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Friday, December 18, 1998


AGM yields no surprises

By Quah Seng Sun

THE Malaysian Chess Federation's annual general meeting in Kuala Lumpur last week did not produce any great surprises. As expected, Culture, Arts and Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Sabbaruddin Chik was the unanimous choice as the president, a post he has held since 1988.

Also as expected, Perlis Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim did not seek re-election as the deputy president. Replacing him was Datuk Mohd Rosli Abdul Aziz, a vice-president in the old committee. Jackie Wong, Nasir Hussin and Ibrahim Abu Bakar were elected as the three vice-presidents.

What possibly raised an eye-brow or two during the AGM was the decision by Hamid Majid to decline the post of honorary secretary. Six years in the job was long enough, was Hamid's contention.

Under the MCF constitution, the president appoints the secretary and treasurer and Abdul Latif Mohamad got the secretary's post and Theresa Shee, the treasurer's job.

Chan Kwai Keong, Collin Madhaven, Ghazali Che Cob, Mohd Kamal Abdullah and Sabar Md Hashim were elected as council members. Also appointed to the council were Hamid and Laurence How.

Tight finish

I mentioned a fortnight ago that schoolboy Lim Yee Weng had a terrific chance to make local chess history. If Lim Yee Weng, the national champion in 1996 and 1997, were to win the national closed championship this year, he would score an unprecedented hattrick in Malaysian chess.

Alas for Malaysian chess, however, this was not to be. Yee Weng opted to play in the East Asian zonal tournament which is now on in Yangon, Myanmar. He is there together with Mas Hafizulhelmi and Wong Zijing.

In the absence of Hafizulhelmi and Yee Weng, the tournament narrowed to a very tight race among Ng Ee Vern, Lim Chuin Hoong and Jonathan Chuah. All games among the three of them were drawn. Ng Tze Han was also in the running.

So who won this year's tournament? I believe the player with the steadiest nerves won. Going into the final round, Ee Vern led the quartet with a slim half-point margin. Chuin Hoong and Chuah duly won their games against Mustafa Kamal Zamhuri and Ismail Ahmad respectively. Ee Vern staved off Tze Han who was desperate to win, thereby ensuring himself first place in the championship.

Top standings (open): Ng Ee Vern, 7 1/2 points; Lim Chuin Hoong and Chuah, 7 points each; Agus Salim, 6 1/2 points; Ng Tze Han, Mustafa, Azahari Md Nor, Lim Yew San and Nor Ilhamuddin Shaikh Ali, 6 points each; Ismail Ahmad, Wong Chee Chung, Mohd Kamal Abdullah, Nor Azmi Mohd Nor, Julian Navaratnam and Law Zhe Kang, 5 1/2 points each; and Tan Hong Ghee, Ghazali Che Cob, Abang Mohammad Reduan, Kamal Syed Laebu, Pang Siew Chong, Aaron Yee, Tang Ghim Sheng, Eddy Kwan, Mohd Ezmi Mahmood and Ooi Chong Hean, 5 points each.

Top standings (women): Eliza Hanum Ibrahim, 5 1/2 points; Lim Jean Nie and Lee Su Ann, 5 points each; Samantha Lee, 4 1/2 points; Nor Fatitah Saranon and Marina Soh, 4 points each; Chai Hwei Meen and Effalini Farid, 3 1/2 points each; Effaliana Farid and Nisaah Renganathan, 3 points each; Haslindah Ruslan, 2 1/2 points; Lim Han Ying and Thaw Yee Leng, 2 points each; and Nor Idani Saranon, 1 1/2 points.

Passing of an old guard

Effim Petrovich Geller, one of Soviet Union's old-guard players, died last month at the age of 73. Geller, born in 1925, was among the top 10 players in the world between 1953 and 1971. At his peak, he was regarded as one of the greatest opening theoreticians and a fine tactical player. Geller was awarded the International Master title in 1951 and made a grandmaster in 1952.

Geller played six times in the world championship candidates tournaments. His first was in 1953 and his last was in 1971. Geller also played for the Soviet Union in seven Chess Olympiads.

As a leading theoretical expert, he was a second for Boris Spassky during the latter's match with Bobby Fischer in 1972. He then went on to become a second for Anatoly Karpov.

