By Quah Seng Sun
IT IS not often that the organisers of the chess league in Penang are confronted with disputes. Indeed, the last time it happened about five years ago involved, sad to say, the team I was playing for.
However, by and large, local chess players are a reasonable lot and disagreements rarely occur.
Therefore, it was with a raised eyebrow that I learnt of a dispute in the fifth round of the 10th Penang Dell Chess League, played about a fortnight ago.
I shall not give any opinion on this case as it may prejudice the decision of the tournament's appeals committee which has yet to meet, but I will just limit myself to describing what transpired.
The Penang Chess Association had scheduled two rounds to be played at Dell Asia Pacific's premises in Bayan Lepas on July 2. Come 2pm, when the afternoon round was to begin, the Chung Ling Old Boys Association (CLOBA) team was nowhere to be seen. In the meantime, their opponents, the Penang Chess Association Novices, were eager to begin.
Unfortunately, the PCA Novices had mixed up their team's line-up and placed their fourth player to play on the second board. Non-chess players may question whether this constitutes anything serious for a team which submits a wrong line-up of their players, but it is an established convention in team events that the players in a chess team must play according to the registered line-up.
The reason is that in team competition, each side must place their four players in descending order of their strengths, as registered, so that the strongest of two opposing teams meet on the first board, the next strongest on the second board, and so on down the list.
About 20 to 25 minutes into the round, the CLOBA team entered the tournament hall, submitted their team line-up, then started playing.
The facts are a little hazy as to who first noticed the error in the PCA Novices team line-up but after a while, the CLOBA captain asked for action to be taken against one of the Novices due to the wrong line-up. The Novices' third board player was subsequently disqualified.
Much later in the round, the CLOBA captain again asked the arbiter whether the Novice's second board player should be disqualified as well, explaining that the inversion of their players on the second and third boards meant that both were playing in the wrong board order.
The perplexed arbiter, never having had to deal with so many disputes before in a single round, requested that the game be continued but if the CLOBA team was unhappy about his decision, they could play under protest and let the appeals committee decide on the matter.
By this time, it would be an understatement to say that the Novices team was simply unhappy about the developments. The players were in fact livid. With one player already disqualified, they faced the prospect of a second player being disqualified as well. Here was where their ingenuity came in.
The Novices' captain took stock of the situation and realised that he too could file a counter protest against the CLOBA team's line-up. According to tournament regulations, a team's captain is required to submit his players' line-up before the start of a round (2pm in this case) and failure to do so would mean that the first four players must be fielded automatically.
Well, the CLOBA team, having arrived 20 to 25 minutes late for the round, had forgotten about this rule and put in their third, fourth, fifth and eighth players instead. The Novices captain, believing he had legitimate grounds to complain, asked for the disqualification of the entire CLOBA team and the award of the full four points to the PCA Novices.
By the way, after the Novices team had been disqualified on the third board, the CLOBA team subsequently won the match with a 3-1 score. The CLOBA player lost on the disputed second board.
The appeals committee will be meeting this Sunday morning to resolve the issue but in the meantime, what would you (if you were the arbiter) have done do in this situation? You can e-mail your opinion to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, here are the standings after the fifth round:
Premier Division: Penang Free School A (14.5 points), CLOBA (13.5), Chung Ling High Scool A (13), Old Frees Association (10.5), Dell A (7.5), PFS B (6.5), CLHS B (6), Pessca (6), PCA Novices A (2.5).
Division One: Penang Development Corporation A (12.5), CLHS D (11.5), USM (11), CLHS C (9), Hitachi Semiconductor (8.5), St Xavier's Institution (8.5), PCA Novices B (8), SMK Hamid Khan A (6.5), PFS C (4.5).
Division Two: PDC B (13.5), MSSPP Juniors (12.5), PCA Ladies (11), Dell B (10), PFS D (9.5), MSSPP Girls (9.5), SMK Hamid Khan B (6.5), PFS E (4), CLHS E (3.5).
Players here can look forward to the Bandar Raya Chessmaster 2000 open tournament on July 30 which features the biggest prize monies so far for a local chess event in Johor this year.
The event, jointly run by the Johor Baru city council and the Johor Baru District Chess Association in conjunction with the Johor Baru City Carnival, will be played at the Plaza Angsana in Tampoi. Entry fees are RM30 for the open section, RM7 for the under-16 section and RM5 for the under-12 section.
The winner of the open section will receive RM1,000 and a challenge trophy. The other prizes are RM800 for second, RM600 third, RM400 fourth, RM350 fifth, RM300 sixth, RM250 seventh, RM200 eighth, RM150 ninth and RM100 for 10th place. All winners will also get certificates.
There are also 10 prizes each for the two junior sections. The under-16 winner will receive RM150 and the winner of the under-12 event, RM80.
Participants are required to register with the organisers before July 23. For more information, contact Narayanan Krishnan ( 07-333 8215 / email: email@example.com).
The final two legs of this year's Bank Pertanian Malaysia-sponsored national allegro chess circuit will be played in Kedah and Perlis next weekend.
The Alor Star leg on July 22 will be held at the Komplex Jabatan Belia dan Sukan Negeri Kedah, while the Kangar leg will be played on July 23 at the Komplex Jabatan Belia dan Sukan Negeri Perlis.
Entry fees are RM10 for residents of Kedah or Perlis (depending on the event), Bank Pertanian employees, players above 50 years old, and girls below 12 years old, and RM15 for all other participants.
The prizes for the open section will be RM300 for the winner, RM200 for the second-placed, RM150 for third, RM100 for fourth and fifth, and RM60 for sixth to 10th. The best Bank Pertanian player will also win RM60, while the best players in the other categories will get RM50.
To register for the Kedah leg: ( 04-733 6334, 03-4021 9576 / fax: 04-976 7406, 03-4024 4337). For the Perlis leg ( 04-976 7406, 03-4021 9576 / fax: 04-977 1808, 03-4024 4337).
Malay Open 2000
The Persatuan Catur Melayu Malaysia will organise this year's Malay open championship at the Bank Pertanian Malaysia head office in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow and Sunday. This is a seven-round event with a one-hour time control.
The first prize is RM1,000, second prize RM700, third prize RM500 and fourth RM300. The fifth to 10th prizes range from RM200 to RM50. In addition, there are attractive prizes for the best under-16, under-12, women and veteran players.
To register, contact Ibrahim Yaacob ( 03-636 3082, 012-380 3202 after 8pm) or Haslindah Ruslan ( 03-7885 5257).
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