Sunday, 30 November 2008

Does divorce come easy?

I was chuckling to myself last Friday when I read the headlines: Malacca seeking a divorce from Penang over heritage issues.

It's wishful thinking on the Malacca chief minister's part. Together, whether he likes it or not, we are the two essential component parties in the Unesco heritage listing.

I know it's a fine mess to be in but surely, Penang will sort out the problems with the four high-rise hotels. It just remains to be seen how the discussions between the state government and the hotel developers work out.

Impossible dream


Oh, don't you wish to get back those carefree days of youth? I do...

Saturday, 29 November 2008

BM Hill: Resuming my exercise

It has been two months since I last went up the Bukit Mertajam Hill. I haven't been lazy. In fact, I've been mopping around because I miss the weekly ritual. But the reason why I stopped my exercise is because I've been suffering from pain in my left heel. It has been quite tender and I believe it's either the tendon or the ligament that's giving me this problem. Walking had been difficult and I had to resort to wearing slip-ons to the office.

Anyway, I've been applying an ointment from the clinic as well as wearing a protective ankle guard. The condition has improved considerably and I'm back to wearing my office shoes.

I took a chance today to go up the BM Hill again. Gosh, what a relief that the ankle felt all right. I made it to the tea hut and decided to walk a few more hundred metres beyond. But most probably, I'll still refrain from making too many climbs. I'll need to save my knees and ankles for other adventures too.

It was quite misty as I went up at about 4.45pm. When I'm close to nature, nothing excites me more than to enjoy the mist as it swirls down the hill. Have always enjoyed the mist at Penang Hill, Maxwell Hill, Genting Highlands, Fraser's Hill and Cameron Highlands. Chalk BM Hill into the list. The mist could have been thicker but really, I can't complain.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

More of Crosby Stills Nash and (sometimes) Young

I took the opportunity yesterday to finish listening to the remaining Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young albums in my little record collection. Already, a few days ago I was listening to the two compilation albums, So Far and the Celebration Copy.

Last night, the CSN debut album, imaginatively titled Crosby, Stills and Nash, was given a spin.

First, out came my carbon fibre anti-static dry cleaner. Wow, removed a layer of dirt on both sides of the record. I gave the record a good rub and followed up with a wet wash. Not underneath the tap, mind you. Gave that up months ago. It's now a do-it-yourself wash solution of distilled water, iso-propyl alcohol and a little surfactant. So far, so good. I've reduced the pops and crackles considerably.

I turned up the volume on Helplessly Hoping and filled the house with that distinctive CSN harmony. That's really one of the best songs I've ever heard and enjoyed.

The second album that came out from my cupboard was Deja Vu. Equally enjoyable but I still prefer the first album. Of course, this one had to have Woodstock in it. You know, the Joni Mitchell number that she wrote after the music festival was held, not before.

And the last of the three albums that I placed on my Rega Planar 3 was the double album, 4 Way Street. I listened to Sides Three and Four first, wanting to get the electronic music out of the way before I really settled down to a good listen of their acoustic numbers on Sides One and Two.

I tell you, listening to CSN and CSNY is bliss....

AirAsia X says you can still catch the Queen Mother having tea in London!

So it is confirmed that from March 2009, AirAsia X will be flying to London's Stansted Airport. I received an email from them yesterday. Advertising RM499 flying from Kuala Lumpur and STG99 from London. But all the other charges thrown in, it RM2000-plus for a return trip. Out of curiosity, I clicked on the destination guide link in the email and was taken on an instant virtual tour that extolled the attractions of London.

Okay, you really can't learn everything from here. It's very superficial. People have been writing thick books on London's attractions and culture for a long time and this virtual tour cannot do any justice. It very briefly skims the surface only. But for any would-be first-time visitor, especially if time is at a premium, I suppose the guide should whet their appetite and rouse their curiosity to search for more.

And I also don't know where AirAsia X's publicity people got their facts from. They have better learn to get their facts right or else they'll end up as laughing stock in the industry. Referring to the Cadogan, they wrote that this was a "place to stop by if you’d like to catch the Queen Mother and other famous personalities having their fair share of high-tea."

Excuse me? I vaguely remember reading that the Queen Mother is dead. A check on the Internet tells me that she died in 2002. That'd be six years ago. Bumping into the Queen Mother? I wouldn't want to bump into her having tea or doing the watusi or whatever, that's for sure!

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Dresden chess olympiad, final blog post (I hope)

Hopefully, this will be my last blog post about the Malaysians at the Dresden Chess Olympiad but you can never tell!


Anyway, all that I want to say for now is that if anyone wishes to see the gristly statistics of how our players fared on a round-by-round basis, the website to visit is Chess Results. They have EVERYTHING except the games. I shall leave the analysis to you.

Note: Normal service (with a little less chess) now resumes.... :-)

ARCHIVED BLOG POSTS:
Dresden, Round 11
Dresden, Round 10
Dresden, Round 9
Dresden, Round 8
Dresden, Round 7
Dresden, Round 6
Dresden, Round 5
Dresden, Round 4
Dresden, Round 3
Dresden, Round 2
Dresden, Round 1

Dresden chess olympiad, Round 11

So it has finally ended: the Chess Olympiad in Dresden, Germany. Armenia are the champions, a successful defence of the title won two years ago in Turin, Italy. Congratulations to them. And congratulations too to Israel for taking the second spot and the United States for claiming third again. Ukraine lost out on the bronze by tie-break. As for Russia, I think they just gave up at the end. They don't look the powerhouse any more. China is still within the top 10 chess-playing nations in the world today and so is the emerging Vietnam. Congratulations, especially, to the Vietnamese for these achievements.

It would be ideal if I could tell you that our representatives in Dresden had played well but then I would be stretching the truth. Fact is, the results of the Malaysian team could have been better and the players know this themselves. It was not the losses against the better teams that disappointed. Instead, it was the inability of the team to produce the form when it mattered most. And usually, it would be the final round that was the most important.

Granted that the scoring system deployed in this year’s Chess Olympiad was a departure from past practices, but against a team like Guatemala, Malaysia should have won this match instead of drawing it. Winning this match would have added one more point to the team’s tally. Would this extra point make a difference? Sure. Definitely. It would have pushed them several notches up the final standings. Instead of tying with 18 other teams in the 82nd to 100th positions, the Malaysian team could have shared the 64th to 81st positions instead.

But maybe, this would have been too much to expect it from them, seeing how their dismal form suffered in the second half of the Chess Olympiad. From afar here in Malaysia, we were cheering them on but day after day, immediately after the first rest day of the Olympiad, fortune was against them.

