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Showing posts from 2011

The Future Is With Our Tried And Tested Young!

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Been back to the realities of work for over a month now so I unfortunately could not make it to the World Youth U-16 Olympiad let alone put any time into this Blog! Like most Malaysian chess enthusiasts I tried to follow the games late at night and at the end of it all I think all members of the team did as well as could be expected, the performance was good and the result perhaps fair all things considered. Some observations (and proposals) that will no doubt annoy some who insist on reading my Blog! 1. For sure this was as good and as representative a team of young players that we could have out together for such an event and they should be allowed to form the nucleus of future national teams. Yes, of course there are other young talents and next year at least two others will be able to join Elgin, Roshan and Li Tian  for another shot at glory. But my argument goes further in that as early as two Singapore-Malaysia matches ago, it was clear that the current 18+ years generat

Grandmaster Tournament in Yangon - Finals Standings

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http://www.myachess.blogspot.com/

An Update from the Campomanes Memorial Yangon International GM Tournament!

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I happened to catch Maung Maung Lwin on Google Talk and he started to tell me about how Mok was doing but then agreed to send me the tournament cross table (apparently after 8 rounds of play). IM Wynn Zaw Htun is probably Myanmar's No.1 and has suffered more than most from his country's long isolation and is grossly underrated perhaps in part due to FIDE deducting 100 rating points from all their players in one of their most unfair and unwarranted actions and it is no surprise to see him leading the tournament with 6/8. Vietnam's FM Nguyen Van Hai is a bit more of a surprise and is in joint second place half a point behind with his countryman GM Bui Vinh. Mok is of course playing his usual fighting chess and although perhaps disappointed to be on minus one with 3/7 (with 13 players there is a bye every round), I think this will be valuable practice to get him into shape for the coming SEA games as he thrives on playing frequently to sharpen up his game.

55,000 USD prize fund for the Indonesia Open Championship

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Susan Polgar Chess Daily News and Information: 55,000 USD prize fund for the Indonesia Open Championship

Singapore's Latest IM?

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Given that several players achieved their final titles at the DYTM Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah Invitational Masters & International Open (and with renewed interest amongst our local players in achieving the Grandmaster title), I looked with interest at  http://ratings.fide.com/title_applications.phtml?details=1&id=5801770&title=IM&pb=31  to see if any if them were listed for confirmation at the 82nd FIDE Congress in Krakow, Poland from 15-22 October 2011. Then I saw a surprising application - that of Singapore's Ravindran Shanmugam with a new high rating of 2329 after playing some 34 games and probably reflected in the three International Master norms he had managed to achieve in three successive events played from July to September 2011! I always saw Ravindran as a 2100/2200+ player especially having played him in a IM event in Singapore a couple of years ago when the beginning of my falling out with Ignatius Leong begun when over coffee two hour before the start of p

Mok to play GM Tournament!

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Before asking if any of the players at DYTM Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah Masters and Open would be interested, I checked once again with my good friend Maung Maung Lwin about the status of entries in his GM tournament in Yangon and he confirmed that among the foreign entries was none other than Malaysia's own International Master Mok Tze Ming! That is fantastic news - another veteran stepping forward to show our juniors what it will take. Jimmy Liew's incredible activity in the last few years was always something I wondered about and then came the shocking news that our No. 1 Mas Hafizul had turned fully professional by walking away from his Petronas job! Going back to Mok, I realised he had attended the FIDE Arbiter seminar recently held in KL when he called me and offered his services as an arbiter! I was a bit taken aback as he had played the SEA Games Selection but was not intending to play the Malaysian Open and it seemed he was satisfied with getting the International Mast

Emperor without Clothes?

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Dato' Tan Chin Nam did not show up to play at the DYTM Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah International Open like he promised and I like to believe he really wanted to. He did come on one of the days and while I was occupied dealing with an organisational challenge but I could not help but see how seriously ill he was. Since the start of the Malaysian Chess Festival which began on 17 August until the end of the DYTM  Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah Invitational Masters & International Open on 10 September, I have heard - from so many parties bar a certain nobody and more surprisingly the current Malaysian Chess Federation Hon. Secretary Gregory Lau - about practically nothing else but how the old man is interested in once again running Malaysian chess! Dato' Tan's hand (or at least that of the people that surround him - and there have been many over the years with a few constants) has guided Malaysian chess at least since 1974 and that is a very long time indeed. History has shown that le

DYTM Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah Invitational Masters & International Open 2011

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It's all at www.klchess.com!

