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Incredible!! Fantastic!! Sensational!!

9/6/2005 – All those words (on the tournament web site) cannot fully describe the stellar performance of China's young star Wang Hao in the 2nd IGB Dato' Arthur Tan Malaysia Open 2005. This kid, who only turned 16 in April this year, won this event two full points ahead of the GM field, with a performance of 2843. Read all about it in Edwin Lam's extensive report.
 

2nd IGB Dato' Arthur Tan Malaysia Open 2005

By Edwin Lam Choong Wai

It’s now almost 3.30 pm on the 19th of August 2005. I had just arrived at Mid Valley City, Kuala Lumpur with International Master Atanu Lahiri. We were due to attend the Opening Ceremony of the Malaysian Chess Festival 2005, the three-week long chess extravaganza, which incorporates the back-to-back events of the 2nd IGB Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open 2005, the Chevrolet Chess Challenge, the Malaysia Open Blitz Championship 2005, the 25th ASTRO Merdeka Chess Championships and the FIDE Zonal 3.3 Championships (a world title qualifying event). This plethora of international chess events run from the 20th of August to the 10th of September 2005.


The Prime Minister’s Office (left) in Putrajaya, the state-of-the-art and
ecologically friendly new administrative capital of Malaysia

While IM Atanu headed directly for MPH Bookstores in Mid Valley Megamall to check out the latest offerings of chess books there, I went straight up to the 5th Floor of Cititel Mid Valley, where the Opening Ceremony was due to start at 4.00 pm. As I stepped in front of the doorway of Bintang Ballroom – where the ceremony was due to be held – I already noticed a bee-hive of activities going-on inside.

Upon signing up at the Reception, I stepped into the ballroom. A couple of familiar faces from last year’s 1st IGB Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open 2004 such as GM Ian Rogers, IM Sriram Jha, WGM S. Vijayalakshimi, IM Tan Lian Ann and WIM Zhang Jilin were already seated inside. Besides these players, other elite players who had turned up for the ceremony include the 16-year old teenage sensation Wang Hao of China, GM Koneru Humpy of India and IM Hossain Enamul of Bangladesh. Other familiar names that were already there at the ceremony include former Editor of Chess Life Larry Parr, chess columnist for The Star Quah Seng Sun and the Treasurer of Chess Association of Selangor (CAS) Thaw Chee Yin.

It was a case of renewing ties with old friends as well as getting to know new faces. As I roamed around the ballroom, I got to know James Kobes. James, a Canadian who is now working and living in South Korea, came all the way to Kuala Lumpur to participate in the tournament – thanks partly it seems, to my earlier articles on Chessbase! Then, I bumped into IM Sriram Jha of India. Again, he found my Chessbase articles informative and helpful. I am indeed, flattered by his comments. A little while later, two Oz-mates, FM Brian Jones and his son, FM Lee Jones walked into the ballroom. The be-spectacled FM Brian Jones is the Editor of Australian Chess. It was a pleasure, indeed, to have met them and I am honored to be given the opportunity to contribute photos taken during the 2nd IGB Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open 2005 for the upcoming issue of Australian Chess.

As the clock approaches 4.00 pm, the ballroom is almost filled up with guests, representatives of the sponsors and the players. Reporters and photographers from most major local dailies were already here – clicking away their cameras while also interviewing the VIPs, organizers and representatives of the various sponsors. The VIPs present include Yang Berbahagia Dato’ Tan Chin Nam (Organizing Chairman of the Malaysian Chess Festival 2005), Borhanuddin Osman (Executive Director of ASTRO), Anthony Barragry (Executive Director of Mid Valley City), Norzahid Mohd Zahudi (Chief Executive Officer of HICOMOBIL, the authorized distributor of Chevrolet cars in Malaysia) and Yang Berbahagia Dato’ Sieh Kok Chi (Honorary Secretary of the Olympic Council of Malaysia).