Here are the results of the top 10 tables in the final round:

China 1½-2½ Armenia
Lithuania 1½-2½ Germany One
USA 3½-½ Ukraine
Israel 2½-1½ Netherlands
Russia 2-2 Spain
France 1½-2½ Azerbaijan
Vietnam 2½-1½ Serbia
Hungary 2½-1½ Belarus
Georgia 2½-1½ Romania
Croatia 2-2 England

And these are the performances of the rest of the Asian teams:

Bulgaria 3-1 Kazakhstan
India 3-1 Slovakia
Australia 1-3 Cuba
Montenegro 3½-½ Uzbekistan
Luxembourg 1½-2½ Iran
Japan 0-4 Germany Three
Singapore 2-2 Indonesia
Argentina 1½-2½ Philippines
Italy 4-0 Tajikistan
Thailand 0-4 Bangladesh
New Zealand 1-3 Brazil
Mongolia 2-2 Qatar
Ireland 3-1 Iraq
UAE 2½-1½ Kyrgyzstan
Syria ½-3½ Faroe Islands
Pakistan 3½-½ Nicaragua
Malaysia 2-2 Guatemala
Jamaica 2½-1½ Palestine
Jordan 3½-½ Afghanistan
Namibia 1-3 Sri Lanka
Barbados 1-3 Lebanon
Chinese Taipei 0-4 Yemen
Nepal 4-0 Surinam
South Korea 3½-½ Hongkong
Macau 2-2 Aruba
Trinidad & Tobago 4-0 Fiji
Rwanda 0-4 Papua New Guinea


Our representatives in Dresden, Round 11: (left to right) Mas Hafizulhelmi, Lim Yee Weng, Mok Tze Meng and Edward Lee
At Table 41, Malaysia drew with Guatemala:

IM Mas Hafizulhelmi 2439 - IM Juarez Flores Carlos A 2358 1-0
FM Lim Yee-Weng 2396 - FM Lorenzana Wilson Estuardo 2202 0-1
FM Mok Tze-Meng 2308 - Quinones Centeno Carlos 2127 0-1
Edward Lee Kim Han 2054 - Galvez Dastin Eduardo 2178 1-0

FINAL STANDINGS:

19 points: Armenia
18 points: Israel
17 points: USA, Ukraine
16 points: Russia, Azerbaijan, China, Hungary, Vietnam, Spain, Georgia
15 points: Netherlands, Germany One, Bulgaria, England, India, Slovenia
14 points: Belarus, Romania, Serbia, Norway, France, Cuba, Greece, Sweden, Montenegro, Croatia, Canada
13 points: Poland, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Slovakia, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Germany Three, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Czech Republic, Denmark, Iran, Italy, Germany Two, Moldova, Latvia, Austria, Philippines, Bangladesh, Paraguay
12 points: Colombia, Uzbekistan, Switzerland, Indonesia, Scotland, Brazil, Portugal, Egypt, Australia, South Africa, Macedonia, Ireland, Faroe Islands, Singapore, UAE
11 points: Iceland, Pakistan, Qatar, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Argentina, Belgium, Tajikistan, Ecuador, Mongolia, Mexico, Luxembourg, Jordan, Japan, El Salvador, ICSC, Jamaica, Wales
10 points: Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Syria, Iraq, Bolivia, Guatemala, IPCA, Algeria, Dominican Republic, IBCA, Albania, Panama, Sri Lanka, Puerto Rico, Malaysia, New Zealand, Angola, Lebanon, Thailand
9 points: Palestine, Nigeria, Botswana, Monaco, Tunisia, Yemen, Afghanistan, Nepal, South Korea, Andorra, Libya, Netherlands Antilles, Malta, Uruguay, Jersey, Nicaragua
8 points: Zambia, Barbados, Mozambique, Uganda, San Marino, Cyprus, Namibia, Ethiopia, Trinidad & Tobago, Guernsey, British Virgin Islands
7 points: Honduras, Mauritius, Surinam, Kenya, Hongkong, Papua New Guinea, Macau, Aruba, Chinese Taipei, Bermuda
6 points: Malawi, Liechtenstein, Ghana, U.S. Virgin Islands
5 points: Gabon, Fiji, Seychelles
4 points: Madagascar
3 points: Rwanda

Penang Times Square

Impressive and grand, right? I have some misgivings about its location. I dunno, but has anyone given any thought about the traffic congestion and traffic dispersion once it opens to the public?

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Crosby Stills Nash and (sometimes) Young

The unique feature of these two albums is that they are compilations. If you don't have any of their earlier albums, these will be the ones to get. So Far was available on compact disc a long time ago but not the Celebration Copy. This vinyl record is rare and I've seen copies being offered for sale on Internet sites for STG45.



BTW, what's your favourite Crosby Stills & Nash track? Many people would say Suite: Judy Blue Eyes but in terms of harmony, there's nothing that can match this song. They might have passed their most popular period by the time they appeared on this show but there's no doubt in my mind that their harmony surpassed many other singers or groups. Here is Helplessly Hoping


Monday, 24 November 2008

Dresden chess olympiad, Round 10

I wouldn't consider Ecuador to be a strong team. Despite their GM and IM, they are ranked only a few rungs above the Malaysian team. On paper, they are supposed to be the better team and it looked good to at least draw the match. However, I feel that our team could have done better. Missed opportunities again? An additional half-a-point would have pushed Malaysia higher than their current standings in 101st position. Let me tell you, and tell them, that it's not good.

At the top tables, the lead has changed hands again and both the Ukraine and Armenia are leading the standings going into the final round of the Chess Olympiad. It's going down the wire and we should know the new winners on Wednesday morning. Will Armenia be successful in defending the title or will there be a new country? China was the only Asian country to feature among the top 10 tables in this round with Vietnam dropping out for the moment but I think they should be back at the top tables. In the meantime, India has faded from contention.

Ukraine 2½-1½ Israel
Germany One 1½-2½ USA
Serbia 1-3 Armenia
England 1½-2½ China
Slovenia ½-3½ Russia
Spain 3-1 Bulgaria
Netherlands 2½-1½ Poland
Slovakia 1-3 France
Georgia 2½-1½ Denmark
Hungary 3-1 Switzerland

Here are the remaining Asian teams in the competition:

Colombia ½-3½ Vietnam
Uzbekistan 2-2 Austria
Czech Republic 1-3 India
Iran 1-3 Ccroatia
Latvia 1½-2½ Kazakhstan
Turkey 3½-½ New Zealand
Indonesia 2-2 Venezuela
Estonia 3½-½ Mongolia
Qatar 1-3 Bosnia & Herzegovina
Brazil 1½-2½ AUstralia
Finland 4-0 UAE
El Salvador 1½-2½ Bangladesh
Kyrgyzstan 2-2 Thailand
Philippines 3½-½ Tunisia
Pakistan 1½-2½ Luxembourg
Tajikistan 4-0 Jordan
Afghanistan 0-4 Paraguay
Botswana 1-3 Japan
Singapore 3-1 Monaco
Libya ½-3½ Syria
Faroe Islands 3½-½ Lebanon
Ecuador 2-2 Malaysia
Iraq 3½-½ Nepal
Hongkong ½-3½ Palestine
Malta 2-2 Sri Lanka
South Korea 1½-2½ Panama
IPCA 3½-½ IBCA
Yemen 1-3 Jamaica
Chinese Taipei 2-2 Zambia
Macau ½-3½ Angola
Fiji 1½-2½ Jersey
Papua New Guinea ½-3½ Surinam

Our representatives in Dresden, Round 10: (left to right) Mas Hafizulhelmi, Lim Yee Weng, Mok Tze Meng and Jimmy Liew
At Table 48, Ecuador drew with the Malaysians:

GM Matamoros Franco Carlos S 2525 - IM Mas Hafizulhelmi 2439 1/2
IM Pazos Gambarrotti Plinio 2327 - FM Lim Yee-Weng 2396 0-1
Aucay Pelaez Mauro 2335 - FM Mok Tze-Meng 2308 1/2
Macias Murillo Bryan 2333 - IM Liew Chee-Meng-Jimmy 2306 1-0

Today is the final day of rest from the competition. For the final round in Dresden tomorrow night, Malaysia is elevated to Table 41 where our players will face Guatemala. Boys, this is your last chance for a hurrah! Go for it! Good luck in that final match.

