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Friday, July 31, 1998

New venue for Merdeka tourney

By Quah Seng Sun

THE plush setting of the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) in Kuala Lumpur shall, for the first time, be the venue of this year's 17th Merdeka team chess championship on Aug 28-30.

How the PWTC came to be chosen as the home for this year's competition is an interesting story. For many years and for many chess players around the country, whenever the Merdeka chess championship was brought up, Wisma Belia in Kuala Lumpur would be mentioned in the same breath. To them, Wisma Belia was synonymous with the event itself.

Then last year, the Terengganu Chess Association proposed to hold the Merdeka chess championship in Kuala Terengganu. It was an offer which the Malaysian Chess Federation (MCF) could not refuse, because the TCA had offered to match the Merdeka celebration committee's budget on a ringgit-for-ringgit basis.

Unfortunately, the proposal fell through and the MCF brought the Merdeka event back to Kuala Lumpur.

Luckily for MCF, the PWTC had been attempting to promote the place as a centre for chess excellence in the capital. For example, among the facilities is a perfectly usable giant chess set which is a guaranteed conversation piece for visitors to the PWTC chess centre.

Since the start of this year, the centre has been the venue for several small local events but in the past months, the two most prominent events to be held there were the Malaysia-Singapore match and the national age-group championship.

It did not take long for MCF to convince the PWTC authorities that the place would be suitable for the Merdeka chess championship. Moreover, a deal was made with the nearby Dynasty Hotel to provide accommodation for the players at a special promotional rate.

Last year's competition was expanded from a seven-round to a nine-round event but it reverts back to seven rounds this year. Consequently, the number of playing days has also been reduced from four to three. One aspect of the championship that is unchanged, however, is the playing categories which remain at three.

The main attraction is the state category where the fight is for the Deputy Prime Minister's trophy. The MCF can expect most of the state chess associations to send their strongest line-ups. For the youth category, the winner will be awarded the Merdeka youth challenge trophy.

The other main feature is the open category which has always attracted teams from far and near. Last year, Bali Jeff, a very strong team from Indonesia came to sweep the first prize.

Bali Jeff is not anticipated to defend their title this year but even without them, the keen competition from the local teams and maybe a few from Singapore will certainly raise the temperature in the playing hall by a few degrees.

Registration for the teams starts at 8.30am on Aug 28. The first round will commence at 3pm and the second round at 7.45pm. On the second day, the rounds begin at 9am, 1pm and 4.30pm, while on the last day of the competition, the final two rounds will start at 9am and 1.30pm. The closing ceremony will be held at 5pm.

Prizes for the state category are RM2,000, RM1,500 and RM1,000. The winner will also receive custody of the Deputy Prime Minister's challenge trophy. The five prizes in the youth section are RM1,000, RM750, RM500, RM300 and RM150. The Merdeka youth challenge trophy will also go to the winner.

There will be seven prizes for the open category. The winning team will receive RM2,000 and the runner-up RM1,500. The other prizes are RM1,000, RM800, RM600, RM400 and RM200. In addition, there are special prizes for the best government department, women's, school, and family teams.

Entry fees are RM150 for teams playing in the State and open categories, and RM80 for the youth category. The closing date for entries is Aug 23.

For more details, contact Ibrahim Bakar (tel: 03-559-5442) or Ibrahim Yaacob (tel: 03-636-3082) after 7pm.

Make a date at Endah Parade

THE Endah Parade Chess Challenge starts this weekend at the Endah Parade in Bandar Baru Sri Petaling, Kuala Lumpur. The Endah Parade blitz tournament will be played tomorrow afternoon and players can register for this event beginning at 1pm. The first round is scheduled to start at 2pm.

This blitz event is a 13-round Swiss, and the champion will receive a trophy and RM200. The runner-up will get RM100 while the third prize is RM50. Entry fee is RM10 per player.

On Sunday, there will be the Endah Parade Age Group Open. These under-16 and under-12 events will be played as a six-round Swiss. Participants are required to register at 9am. For both age groups, the champion will get a trophy and RM200, and the runner-up RM100. The prizes for third and the best girl player are RM50 each. Entry fee is RM10.

Selection event

THERE will be a selection tournament at the Methodist High School in Malacca on Aug 8 to select players for the Malacca state team which will be participating in the Merdeka team chess championship. This event, organised by FCLChess, will have an open section as well as an under-11 section.

Entry fee is RM10, and the closing date is Aug 5. Entries received after this date will be subjected to availability of places and the payment of a late fee of RM5. Players are required to be at the playing hall by 9am on the date of competition.

Meanwhile, FCLChess also disclosed that it will organise a series of local rating tournaments with the first scheduled for the Holiday Villa Subang in Selangor on Aug 16. Entry fee is RM15 and the closing date is Aug 10. There will be four sections -- under-8, under-10, under-12 and under-14.

For more information on the two events, contact Foong Chee Leng (tel: 013-360-2316).

Penang Chess League

AFTER a week's break, the eighth Penang Bayview Chess League resumes this Sunday beginning 10am at The City Bayview Hotel's revolving restaurant on the 15th floor. The competition, which began on June 7, will end on Aug 16.

The standings in the Premier Division after six rounds are: Penang Free School A 21 pts; Old Frees Association A 17 1/2 pts; Chung Ling High School A 16 pts; Chung Ling Old Boys Association 15 1/2 pts; Methodist Boys School A and Pessca 10 1/2 pts each; Universiti Sains Malaysia 8 pts; MSSPP Juniors and Old Frees Association B 7 1/2 pts each; and Chung Ling High School B 6 pts.

In Division One: Penang Free School B and Chung Ling High School C 20 pts each; St Xavier's Institution A 16 1/2 pts; Penang Development Corporation 16 pts; Chung Ling High School D 13 pts; Hewlett-Packard 12 1/2 pts; Penang Chess Association Novices and Chung Hwa Confucian A 6 1/2 pts each; Penang Free School C and Union High School 6 pts each.

Division Two: MSSPP Girls and Penang Free School D 17 1/2 pts each; Polis Di Raja Malaysia 16 1/2 pts; St Xavier's Institution B 15 pts; Chung Hwa Confucian B 14 pts; Chung Ling High School E 13 pts; Methodist Boys School B 10 1/2 pts; Dynacraft 9 1/2 pts; Penang Chinese Girls High School 5 pts; and Westlands Secondary School 2 1/2 pts.

The round-by-round results of the Bayview Chess League can be viewed from the Penang Chess Association homepage on the Internet at

VIP visitors to the PWTC Chess Centre trying out the giant chess set: Singapore High Commissioner K. Kesavapany (right), Malaysian Chess Federation honorary president Datuk Tan Chin Nam (centre), and Malaysian Chess Federation vice-president Datuk Mohd Rosli Abdul Aziz (left).

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