Sunday, August 30, 2009

Malaysian Open and Merdeka 2009

The 3/4 Perak Team (Ipoh Limau Bali) in the Merdeka Team Event (from left: Mustapha Kamal, Fadli Zakaria - Selangor, Johan Jamil, Fadzil Nayan)

The Perak Juniors in the Merdeka Team Event (from left: Sumant Subramaniam, Mark Siew, Fong Yit San, Fong Yit Ho)

First, the highlights from the Malaysian Open (with players from 22 countries) - 22nd to 28th Aug.

Mark Siew, our MSSPK under-18 champion did very well in this category. A late comer to the national level games, he started to show his promise in the Penang Open recently. A KL trainer even said that he will have to start following his progress in future tournaments to prepare his players against him. A compliment indeed. In this tournament, Mark defeated a 2000+ player from Russia, and two 2100+ players from China and Japan, drew with a 2100+ from China and drew with a 2200+ from Australia. He lost to three 2300's and a 2400 International Master. By our calculation he should have a FIDE rating of 2000, a good jump from 1937 when he was first rated in July. So well done, Mark.

So now Perak has 2 Juniors that have a shot at the National Juniors. This will be determined at the National Juniors competition to select the national junior squad in December. The other player is Sumant Subramaniam who is born in Perak and has opted to play for the silver state. Sumant is a current National Junior.

So things are looking up for Perak. We have never been this close for years. And this year, PICA has agreed to sponsor this event.

Merdeka Team Event - 29th to 31st Aug.

Our Juniors came close to winning the U16 prize but were thrashed by the Indonesian Dream girls team at the last round. Only Sumant managed to get a half point. But all in all they did very well as they fought the top international teams towards the end. Sumant displayed remarkable stamina as both Mark and him just finished the Open and played the team the next day. Still this has been Perak's strongest Junior team with the 2 Fong brothers playing 3rd and 4th board. The Fongs were former Selangor players but are now residing and schooling in Perak. All in all the boys fought well. On the 8th round, Sumant came close to beating a Grand Master on Board 1, but lost on time. He and the others have done the state proud.

As for our other "Team", we got 3 Perak senior players who arrived for the Open but being short of one state player, they brought in Fadli from Selangor and now couldn't play for the state according to the rules. We even had a sponsor for the RM 300 fees but the sponsor would only sponsor the state team so they ended up financing themselves. Still they sportingly named their team the Ipoh Limau Bali team, so Perak got a mention at least. This team did fairly well considering the field. But on the second day 2 players were a no show because they had nowhere to stay the night before and so they arrived late after spending the night in UIA and got caught in a jam travelling by taxi. So 2 points were lost just like that. I hope that future organisers of our state teams will do a little extra to ensure our players are accorded more dignity and consideration.

Sadly we also did not send an under 12 team this year even though we had made the allocations in the committee. We need to focus on this age group as they will be our future going forward.

Education and training and selection committee.