Friday, June 30, 2000



Forceful Filipinos

By Quah Seng Sun

YOU would be forgiven if you had thought that the Filipino chess players were here for a holiday. After all, grandmasters Eugene Torre and Rogelio Antonio, international master Rico Mascarinas and untitled player Ronaldo Nolte were on their way home to Manila after playing in the Vung Tau east Asian zonal tournament in Vietnam when they decided to break their journey in Kuala Lumpur.

When news first broke that these Filipino chess masters were interested in playing in the Royal Selangor Open at the Sungai Wang Plaza in Kuala Lumpur, many were rather excited about it. Would it not bring a certain glamour to one of Malaysia's biggest local events and pose a challenge to our players?

Unfortunately, it was not until play had begun that people started to realise that the Filipinos' presence was not exactly good for the tournament in general. In the first place, the chasm between these four seasoned international players and our local competitors proved far too wide.

Of the 24 games that the Filipinos played against our local players, they conceded only two draws. Nolte drew a game with Christy Chia while Mascarinas dropped half a point to Mak Weng Yee.

If the results looked rather disappointing, the second realisation was that the Filipinos' game plan was to draw all the games played among themselves. Every game among the foursome was drawn while they were ruthless against the local players. If not for the two small hiccups against Chia and Mak, I would dare say that Torre and company would have become joint-winners of this year's Royal Selangor Open.

In hindsight, I suppose the Filipino players did take the challenge to our local players. In the 24 games, they were effectively challenging the locals to show them what they were capable of. Would our established players be able to pierce the foreigners' defences? Could our up-and-coming junior players outwit these old foxes?

Regrettably, the answer is no. Mohd Saprin Sabri failed to make any headway in the two chances that he got against Nolte and Torre, Ismail Ahmad fired blanks against Antonio and Torre, and Mok Tze Meng came up against a brick wall in Torre and Nolte. Many others had a chance to play at least a game against these four experienced Filipino players but none made an impression.

The top scorers in the Royal Selangor Open were Torre and Antonio with 7.5 points, Nolte and Mascarinas with seven, and Mak Weng Yee and Mohd Saprin with 6.5. Bunched together on six points were Christy Chia, Ismail Ahmad, Joseph Toh, Mok Tze Meng, Nicholas Chin and Gerald Soh. A further half-a-point behind were Agus Salim, Lim Yee Weng, Abdullah Che Hassan, Lim Ven Gee and Muhamad Aizuddin.

Sixty players took part in this tournament organised by the Chess Association of Selangor (CAS) and sponsored by Royal Selangor.

Together with this event, CAS also held the Selangor ladies' open at the same venue. However, there were only 12 participants.

Winning this event was Lee Su Ann who scored 6.5 points from seven games. Lim Han Ying was unfortunate to have lost her final game otherwise she would have tied with Lee at the top. Because of the loss, Lim's final score was 5.5 points.

Third was Nurshazwani Zulkafli with five points, while Norhidayah Azman and Wan Khye Theng both got four points.

Quah Seng Sun's e-mail address is

10th Penang Dell league

WITH only three rounds completed in this year's Penang Dell chess league, the race for the premier division title looks wide open. Although Penang Free School is favoured to win the title again, it's facing stiff challenges from Chung Ling High School (CLHS), Old Frees Association (OFA) and Chung Ling Old Boys Association (CLOB).

Already, CLOB has taken a slim one-point lead over its closest rival OFA, with both CLHS A and Penang Free School A trailing not far behind. Dell Asia Pacific A which gained promotion to the premier division this year is showing good promise and is firmly entrenched in the middle of the tournament standings.

Among the Division One teams, the challenge for the title looks likely to be between the CLHS C and Penang Development Corporation (PDC) A. However, teams like Hitachi Semiconductor and Universiti Sains Malaysia are quite capable of overhauling the two leaders.

In Division Two, PDC B is presently ahead in the standings, but MSSPP Juniors and Dell Asia Pacific B are very close behind. PFS D, MSSPP Girls and the Penang Chess Association Ladies are performing well too and may provide the surprises in this division.

The Penang Dell chess league is the biggest local chess event in the northern region. The tournament, now in its 10th year, is organised by the Penang Chess Association and sponsored by Dell Asia Pacific. Nine rounds have been scheduled for this year's event and the games are played on most Sundays until Aug 6 at the Dell Asia Pacific premises in the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone.


Kellie's Castle Open (July 2): The Perak International Chess Association (PICA) will organise a one-day open tournament at Kellie's Castle in Batu Gajah, Perak. For details, call W.K. Wong ( 05-366 1692) or Steven Ng ( 05-366 8198).

Royal Selangor under-16 GP (July 8-9): The Chess Association of Selangor will hold the fourth leg of its fifth Royal Selangor under-16 grand prix circuit at the Sunway College. For details, call Mrs Jackie Wong ( 03-703 8237) or Lim Tse Pin ( 012-298 4922, e-mail:

Systematic College Open (July 9): The Systematic College in Johor Baru, with assistance from the Johor Baru District Chess Association, will stage an open tournament at the college premises in Wisma Cheong Yee Kee, Jalan Meldrum. For details, call Narayanan Krishnan ( 07-333 8215, e-mail:


Quah Seng Sun's chess articles are archived at Readers can write to him at:

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