kian Hwa on Table 1 and Eng Chiam against old timer Woo Beng Keong on the next table. Li Tian played well to overpower Kian Hwa and secure his perfect score whilst Eng Chiam only managed a draw against Beng Keong. Another surprising result from Round 2 is Liew Ken Yew triumphant against Fong Yit Ho on Table 6, the lowest seeded player (at number 22) to have scored a perfect 2 points after 2 rounds. At the end of Round 2, ten players maintained their perfect run and are paired to play in Round 3 - Li Tian against Yit San, Nik Farouqi facing Ismail Ahmad, Zaidan with Masrin, Mohd Khair paired with Junior Roshan Singh and on Table 5 Muhd Syazwan is up against Lew Ken Yew.

Because of the long school break, early morning traffic was not so horrendous as it would usually is ergo, it was a very smooth ride to the playing hall. From Sri Kembangan, it took me less than 40 minutes to arrive when in normal traffic situation, the journey would last almost an hour. Nonetheless, there were still plenty of empty seats at the start of the Round 3 even though I arrived about 5 minutes late to start my game against the other younger version of Saprin - Amir Ghaazi. Although I came out victorious, it was a scary feeling as I know Saprin would have prepared his son well against me. I escaped the opening (Saprin pointed out my error) and managed to win the exchange with a strong initiative and space. When Amir Ghaazi finally offered his hand to surrender, I sigh in relief.... 

Round 3 pairing for the Open section:

For the Ladies Section, Round 3 offers interesting match up on Table 1 with Nur Najiha playin against 2010 champion Fong Mi Yen. On Table 2, Najiha's elder sister Nur Nabil who is also the defending champion, is paired against Latifah Kaiyishah. On Table 3, Camilia Johari facing Tan Li Ting while on Table 4, Siti Khadijah Sabirin up against Nithiyalakshmi.

Round 3 Pairing for the Ladies are as follows:

My second round game against Mohd Khair Wahiduddin of Pahang which ended in my opponent's favor
Nabila against Nithya on Table 1 in the Ladies Section. At the background, Nithya's brother Subramaniam (also in yellow top) watching from afar
Veteran Woo Beng Keong up against junior Yeap Eng Chiam. The game resulted in a draw.
Kelantanese Nik Ahmad Farouqi having a post game analysis with his opponent Afiq Afyfy at the end of their game which was won by Nik.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Of Playing In The National Closed 2012

The last time I played in National Closed was in 1993 and the venue was Parkroyal Hotel Kuala Lumpur. At that time, Dato' Sabaruddin (now Tan Sri) was the MCF President and the Secretary was either Laurence How or Abdul Hamid Majid - can't remember who it was. In that event, I lost to Mok Tze Meng in a Sicilian Opening game - blundered a piece in the first 10 move. I also played Mas Hafizulhelmi (not yet an IM then) and came out victorious - playing the white side of the King's Indian Defense. In our recent chat, Mas told me that is one of the reason he does not play King's Indian anymore - yeah right!

This is also the first time in 3 years that I am not handling the event as the Chief Arbiter. I was promised the position but somehow, it was given to NWM Khairunnisa. Disappointed that I am, I find that it would be good to put some time to play instead - one door closes, and another one open.... So, there I was in the middle of the players meeting, raring to play in my first National Closed event after almost 20 years not playing in the Championship.

The number of players playing for this year event was a dismal 54 players for the open section and 18 players for the ladies section. Although most titled players and most of the top players in the country did not make it for the event, it was a significant presence from the Juniors in Yeoh Li Tian, Yeap Eng Chiam, Muhd Nabil Azman Hisham, Fong Yit Ho, Fong Yit San and Roshan Ajeet Singh. Some of the more senior players playing in the event are Loo Swee Leong of Penang, Nik Ahmad Farouqi of Kelantan, Zaidan Zulkipli of Negeri Sembilan, Mohd Khair Wahiduddin of Pahang and Masrin Erowan of Sabah. Noticeably missing were last year's champion, Lim Zhou Ren and 2010 champion, Tan Khai Boon.

