This article by Quah Seng-Sun was originally published in THE STAR, a Malaysian newspaper, on 06 Mar 1998
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When I was in Kuala Lumpur last September for the Merdeka team championship, one of the first questions I put to Malaysian Chess Federation secretary Hamid Majid was whether there was any truth that the MCF had been asked to organise the Asian cities team championship.

Yes, according to Hamid, who showed me the fax that he had received from the Dubai Chess & Culture Club. In the fax, Dubai had offered US$25,000 to the MCF for organising the event.

But Hamid implored me to keep this tournament out of the news until he had worked out a sponsorship programme. His intention was to organise a chess festival in which the Asian cities tournament would be one of the main attractions.

That was in September, half a year ago.

The passage of time has, however, upset all the planning. The depreciation of the ringgit and the subsequent economic downturn, has put paid to Hamid's idea of a chess festival.

Instead, we are left with the Asian cities event and one other tournament, the Asian women's chess championship, which shall be run concurrently beginning April 8 at the Awana Genting Highlands Golf & Country Resort.

Still, getting Resorts World Berhad to fully sponsor the board and lodging for some 200-odd players and officials is a big achievement for the MCF. Conservatively, the sponsorship deal could amount to something like RM125,000 to RM150,000; it is not cheap to organise an international chess event.

The Asian cities event is a team tournament where cities from all Asian and Oceanic countries that are affiliated to the World Chess Federation (Fide) are eligible to participate. The winning city team will be awarded the Dubai Cup.

In the previous championship two years ago in Dubai, Tashkent emerged as the winner with Samarkand and Askabad coming second and third respectively.

The MCF expects about 30 teams from the 40 member federations that make up Fide's Zones 3.1 to 3.4 to respond to this event.

The Genting venue will be the third occasion that the Asian cities championship is held in Malaysia. The first time was in 1984, in Penang, and the second in 1994 when Kuala Lumpur hosted it.

Simultaneously with the team event, the top Asian women will be playing in their own tournament for the Indira Gandhi challenge trophy. This is a Fide continental individual championship which is held biennially.

Two years ago, Indonesia's Tamin Upi Darmayana broke India's grip on the event by becoming the first non-Indian to take the title.


I am very involved in chess development and have watched the game grow from strength to strength. At a time when the nation is crying for children to stay away from drugs and the streets, someone has decided to take chess and two other games off the Malaysian Schools Sports Council's competition calendar.

Do you see chess players fighting or bashing up one another? People who have never seen chess competitions should step into a hall with over a hundred players and admire the disciplined atmosphere.

The spirit of competition and mental strength are what make men great. In the past few years, Malaysia has produced young chess players who are making the country proud. Instead of being taken off the MSSM calendar, I strongly believe more funds should be invested in this game than many others.

The reason given for striking out chess and two games is because of money. However, there are many other ways for cost-cutting, and the main one I know should be the abolishment of the state dinners for every game. For the future of our youths, I urge the parents, officials and fair-minded Malaysians to speak up and pray that good sense will prevail. - Eoh Hook Kim, Penang

I share your sentiments and I certainly hope the Malaysian Schools Sports Council will change its mind. I was told by Malaysian Chess Federation secretary Hamid Majid that he had tried unsuccessfully to meet the council secretary general. Instead, he managed to see Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Fong Chan Onn who expressed his surprise at the exclusion of chess. Hamid said Fong had pledged to look iinto this matter.


After seven rounds of the Linares super-grandmaster tournament, Alexei Shirov is now the sole leader despite the defeat which he suffered at the hands of Viswanathan Anand in the first round.

At the half-way point of the tournament, Shirov has four points while half-a-point behind him are Gary Kasparov, Anand and Vladimir Kramnik. Veselin Topalov and Peter Svidler have 2.5 points each, while Vassily Ivanchuk takes cellar position with 1.5 points.

Readers with Internet access can connect to the tournament web site at

Here are some interesting games from the event.

