Tuesday, April 29, 2014

2014 Malaysian Women Masters

The name list for this year's Women Masters is out.

Our highest rated women, Alia Bakri , is back after a long hiatus. It will be interesting to see how she fares amongst the current crop of top women.

A newcomer is Najihah Mohd Saufi who is rated way below the others at just 1518. She qualified by virtue of coming in the top three from the Nationals. I had some chance to watch her games at the Nationals. She has potential but will find this Masters a little out of her league as everyone is already very experienced and around for a very long time.

The top five in this Masters will get the opportunity to represent Malaysia at Tromso Olympiad later in the year. Best of luck to everyone.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Inside look on Olympiad selection - Updated

Update: I have just been informed by Nicholas that he did not actually decline but there were communications problems with MCF and he was left out.

Now that the Malaysian Masters and MCF Selection are over and the team for Tromso Olympiad decided, it is time to reflect back on what was done and what was done wrong.

Initially, I did not intend to write this post but a number of readers and friends were asking me about this very subject. This is  what I found out and also my personal views.

Before I start let me state that there are no conspiracy theories. There are no collusions amongst the MCF officials to favor or to deny any players. For those who love such theories, you can proceed to the poison blogger's site. If you are more interested in facts, then read on.

Everything that I have written here was gleaned from speaking to an MCF official and using some common sense. Getting it from the inside is better than making up stories to fit your agenda, yes?

Also, I am not an mouthpiece for MCF, so everything written here are my own opinions.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Malaysian Olympiad team confirmed members

IM Lim Yee Weng and NM Fong Yit San has topped the MCF Selection which started today. They both beat Sumant Subramaniam and Fadzil to get two points each. This means the two latter players cannot catch them.

IM Lim Yee Weng and NM Fong Yit San will join the qualifiers from the Malaysian Masters, Yeoh Li Tian, Ng Tze Han and Aron Teh.

Sumant Subramaniam and Fadzil will still have to play their game tomorrow as the third place will substitute in the event that anyone opts out of the olympiad team.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Kasparov Gala Dinner

Last night, I attended the Kasparov Gala Dinner and Charity Drive at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre in Putrajaya as a guest of  Dato' Tan Chin Nam.

The night started with some speeches. The best speech was from UMNO Youth Chief Khairy Jamalludin. My respect for him grew although I did not get to meet him personally. Khairy is a new breed of UMNO politicians; more moderate with a modern outlook unlike the older ones.

Khairy is a very charismatic speaker and most importantly to me, he was enjoying himself last night especially during the simul by Kasparov against five VIPs. Whether posing for photos or cheering the simul participants on, he blended in well with the crowd last night.

Malaysian Masters: Final standings

Yeoh Li Tian drew with Fong Yit San while Ng Tze Han and Aron Teh beat Fadzil and Sumant respectively. So the three qualifiers to the olympiad team are Li Tian, Tze Han and Aron.

Final Standings
The remaining two spots will now be decided by another selection this week-end. Fadzil, Yit San and Sumant will be joined by IM Lim Yee Weng in a four player tournament.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Malaysian Masters: Li Tian wins

Yeoh Li Tian has won the 2014 Malaysian Masters with a round to spare. He beat his nearest rival, Ng Tze Han, yesterday afternoon to post a 4/4 score. The other two games were drawn. This means Li Tian has a 1.5 points lead over the rest of the field.

Tze Han and Ahmad Fadzil remains in the second place with 2.5 points each. Last year's joint winner, Aron Teh has 2 points and still has a theoretical chance to take one of the three spots for this year's olympiad team. For this to happen he must win over Sumant today and hope that there is a decisive result in the Tze Han - Ahmad Fadzil game. Unfortunately for him, it is more likely that the two will agree a draw to protect their placing. There could be a three way tie for 2nd-3rd placing.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Malaysian Masters: Yeoh Li Tian leads with full points

Yeoh Li Tian continues to rampage through the field at the 2014 Malaysian Masters. In the third round he beat co-leader Ahmad Fadzil Nayan.

