Get ready for the national closed championships next month.
THIS year’s national closed and national women’s closed championships are just a month away. According to the Malaysian Chess Federation, the two competitions will be played concurrently at the Datuk Arthur Tan Chess Centre, Wilayah Complex, Kuala Lumpur, from March 16-20.
In previous years, the two events tend to be held in the middle of the year. Last year, for example, the championships were played in June. This year, though, they have been brought forward to the first quarter of the year, and they coincide with the school calendar’s mid-semester break.
The main reason for this is that the Malaysian Chess Federation (MCF) is co-organising the two championships with the Datuk Arthur Tan Chess Centre (DATCC). The DATCC had undergone some recent internal reorganisation and can now accommodate more events. Having more events also mean having to draw up a chess calendar and adhere more strictly to it.
While going through the rules and regulations last week, I noticed a radical change in the treatment of past national champions. They are no longer given free entries into either competition, if they ever choose to play. The only exception is given to the defending champions and even then, this only applies if they confirm their entries before the end of this month. Otherwise they, like all other participants, will be subjected to an entry fee.
The match between Maxime Vachier- Lagrave (white) and Wang Hao (black).
This new regulation makes a lot of sense to me because I am sure that the organisers will not miss them. It is a great shame that in all these years, save for perhaps one or two of the former champions, I hardly see any of the others. They had moved up the ranks from anonymity to visibility, and the least they could do was to contribute back to the structure that placed them there.
So what of the entry fees?
For starters, the entry fee for players with FIDE international ratings of above 2,000 is RM60; those with FIDE ratings of between 1,600 and 1,999 are required to pay RM100; those rated below 1599 or who are unrated will be charged RM150. A 20% discount will apply if a participant registers before this Sunday (Feb 20), while a 50% late fee will be imposed on all entries registered after March 13.
Each of the state chess associations affiliated to the MCF is eligible to register one player for each competition at a 50% discount until the end of this month. After March 1, the state representative will need to pay normal rates, and after March 13, a late fee of RM50 applies. However, any state representative with a FIDE rating of above 2200 is given free entry.
Meanwhile, DATCC has also made known that it is organising a one-day Lim Chong memorial tournament at its premises on March 27. “He was an avid chess player and a noted columnist for The Malay Mail for more than a decade beginning 1983,” said Hamid Majid who is organising this event.
Later, Lim joined Bernama as a sub-editor of the national news agency’s economic news service. He died of a heart attack last November while en route from London to Kuala Lumpur.
The idea for this tournament was mooted recently by the Malaysian Chess Federation’s honorary life president, Datuk Tan Chin Nam, who offered to match and donate “ringgit for ringgit” all entry fees collected for the event. More than 100 participants are expected to register for this one-day tournament which, incidentally, would fall on Lim’s 57th birthday.
Two games of interest from the recently concluded Tata Steel chess tournament in Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands.
White: Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (2715)
Black: Wang Hao (2731)
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.e3 e6 7.Bxc4 Bb4 8.0-0 Nbd7 9.Qe2 0-0 10.e4 Bg6 11.Bd3 Bh5 12.e5 Nd5 13.Nxd5 cxd5 14.Qe3 Be7 15.Bd2 Nb8 16.a5 a6 17.Rfc1 Nc6 18.Ne1 Qd7 19.Bc2 Qd8 20.Qh3 Bg6 21.Bxg6 hxg6 22.Qg4 Rc8 23.Nf3 Qd7 24.Bg5 Bb4 25.Qh4 Ne7 26.g4 Rxc1+ 27.Rxc1 Rc8 28.Kg2 Nc6 29.Rd1 Bxa5 30.Rd3 Nb4 31.Rb3 Qb5 32.Be7 (White has a tremendous game going for him. With this move, he clears the g5 square for his knight, after which checkmate would seem inevitable. However, Black had seen a little further and he saves the game with an unlikely move.) 32...Nd3!! (see diagram)33.Rxb5 (Now, if White had played 33.Rxd3, Black has the resource 33...g5 and 34…Qxd3 which protects the h7 square. After White accepts the black queen, the game quickly ends with a draw.) 33...Nf4+ 34.Kg3 Ne2+ 35.Kh3 Nf4+ 36.Kg3 Ne2+ 37.Kg2 Nf4+ ½-½
The former world chess champion, Vladimir Kramnik, seems to find it difficult to overcome Magnus Carlsen in recent tournaments. He fell again to the Norwegian grandmaster at the Tata Steel tournament.
White: Vladimir Kramnik (2784)
Black: Magnus Carlsen
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 Bb4+ 4.Bd2 Bxd2+ 5.Qxd2 d5 6.Bg2 Nbd7 7.Nf3 c6 8.0-0 b6 9.Rc1 0-0 10.cxd5 cxd5 11.Na3 Bb7 12.Nb5 a6 13.Nd6 Qb8 14.Qb4 a5 15.Qa3 Ba6 16.Ne5 b5 17.Qxa5 Qxd6 18.Rc6 Qb8 19.Rxa6 Rxa6 20.Qxa6 Nxe5 21.dxe5 Qxe5 22.Qxb5 Rb8 23.Qd3 Rxb2 24.Qe3 (In the last few moves, Kramnik’s play had been suspect. He now realises that he is going to lose a pawn. This is his best continuation, to exchange queens and go into an endgame where he can try to push forward his a-pawn.) 24...Qxe3 25.fxe3 Rxe2 26.a4 Rc2 27.a5 Rc7 28.a6 Ra7 29.Bf1 Kf8 30.Rb1 Ke7 31.Rb7+ Rxb7 32.axb7 Nd7 33.Kf2 Kd6 34.Bb5 Nb8 35.Be8 Ke7 36.Bb5 f6 37.Kf3 Kd6 38.Be8 Kc7 39.Bf7 Kxb7 40.Bxe6 Kc6 41.Bg8 h6 42.Kg4 Nd7 43.Kf5 Ne5 44.h3 Kc5 45.g4 (According to Carlsen’s own assessment of this position, 45.Ke6 would have been enough for a draw. After 45.g4, Carlsen patiently grinds out the win.) 45...Kd6 46.Bh7 Ke7 47.Bg8 g6+ 48.Kf4 Nf7 49.Bh7 g5+ 50.Kg3 Nd6 51.Bg8 Ne4+ 52.Kg2 Kd6 53.Kf3 Kc5 54.Bh7 Nc3 55.Bd3 Kb4 56.Ba6 Kb3 57.Bb7 Kc2 58.Ba6 Kd1 59.Bb7 Kd2 60.Bc6 Ke1 61.Bb7 Kf1 62.Ba8 Kg1 63.Kg3 Ne4+ 64.Kf3 Nd2+ 65.Kg3 Nf1+ 66.Kf3 Nd2+ 67.Kg3 Nc4 68.Bxd5 Nxe3 69.Bb7 Nf1+ 70.Kf3 Kh2 71.Kf2 Nd2 72.Bg2 Nc4 73.Bf1 Ne5 74.Ke3 Kg1 75.Be2 Kg2 76.Ke4 Kxh3 77.Kf5 Kh4 78.Bd1 Nc4 79.Ke4 Nd6+ 80.Kd5 f5 (White captures the knight with 81.Kxd6 but he will lose the game after 81…fxg4 82.Ke5 g3 83.Bf3 Kh3 84.Kf6 g4 85.Bc6 g2) 0-1