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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Of Yee Weng Winning Game - Round 3

CONGRATULATIONS Yee Weng on winning the first point for Malaysia against Egypt in Round 3. It was impressive! You literally "crush" the GM Ahmad Adly....

Do continue the excellent effort..... !!!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Of Making A Clean Sweep - The Philippines Invasion

It was rather clear that with the absence of players form China and Vietnam, and with a contingent of more than 30 players, the Philippines would dominate the 9th edition of the Chess Festival and dominate they did!

It was a clean sweep by GM Antonio Rogelio Junior who won all the events that were up for grabs - he came in first/champion for the Rapid Individual event and both the Festival Blitz and Merdeka Blitz events, and his team came in on top in the Merdeka Team event. If the Philippines had sent some juniors to play in the SWENSEN'S age group event, they would probably have swept all that too.... They were just too good!!! Literally and honestly....

But there were some glimpse of hope - by Malaysians! At one point, the Chess Tigers and the Fool Gone Mad (FGM) Team, were amongst the leaders in the team event. And looking at the game points garnered by each team, it was surprising to see the Junior Team of Selangor Merah Kuning amassing 27 total points to come in second behind GM Antonio's winning team losing only by half point. Of course, the pairing and position were based on Match Point but still, it was an amazing effort by the young team led by brothers Mohd Syakir Syazmeer Azhar and Mohd Irfan Haqqim Azhar, Mohd Nabil Azman Hisham and Chan Sheng Yip. And as far as I can remember, this is probably the first time Malaysia had 3 all Malaysian Teams in the top 10 led by Fool Gone Mad Team led by IM Jimmy Liew and FM Peter Long, Chess Tigers led by FM Nicholas Chan and IM Mok Tze Meng, and of course the Selangor Merah Kuning Team. It was also surprising that last year's defending Champion - The Chesskidz Team were nowhere in the top 10 after conceding defeat to their younger team the Chesskidz Shock Troopers in the last round. And it was also good to see (and AMAZING feat!) by an all Malaysian Ladies team Serikandi 2012 led by sisters WCM Nur Nabila Azman Hisham and WFM Nur Najiha Azman Hisham, WFM Alia Anin Azwa Bakri and Puteri Rifqah Fahada Azhar who managed to seal the 10th overall spot....

There were lesser teams playing in the ASTRO Merdeka Team event compared to 84 teams which took part last year but still, the event was well contested by all and the intensity was probably much more than last year what more with some Malaysian teams actually having a shot at the top spot. The match point pairing used definitely provided a more intense and nail biting match up with teams using strategies to gain valuable match points in favor of game points to maintain their lead in the event. 

At the end of it all, the top Malaysian team came in 7th place with the first 6 teams comprising of an all Philippines Team or teams that comprised of at least one Philippines player in the team. The top team with at least a Malaysian in the team was Mastermind Team led by IM Rolando Nolte (recent Selangor Open Champion) with Malaysian Dilwen Ding Tze How playing on the last board. 

Fool Gone Mad was the top Malaysian Team at 7th place followed by Chess Tigers at 8th and Selangor Merah Kuning state team in 10th. The second best state performing team was Sabah A followed by Penang Inferno. 

For Malaysians, the best outing would probably be that of Olympiad bound young Yeoh Li Tian who was a member of the Chess Tigers Team - playing on Board 3. Li Tian also secured the Best Board 3 performer with a 94.6% scoring performance and, he was also the ONLY MALAYSIAN player to break the dominating Philippines players in the Individual Combined Rapid event finishing in 10th place overall. The nearest compatriot was his Olympiad Team Mate, NM Lim Zhuo Ren who came in 28th place overall. 

The Philippines had 12 players finishing in the top 20 with a clean sweep at all the individual top spots. GM Antonio won the Open event, IM Senador the Seniors event and Menard De Ocampo the Ambank Amateur section. And with that, a clean sweep of all the Festival section except for the Age Group event. And as mentioned earlier, if they had kids playing in the Age-Group, they would probably clean up the section as well and turn our state capital into Manila!

GM Gasanov Eldar broke the Philippines domination of the Individual event by finishing in 3rd place (behind second place IM Nolte also of Philippines) with IM Wahono Awam of Indonesia in 4th place. For the Seniors event, GM Dimitry Kayumov came in second behind IM Senador, scoring the same 8 points but losing out on tie break.

