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Friday, August 7, 1998

It's you vs the machines

By Quah Seng Sun

THE Endah Parade Chess Challenge concludes this weekend at Endah Parade in Bandar Baru Sri Petaling, Kuala Lumpur.

The most intriguing event will take place tomorrow afternoon when the Endah Parade computer chess competition is scheduled. Several computer chess programs like Chessmaster and Fritz will be utilised to compete with human players in the novelty six-round Swiss event.

If a player is paired against a computer program, the player will be allotted 20 minutes on his clock and the computer program only 10 minutes. If two players are matched together, they will each be given 15 minutes.

Personally, I do not harbour much hope for the players to win against computer programs, especially if they are running on today's Pentium or Pentium II personal computers.

Three years ago, I conducted a similar experiment in Penang where the obsolete Fritz2.0 program, running on an equally obsolete 16Mhz 486-computer, was entered as a competitor. None of the human players won, but prizes were given to the best players among them.

Similarly, at Endah Parade, I understand that the organisers will give five non-cash prizes to the best players in the computer chess competition.

Entry fee is RM5 per player, and registration begins at 1pm. The first round is scheduled to start at 2pm.

On Sunday, the Endah Parade open tournament will complete the two-weekend chess challenge. This is a six-round Swiss event, and registration opens at 9am. Entry fee is RM10 for players who are under 12 years old, and RM15 for others.

Ten cash prizes are on offer; first prize is RM250, second prize RM200, and third prize RM150. Fourth and fifth prizes are RM100 each, and those who finish sixth to 10th will get RM50 each. In addition, there are RM50 prizes for the best under-16, under-14, under-12 and girl players.

Entry forms can be obtained from and submitted to the information counter at Endah Parade. However, entry fees will only be collected upon registration. Entries are limited to the first 100 participants. For more details, contact Zac, Yuonne or Soo Kee (03-583 0100).

Meanwhile, last Saturday's Endah Parade blitz tournament proved to be a thriller. Wong Ji Zing had a good start to this tournament and by the 10th round, was the undisputed leader of the 66-player field with nine points.

However, Jimmy Liew caught up with Wong in the 11th round when the latter lost his game. Both players then won their final two games to tie the 13-round event with 11 points each.

A play-off was immediately arranged to decide the winner. The first game of the play-off was drawn, but then Wong outplayed Liew in the second game to take the top prize of RM200. Liew collected RM100 while Azhari Md Nor, who was third with 10 points, won RM50.

Wong Zi Chuang was the best under-12 player, and Noor Hayati picked up a consolation prize for the best girl player.

Fourth in the blitz event was Julian Delos with nine points, while tied at 8 1/2 points each were Lim Chin Lee, Julian Navaratnam, Law Tze Kang, Mok Tze Meng, Wong Zi Chuang and Premnath.

The Endah Parade age-group open tournament was held on Sunday. This tournament ended in a tie at the top between Wong Ji Zing and Deon Moh.

Both players had scored 5 1/2 points from six games but Wong was declared the under-16 winner after a play-off. Wong won another RM200, while Moh's prize was RM100. Lim Ven Gee pipped Hisyam Ismail to the third prize of RM50 although both had obtained five points each.

For the under-12 section, the winner's purse of RM200 went to Effazuan Farid who obtained 4 1/2 points. Wong Zi Chuang, also with 4 1/2 points, won the second prize of RM100, while the third prize went to Effalini Farid who scored four points. The prize for the best girl player was given to Ong Yee San.

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