Spot-on for amateurs
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@ chess-malaysia.com) or the Malaysian Chess Federation (firstname.lastname@example.org).