Zhang Zhong has comeback win in Malaysia

9/24/2014 – After five rounds, one thing seemed clear: top-seed Zhang Zhong would be denied his due after a disaster draw and loss, but the resilient player showed his exemplary fighting spirit with a great comeback. He won all the way until the end, including a crucial last round victory over former compatriot Zhao Jianchao. Once more the Malaysian Chess Festival lived up to its name.

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By Andrew Ooi 

The Malaysian Chess Festival ended with a record number of participants for its six events held during the ten-day event from 12 September to 21 September. Representatives from nineteen countries participated in the various events, and scenes of a packed hall outside the Kuala Lumpur Cititel Mid Valley hotel tournament hall were a common sight almost every day.

Picture by Khong Wai Cheong

The most notable difference in this year’s Malaysian Chess Festival were the China chess talents who were missing for the first time in the ten-year history of the festival for non-chess related reasons. The task fell to GM Zhang Zhong, former Chinese, but is now playing for the Singapore Federation. Still it was no walk in the park for Zhang Zhong in the record turnout for the Open section with 130 participants.

Zhang Zhong came back from a dreadful start and took clear first

He was held to a draw in round one by the much lower rated CM Ahmad Fadzil Nayan and things looked desperate after a loss to GM Shyam Sundar in round 5. However, GM Zhang Zhong bounced back with wins all the way to the end and clawed his way back to the top spot. In the final round he met Chinese GM Zhao Jianchao and had to win since a draw would deny him the championship win due to his poor tiebreak. Yet win he did!

GM Zhang Zhong is the 11th Malaysia Open Champion

FM Le Tuan Minh finishing in second place and gaining a GM norm in the process

GM Shyam M Sundar of India took third place

Like China, India is not short of young talents. 16 year old IM Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan
finished 7th in the Open section.

Indonesian top Grandmaster Susanto Megaranto playing against up and coming compatriot
IM Farid Firman Syah. Megaranto finished in tenth place while Farid finished eleventh.

Aside from the Festivals three major tournaments, there was also the
Challengers section which usually is dominated by Filipinos. This year
was historic as it was won for the first time by a Malaysian, Syakir Syazmeer.

Indonesian Susanto Budhi was the oldest player in the festival, and
here receives his prize for the best player above 75 (Senior section). He is 76.

Lee Mei Yan is new to big events like the Swensen Age Group but that didn’t stop her from
becoming the U14 Champion

She got her WGM title last year. WGM Medina Warda Aulia was (and still is) Indonesia’s
youngest WGM gets the second best Ladies prize.

GM Laylo Darwin, now a regular face at the festival finished in fifth place

WIM Gong Qianyun, proves that coaching the junior players hasn’t dulled her chess strength.
She takes the prize for Best Ladies in the Open section finishing 6.0/9.

Best Malaysian – Sumant Subramaniam

GM Alexander Forminyh is the champion for the Senior section with 7.5/9

Malaysia's first International Master Jimmy Liew finished second in the Senior section

Overall Under 10 champ for both boys and girls section, Diajeng Theresa Singgih, who incidentally
is the little sister of WGM Irene Sukhandar Kharisma

The tireless Tournament Director Encik Hamid Majid who has been involved in all eleven of
the Malaysian Chess Festivals is instrumental in all the tournaments held for the ten-day festival

Picture of winner with author cum photographer of this article, Andrew Ooi who maintains
the Malaysia chess web portal Catur.org.  Picture by Khong Wai Cheong.

Video reports by Vijay Kumar

Video report of the sixth round

Impressions and report of round seven

Impressions and report of the final round

The blitz tournament and prize ceremony (starts at 25:35)

Final standings after nine rounds

Rk SNo Ti. Name Fed Rtg Pts  TB 
1 1 GM Zhang Zhong SIN 2608 7.5 49.0
2 32 FM Le Tuan Minh VIE 2347 7.0 50.0
3 11 GM Shyam Sundar M. IND 2468 6.5 54.5
4 14 IM Nguyen Van Huy VIE 2433 6.5 50.5
5 6 GM Laylo Darwin PHI 2495 6.5 50.5
6 24 FM Sean Winshand Cuhendi INA 2382 6.5 48.5
7 17 IM Sunilduth Lyna Narayanan IND 2414 6.5 46.0
8 2 GM Zhou Jianchao CHN 2583 6.0 52.0
9 9 GM Kunte Abhijit IND 2483 6.0 52.0
10 3 GM Megaranto Susanto INA 2527 6.0 51.0
11 19 IM Farid Firman Syah INA 2408 6.0 51.0
12 21 IM Nolte Rolando PHI 2393 6.0 50.0
13 22 IM Pascua Haridas PHI 2389 6.0 49.5
14 16 IM Dableo Ronald PHI 2415 6.0 49.5
15 4 GM Gomez John Paul PHI 2519 6.0 49.0
16 10 GM Dao Thien Hai VIE 2482 6.0 49.0
17 12 GM Nguyen Anh Dung VIE 2465 6.0 49.0
18 26 FM Pham Chuong VIE 2366 6.0 48.5
19 34 FM Muhammad Luthfi Ali INA 2380 6.0 48.0
20 5 IM Nguyen Duc Hoa VIE 2515 6.0 46.5

Click for complete standings

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