Friday, July 30, 1999
World chess championship kicks off
By Quah Seng Sun
THE famed Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas is the venue for the World Chess Federation's latest world chess championship which begins tomorrow. Already, most of the 100 players in this month-long event are assembled in Las Vegas to await the start of the first round.
Like the previous championship that was played in Groningen at the end of 1997, this present one is organised as a knock-out event. In the first round are 72 players who will be engaged in a two-game match against their opponents.
Asia is represented by 10 players: IM Imad Hakki (Syria), IM Amir Bagheri (Iran), GM Dibyendu Barua (India), Rogelio Antonio Jr (Philippines), Utut Adianto (Indonesia), FM Vladimir Feldman (Australia), IM Liang Chong (China), GM Peng Xiaomin (China), GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov (Uzbekistan) and GM Pavel Kotsur (Kazakhstan).
The surviving 36 players will join 28 other participants who have been seeded directly into the second round by virtue of their high Fide ratings.
In a departure from tradition, the defending world champion is required to enter the championship from the second round. Obviously, this decision has not gone down well with Anatoly Karpov and it is not known whether he has decided to play or not. Earlier, there were threats from Karpov to take legal action against Fide if the world championship in Las Vegas were to proceed.
If Karpov does not play, it will mean that he will join India's Viswanathan Anand and former world champion Gary Kasparov as notable absentees. Viswanathan and Kasparov are trying to put together a separate match of their own which they want to call a world championship match. Although such a contest between the two strongest players in the world will generate a lot of interest, playing it outside the ambit of the World Chess Federation makes it rather pointless.
It is interesting that the American player, Gata Kamsky, has also been slotted into the second round. Kamsky has not played for several years as he had opted to pursue his medical studies. There had been talk of him returning to chess, at least for this event, but until he turns up in Las Vegas, not even the organisers are certain of Kamsky's participation.
The field will be reduced to 32 players for the third round, and will again be halved for each succeeding round until the sixth round is reached by Aug 15. Here, there will be only four players left and they will play a four-game knock-out match to determine the final two players.
The final match will be played over six games beginning on Aug 21, and the new world chess champion will be declared on Aug 29.
Readers can follow the progress of the world chess championship from the official website at http://www.worldfide.com/
Chung Ling boys still leading
Despite losing to Penang Free School "A" in the seventh round of the ninth Bayview Chess League on Sunday, Chung Ling High School "A" still maintained an almost unassailable lead in the Premier Division. With only two more rounds to be played, the Chung Ling boys are leading the standings with 20.5 points while PFS "A" is in a distant second with 16 points.
The Chung Ling Old Boys Association (CLOBA) has climbed back into contention for a top prize with a 3-1 win over the International College, pushing the Old Frees' Association (OFA) into fourth position.
CLOBA now has 15.5 points, followed by OFA with 14 points. Further behind are Pessca with 11 points, Chung Ling High School "B" with 10.5 points, PFS "B" and International College with nine points each, and St Xavier's Institution with 6.5 points.
In Division One, PFS "C" has a big lead and is likely to win the tournament. The team now has 23 points, which is four points more than Chung Ling High School "C".
Dell "A" is close behind with 18 points, while the Penang Chess Association Novices has 16.5 points and Chung Ling High School "D" has 16.
In Division Two, Chung Ling High School "E" continues to lead with 19 points. Chung Hwa Confucian School has played strongly in the last few rounds and is now in second place with 17.5 points.
The Penang Chinese Girls High School has been playing well of late to be in third place with 15 points, while the Penang Chess Association Ladies team has 14 points.
The eighth round will be played this Sunday morning at 10am in the Sri Perak Room of The City Bayview Hotel's newly opened wing, while the ninth round at 12pm on Aug 8 will conclude this year's Bayview Chess League.
Fight for DPM's trophy
The Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur will again be the venue of this year's 18th Merdeka team chess championship from Aug 29 to Aug 31.
The main attraction of the three-day event is the state category where the fight is for the Deputy Prime Minister's trophy. The Malaysian Chess Federation (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 of the tournament is the open category which has always attracted teams from far and near. Competition in this category is expected to be very keen. Registration for the teams starts at 8.30am on Aug 29. Prizes for the state category are RM2,000, RM1,500 and RM1,000. The winner will also receive 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.
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.
Readers with Internet access can download the entry form from my website at http://www5.mol.com.my/qss/Library
The Perak International Chess Association will organise two tournaments at the Sekolah Tuanku Abdul Rahman library in Ipoh next weekend.
On Aug 7 and 8, a two-day Category A tournament with a time control of 60 minutes per player for each game will be organised. This is a six-round event and it will be open to all players who have a Fide, MCF, Perak or Penang rating of 1,700 or more.
A one-day Category B event will be held on Aug 8. This six-round tournament, which will use a 25-minute time control for each game, is open to players without a Perak rating or who is rated below 1,700.
For details, call W.K. Wong at 05-366 1692.
Malaysia vs Singapore
THIS year's annual match between Malaysia and Singapore will be played this weekend at the Parkway Parade shopping centre in Singapore. The two-round match will be contested over 40 boards. While the games between the six men and four women players in each side will be of higher profile, the final outcome is expected to hinge on the performances of the veterans and the boys and girls in the under-20, under-18, under-16, under-14, under-12 and under-10 age-group sections.
In last year's match, the Malaysians won 20-14 in the first round and 24.5-9.5 in the second round. The match was played over 34 boards.
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