Spot-on for ama­teurs

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - LEISURE - QUAH SENG SUN star2@thes­

NOR­MALLY at about this time, I would be count­ing the num­ber of weeks be­fore yearend. I look for­ward to the start of a new year, and a new cy­cle of chess ac­tiv­i­ties for am­a­teur chess play­ers in the coun­try.

Lo­cal chess ac­tiv­i­ties are at their low­est ebb at this time of the year. Could it be that chess or­gan­is­ers are tak­ing a breather? Or maybe chess play­ers are sav­ing their an­nual leave for big­ger events to come? Well, one thing is for sure: many ju­nior chess play­ers are not play­ing be­cause of their fi­nal se­mes­ter ex­am­i­na­tions.

What­ever the rea­son, chess play­ers would stir from their slum­ber in De­cem­ber when im­por­tant in­ter­na­tion­ally-rated events such as the Pe­nang Her­itage City open tour­na­ment and the Sarawak open tour­na­ment are sched­uled.

But this year is dif­fer­ent. Early this week, I re­ceived an e-mail from the Malaysian Chess Fed­er­a­tion (MCF) in­form­ing me that they would be or­gan­is­ing the sec­ond Asian am­a­teur open and women chess cham­pi­onship in Kuala Lumpur from Nov 25 to Dec 1. This came as a sur­prise be­cause word was out ear­lier that the event would be played in Yemen. How­ever, in view of the po­lit­i­cal in­sta­bil­ity in Yemen, the Asian Chess Fed­er­a­tion had asked the MCF to step in and play host. asian open cham­pi­onship gives chess en­thu­si­asts a chance to shine.

So if all goes ac­cord­ing to plan, we should see play­ers from more than 40 coun­tries in the Asian re­gion de­scend­ing on Kuala Lumpur for this com­pe­ti­tion.

These will be the am­a­teur play­ers, not the in­ter­na­tional masters or grand­mas­ters.

This event is con­fined to Asian play­ers who are un­rated or have an in­ter­na­tional rat­ing of not more than 2100 points.

This may ex­clude a whole lot of Asian Fide masters and ti­tled women chess play­ers. And that’s the whole fun of this com­pe­ti­tion be­cause it leaves the real chess ama­teurs – peo­ple like you and I – to fight it out among them­selves for the top prizes.

The win­ner of the open sec­tion will take home US$1,500 (RM4,710). Even the sec­ond and third prizes are a hefty US$1,000 (RM3,140) and US$800 (RM2,510) re­spec­tively. There are six other mi­nor prizes that go down to US$200 (RM630). For the women, there are four prizes with the best of them set to win US$400 (RM1,260). There are also iden­ti­cal prizes for the four best un­rated play­ers.

Ac­cord­ing to MCF pres­i­dent Tan Sri Ramli Ngah Talib, the tour­na­ment is ex­pected to at­tract a size­able num­ber of play­ers from neigh­bour­ing Asian chess pow­er­houses such as the Philip­pines, Viet­nam and In­done­sia.

“Ob­vi­ously, we are de­lighted,” said Ramli. “Such a pres­ti­gious event will open doors for many am­a­teur play­ers in our coun­try to ex­pe­ri­ence an Asian level chess event and pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for them to ex­cel on an Asian con­ti­nen­tal plat­form.”

En­try fees are US$125 for play­ers with in­ter­na­tional rat­ings and US$150 for non-rated play­ers. Malaysians wish­ing to play will be charged RM412 and RM495 re­spec­tively. En­tries will close on Nov 4.

For en­quiries con­tact the event sec­re­tar­iat (na­jib.wa­hab@ or the Malaysian Chess Fed­er­a­tion (

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