Selamat Datang ke Malaysia

by ChessBase
5/16/2005 – 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.

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2nd Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open Chess Championship 2005

By Edwin Lam Choong Wai

In about three months or so from now, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia welcomes all of you again for the 2nd Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open Chess Championship 2005. It’s almost nine months already since GM Ni Hua of China took the top honor of the 1st Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open Chess Championship 2004 with a score of 8.5 points after 11 rounds of grueling battle (see ChessBase report).

Last year’s winner, GM Ni Hua

The 2nd Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open 2005, to be organized by the Malaysian Chess Federation (MCF), is co-sponsored by Malaysian conglomerate IGB Corporation Berhad – a public-listed company on the Main Board of Bursa Malaysia – and Baillieu Myer of Australia. With this year’s edition offering USD 15,100 in total prize money, it is definitely going to be one of the richest chess events in this region for the year 2005. The total for this year already represents an increase of approximately USD 3,000 from last year’s total prize money and if the grapevines are to be believed, the total prize fund is definitely going on an annual increase of the same amount, at least until the 5th edition of the Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open in 2008!

When? Where?

The 2nd Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open 2005 will be held in Mid Valley City, Kuala Lumpur between the 19th and 26th of August 2005. An opening ceremony is scheduled on the night of the 19th of August 2005 with the battle of this 11-round, FIDE-rated event commencing on the morning of the 20th of August 2005 with the first round. Time control for the event is 90 minutes per player plus 30 seconds per move. Thus, the duration taken for each game may be as long as four hours. This means that only a maximum of two games can be played each day – with the morning rounds starting at 9 am and the afternoon ones at 2.30 pm.

Mid Valley City

The 11 rounds of battles will come to an end around noon on the 26th of August 2005. By then, the winner of the 2nd Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open 2005 will already be known. With the dominant showing by the Chinese in the recently concluded Dubai Open, the burning question is will GM Ni Hua take the top honors again? Or, will another talented junior player in the mould of Wang Hao, burst onto the scene here in Mid Valley City? All these are left to be seen – come the month of August 2005.

But, the story doesn’t end there. You see, as I mentioned in my tournament report for the 1st Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open 2004, the month of August is traditionally a hectic month for tournament organizers here in Kuala Lumpur. This year is in fact, no exception. Immediately upon the completion of Round 11 of the 2nd Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open 2005, there is going to be the Malaysian Open Blitz Championship. Then, on the following day, which is the 27th August 2005, the ASTRO 25th Merdeka Team Chess Championship will begin. This annual team chess event, which is held to commemorate the independence day of Malaysia, will lasts until the 31st of August 2005. Immediately upon the conclusion of this event, the FIDE Zonal championship will also be hosted here in Kuala Lumpur. Details of both the ASTRO 25th Merdeka Team Chess Championship and the FIDE Zonal event will appear in a separate posting here on next month. All in all, the combined presence of the 2nd Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open 2005, the Malaysian Open Blitz Championship, the ASTRO 25th Merdeka Team Chess Championship and the FIDE Zonal event will most likely be the largest chess carnival ever to be held in this region.

“Selamat Datang ke Malaysia”

In the Alsace region of France, they say “Willkomme”. In Hawaii, it is “Aloha mai”, while in Japan, they will take a little bow before saying “Irashaimasu”. In Malaysia, it is “Selamat Datang”. The moment you land at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport or come in to the country through the railway stations, ports and roads, you will be greeted with signboards being printed with the words “Selamat Datang ke Malaysia” – which is ‘Welcome to Malaysia’ in the Malay language.

For those of you who have been here for the 1st Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open 2004, we are pleased to welcome you back to this tropical haven by the name of Malaysia. As for those of you who have not been to this country before, we definitely hope that you would take this opportunity of participating in the 2nd Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open 2005, to visit Malaysia.

