Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Malaysia Inter-State Team Chess Championship 2013: Selangor Captain Report

Selangor wins Interstate Event 2013

I have been honoured to be given the role as a team captain and a chance to represent Selangor in this prestigious interstate event which was held in Sabah. It has been almost 10 years plus since the last interstate event was held. The Selangor team was formed with a mixture of young talents and I being the oldest and most experience. The team members blended in well together and with such high fighting spirit, we targeted nothing lesser than being an outright champion.

During the technical meeting on the day of arrival, there was a sudden change in the number of rounds which was increased to 7 instead of 6, hereby to accommodate an extra Sabah team to make the team numbers even. There were 14 registered teams altogether in this event, 4 of which were from Sabah, 2 from Kelantan and respective representatives from other states excluding Penang, Kedah, Melaka, and Perlis. The event took place at Masterskill Global College in Likas which was about 20 minutes drive from the Imperial Boutec Hotel.

Selangor started off well with 3.5-0.5 wins against Negeri Sembilan and Sabah A consecutively during the first 2 rounds. In the 3rd round, we were paired against Johor and were only able to secure a 2-2 draw. I was 2 pawns up in a different colour bishop endgame with Queen and Rook on the board, however i made a wrong sequence of move which allowed my opponent’s Queen to enter and forced a 3 fold repetition. The final decisive game for that round was between Roshan and Taulani whereby the former missed a winning move in what seems to be an easily won one pawn up endgame. The experienced Taulani managed to seize the opportunity thus forcing a well known theoretical draw. The event was still open for all and the joint leaders after round 3 was KL, Selangor and Johor. KL was paired against Johor while Selangor was paired against Perak in round 4.

The next day we became a little more cautious in our approach against a well-balanced Perak team. We won 3.5-0.5 while KL beat Johor 2.5-1.5. The next match was the most crucial round of all as we were paired against KL. Being joint leaders while enjoying a better tiebreak, it would be wise if we could just hold KL to a 2-2 draw, although by seeding and strength we should be able to edge them. My advised for our team was to aim for a 2-2 draw at least and we would enter the penultimate round with a comfortable lead.

The game started off well with both sides not taking too much of risks. The first game ended with me drawing with IM Mas in an equal position of Maroczy Bind. Thereafter, the pressure started to mount on our young talent Yeoh Li Tian when Sumant was down a pawn against Camilia while Roshan has been outplayed by a fine tactical display by another young talent 9 years old Lye Lik Zang. Sumant managed to pull a draw making the score 2-1 in KL’s favour. The final game was between Yeoh Li Tian and Zaidan Zulkifli whereby a draw was not sufficient to draw level with KL. The game should have been drawn with a 3 fold repetition, however the former decided to take the risk and played for a win instead which was the correct decision. The final score was KL 3-1 Selangor. We were shocked and devastated after the loss, but we did not lose hope and continue to focus on our final 2 rounds. In the penultimate round we defeated Kelantan B 3.5-0.5, thus still maintaining a rather consistent performance.

The final round saw KL paired against Perak while we were paired against Kelantan A. The game was so intense between KL and Perak that I can hardly concentrate in our teams’ games. We were hoping for a miracle as we only needed 2.5 points to win and if in any case KL slipped against Perak, we know we will be crown the interstate champion. After defeating Nik Nazri of Kelantan A, the Selangor team was comfortable with a 2-1 lead with Li Tian’s game still ongoing with a pawn up knight endgame. To our surprised, Perak team defeated KL 2.5-1.5 without losing a single board with Fong Yit San wrapping up the only win in style. This defeat help propelled Selangor to overtake KL as the eventual overall champion on tiebreak to many disbeliefs.

The tournament is very well conducted and planned by Sabah Chess and i must admit that the hospitality here has been very warm and welcoming to all chess players participating. I would like to thank Selangor Chess Association for giving me my first opportunity to captain the Selangor Team to become eventual champion in such a prestigious national event. I would also like to thank my teammates, Yeoh Li Tian, Sumant Subramaniam and Roshan Singh for being part of a great team to make this happen. I must say we were very discipline and adhered to all the rules enforced by CAS protocol during the team event except for one which is to sleep 8 hours a day. Many thanks to NM Yeoh Chin Seng for arranging the transportation and schedule to ensure we have a smooth journey through. Lastly, I would like to represent the Selangor chess team to express our gratitude and appreciation to Encik Anizan Mahruf, our Sabah chess representative in-charge of Selangor team who has helped us unconditionally during our stay in Sabah.

Tilll we meet again.

Gens Una Sumus

Nicholas Chan