The guest-of-honor scheduled to officiate the Malaysian Chess Festival 2005, Yang Berhormat Datuk Dr. Leo Michael Toyad, the Minister of Tourism Malaysia, was unable to attend the ceremony. He was represented at the event by Yang Berbahagia Datuk Dr. Victor Wee (Secretary General of the Ministry of Tourism Malaysia). Besides Yang Berhormat Datuk Dr. Leo Michael Toyad, Baillieu Myer of Australia was also unable to attend the ceremony.


Dato’ Tan Chin Nam delivers his Welcome Speech as the Organizing Chairman

The ceremony began with a Welcome Address by the Organizing Chairman, Dato’ Tan Chin Nam. Keeping his speech short and brief, first of all, he welcomed all the chess players who have come not only from around Malaysia, but also from continents as far away as the USA, Australia, France and Japan, to participate in the chess festival. He also thanked Datuk Dr. Victor Wee and Dato’ Sieh Kok Chi for their presence at the ceremony. After that, he went on to thank not only the major corporate sponsors (IGB Corporation Berhad, ASTRO and HICOMOBIL), but also individual sponsors, most notably being his long-time friend and colleague Baillieu Myer of Australia, who have contributed various amounts to make this festival a success.

In his speech, Dato’ Tan also touched on the subject of muhibah in chess. Muhibbah is a term in the Malay language, which represents the growing understanding between one another that leads to togetherness and unity. As he aptly put it in the souvenir’s program, “… I have never seen anything promote muhibah or cultural understanding so deeply as chess”. Chess, with over 156 (including its two recent membership additions of Sierra Leone and Palau at its 76th Congress in Dresden) national federations affiliated to the World Chess Federation (FIDE), is widely touted as the second most played sport in the world after football / soccer. According to Dato’ Tan, when it comes to building global ties that cut through national boundaries, chess enables the successful forging of lifelong friendships of the mind.


Datuk Dr. Victor Wee, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Tourism Malaysia

Dato’ Tan’s Welcome Address was followed by the speech by Yang Berbahagia Datuk Dr. Victor Wee (Secretary General of the Ministry of Tourism Malaysia) to officiate the Malaysian Chess Festival 2005. This was followed by the check presentation ceremonies of the various major sponsors, namely IGB Corporation Berhad, ASTRO, HICOMOBIL and Baillieu Myer. A short press conference followed thereafter, before the VIPs, dignitaries, guests and members of the media adjourned to have some food and refreshments.


The check presentation ceremony – from left: Anthony Barragry (Mid Valley City), Borhanuddin Osman (ASTRO), Norzahid Zahudi (HICOMOBIL), Datuk Dr. Victor Wee and Dato’ Tan Chin Nam

The Official Hotel and Official Venue for the 2nd IGB Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open 2005, the Chevrolet Chess Challenge, the 25th ASTRO Merdeka Chess Championships and the Malaysia Open Blitz Championship 2005 are Cititel Mid Valley and Mid Valley Exhibition Center, respectively. The Official Hotel and Venue for the Zonal 3.3 Championships is Stanford Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.


Press Conference with from left IA Hamid Majeed, Datuk Dr. Victor Wee, Dato’ Tan Chin Nam and Dato’ Sieh Kok Chi


(From left) WFM Yang Ning, GM Ian Rogers and Wang Hao

2nd Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open 2005

The 2nd Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open 2005 ran from the 20th to the 26th of August 2005. Playing at a time control of one-and-a-half hour with 30 seconds increment per player, this 11-round FIDE rated event attracted a field of 70 participants. Out of the 70 players, 64 of them are FIDE-rated players and out of this number 39 of them are titled players. With 12 GMs, 2 WGMs, 10 IMs, 2 WIMs, 10 FMs and 3 WFMs competing, this event is bound to be highly competitive.

This year’s event attracted a multitude of entrants from various continents across the globe. Looking across the tournament hall, from Koji Noguchi of Japan to Son Asia of Kazakhstan to Chong Chor Yuen of Hong Kong, Stephane Sorbe of France, Carl Haessler of the USA and WFM Yang Ning of China, one sees a myriad of nationalities. This definitely proves the point that competitive chess is an excellent melting pot of cultures, much in the spirit of muhibah across boundaries!

