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  • Lifestyle
  • Friday, 05 Dec 2008

December is a busymonth for players,with varioustournaments heldaround the country.

HAVE you ever noticed that Malaysian chess normally goes through a period of hibernation near the end of the year? October and November are usually the worst months for chess activity.

It’s not difficult to understand this seasonal phenomenon. Fact is, Malaysian chess is very much a youth-based activity with the adults being the supporting players. Of course, children and teenagers who continue playing chess into their adulthood tend to remain long in the game but as students, they are the ones who keep the chess clubs functioning.

For many of our chess clubs and associations, student chess players form the bulk of participants at chess competitions. So it stands to reason that if the students are too busy with their studies and examinations at the end of the year, they wouldn’t be playing in tournaments and organisers wouldn’t run events if there are no participants.

Now you know why I said that October and November are among the worst months for chess. Actually, any period of the year that coincides with school examinations can be considered among the worst periods to hold chess competitions but nothing beats these two months.

Come December, though, you will find the chess associations coming back to life. It’s time for the school holidays and if you’re not going for a vacation, the next wholesome activity that’s considered good for the grey cells up there must surely be the chess competitions.

And there’s a whole slew of chess competitions being lined up this month. All around the country, weekend tournaments have been announced.

Selangor Q4 allegro

This Sunday, the Chess Association of Selangor (CAS) will organise their Fourth Quarter allegro chess tournament at the new Chess Network premises on the fourth floor of the Wilayah Complex in Kuala Lumpur.

This is a seven-round event and the winners will receive cash prizes and a copy of this year’s Selangor open chess bulletins.

Entry fees (inclusive of a RM5 late administrative fee): RM20 if you or one of your parents is a CAS member, RM25 for non-members. To register, e-mail your name and telephone number to selangorchess@gmail.com.

Penang chess league

The Penang Chess Association (PCA) is organising their 18th annual Penang chess league on Dec 13-14. What used to be a tournament that stretched over six or seven weekends in the past has now been compacted into a single weekend.

According to the organisers, this is meant to encourage participation, especially by outstation teams. If that is the objective, it has been largely achieved. The PCA website suggests that teams from the Klang Valley will be descending on Penang for this tournament which will be held at the Dewan Sri Pinang.

I counted at least six national masters, a 13-year-old Fide master from Singapore and a big surprise, grandmaster Bong Villamayor of the Philippines. So this is going to be a very interesting event indeed.

Entry fees are RM120 for open teams, RM90 for under-18 teams and RM60 for under-12 teams. Entries should be submitted to the organisers before Dec 11. Online registration can be made at pca.bayanbaru.com. The PCA website also lists other forthcoming events in the state.

KL open

The Kuala Lumpur Chess Association (KLCA) is holding the Fide-rated KL open tournament in Kuala Lumpur on Dec 15-21.

I’ve already written at length about this tournament on Nov 14 but in case you have forgotten, it’s a nine-round contest with a total prize fund of RM45,000, of which the first prize alone is RM10,000.

Entry fees vary for Malaysians but they range from RM100 to RM200 depending on your qualifications.

For details or to register, contact Peter Long (013-392 0920 / peter@aseanchess.com).

Terengganu open

The Pusat Minda Terengganu is in search of a Terengganu chess champion (Pencarian jaguh catur Terengganu 2008) and this search has led them to organise the Terengganu open chess tournament at the Terengganu Trade Centre in Kuala Terengganu on Dec 17-22.

This is going to be another Fide-rated event, so Fide time controls will apply. With a first prize of RM5,000, second prize of RM3,500 and third prize of RM2,500, there is plenty to play for. However, only Fide-rated players are eligible to take part.

Entry fees are RM50 for a Fide-rated player and free if you happen to be a grandmaster or international master.

For details, contact Muhammad Arshad (012-921 0841 / muhammad_arshad@yahoo.com).

Perak closed

The Chinese Recreation Club in Taiping will hold their fourth CRC Taiping open chess tournament at the CRC Hall on Dec 21. This is a seven-round event offering attractive cash prizes totalling RM4,430 to the winners, inclusive of the prizes for the winners of the separate under-18 and under-12 events.

Entry fees are RM15 for ladies, veterans, under-18 players and members of the Perak International Chess Association, RM10 for under-12 players and RM20 for others.

For enquiries and registration, contact Zaki Mahmood (019-570 1307) or Mrs Chow of the CRC (05-807 6882).

> Quah Seng Sun can be contacted at ssquah@gmail.com. Read his blog for the occasional chess articles at ssquah.activeknights.org or join Malaysia’s biggest chess mailing list by registering yourself at groups.yahoo.com/group/chess-malaysia.

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