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Friday, December 04, 1998




Who'll be national champ?

By Quah Seng Sun

WHO do you think will win the next national closed chess championship which starts Tuesday at the Parkroyal in Kuala Lumpur?

Someone new or one of the former champions? Or will the defending champion maintain his title?

So far, I have not come across anyone winning the national championship three times in a row. Mas Hafizulhelmi won the title in 1994 and 1995, but he has not featured in this event since then. Lim Yee Weng is also another two-time winner, in 1996 and 1997, so if he plays again this year and is successful, he will score an unprecedented hattrick in Malaysian chess!

Star Online Pix alt
KL Parkroyal general manager Geoffrey York (second from left) presenting a mock cheque of RM15,000 to Malaysian Chess Federation president Datuk Seri Sabbaruddin Chik (far right) last month.

At this point of writing however, it is uncertain whether Lim would play in the national championship. According to the Malaysian Chess Federation (MCF), the East Asian zonal championship is starting in Yangon on Tuesday and Lim has an option to play there. If he decides on going to Myanmar, he will accompany Mas Hafizul who is Malaysia's other official representative in the zonal event.

(By the way, this year's zonal championship is an open event and theoretically, anyone can take part for a chance to qualify for the world championship knock-out event next month. But those planning to go to Yangon will have to submit their applications through the MCF and foot their own bill.)

If Lim and Mas Hafizul are absent from the national championship this year, it will effectively make the field wide open. In this circumstance, Ng Tze Han, who is another up-and-coming junior player in the country, can perhaps make his presence felt this time. After having finished as second fiddle to Lim in the two preceding years, perhaps this will be the chance for Ng to come into his own.

The national championship will be held over six days starting from Dec 8. The men's section will be played over nine rounds and the winner will receive the Datuk Hussein Onn challenge trophy. The winner of the women's section will get the Datuk Sabbaruddin Chik trophy.

In addition, the Kuala Lumpur Parkroyal, sponsor for the sixth year, will award trophies for the most promising under-18 male and female players.

Meanwhile, the MCF will also hold its annual general meeting at the Kuala Lumpur Parkroyal at 3.30pm on Tuesday. Culture, Arts and Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Sabbaruddin Chik is expected to be the unanimous choice again for the post of the MCF president, but it is uncertain whether Perlis Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim is standing again as MCF deputy president. There will also be elections for the other MCF posts.


USM Penang

UNIVERSITI Sains Malaysia (USM) will organise two tournaments in Penang during the first two weekends of the new year.

On Jan 2 and 3, the USM Bridge and Chess Club will organise their USM open tournament. This will be a seven-round event, played using a one-hour time control. There will be four rounds on the first day of the event and three rounds on the second day.

First prize is RM450; second, RM300. There are five other cash prizes from RM150 for the third place winner to RM50 for the seventh place. The best under-12, under-15 and women players will also be rewarded.

Entry fees are RM15 for school children and RM25 for the public.

On Jan 9 and 10, the USM team tournament will be organised. This is a six-round event, three rounds per day, using the same one-hour time control. Each team can have a maximum of eight players but only four will play in any one round.

There will only be four prizes for the team event. The winning team will get RM500, runners-up RM300, third RM200 and fourth RM100. Board prizes will also be awarded.

Entry fees are RM50 for schools, colleges and universities and RM80 for others.

For more information, contact Wong Kam Loong ( 04-659 5370, e-mail, Chee Hooi Ping ( 04-829 9273, e-mail: or Ooi Kiem Boo (04-657 4596 office hours). For both events, entries will close on Dec 15.


VISITORS to Singapore this month can look forward to taking part in two events organised by the Cairnhill and Queenstown Community Centres.

From Dec 19 to 24, the Cairnhill open chess championship will be played at the Cairhill Community Centre. This is a seven-round Fide-rateable event with a two-hour time control for the entire game. The first prize is S$1,600 (about RM3,700), second prize S$1,200 (about RM2,750) and third prize S$800 (about RM1,800). There are 12 other minor cash prizes. Entry fees are S$25.75 (about RM60) for members of the club and S$51.50 (about RM118) for non members.

If playing in a Fide-rateable event is not your cup of tea but you have a Singapore Chess Federation local rating of below 1,800, you may want to consider taking part in the weaker Cairnhill section B tournament. Here, the time control is 45 minutes per game, and the seven rounds will be split between Dec 19 and 20.

There are 10 cash prizes and the winner shall receive S$100 (about RM230). There are also category prizes of S$25 each to the best under-1700, under-1600 and unrated players. Entry fees are S$10.30 (about RM24) for Cairnhill members and S$20.60 (about RM48) for non-members.

For more details, contact the Cairnhill Community Centre Chess Club ( 02-737 9537, fax: 02-252 2576 / 02-352 9691, e-mail: or

From Dec 25 to 27, the Asia inter-club goodwill chess tournament shall be played at the Queenstown Community Centre. This event, which is managed by Intchess Asia, is limited to only 36 non-Singaporean clubs. This is a 25-minute tournament played over nine rounds.

Entry fees are US$300 per team if a country participates with only one club, US$400 per team if a country plays with two clubs, and US$500 per team if there are more than two clubs from the same country. Accommodation, including breakfast, will be provided free to each club.

Enquiries can be made directly to Intchess Asia (fax: 02-227 0582, e-mail:

Quah Seng Sun's chess articles are archived at Malaysia On-Line ( Readers can write to him at:


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