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Showing posts from 2013

FIDE Ratings - MAS - January 2014

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Sensibly deciding to have a quiet evening at home on New Years Eve, I just noticed that FIDE has published the FIDE Rating Lists for January 2014. Thanks to their participation in Asian Cities, we already know that our current No. 1 Nicholas Chan has now been back as an active player while young No. 3 Yeoh Li Tian took the opportunity to get past 2300! Sandwiched between them is No 2. Mas Hafizulhelmi who braved India and returned with 10 points less. Masters champion Lim Yee Weng (No. 4) has no rated events since winning while his fellow national team members Ronnie Lim (No. 5) and Ng Tze Han (No. 7) have played both the Malaysian Open and Penang Open. After enjoying an almost uninterrupted series of good results and often commendable performances, young National champion Aron Teh had his first (small) ratings set back at the World Youth Championship but remains No. 8 ahead of veteran Jimmy Liew on No. 9. By virtue of participation, respectively, Jonathan Chuah (No. 6)

Malaysians at the World Youth Chess Championships 2013

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For me, the results of our representatives at the World Youth Chess Championship that just concluded in Al Ain is confirmation once again that we are a amateur chess nation and that we should be happy with this and perhaps for the Malaysian Chess Federation to accept it as reality and perhaps to start to plan accordingly. I (and many others) have for several years now provided an analysis which showed how as our kids grow up they become less and less competitive on the world stage and that is fair enough given that all kids are bright with unlimited potential at an early age and over time various environmental factors begin to kick in (especially school demands not to mention growing up distractions such as computer games and social media). And I am not going to talk about the need for systematic coaching with the right trainer. U-18 Our current national champion and co-winner of the Malaysian Masters is Aron Teh and if hype would have it, great things would be expe

Saying Goodbye to 2013 and Looking Forward to 2014!

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Gens Una Sumus I am looking forward for a 2014 more like what I have enjoyed in previous years barring a 2013 that instead became one of constant and often unpaid national service. First up was to develop and conduct a National Arbiter Course at the National Age Group Championships in February, something which I repeated at the Inter State Team Championships in September. In March/April, against my better judgement I also accepted appointment to Head the MCF Technical Committee and by June/July I was more than happy to give up that position together with that of FIDE Delegate. Of course one key initiative was the organising, sponsorship and running of a revamped Malaysian Masters, a round robin FIDE rating and title tournament where our women were not forgotten. Then it was hoped that the design of the championship would introduce a new chapter for Malaysian chess - transparency in national team selection, proper training and support for our national players and targets se

Christmas in Hanoi

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Enjoying a day out in the park with two of my very best friends in Vietnam, GM Nguyen Ang Dung and IM Nguyen Van Hai.

Last in SEA Games?

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Oops, Singapore with two players, and newcomers Laos also took part... but it also seems that Brunei and Cambodia did not make it. More pertinent perhaps is that it seems that in all forms of standard chess, the professionals of VIE, PHI and INA are clearly ahead of the rest and that MAS and SIN, perhaps now also being joined by rapidly emerging THA and MYA, are in the second group.

Birthday and Blitz in Brunei

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I was honoured to be a guest at the birthday celebration hosted by GM Tahir Vakhidov and it was double the reward when despite not remembering when I last played chess, I somehow managed to stumble to first place at the Sunday blitz (final event of the year) held later that day at the Brunei Chess Centre.

National Juniors - Yit San and Li Ting retain their Titles

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Heavily favoured defending champions Fong Yit San and Tan Li Ting lived up to their seedings to easily emerge as repeat winners at the National Junior Championships held at the 35th Floor of City Square in downtown Johor Bahru. Neither had any real trouble but Li Ting perhaps went one up on Yit San by winning a round to spare as opposed to his one point cushion! I was very impressed by the talent from Johor (even if they are at the start of a long journey) as they have a promising future because it is clear things are beginning to pick up down south with so many of their young players enthusiastically analysing their games together after each round while their more experienced competitors from the rest of Malaysia largely prefer to waste their time playing computer games. On paper their was a possibility that one or two others would make a breakthrough but largely that did not happen. Whatever their current limitations, more than anyone else (and one reason why they are cha

Mas is now in India

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IM Mas Hafizulhelmi is playing two Opens in India, the just concluded Chennai Grandmaster International Open from 15 to 23 November organised in conjunction with the Anand-Carlsen World Championship Match, and is now at the 2nd Hyderabad Open International Grandmaster Tournament from 25 November to 3 December (see  http://chess-results.com/tnr117263.aspx?lan=1 ). While Mas has not exactly shown what he is capable of, he has still managed to get a few rating points in arguably the toughest place in the world to play chess! That is already a first for a Malaysian. Let's all hope our marathon boy can keep this up...

Tan Li Ting is in India!

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In conjunction with the Anand-Carlsen World Championship Match from 7-28 November 2013 in Chennai, the All India Chess Federation, through the Tamil Nadu Chess Association, has put together a month long festival of concurrent events. For the first time ever, India is having a Woman GM Open - see  http://chess-results.com/tnr115566.aspx?lan=1  - and Malaysia is represented by our young current National Junior Champion Tan Li Ting. This might be the toughest event ever for Li Ting so let's all wish her every success! 