A view of Kuala Lumpur at dawn, with the towering KL Tower and the Petronas Twin Towers in the background, as seen from Thean Hou Temple

In a multi-racial environment of predominantly Malay, Chinese and Indian, the main medium of conversation between each other is equally shared between the English and Malay languages. So, for tourists visiting this country, it is possible to communicate with locals in the English language. However, locals would greatly appreciate it if you know a little Malay (which is the National Language of Malaysia). Thus, for starters, a lesson in some basic Malay would not be too out of place as an introduction for this article:

“Satu” – One
“Dua” – Two
“Tiga” – Three
“Empat” – Four
“Lima” – Five
“Enam” – Six
“Tujuh” – Seven
“Lapan” – Eight
“Sembilan” – Nine
“Sepuluh” – Ten
“Seratus” – One hundred
“Seribu” – One thousand
“Terima kasih” – Thank you
“Selamat pagi” – Good morning
“Apa khabar?” – How are you?
“Sudah makan?” – Have you had your breakfast / lunch / dinner? (Depending on what time this question was asked)

Malaysia is a country that is located just above the Equator with a tropical climate. Except for the annual South West and North East monsoons bringing rather heavy rain throughout the country, Malaysia is blessed with an abundance of sunshine all year round. With a booming birth rate, Malaysia’s population currently stands at 23,522,482 persons (July 2004 estimates). The official currency of use in this country is the Ringgit Malaysia (or, in short ‘RM’) and the exchange rate is approximately USD 1 = RM 3.80.

Historically, Malaysia has its roots dating back to the Malacca Sultanate of the 15th century. Functioning as an important trading port in the 15th century between the East and the West, Malacca is served by a multitude array of cultures, languages, religions, customs and beliefs brought about by the visiting traders. The subsequent colonization, first by the Portuguese then the Dutch and finally the British also brought about greater variety in the kaleidoscope of cultures and identity of Malaysians.

Developments in the past two decades have brought about even more international influences to the melting pot of Malaysian culture. With the influx of expatriates, growing use of the Internet as well as the increasing overseas travels by Malaysians, we are becoming culturally very diversified. Not surprisingly, we see the growing numbers of Vietnamese restaurants around the Klang Valley in the past 2 years as well as the sprouting of Hong Kong dessert shops such as the famed one in Citrus Park, Old Klang Road.

Sunset on a sunny, sunny Sunday at Port Klang – the city where I come from!

Surrounded by the Malacca Straits and the South China Sea, Malaysia is endowed with 4,675 kilometers of coastline. With an average of 1.3 million tourists visiting Malaysia each month, the total numbers for 2004 (which is not yet, confirmed) is expected to hit a high of 15 million arrivals. The European and Oceania tourists come to Malaysia to escape the harsh winters back home while the Middle Eastern tourists come here to shop. The Japanese, who usually come by during the motor racing seasons, likes the lush greeneries, hospitality, tropical clime as well as the low cost of living here in Malaysia. It is little wonder that a lot of tourists – especially Europeans – ended up investing in properties here to make Malaysia their second home!

Kuala Lumpur: Beyond the Petronas Twin Towers

While many of you would have only associated Kuala Lumpur with the Petronas Twin Towers, architecture is merely one of the many facets of the city. There’s a lot more to the city that is beyond the skyscrapers and buildings of the Central Business District.

Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia. It is also home to Mid Valley City, the venue of the 2nd Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open 2005. Kuala Lumpur is a vibrant, attractive and sustainable city. It is a city in contrast – of the yin and yang – with yuppie, expatriate haunts existing side-by-side to traditional coffee shops; modern, tall skyscrapers overlooking age-old colonial buildings as well as posh suburbs of gated communities in adjacent to simple, traditional homes.

It is a cosmopolitan city, with dwellers of multiple ethnicity and background nicely defined by the different areas / sections within the city. Little India (which is adjacent to the bustling Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman) and Chinatown (which is also known as Petaling Street) are, as the names suggest mostly patronized by the respective ethnic groups. Kampung Baru, which is adjacent to Jalan Ampang, is a traditional Malay village (or, kampung) located right in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. Then, there is the famed Korean Village of Kuala Lumpur in the One Ampang Avenue area, whereby lots of Korean expatriates live. And, if you go walking around the posh residential areas of Mon’t Kiara, chances are you will bump into a lot of Japanese there.

