For chess enthusiasts in the region, the biggest show will soon be back in town! Yes, Cititel Hotel at Mid Valley Kuala Lumpur (www.midvalley.com.my) will once again host the USD 20,000 Malaysian Chess Festival.
As in previous years there will be the 12th IGB Dato’ Arthur Tan International Open Championship, ASTRO Merdeka Rapid Open Team Championship, 6th KLK Tan Sri Lee Loy Seng International Open Seniors Championship, 10th Malaysian Chess Challenge, and 6th Swensen’s Open Rapid Age-Group Championships.
From 18-28 September 2015 it will again be 11 days of non stop chess!
The IGB Dato’ Arthur Tan International Open Championship or IGB Malaysian Open as it is popularly known is of course the flagship event with a list of previous winners that would grace any rival competition.
Last year it was Singapore’s Zhang Zhong and in 2013 China’s Xiu Deshun while in 2012 the Philippine’s Rogelio Antonio was the winner in the absence of Chinese participants. China’s Li Shilong won in 2011 while 2010 was the turn of Vietnam’s Cao Sang.
China’s Ni Hua was the first winner in 2004 and he was followed by Wang Hao in the following year 2005. Vietnam’s Dao Thien Hai broke the Chinese domination briefly in 2006 which was restored by Li Chao in 2007 and 2008 when he became the first ever two time and back to back winner. Yet another big name winner was India’s Parimarjan Negi who then won in 2009.
For many participants an equal highlight and perhaps an even more eagerly awaited event is the ASTRO Merdeka Day Rapid Open Team Championship.
What is it about team events? Each year the top local players jockey amongst themselves to form the strongest teams so as to be the best Malaysian team while foreign players keen to join in a traditional fun two days before the start of the IGB Malaysian Open would be looking for less highly ranked locals to make up their teams. This is of course thanks to a rating ceiling imposed by the organisers to level the playing field by requiring that the players in each team average 2250.
No one is left out with the seniors having the 6th KLK Tan Sri Lee Loy Seng International Open Seniors Championship as well as the amateurs and those up and coming young players still under 2000 in the Malaysian Chess Challenge, both which run concurrently with the IGM Malaysian Open.
The Malaysian Chess Festival is always held during the two week Malaysian summer school break and so there is always a fantastic response to the 6th Swensen’s Open Rapid Age-Group Championships which brings out players of all ages for this one day event and which for the participants in the longer IGB Malaysian Open, Tan Sri Lee Loy Seng Seniors and Malaysian Chess Challenge, also represents a one day rest – and an opportunity to calm down – after the excitement of the ASTRO Rapid Teams!
New sponsorship from the Kasparov Chess Foundation Asia-Pacific has ensured the popular traditional event ending Blitz Championship is taking on a new life and making possible a second blitz event to celebrate Malaysia’s independence mid way through the event while the Lim Chong Memorial will be able to continue as a Rapid tournament on the rest day.
For twelve years now the Malaysian Chess Festival has been the focal point of all local chess activity while keeping the country visible in international chess and credit for it has to go to the retired former Malaysian Chess Federation President Dato’ Tan Chin Nam who has continued as a patron for the game with this brainchild while in recent years the Organising Chairman Daniel Yong Chen-I who is also the Executive Director of Mid Valley City has taken on a hands on role which has all but ensured the event will continue!
Details for those interested to participate are available at the official website www.datchesscentre.com where the Malaysian Chess Festival’s long time Chief Organiser, IA Abd Hamid Majid, can be reached.
For entry fees, the US Dollar to Malaysian Ringgit exchange rate has been fixed by the organisers at a generous USD 1 = RM 3.75.