Playing for Dragon One... at the Merdeka Rapid Teams

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My first games since last year's Olympiad and a milestone of sorts as I finally found time to play in a local event after a very very long time (even if only at this 25 minute time control which is really neither blitz or rapid and was rather hard for me to adapt). The five rounds on day one left me exhausted on getting home and then the four more on day two proved to be really hard going. So I suppose I could not complain too much from scoring 5/9 on board one (probably after having being designated as the sacrificial goat on the assumption that match points would be used!). I did find it interesting to play some of the players, some of whose names which were vaguely familiar from being mentioned to me by others from time to time and on my impressions, I can only say that young local players should only be encouraged and not criticised on public forums. Generally (and to my surprise?) I did not have any special difficulties n the technical side of things - even the one open

On the Malaysian Chess Festival

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First congratulations are in order to Hamid and his team for managing to again do a Malaysian Chess Festival and I think that any activity is a good thing and that the response shown in increased participation is due reward. While the various supporting events are going from strength to strength, the original Malaysian Open is clearly diminishing, be it in the quality of local representation (lack along competitiveness) and even the foreign entries are not what it used to be. There are many reasons and some obvious solutions but I appreciate how hard and difficult it is to organise and it is easy to criticise when you have not done it and while I have, a public forum is not always the place to provide feedback no matter how well intended. So, well done guys and I sincerely hope it continues on next year because what I can say here is that the money to do it was not anything like what we understood from previous years so I ask our local chess community to start stepping forward n

Asian First Saturday?

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Campomanes Memorial  Yangon International Grandmaster Chess Tournament 2011  Yangon, Myanmar. { 21 Sep - 01 Oct, 2011 } 1. Organization This event is organized by Myanmar Chess Federation in honor of late FIDE Honorary President Florencio Campomanes under the auspices of the Myanmar National Olympic Council. 2. Schedule 21 Sep             After 1200      Arrival                         2100                Technical Meeting 22 Sep             0900                Opening Ceremony                         0930                Rd. 1                         1600                Rd. 2 23 Sep             0900                Rd. 3                         1600                Rd. 4             24 Sep             1600                Rd. 5             25 Sep             0900                Rd. 6                         1600                Rd. 7 26 Sep             0900                Rd. 8                         1600                Rd. 9 27 Sep             1600                Rd. 10 28 Se

We are represented at the World Junior Championships!

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Chilling out in the lobby! Getting ready for battle! Let us all wish our National Champion all the best in competition against the world's very best young champions!

World Junior Championship in Chennai Gets Underway!

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The 50th World Junior and 29th World Girls Championship got underway in Chenna with spectacular opening ceremony on the evening of 1 August 2011. Participants and guests were treated to an hour long cultural show showcasing Indian dance performed by students from a local chess school before the formalities were conducted by the other main attraction, the main VIP guest who was non other than former World Junior Champion and current World Champion, home town hero Vishy Anand! Anand welcomed all and assured us that we would enjoy our stay in Chennai while acknowledging the role of the Tamil Nadu Chess Association who have from its inception ensured that Chennai is the chess capital of India. He noted it took his 4 times before winning the World Junior Championships but in the process the friends he made were among his greatest and longest standing friendships and than even to day he remembered the games and the wonderful moments! Very much in evidence too was FIDE Vice President D.

Beautiful Yangon... and that goes for the Rest of Myanmar too

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Last year I was unable to attend the inaugural Campomanes Memorial (which was of course held in the Philippines) so this year I made the point of going to the second which was as a bonus, held in Yangon, Myanmar. I was pleasantly surprised that a number of Malaysians were able to make it and that in the weeks before we were constantly on email sharing information and getting each others help. Because I was on primarily a business trip (wasn't easy to change the dates to coincide with the chess and unfortunately I could not manage to fix it so I could play more than 5 of the 9 games which meant I got to take lots of photos, see plenty of places, and have long chats with lots of parents!). Which meant I could also do a report as follows:  http://reports.chessdom.com/news-2011/yangon-international-open See also my tribute to Gilachess whom I had invited to join me as we are both in-between projects (he preferred to play with his iPad in Cameron Highlands and why not if you have o

Opportunity for Our Best Young Talent

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The Kuala Lumpur Chess Association, with sponsorship from Polgar Chess Asia - the Polgar Chess University in Asia - has agreed to MCF's request to offer places to all National Age Group Championship winners to play in the Raja Nazrin Shah International Open Chess Championship 2011. Our only conditions are that entries must be received by the 31 July deadline and that only the winners qualify, not the second or third place finishers! Polgar Chess Asia is also offering a pre-event workshop for these young talents, to be coordinated by MCF during the school holidays in August to help with their preparation based on providing individual assessments made through an analysis of their games.  