UPDATE: Standings after the 10th round:
17 points: Armenia, Ukraine
16 points: Israel, China
15 points: Russia, Netherlands, Spain, USA
14 points: Azerbaijan, Vietnam, Hungary, Georgia, Romania, England, Belarus, France, Serbia
13 points: Germany One, Bulgaria, Poland, Slovakia, India, Slovenia, Croatia, Kazakhstan, Lithuania
12 points: Cuba, Norway, Turkey, Greece, Sweden, Uzbekistan, Estonia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Finland, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Moldova, Montenegro, Austria, Switzerland, Scotland, Germany Two, Egypt, Australia
11 points: Iran, Germany Three, Indonesia, Latvia, Czech Republic, Iceland, Tajikistan, Bangladesh, Italy, Paraguay, Singapore, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Japan, Luxembourg
10 points: Portugal, Brazil, Qatar, Macedonia, Ireland, South Africa, Turkmenistan, Syria, Faroe Islands, UAE, IPCA, Iraq, Mongolia, Bolivia, New Zealand, Albania, Thailand
9 points: Pakistan, Belgium, Guatemala, Ecuador, Palestine, Monaco, Algeria, Mexico, Botswana, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Jordan, El Salvador, Wales, Tunisia, Panama, ICSC, Jamaica, Uruguay, Malaysia, Nicaragua
8 points: Sri Lanka, Dominican Republic, IBCA, Puerto Rico, Libya, Mozambique, Lebanon, Angola, Barbados, San Marino, Malta, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Namibia
7 points: Andorra, Zambia, Yemen, Nepal, Netherlands Antilles, South Korea, Honduras, Jersey, Mauritius, Hongkong, Kenya, Surinam, Chinese Taipei, Guernsey, Bermuda
6 points: Malawi, Uganda, Trinidad & Tobago, Aruba, Liechtenstein, Macau, British Virgin Islands
5 points: Gabon, Papua New Guinea, Ghana, Fiji
4 points: Seychelles, US Virgin Islands
3 points: Rwanda, Madagascar

Penang's De Flower House

It's been a good six years since I had posed beneath this sign in the CitiTel, Penang. Nigel Short and I were choking with laughter at this very improbable name for a florist: De Flower House. If you don't know the meaning of "deflower", please look it up in a dictionary.


Anyway, I stepped into the hotel again last weekend. Like a good magnet should, I was drawn again towards this shop - either consciously or sub-consciously - and found to my great disappointment that the shop's name has changed.


Here's a close-up of the sign. It's still the old sign but I could see that the offending letters had been erased. Too bad they didn't make a better job of it.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

George Town's heritage road sign defaced

I've just received a text message from a friend telling me that the heritage road sign along Acheen Street has been defaced. Some gutless racist idiot spray painted across the Jawi script. How low can they go? Weeks ago, I was already suggesting that such extremism was bound to happen as those racists persist in their opposition to the multi-lingual road signs. It's so sad that they are so small-minded and predictable! These are the same people who oppose progress for their own selfish ends.

Nandaka Vihara Meditation Society

There's a new Buddhist meditation centre in Bukit Mertajam and it's located at the foothills of the Bukit Mertajam hill. You can't miss this sign if you are on your way to the forest park.


I heard that someone had already allocated the land to build the centre and now funds are being raised to construct the buildings. Already, there are three small huts for sharing by the resident monks.


We went there this morning for a robe offering ceremony and found out that there was a food fair as well. Lots of people, I estimated well over a hundred devotees there.

George Town's new heritage road signs

I don't see anything wrong with them, do you?

As I was passing through Carnarvon Street and Acheen Street yesterday, I took the opportunity to see what all the furore was about regarding the new heritage road signs in George Town. I had to see them for myself and these are what I saw:

Dresden chess olympiad, Round 9

It is just like the weather here. After three stormy days, here comes a spot of sunshine. The weather would still feel a bit cold - not easy to dispel the chill that has settled in - but we've got to make the most of what we have. Same in Dresden. After three days of heavy losses, here's a little welcome respite with a huge win. It doesn't matter that the Malaysian team could only beat lowly Liechtenstein; a win is still a win. Let's have some joy around us, okay?

The lead at the top of the Chess Olympiad standings has changed hands once again and with only two rounds to go, Israel is the surprising leader. But can Israel do it? All they need are two narrow wins in the last two rounds in order to stave off all challenges and be declared the winner. It can happen. Due to the change of rules for this event, match points are more important than game points. So a 4-0, 3½-½, 3-1 or 2½-1½ result means the same 2-0 score to the winner. In the ninth round, China was the only Asian team among the top 10 tables to register a win. Both Vietnam and Kazakhstan lost.

Armenia 1½-2½ Israel
Poland 2-2 Germany One
Russia 1½-2½ Ukraine
Serbia 2½-1½ Azerbaijan
France 1-3 China
Vietnam 1-3 England
Belarus 2-2 Slovakia
Kazakhstan 1-3 Netherlands
Cuba 2-2 Hungary
Sweden 1½-2½ Bulgaria

And here are the results of the other Asian teams:

India ½-3½ USA
UAE 1-3 Spain
New Zealand 0-4 Georgia
Switzerland 2½-1½ Indonesia
Tajikistan 1½-2½ Colombia
Uzbekistan 3½-½ Kyrgyzstan
Paraguay ½-3½ Iran
Philippines 1½-2½ Czech Republic
Bangladesh 1-3 Scotland
Latvia 4-0 Pakistan
Lebanon 1-3 Finland
Australia 4-0 Turkmenistan
Qatar 2½-1½ Faroe Islands
Syria ½-3½ Portugal
Mongolia 2½-1½ Ireland
Japan 3½-½ Honduras
Hongkong ½-3½ Singapore
Palestine 1-3 Thailand
Jordan 2½-1½ Yemen
Sri Lanka 1½-2½ Botswana
Mexico 1½-2½ Afghanistan
Liechtenstein ½-3½ Malaysia
IBCA 2-2 Iraq
Nepal ½-3½ Fiji
Papua New Guinea 1-3 South Korea
Malawi 2-2 Macau
Uganda 1½-2½ Chinese Taipei

Our representatives in Dresden, Round Nine: (left to right) Mas Hafizulhelmi, Lim Yee Weng, Mok Tze Meng and Jimmy Liew
At Table 54, Liechtenstein lost to the Malaysians:

Mannhart Marcel 2154 - IM Mas Hafizulhelmi 2439 1/2
Frick Renato 2145 - FM Lim Yee-Weng 2396 0-1
Guller Andras 2117 - FM Mok Tze-Meng 2308 0-1
Muendle Kurt 1928 - IM Liew Chee-Meng-Jimmy 2306 0-1

It will now be Table 48 for the Malaysians in the 10th round. Their opponents will be Ecuador, a south American team. Seeded 65th, they are not that much higher ranked than Malaysia. But they've a GM on first board and an IM on second board. The other two players are untitled but with 2330+ ratings. It'll be a good match and I hope our players can redeem themselves further. Go, boys, go!