Viswanathan Anand - Peter Svidler, Round 2

1. e4 g6, 2. d4 Bg7, 3. Nc3 d6, 4. Be3 a6, 5. Nf3 b5, 6. Bd3 Nd7, 7. e5 Bb7, 8. e6 fxe6, 9. Ng5 Nf8, 10. O-O Nf6, 11. Re1 Qd7, 12. Bd2 h6, 13. Nf3 Rb8, 14. a4 b4, 15. Ne4 Nxe4, 16. Bxe4 Bxe4, 17. Rxe4 Qc6, 18. Re3 Qc4, 19. c3 b3, 20. Re1 g5, 21. Be3 Qd5, 22. Qd3 a5, 23. Ra3 Kf7, 24. Nd2 Ng6, 25. Qe2 Nh4, 26. f3 Ng6, 27. c4 Qf5, 28. Ne4 Kg8, 29. Qd1 Rb4, 30. Rxb3 Rxc4, 31. Rb5 Qf7, 32. Rxa5 Kh7, 33. Rb5 d5, 34. Nc5 Qf5, 35. b3 Rc3, 36. Qd2 Rc2, 37. g4 Nh4, 38. gxf5 Nxf3+, 39. Kh1 Nxd2, 40. Re2 Nc4, 41. Rxc2 Nxe3, 42. Re2 1-0

Vassily Ivanchuk - Alexei Shirov, Round 2

1. e4 e5, 2. Nf3 Nc6, 3. Bc4 Bc5, 4. c3 Nf6, 5. d3 d6, 6. Qe2 Bb6, 7. Bg5 h6, 8. Bh4 Qe7, 9. Nbd2 g5, 10. Bg3 Bg4, 11. Nf1 Nh5, 12. Bb5 Nf4, 13. Bxf4 gxf4, 14. N1d2 Rg8, 15. g3 fxg3, 16. fxg3 O-O-O, 17. a4 Nb8, 18. a5 Bc5, 19. Bc4 a6, 20. h3 Be6, 21. g4 Nd7, 22. Bxa6 bxa6, 23. d4 Nb8, 24. dxc5 dxc5, 25. O-O-O Qe8, 26. Nxe5 Qa4, 27. Rhf1 Rge8, 28. c4 Rd4, 29. Kb1 Red8, 30. Rf3 Rxe4 0-1

Veselin Topalov - Vladimir Kramnik, Round 2

1. d4 Nf6, 2. c4 e6, 3. Nf3 d5, 4. Nc3 Be7, 5. Bg5 h6, 6. Bh4 O-O, 7. e3 b6, 8. Be2 Bb7, 9. Bxf6 Bxf6, 10. cxd5 exd5, 11. b4 c6, 12. O-O a5, 13. b5 c5, 14. Re1 Re8, 15. Rc1 Nd7, 16. g3 Nf8, 17. Na4 c4, 18. Bf1 Qd6, 19. Bg2 Rad8, 20. h4 Ne6, 21. Nc3 g6, 22. Nd2 Ba8, 23. h5 g5, 24. Nf1 Be7, 25. g4 Qd7, 26. Ng3 Ng7, 27. a4 Bb4, 28. Bh3 Bb7, 29. Qc2 Bd6, 30. Nf5 Nxf5, 31. gxf5 Bb4, 32. Kg2 Qd6, 33. f3 Re7, 34. Re2 Rde8, 35. Rce1 Qf6, 36. Bg4 Bd6, 37. Qd1 Bb4, 38. Qc2 Rd8, 39. Rd1 Bc8, 40. e4 Bxc3, 41. e5 Rxe5, 42. dxe5 Bxe5, 43. Rde1 Bc7, 44. Re8+ Kg7, 45. Rxd8 Bxd8, 46. Rd1 Bb7, 47. f4 d4+, 48. Bf3 d3 0-1

