Sunday, February 8, 2015

Merdeka Team 2002

Recently I found amongst my old scoresheets, games from the 2002 Merdeka Team Championship. I have already forgotten how many times I have competed in this event. I thought there were years when I had stopped playing completely but evidence shows that I played in 2002 as well as 2003.

The 2002 Championship was quite special as it was held after the World Youth Under-16 Olympiad in Malaysia. Some of the teams stayed back for this tournament. This meant a stronger than normal event. I played for the Chess Network though I do not remember who my team-mates were, apparently we were quite strong because my score-sheets showed that we were on the top table for most of the rounds. Only in the final round we were relegated to the second table.

Among my opponents were two not familiar names to me at the time. Of course now they are quite famous, Vietnamese Le Quang Liem and Chinese Wang Yue were some of my opponents and I was only playing on board three! Wang Yue was only an FM then but already sporting a 2400+ rating while Quang Liem was below 2200. Today both of them are 2700+ grandmasters.

As this was a rapid event, my scoring stopped in the early middle-game so there are no complete games to show. Worse was that I did not even record the results of most of my games, which was quite unlike me at all. I guess at that time I was already dis-illusioned with chess and playing only as  a favor to a friend.  I only have two recorded results and one of them was against Wang Yue which I drew. I was rated around 2333 then so I guess my chess was still not too much of an embarrassment.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Look ahead to progress further

The post title could be advice to our current crop of players but no, these words were written almost twenty years ago.

Going through my old scores-sheets and clippings I came across this one from the Malay Mail dated 18th October 1996. The feature article was titled "Look ahead to progress further" by one Eddie Chua who took over the chess column of the newspaper from  Lim Chong.

Eddie was quite a character and could be quite scathing in his column.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Shock February ratings

I got the biggest shock of my life when I saw the FIDE Elo Rating List for February 2015. See the screen shot below.

Dilwen Ding has leaped into the top 10 Malaysian players with a hefty 2274 rating making him the 5th highest rated player. By my estimation he was around 1800 last year which means that within three months he has gained over 400 points. If he continues this climb he could be the number one rated Malaysian before long.

The reason for this is the of course the change in rating calculation which FIDE wisely adopted the K=40 rule for juniors who have not reached 2300 in rating and below 18 years of age (or is it 20?)

A gain of 400 rating points is not unusual, there were reports that a junior gained 568 points within three months.

Dilwen is currently in Europe and scoring in some minor tournaments. In January 2015 alone, he has gained 300 points. I hope Dilwen will continue to progress and gain another 200 points in this  month and that will put him over 2400 and the highest active Malaysian! Congratulations!