Most of the top seeds managed to secure a point from their first round encounter except for Muhd Nabil who drew with in-form Syazrin Abdul Rahman. For my game, I had a lucky escape after having some difficulty to convert a 2 pawns advantage into a win. It looks drawn but after after a positional mistake made by my opponent, I had two passed pawns on the the f and g file which was unstoppable.

Results for Round 1 are as follows:   

 For the Ladies section, most of the top ladies in the country are playing in the annual event. Defending champion Nur Nabila is back to defend her title and also 2010 champion, Fong Mi Yen. Others noticeable players were Tan Li Ting, Nur Najiha and Camilia Johari.

For Round 1, Tan Li Ting was held to a draw by Siti Khadijah Sabirin of Terengganu whilst the other top seeds managed to secure a win.

Results for Round 1 for the Ladies section are as follows:


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Of InSoFar Weekend Event

One of the better weekend event that I enjoy doing - but also the most confusing, is the Insofar weekend events. Confusing because there are too many prize categories to take care of and the explanation that needs to be relayed to the participants. Nonetheless, the number of players coming in for Insofar weekend event has improved a lot for the the 2012 series. If most chess followers remember, last year weekend event can barely rake more than 32 players but for this year, the numbers that sign up for the event can easily double that of last year. The first 2 installations attracted more than 90 players and although the 3rd edition held yesterday had the numbers dwindled down slightly, it was still considered successful with 73 hopefuls vying for the numerous prizes offered. Amongst those in that came flocking to Wilayah Complex were IM Jimmy Liew, father and son team of Chin Seng and Li Tian, Zaidan, Ian Udani, Jax Tham, and several outstation players coming from Seremban, Melaka and Kuching - Lim Kian Hwa.

The 7 round event started a bit late in the morning but by lunch, it was back on time. The top seed for the event, Ian Udani started well with 2 points from the first two round win but a defeat at the hands of Yeoh Chin Seng in Round 3 and later, against compatriot Efren Bagamasbad, it was clear that Ian was not at his best. It was apparent that he was not feeling well at the start of the tournament but continued playing hoping that the fever would go off but it did not. With the withdrawal of Ian, National Juniors Sumant and Li Tian led the pack with a perfect 4 points each and the showdown for Round 5 was set. At the end of the duel. Li Tian came on top with a full 5 points and Zaidan coming up a close second with 4 1/2 points - and another duel is set between the aspiring youngster Li Tian and the medical professional Zaidan.

But this time around, Zaidan managed to stop Li Tian and with the win, he had 1/2 point lead over Li Tian and in his final round against Efren, Zaidan sealed the victory, ergo securing him the weekend Champion title.

Despite his loss to Zaidan in Round 5, Li Tian continued his fine run and secured the 2nd placing with 6 points and 5 players came in at 5 1/2 points starting with Mohd Syazwan Zulkifli who had leap frog everyone to secure the 3rd placing based on tie break followed by Efren Bagamasbad, IM Jimmy Liew, Sumant Subramaniam and Nik Ahmad Farouqi.

Prizes were given away by IM Jimmy Liew, IM Mok Tze Meng and former National Champion Yeoh Chin Seng.

The next Insofar weekend installation will be on 17th June 2012 held at the same venue.

Some photos from the event:
Some of the crowd at the Insofar Weekend event


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Of Another Memorial - 2nd Lim Chong Memorial

During this event, I will be away basking in the equatorial sun on the famous mahsuri island. For those who would like to know more about this event, or would like to participate and play in the 2nd Lim Chong Memorial event, please click on the following LINK to download entry form.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Of Relaxing - and UpComing Events

After an almost three weeks stretch of non-stop chess, I finally have my break and what a long break it will be.... for both chess and work. My contract with a consultant company ended just before the Melaka Festival started and my chess work ended after the conclusion of Selangor Open last week so as of now, I am totally totally unemployed! Geezz.... The next event for me is the Insofar Combined Chess Tournament happening next Sunday as Mat Zaki Yeop - Insofar Principal and Founder, has asked me to be the Arbiter for his event, and after that, maybe an internal PETRONAS event but apart from those two, I am not sure where my fortune will bring me.