With 18 countries represented in this event – ranging from Russia, Kazakhstan and France, Japan and Hong Kong to Australia and the United States, besides the traditional Asian chess powerhouses China, Philippines, Indonesia, India and Vietnam – it is truly a unique experience for everyone. As for the Who’s Who in the chess circle, we have here at the 2nd Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open 2005 distinguished players such as GM Eugenio Torre (Asia’s first Grandmaster), GM Utut Adianto, GM Rogelio Antonio, GM Dao Thien Hai, GM Ian Rogers, GM Koneru Humpy, Wang Hao, GM Moussa Taleb and GM Abhijit Kunte.

“Typhoon Wang Hao”

Whereas GM Ni Hua won the title last year by scoring 8.5 points out of 11 rounds, “typhoon Wang Hao”, literally speaking, blew everyone away with a score of 10 points (two points ahead of nearest rival GM Rogelio Antonio) out of 11 rounds this year! With clear blue skies on the eve of the 2nd Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open 2005, little would one expect “typhoon Wang Hao” to strike in tropical Malaysia. Keeping pace with the leaders in the early rounds, Wang Hao took the lead after Round 5 with a victory over GM Eugenio Torre. From then on, there was no stopping of Wang Hao. One after another – GM Nelson Mariano, GM Wu Shaobin, IM Jayson Gonzales and IM Situru Nathanael – tried stopping Wang Hao in the subsequent rounds, to no avail.

After Round 7, Wang Hao already has a one-point lead over the rest of the field and by the end of Round 9 the lead has swelled to two points (having amassed a total score of 8.5 points out of 9 rounds!). With two more rounds to go, only five other players (with 6.5 points each) are within a shout of equaling but not overhauling the total points scored by Wang Hao. These five players are GM Utut Adianto, GM Ian Rogers, GM Eugenio Torre, GM Rogelio Antonio and IM Jayson Gonzales. In Round 10, GM Utut Adianto was paired to play against Wang Hao. GM Adianto, who was playing Black, chose the reliable and solid Caro-Kann against the very aggressive Wang Hao. Queens were traded on move 26 and by the 35th move, a draw was agreed.


16-year old teenage sensation Wang Hao of China

With this draw, Wang Hao had amassed an unassailable lead and won the 2nd Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open 2005, with one round to spare! Looking back at my earlier article on Chessbase, it seems that my premonition of GM-elect Wang Hao pulling off another upset win here came through even before the start of the final round of the 2nd IGB Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open 2005! Coming off his triumph of the 7th Dubai Open approximately four months’ back ahead of more than 53 Grandmasters and 30 International Masters, Wang Hao certainly made his victory here look like child’s play.

In the final round Wang Hao faced experienced GM Ian Rogers of Australia. The game started as a quiet English Opening, with Wang Hao playing the black pieces. It could have been a quick draw, but not when this boy is involved. This is how the game developed.

Rogers,I (2569) - Wang Hao (2512) [A28]
2nd Dato' Arthur Tan Malaysian Open Kuala Lumpur MAS (11), 26.08.2005
1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.e3 Bb4 5.Qc2 d6 6.a3 Bxc3 7.Qxc3 e4 8.Ng1 Ne5 9.b4 b6 10.f4 exf3 11.Nxf3 Ne4 12.Qd4

12...Nxf3+ 13.gxf3 Qh4+ 14.Ke2 Qf2+ 15.Kd3 Qxf3 16.Qxg7 Bf5 17.Qxh8+ Ke7 18.Qg7

18....Rg8 19.Qxg8 Nf6+. Here Wang Hao missed a very pretty mate in five: 19...Nc5+ 20.Kc3 Na4+ 21.Kb3 Qd1+ 22.Ka2 Qc2+ 23.Bb2 Qxb2#. But he didn't let Rogers escape. 20.Kc3 Nxg8 21.Rg1 Qf2 22.Rxg8 Qxf1 23.e4 Be6 24.Rg3 Qxc4+ 25.Kb2 Qxe4 26.Rc3 Kd7 27.d3 Qe2+ 0-1. [Click here to replay]

Whatever it is, one thing’s for sure: If he had stunned observers worldwide with his triumph in Dubai, he further cemented his arrival on the scene by crashing his way through to win the 2nd IGB Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open 2005. More amazingly, he has not yet been formally conferred the title of Grandmaster, yet! Thus, from a wordsmith’s point of view, Wang Hao’s triumph can only be described with a list of superlatives!