Geller's analytical abilities were not restricted to the openings. He found some of the key analyses that allowed Mikhail Botvinnik to draw his famous game against Fischer during the Varna Olympiad of 1962. Many had thought that the adjourned position was lost for Botvinnik.

Geller's lifetime achievement against the world champions was excellent: he was +4-1 against Botvinnik, +10-7 against Vassily Smyslov, +4-2 against Tigran Petrosian, +5-3 against Fischer, +1-1 against Max Euwe, +6-6 against Mikhail Tal, +6-9 against Spassky, -2-1 against Karpov and -1-3 against Gary Kasparov.

Penang Grand Prix enters third leg

THE Penang Chess Association (PCA) will organise the third leg of the Penang Grand Prix chess circuit on Dec 27 at the Residents' Association of Bayan Baru clubhouse in Jalan Nibong, Bandar Bayan Baru. Only PCA members can take part in this circuit.

The circuit is divided into four preliminary legs and a final. Each of the preliminary legs will be a six-round event using a 30-minute time control. The first leg was run on June 28 and the second on Oct 10.

Readers interested in playing in the third leg should contact Goh Yoon Wah ( 04-644 5687 in the evening) or Ooi Kiem Boo ( 04-657 4596, office hours).

Prizes include RM200 for the winner, RM120 for the runners-up and RM80 for the third-placed. There are five other smaller cash prizes, and also prizes for the best junior and woman players. Entry fee is RM10 per player.

Besides cash prizes, top players from each leg will be awarded GP points. The selection of 10 finalists will depend on the total GP points accumulated by the players from their best three legs.

For details of this circuit, visit the PCA homepage at (

Ipoh games

THE Perak International Chess Association (Pica) will hold a tournament at Taman D.R. Seenivasagam in Ipoh on Dec 27 beginning 9am. The senior category is a five-round, 45-minute event for Perak players with a rating above 1,700. The second category is a 25-minute event and caters to players without Perak ratings or whose ratings are below 1,700.

Winners will get trophies, cash prizes and book vouchers. Entry fees for the senior category are RM10 for Pica members and RM15 for others.

For the second category, the entry fees are RM5 and RM8 for members and non-members respectively. Those interested can call W.K. Wong at 05-366 1692.

USM events

READERS are reminded that the 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 its seven-round USM open tournament. There will be four rounds on the first day of the event and three rounds on the second day.

The first prize is RM450 and the second prize RM300. There are five other cash prizes as well as prizes for the best under-12, under-15 and women players.

Entry fees are RM15 for schoolchildren and RM25 for the public.

On Jan 9 and 10, the six-round USM team tournament will be held. Three rounds will be completed on each day. Each team can have a maximum of eight players but only four will play in any one round. There are four prizes for the team event. The winning team will get RM500, runners-up RM300, third winner RM200 and fourth winner 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).

Temerloh tourney

THE three-day Temerloh open chess tournament, organised by the Youth and Sports Bureau of the Temerloh Umno Youth and the Malaysian Chess Federation last month, attracted more than 70 players and was won by Ghalam Sani who scored 6 1/2 points from the seven-round event.

Ghalam narrowly pipped Fikrul Saifuddin for the top prize of RM1,500. Fikrul, who was in joint second and third places with Lim Chuin Hoong with six points each, collected RM1,000 while Lim Chuin Hoong received RM700. Jimmy Liew and Noor Azmi Md Nor each scored 5 1/2 points. Liew won RM500 and Noor Azmi RM300.

Among those prize winners who scored five points were Jonathan Chuah, Azhari Md Nor, Darren Yong, Mohd Saprin Sabri and Agus Salim. Chuah, who was adjudged the best under-18 player in the tournament, won RM300. Khor Shihong, who also scored five points, received RM200. Aaron Yee's 4 1/2 points won him RM100 in the under-18 section.

Rosli Mohd Nor was the best Temerloh Umno player, scoring 4 1/2 points to win RM400. Scoring four points each were Kamarul Ariffin (winning RM250), Zakaria Salleh (RM50), Zainal Azli (RM100) and Amiruddin Abdullah (RM100).

The ladies and under-12 events were run separately. In the ladies' section, the three prize winners were Lim Jean Nie (who collected RM300), Haslindah Ruslan (RM200) and Effalini Farid (RM100), while the three winners of the under-12 section were Effazuwan Farid (RM300), Mulya Robil (RM200) and Ahmad Fafiz (RM100).

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