Saturday, January 24, 2009

2009 Stonemaster MINI Rapid Tournament Photo Report !

23rd January 2009 - Today i went ( and play!) in the 1st Stonemaster MINI Rapid Tourney for this year. The tournament were held at the Excell Chess Academy (ECA), OUG, Jalan Kelang Lama, Kuala Lumpur. The organiser of this tournament is Mr. Fadli Zakaria aka stonemaster . Excel Chess Academy is a chess centre own by Jax Tham - a well known chess coach/player.

The Organiser-Mohd Fadli Zakaria (left) and ECA owner - Jax Tham (right)

The tournament is categorise into two category :- - the Pro and the Amateur. The Pro is for player with National Rating (NR) 1651 and above or FIDE Rating 1751 and above. The Amateur is for player with National Rating 1650 and below or FIDE Rating 1750 and below.

The time control use is 10 minute per player with 6 round to play. The tournament start at about 2.45 pm and finish at about 5.30 pm. I decide to play in this tournament at a very last minute. This morning while discussing with my wife about our today outing plan, she told me that she didn't fell well and would like to stay at home. As a good husband i told her to take a rest before telling her that i actually want to play in the Stonemaster MINI tournament....and ....her answer is ...she doesn't mind. That's why i love you honey ! At around 11.15am, i sms Fadli Zakaria to register my name and in a few minutes he confirm my registration. How efisyen!

I arrived at the tournament area at about 1.30 pm and i didn't have much trouble to find the place thanks to and Gila Chess blog which provide the direction to ECA. Probably the only problem you will face is to find a parking lot. I took about 5 minutes to find one but in future probably i will take less time as i will be more use with the place.

After finding the suitable parking place, i easily spot the chess centre which is located on the 1st floor of the TMC Coffe Shop. However i did face a little problem to find a way to the 1st floor but after a few try and error attempt, i finally found the stair which is located at the side of the coffee shop.

Arriving at the tournament hall, Jax Tham and Fadli Zakaria welcome me as it is my first visit here. My first feeling about the place is it's quite similar with Total Chess - a famous chess centre during the middle 90's which was located at Petaling Jaya Old Town. The chess center was own by another famous chess coach - Joseph Toh. Unfortunately the chess centre has not operate anymore.

The ECA is originally a shop house and it have 4 rooms, a hall , a kitchen, a bath room and toilet. The place is almost entirely air condition and i think it could cater about 50 players at a time. According to the owner- Jax Tham, the place is available from 10 am to 10 pm daily and at certain day such as the New year countdown, the place will be available till dawn. You can even sleep there! Jax tham really hope that the ECA will flourish with chess activities.

Lim Kian Hwa- master of strategy over and... off the board !

Back to the tournament, there's about 40 participants ( i'm still waiting email from Fadli for the final results and the list of the players) . The notable name playing is among others, the first seed NM Kamal Abdullah, Sumant Subramaniam, the fast improving - Faizal Andin, I.R Lim Kian Hwa - a Sarawakian who is transiting in Kuala Lumpur before going to the Philipines for a vacation with his family. He mentioned that he leave his wife in KL doing what women always like to do - shopping... while he at the same time play in this tournament! I have a lot to learn from this otai (old timer)!

FM Mok Tze Meng (standing) watching the game.

Overall, i think the tournament is quite successfully considering that it was held during a long Chinese New Year holiday ( 24th - 27th February) where many people is expected to balik kampung! A number of parents turn up to support their daughter and son which is a good sign for local chess development. FM Mok Tze Meng also pay a visit and play few blitz game after the tourney end . There's more tournament will be held here and i hopefully i can be there too.

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