Friday, June 16, 2000
A new winner
By Quah Seng Sun
THERE weren't many surprises at the national closed championship played at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur recently. None of last year's trio of joint winners managed to repeat their feats, meaning there is a new winner of the National Master title in the men's section.
Ng Tze Han played the steadiest chess during the five days of the championship and finished with eight points. A good start in the first half of the nine-round event, comprising four wins and a draw with Lim Chuin Hoong, enabled him to keep within striking distance of Fide master Wong Zi Jing who led the field for most of the way.
Ng drew with Wong in the sixth round and then put in a spurt of victories in his last three games to clinch the title. Ng was helped along the way when Wong fell to Lim in a very crucial game in the penultimate round and thereby allowed Ng to overtake him as tournament leader.
At this stage, Wong's title aspirations were as good as gone. Ng, realising that the National Master title was almost his, mopped up the event with a win over one of last year's joint winners, Teng Wei Khoon. It was little consolation for Wong who tied for the second place with 7.5 points.
Wong had by far the best start in the competition when he won his first five games. He installed himself as a firm favourite after beating last year's joint winner Jonathan Chuah in the fifth round. Wong drew with Ng in the sixth round and then beat Cheah Eu Gene in his next game. Then came the loss to Lim which dashed all his hopes.
Lim, the joint runners-up, was one of two players who went undefeated in this event. However, Lim drew one game too many. Apart from his draw with Ng, Lim also dropped valuable half points against Chuah and Chan. But possibly, his win against Wong counted as one of the biggest highlights of the championship.
One player whom I think we shall be hearing of more often in the future is 13-year-old Nicholas Chan. In the past year, he had been quietly improving in junior events in the Klang Valley but at the national closed this year, Chan surprised everyone with a creditable performance.
Although his results were still scrappy--two losses and a draw interspersed with five wins--Chan did well to score 6.5 points and finish among the top four. Among his wins was one against last year's joint winner, Jonathan Chuah.
The three players who scored six points in this event were Jonathan Chuah, Chan Meng Yang and Thaw Chee Yin. Further down the field were Teng Wei Khoon, Khor Shihong, Rizal Ahmad Kamal, Marcus Chan, Ling Kay Soon, Deon Moh and Ahmad Hafiz Shafruddin with 5.5 points each.
There were 47 players from the various state chess associations taking part in the championship. The top four players--Ng Tze Han, Wong Zi Jing, Lim Chuin Hoong and Nicholas Chan--will be eligible to participate in the Malaysian Master which the Malaysian Chess Federation will organise in Kuala Lumpur starting Sept 2.
This event will pool together six other players already listed on the Fide rating list. According to the MCF, this event will determine the national champion for the year. It will also be used to select three other players who will join Ng in the national team that will be playing in the Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey.
Together with the men's section of the national closed championship, the women's section was held concurrently at the PWTC but it was over only seven rounds.
Defending champion Siti Zulaika Foudzi showed that her success in last year's championship was not a fluke as she easily staved off challenges from other established players like Samantha Lee, Lim Jean Nie, Eliza Hanum Ibrahim, Eliza Hanim Ibrahim, Marina Soh and Nurul Huda Wahiduddin.
Technically, Zulaika and Lee finished as joint winners with 5.5 points each, but the former was declared the national women's champion based on a playoff. For the women's team that will be attending the Chess Olympiad this year, it is expected that Mumtaz and Lim will be selected by the MCF to join Zulaika and Lee.
10th Penang Dell League
The northern region's biggest local chess event, the annual Penang Dell Chess League, began last Sunday at the Dell Asia Pacific premises in the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone.
The tournament, now in its 10th year, is organised by the Penang Chess Association and sponsored by Dell Asia Pacific. The rounds are played on most Sundays and the event is scheduled to end on Aug 6.
Royal Selangor under-16 GP (June 18, July 8-9): The Chess Association of Selangor will continue with the second, third and fourth legs at the Sunway College on these dates respectively.
Each leg will be a six-round contest with a 30-minute time control. For details, call Mrs Jackie Wong ( 03-703 8237) or Lim Tse Pin ( 012-298 4922 / e-mail: email@example.com).
Kuala Terengganu Open (June 23-24): The Terengganu Youth and Sports Department will organise an open competition in conjunction with the state-level Sports Month celebrations. The venue of this event will be the Kompleks Belia Dan Sukan in Jalan Pasir Panjang, Kuala Terengganu.
The tournament is divided into the open, under-12 and novice sections, and entry fees are RM10 for the open section, RM5 for the novice section and RM3 for the under-12 section.
Total prize money is RM1,200 which will be distributed to the top winners of the three sections. The first round on June 23 will start at 9.30am, and the time control adopted will be 30 minutes per game.
For details, call Muhammad Arshad ( 018-895 8041 / e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
BPM national allegro (June 25): The next leg of this year's Bank Pertanian Malaysia-sponsored national allegro circuit will be played at Seremban Parade.
The prizes for the open section are: 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.
For details, call Charles Chan ( 012-683 5587 / e-mail: email@example.com).
JB Carnival Open (June 25): The Johor Baru municipal council will organise an open tournament at the Plaza Kotaraya in Jalan Ibrahim with assistance from the Johor Baru District Chess Association.
The event is divided into the open, under-18 and under-12 sections, and entry fees are RM13 for the open section, RM7 for the under-18 section and RM5 for the under-12 section.
The winner of the open section will receive RM200, a one-night stay in Pulau Tioman, a hamper and a certificate. The runners-up will get RM100, a hamper and a certificate, while the third-placed winner will receive RM70, a hamper and a certificate. The other winners within the top 10 will get certificates and cash prizes ranging from RM50 for fourth to RM15 for the eighth placed.
The top three prizes for the two junior sections will be cash, hampers and certificates, and the remaining winners in both sections will get cash and certificates.
Participants are required to register with the organisers before June 22. For details, call Narayanan Krishnan ( 07-333 8215 / e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Kellie's Castle Open (July 2): The Perak International Chess Association will organise an open tournament to be held at Kellie's Castle in Batu Gajah.
Kellie's Castle, the unfinished monument to William Kellie Smith who was a pioneer rubber planter in Perak at the turn of last century (the Kinta Kellas Rubber Estate was planted by him), had lain overgrown with weeds for the past 70 years until its recent restoration by Rekreasi Kellie's Castle Sdn Bhd. Now, Rekreasi Kellie's Castle has teamed up with the PICA to organise presumably the first of many chess events in Batu Gajah.
The July 2 competition will be a one-day event, played over six rounds and with a 25-minute time control per player for each game. Registration of players will be at 8am and the first round is scheduled for 9.10am.
The top three prizes will be trophies and RM500, RM300 and RM200. There are seven other cash prizes ranging from RM120 to RM50; the best women's, under-12 and veteran (above 50 years old) players will receive RM50 too.
For details, call W.K. Wong ( 05-366 1692) or Steven Ng ( 05-366 8198).
Quah Seng Sun's chess articles are archived at http://chesscolumn.20m.com. Readers can write to him at:
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