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Horses and chess

An exclusive photo: Dato Tan Chin Nam reading the article "At full gallop" from today's Bizweek pullout in The Star
I received a call yesterday: "Seng Sun, Dato is in Penang this weekend and he wonders whether you can come to see him today or tomorrow." Of course I can, I told his secretary, "but please make it tomorrow." So at noon today, I turned up at the hotel to meet him. He was in a very jovial and relaxed mood. Who wouldn't be, when his horse had won the Melbourne Cup earlier this month?

But we weren't talking much about horses. It would be outside my league talking about horses with a man that had won this Cup for an unprecedented four times in 1974, 1975, 1996 and 2008. Anyway, there's an interesting article written about Dato Tan Chin Nam in The Star's Bizweek. You should read it if only to gain an insight into the world of horse racing.

No, we were talking about the state of chess in Malaysia, how our team was faring in Dresden at the Chess Olympiad. I was very frank with him. Let me put it another way: I was diplomatically brutal. And he agreed. Anyway, we were also bandying about with an idea for chess promotion. It'll be a few weeks before I'll write about it in my column.

Penang Bridge jammed again

There must be something the matter at the Penang Bridge this afternoon. I was caught in a huge traffic snarl on the coastal highway leading to the bridge so I decided to wait it out at my office. Then I decided to check the Penang Bridge webcams to see whether the congestion had eased. Unfortunately, the super-duper bridge webcams were all down. Don't you think it's rather stupid and useless to have this service when the webcams are not working? Guess I'll go for dinner and try my luck later....

UPDATE: Like a good lemming, I joined the queue to crawl onto the bridge at about 7.45pm. Slow crawl all the way until the mid-span. But until now, I've absolutely no idea as to the cause of the congestion this afternoon....

Dresden chess olympiad, Round 8

My frustration with the official website grows by the day. Right now, it's downright impossible to access the homepage or any of the live games from where I am. Regardless of whether it's from my house or my office, the information just trickles in literally bit by bit and then ... stops. So all that I'm left with is frustration and reduced to collecting the results from Chess Results in the morning. Better than nothing but not good enough.

Anyway, Malaysia came a cropper again and this time it was at the hands of IPCA, the International Physically Disabled Chess Association, and not one of the better teams. But I told you that it would be close, didn't I? Our team do not seem to be totally focussed any more. Individually, Mas Hafizul is still mentally okay but obviously, the exertions of playing non-stop have taken a toll on Lim Yee Weng as he lost his second game in a row. There wasn't enough resistance in him to get his draw. Jimmy Liew came back from his rest and this time, it netted him a win. As for Edward Lee, it has been downhill ever since his successful debut in the second round.

These are the results on the top 10 boards. Barring any upset in the next three rounds, Armenia is well set to retain their chess Olympiad crown. China and Vietnam played to a draw in their match. India had moved out of the top 10 tables for this round but will they bounce back with only a draw with Slovenia? New Zealand's appearance among this exalted company will be brief. They will drop back, just like Australia yesterday.

France ½-3½ Armenia
Israel 2½-1½ Germany One
USA 1½-2½ Russia
China 2-2 Vietnam
Ukraine 4-0 New Zealand
Azerbaijan 2½-1½ Croatia
Bulgaria 2-2 Belarus
England 2½-1½ Georgia
Slovakia 3-1 Greece
Turkey 1½-2½ Poland

Here are the results of the other Asian teams:

Slovenia 2-2 India
Netherlands 3½-½ Philippines
Spain 3-1 Bangladesh
Sweden 2½-1½ Uzbekistan
Estonia 1½-2½ Kazakhstan
Bosnia & Herzegovina 2½-1½ Australia
Montenegro 2½-1½ Qatar
Moldova 2½-1½ Turkmenistan
Indonesia 4-0 Mongolia
Iceland 1½-2½ UAE
Iran 4-0 Uruguay
Pakistan 3½-½ Jordan
Palestine 1½-2½ Tajikistan
Iraq 0-4 Germany Three
Singapore 1-3 Kyrgyzstan
Nicaragua 2-2 Japan
Monaco 2-2 Afghanistan
Wales 1½-2½ Lebanon
Botswana 4-0 Fiji
Mauritius ½3-½ Sri Lanka
Jamaica 4-0 Macau
Zambia ½-3½ Hongkong
Thailand 3-1 Nepal
South Korea 1½-2½ Honduras
Yemen 4-0 Ghana
Malta 4-0 Chinese Taipei
Bermuda 1½-2½ Papua New Guinea
Malaysia 1½-2½ IPCA

Our representatives in Dresden, Round Eight: (left to right) Mas Hafizulhelmi, Lim Yee Weng, Jimmy Liew and Edward Lee
At Table 72, the Malaysians faced the IPCA players and this is how the games scored:

IM Mas Hafizulhelmi 2439 - IM Obodchuk Andrei 2434 1/2
FM Lim Yee-Weng 2396 - IM Mikheev Stanislav 2329 0-1
IM Liew Chee-Meng-Jimmy 2306 - IM Yarmonov Igor 2322 1-0
Edward Lee Kim Han - IM Bondarets Vadim 2345 0-1

In the ninth round, the Malaysian team will be seated at Table 54 where they'll meet Liechtenstein. Liechtenstein is a small land-locked country in the middle of the European Alps with Vaduz as its capital. I may be wrong but I do believe we've never met them in any earlier chess Olympiad. There'll always be a first time. They are not a chess-mad country and none of their players are above 2200. On paper, this match should be a stroll for our team, provided they don't muck it up! It could just be the right tonic for a pick-me-up after the last three rounds. Can we see a resurgence for the Malaysian team in the last quarter of the chess Olympiad? Good luck to the boys!

