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Friday, November 20, 1998


Get ready for the biggie

By Quah Seng Sun

IT IS that time of the year again for the most important annual event in the Malaysian chess calendar: the national closed championships for men and women.

The Malaysian Chess Federation has announced that this year's championships will be held from Dec 8 to 13 at the Parkroyal Kuala Lumpur.

This will be a nine-round Fide-rateable event with the winner of the men's section awarded the Datuk Hussein Onn challenge trophy and the winner of the women's section receiving the Datuk Sabbaruddin Chik trophy.

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

As before, each of the MCF-affiliated chess associations can send a maximum of four official representatives for the men's section and two players for the women's section.

Anyone interested in this competition and who would like to be selected should contact their respective chess associations immediately since the MCF has fixed Nov 30 as the closing date for entries.

Some of the contacts are Mrs Jackie Wong of the Chess Association of Selangor (03-703 8237, evenings); Ooi Kiem Boo of the Penang Chess Association (04-657 4596, office hours); Dr Yee of the Perak International Chess Association (05-546 4530, evenings); Stephen Cheong of the Johor Chess Association (07-333 9636, evenings), and Muhammad Arshad of the Terengganu Chess Association (018-849 0497).

The national champions of the past 14 years and local players who are on the FIDE rating list are given direct entry into the competition. However, their participation must still be confirmed through their respective chess associations.

Among them are last year's national champion Lim Yee Weng, Mas Hafizulhelmi Rahman who was champion 1995 and 1994, Yeoh Chin Seng (1993), Mok Tze Meng (1992), Kamal Ariffin Wahiduddin (1991), Ng Ek Leong (1990), Mohd Kamal Abdullah (1989/88), Christi Hon and Lee Soi Hock (1987), Peter Long and Francis Chin (1986-85), and Jimmy Liew (1984).

The eligible former women champions include Eliza Hanim Ibrahim (1997), Eliza Hanum Ibrahim (1996 and 1993), Khairunnisa Wahiduddin (1995), Roslina Marmono (1994), Nurul Huda Wahiduddin (1991 and 1992) and Audrey Wong (1990).

Also in the MCF list are Ooi Chern Ee, Mohd Saprin Sabri, Fadli Zakaria, Mohd Irman Ibrahim, Ng Ee Vern, Lim Chuin Hoong, Mohd Hussein Jamil, Mohd Fairin Zakaria, Goh Yoon Wah, Tan Hong Ghee, Julian Navaratnam, Azahari Mohd Nor, Wong Zi Jing, Lim Chin Lee, Lim Kian Hwa, Tan Wei Sin, Lim Tze Pin, Pang Siew Chong, Ismail Ahmad, Soh Zee Wee, Mohan Raj, Eric Cheah, Ng Ek Teong and Sabar Mohd Hashim, who are all Fide-rated players.

The MCF is also expected to hold its annual general meeting at the Kuala Lumpur Parkroyal at 4pm on Dec 8.

For more information, contact Hamid Majid (03-421-9576 / fax: 03-424 4337 / e-mail:

Fancy some e-mail chess?

I CAME across a very quaint word last week, courtesy of the International Correspondence Chess Federation (ICCF) which sent me a message about their first e-mail chess world championship which will start on April 1 next year and expected to last until the year 2005.

According to Nol van't Riet, the ICCF deputy president for development, the decision to introduce this championship was made at the ICCF Congress in Riga, Latvia, recently. He said the championship would be played in three stages: semi-finals, final and -- here is the quaint word -- three-quarter finals which is, to quote him, "the stage between the semi-finals and the final."

Why in the world would the ICCF call it the three-quarter finals is beyond me. I would have expected them to call their three stages simply as the quarter-final, semi-final and final. Anyway, it is a term the ICCF has introduced and no doubt, it shall be a term which will stick with them a long time. To be consistent with the ICCF, I shall use it here too, yes?

The semifinals will be played in about 15 groups of 11 players each. The first two players of each group shall qualify for the three-quarter finals which will most likely be played in three or four groups of 13 players each. The top three players in each three-quarter final group will then qualify for the final which will also be played with 13 players.