Sensational, incredible, fantastic, outrageously incredible, out of this world and simply magnificent are a sample of these superlatives to describe the triumph of this prodigious teenager! As he only turned 16 in April this year, I must stress here that he is only still a teenager! So, there will definitely many more great things that we will see of him in the coming future.


WIM Zhang Jilin, deep in thought

Final Standings

1

Wang Hao

2512

10.0/11

2

Antonio,R

2513

8.0/11

3

Gonzales,Jay

2477

7.5/11

4

Adianto,U

2588

7.5/11

5

Rogers,I

2569

7.5/11

6

Mariano,N1

2466

7.5/11

7

Nguyen Anh Dung

2555

7.5/11

8

Kunte,A

2561

7.5/11

9

Torre,E

2535

7.0/11

10

Dao Thien Hai

2601

7.0/11

11

Wynn Zaw Htun

2578

7.0/11

12

Koneru,H

2531

6.5/11

13

Handoko,E

2407

6.5/11

14

Situru,N

2382

6.5/11

15

Abdulla,AlR

2462

6.5/11

16

Sonjaya,D

2178

6.5/11

17

Hossain,Enam

2473

6.5/11

18

Sriram,J

2437

6.5/11

19

Myo Naing

2516

6.5/11

20

Tirto

2370

6.5/11

21

Chan,N

2313

6.5/11

22

Wu Shaobin

2510

6.0/11

23

Sorbe,S

2340

6.0/11

24

Lim Yee Weng

2348

6.0/11

25

Juswanto,D

2509

6.0/11

26

Mok Tze Meng

2351

6.0/11

27

Irwanto,S

2517

6.0/11

28

Prayitno,S

2333

6.0/11

29

Sales,J

2340

6.0/11

30

Shen Siyuan

2232

6.0/11

31

Anas,N

2150

6.0/11

Youth’s triumph over experience…

GM-to-be Wang Hao’s triumph over veteran GMs in this event symbolized the arrival of the next generation of chess players in Asia. Of course, he was not the only young star who lighted up the 2nd Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open 2005. The encouraging performance of a few other young Turks in the event is certainly worth a mention in this article. On the local front, our very own FM Lim Yee Weng and FM Nicholas Chan played exceptionally well throughout the tournament and I am willing to bet my money on either one or even the both of them attaining their IM title soon. The much younger FM Anas Nazreen Bakri also did the nation proud by winning the Best Under-16 prize. The two brothers - Melvin and Marco Yu – of Hong Kong also showed great improvements in their game, compared to their debut in this event a year ago.


Christer Aplin of Singapore

Christer Aplin of Singapore also did exceptionally well to finish with 5 points to be crowned as the Best Under-12 participant of the event. Playing with great maturity, I saw how he imaginatively wrangled himself out of trouble in his Round 9 game against the wily, Lim Kian Hwa. Lim Kian Hwa is one of the strongest and most experienced players from the state of Sarawak. In the course of the game, Christer – playing Black – found his Queen trapped in the opening. Looking grim, but determined, Christer thought for almost half-an-hour before executing his next move – which involves trading his trapped Queen for the Bishop pair. Combining the powers of the Bishop-pair as well as pawn advances along the g- and h-files towards the White King, Christer created mating threats on Kian Hwa’s monarch. With mounting threats on his King, Kian Hwa made a mistake and Christer seize the chance to force checkmate! Play well, Christer! Your journey is only beginning.


Thean Hou Temple, Kuala Lumpur

Of “Santa Claus”… and Mafia look-alikes

Just like the Najdorf-syndrome, “hungry” players and the “secret” of the Filipinos’ success in last year’s event, there are definitely colorful characters and characteristics in every event. This year’s 2nd Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open is also well decorated with quite a few recognizable faces.