Other winners worth mentioning was FM Brian Jones of Australia securing the Above 65 category, WGM Irina Kharisma Sukandar snatched the Best Lady player, WFM Nur Najiha of Malaysia won the best Malaysian Lady prize, sister WCM Nabila securing the U16 prize. Wong Yinn Loong of Penang won the 2nd best U12 prize behond Shahzod Vakhidov of Uzbekistan and it was a surprising effort for Andrew Ooi aka Gilachess who won the best National Rating U1600 section. For the best U1800 National Rating prize, Ooi Li Tao secure the prize after an impressive performance scoring 6.5 points out of 11 rounds.

For all the results from the chess festival, do click HERE for more information
For pictorial report, please visit ChessMalaysia FACEBOOK page HERE

GM Antonio receiving his IGB Arthur Tan Challenge Trophy from Dato Tan Chin Nam and Deputy Organizing Chairman Ms Tan Ley Teng
Best performer by a Malaysian - Olympiad bound and 13 year old Yeoh Li Tian
The beautiful but deadly on the board - Emma Guo of Australia
What is the Chess Festival without IA Hamid Majid? - Seen here "pretending" to work with GACC Treasurer Khor Sik Wey
Dato Tan Chin Nam - successful businessman, MCF founder, sponsor and chess player
Second year in a row - the Iranian young chess students taking part in the SWENSEN'S Age Group event
Official photographer - Abdul Hadi. Similar to his father, "pretending" to be working :)
Chief Arbiter, FA Najib Wahab (in jacket) with the IJM Seremban 2 Junior Chess Team and their caretaker, Mr Lee Siew Fai (next to Najib on his right)
My annual ritual at the Chess Festival - a photo with my better half in front of the back drop on the stage
Pairing Arbiter Zarina celebrated her birthday at the playing hall - after everyone had gone home!
KLK - Our proud sponsor for the 3rd KLK Tan Sri Lee Loy Seng Seniors Open section
DATCC - The Organizer
The official hotel and playing venue
Our main sponsor
AmBank has been with us for the 7th year - the 7th AmBank Amateur Rapid Open
SWENSEN'S is associated with the Kids event and this is their 3rd year with the Festival - and more to come for next year's edition
Another major sponsor - ASTRO who had given us air time and continuing sponsorship of the Team Event
GM Antonio Rogelio of Philippines - a clean sweep in all the 4 major events offered. Champion of the 9th IGB Dato Arthur Tan Rapid Chess Championship, Champion in both the Festival Blitz and Merdeka Blitz and Team Champion of the 32nd ASTRO Team Rapid Open Chess Championship with his Quezon City Team. Impressive!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Of the 9th IGB Dato Arthur Tan Chess Festival 2012

Day 2.....

With 31 players from Philippines playing in the event, it was not surprising to see the Philippines players dominated the top boards. In Round 6, the top 3 tables featured 3 pairs of Philippines players with table 4, another Filipino in Ian Udani up against GM Eldar of Ukraine. But as the day progresses and at the end of Round 9, the Filipino grip on the leader boards loosen slightly with GM Eldar and IM Wahono of Indonesia are tied with 3 other Philippines players - GM Antonio, IM Dableo and IM Nolte, each with 7.5 points to lead the event with 2 more crucial rounds to go.  

Three players are half point adrift - GM Kayumov, GM Bitoon and untitled Diano Eden hot on the trails of the leaders. 

In the next point group, 10 players with 6.5 points are also looking to strengthen their position in hope to gain 2 more valuable points to have a chance of going for the top Open prizes. The group includes FM Nicholas Chan, the top Malaysia player after 9 rounds despite losing his Round 8 game due to his phone ringing! Had he managed to win his Round 8 game, he would have been able to make to the top group and a chance to go for the one of the top prizes. With no Best Malaysian prizes being offered this year, it will be tough for many top Malaysians to vie for some of the prizes offered.

16 players have 6 points each which includes Malaysian youngster Yeoh Li Tian, IM Mok Tze Meng, NM Lim Zhuo Ren (all are members of the Malaysian Olympiad squad!), with 3 surprises in Foo Chee Kin, Fong Yit Ho and Lew Ken Yew in the same scoring bracket.

