JAPFA: Where everyone knows your name (part one)

by Alina l'Ami
6/5/2017 – Enjoying the deep cultural history that Indonesia has to offer, and the passion for chess where you do not need to be an international celebrity to be recognized. The JAPFA tournament was held once more in Jakarta with hospitality to put most organizers to shame. Here is the illustrated report by Alina L'Ami.

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You might think that if a chess event boasted over 50 different publications for a press conference, it would be the World Championship match we are talking about. Or perhaps a chess related worldwide incident occurred, luring hordes of journalists, reporters, radio and tv channels for yet more juicy and inside stories. Because how would a chess tournament get such media interest otherwise?!

The JAPFA chess festival just does. Every single time. And the 10th edition held in Jakarta between 13 – 20 May 2017 was no exception.

A blitz game between Novendra and Mitra cannot pass unnoticed. I am glad to be in the photo as well, even though indirectly...

Some might believe that Russia, or maybe USA, is the place to be when it comes to chess support or opportunities, but Indonesia is closing the gap (if any) at a hectic pace.  

The constant financial backing of JAPFA, the tireless lobbying in political circles and beyond by GM Utut Adianto, combined with a massive national passion for chess, will continue to deliver one strong player after another.

There is no shortage of ambition in Indonesia

Time and again we hear the famous complaint: "I was so winning but I don't understand what happened!?" Training can help you prevent such moments, so here you have a handful of exercises. Find the finishing touch!

Surya - Cori

White to play and attack

L'Ami - Cori

Find the winning continuation for White

Hejazipour - Taher

Being precise and vigilant at all times is easier said than done. Find the right continuation for Black.

Aulia - Cori

Accuracy is always wanted. Finish it off for White.

L'Ami - Hejazipour

White to play and win

Medina Warda Aulia won her final IM norm with 7.0/11!

The talent of the Indonesian player was discovered in Utut Adianto's Academy from Bekasi and it hasn’t stopped growing since. Because too often we have the tendency to take things for granted, I shouldn't forget to mention: Mr. Machnan R. Kamaluddin, Mr. Eka Putra Wirya and Mr. Kristianus Liem, with whom GM Utut Adianto formed the renowned chess school.

Special thanks to Mr. Rachmat Indrajaya (Independent Director PT JAPFA Comfeed Indonesia Tbk) and Ms. Artsanti Alif (Vice President Public Relations PT Japfa Comfeed Indonesia Tbk) for the absolutely gorgeous time we had!

I play in Jakarta every year and every time I am amazed by how ambitious and young the future GMs are. Not to mention the tactical beasts 'hidden' behind their...

… friendly faces

No matter how spectacular the tactical blows are, defense is just as important. The next examples will walk you through various moments in Jakarta, where the players could have put up fierce resistance.

Hafiz - Setyaki

Survive with Black!

Shah - Wahyudi

What should Black play?

Priasmoro - Shah

Find Black's best way to proceed. Note that he is down an exchange.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that organizing an event of such caliber requires fuel and patience, while obtaining gold medals can't be done without competitive chess programs. And Indonesia is getting it all in place.

Incentives do motivate effort

One might assume that your name must be Carlsen or 'at least' Anand if you wish to receive some level of attention, but that isn’t the case in Jakarta where everybody knows your name.

Especially if it is IM Haridas Pascua from the Philippines, the sole winner with 7.5/11

But the rest of us were pretty popular too

If you wonder how it feels to be treated like a star, come and play in the Indonesian capital, but be ready with an army of pens for the zillion autographs you will be asked for and train your facial muscles for all the smiling photos with your fans.

Typical scene

Yes, I am pretty sure we are talking about chess here and not football. This tournament makes you feel special indeed.

Chess and the chess players are so respected and loved in this country

I personally may have high expectations from the Indonesian chess festival, although I know very well how dangerous and deceiving that can be. So far, however, it seems unlikely to lead to disappointment. The conditions for the players are superb and are getting better each year, which is actually quite hard to imagine. They have been outstanding from the very first time I joined.

When the conditions for the players are as good as in Jakarta, your chances of trying out the rich Indonesian street food culture go downhill...

But that should not be missed! Truth be told, most of the times I had no clue what I was being served

The organizers paid attention to our general well-being, thus entertaining moments were part of the program...

… for a jolly time.


To be continued

Alina is an International Master and a very enthusiastic person in everything she does. She loves travelling to the world's most remote places in order to play chess tournaments and report about them here on ChessBase! As chance would have it Alina is also an excellent photographer.


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