Then there is the Lim Chong Memorial event happening on the 3rd of June but I will be away in Langkawi, through the gracious and generousness of my wife's company which will be conducting its family day outing on the famous Mahsuri resort island. It will be a glorious weekend since I will be enjoying basking in the sun, the sea breeze and the swim, both on land and on shore. Bliss!!!!!

Before the Lim Chong event, it will be the National Closed which is scheduled from 27th May to 31st May at ATCC in Kuala Lumpur. Arbiter? Please don't ask me yet as I have not received any "formal" invitation although there were talks about it. Whether it is I or someone else, this will be one event that many local chess players will be looking forward to participating. Considering that it will be conducted in ATCC, I assume the number of participants will be limited due to space constraint. Anything above 160 would be not conducive as the area would be cramp, stuffy and not hygienic. 120 players - similar to the number that the event had last year held at the same place, would be just nice. But of course, MCF may want to squeeze the numbers

There are also talks about holding a Team event which is supposedly to be the biggest and most "luxurious" team event ever held with RM 5,000 but as of now, there were either minimal exposure or the event may have been put on hold but in any case, it is something to look forward to when it happens

For Southerners who are interested to play in the Iskandar Johor Open 2012 on 20th May (next week) at Giant Hypermarket in Tampoi Johor, you can view and download the entry by clicking HERE

Those in KL and Central Region who wishes to play chess can participate in the Insofar Combined Chess Tournament to be held on the same day, 20th May at ATCC in Wilayah Complex by clicking HERE to learn more about the event

Die hard chess enthusiasts who wish to go for glory and play in the National Closed, you can view the event information, and download the entry form HERE

Of course, the most anticipated event of all is the MCF AGM scheduled to happen sometime this year. It will be corny if both the MCF AGM and the GE13 to be happening at the same time - while many of us are voting to see the fate of the country, a few of us will be voting to chart the future of MCF.

Well until that happens, have a great week ahead comrades!!!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Of Selangor Open - The Final Standing

Although there were 11 draws recorded in the last round, five of which came from the top 10 tables, it was fighting draws all the way to the last move. Some of the more interesting ones were the games between former National Champion Kamalariffin Wahiduddin against CM Amier Hamzah (which I thought Amier could have won) on Table 6 and Eddy Fong against Darrel Yap on Table 9. These two games were some of the last ones to finish in Round 9. The last game to finish happened on Table 11 with Lim Kian Hwa triumphant against Zaiasron in a Queen and Pawn ending. 

On Table 1, with the draw happening on Table 2 between Zaidan and Udani thereby securing Nolte's position as the outright champion, one would thought that Nolte would probably go for the draw as well. But instead, and not entirely surprising, IM Rolando Nolte went all out for the win and in the process, created history by becoming the first ever Selangor Open Champion with a perfect 9 out of 9 score and that he did. The Filipino IM proved to be too strong for Sumant to handle and after the 24th move, the aviation engineering student decided to wave the white flag and with that, a perfect event for Nolte. 

Runner up went to Ian Udani after his short draw with Zaidan with Kamaluddin coming in at impressive 3rd place after his win against Jax Tham to break the Filipino dominance at the top of the leader board. Stewart Manaog, another Filipino came in 4th with Muhammad Nabil securing the 5th position after his win against Lim Ming Xian. 

The most impressive performance would be that of Cyrus Low, the sole representative from Singapore and one of the youngest participant to play in the Selangor Open who ended the tournament with 6 points placing him in the 10th position. His last round win against Roshan Singh was indeed a pleasure to watch on how he outplayed his slightly older opponent in a Rook and Pawn end game.