Saudara Panggabean Hasien of Indonesia (Saudara is the very polite way of addressing fellow brethren here in the Malay Archipelago) is probably one of the friendliest and nicest persons around. Never failing to greet anyone he knows at the tournament hall with a firm handshake and a little bow, his character adds color to the tournament. But, most interestingly, he is also exceptionally fond of presenting ‘gifts’ to anyone whom he meets or fought in a game at the tournament. Always happy-go-lucky and jolly, perhaps he is the “real Santa” who is disguising as a chess player?

Just like saudara Panggabean Hasien, IM Denny Juswanto is another jolly character in the tournament. He is also another player who came back to this year’s edition of the 2nd Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open, after having had a pleasant tournament last year. IM Denny, never looked like the serious player who ‘kill’ opponents with his look, definitely proves the notion of never ever judging a book by its cover!


The intimidating-looking FM Sales

If IM Denny likes to clown around, then FM Jesse Noel Sales seemed to be the total opposite. Fresh from winning the 2005 Australian Masters in July 2005, FM Sales’ build, size and clean shaven head coupled with intentionally putting on his sunglasses during every game can be psychologically intimidating! To the weak-hearted, it can be quite daunting to compete on equal grounds against the Mafia look-alike FM Sales! But, looks are deceiving. FM Sales is definitely one of the mildest mannered, jovial and friendly people around. Apparently, we know a mutual friend – David Cordover of Melbourne. It turned out that FM Sales will soon be joining David’s chess coaching team in Melbourne!

What a coincidence! I used to work as a coach under David’s set-up when I was a student in Melbourne.

All’s well ends well…

All good things must come to an end. As the 2nd IGB Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open 2005 drew to a close, there was a tinge of void and sadness in our hearts. It had, indeed, been a hectic one-week of competitive chess, and yet the friendship made during the event would last a lifetime. In the last round, Wang Hao defeated GM Ian Rogers to cap a perfect tournament with 9 wins with just 2 draws conceded to GM Rogelio and GM Adianto. On table 2, GM Rogelio Antonio defeated GM Dao Thien Hai to finish clear second behind Wang Hao with a score of 8 points.


GM Antonio contemplating hard before making his next move against GM Dao Thien Hai of Vietnam in their final round game

On the local front, FM Nicholas Chan, FM Lim Yee Weng and FM Mok Tze Meng claimed the top three Best Malaysian prizes respectively. FM Lee Jones and FM Brian Jones received the top two Best Australian prizes respectively. Wang Hao was the biggest winner of the Incentive Prize to encourage decisive results, as he won four games against Grandmasters.


Campo delivering his closing speech

The Closing Ceremony was held on the 26th of August 2005 at 3.00 pm. The ceremony was graced by the presence of FIDE Honorary President Florencio Campomanes of the Philippines. Also present at the ceremony were International Arbiter Maung Maung Lwin of Mynamar, Kung Suan Ai (Director of Advertising and Promotions, Mid Valley Megamall), Ibrahim Bakar (Vice President of the Malaysian Chess Federation) and Joyce Quek (Assistant Manager – Advertising & Promotions, Mid Valley Megamall). After a short speech by Campomanes (or, ‘Campo’ as he is affectionately known), International Arbiter Hamid Majeed announced the prize winners of the Chevrolet Chess Challenge. This was then followed by the announcement of the prize winners for the 2nd IGB Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open 2005.


(From left) IM Atanu Lahiri, FM Jones Lee, FM Jesse Noel Sales and FM Brian Jones

The top 20 finishers of the 2nd IGB Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open 2005 are:

Wang Hao – 10.0 points GM Rogelio Antonio – 8.0 points IM Jayson Gonzales – 7.5 points GM Utut Adianto – 7.5 points GM Ian Rogers – 7.5 points GM Nelson Mariano – 7.5 points GM Nguyen Anh Dung – 7.5 points GM Abhijit Kunte – 7.5 points GM Eugenio Torre – 7.0 points GM Dao Thien Hai – 7.0 points IM Wynn Zaw Htun – 7.0 points GM Koneru Humpy – 6.5 points GM Edhi Handoko – 6.5 points IM Situru Nathanael – 6.5 points IM Abdullah Al-Rakib – 6.5 points Deni Sonjaya – 6.5 points IM Hossain Enamul – 6.5 points IM Sriram Jha – 6.5 points IM Myo Naing – 6.5 points Tirto – 6.5 points

