Sunday, September 27, 2009

Xu Hua Hua - Jimmy Liew, DATMO 2009

Xu Hua Hua - Jimmy Liew, DATMO 2009

I desperately wanted to win this game. The previous round I had managed to lose a won game.

In this position, I came up with a surprise sacrifice. Though I do not think it is correct, I was banking on my opponent time as she spent a lot of time on the opening and early middle-game

20.... Nxe5!? 21. Qd6

White can take the knight. Now 21. fxe5 Qxe5 22. Qa2 Bc6 (This looks dangerous as the black queen lines up on the long black diagonal. But white has 23. Rf4 Rxf4 24. gxf4 Qd5 25. Kf2 (escape to the queen-side) Qg2+ 26. Ke3 and to safety.

21...cxd3 22. fxe5 22... dxe2 23. Rxf8+ Rxf8
24. Qxd7 Qc5+

I spent some time deciding between this and Rf1+ e.g 24... Rf1+ 25. Kg2 Qxe5 26. Qe8+ Rf8 27. Qc6 (27. Qb5 Qe4+ 28. Kh3 Qf3) 27... Qf5 28. h4 Qf1+ 29. Kh2 Rf2+ 30. Bxf2 Qxf2+ 31. Kh3 Qf1+ black can only get a draw.

25. Kg2 Qc4 26. Bf2??

This costs her the game. White can defend by occupying the long white diagonal with her queen. 26. Qb7 h5 when in spite of an extra piece, white has no way to activate his pieces. 27. h3 Rf7 28. Qa8+ Rf8 29. Qb7 Rf7 an repetition.

Qxc3 27. Bd4

27. Qd4 loses to Rxf2!

Qf3+ 28. Kh3 Qf5+ 29. g4 Qf1+
30. Kh4 e1=Q+ 31. Rxe1 Qxe1+ 32. Kh5 g6+ 33. Kg5 Qd2+ 34. Kh4 Qxh2+ 35. Kg5 Rf7
36. Qd8+ Kg7 0-1

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Jimmy Liew-Tirto , Merdeka Team Rapid

An interesting game I played against Indonesian IM Tirto at the recent Merdeka Team Rapid. My team lost 4-0!

I had a possible winning position but due to shortage of time, I could not find a winning line. At the end, I could reach an interesting draw, but trying to win I managed to overlook a single check which led to a loss.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Malaysian Masters Semi-Finals Comments

Now that the quarter-finals are over, we can look forward to the semi-finals. While the quarter-finals were rather one-sided, the semis will pitch the most experienced and strongest players currently in the local scene.

The first match will be FM Nicholas Chan versus IM Lim Yee Weng, or what I call the "amateurs" match. As both of them are currently working, so they can be considered as amateurs. This is their big disadvantage as history have proven that working outside of chess has a negative effect on your chess :)

Yee Weng will be a hard man to beat. His performance in DATMO 2008 is probably his best ever. He had a reasonable result in the Dresden Olympiad with two wins, six draws and three loses on board two. Since then his form has taken a dip with mediocre results in the DATCC Chess League, DATMO 2009 and Merdeka Team Rapid.

From personal observation on their recent play, I think Nicholas did not drop as much in form. My bet is that he will beat Yee Weng.

The second match sees IM Mashafizul against FM Mok Tze Meng. This is the battle of the "pros" as both can be considered chess professionals at this point in time. Mas is attached to Petronas but has been playing chess non-stop for some time. Mok does chess coaching as part of his source of income so undeniably he is a chess pro.

Mas has been playing non-stop for the past two (?) years mostly against strong players in international competitions. Currently he is chasing his first grandmaster norm in Europe. We can expect him to be at the top of his game.

However, Mok cannot be discounted. He has a good run winning the Penang Open ahead of Mas, great performance in DATCC Chess League, had the best performance amongst all the Malaysians at DATMO 2009 and capped off with an outstanding turnout at the Merdeka Team where he beat GM Rogelio Antonio (Philippines) in the last round.

This will be a hard match to predict. But based on rating and recent performances, I am willing to bet that the winner of this match will win the finals as well.

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri

Chess is Chess wishes all Muslim readers SELAMAT HARI RAYA AIDILFITRI!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Yee Weng in Malaysian Masters semi-finals

Lim Yee Weng beats Edward Lee to move into the semi-finals. However, I am very surprised at the way Edward conceded the match.

The first two games were drawn and Yee Weng won the third to take the lead. In the fourth game, a draw was agreed after eleven moves in a standard French Defence. Edward is playing white so there is every chance of winning. Besides, Yee Weng form has dropped tremendously since the Dresden Olympiad. He did not do very well in the DATMO. In the Merdeka Rapid, he blundered a whole rook against me in a possibly winning position.

It seems that Edward already gave up hope after losing the third game. It is reported that he is currently studying in Singapore and I think he do not fancy coming back again for a semi-final match(?)

The competitors in this event were picked based on their ratings and performances in the National championship as well as the National Junior Championships. I wondor why someone would agree to take part if they are not committed to the event.

