GM Chao Li gunning for a historic win next month!

by Edwin Lam
7/26/2009 – Of all the events in the Asia-Pacific region, the IGB Dato' Arthur Tan Malaysia Open is establishing itself, not only as an annual tradition, but as a location for chess tourism and tough over-the-board battles. For those looking for a reason to take part, consider the tourist options, and the strong contingent of players converging on the area. Pictorial report by Edwin Lam.

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2009 IGB Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open Chess Championship, Mid Valley City

The 2009 IGB Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open is scheduled to be held between the 22nd and the 28th of August 2009 at the Cititel Hotel in Mid Valley City, Kuala Lumpur, with a total prize fund of US $20,000.

A daytime view of Mid Valley City

Being a premier Swiss Open event in the Asia-Pacific region, this tournament is attracting a strong eleven-member Chinese contingent, spearheaded by GM Chao Li.

GM Chao Li, 2634, posing next to the Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open challenge trophy that he won last year

Chao’s hat-trick bid: Veni, Vidi, Vici!

GM Chao Li came, saw and conquered all before him in the past two editions of the IGB Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open. He will now return to his favorite hunting ground for a historic title bid. If he wins next month, he will join the exclusive league of players who have won or jointly won an annual Swiss system Open three times, or more, in a row.

This is no mean feat, and GM Valeriy Neverov is probably the most notable name in the group, having scored a quadruple win of Hastings’ from 2005 to 2008. Chao Li's success next month would enable him to challenge GM Neverov for the rights as the Swiss system king of the world!

His path to the title is certainly not going to be a bed of roses, as his nemesis from last year, GM Marat Dzhumaev, has confirmed his intended trip to Kuala Lumpur. Joining GM Marat are GMs Saidali Iuldachev, Rogelio Antonio, Ziaur Rahman and Gerhard Schebler, aside from a host of talented juniors from China. Three other past champions have also been invited to be here next month.

GM Marat Dzhumaev, 2535, is again expected to breathe down Chao Li’s neck

These chess gladiators will join the other participants in this 9-round Swiss system individual tournament. Played at a time control of 90 minutes with a 30 second increment, this is one of the few chess tournaments in the South-East Asian region offering serious chess players the opportunity to have long time controls in a competitive playing environment.

Be our guest!

We welcome all of you, from near and far, to Malaysia next month to participate. Come and experience the plethora of equatorial adventures offered in this tropical land filled with eternal sunshine. This tourist-friendly nation is one moment a bustling metropolitan area surrounded by hip cafés, five-star hotels and shopping malls, while the next moment it is an abode of nature that will leave its visitors in awe.

Malaysia is a safe, affordable and tourist-friendly destination

One of the many cafés available to visitors and locals alike

As a melting pot of Malay, Chinese, Indian and indigenous cultures and traditions, Malaysia will surely not fail to satisfy your taste buds – provided you are an adventurous lot, game for trying anything new. For those looking to shop for souvenirs to bring home, you will find something unique from the variety of handmade traditional handicrafts available here.

Of all the local cuisine, can you guess what this is?

For those interested, consider this souvenir option one...

and this option two!

In memory

The annual IGB Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open was first initiated in August 2004. This event was organized in memory of the late Dato’ Arthur Tan, a great builder, who had a deep passion for the development of chess in the community. It was, thus, clear from the start that the tournament would be aimed at raising the standard of chess in this region, besides being a good form of chess tourism.

The late Dato’ Arthur Tan

In its inaugural year, the family of the late Dato’ Arthur Tan had committed financial support for this tournament for at least a period of five years. As the tournament grew in popularity and stature, a request was made by its participants for the event to continue. This resulted in the organization of this 6th edition, with a view for the event to continue well beyond this year and into the future.

Contact information

The closing date for registration is approximately three weeks away. For further information, please contact Hamid Majid at +603 4021 9576 / +6019 315 8098.

Official tournament site

Photos, captions, and story by Edwin Lam Choong Wai

Chessbase articles on previous editions of this tournament

5th Dato’ Arthur Tan Open – Malaysia, truly Asia
30.06.2008 – It’s almost July and in about a month and a half Mid Valley City in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, will see the arrival of grandmasters, IMs, players, enthusiasts and fans from around the world for the 5th IGB Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open. With a $24,000 prize fund it will be the richest ever edition in the series. Participants can relax and sight-see in the beautiful country. Register now.


4th Dato’ Arthur Tan Open: the “Empire” Strikes Back!
01.09.2007 – It happened again! Just like in the year 2005, the 4th IGB Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open again saw the triumph of an untitled player, Li Chao, against a sea of GMs, IMs and WGMs – 87 players from 15 countries. Also, as was the case two years’ back, this untitled player again turned out to have originated from China… Big pictorial report by Edwin Lam Choong Wai.


Dao slices his way past Dimakilling
18.09.2006 – With a final round victory against IM Ronald Dableo of the Philippines, GM Dao Thien Hai of Vietnam snatched victory from the hands of Filipino IM Oliver Dimakilling to win the 3rd IGB Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open Chess Championship, one of the richest chess tournaments in the Asia Pacific region. Big illustrated report by Edwin Lam.


Incredible!! Fantastic!! Sensational!!
06.09.2005 – 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.


Selamat Datang ke Malaysia
16.05.2005 – That's "Welcome to Malaysia" in the Malay language. It is an invitation by our friends to participate in the 2nd Dato Arthur Tan Malaysia Open in the spectacular Mid Valley Megamall in August. The prize fund is US $15,000. If you contemplate attending you will want to read Edwin Lam's extensive illustrated invitation report.


1st Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open
11.09.2004 – After eleven grueling rounds in six days, China's Ni Hua took clear first place in the strongest chess tournament ever held in Malaysia. Players from all over the world came to this fascinating nation for a memorable event. Edwin Lam brings us a remarkable report with food, fun and photos.


Edwin Lam Choong Wai is a Malaysian chess player and author. He was previously attached to Procter & Gamble doing local, regional and global marketing roles, before joining Pfizer, Essilor and Yeo’s in both Malaysia and Singapore. He had also previously been attached to The Purpose Group, a creative and digital marketing agency in Ho Chi Minh City. He is now based in Malaysia having started an education venture known as My SKOLA+ ( since end-2017.


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