Other notable mentioning are Nor Ilhamuddin Shaikh Ali who had an almost disastrous first day but made up for lost points in the second day, securing 4 points out of 5 rounds - the last being his draw with NM Yeoh Chin Seng. The senior Yeoh - father to Li Tian, also did well to maintain his form to earn 5.5 points after 9 round. Mohd Nabil, Ong Thian Loo, Zaidan Zulkipli and Ooi Li Tao are also in the same score group after some surprising scores (and defeats) in today's rounds. 

It will be an interesting last 2 rounds and the fast pace rapid time control may offer some surprising results in the penultimate and final rounds. It will definitely be heart pumping, butterfly stomachs and intense warzone in the last 2 rounds as points fall and gain between the top leaders and the trailing groups. Be on the lookout for some remarkable surge from the trailing groups especially those who are in the 6.5 point bracket as they can provide the spoilers for some of the leaders to secure their top positions.

As per the festival schedule, once the Combined Rapid Individual event concludes, a blitz event (preliminary round) will be held starting at 2:00pm with the final knockout stage to start at 5:00pm. Entry fees is RM25 and a total prize fund of RM1,720 has been set aside for the top 16 winners.

This will then be followed by the Prize giving presentation to be held at 6:00pm at the same venue which will be attended by representative from the sponsors.

The ASTRO Merdeka Team event will start at 9:00am on Thursday, 23rd August 2012 at the same venue. To date, 60 teams have already registered and the organizer is expecting another 5-8 more teams to register before the start of Round 1. The ASTRO Merdeka event will use Rapid time control of 25 minutes per player per game over 9 rounds.

For more information on the Team event, please contact En Hamid Majid at +6019.315.8098 or write to him at aham@pc.jaring.my

Top 34 players
The AmBank Amateur Challenge Trophy
We present the ladies of chess.....
WIM Emma Guo of Australia
Pairing Arbiter Zarina of Cerdik Catur
WGM Irina Sukandar of Indonesia
Three roses in a row - Rosamund Koo (left), Shelly Lim (center) and Renita Narayanan (right)
Tournament Director and IA, Abdul Hamid Majid - his ninth cap as the organizing secretary....


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

Friday, August 10, 2012

Of Talking Chess On TV - ASTRO 801

Tune your TV to ASTRO 801 on Sunday at 2:00pm where two chess personalities will be talking about the 9th IGB Dato Arthur Tan Chess Festival 2012.

The LIVE show - GRANDSTAND AHAD will feature IM Jimmy Liew, Malaysian representative and team captain at the coming Olympiad in Turkey and FA Najib Abdul Wahab who is part of the organizing committee and Chief Arbiter for the annual Chess Festival. 

On the same note, for those who would like to register for the 9th IGB Dato Arthur Tan/3rd KLK Tan Sri Lee Loy Seng Seniors Open/7th AMBANK Amateur Combined Rapid Chess Championship 2012, the closing date is 15th August and Round 1 is scheduled to start on 20th August 2012 (2nd day of Raya) at 11:30am. Entry fees is RM50 for players with FIDE Rating and RM100 for players without FIDE Rating. Entry fees received after the closing date will be doubled and proof of payment is needed to confirm player's registration. The 11 rounds rapid event offers a total prize fund of more than RM45,000 with the Open Champion set to earn RM5,000 for his/her effort.

This will then be followed with the 32nd ASTRO Merdeka Rapid Open Team Chess Championship to start on 23rd August starting at 9:00am. The 3 day team event will be played over 9 rounds and the total prize fund offered is more than RM20,000 with the winning team to earn RM4,000 for their effort.

There will be 2 blitz events scheduled - on 22nd August and 25th August (both starting at 2:00pm) where players can take part in a fast pace lightning event that will be played over 11 rounds followed by knock out stage to determine the champion.

The annual SWENSEN Age Group event (for school children) is scheduled on Sunday, 26th August 2012 starting at 9:00am. The 6 round event offers medals and certificates to the winners.

For more information on the event, do watch ASTRO 801 at 2:00pm on Sunday, or contact Abdul Hamid Majid at +6019.315.8098 or write to him at aham@pc.jaring.my for more information