Messy Minds

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When organising the KL Open (and now the Raja Nazrin Shah Individual Masters & International Open 2011) each year, I am constantly amazed how so many chessplayers wishing to play just cannot do simple things like fill in the entry form. I get players who can find me on Facebook and then messaging me that they will play. But not only do they not give me essential information to facilitate their entry such as their rating and title but they also have incredible difficulty getting out of Facebook and to the website I give them to get details of the event. (And of course they cannot understand why they need to send me an email let alone the entry form and let's not even pretend to get into making payment of the entry fee). These chessplayers don't read very well either because they miss seeing the actual dates and the schedule and they even often ask about how to get to the website where they first saw the information about the event. Of course there are also those who h

It's always complicated with FIDE

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Of course FIDE constantly changes the rules so I may be mistaken but I have long understood that a rating and/or title tournament needs to be published on the FIDE calendar a month in advance and that has to be done by the National Chess Federation's rating administrator (who has been given access to the system). With the Raja Nazrin Shah Invitational Masters and Raja Nazrin Shah International Open, as in the previous KL Opens and in the many events overseas where I was the Chief Arbiter, the information needed to facilitate this registration was provided early to the National Chess Federation which in this case is the Malaysian Chess Federation (MCF). In fact I was informed that this had already been done by both the MCF Secretary and the MCF Ratings Officer but when I checked the FIDE website on Sunday morning, I saw, much to my surprise, that the various Malaysian Chess Festival events were indeed posted but not the Raja Nazrin Shah tournaments even though we certainly anno

Raja Nazrin Shah Masters & International Open Chess Championship 2011

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Looking back at how successful the KL Open has been over the last three years, I was talking to KLCA President Dato' Sri Edmund Santhara whose Masterskill Education Group has long sponsored the event and after having made the decision to rename the event after our patron Raja Nazrin Shah who has supported us year in year out, I thought that we should take a hard look at our local chess scene and see if indeed the current format made any sense. Frankly, I had delayed the KL Open this year as along as possible to see if indeed there would be a Malaysian Open and with three months to go simply had to make an announcement but now it seems it is on again and that can only be good news for the local chess community and so I do want to congratulate the man I correctly called "an embarrassment and a real disgrace" over his antics leading up and during the FIDE election for successfully getting the old man to fork out once again. So we have decided to step back as we are no l

Some of the Usual Suspects

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It always seems to work like this. The sponsorship is confirmed and then a scramble to get venue, hotel, etc. followed by the formalities of registration, etc. Then the initial announcements of the event. On KLchess and FaceBook, with our friends like Susan Polgar, and at Chessdom which then leads to the FIDE website. Next regional national chess federations are informed and of course with few exceptions there is no acknowledgement let alone replies and in some cases whispers are heard of jealousy and petty actions which hurt no one but the players they claim to represent. Within a week, some of the usual suspects, regulars who have come to the KL Open before, are in contact and this is going to be pretty much it (other than dealing with an enquiry from time to time) until a month before when we will get a flood of entries (especially from India, Singapore and Indonesia). But for now we have for sure from some dozen countries: Grandmasters 1. Wong Meng Kong (SIN) 2. Nguyen A