Yeoh Li Tian - Ahmad Fadzil Nayan

Black is slightly worse here as his pieces on h4 and b6 are not in the best position. He should start thinking about exchanging rooks with  21...Rbd8. Instead he went on a faulty plan.

 21... Qc7 22. Qh5  Be7 23. Bxh6! gxh6

 This loses without a fight.

 24. Ng4 Nf4 25. Qxh6 f5 26. Ng5 Bxg5 27. Qxg5+ Qg7 28. Nh6+ Kh8 29. Qxf4 Rf6?? 

Blunders the rook on b8


After three rounds, Li Tian is the sole leader with 3 points followed by Ng Tze Han. The current standings:

Yeoh Li Tian 3 points
Ng Tze Han 2.5
Ahmad Fadzil Nayan 2
Aron Teh  1.5
Sumant Subramaniam, Fong Yit San 0

The fourth round will likely decide the champion as well as the top three, as Li Tian meets Tze Han while Aron plays Fadzil.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Malaysian Masters: Yeoh Li Tian beats Aron Teh

Yeoh Li Tian - Aron Teh

White has to do something before black can play ...Nf6 attacking his e-pawn.

22. e5

This seems like a mistake at first, giving up the e-pawn. However White has seen that he will recover the pawn on c5  

Bxg2 23. Rxg2 dxe5 24. Na4 exf4 25. exf4 Nf6 26. Nxc5 Rb6 27. Kb2 Rc6 28. b4  

 White is not afraid to push the pawns in front of his king, having calculated that there is no danger.  

28...a5 29. a3 axb4 30. axb4 Ne4 31. Nd7+ Kg8 32. Rd4 Rce6 

The first inaccuracy. Black must play 32...Rg6 to avoid tactical problems.

33. f5 Rd6 34. Rxd6 cxd6 

He cannot retake with the knight because of 35.Nf6+ winning the rook

35. Re2 f6 36. b5 Re7 37. c5! 

The winning move. 37...Rxd7 36. c6 Re7 37. b6 and the passed pawns are unstoppable
37... dxc5 38. Nxc5 Re5 39. Rxe4 Rxc5 40. Rb4

White has a winning rook ending. The black rook will have to return to b8 to stop the white passed pawn. White just have to move his king up the board to support the b-pawn and it is over.

40... h5 41. b6 Rc8 42. b7 Rb8 43. Kc3 Kf7 44. Kd4 Ke7 45. Kc5 Kd7 46. Kb6 Kd6 47. Re4 Kd5 48. Re1 1-0

Thursday, April 17, 2014

2014 K.L. Open (Part 2)

My round five opponent was my weakest and I won without much difficulty.

In round six, I faced the strong Indian IM Das Arghyadip who already has a GM norm. After an original opening variation, I had equalised at least.

IM Das Arghyadip - IM Jimmy Liew
White played 20. Nd4 instead he could have drawn immediately with

20. Bxe6+ fxe6 21. Qxe6+ Kc7 (The reason why the other king move does not work 21... Kb8 22. Qxf6 Qe3+ 23. Rd2 Rxd2 24.Nxd2 and now black cannot play ...Rd8) 22. Qf7+ Kc8 23. Qe6+ Kc7 24. Qf7+ 

Still, the game was agreed drawn in a few more moves where I had good prospects to play for a win.

IM Jimmy Liew - Fong Yit Ho
Yit Ho was having a great tournament with 3.5 points so far. But he had faced four IMs and one FM! Black cannot take on d3 due to the check on c8, so clearly the king needs to have some air; 20...h6 was an obvious move. However Yit Ho made serious weaknesses on the black squares with 20...h5? and the end came quickly

Round 8 was drawn without too much difficulties. I had to calculate one variation to make sure that I reached a drawn ending.

IM Rolando Nolte - IM Jimmy Liew

IM Jimmy Liew - IM Moulton Ly

In the final round I reached the above position. White is very slightly worse due to his queen-side pawn structure but nothing serious that cannot be defended with accurate play. I should just play 22. Bf4 taking control of the important h2-b8 diagona. Instead I started to hallucinate a king-side attack and pushing my g and h-pawn for no reason. The resulting weakened pawn structure was exploited by my opponent masterly.

