17 December 2013

Playing Penang Chess Festival

It was a hectic 2 weeks of chess and also a series of firsts for the family. The National Juniors at Johor Bahru was quickly followed by the Penang Chess Festival which we took part in for the first time. The family team played the Penang Inter-Team League and the boys and me followed on to play the Penang Open .

Penang Chess League (Inter-Team)
The family team, Chessnutz, came into action again for the first time in seven years. The last time was at the 2006 Merdeka Inter-Team when Mi Yen, Yit Ho, Yit San and the then 8-year old Mi Lyn played in the U16 category. This time around, the kids have grown up and they played to support their mum who wanted to play a few games. Although it was tiring and whoever did not play had to take care of the two youngest sisters, the whole family had a lot of fun playing. The teams put up for each round was with the intention of getting 'Goldilocks' (i.e. not too strong (hot) and not too weak (cold)) opponents for the missus/mum so that she could enjoy a fighting game. So it was a surprise that we were still in contention for a money prize (top 8) in the final round. Anyhow, a disastrous final round loss to the MSSPP U12 Boys team put paid to any hopes of a money prize and we settled for the Best Family Trophies.

The organisation of the event was impressive and ran like clock-work. Eng Seong was especially impressive when he handled the allocation of prizes to the prize winners.

Penang Open 2013
The Penang Open quickly followed the next day. It is the 5th consecutive year it is being held and so it was announced. With more than 270 players, the organisation again was impressive and everything ran efficiently and on time. A big round of congratulations is therefore due to the two main persons driving the event, Lee Ewe Ghee, the Penang Chess Association President, and sponsor of the event; and Tan Eng Seong, main organiser and also Tournament Director.

The top finishers:

Final Ranking - 6 pts +
Rk. Name FED Rtg Pts.  TB1   TB2  Cash Prizes
1 IM Nolte Rolando PHI 2425 7.5 53.5 RM5000
2 IM Kvon Andrey UZB 2504 7 54 RM4000
3 Abelgas Roel PHI 2291 7 53 RM3000
4 FM Menkinoski Riste MKD 2359 7 50 RM2000
5 GM Fominyh Alexander RUS 2444 6.5 54.5 RM1000
6 Yeoh Li Tian MAS 2302 6.5 54 RM800
7 FM Mariano Nelson III PHI 2304 6.5 53.5 RM700
8 Biag Ivan Gil PHI 2279 6.5 51 RM650
9 Fong Yit San MAS 2134 6.5 50.5 RM600
10 FM Sonjaya Deni INA 2292 6.5 47.5 RM550
11 Chan Marcus MAS 2227 6.5 44.5 31.5 RM500
12 IM Chiong Luis PHI 2306 6.5 44.5 31 RM500
13 Causo Deniel PHI 2287 6 53.5 RM500
14 Nouri Hamed PHI 2355 6 53 RM500
15 Yoseph Taher INA 2242 6 50.5 RM500
16 IM Dimakiling Oliver PHI 2376 6 50 RM300
17 Branzuela Ali PHI 2264 6 49 RM300
18 Verdun Xavier John PHI 2259 6 48 RM300
19 Bagamasbad Efren PHI 2180 6 47.5 RM300
20 Villanueva Nelson PHI 2265 6 47 RM300
21 FM Castellano Christopher PHI 2270 6 46.5
22 FM Tin Jingyao SIN 2172 6 45.5
23 FM Zuherman Eddy INA 2313 6 40.5

Other results: http://chess-results.com/tnr118481.aspx?lan=1

Congratulations to the Champion, IM Rolando Nolte of the Philippines. The Filipinos dominated the event securing 12 of the 20 main prizes, with Malaysians grabbing 3, Indonesians 2 and one each by IM Kvon (UZB), FM Menkinoski (MKD) and GM Fominyh (RUS).

Li Tian, Yit San and Marcus Chan were the 3 Malaysians finishing in the top 20 with 6.5 points each. Li Tian took 6th placing ahead of his starting rank of 10th. He was his usual steady self being unbeaten for the first 8 rounds. Li Tian showed his fearlessness when he refused an early draw offer by Nolte in the final round. A win would make him champion and he wanted to play on. As it was, the Black side against a superb display of collective mobility by Nolte was too much for Li Tian to handle. Li Tian, nevertheless, managed to add 17 points which should see him at a new rating of 2319 in the next FRL.

Yit San finished in 9th place after accepting a draw offer from Nelson Mariano III after 15 moves in a game that neither player was prepared to risk losing. I like to think that the Filipinos are starting to show Yit San some respect or perhaps Nelson remembered their previous game at the Malaysian Open a short 4 months ago when Yit San had to settle for a perpetual due to time trouble although clearly ahead. A gain of 31 rating points should see Yit San at 2167 in the next FRL.

It was good to see Marcus back playing serious chess. He started slowly (not to say badly) probably due to rustiness, but visibly improved over the last few rounds, managing to remain unbeaten throughout the event to end up at 11th place. The final round game against GM Fominyh was a back-to-the-wall affair against positional pressure from the GM. Marcus prevailed and could even have won it at the death when the GM blundered badly with Rf4+?? which would have lost his rook against the riposte Kg5. However, Marcus missed that winning move and the players settled for a draw a few moves later. Marcus reactivates his FIDE rating and gains 2 rating points which should see him back in the active list on 2229 in the next FRL.

It has been an enjoyable outing and we look forward to taking part again next year.

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