4th Kuala Lumpur International Open Chess Championship, 4-10 September 2011

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Finally we have decided to do it - will confirm hotel by the weekend to compete the prospectus and then will be able to get the official letter out to MCF to register the event with FIDE. Below are some extracts to give the local chess community something more to talk about! 1. Organisers The 4 th KL International Open Chess Championship for the Raja Nazrin Shah Challenge Trophy is sponsored by the Masterskill Education Group Berhad and organised by Polgar Chess Asia for the Kuala Lumpur Chess Association (KLCA) under the auspices of the Malaysian Chess Federation (MCF) and is registered and recognised by the World Chess Federation (FIDE) as an international title and rated tournament. 3.  Prize Fund Open: 1 st - RM 10,000; 2 nd - RM 7,000; 3 rd - RM 4,000; 4 th - RM 2,500; 5 th - RM 1,500 6 th -10 th - RM 1,000 each; 11 th -20 th - RM 500 each Girls: 1 st -1,500; 2 nd - 1,000; 3 rd - 500 Juniors: U-16 - RM 1,000; U-12 – RM 500 Special Prizes: 3 x RM 500 Scholarshi

Got a Call from the MCF Secretary

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19th April Dear Gregory, I have spoken to Dato' Prof. Dr. Proom Promwichit, Secretary of the Kuala Lumpur Chess Association (KLCA), and can confirm that we have not endorsed or are in anyway associated with the team that claims to be representing KLCA in the coming Asian Cities Chess Team Championship. Dato' Prof. Dr Proom has asked me to also reiterate that is is KLCA's policy to work with the Malaysian Chess Federation in all our chess activities and that there is no possibility that we would could ever attempt to participate in an international team competition independently of the national body. Thank you Peter Long KL Chess Tournament Director

Thailand Open 2011

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I made it! I actually managed to get to the Thailand Open that is being held from 11-17 April at the Dusit Thani in Pattaya. Unfortunately I won't be able to stay to the end - although Pattaya has developed somewhat beyond being very much a long strip joint by the beach, it is still very much that kind of place - but the hotel is really excellent (the room I am staying in reminds me of the near apartment size accommodation I used to enjoy while in the USA) and I still can't get over a chess tournament hijacking an entire ballroom of a 5-6 star hotel for over a week. The Thailand Open has some 140 participants from 32 countries, a statistic which very much what one should expect from a country that is embraces tourists, but 10 GMs, 14 IMs, and 16 FMs also makes for rather decent chess! However there are very clear favourites. Besides adopted son Nigel Short and defending champion Sune Berg Hansen returning, the organisers have their first 2700+ player in Spain's Fran

Visiting the 'New' DATCC

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Today I dropped by DATCC at the same old Wilayah Complex car park location to wish participants in the National Closed Championship before the final round every success. I appreciated the handshakes from the likes of Jimmy Liew (in photo at right facing down Lim Zhou Ren) and Eddy Fong, even Najib... after all local chess is a very small community and sad to say that is reflected in the fact that the new DATCC was pretty much the same run down old DATCC. Don't get me wrong. Better a place for local chessplayers to have their events on the cheap and I commend the efforts of those who are clearly trying to keep it going. But the reality is that with such a venue for as important and event as a National Championship, Malaysian chess is clearly going backwards and for those would chose to differ, ask yourself if indeed you could bring a potential corporate sponsor (unless he or she is a crazy chess enthusiast) to DATCC.

Chess @ Selangor Times

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It has been a while and I am glad that it would be with the Selangor Times, the kind of publication that serves the community. A page twice monthly (alternating with technology) gives me a chance to share my knowledge of the game from a player and trainer perspective i.e. less words and more diagrams, moves and games. We should not forget that when in print it is not just chessplayers who will see (and read?) and so I will endeavor to do my best that the news being published shows our very best face (as much as we will allow it to!) and my editor has also kindly agreed that it will also be a place where organisers in the Klang Valley actually interested in promoting chess will be able to advertise their events without charge. You know how it works - just drop me an email with plenty of time to spare (I too have a day job) with all relevant information.

Singapore is Different

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Taken by surprised by certain developments regarding a late request and then an actual agreement to provide financial incentives, I found myself flying to Singapore very late on New Year's Eve and even playing in the fourth and final round of the long running Singapore-Malaysia Chess Challenge on New Year's Day, officially the 2011 edition, played over 38 boards with two rounds of classical chess and two rounds of rapid chess. History was made in that Malaysia won and kudos are well deserved to the team and especially the young kids that did so well. I was not present the first day but was told that after round one Singapore has taken a 7 point lead and everyone was bracing for a hammering but then that strange fellow Ignatius Leong (I am being polite not to call him something else), the SCF President, also recently reelected FIDE General Secretary, expressed his sincere hope that Malaysia would win and that sentiment was well beyond that of a polite host!