A Good & Promising Performance by Aron Teh at IOCC 2013

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With Lim Kian Hwa entered as a 'local' player, Aron Teh was officially Malaysia's sole representative at the super strong Indonesia Open Chess Championship 2013. The above extract from chess results shows our young national champion acquitting himself well and in the process getting 17.5 rating points in the process of beating one and holding one other GM and also three more IMs and one WGM as wll as beating one FM. But it does not tell the tale of the two IM norm chances missed! Aron had his first chance in round nine when he had to win and again in round ten when he again had to win. Perhaps he would have played more solidly if the norm was not on offer (like he did in previous games) and maybe would have ended with more points and rating points? Only he can answer that question but to get himself in that position and hold his own, time and again against so many titled players certainly augers well for him. Well done Aron! As GM Cherniaev told you a

Looking Forward to a Great Indonesia Open!

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On the 8th of October I will be off to Jakarta for the 3rd Indonesia Open 2013 and am very excited with an event that last year had recognised it was an achievement to repeat for a second successive year and this time around it has already grown to the point where it boasts a record (for this region and even Asia) and total prize fund of USD 100,000! No wonder there are over 30 GMs already confirmed and there is no doubt in my mind that many more will be coming. GM Sandro Mareco, GM Avetik Grigoryan,  GM Enamul Hossain,  GM Vadym Malakhatko,  WGM Anna Zozulia,  GM Antoaneta Stefanova,  GM Nigel Short,  WGM Sophie Milliet,  WGM Elisabeth Paehtz,  GM Hoang Thanh Trang,  GM Balogh Csaba,  GM Abhijeet Gupta,  WGM Eesha Karavede,  GM Gopal G Narayan,  GM Shyam Sundar M.,  GM Surya Sekhar Ganguly,  GM Sandipan Chanda,  GM Vaibhav Suri,  GM Ehsan Ghaem Maghami,  WGM Nakhbayeva Guliskhan,  WGM Dinara Saduakassova,  WGM Batchimeg Tuvshintugs,  GM Gundavaa Bayarsaikhan,  GM Tsegmed Batchu

It's Official - Mas Hafizulhelmi is Malaysia's No. 1

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While some talk about how good they are, Malaysia's best ever player has quietly gone around doing his job and with the latest FIDE rating list published, Mas Hafizulhelmi is again officially our No. 1 player! Despite playing at half pace, Mas was the easy winner of the prestigious Board 1 prize at the Inter State Teams and at the last major event, the Malaysian Masters, he shared first place with Lim Yee Weng and Aron Teh despite coming right off the exhausting top level KL Masters GM Tournament. By no means however am I praising Mas... we all know he could do much better. At the point in time he was fully motivated, his rating was in excess of 2460 and today, with inflation taken into account, it would be a rating in excess of 2500 and he is still only in his early 30's. If we look at the rating list I am alarmed that we have hardly any players 2300 and only 8, including veteran Jimmy Liew is above 2200! Our IM's are not at 2400 level. Yee Weng on the back

Medina Warda Aulia is Indonesia's Youngest WGM!

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Medina Warda Aulia is Indonesia's youngest ever Women Grandmaster, achieving her third and final norm at the ongoing World Junior Championship. Last time around she almost won the championship, ultimately finishing fourth on tie-break and in fact was the leader in Turkey after six rounds till back to back losses pushed her back and essentially end her challenge. But Medina has shown great strength of character to bounce right back to make the WGM title with one round to go! I remember first seeing her as a 10 year old winning the World School Championship in Singapore and was privileged to be present as Chief Arbiter to watch her demolish the entire French team and carry her country to victory at the MAKITA Indonesia-France Match last year! At that time the Indonesia coach, a former Georgian super GM, told me that she was now clearly the best woman player in her country. Yes Medina is a super talent with the only reservation being she is growing up and sometimes that ma

Big deal indeed: After 15 Years, an Inter State Team Championship!

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The Malaysian Inter State Team Championship returned, after 15 long years, and fittingly, to Kota Kinabalu, capital of beautiful Sabah which is celebrating its 50th birthday! Organised as part of the Sabah Chess Festival which saw numerous supporting events - Sabah Junior Championships, National Arbiter Seminar, Sabah King Blitz and the first ever FIDE Rated Rapid in the Sabah Grande which is ongoing, having started on 15 September. While the majority of teams arrived on 11 September, a few came a day earlier to have a bit of a holiday and although I managed to beat all of them by coming on the evening of 8 September, it was to conduct the National Arbiter Seminar from 9-10 September, an activity that turned into a three day training program helping prepare the many enthusiastic locals attending to help run the Inter State Team Championships. On the final day of the Inter State Teams, numerous officials from the Malaysian Chess Federation joined a well represented leadership f

At the 9th Asian Schools Championships...