ADDENDUM: For this post, I'm also producing here the standings after the eighth round. The Malaysian team's position is not to be envied, but more about this later:

15 points: Armenia
14 points: Israel
13 points: Russia, Ukraine
12 points: Azerbaijan, Germany One, China, Vietnam, France, Slovakia, England, Poland, Serbia
11 points: Netherlands, Hungary, Bulgaria, India, Norway, Spain, Belarus, Sweden, Slovenia, USA, Cuba, Kazakhstan
10 points: Georgia, Romania, Turkey, Greece, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Indonesia, Australia, Colombia, Lithuania, Switzerland, Moldova, Egypt, Montenegro, Denmark, UAE, Macedonia, New Zealand
9 points: Estonia, Uzbekistan, Iran, Germany Three, Czech Republic, Canada, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Italy, Latvia, Germany Two, Scotland, Brazil, Philippines, Paraguay, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Argentina
8 points: Finland, Iceland, Turkmenistan, South Africa, Costa Rica, Qatar, Portugal, Ireland, Mongolia, Syria, Ecuador, Venezuela, Faroe Islands, Austria, Dominican Republic, IPCA, Lebanon
7 points: Belgium, Japan, Singapore, Palestine, Bolivia, Algeria, Jordan, Libya, Botswana, Nigeria, Guatemala, Iraq, Monaco, Mexico, Tunisia, Jamaica, Afghanistan, Panama, Luxembourg, IBCA, El Salvador, Sri Lanka, Yemen, Albania, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, Thailand, Hongkong, Honduras, Nicaragua
6 points: Wales, Malaysia, Netherlands Antilles, Andorra, Trinidad & Tobago, Mozambique, Barbadoes, San Marino, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Malta, Liechtenstein, Kenya
5 points: Zambia, Nepal, South Korea, ICSC, Jersey, Angola, Mauritius, Guernsey, Macau, Papua New Guinea, Fiji
4 points: Uganda, Namibia, Aruba, Gabon, Surinam, British Virgin Islands, Ghana, Chinese Taipei
3 points: Rwanda, Madagascar, Bermuda
2 points: Seychelles, US Virgin Islands

Michael Jackson, Mikaeel Jackson?

One of the most startling news today: Michael Jackson converts to Islam and takes the Muslim name of Mikaeel.

According to an exclusive report by British tabloid newspaper, The Sun, he donned Islamic garb to pledge allegiance to the Quran in a simple ceremony held at the mansion of Toto keyboard player Steve Porcaro in Los Angeles. The Gloved One sat on the floor wearing a tiny hat after an Imam was summoned from the mosque and he went through the shahada.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Carnarvon Street: Lam chan nah lor

Well, look here. What do we have? A new road sign to denote the multi-culturalism of the heritage city of George Town. This is one of two new road signs that was put up today by the Penang Island Municipal Council.

There's still LEBUH CARNARVON taking full prominence on the road sign while the Chinese characters for this road appear almost like a footnote on it.

What's all the big hoo-haa about? I really don't understand why certain quarters of the population are saying that four Chinese characters are undermining the importance of the Malay language. It's just an historical take on our city.

Penang government working graveyard shift?

Interesting. Now we cannot be over-productive. Not even in the midst of the economic turmoil that we find ourselves in. Being over-productive can be counter-productive in the eyes of the Opposition.

According to someone in the Opposition, some elected representatives (who?) have been noticed working regularly until 4 o'clock in the morning. According to this Opposition member, it is not good because it wastes electricity. According to him too, it incurs overtime payment for the staff manning the lift. Remember, this is the Komtar tower block. You cannot simply walk up and down 28 of the 60 floors. You need the lift to do that for you: go up, go down, go up, go down. And a man to help you push the right buttons.

But hey, I wonder whether this person has anything against work, especially hard work? Is it a culture that's alien to him? If working until 4am can bring in the right returns, is there anything wrong? Of course, if their presence at the Komtar building is just to while away the time, then I'll support him in his complaint. But unless there's proof and evidence of "all play and no work", what more is there to say?

Tennis: will there be a second bite?

I saw an interesting news item in the newspapers yesterday. The organiser of the botched Kings Of Tennis event in Penang are now offering the state government another "opportunity" to see some former world tennis greats in action. A second bite at the cherry. But why the fixation with tennis?

“With the support of the Penang Govern­ment, I am endeavouring to ensure that a tennis event with world class players will still take place in Penang at the soonest possible time. Hopefully I will be able to salvage a position that will make Penang proud, especially after so much time and hard work had been spent,” Arianna Teoh said in a statement.

But do you think the Penang government will be interested? At best, I believe the reaction will be lukewarm. Already, we have Danny Law, who's the state exco caught up in the Tennis Big Bust say that he had already landed in the soup as a result of last week’s fiasco. Sounds like a "Thanks but no, thanks" sort of hint. Yes, indeed.......

Anyway, I'm amused. Hot soup, I think that's what Danny meant. But it's more than landing in the hot soup. At least, the temperature still isn't all that high. But when you are grilled, that's another different matter. Temperature's much higher. And that was exactly what happened in the Penang state assembly when opposition members took the heaven-sent opportunity to grill the state exco members. Ouch!

Dresden chess olympiad, Round 7

I did say that it would be a tough battle playing against the Egyptians and it turned out true. The luck of the Malaysian team finally ran out and they scored their first duck's egg. In the process, Lim Yee Weng lost his perfect score of six draws in a row. I guess they must be feeling pretty tired after the exertions of the six earlier rounds. I'm feeling sad for them and I hope they are also feeling sad for themselves. But there's no point in regreting and feeling demoralised. What is there to do now except to continue playing and giving their best? Meanwhile, here are the results of the top 10 tables. China and India are still there among the top but Vietnam and Australia have sneaked in from behind.

Armenia 2½-1½ Russia
Germany 2½-1½ Romania
China 2-2 Ukraine
India 1½-2½ France
Israel 3-1 Spain
USA 2½-1½ Hungary
England 2-2 Azerbaijan
Greece 2-2 Belarus
Vietnam 2½-1½ Netherlands
Bulgaria 4-0 Australia

And the following are the results of the Asian teams:

Poland 3-1 Mongolia
Bangladesh 2-2 Norway
New Zealand 2½-1½ Bosnia & Herzegovina
Iraq 1½-2½ Germany Two
Belgium ½-3½ Philippines
Uzbekistan 3-1 Argentina
Kazakhstan 3-1 Iran
Lebanon ½-3½ Estonia
Egypt 4-0 Malaysia
UAE 3-1 Monaco
Indonesia 3-1 Dominican Republic
Ecuador 3-1 Syria
Japan 1-3 Ireland
Turkmenistan 3½-½ Algeria
Guatemala 2-2 Singapore
Netherlands 2-2 Antilles Pakistan
Macau 0-4 Canada
Sri Lanka 1-3 Tajikistan
Thailand ½-3½ Paraguay
Kyrgyzstan 4-0 ICSC
Jordan 3-1 Jamaica
Andorra 1-3 Palestine
El Salvador 2½-1½ Yemen
Afghanistan 3½-½ Aruba
Hongkong 2-2 Jersey
Mauritius 2-2 South Korea
Fiji 2½-1½ Uganda
Nepal 4-0 Bermuda
Papua New Guinea 0-4 Barbados
Qatar 2½-1½ IPCA
Chinese Taipei 2½-1½ Seychelles

Our representatives in Dresden, Round Seven: (left to right) Mas Hafizulhelmi, Lim Yee Weng, Mok Tze Meng and Edward Lee
At Table 32, here is how the Eqyptian team had scored against the Malaysian team:

