Friday, May 19, 2000



Radical policy change

By Quah Seng Sun

LAST December's national closed championship in Kuala Lumpur brought an unprecedented result when three players tied for the top three places.

According to the rules of the championship, the Malaysian Chess Federation quickly held a play-off blitz competition among the three players to decide the eventual award of the national champion and national master titles. I felt it was rather farcical that the national champion would be picked based on blitz games between the players.

Even if the World Chess Federation (MCF) had allowed in its rules that the outcome of the world championship series in its present format could be decided by the results of blitz games, it does not mean that this system is ideal.

Besides, before the players can even reach this stage, they would have played their play-off games using longer time controls first, like quicktime play over an hour, before progressing to shorter time controls.

Of course, we cannot afford such a luxury here simply because there is not enough time to conduct the play-off games in this protracted manner. So this begs another question: why have a play-off at all when a suitable tie-break system can be announced before the start of the competition?

Of course, any tie-break system that is adopted will not be the perfect solution but in the circumstances where the organisers are short of time for a proper play-off, it may be the most practical.

Anyway, the MCF has spent the past five months mulling over this problem and they believe that a fairer and more competitive solution of declaring the national champion is now available.

The most radical change is that this year's national closed chess championship has been brought forward to the middle of the year. For five days beginning May 27, chess players--both men and women--will again descend on the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) in Kuala Lumpur.

There will still be a quick play-off if there is more than one player tying for the first spot in either the men's or women's events, and the eventual winners will be awarded the national master and national woman master titles respectively.

However, the winner of the men's event will not be known as the national champion (the women's winner will be, though). Instead he, together with the next three players from the national closed championship, will be invited to play in a Malaysian Masters tournament at the end of the year.

This Malaysian Masters event will also include the top six internationally-rated players in the country. The 10-men event will be Fide-rated, and the ultimate winner will be the national champion for the year. This is a grand scheme and it will be most interesting to see how the events unfold by then.

In the meantime, for the national closed championship, the men's section will be a nine-round event with the winner given the Datuk Hussein Onn challenge trophy. The winner of the women's section, which will be played over seven rounds, will receive the Dato Seri Sabbaruddin Chik trophy. The PWTC will award trophies to the most promising under-18 male and female players.

In addition, the winners of the two sections will be awarded the titles of national master and national woman master respectively.

Meanwhile, contrary to what was mentioned here two weeks ago, the MCF has clarified that all the state chess associations can only send up to four players officially for the men's section and another four players for the women's.

There was a proposal earlier that certain associations could send a maximum of six players to the men's section but the idea was rejected by the MCF council.

This ruling, however, does not mean that the MCF is restricting people from taking part in the championship. Anyone not selected by their respective chess associations can still participate by paying a RM100 fee directly to the MCF before the closing date for entries which is only six days away.

Those who have been selected can contact their state chess association immediately for confirmation.

The persons to contact are Mrs Jackie Wong, Selangor (03-703 8237); Ooi Kiem Boo, Penang (04-826 3764); Dr Yee Meng Kheong, Perak (05-546 4530); Stephen Cheong, Johor (07-333 9636); Muhammad Arshad, Terengganu (018-895 8041); Wan Abdullah, Pahang (09-583 3205); Khirluddin Darus, Perlis (06-976 5485); Dr Mohd Ishak, Malacca (06-283 5878); Charles Chan, Negri Sembilan (06-631 7971); Sylvester Asai, Sabah (088-764 305); Lim Kian Hwa, Sarawak (082-427 772), Dr Mohd Foudri, Kuala Lumpur (03-9074 4810) and Rahman, Kelantan (09-787 8079).

The national champions of the past 16 years and local players who are on the Fide rating list are given direct entry into the competition. However, they must still be registered for the championship through their respective chess associations.

For more details of this championship, please download the zipped copy of the MCF entry form from my webpage at


Up next

Exciting line up for enthusiasts

BEGINNING from tomorrow, the Chess Association of Selangor will organise a series of events for chess enthusiasts.

The first event, exclusively for CAS members, will be an under-20 team closed tournament this weekend at the Sunway College in Petaling Jaya. This is a six-round event with a one-hour time control for the games. Cash prizes, trophies and certificates will be given to the top three teams. Each team of four players, including a reserve, can register at the playing venue tomorrow before 1pm.