The bright lights of Little India

Moving around Kuala Lumpur is not that difficult. You can either go around in more traditional means such as buses and taxis. Else, you can get on a Light Rail Transit (LRT), Monorail or KTM Komuter (which are electric trains) to get you where you are planning to go. In a Worldwide 2004 Cost of Living Survey City Rankings (, it was found that Kuala Lumpur ranked lower than regional neighbors Singapore, Jakarta and Ho Chi Minh City!

Great cities are defined by its’ people and their culture, and Kuala Lumpur (or, ‘Kay-El’ in short) is definitely home to one uniquely Malaysian culture that I am very sure doesn’t exist anywhere else: ‘mamak’ stalls. ‘Mamak’ stalls is a Malaysian-styled open-air dining concept that serves Indian food such as teh tarik, tandoori chicken, roti canai, murtabak, roti tisu and naan – just to name a few. These ‘mamak’ stalls are well loved by all Malaysians, be it the young or the old, and are usually a great meeting place for friends on weekends. On Saturday nights, ‘mamak’ stalls such as Steven’s Corner, Murni and Uncle Don, even become a haunt for football lovers with the large projection screenings of English Premier League (EPL) matches – live from the United Kingdom. All that said, the best thing about these ‘mamak’ stalls lies in the fact that they stay open until midnight (some are even open for 24 hours!!) to serve hungry customers like me!


Mid Valley City – “A city within a city”

Mid Valley City, set to be one of the largest urban development projects in the world is a masterpiece that caters to the modern-day lifestyle of integration in work, play and dine – all at one place. The construction of this integrated development comprising shopping malls, hotels, office blocks, office tower and residential developments got under way in the 1990s.

Some of these developments had been completed, while others are on going. Mid Valley Megamall, a five-storey shopping mall has opened its doors since November 1999, while Cititel Mid Valley is a competitive option for business and leisure travelers in Kuala Lumpur. The Signature Offices along the Boulevard of Mid Valley City is an ideal office location for small and medium-sized companies, while Menara IGB’s towering presence is the choice of Bates Advertising, Foote Cone & Belding, Astana International, Volvo Cars Malaysia and Lucent Technologies.

The façade of Mid Valley Megamall with towering Menara IGB on the right

The Boulevard Hotel is almost complete and will be going through a soft launch in June 2005, while the Northpoint Residences and Office Suites are also in advanced stages of construction. Also, the construction of a new shopping center called The Gardens has also just started this year. The Gardens, which is located adjacent to the Mid Valley Megamall, will have a floor space of 800,000 square feet to accommodate some 200 retail outlets once completed in 2007. This new shopping center – five-storey high – is positioned as a lifestyle mall that caters to a market segment different from those currently served by the Mid Valley Megamall and is definitely being eagerly anticipated for by shoppers.

The soon-to-be completed The Boulevard hotel (partly shielded by the tree in the foreground)

The 2nd Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open 2005 will be held at the Mid Valley Exhibition Center, Level 3, Mid Valley Megamall. The official hotel for the event is the Cititel Mid Valley.

Mid Valley Megamall – “Best mall I ever visit!”

Mid Valley Megamall

The Mid Valley Megamall, with 4.5 million square feet of floor space and 7,000 car park bays, has something for everyone under its roof. With 430 specialty shops supporting the anchor tenants of Carrefour, Jusco and Metrojaya, it is definitely possible to find the trendiest item at a most affordable price. With international labels Zara, MNG and Topshop existing alongside local favorites such as Seed and Vincci, it’s a good stop for some retail therapy!