The final list of winners for the Selangor Open:
On Table 22 - one of the last few games to finish in Round 9. An intense battle between Amir Ghaazi (facing the camera) and Daryl Wong
The last and final game to finish between Kian Hwa and Zaiasron. At this point of the game, Kian Hwa has a distant pawn on the 5th rank that is unstoppable.
Cyrus Low of Singapore receiving his certificate and medal from CAS Vice President, Yeoh Chin Seng
The Champion - IM Rolando Nolte glancing at his Selangor Open Challenge Trophy with CAS President, Ahmad Shafruddin to his left. It is a 12 year quest for Nolte who also participated in the same event in 2000 which was won by his compatriot GM Eugenio Torre. Nolte was placed 3rd-4th in the event which was dominated by the Philippines.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Of Selangor Open - Final Round Pairing

The pairing for the Final Round 9
The Closing and Prize Giving Ceremony will commence at the conclusion of Round 9

Of Selangor Open - Going into the Final Round

The fate seems to be sealed and a new Champion shall be crowned regardless what the result would be in the final Round 9 of the 39th edition of the Selangor Open 2012. With an unassailable lead of a perfect 8 points out of 8 rounds, even though he may loss his final round match, IM Nolte will be crowned as the Selangor Open Champion irregardless if Ian Udani - his closest rival who is one point adrift, won his last round game and managed to catch up with Nolte's at 8 points a piece. The only question remain is will Nolte manage to do a perfect outing, or will it be tarnished with a draw or worse, a loss in the final Round 9 game? This will have to wait another 6 hours or so.

With more than 80% of the game ended at the time of print, and with both the Philippines player are in command at the top of the pack - IM Nolte with 8 points followed by Ian Udani at 7 points, the only remaining player at 6 points is Sumant Subramaniam who has managed to outplay Saprin Sabri on Table 3. It is almost certain that Sumant will meet top seed and leader Nolte on Table 1 and the National Junior player would probably want to redeem himself for the loss he had suffered at the hands of Sean Ooi, or will he play it safe and accept (or offer) a draw to Nolte? Ian Udani at 7 points will probably meet one of the six 5 1/2 pointers trailing the leader board.

With one more round to go, the top three leaders are separated by a point each with Nolte at the top having 8 points, Udani with 7 points and surprisingly Sumant at 3rd place with 6 points. 

The coveted Royal Selangor Open Chess Tournament Challenge Trophy
Roshan and Nabil going through their games with Nabil's sister, Nabila playinst Yit Ho at the background. Zaiasron Yahaya (standing on the left) and Yit Ho's brother, Yit San (standing on the right) looks over.


Of Selangor Open - Going into Round 8

It was an early morning round starting at 8:30am ergo, it was not surprising to see the playing hall is still half empty (or half full) when the announcement to start the clock was given. Leaders IM Nolte and Ian Udani were already at the playing hall when the doors opened at 8:00am whilst Saprin and Jax were seen arriving about 8:10am. Most of the players made it to the hall just after the start time. 

It will be an interesting match up on the top boards with Nolte playing against Manaog on Table 1. A draw by Manaog may slow down the "Nolte Express" but it will probably do little to stop the inevitable. The much more experience Philippines IM may just be a bit too advance for the other players to slow him down, or for that matter, stopping him altogether. On the other hand, a surprise win by Manaog may create a sense of dejavu of the year 2000 when four Filipinos earned the top 4 placing in the 27th edition of the Selangor Open where Antonio, Torre, Mascarinas and our current leader Nolte, turned the event into a "Manila Open" in Sungai Wang Plaza.

On Table 2, Jax Tham has been handed the responsibility to stop another Filipino in Ian Udani and perhaps, a win by Jax may put him in a final round match to meet Nolte. It has been a sensational comeback for the old timer who had a surprising lost to Syazrin in Round 1 but clawed his way back to the top after amassing 5 wins and a single draw since the loss.