 
GM Koneru Humpy of India, arguably one of the strongest women
players in the world, receiving her prize from Suan Ai

 
GM Dao Thien Hai of Vietnam

 
GM Eugenio Torre of the Philippines – Asia’s first Grandmaster

 
GM Abhijit Kunte of India receiving his prize from Campo

 
GM Nguyen Anh Dung of Vietnam shares a hearty laugh with Campo

 
GM Nelson Mariano of the Philippines

 
GM Ian Rogers of Australia

 
GM Rogelio Antonio receiving his prize from Campo, while Joyce Quek and Haslindah Ruslan looked on

 
Wang Hao holding the Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open trophy

Chevrolet Chess Challenge 2005

Open for players with not more than FIDE Rating of 2200, the Chevrolet Chess Challenge is fully sponsored by HICOMOBIL, the distributor of Chevrolet cars here in Malaysia. The Chevrolet Chess Challenge 2005 is a 9-round FIDE-rated event that ran concurrently with the 2nd IGB Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open 2005 from the 20th until the 26th of August 2005. The time control for this event is the same as that for the 2nd IGB Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open 2005 (90 minutes plus 30 seconds a move).

Attracting a total of 38 participants, this event does not lack an international flair. The lanky Catherine Black, for example, hails from the Republic of South Africa, Joan Toledo is from the Philippines, Srinivas Mantha is from India, James Kobes is from Canada and Iwan Setiawan is from Indonesia. After 9 rounds, veteran Malaysian player Kamaluddin Yusof emerged undefeated at the top of the standings with 8.0 points and captured the top prize of RM 1,500. The only other player in the field who also emerged undefeated is Fairin Zakaria, who finished clear second with 7.0 points.


Zach Han – one of the prize winners at the Chevrolet Chess Challenge

 
Fairin Zakaria receives his prize from Ibrahim Bakar

 The top 10 finishers of the Chevrolet Chess Challenge 2005:

Kamaluddin Yusof – 8.0 points Fairin Zakaria – 7.0 points Iwan Setiawan – 6.5 points Thaw Chee Yin – 6.0 points Foo Chee Kin – 6.0 points Masrin Erowan – 6.0 points Joan Toledo – 6.0 points Zach Han – 6.0 points Sumant Subramaniam – 6.0 points Marcus Yeoh – 6.0 points

25th ASTRO Merdeka Team Chess Championship 2005

The 25th ASTRO Merdeka Team Chess Championship 2005 was held right after the conclusion of both the 2nd IGB Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open 2005 and the Chevrolet Chess Challenge. Supported for the third year running by ASTRO, Malaysia’s first pay-TV channel, the Merdeka Team Chess Championship is the oldest team chess tournament here in Malaysia. Traditionally held in the month of August every year to commemorate the country’s Merdeka day celebrations, it used to be an annual meeting place for chess buffs throughout Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Indonesia. Over the past few years, this event has grown in stature and the number of participants has swelled with players coming from around the world.


The 25th ASTRO Merdeka Team Chess Championship

Scheduled to start on the 27th of August and finish on the 31st of August 2005, the team chess championship is made up of two back-to-back tournaments with different time controls. The Merdeka Open Chess Championship 2005 was held from the 27th until the 29th of August 2005. The time control for this event is 1 hour plus and increment of 15 seconds from the first move. There are two categories in this event – the Open and the Junior (Under 16). 50 teams participated in the Open category and the tournament was clearly ruled by the Filipinos right from the start.

In the end, team Tagaytay City of the Philppines topped the standings with 25.5 points after 8 rounds. Team Tagaytay City, powered by GM Rogelio Antonio and GM Nelson Mariano on boards 1 and 2 respectively, was never really troubled except for Round 7 when they were up against Heilongjiang of China. Heilongjiang of China is made up of FM Wu Xi Bin, WIM Zhang Jilin, WFM Yang Ning and Wang Xinyue. In the last round, Tagaytay City romped past the Singapore junior team 3.5 – 0.5 to win the title. Well, Rogelio, perhaps, sitting on ‘double-decked’ chairs is your team’s secret weapon for success?