North Court, Mid Valley Megamall

Book lovers will delight at the sight of the gigantic MPH Bookstore on the Ground Floor, which also offers a very good selection of chess books. For the health-buffs, the California Fitness Center is located on the 3rd floor. The region’s largest Cineplex of 18 screens – Golden Screen Cinemas – is also located on the 3rd floor. It is a definite hit among city folks wanting to catch a movie on the weekends. Besides catching a movie, shoppers can also entertain themselves by going to the bowling alley and also Brewball to have a game of pool. Pets Wonderland is also a hit among shoppers on weekends wanting to get a pet, or simply to view those lovely fishes, birds and puppies there.

Food-wise, abundance is the perfect word to describe the choices available at this award-winning mall. From the famed Belgian chocolate outlet Leonidas to Indian vegetarian restaurant Annalakshmi and Hong Kong Kim Gary Restaurant (which offers a staggering 157 items on its menu list!), dining at Mid Valley is an unparalleled adventure of international affair.

Japanese delight at Mid Valley

Diners queuing up and waiting in line for a seat in a restaurant

The sight of a terracotta warrior guarding the patrons at ‘Dragon I’ – a newly opened restaurant at Cititel Mid Valley that serves Shanghainese cuisine

If one just wants to chill out and relax, then heading for Coffee Bean or Starbucks is a good idea. Or, if you are a pastry lover, then Bread Story by Jun and Breadtalk from Singapore are definite hits. Besides that, the aroma coming out of the outlet of local bakery Rotiboy will melt anyone’s resolve for dieting. With so much to choose from, no wonder Mid Valley Megamall has been labeled “Food Heaven!!”.

With 100 percent occupancy of its retail space, and an average of 2.2 million shoppers visiting the mall every month, it definitely lives up to its reputation as one of the best shopping malls in this country.

Thousands of shoppers throng Mid Valley Megamall on weekends – to shop, chill out, dine and entertain!

How do I get to Mid Valley Megamall?

If you are coming to Malaysia for the first time to participate in the upcoming 2nd Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open 2005, you may want to know how to get to Mid Valley Megamall, the venue of the tournament? Well, it is really not too difficult. The moment you touch down at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (which is located 50 kilometers south of Kuala Lumpur), you can either take a taxi or jump into the ultra fast KLIA Express, which will get you straight to KL Sentral, the main transportation hub of the city, in about half an hour only.

All you need to get to the 2nd Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open 2005 – a passport, an air ticket to Malaysia and of course, a map to Mid Valley City!

The KTM Komuter Station

From KL Sentral, you can either take a taxi, the KTM Komuter (the Mid Valley station is just one stop away from KL Sentral) or the Putra LRT (whereby you get off at the Bangsar station – which is also just one stop away from KL Sentral – before hopping onto a free feeder bus to Mid Valley Megamall) to get to Mid Valley Megamall. The journey is only about 5 to 10 minutes long.

How do I register for the 2nd Dato’ Arthur Tan Malaysia Open 2005?

Besides the ten main prizes (with the top prize for the Champion amounting to USD 4,000!) allocated for the top finishers in the tournament, there are also special prizes to be given out to the Best Malaysian and Australian players, respectively. The Best Female, Under-16 and Under-12 finishers respectively will also be given special prizes. On top of all that, an incentive prize is also available for participants of any rank for defeating Grandmasters!

Grandmasters, International Masters, Women Grandmasters, Women International Masters and players rated above 2500 in the July 2005 FIDE rating list will be accorded free entrance to the tournament. As for the others, the entrance fee varies between USD 50 and USD 200, depending on the player’s FIDE Rating points (July 2005 list).

The closing date for entries is on the 1st of August 2005. For more information and to register for the event, please contact Hamid Majid either via phone (603 – 4021 9576 / 6019 – 315 8098), fax (603 – 4024 4337) or email (aham (at) Late entries will be penalized.

So, what else are you all waiting for? Go get yourself prepared, register yourself for the tournament and book your flight to Malaysia, today! Hope to see you here in Mid Valley City this August 2005!

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 at an advertising agency 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 His other articles that have appeared on 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.

Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.


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