Friday, September 24, 1999
A friendly rivalry
By Quah Seng Sun
ACROSS THE CAUSEWAY ... the Singaporeans (left)
THE annual match between the chess players of Malaysia and Singapore is always an eagerly awaited occasion; this year, it was the Malaysians' turn to troop across the border to our southern neighbour.
The match was hosted by the Singapore Chess Federation last month at the Parkway Parade shopping centre. The two-day match was played over 40 boards with the players separated into veterans, seniors and juniors.
The first day of the match was dominated by the Malaysians who scored a resounding 26.5-13.5 win over the Singaporeans. However, the Singaporeans came back much stronger on the second day and they managed to reduce the Malaysian winning margin to a slim 22-18 score. Overall, the score was 48.5-31.5 in Malaysia's favour.
The Singapore team was strongest in the veterans and men's senior sections where they had a lot of experienced players. Our veteran players were completely overshadowed during the two days and they suffered greatly. In both rounds, they lost by identical 0-2 scores.
Malaysia's men's senior players were also generally outclassed by their Singapore counterparts. Other than Tan Wei Sin who beat Tan Chor Chuan and drew with Teo Kok Seong, Ooi Chern Ee who picked up two draws with Koh Kum Hong and Chan Peng Kong, Ismail Ahmad who won against Jopie Massie and Julian Navaratnam who drew with Tan Chor Chuan, the other men's senior players lost their games. On the first day, the Singaporeans won by 3.5-2.5 but the second day saw the Malaysians losing further ground with a 1.5-4.5 result.
At least the contest between the women's senior players was closer. On the first day, both sides were tied at 2-2, but on the second day, the Malaysians won by 3-1.
The boy's section saw the Malaysians beating their Singaporean counterparts by 12-6 on the first day and 10-8 on the second day. But it was in the girl's section that the Malaysians really shone. A 9-1 win on the first day was followed by an 8.5-1.5 score on the next day.
The next friendly match between the two countries will be hosted in Kuala Lumpur by the Malaysian Chess Federation next year. Tentatively, the match will be played on the first weekend of Feb 2000.
An Asian chess challenge
This year's Grand Asian Chess Challenge will be the fourth such event organised by Universiti Malaya's Second Residential College in as many years.
What started out as a team competition among the institutions of higher learning in the country in 1996 has evolved into an ambitious project aimed at attracting universities in Asia to take part.
Last year's competition was limited only to the universities in the Asean region. However, the response was not very encouraging because of the lingering effects of the Asian economic slowdown.
This year, the organisers are extending invitations directly to the foreign universities instead of channelling them through the national chess federations, and they are hopeful that many universities will reply.
According to the organisers, confirmation of participation has already been received from several foreign universities in Sri Lanka, Philippines, Iran, Indonesia, Brunei, Vietnam and India.
The competition will be played from Oct 23 to 30. The first eight rounds will be held at UM's Engineering Faculty. For the final round and the closing ceremony, the venue is the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) in Kuala Lumpur.
The tournament will be conducted as an individual Swiss event and the accumulated results of the best four players from the same university, inclusive of a women's player, will be used to compute the team results.
Each university is allowed to register up to six players for its team. The entry fee is US$260 (RM1,000) for a team of six, US$220 (RM846) for a five-player team and US$180 (RM692) if the team has four players. The entry fee for individual players will be US$50 (RM192) each.
Trophies and medals will be given away to the top three teams. In addition, the winning team will receive a cash prize of RM1,000 while the second-placed team will get RM500 and the third-placed team RM250.
The individual prizes will consist of RM1,000 as the first prize, RM500 as the second, and RM250 as the third prize. The best women's player will receive RM100. Also, all these winners will each receive a trophy.
The main sponsor for the tournament is the PWTC. Malaysia Airlines, as the official airline, will provide discounts to participating teams from various points in Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Royal Selangor is sponsoring the trophies, Nestle is sponsoring the refreshments for the event, and Kodak is the official image sponsor. The official website is hosted by MyWeb at (http://wowsites.com/gacc).
National Allegro, Perak leg
THE year-long national allegro chess circuit, a project of the Malaysian Chess Federation, continues this Sunday with the Perak leg which will be played at the Dewan Sekolah Tuanku Abdul Rahman in Ipoh at 9am. The registration of players begins at 7.30am.
Eleven of the legs have already been organised in various cities and towns around the country. There will be one more leg in Malacca before the Grand Final next month.
Each leg consists of six rounds and has a total cash prize of RM1,500. The bulk of this prize money will go to the main winners, while RM500 is set aside for the minor winners. The winner of each leg will qualify for the Grand Final in Kuala Lumpur.
Entry fees are RM10 for members of the Perak International Chess Association, Bank Pertanian employees, girls under 12 and veteran players, and RM15 for all other participants. As entries will close tomorrow, anyone interested in taking part should contact either Wong Weng Kong ( 05-366 1692) or Hamisah Ramli ( 05-313 3809) as soon as possible.
Penang Grand Prix
The third leg of the Penang Chess Association's Grand Prix chess circuit will be played at the clubhouse of the Bayan Baru Residents' Association on Oct 3 starting at 8am.
The main prizes range from RM200 for the winner to RM30 for the eighth place. In addition, consolation prizes will be given to the best under-15 boy and girl.
The closing date for entries is Oct 1. Entry fee is RM10 per player. For details, contact Goh Yoon Wah ( 04-644 5687 evenings only) or Ooi Kiem Boo ( 04-657 4596 office hours only).
Death of an icon
Garry Koshnitsky, one of Australia's oldest chess icons who had been reported to be ill for the past few months, died last weekend. He passed away in his Malvern, South Australian, home on Sept 17 at the age of 91, leaving behind his wife, Evelyn, who herself is an active administrator of women's chess in Australia.
Koshnitsky was many times the Australian champion and a vice-president of the World Chess Federation's Zone 10 from 1960 to 1966. His later chess career was entirely administrative and organisational. He was the secretary of the Australian Chess Federation and represented the federation as a delegate at International Chess Federation meetings.
I first got to know Koshnitsky and his wife in the mid-70s when they led a team of girl chess players from Australia on a tour of Malaysia. Although we remained in contact occasionally over the years, the last time I met them was in Manila seven years ago.
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