The Tagaytay team taking on the Heilongjiang team (from left: FM Wu Xi Bin, WIM Zhang Jilin, WFM Yang Ning and Wang Xinyue)

PAEZ Dental Clinic of the Philippines and Manila Bangka (a joint team of players from the Philippines, Indonesia and the USA) were tied at 22 points after 8 rounds. PAEZ got the better of Manila Bangka in the standings due to higher Match Points. PAEZ was powered by the likes of Darwin Laylo, IM Ronald Dableo and FM Oliver Dimakilling. Manila Bangka sees the strong combination of Deni Sonjaya, FM Rico Salimbagat, Iwan Setiawan, FM Jesse Noel Sales and Anasrullah. Heilongjiang of China finished clear fourth with 21.5 points.


FM Jesse Sales turning out for team Manila Bangka

Special prizes were also given out to various other teams. The Penang State Senior team finished as the top State team with 19.5 points. Multimedia University 1 came out tops among the Institution of Higher Learning teams with 16 points while DBKL bagged the top Government Department team prize.

The second event, played at a faster time control, began on the evening of the 29th of August. This event, named the Merdeka Rapid Open Chess Championship 2005, has a time control of 25 minutes plus an increment of 10 seconds from the first move. Played over 9 rounds, this event attracted a total of 36 teams. After battling it out over 9 rounds, the Filipinos again proved too strong for the rest of the teams. On the 31st of August, it was clear that Tagaytay City – lead by GM Antonio and GM Mariano – would again emerge triumphant with 28.5 points. Their nearest rival, team Cabuyao Laguna of the Philippines finished 3 points behind Tagaytay City. Team Cabuyao was lead by FM Oliver Dimakilling and IM Ronald Dableo. An excellent effort by the Chinese quartet of FM Wu Xi Bin, WIM Zhang Jilin, WFM Yang Ning and Wang Xinyue (team Heilongjiang) prevented another clean sweep of the top three places by the Filipinos in this tournament. Team Heilongjiang completed the tournament with 22.5 points for third place.

Malaysia Open Blitz Championship 2005

The Malaysia Open Blitz Championship was held on the eve of Merdeka day. Merdeka day is held every year to celebrate the independence of this nation that came about on the 31st of August 1957 – 48 years ago. Attracting a total of 94 players, this mammoth event starts at 7.00 pm on the 30th of August 2005. After 9 rounds of blitz chess, the top 16 participants of the Blitz event qualified for the knock-out stages. IM Tahir Vakhidov won the event after beating IM Ronald Dableo in the final.

The top 16 qualifiers (in the following order) include:

Wang Hao – 8 points IM Ronald Dableo – 7.5 points GM Nguyen Anh Dung – 6.5 points WGM S. Vijayalakshimi – 6.5 points IM Tahir Vakhidov – 6.5 points WIM Zhang Jilin – 6.5 points FM Mok Tze Meng – 6.5 points GM Wu Shaobin – 6.5 points IM Sriram Jha – 6.5 points FM Rico O Salimbagat – 6.5 points FM Wu Xi Bin – 6.5 points WGM Nguyen Thi Thanh An – 6.5 points FM Nicholas Chan – 6.0 points IM Myo Naing – 6.0 points IM Anatoli Shvedchikov – 6.0 points IM Jayson Gonzales – 6.0 points

In the knock-out stages:

Last 16:

Wang Hao 0.5 – IM Jayson Gonzales 1.5
GM Wu Shaobin 0 – IM Sriram Jha 1
IM Tahir Vakhidov 1 – WGM Nguyen Thi Thanh An 0
WGM S. Vijayalakshimi 0 – FM Nicholas Chan 1
GM Nguyen Anh Dung 0 – IM Myo Naing 1
WIM Zhang Jilin 0.5 – FM Wu Xi Bin 1.5
FM Mok Tze Meng 0 – FM Rico O Salimbagat 1
IM Ronald Dableo 1 – IM Anatoli Shvedchikov 0