Mas finishes 8th in Banicky

Mas finished a disappointing eight position in the grandmaster tournament in Banicky, Slovakia. He only managed half a point from his last three games to get a total of four points, far from the required 6.5 points (which I calculated is the GM norm requirement).

The final standings:

IM SIMACEK Pavel 6,0
IM JURCIK Marian 6,0
GM POLAK Tomas 4,5
GM STOHL Igor 4,5
FM STRUNSKI Andreas4,0
IM MAS Hafizulhelmi4,0
IM HIRNEISE Tobias 3,5
FM CSIBA Dominik 3,0

So even the co-winners could not reach the required 6.5 points for the grandmaster norm.

For Mas, it will be another failure to get that first elusive GM norm. Apparently, I am told, it is much easier once you obtain the first one. The rest seems to fall into place obediently :) It is not uncommon for someone to get another 2-3 norms once they have the first norm in the bag. Strange but true.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Mas draws sixth round

Mas has drawn his sixth round game against IM Pavel Simacek. This means he has to win his remaining three games to qualify for the grandmaster norm. The co-leader also drew leaving the top standings unchanged.

Two upsets in this round, IM Michalik beat GM Stohl while FM Strunski beat GM Polak.

Sixth round standings:

IM JURCIK Marian 4
IM MAS Hafizulhelmi 3.5
FM CSIBA Dominik 2.5
GM POLAK Tomas 2

Thursday, September 10, 2009

One step forward and two steps back

This post title is part of the lyrics from a song called "Not meant to be".
It also sums up the mentality of a certain chess official and organizer.

The Sarawak Chess Association is organising a Sarawak Team Championship in Sibu, Sarawak. Each state can send four players. While it is billed as a team championship, in reality it is a seven round individual Swiss. The state team score will be the combined individual scores from their four players.

What is really interesting is that there will be state and individual prizes. Prizes are attractive too, $2000 for individual first prize and another $2000 for the winners of the state championship.

But what really caught my eye is one of the regulations and it goes. "This championship is opened to all Malaysian citizens only. However, players who have represented Malaysia in the last Chess Olympiad are not permitted to take part."


The last olympiad is of course Dresden 2008, and the players affected are Mas, Yee Weng, Mok , Edward Lee and myself.

My sources told me that this rule was to prevent one (and only one player) from the above five, from taking part. Nice to know I'm just collateral damage. Anyway who is being targeted? Apparently the player is a Sarawakian himself. Still clueless? Ok, the said player has been likened to a jungle animal lately.

My suggestion, change it to read "Anyone who has made an IM norm recently".

With this type of mentality, no wondor we are lagging far behind the rest of the chess world.

Now sing it together with me now...

It's like one step forward and two steps back
No matter what I do you're always mad
And I, I can't change your mind
I know it's like trying to turn around on a one way street

Mas loses to Jurcik

Mas has lost his postponed game to Marian Jurcik and Jurcik moves into joint lead with Simacek. The standings now:

IM SIMACEK Pavel 3.5
IM JURCIK Marian 3.5
IM MAS Hafizulhelmi 3
GM POLAK Tomas 2
FM CSIBA Dominik 2
IM HIRNEISE Tobias 1.5

According to my calculations, the average rating of the tournament is 2455. This means a GM norm requires 6.5 points. Mas will need to win three games and draw one from his remaining four games. It is not impossible, but the loss have made it more difficult now.

Mas remaining games are with (in order of rounds) -

IM SIMACEK Pavel 3.5
GM POLAK Tomas 2
FM CSIBA Dominik 2

Simacek is also on track for a GM norm needing 3/4. So it will be interesting if he tries to beat Mas as Mas will also be gunning for a win.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Mas in SloveniaSlovakia

With so many events going on the last few weeks, Mas quest for grandmaster title in Europe took a back seat. The current standings are:

IM SIMACEK Pavel 3.5
IM MAS Hafizulhelmi 3
IM JURCIK Marian 2.5
GM POLAK Tomas 2
FM CSIBA Dominik 2
IM HIRNEISE Tobias 1.5

However, Mas still have one game outstanding from the first round against Jurcik which has yet to be played. Theoretically he can be the leader provided he wins this postponed game.

With three points from four games and another five more to go, Mas definitely has a chance to gain his first GM norm.

I wish him all the best in the forthcoming games.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Carlsen to train under Kasparov

A Chessbase report that Kasparov is reportedly working with chess superstar Magnus Carlsen with the aim of propelling the Norwegian to be the world number one. I have to admit this really caught me by surprise and even had me checking the calendar if today is April 1st. Nope, it is still September 7th as I write this. The Chessbase article even has photos of the two working together at Kasparov's summer residence in Croatia. Wow!

I have been following Carlsen's progress ever since he came into the limelight as a thirteen year old some five years ago. I also had the opportunity to observe him at the board up close at the Dresden Olympiad last year. I believe he has what it takes to be the greatest player of all time, even over-shadowing Kasparov himself. It says a lot about Kasparov character that he is willing to help Carlsen achieve his ambitions.