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The obligatory Malaysian group photo Goh Jie Yi was the standout performer amongst Malaysian's participating at the 9th Asian Schools Championships with one gold and two silver medals (which with a little luck could easily have been two golds and one silver). The rest contributed two more medals, both bronze. But all this is really nothing to be too carried away about (or even be too disappointed about) as several months ago, recognising where this event really stood in the hierarchy of official international youth competition, I had asked the Malaysian Chess Federation (MCF) to make this a developmental event where our young players could get their first exposure to or training for international competition but as can be seen the implementation of my proposal has been rather mixed but to be fair the timing of the event was a little difficult for too many to participate. Kudos for the organisers led by Sri Lanka Chess Federation Hon. Secretary, Zome President and

Polgar FIDE Rated 1800 & 2200

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Polgar Chess Asia has agreed to organise, together with the Kuala Lumpur Chess Association, a series of monthly FIDE Rated tournaments to provide chess players with opportunities to either get FIDE ratings or to improve their current FIDE ratings. There will be two sections, 1800 which is for those without ratings and up to 1799, and 2200 which is for those 1800-2199. The organisers however reserve the right to enter one higher rated player to help the average rating for a particular event. Each tournament will be 5 games over a weekend at the minimum FIDE rating requirement which is 60 minutes + 30 seconds from move one with games starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday (three games, 9 a.m.-12 noon, 1-4 p.m. and 5-8 p.m.) and ending Sunday at 4 p.m. (9 a.m.-12 noon and 1-4 p.m.). This is to make it possible for those outstation and from neighbouring countries to play by coming Friday evening and leaving Sunday night. The first series is planned for 2-3 November and 9-10 November and en

Kazan

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Chess was part of the 27th Summer Universiade 2013 in beautiful Kazan, Russia and as you can see from the photo, we had representatives on the KPT team from Malaysia! Some photos of the city centre including the amazing Kazan Kremlin which is its focal point and the obvious pride of the warm and friendly people of Tartastan.       The opening ceremony... held at the woman section with VVIPs, players, spectators and media in attendance. While the players all enjoyed the Games Village together with other athletes, the hard working arbiters (or referees/judges as we were called) were put up in a hotel near the playing arena with the justification being we should not be mingling with the competitors! Do see more at www.kazan2013.com/en as this is the biggest sporting event outside of the Olympic Games and a marvel of organisation with unbelievable hospitality shown.

It's Yee Weng on Tie-Break!

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In the end it was Lim Yee Weng on tiebreak over Aron Teh and Mas Hafizulhelmi when all the leaders could only drawn their last round games. Yee Weng understandably took a quick draw against Mas but then it was a long wait for the game between co-leader Aron and Ronnie Liu. Ronnie played sensibly for once and pressed without too many risks but in the end Ronnie decided not to gamble and accepted the inevitable draw.

Aron, Yee Weng and Mas Lead with One Round to Play

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With one round to go, Aron Teh, Lim Yee Weng and Mas Hafizulhelmi continue to share the lead on 5.5/8 in a hard fought event. Aron is certainly with the best chance as he plays the off form Dr Ronnie Lim while Yee Weng and Mas play each other and Lim Zhouren who is on 5/8 and half a point behind will be hoping to win his last round and benefit from any slip up by the leaders. It is clear that veteran Jimmy Liew will be last - sometimes your age just catches up with you - and it will be interesting if Roshan Singh who plays Fong Yit San can keep his eighth place and qualify for the National Team as the seven players ahead of him, assuming no withdrawals due to work or other priorities/commitments, have already booked their places. Once the national team is formed players would be required to commit to being available for international representation and to play and train regularly as in other sports and in line with what is expected from the Minstry of Sport, National Sports Cou

Camilia Johari Comes Of Age

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With a dominant display where she led from start to finish, Camilia Johari has now won the biggest prize of all - the first Malaysian Women Masters! The top six finishers are now officially our national team.

Young Aron Teh, Camelia Johari Leads After Five Rounds

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After the third day of play, 14 year old Aron Teh has taken the lead with a stunning upset of a clearly out of sorts Mas Hafizulhelmi and now has 4/5. In joint second and third places together with Mas is the also unbeaten Lim Yee Weng with 3.5/5. Wong Jianwen has seemed to have curbed his aggression and is learning to making draws now, the benefits perhaps which can be seen from being in fourth place with 3/5 while Lim Zhouren is not trying to win every game too after failing to convert against Aron and then blundering badly against Fong Yit San. As a result Zhouren is on 2.5/5, a 50% score, the same as Ng Tze Han, and half a point better than Yit San who clearly still has all to play for. Defending champion Roshan is paying the price for a year of inactivity and has carried his indifferent play over from the Selangor Open and the ASEAN+ Age Groups but has showed glimpses of his talent and today would have been a good day for him after starting with three losses as he has no

After the First Three Rounds of the Malaysian Masters

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After three rounds IM Mas Hafizulhelmi remains perfect with 3/3 with young Aron Teh in second place with 2.5/3. Of course with a round robin positions can change quickly and it is quite early days yet with six demanding rounds over three days to go. No one is perfect in the women's section but Camilia Johari is the only player yet to lose and so leads with 2.5/3 with Nur Nabila, Fong Mi Yen and Puteri Rifqah all close behind with 2/3. There is only six rounds with the no show of Alia Bakri although there will be seven rounds withe each player enjoying a bye.