Quarter-Final:
IM Jayson Gonzales 1 – IM Sriram Jha 0
IM Tahir Vakhidov 1.5 – FM Nicholas Chan 0.5
IM Myo Naing 0.5 – FM Wu Xi Bin 1.5
FM Rico O Salimbagat 0 – IM Ronald Dableo 1

Semi-Final:
IM Jayson Gonzales 0 – IM Tahir Vakhidov 2
FM Wu Xi Bin 0 – IM Ronald Dableo 2

Final:
IM Tahir Vakhidov 1.5 – IM Ronald Dableo 0.5


The most famous ‘teochew’ noodle ‘kuey teow’ soup in Klang

Zone 3.3 Open and Zone 3.3 Women Championships

From the 2nd of September 2005 until the 10th of September 2005, the Zonal tournaments (Zone 3.3 Open and Zone 3.3 Women Championships) are to be held here in Malaysia. Zone 3.3 is made up of countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunie, Singapore, East Timor, Mongolia, Japan, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea and Chinese Taipei

This is the zonal qualification for the upcoming FIDE World Championship Series. The official venue and hotel for the event is Stanford Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. Located along the bustling and lively Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Stanford Hotel is easily accessible via the KL Monorail.

As you read this article, the Zonal tournaments are still going on. Do drop by to take a look at the tournament if you are around here in Kuala Lumpur, the city that is ‘Truly Asia’. Alternatively, you can keep abreast with the news and daily updates of the event at Malaysia Chess Federation’s website.

In Retrospect

Indeed, it has been a very exciting month of August for Malaysian chess. With so many back-to-back tournaments held one after the other here in Kuala Lumpur, this will only spark greater interests in the game, not only among local chess communities but also regionally too. With a further increase in the total prize fund for the 3rd IGB Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open 2006 to USD 18,000 next year, I can only see the stature of the tournament becoming bigger and better. It will, I am sure, attract even more top players from around the world to participate in the event. Here, I would like to thank Frederic, Andre, Ben and Mig of Chessbase for all the support this year. It has been great being one of Chessbase’s many global correspondents and I hope to be able to write better and snap greater pictures for future reports on Chess – the game of the Kings – here in the Far East! Let me end this article with three nice pictures taken during sunset – one at Port Klang, the second one in Kuala Lumpur and the final one at Putrajaya, the new state-of-the-art administrative capital of Malaysia.


Sunset in Port Klang


Sunset in Kuala Lumpur


The serenity of Lake Putrajaya at sunset

About the Author

Highly passionate about the game, but having only recently obtained his FIDE rating, Edwin Lam is a seasoned player in his home country of Malaysia. Working full-time as a Public Affairs Manager in an American multinational here in Kuala Lumpur, he enjoys motor racing (Formula 1, Formula Nippon and the Japan GT Championships), besides photography and traveling. Whenever he is not busy with his other passions, he invests his time and effort towards chess, especially in chess analysis. From analysis and annotations (following in the great footsteps of Botvinnik, Timman and countless other chess greats), he accidentally stumbled upon writing chess articles as a hobby. Having written chess articles for close to six years already, he is now a correspondent for Chess Asia, a Philippine-based chess magazine. Besides that, his articles have also appeared at one time or another in Chess Kids, a Melbourne-based quarterly periodical ran by David Cordover, as well as the GMChess website. A chess artist at heart, he is most impressed by the games of Keres, Bronstein, Tal and Petrosian. This, however, does not stop him from marveling at the clarity and ease of the scientific approach outlined by Botvinnik. With a large library of chess books and magazines at home in multiple languages – from English to German to French and Russian – he primarily ranks Bronstein’s 1953 Zurich International Chess Tournament and Alekhine’s 1924 New York International Chess Tournament as the best books of all time. Recently, he wrote a nice profile about GM Yasser Seirawan that appeared in ChessCafe.com. His other articles that have appeared on Chessbase.com are:

Besides being a chess columnist, he is also currently coaching the school team of his alma mater, Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Secondary School, in Klang.

Links to Malaysian chess:

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