GM Adly Ahmed 2586 - IM Mas Hafizulhelmi 2439 1 - 0
GM Amin Bassem 2560 - FM Lim Yee-Weng 2396 1 - 0
IM Ezat Mohamed 2425 - FM Mok Tze-Meng 2308 1 - 0
FM Abdel Razik Khaled 2406 - Edward Lee Kim Han 1 - 0

So for the next round, Malaysia is pushed almost to the bottom of the tables. To be exact, Table 72, where the team will be meeting IPCA. There's only one table that separates them from the back of the wall. Who - or what - is the IPCA? It's the acronym of the International Physically Disabled Chess Association. The IPCA team comprises players who are physically disabled. But being physically disabled does not mean that they are mentally challenged. It's to the contrary. In Dresden, the IPCA team includes four international masters among them with ratings ranging from 2345 to 2434. Two of them are Russians and the other two Ukrainians. Their fifth player is a Finn. They've played against good teams like Croatia (four GMs), Sweden (four GMs), Slovakia (three GMs, one IM) and Qatar (one GM, two IMs) so they are not exactly push-overs too. Expect a close fight. Everything depends on our boys' frame of mind tonight. I'm wishing them an extra dose of good luck!

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Dresden chess olympiad, Round 6

When I woke up this morning to look at the results of the sixth round, my first reaction was wince. It was quite painful to see the type of results that the Malaysian team is getting at the hands of the better teams. Slovenia was the latest team to treat us like a punching bag and only Lim Yee Weng was successfully holding his own against them. It was another draw for him but he missed a very promising continuation in his game). For th rest of our players, however, this was another horror outing. It's puzzling to see that Mas Hafizul is not playing to his full potential despite having gained so much additional experience playing during the whole of this year and getting special coaching in his quest for a GM norm. Both Mok Tze Meng and Jimmy Liew tried hard but their ability to produce results seemed to have declined. As for Edward Lee, well, he hasn't played beyond the earlier games so I haven't seen enough of him to comment but right now, his standard lacks the maturity.

Russia 3-1 England
Ukraine 2-2 Germany One
Azerbaijan 1½-2½ Armenia
France 3-1 Poland
Bosnia & Herzegovina 1½-2½ India
Sweden 1½-2½ Israel
Georgia 1½-2½ China
Romania 2½-1½ Bulgaria
Colombia 1½-2½ Hungary
Netherlands 3-1 Moldova

And these are the results of the rest of the Asian teams:

Philippines 1-3 Spain
Iceland 1-3 Vietnam
Belarus 4-0 Lebanon
Slovenia 3½-½ Malaysia
Australia 2½-1½ Switzerland
Scotland 2½-1½ Japan
Croatia 2½-1½ Indonesia
Venezuela 1½-2½ Bangladesh
Pakistan 1-3 New Zealand
Mongolia 2½-1½ Denmark
Latvia 2½-1½ Qatar
Kazakhstan 3-1 Netherlands Antilles
Iran 3½-½ Yemen
Canada 1½-2½ Iraq
Montenegro 2½-1½ Palestine
Kyrgyzstan 1½-2½ Belgium
Libya ½-3½ Uzbekistan
Tajikistan 2-2 Macau
Hongkong ½-3½ UAE
Syria 4-0 Guernsey
Malta 1-3 Turkmenistan
Singapore 4-0 Cyprus
Afghanistan 1½-2½ Thailand
Nicaragua 2-2 South Korea
Fiji 0-4 Jordan
Botswana 2½-1½ Nepal
Jamaica 3½-½ Papua New Guinea
Barbados ½-3½ Sri Lanka
Aruba 2½-1½ Chinese Taipei

Our representatives in Dresden, Round Six: (left to right) Mas Hafizulhelmi, Lim Yee Weng, Mok Tze Meng and Jimmy Liew
At Table 18, these are the results of the Slovenia versus Malaysia match:

GM Beliavsky Alexander G 2619 - IM Mas Hafizulhelmi 2439 1-0
GM Lenic Luka 2569 - FM Lim Yee-Weng 2396 1/2
IM Borisek Jure 2548 - FM Mok Tze-Meng 2308 1-0
IM Skoberne Jure 2501 - IM Liew Chee-Meng-Jimmy 2306 1-0

Such dismal results cannot be any good for the team and so for the seventh round, our players find themselves pushed down to Table 32 where they'll be meeting Egypt. With two GMs in the Egyptian team, they are not to be dismissed. They are good and they gave Israel a tough fight in an earlier round. So it's going to be another tough battle for the Malaysians. I hope our boys will give their all and not throw in the towel early. Good luck!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Dresden chess olympiad, Round 5

Well, the Malaysian team seems to have recovered from the two consecutive losses, albeit to much stronger teams in the earlier rounds. This time, they were matched against the Dominican Republic.

(Photo: Paul Truong / Susan Polgar)

According to the seedings, they should be rather evenly matched with our team. But they had a grandmaster playing on the first board and two international masters as well. So considering that line-up, it was a good overall display from the Malaysians as they worked out a narrow 2½-1½ win. Jimmy playing fourth board in Dresden is definitely not the same as Jimmy playing first board in Lucerne or some other earlier Olympiads. Our experienced Jimmy is struggling and here, this is his second straight loss. Yee Weng is again demonstrating his super-solid chess as he chalks up his fifth draw in a row! He's our drawing master but there's nothing to fault him for this strategy because his two draws against Germany One and Slovakia ensured that we have not been embarrassed by any 0-4 score yet!

Here are the results on the top 10 tables in the fifth round. Three Asian teams among them. Russia lead the standings with nine match points but breathing down Russia's neck are Armenia, Germany One, Azerbaijan, Ukraine and England which all also have nine match points. Somehow, I do not see how this new system of using match points over game points is working convincingly. It's contributing to some murkiness in the standings - and pairings:

Germany One 2-2 Russia
Armenia 2½-1½ Netherlands
Hungary 1½-2½ Ukraine
Norway 1-3 Azerbaijan
England 2½-1½ Italy
India 3-1 Austria
Poland 3½-½ Costa Rica
China 2½-1½ Scotland
Vietnam 2-2 Cuba
Denmark ½-3½ Israel

And these results showed how the rest of the Asian teams fared in the fifth round:

Uzbekistan 1½-2½ Moldova
Greece 3-1 Kazakhstan
Philippines 2½-1½ Iran
USA 4-0 Hongkong
Yemen 2-2 Canada
Bangladesh 3½-½ Albania
Iraq 2-2 Belgium
Wales ½-3½ Pakistan
Mongolia 4-0 Libya
New Zealand 3-1 UAE
Indonesia 2½-1½ Macedonia
Puerto Rico 2-2 Kyrgyzstan
Qatar 3-1 Trinidad & Tobago
Malaysia 2½-1½ Dominican Republic
IPCA 2½-1½ Syria
Australia 2½-1½ Singapore
Lebanon 2½-1½ Ecuador
Japan 2½-1½ Tajikistan
Turkmenistan 1½-2½ Ireland
Jordan 1-3 Uruguay
Germany Three 3½-½ Thailand
Palestine 3-1 San Marino
South Korea ½-3½ Mexico
Macau 3-1 Mozambique
Sri Lanka 2-2 Nepal
Madagascar 0-4 Afghanistan
Papua New Guinea 2½-1½ British Virgin Islands
Chinese Taipei 2-2 Rwanda