For Sumant, who is playing on Table 3 against Saprin, it has been a real roller coaster ride. Losing his game to a much younger opponent Sean Ooi in Round 5 has definitely cost him a valuable point that would have put him much closer to the top of the pack. Nonetheless, with tough match ups in the upper boards, he may still get a chance to redeem himself and get closer to the leader with a win against Saprin. But then again, this is Saprin! It won't be easy for Sumant against the much calmer and composed Saprin Sabri whose two sons are also playing in the event.

More than half of the top boards are still missing at the start of Round 8 earlier this morning. Seen above are Mohd Saprin (on the right), Roshan (on the left) and Kamaluddin (in the center)
Veteran Lim Kian Hwa playing against youngster Tan Yong Zhao on Table 10
Jax Tham against Ian Udani - At time of print, Ian has already had the upper hand
Saprin adjusting the pieces on the board while waiting for his opponent to arrive


Of Selangor Open - Round 8

With two more rounds to go, perfect scorer IM Nolte (7/7) will face another Philippine player in Stewart Manaog who so far has amassed 5 1/2 points. A win by Nolte in this round will place him in a commanding position at the head of the pack and an almost certainty that he will clinch the championship title. 
On Table 2, another Philippines player Ian Udani who has so far collected 6 points (one point shy of the leader) will be playing against local long time chess player Jax Tham Tick Hong who is half point behind at 5 1/2. Tick Hong had played well to crawl back into the leading pack having suffered a surprising loss to Syazrin Abdul Rahman in Round 1. A win over Ian in this round will definitely put Jax in a good position to catch up with the leader although it may not be enough for him to stop the "Nolte Express".
On Table 3, the erratic Sumant will face off against the steadier and the more consistent player in Saprin Sabri. Both players have so far collected 5 points each and a win for either player, coupled with any points dropped by the leaders will definitely put them in a position that will provide some opportunities to challenge for the top spot.
Going down the list, Table 4 sees former National Champion Kamalariffin Wahiduddin (who had suffered critical losses in Round 5 and Round 7) paired against Fong Yit San.
On Table 5, after 2 consecutive losses in the previous 2 rounds, Zaidan is paired to play the white pieces against Alfred Ting, another player who had managed to slip his way into the leading pack. While Zaidan is trying to shake off his bad run, Alfred will probably have other ideas to help him solidify his position further into the leader board. Two juniors, Roshan and Nabil will fight it out on Table 6 and on Table 7, the surprise performer of the event, Syazrin Abdul Rahman will be playingn against Kamaluddin Yusof. 
Reigning Woman Champion WCM Nur Nabila is paired to meet Fong Yit Ho on Table 8 whilst junior Lim Ming Xian will face the much more experience Abdul Aziz Shukor on the next Table 9. On Table 10, veteran Lim Kian Hwa will meet junior Tan Yong Zhao. 

Round 8 will be critical for players to get within reach of the leading pack and for the leaders, the round also provides opportunity to break further into a much more comfortable position. With the way things are going, the champion and the runner up position is almost certain with players now only eying for the 3rd position and below. Should IM Nolte and Manaog draw on Table 1, it will not be surprising to see the top three winners in the 39th edition of the Selangor Open being conquered by the Filipino.
Dato Tan playing a game with Abdul Hamid watched by IA Lim Tse Pin and Jan Lim. Dato Tan was at the center to attend the CAS AGM which was held at the same venue during the afternoon break between Round 6 and Round 7
Scene at the playing hall at the start of Round 7


Of Selangor Open - Pairing for Round 8

Pairing for Round 8 which is scheduled to start at 8:30am.
With 2 more rounds to go, IM Nolte is rather comfortable with a point cushion from his nearest rival, compatriot Ian Udani

Pairing for Round 8 are as follows:

Friday, May 4, 2012

Of Selangor Open - Results for Round 6, Pairing Round 7

It seems that every players wants to go for blood in Round 6 of the 39th Selangor Open edition as only one single draw on Table 29 was registered for the round. 