The question now is not whether Carlsen will become World Champion, but when.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

KL Open Round 4 Results

After four rounds, three players lead with 3.5 points. Indonesian Farid Firman Syah (who is only rated 2207), Vietnamese GM Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son and Uzbek GM Dzhumaev Marat are the leaders.

Amongst the Malaysians, I found that Tan Li Ting has two points together with Wong Jianwen. They might improve seeing that their next round opponents are rated 2000+ only. Edward Lee and Najib Abdul Wahab have 1.5 points and play each other.

Chess is Chess team members

Although we did not win any prizes in the Merdeka Team, it felt good to play together with friends some of whom I have known for over thirty years. Let me introduce my good friends and team members.

Chin Seng is a former national champion. After winning the championship he realized he could never top that. Thereafter he hatched Operation Beyond Sky ("li tian"), whereby he will conquer the (chess) world by proxy. This culminated in the birth of his son, Li Tian.

As a sixteen year old boy, I wandered into the Penang Chess Association one day. Chuah Heng Meng was one of the first chess player I met then. We became friends immediately. He can be called Mr. Penang because you can always see him every Friday night and Sunday afternoon at the old Hooi Lye Association at Kimberley Street where the Penang Chess Association had it's meetings. In the late seventies and into the eighties, we practically kept the playing sessions going between the two of us. Some days it would only be him and me, with a chess board and clock, churning out tens of blitz games.

One Sunday a boy of about ten wearing shorts and slippers came to the Hooi Lye premises accompanied by his father. Even at this age, Eric Cheah was quite independent and quickly became a permanent fixture at the club. Once he competed in the Asian Juniors which was held in Kuala Lumpur. The tournament was held in an empty shop-lot in a new shopping centre (if memory serves, this would be the Wilayah Kompleks where DATCC chess league was played recently). One day Eric was late for the round and running at full speed towards his table forgot about the glass front of the shop-lot. He crashed right through. Miraculously he only sustained only minor cuts. To this day he still have the scars from this accident.

Chess is Chess results

Board 1 Jimmy Liew 6.5 / 9
Board 2 Yeoh Chin Seng 5.5 / 9
Board 3 Chuah Heng Meng 4.5 / 9
Board 4 Eric Cheah 4 / 9

Friday, September 4, 2009

IA draws IM !

A surprise result from the first round of KL Open 2009. Najib (that's DATMO 2009 Chief Arbiter not the PM!) drew against IM Gokhale of India. Although Gokhale is only rated at 2284, it can be considered an upset for him.

Let's not forget Najib started playing chess first before going into organising and arbitering. He might even end up as the best performing Malaysian, seeing how few Malaysians are actually in the tournament. Unfortunately there is no prize for that, unlike in the DATMO.

Indonesian Dream Girls versus Chess is Chess!

Round 4 of the Merdeka Team Rapid saw Chess Is Chess team pitted against Indonesian Dream Girls, a team of young highly attractive girls from (where else?) Indonesia. The girls were quite a handful and we only managed to win 2.5-1.5.

Yeoh Chin Seng drew while Chuah Heng Meng lost on third board.

(Pictures courtesy of Collin Madhavan)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

KL Open: Where are the Malaysians?

Someone commented that there are only four Malaysian players registered as of yesterday for the KL Open 2009. I checked out the list at chess results. True enough there are only four names, Edward Lee, recently our fifth board at the Dresden Olympiad, Wong Jianwen who managed to defeat IM Tan Lian Ann at the DATMO 2009, Haslindah Ruslan (!) and Abdul Haq. Malaysians like to do things at the last minute so there should be more registrations over the next two days.

But I still find it surprising, given the number of IMs and GMs taking part,the possibilities of norms are very good. If you look at DATMO over the years, there were so many Filipinos, Indonesians, Vietnames, Indians etc who spend a lot of money on airfare and hotel rooms to compete over here. The tournament is in our own backyard. So where are the Malaysians?

Tournaments like this costs a lot of money to run. And it looks like it is going to benefit other nations rather than ourselves.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

KL Open 2009

After last week's Malaysian Open/Ambank Open followed by Astro Merdeka Team tournament, we now have yet another major open. Starting on Friday 4th September will be the 2nd KL Open. There is an impressive starting list as most of the players from the previous tournaments seems to be staying back for the tournament.

We have grandmasters like Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son and Nguyen Anh Dung from Vietnam, Dzhumaev Marat and Iuldachev Saidali of Ubezkistan , Indonesia's grandmaster Megaranto Susanto who all competed in the Malaysian Open.

However, I do not see many Malaysian players in the registered list. The reason this is so for some local players like myself is quite practical. I just cannot afford to take another week off for chess. Already a huge pile of work was waiting for me when I got back to the office today.

The tournament venue is at Shah’s Village Hotel in Petaling Jaya. This is quite accessible to me and I will pop in over the week-end to spectate.