The second event is the 27th Royal Selangor open chess tournament from May 31 to June 4. Originally, CAS had planned to use the Sunway College for the tournament but because the organisers want to accommodate players from the national closed championship (which ends by 1pm on May 31), the venue has now been changed to the Sungai Wang Plaza in Kuala Lumpur.

This event is played over nine rounds with a two-hour time control for the games. Entry fees are RM30 for junior members of the CAS, RM40 for adult members, RM50 for members of clubs affiliated to the CAS, and RM60 for non-members. International masters and visually-handicapped players get free entry into the competition.

The first round starts at 3pm on May 31; thereafter, two rounds will be played on each of the next four days.

The winner of the tournament will receive RM1,200 and a trophy. The second prize is RM800 and a trophy, the third prize is RM600 and a trophy, fourth prize RM450, fifth prize RM350, sixth prize RM300, seventh prize RM200, eighth to 10th prizes RM100 each, and 11th to 15th prizes RM60 each. There are five cash prizes for CAS members who have paid their membership subscriptions before May 1.

There are also hampers for the best woman, under-12, under-16 and veteran (aged 50 years and above) players.

Finally, the third event from the CAS will be the fifth Royal Selangor under-16 grand prix circuit at the Sunway College. The four legs of this circuit will be played on June 11, June 18, July 8 and July 9. For the first leg, players can register at the playing venue at 9am.

Each of these legs will be a six-round contest with a 30-minute time control. Prizes, consisting of 40 pewters and 10 hampers, will be given to the players with the best accummulated results from any three legs.

For these three events, enquiries can be directed to Mrs Jackie Wong (Tel: 03-703 8237) or Lim Tse Pin (Tel: 012-298 4922).

BPM allegro events

The next two legs of this year's Bank Pertanian Malaysia-sponsored national allegro chess circuit will be played in Perak this Sunday and Johor on June 11.

The entry fees are RM10 for members of the organising chess association, 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.

To register for the event, contact W.K. Wong (05-355 1692) for the Ipoh leg and Stephen Cheong (Tel: 07-333 9636) for the Johor Baru leg.

The remaining legs of the BPM allegro series are: Negri Sembilan on June 24 (Charles Chan Tel: 06-631 7971), Kedah on July 23 (Abdul Hamid Majid Tel: 03-4021 9576 or and Perlis on July 24 (Khirluddin Darus Tel: 04-976 5485).

10th Penang Dell chess league starts soon

The northern region's biggest chess event, the annual Penang Dell Chess League, starts on June 11 at the premises of Dell Asia Pacific in the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone. The tournament, now in its 10th year, is organised by the Penang Chess Association (PCA) and sponsored by Dell Asia Pacific.

The championship will be played on Sundays and is scheduled to end on Aug 6.

Only teams representing the public and private sectors, institutions of learning and registered associations, societies and clubs are allowed to play in the league. A guest player may be included in each team, but the other players in the team must strictly be employees, students or members of the organisation which they represent.

Players who are unable to play as guest players in any team are requested to contact the PCA immediately. If the response is encouraging. the PCA will consider grouping them together to play under the association's banner.

Provision has been made for a maximum of 30 teams to take part, and each team is allowed up to eight players. However, only four players from each team will play in every round.

This year's event will again be split into three divisions. The third division will comprise teams of mainly novice players, while the first and second divisions will be made up of the more regular teams that have been taking part in previous chess leagues.

Entry fee is RM150 per team and cash prizes are guaranteed for the top teams in each of the three divisions. Closing date for entries is June 3.

For details, contact Chan Kim Beng (Tel: 012-451 8811 or e-mail: Goh Yoon Wah (tel: 04-644 5687, evenings or e-mail: or Ooi Kiem Boo (04-826 3764, evenings or e-mail:

JB Carnival Open

Majlis Bandaraya Johor Baru will organise an open chess tournament at the Southern City within the Extra Shopping Complex in Taman Putera, Johor Baru, on May 28.

The event is divided into the open, under-16 and under-12 sections.

The winner of the open section will receive RM200, a hamper and a certificate, while the top 10 players will get certificates and cash prizes ranging from RM100 for second to RM15 for the 10th placed. The top prize for the two junior sections will be hampers and certificates, and the remaining winners in both sections will get souvenirs and certificates.

Please register with the organisers before 1pm on May 22. For details call Narayanan Krishnan (Tel: 07-333 m8215 or e-mail:


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

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