On Table 1, IM Nolte further enforced his lead after convincingly ousting Zaidan Zulkipli in a rather lengthy game of 52 moves. With this win, Nolte now has a single point clear of his nearest rival, compatriot Ian Udani. Udani kept himself within striking distance of the leader with a win against youngster Sean Ooi on Table 2 who was not able to repeat his stunning performance against Sumant in the earlier round 5. On Table 3, Jax Tham got the better of Saprin and the latter succumbed after 37 moves.

Kamalariffin came up with a vengeance after his loss to Nolte yesterday and played a fine game to beat Eddy Fong on Table 4. On Table 5, Stewart Manaog is one up against Abdul Aziz Shukor and in the next Table 6, Kamaluddin Yusof is a bit too strong for reigning National Woman Champion WCM Nur Nabila and the latter lost in a 52 mover game. 

Roshan scored a point against Yit San on Table 7 and on Table 8, Sumant return to his winning ways by overpowering Dilwen Ding to secure a valuable point. Rounding up the top 10 tables, Nabil won against Cyrus Low of Singapore on Table 9 and Fong Yit San overpowered Filipino Ramos Ernest on Table 10.

For Round 7, the task now is passed on to Kamaluddin Yusof to stop the "Nolte Express" from running away with the tournament. A victory for Nolte in this round may secure him the tournament title with 2 more rounds to spare as it seems that no one is within the Filipino master playing strength. But, the game is not over until the final round is over and with that, it is still possible to stop the master from trampling over everyone. Will Kamaluddin be the one?

Table 2 will see Ian Udani facing rising junior Roshan Singh and this would be an interesting game to observe. A win by Roshan will put him as a contender for the top spot but a win by Udani may help to seal the fate for Nolte. On Table 3, Kamalariffin will face another Filipino in Stewart Manaog whilst on Table 4, Zaidan will square off with Jax Tam with both players having amassed 4 1/2 points after 6 rounds.

Pairing for Round 7 (to start at 3:00pm today - 15 minutes from time of print) are as follows:
Sorry folks - no photos for today as my camera battery ran out of juice :) 

Of Selangor Open - End of Round 5

The most shocking result from Round 5 would probably be the one happening on Table 6 when National Junior player Sumant Subramaniam lost to Sean Ooi Zhi Jian in 55 moves. But for the rest of the tables, there were interesting encounters all around especially on the top boards where players are reluctant to share point. 

On Table 1, Kamalariffin Wahiduddin tried to play aggressively against his much experienced opponent in IM Nolte and when he managed to temporarily disposition and disconnect his opponent's rook (while keeping the Black King in the center), it would seem as though he may have the better advantage. But Nolte's countering on the Queen side was too much for Kamalariffin to bear and after Nolte's 33. .... Rc1 move, the ensuing checkmate was inevitable. 

On Table 2, Kamaluddin Yusof had the pawn up with initiatives against Zaidan Zulkipli but instead of holding his position with a pawn up going into the endgame, the former went a bit overboard by venturing his King too far off into the opponent's territory. Whilst the idea seems good (Black's King was trapped in the corner for most of the game), it backfired and Zaidan secured his point after Kamaluddin's attack fizzled.

It was hands down win for Ian Udani against Yit San on Table 3 when the latter resigned on move 27. Similarly on Table 4, it took Saprin 33 moves to checkmate Dilwen Ding Tze How. On Table 5, Jax Tham split the point with Yit Ho and the shocker on Table 6 when Sumant lost to Sean Ooi.

On Table 7, despite a queen down, Kian Hwa continued his futile attempt to "swindle" his Filipino opponent Stewart Manaog but after the latter trapped his King in the corner, the Sarawakian finally admitted the obvious. On Table 8, a minor upset when the much higher rated Muhd Nabil drew with Tan Yong Zhao and on the following Table 9, Eddy Fong over powered his older opponent in Chan Mun Fye.

