Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Filipine Team wins Merdeka Team Rapid

Chesskidz Men's Team from the Philippines won the 2010 Merdeka Team Rapid comfortably. They had two grandmasters on the first two boards, GM Nelson Mariano and GM Bong Villamayor.

First seed SMS Gold did not live up to their seeding. Nevertheless they won the best Malaysian team prize as all the local teams were unable to match the foreign teams. Maybe next year....

Yeoh Chin Seng managed to outshine his young son this time. He led a surprising CLOBA-80 team to  take  the second Malaysian prize. The team comprises all Chung Ling High School members - my guess is CLOBA stands for Chung Ling Old Boys Association.

The winning team

Full results here
The premier event, the Malaysian Open begins tomorrow.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Malaysian Chess Festival 2010 begins

Malaysian Chess Festival 2010 begins with the Individual Rapid Tournament which kicks off this morning. This is a new addition to the Chess Festival.

This year, besides the usual Open, Ambank and Age Groups there will be a Seniors tournament as well. This is for those 55 years and above. Prizes are attractive too, RM4000 for the Open, and also sections for 65-74 and above 75 years old with RM2000 and RM2000 for the 1st prize.

I will not be competing in the Individual Rapid but only begin playing tomorrow in the Team Rapids followed by the main Open tournament. Quite a number of leave have to be taken for this event which leaves me with no more annual leave for the rest of the year.

Friday, August 27, 2010

6th Prospero A. Pichay Cup - Filippov wins

The 6th Prospero A. Pichay Cup ended yesterday and GM Anton Filippov took the champion's title pocketing a cool USD 6,000 first prize. Filippov was in the lead throughout and had a slim half point lead going into the final round. He drew with Iranian GM Ghaem Maghami Ehsan and this was enough to secure the 1st placing as all the top boards drew as well.

Malaysia had two players , Khanty Mansiysk bound Peter Long and a regular on the local tournament circuit, Cheah Cheok Fun.

Cheok Fun seems to be taking chess more seriously now. I think he is undergoing some training with resident GM Ziaur Rahman and now taking the big step in competing in a strong foreign tournament. I respect this type of gung-ho and I was hoping he could make a respectable showing here. But it was not to be, his final tally was three points from the nine rounds (with one coming from a bye). I say, keep going at it, Cheok Fun. There will be a break-through at some point with sufficient determination.

Peter Long garnered three and a half points giving a walk-over in round eight and was not even paired for the final round. Perhaps he fell ill or just felt totally out-classed and gave up. Either way it is not good omen for our team in the coming Olympiad which is just about a month away.

All the players will have a rest till Sunday 29th August when the Florencio Campomanes Memorial starts. This is the premier event with a whopping USD70,000 for the Open tournament with USD10,000 going to the winner.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Who does Malaysia support for FIDE President?

Today I read in MCF blog that  Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the current World Chess Federation (FIDE) President  will be here tomorrow for a short courtesy visit. He is accompanied by FIDE General Secretary Mr Ignatius Leong and a Mr. Berik Balgabaev.

The FIDE President is scheduled to make a courtesy call on Y.A.B Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek, Youth And Sports Minister at his Ministry office at Putrajaya. He will also call on Yang Mulia Tunku Tan Sri Imran Ibni Almarhum Tuanku Ja’afar, President of Olympic Council Of Malaysia. Well, Ilyumzhinov is also a Head of State, so it will be very hard and politically incorrect to refuse to see him.

What I find intriguing is that when Karpov who is challenging the presidency was also in town in July, there is no mention at all in MCF blog. Not one word. Additionally from all reports, neither the MCF President or Secretary were present at Karpov's press conference. I am wondoring who MCF is really supporting.

Now I'm always one to call a spade a spade and I'm not known to be politically correct. So let me print what I think. Hamid Majid supports Karpov (well he is on the Karpov ticket after all) and Gregory Lau supports Ilyumzhinov.

Fortunately for Hamid, he has kept all the aces in the pack, since he is the official delegate for Malaysia and he WILL be present in Khanty Mansiysk and my very reliable sources tell me that he WILL vote for the Karpov ticket.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Malaysian Chess Festival 2010

Malaysian Chess Festival 2010 will be kicking off at the end of the month. Click the picture on the sidebar to go to the official site or click here

This year's event will clash with the Camponmanes Memorial in the Philippines. Many believe that this is a deliberate attempt to sabotage the long running series of Malaysian Chess Festival. No doubt this is because Malaysia is backing Karpov for the FIDE elections.

I had a peek at the list of participants and nevertheless the number of participants including many grandmasters is impressive.

See you all there.

Welcome back, Rationality

Malaysian Chess - At its Best seems to be back after being silent for over three months. He has an interesting post which seems to imply something fishy is going on in MCF. Read it here

And welcome back!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Tough choices

Today's The Star newspaper column by Quah Seng Sun  titled Tough Choices  makes interesting reading as International Master Wong Zi Jing gives his honest thoughts on Yeoh Li Tian.