The first stage of the championship will begin on April 1 and the date for entries is Feb 28. The three-quarter finals and the final will start when there are enough qualifiers wishing to play at the next level. As an e-mail chess tournament averages two years to complete, it is expected that the first e-mail world chess champion can be crowned in 2005.

The ICCF is now inviting entries from qualified chess players for the semi-finals. In countries where there is no national correspondence chess federation, such as Malaysia, players can contact the ICCF by e-mailing Eckhard Luers (ELueers<@> who is the ICCF deputy president for tournaments. Entries should reach him not later than Feb 28. To find out whether you qualify as a semi-finalist or even about the regulations for playing in e-mail tournaments, visit the ICCF website at

The ICCF will start the semi-finals of the e-mail world chess championships every two years. Based upon an agreement between ICCF and the World Chess Federation (for over the board chess), the ICCF world championship titles are also recognised by FIDE.

Since 1946 the ICCF has organised 22 world championships, all of which have been played by post. So far, the winners of these championships have been Cecil Purdy (Australia), Vjatzeslav Ragozin (USSR), Alberic O'Kelly de Galway (Belgium), Vladimir Zagorowskij (USSR), Hans Berliner (USA), Horst Rittner (GDR), Jacob Estrin (USSR), Jorn Sloth (Danmark), Timo Oim (USSR), Victor Palciauskas (USA), Fritz Baumbach (Germany), Grigorij Sanakoev (Russia) and Michael Umanskij (Russia).

Lately, several FIDE grandmasters have begun playing in strong ICCF title tournaments. Recently, Ulf Andersson (Sweden) won the Norwegian NPSF 50 Years tournament ahead of leading ICCF grandmasters like Gert Timmerman and Joop van Oosterom (both from the Netherlands). Andersson is now playing for Sweden on Board One of the final of the 12th ICCF Olympiad.

The Danish Peter Korning Memorial tournament features FIDE grandmasters Curt Hansen (Denmark) and Johnny Hector (Sweden). On the top two boards of the first ICCF open e-mail team tournament, the Hungarian grandmasters Peter Leko and Zoltan Gyimesi are participating.

As e-mail chess is played through the Internet, the ICCF expects that many more strong FIDE grandmasters will be playing in the first e-mail world chess championship.

Up Next

Attractive cash prizes are in store for winners of the three-day Temerloh open tournament in Pahang which will be played at the Dewan Umno Bahagian Temerloh from Nov 27 to 29. This event is organised by the Youth and Sports Bureau of the Temerloh Umno Youth with assistance from the Malaysian Chess Federation.

There are 10 main cash prizes. The winner gets RM1,500 and custody of the President's Trophy. Second prize is RM1,000, third prize RM700 and fourth, RM500. The six remaining prizes range from RM300 to RM100. In addition, separate cash prizes will be given to the five best members of the Temerloh Umno, the three best women players, and the top three under-18 and under-12 players.

Entry fees are RM30 per player, except that if you are under 18 or a member of the Temerloh Umno, you only need to pay RM15. Entries close on Nov 27 at 2.30pm and the first round will start at 3.45pm. There are two rounds on the first day of competition, three rounds on the second day and the two remaining rounds on the third day.

For more details, call Rosli Mohd Nor (09-297 2251, 296 1231), Zamri Mohamed (012-987 0660) or Manjawatie (09-296 1014).

Local rating

FCLChess will organise their second rating tournament at the Holiday Villa Subang in Subang Jaya, Selangor, on Nov 29 beginning at 9am. The tournament will have four categories: under-8, under-10, under-12 and under-15. A separate event for parents will be organised if there are more than six players.

Entry fee for the junior categories is RM20 per player while the parents are required to pay RM30 each to play. The entries will close on Nov 28 and anyone registering after this date will be charged an extra RM5 as late fee. For more information, contact Foong Chee Leng (013-332 3380).

Chess corners

Readers in Penang are reminded that the Penang Chess Association holds two playing sessions for chess players every Sunday. The first session is from 10am to 12.30am at the lounge of the Berjaya Georgetown Hotel in Pulau Tikus and the second session is from 3pm to 5.30pm at the clubhouse of the Residents Association of Bayan Baru.

For more information, contact Goh Yoon Wah (04-644 5687) in the evenings.

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

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