Alexei Shirov - Veselin Topalov, Round 3

1. e4 c5, 2. Nf3 e6, 3. d4 cxd4, 4. Nxd4 a6, 5. Bd3 Qb6, 6. Nb3 Qc7, 7. Qe2 Nf6, 8. Nc3 d6, 9. f4 Be7, 10. e5 dxe5, 11. fxe5 Nfd7, 12. Bf4 Nc6, 13. O-O Ndxe5, 14. Rae1 Qb6+, 15. Kh1 Nxd3, 16. Qxd3 O-O, 17. Qg3 Kh8, 18. Bc7 Qa7, 19. Na4 f6, 20. Bb6 Qb8, 21. Bc7 Qa7, 22. Nb6 e5, 23. Nxa8 Qxa8, 24. Rd1 Re8, 25. Bd6 Bd8, 26. Nc5 b6, 27. Ne4 Nd4, 28. Bxe5 Nf5, 29. Qg4 Ne3, 30. Qh5 Rg8, 31. Qf3 Nxd1, 32. Nd6 Qa7, 33. Nxc8 Qd7, 34. Nd6 1-0

Peter Svidler - Vassily Ivanchuk, Round 3

1. e4 c5, 2. Nf3 d6, 3. d4 cxd4, 4. Nxd4 Nf6, 5. Nc3 a6, 6. Be2 e6, 7. O-O Be7, 8. a4 O-O, 9. f4 Qc7, 10. Kh1 Rd8, 11. Bf3 Nc6, 12. Be3 Ne5, 13. Be2 b6, 14. Qe1 Nc4, 15. Bc1 Bb7, 16. b3 Na5, 17. Bf3 Nd7, 18. Bb2 Bf6, 19. Rd1 Rac8, 20. f5 Bxd4, 21. Rxd4 Nc6, 22. Rd2 Nce5, 23. fxe6 fxe6, 24. Be2 Nc5, 25. Qg3 Rf8 26. Rfd1 Rcd8, 27. Qe3 Bc6, 28. Ba3 a5, 29. h3 h6, 30. Rd4 Rf6, 31. Bb2 Nb7. 32. R4d2 Rff8, 33. Kg1 Nc5 34. Rd4 Kh7, 35. Bh5 Rd7, 36. Nb5 Bxb5, 37. axb5 Qd8, 38. Qg3 Qe7, 39. Kh2 Kg8, 40. Bc1 Qf6 41. Be3 Kh8 42. R1d2 Kh7, 43. Bd1 Qe7, 44. Bh5 Qf6, 45. Bd1 Qe7, 46. c3 Rf6, 47. b4 Nb7, 48. Qxe5 dxe5 49. Rxd7 1-0

Gary Kasparov - Viswanathan Anand, Round 3

1. e4 c6, 2. d4 d5, 3. Nd2 dxe4, 4. Nxe4 Nd7, 5. Ng5 Ngf6, 6. Bd3 e6, 7. N1f3 Bd6, 8. Qe2 h6, 9. Ne4 Nxe4, 10. Qxe4 Qc7, 11. Qg4 Rg8, 12. Nd2 Nf6, 13. Qf3 e5, 14. dxe5 Bxe5, 15. Nc4 Be6, 16. Bd2 O-O-O, 17. O-O-O Nd7, 18. Rhe1 Rge8, 19. Kb1 g5, 20. h4 Bf4, 21. Bxf4 gxf4, 22. Bf5 Nf8, 23. Qh5 Kb8, 24. Bxe6 Nxe6, 25. a4 Qe7, 26. Qe5+ Qc7, 27. Qh5 Qe7, 28. b3 Qf6, 29. Ne5 Re7, 30. Ng4 Rxd1+, 31. Rxd1 Qg7, 32. f3 Re8, 33. Qf5 Ka8, 34. h5 Rf8, 35. Rd7 1-0 (on time)

Copyright: Star Publications (M) Berhad. Thank you. Author: SSQuah

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