Our representatives in Dresden, Round Five: (left to right) Mas Hafizulhelmi, Lim Yee Weng, Mok Tze Meng and Jimmy Liew

At Table 41, these are the results of the Malaysia versus Dominican Republic match:

IM Mas Hafizulhelmi 2439 - GM Mateo Ramon 2487 1-0
FM Lim Yee-Weng 2396 - IM Dominguez Jose M 2345 1/2
FM Mok Tze-Meng 2308 - IM Hernandez Gustavo 2360 1-0
IM Liew Chee-Meng-Jimmy 2306 - Jaquez Juan 2223 0-1

Next up in the sixth round tomorrow night tonight: a match against Slovenia on Table 18. My question: will Jimmy be rested? Anyway, good luck to them!

The Penang Schools' Students Chess Council (2)

In my last blog post, I wrote about the Penang Schools' Students Chess Council circulating a letter to the member schools prior to the PSSCC's dissolution. Here is the follow-up letter:

THE PENANG SCHOOLS STUDENTS CHESS COUNCIL

From The Office Of:
Secretary,
Chess Club,
Penang Free School,
c/o 10 Seang Tek Road,
Penang.
Date: ................

To: .........................
.............................
.............................
.............................

Sir/Madam,

Re : Dissolution of the P.S.S.C.C.

A meeting of the P.S.S.C.C. was convened on 17th June 1972 at St. Xavier's Institution during which a motion proposed by S.X.I. and seconded by P.F.S., moving for the dissolution of the above Council was unaninously passed. The motivating factors behind this move were:-
(a) that the original aims of the Council [ie (i) stimulation of Chess interests in the schools at State level, (ii) introduction and organisation of inter-schools Chess tournaments, (iii) encouraging of competitive rivalry and raising the standard of play, and (iv) co-ordination of inter-school Chess activities in Penang.] had already been realised,
(b) that as encouragement and support, both financially and morally, is being channelled towards the playing of Chess by the Ministry of Education and the Government of Malaysia, the necessity for the existence of the Council is now secondary,
(c) that the member schools are in favour of participating in M.S.S.P.P. and Low Hooi Siah Chess tourneys organised annually.

At this meeting, the P.F.S. Chess Club was given an official mandate to tie up all loose ends. It was also resolved at this meeting that all the various trophies be collected and presented to the newly-formed Penang Chess Association for safe-keeping and exhibition purposes.

However, owing to circumstances beyond our control, the date for the presentation of these trophies to the P.C.A. cannot be fixed as yet but will most probably be effected some time during the December holidays. As such the P.F.S. Chess Club regret to inform all member schools that no notice or invitation to this 'presentation ceremony' will be issued. However, it is the hope of the P.F.S. Chess Club that this event can be arranged to be witnessed and reported in the Press.

Attached to this circular is a copy of a brief account of P.S.S.C.C. prepared by the P.F.S. Chess Club, outlining the events leading to its formation, its progress and achievements and finally its dissolution. The P.F.S. Chess Club would like to place on record its gratitude to all those, with particular reference to Mr. Tan Yam San, former Adviser to the P.S.S.C.C., for the invaluable assistance rendered in compiling this report. The P.F.S. Chess Club hereby invites all member schools to scrutinise the report and submit any criticism(s) or amendment(s) to the Club before Tuesday 31st October 1972. Amendment(s) submitted after the specified date will not be entertained. All member schools are also kindly requested to notify the Club on receipt of this circular and report with or without amendments so as to facilitate accurate official reports for future records. Your co-operation will be greatly appreciated. Again, kindly reply before 31st Octobcr 1972. Please address all correspondences to the Secretary, Chess Club, Penang Free School, c/o 10 Seang Tek Road, Penang. Thank you.

Comments: Membership - ...........................................

By Order of P.S.S.C.C.

(Khoo Chuan Keat)
Chairman, P.F.S. Chess Club

(Quah Seng Sun)
Secretary, P.F.S. Chess Club




Monday, 17 November 2008

Toyota service centre in Prai, Penang

Boy oh boy...I spent more than four hours today at the Toyota service centre in the Prai Industrial Estate waiting for my car to be serviced. Arrived there at 8am and spent the time catching up on some outstanding work. All off-line, of course, because the service centre doesn't even have a WiFi service for their customers. Toyota is either a cheapskate or they haven't caught up with technology yet.

Anyway, I could detect a very weak unsecured wireless signal from where I was seated so whenever I could, I piggybacked on it for some surfing. But I gave up after a while. It's times like this when I wish that I have Andrew's WiFry contraption with me!

Here's a picture of the new Avanza 1.5 in the showroom with its latest cosmetic changes. Looks nice, eh? Price also very nice...

At about 11.45am, I could see that my car was just about ready. But it puzzled me that the Toyota staff did not contact me to collect it. I waited until about 12.30pm before I approached their staff to enquire. Yup, my car was ready. But I asked the lady why she didn't try to contact me? She said she did, two or three times, but I told her nonsense. Not once did my mobile ring. And she could have tried to walk round to the waiting area to call for me. She didn't. Not initiative enough to do something extra for the customers, especially since she knew I would be waiting. In my opinion, it's very bad service from her. And all she could do was to look at me apologetically. She's stupid, really very stupid.

Dresden chess olympiad, Round 4

The honeymoon is really over for the Malaysian team which found themselves out of their depth again in the fourth round. Like I mentioned yesterday, the match against Slovakia would be a tough one and it proved to be true. Except for Lim Yee Weng, our three other players did not acquit themselves well. But again, because of Yee Weng, the team avoided a complete whitewash. Somehow, I just felt that their opponents were playing only very logical moves and our players got themselves into trouble by themselves. Nothing really complicated about their games. Just that their opponents had better feel of the positions.

Coming back to the Olympiad, these are the results on the top 10 tables in the fourth round. Nothing really surprising about them except that I expected the Azerbaijan-USA results to be closer:

Ukraine 2-2 Armenia
Spain 1½-2½ Germany One
Norway 2-2 England
Russia 2½-1½ India
Romania 1-3 Hungary
Azerbaijan 3-1 USA
Faroe Islands 1½-2½ Netherlands
Malta ½-3½ Poland
Ireland ½-3½ Bosnia & Herzegovina

And these are the results of the remaining Asian countries. China is trying to roar back into contention but they still have 11 teams placed ahead of them.