Rounding up Table 10, Roshan scored a win against Lum Zhun Hoong.
A player, a coach, a trainer but most importantly a father - Saprin going over his son's Amir Ghaazi's game at the end of Round 5
Despite almost a whole Queen down, Lim Kian Hwa continued to play his match against Stewart Manaog
One of the more interesting games of the event between Filipino Ernesto Ramos and Insofar's Mat Zaki Yeop


Of Selangor Open - Pairing for Round 6

Again, I will publish commentary later :)


Of Selangor Open - End of Round 4, Into Round 5

With IM Nolte's convincing win over compatriot Ian Udani on Table 1, and Zaidan drawing Mohd Saprin on Table 2 in Round 4, it looks like the Selangor Open may see a runaway winner in IM Nolte who is currently the sole leader in the Selangor Open after only just 4 rounds. With 1/2 point ahead of 3 other players - Zaidan, Kamaluddin and Kamalariffin - who has been paired to play Nolte in Round 5, another win by the Filipino could draw him apart from the rest of the pack. 

Round 4 saw five drawn games in the top 10 tables - Juniors Sumant and Yit San, another Junior pair Nabil and Yit Ho, bloggers Razali and Eddy, Manaog and Yong Zhao and the earlier mentioned game between Saprin and Zaidan.

There were no major surprises except on Table 11 when Sean Ooi, handling the white pieces, managed to secure a victory over CM Amier Hamzah. 

The last game to finish in Round 4 was between MCF VP Puan Haslindah Ruslan and youngster Bausch Koh which favors the former. 

Saprin (standing in red shirt) commenting on the game analysis between Razali Hamzah Ng6 (seated in blue) and former National Champion Kamalariffin (seated in red) watched by his son Ghaazi (in white), Rusdi Sidi (in orange), Kamaluddin (in grey shirt) and Saprin's other son Amir Qayyim - partially hidden in front of Saprin
The last game to finish for the night - Bausch Koh (on the left) and MCF VP Haslindah Ruslan (right)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Of Selangor Open - Pairing Round 5

I'll save the commentary later :)


Of Selangor Open - Day 3 Round 4

There was no rain, the sky was clear, everything seems to be perfect but.... traffic was at almost stand still. Considering that most of the players were in the playing hall yesterday despite the rain, half of the playing hall was still empty when the players clocked off at 7:00pm earlier today. At 7:30pm, there are still a few tables missing of players notably Zaidan Zulkipli - playing on Table 2 against Saprin, Lum Zhun Hoong and Varien Thien.

It will be interesting to see how the two players will fare on Table 1 between countrymen Ian Udani and IM Rolando Nolte. Unless Zaidan can make it to the hall before the 1 hour waiting time runs out, it will be a free point for Saprin and at time of print, Zaidan has less than 30 minutes to press his clock to stamp his presence in the hall. 

On Table 3, former National Champion Kamalariffin Wahiduddin will play against long time friend Abdul Aziz Shukor whilst on Table 4, Juniors Sumant up against Yit San. On Table 5, Kamaluddin Yusoff will be playing Malaysia's bronze medalist in the U-16 World Team event Roshan Ajeet Singh.

Other notable pairings are two bloggers going up against each other on Table 9, Razali Hamzah a.k.a Ng6 and Eddy Fong a.k.a Chess X-Pose.

Reigning National Woman Champion WCM Nur Nabila up against the sole Iranian player Ashkan Jahadi on Table 14 whilst Insofar founder Mat Zaki Yeop playing against Khairunnisa Izzati Othman.

The half empty hall at the start of Round 4. Despite clear sky and no rain, the traffic around Kompleks Wilayah was almost at a stand still
WCM Nur Nabila up against Iranian Ashkan Jahadi
MCF VP and CAS Committee Member Haslindah Ruslan playing against promising youngster Bausch Koh