This article by Quah Seng-Sun was originally published in THE STAR, a Malaysian newspaper, on 03 Apr 1998
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The Asian cities team and Asian women's chess championships homepage on the Internet was launched officially earlier this week by Culture, Arts and Tourism Minister Datuk Sabbaruddin Chik, who is also the president of the Malaysian Chess Federation.

He said the time was ripe for the MCF to take advantage of the Internet to publicise its activities to the chess world. During the two events, readers with Internet access can receive regular updates from the homepage at

The championships are due to start next week at the Awana Genting Highlands Golf and Country Resort. Resorts World Berhad is the main sponsor for the two events, while the Dubai Chess and Culture Club donated US$25,000 towards the cost of running the championships.

Meanwhile, I shall be going to Genting Highlands with a happy heart next week, having received the blessings from my employer, Ban Hin Lee Bank Berhad, for me to assume duties as the chief arbiter of the Asian women's chess championship.

I know it will be a heavy responsibility and it may not be easy to keep the peace between 19 women who are jostling for the Indira Gandhi challenge trophy and eyeing the cash prizes at the same time.

The highest rated player is China's woman international master Xu Yuhua who weighs in with a rating point of 2335. Whether or not she will win the championship remains to be seen, but she will face tough competition from woman grandmaster Eva Repkova who is representing Lebanon. Repkova is rated at 2330.

The incumbent champion, Indonesian woman international master Tamin Upi Darmayana (rated at 2250), of course, cannot be overlooked in this contest of 11 rounds. Then there are also two former Asian women's champion, woman international masters Gokhale Anupama and Bagyashree Thipsay Sathe, who are both from India.

The other titled players who are capable of creating an upset in this event are woman international master Maria Lucia Sulista of Indonesia, and woman Fide masters Angela Khegai (Uzbekistan), Rena Mamedova (Uzbekistan) and Ngan Koshnitsky (Australia).

As for the remaining players, the untitled rated players are Nguyen Thi Thuan Hoa (Vietnam), Maria Sergeeva (Kazakhstan), Nguyen Thi Dung (Vietnam), Le Thi Phuong Lien (Vietnam), Irina Gorshkova (Uzbekistan), Roslina Marmono (Malaysia) and Nurul Huda Wahiduddin (Malaysia), while those unrated are Malaysia's Samantha Lee and Lim Jeannie, and Singapore's Cynthia Yap.


I received a number of enquiries last week after I reported on the Melody Amber tournament in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. All of those enquiries were curious about the blindfold games between the participants. Everyone wanted to know how they were played.

What I know about the blindfold chess is that the games were played on a computer system designed by Tasc BV of the Netherlands. Each player would sit in front of a screen displaying an empty chessboard and he would make his moves through his mouse or keyboard.

What a move is made, it would be announced on the screen of the player's opponent. The computer system, at the same time, checked on the legality of the moves and all the time used by the players would be registered automatically.

Although the players always saw an empty board, the arbiters and audience were able to follow the game on video screens which were not visible to the players.

The Melody Amber tournament was actually a combination of two events. The first was a Rapid Chess tournament which was tied by Alexei Shirov and Vassily Ivanchuk with eight points each. Anatoly Karpov was third with seven points and Vladimir Kramnik was fourth with 6 1/2 points.

Further down the table were Ljubomir Ljubojevic with six points, Vesselin Topalov and Viswanathan Anand with five points, Jeroen Piket, Matthew Sadler and Loek van Wely with 4 1/2 points each, Joel Lautier with four points and Predrag Nikolic with three points.

The other event was the blindfold chess itself. Kramnik demonstrated a marked superiority over the other players by winning the blindfold event with 8 1/2 points. Anand and Shirov were tied with seven points each, while further back were Ivanchuk and Topalov with 6 1/2 points each, Lautier with 5 1/2 points, van Wely with five points, Karpov, Ljubojevic and Piket with 4 1/2 points, Nikolic with 3 1/2 points and Sadler with three.

The eventual winner of the Melody Amber tournament was decided by a combination of the results of the Rapid and blindfold events. Shirov and Kramnik thus shared the top honours with 15 points each. Third was Ivanchuk with 14 1/2 points, while Anand had 12 points.

The remaining standings: Karpov and Topalov 11 1/2 points each, Ljubojevic 10 1/2 points, Lautier and van Wely 9 1/2 points, Piket nine points, Sadler 7 1/2 points and Nikolic 6 1/2 points.

Readers with Internet access can go to to view the details of this rather unique tournament.


Readers who are interested to take part in the International Islamic University Malaysia's team tournament on April 18 and 19 should note that there has been a change in the tournament venue to the Hotel Wenworth in Jalan Pudu, Kuala Lumpur. The university's chess club is organising the event together with the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

Cash prizes totalling more than RM4,000 will be offered to the winners. The champion team will also get custody of the Dato Sabaruddin Chik challenge trophy.

Entry fees are RM120 for universities and other inistutions of higher learning, RM100 for schools and RM150 for public teams.

For more details, contact Azlan of the IIU (tel: 03-681-4052 after 4pm).


The Perak International Chess Association will organise the third of their nine-leg chess grand prix this Sunday at the Pusat Rekreasi Catur in the Taman DR Seenivasagam in Ipoh.

Six rounds are scheduled for this tournament, and the time control is 25 minutes per player for each game. Only players who are born, residing, working or studying in Perak will be eligible to take part.

The overall grand prix standings will be based on the best five tournament performances of each player. The top 24 players at the end of the grand prix series will qualify for the Perak state championship in September this year. The interim grand prix standings will also be used for selecting Perak players to national events like the Merdeka team championship.

Those interested in playing in the third leg must register at the playing venue by 8.30am tomorrow. For more details, contact WK Wong (tel: 05-366-1692).


Players in the south of the peninsula can take part in a team tournament on April 26. This team event, jointly organised by the Johor branch of the Police Administrative and Civilian Staff Union and the Johor Bahru Chess Club, will be played on the third floor of the Bangunan JOTIC along Jalan Air Molek, Johor Bahru.

Each team can register a maximum of four players, but only three will play in each round. Entry fees are RM50 per team, and entries will close on Apr 24. For more details, contact Narayanan Krishnan (tel: 07-333-8215).

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

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