I remember how one night, Chin Seng (Li Tian's father) and me discussed this very question ( amongst others)  in my living room till late into the night. A very difficult question for a father indeed.

How to make an IM

Making norms in an open tournament is difficult. You need to play some high rated players who are all out to beat you in order to get a decent prize. This is why making a norm in the Malaysian Open (or any open) is so difficult.

Actually it is not difficult at all if you arrange things properly. The trick is probably not to offer any prizes. This way the top players have no incentive to try too hard to win. Of course you have to give them appearance fees to make it worth their while.

The composition of the tournament is very important. You want to have some high rated guys to make the norm reasonably easy. Throw in a few lower rateds - their job is to provide some free points for those seeking norm possibilities.

Recently Brunei organized title tournaments with IM norms possibility. Since the players are already there, why organize one when you can have two? The logic is unquestionable. The two tournaments were very successful in that four IM norms were achieved.

Irene Sukandar Kharisma benefitted the most as she achieved the IM (Men) norm in both tournaments. India's Ramnath Bhuvanesh achieved his final norm in the second tournament. Brunei also struck gold in the second tournament when Yee Soon Wei made his first norm. This is Brunei's first ever International Master norm.

If you look at the crosstable for the 2nd tournament you will see how easy it is. The norm is 6.5 points. Now you need to get four points from the bottom four - easy for any IM aspirant. Essentially it becomes a six man tournament. That leaves another 2.5 points which you need to get from the remaining five players - not too difficult, just avoid losing. Ramnath Bhuvanesh even exceeded this when he beat second placed Irine. Incidentally, I played him in the Malaysian Open in 2007 when he was just fourteen years old. He had an overwhelmingly winning position. I could have resigned on his next move, except he played a horrible blunder which lost for him. Another Indian youngster I played was Srinath Narayanan in the 2006 Malaysian Open who went on to achieve the IM title.

It is time for MCF to try something similar. After all we already have a resident GM and four IMs in the country.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The role of team captain

In most team tournaments there will be a number of players, usually four plus one reserve in the case of the olympiad, and a team captain. Of course the players play but what of the team captain? What is his/her role?

In my opinion the following are the responsibilities of the captain though this is not really set in stone and readers might have different opinions.

1) Submit the team line-up for the next round. This is probably the most important task. The captain should consult his team and decide who is to play and who is to rest. The decision should be a collective one and in event of disagreement the captain should make the final decision. This is not as simple as it seems. In my experience, everyone wants to play when paired with a weaker team.

2) Liase with the arbiter and organizing committee. The captain represents the team at any meetings. The captain also submits appeals when the situation necessitates.

3) Advise a player to offer a draw. This should be based on the tournament situation and not the actual board position. This is especially important now that match points are increasingly used. A classic example was the last round of the 2008 Dresden olympiad. A draw in the last game would have given us the match win. Mok continued to play and eventually blundered and lost thereby giving us only a tie. This dropped us several positions in the final standing.

4) Now that the zero start rule is enforced, the captain should ensure that all the boards are present before the start of the round. This may seem quite trivial but you would be surprised how many players forfeited at the last olympiad due to not being present at the board.

5) The captain has to be present to sign off the full results at the end of the match. I think this rule is not that strict and a player may sign on behalf of the captain.

6) Maintain team spirit and morale.

What makes a good captain? An ideal team captain is someone who has the respect of all team members, have some chess playing skill, good people management skill and ability to keep a team together.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Top German players boycott 2010 olympiad

Sports and games everywhere is controlled by officials not the players themselves. Most players will not risk antagonizing any official of the federation. Sadly, this is especially true in Malaysia. For example, I write about the right and wrong that is in the local chess environment. Everyone hides in a corner and nods in agreement. Some will voice out under the cloak of anonymity. None have actually supported me publicly. But in private they will tell me how I am doing the right thing. Recently I begin to ask myself why I even bother. At times I have to write negatively about people I have known for a long time and some I even consider my friends.

A very strong German chess player have voiced out the problems he has with his own chess federation. I just read an open letter here by Arkadij Naiditsch (current top player in Germany). All the German top men's players will not be in the team to the forthcoming 2010 Chess Olympiad.

Naiditsch is either a very brave man or a desperate one or maybe both. The abundance of sarcasm in his letter could drown quite a few German officials. I found his open letter very funny at the same time also sad. Do read it and compare with ourselves. Note that Malaysians have to pay (mostly) for the privilege of representing the country.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

10000 page views

Today Chess is Chess reached ten thousand page views. It might not seem a lot compared with other blogs. However my views are unique. I do not know about other sites though I suspect most are not because their click count is ridiculously high. Anyone who knows about such things know that the local chess community is very small and cannot possibly generate that number of clicks.

Unique views means that even you visit my site few times in a day, it only counts as one view. Most importantly is that my own clicks are not registered otherwise the count will be artificially high as naturally I will visit my blog often.