Macedonia 0-4 China
Malaysia ½-3½ Slovakia
Denmark 2½-1½ Bangladesh
Greece 2-2 Philippines
Bulgaria 3½-½ Mongolia
Vietnam 3½-½ Japan
Brazil 2-2 Uzbekistan
Kazakhstan 2-2 Turkey
Belarus 3-1 Tajikistan
New Zealand 0-4 Slovenia
Costa Rica 3-1 Indonesia
Austria 3-1 Turkmenistan
Iran 4-0 Nicaragua
Pakistan 2-2 South Africa
Nepal 1-3 Qatar
Syria 3½-½ Surinam
UAE 4-0 Macau
Kenya 0-4 Kyrgyzstan
Thailand 2-2 Jordan
Yemen 3-1 Guatemala
Luxembourg 3-1 Afghanistan
Uruguay 2-2 Palestine
Mauritius 1-3 Lebanon
Guernsey 0-4 Australia
Barbados 0-4 Iraq
Mozambique 1-3 Hongkong
Nigeria 2-2 South Korea
Libya 3-1 Sri Lanka
Jersey ½-3½ Singapore
San Marino 3-1 Chinese Taipei
Uganda 2-2 Papua New Guinea
Fiji 2-2 Rwanda

Our representatives in Dresden, Round Four: (left to right) Mas Hafizulhelmi, Lim Yee Weng, Mok Tze Meng and Edward Lee

At Table 15, these are the results of the Malaysian team:
IM Mas Hafizulhelmi 2439 - GM Ftacnik Lubomir 2571 0-1
FM Lim Yee-Weng 2396 - GM Markos Jan 2557 1/2
FM Mok Tze-Meng 2308 - GM Petrik Tomas 2487 0-1
Edward Lee Kim Han - IM Vavrak Peter 2478 0-1

For Round Five, Malaysia has been pushed way down to Table 41 and they'll be playing the Dominican Republic. Boys, forget about the last two rounds. Nothing to fret about. You played against good teams. Let's go for the future. Good luck!

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Continuing story of aborted Kings Of Tennis event

The Star prints a story today about the cancelled Kings Of Tennis tournament. There's a press statement (click here) from the event organiser Arianna Teoh who denied allegations that the event was cancelled because of her failure to remit funds to the Swedish-based producer.

She claimed that she was hired by the producer Show Administration as a vice-president for the Kings of Tennis event and had agreed to organise and manage the event in Malaysia. But budgeting, revenue and invoicing were obligations to be undertaken by Show Administration, which was obligated to set up a Malaysian company controlled by them and to be named Kings of Tennis Malaysia.

“I was supposed to be made a director for the Kings of Tennis Malaysia company in order to issue all invoices in relation to all sources of revenue pertaining to the event. These would include corporate boxes, sponsors and hospitality packages. At no time was I under any obligation to personally remit funds to the producer for the event."

Teoh said the producer failed to set up the company and what was set up was a company intended by the producer to be the vehicle for fund collection. “It was set up extremely late despite my repeated reminders,” she said.

Meanwhile, I was having a chat with a colleague last week and he was saying that for a tenth of the much bandied-about RM18 million expenditure/loss for this aborted event, the organisers could have brought in any two players to run clinics for juniors, charity events, adult clinic, stroke with the pros, played one exhibition match on existing facilities and done great development of tennis in the state for our juniors and social players. And there are many existing tennis courts in Penang.

Dendrobium Senile and a Cirrhopetalum

The past month or so had seen many of my orchids in bloom. I just managed to capture these two pictures yesterday. The first is the Dendrobium Senile. There's only a single flower and it's only slightly bigger than a 50 cents coin. But the main attraction of this plant are the hairy pseudobulbs and leaves. The second is a cirrhopetalum which I think could be a sikkimense. This time, however, the flowers are not very well formed. Don't know why.

Dendrobium Senile

Cirrhopetalum Sikkimense(?)

Dresden chess olympiad, Round 3

The Malaysian team was quickly brought down back to earth early this morning to face the harsh reality that they were playing against a team that was at least a league better than them. Germany One came prepared and only Lim Yee Weng had a decent game. Yet, he had nothing better than a draw. We felt the might of the German team but at least, we did not come away empty-handed in this match. It could've been worse.

Is it only in Europe that you can see crowds as large as these at chess events? (Photo: Europe-Echecs)

(Photos: Paul Truong / Susan Polgar)

(Photo: ChessBase)

(Photo: Chess Vibes)

So how did the top 10 tables fare? Interestingly, five small minnows - Malaysia, Faroe Islands, El Salvador, Japan and Malta - were thrust into the limelight playing the juggernauts at the top 10 tables and they were overwhelmed. It wouldn't have happened this way if not for the change in one of the Olympiad rules where match points are now counted instead of game points. It has certainly given rise to rather unique situations and pairings. For example, how could tournament leader Tajikistan with 7½ points end up playing at the seventh table while Russia with 5 points played at the top table? Interesting. BTW, I'm surprised that China lost. Norway is seeded many rungs below China so this is an upset result.

Russia 3½-½ Cuba
Germany One 3½-½ Malaysia
Georgia 1½-2½ Ukraine
China 1½-2½ Norway
Netherlands 2-2 Azerbaijan
Armenia 4-0 Faroe Islands
Tajikistan 1-3 Spain
India 3½-½ El Salvador
Japan 1-3 Romania
England 4-0 Malta

And how were the fortunes of the rest of the Asian teams in this round?

Singapore 1-3 Poland
Kyrgyzstan 1-3 Belarus
UAE 1-3 Croatia
Slovakia 4-0 Yemen
Bosnia & Herzegovina 2½-1½ Syria
Lebanon 1-3 Sweden
Uzbekistan 4-0 Iraq
Jordan ½-3½ Kazakhstan
Luxembourg ½-3½ Vietnam
Monaco 1½-2½ Philippines
Macedonia 4-0 Thailand
Sri Lanka 0-4 Austria
Bangladesh 3-1 Libya
South Korea ½-3½ Portugal
Pakistan 2-2 Paraguay
Hongkong ½-3½ Ecuador
Nepal 0-4 Costa Rica
Afghanistan ½-3½ Indonesia
Mongolia 3-1 Mozambique
Ethiopia 1-3 New Zealand
Turkmenistan 3-1 Malawi
Mexico 1½-2½ Iran
Australia 4-0 British Virgin Islands
Qatar 4-0 Namibia
Palestine 3-1 Fiji
Papua New Guinea 1½-2½ Netherlands Antilles
Cyprus 2-2 Chinese Taipei
Macau 4-0 Virgin Islands

Our representatives in Dresden, Round Three: (left to right) Mas Hafizulhelmi, Lim Yee Weng, Mok Tze Meng and Jimmy Liew

At Table 2, these are the results of the Malaysian team:
GM Naiditsch Arkadij 2678 - IM Mas Hafizulhelmi 2439 1-0
GM Gustafsson Jan 2634 - FM Lim Yee-Weng 2396 1/2
GM Fridman Daniel 2630 - FM Mok Tze-Meng 2308 1/0
GM Baramidze David 2557 - IM Liew Chee-Meng-Jimmy 2306 1-0

For Round Four, Malaysia has been pushed down to Table 15 - not too unreasonable considering the quantum of their loss but hey, match points over game points, remember? - and they are going to play Slovakia. It's going to be another tough match. Their first four players are GMs. Good luck, boys!