Despite this last setback I felt satisfied with my play and results. My final total was five points and amongst my opponents were two grandmasters and three international masters.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

2014 K.L. Open (Part 1)

A little story about how I got to play in the K.L. Open. Peter Long started a K.L. Open event on Facebook. I clicked on "Going" meaning that I will go and watch the games. Next thing I know, my name is in the list of participants and Peter already announced my entry on his blog. Not wanting to embarrass him with a retraction, I went along even though I am not in my best form. This can be seen in the recent National Championships where I finished out of the top three.

In round one, I had an interesting rook ending against an unrated Indonesian

Jimmy Liew - Ferdinand Hutabarat

Black has control of the only open file. However, white has the pawn breaks g4 and d5 so the initiative lies with him. Black's last chance for a draw was  52...Rf1 taking up a position behind the white passed pawn.

Round 2 was another rook ending against the Indian GM Laxman. Black has the situation under control and with the potential outside passed pawn on the queen-side, there should be little to fear.

GM Laxman - IM Jimmy Liew

In round three my first loss to GM Richard Bitoon. Not much to say except the grandmaster understanding of the middle-game was far superior. A couple of bad moves and I drifted into a lost position. Round four was yet another rook ending against the Singaporean kid, Cyrus Low who is much stronger than his rating indicated.

Cyrus Low - IM Jimmy Liew

An extra pawn in a rook ending should be an easy win, so I thought and I played my next move without my thinking which probably threw away the win or at least made it very difficult.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

K.L. Open interesting moments

Being a participant myself, I could not witness as many games as I would like. Still there were some interesting moments and results that I could see.

On the board next to me (in round three), the experienced Filipino IM Dimakiling found himself close to mated in his game against the young Indonesian who is only rated at 2181.

Setyaki Arzarya Jodi-IM Oliver Dimakiling, 1-0
The position is essentially correct except the king-side pawns may not be on their correct positions. Anywhere they do not have any effect on the result. Black has no defence to the threats of mate even though it is his move. The threat is 1. Ra1+ Kb8 2. Na6+ Kc8 3. Rb1 and mate on b8. A second mate threat is 1. Ra1+ Kb8 2. Ra7 followed by 3. Na6+ and 4. Ra8 mate.

Fong Yit Ho may not be as successful as his brother, Yit San but still a good player . One still remembers his win against grandmaster Richard Bitoon two years ago. In the game below he held a rook ending a pawn down against an Ukrainian IM. Yit Ho seems to lack the motivation and confidence of his brother, Yit San, and he must overcome these in order to get better.

IM Borsos Bogdan-Fong Yit Ho, draw
Talking of Yit San, I expected him to win his third round game against a young unknown local. Imagine my shock when he told me he only managed to draw and was losing when his opponent offered! His opponent,Aqil Ainuddin , is only rated at  1548. Those in the know may recognize him as our representative at the recent SEA Games where he competed in the Myanmar chess event! Still it is a big upset against the current national champion.

Three rounds of K.L. Open 2014

So many titled players at this year's K.L. Open. This is a dream tournament for anyone with ambitions for title norms. The venue is the Olympic Hotel along Jalan Hang Jebat in Kuala Lumpur.

Three players have the lead with full points. Two time champion Sergei Tiviakov of the Netherlands leads with Indian GM Venkatesh and GM Nguyen Anh Dung from Vietnam.

Today is a much needed rest day for me. Two rounds on Saturday was just too much. I managed to draw a rook ending against GM Laxman and in the afternoon lost to GM Richard Bitoon.

Yeoh Li Tian is having a better tournament than me. After drawing the first round against Cyrus Low from Singapore, he reeled off two straight wins, one against Indian GM Neeloptal. By the way, the first round draw is not that surprising. Cyrus Low is one of the brightest juniors to come out of Singapore. At the end, Li Tian had two extra pawns in an opposite colored bishop ending but the pawns could not advance without the bishop sacrificing itself for both.

The first board is broadcast live and you can follow the game at the official site.