Sunday, 11 April 2010

KL Open 2010: First impressions

Well, here I am today, in Kuala Lumpur for the third KL open chess tournament. Actually, I arrived yesterday but the wifi service at the Olympic Sports Hotel has been bad. Although the signal was strong, I had been unable to connect to any site at all.

Today is not any better but I am now at the tournament hall and using the wifi connection of the OCM. Signal is very weak but at least I'm able to connect through.

Event is very strong and there is a great depth in the players. That Chinese girl, Hou Yifan, has been sitting at the top table for some rounds already and barring any unusual end to the tournament, I think that she should win it. Her closest rival is Vietnamese grandmaster Nguyen Ahn Dong, also going great guns and matching Yifan point-for-point. They drew their mutual game earlier but I believe her break is slightly better.

Not many local faces in the event, though, only 20 of them. I would have thought that the strong local players would take the opportunity to play against these foreigners. I know that it's for reasons best known to themselves BUT surely, more of the top players should be here. Instead, we are left with the likes of Nicholas Chan, Ronnie Lim, Jimmy Liew and youngster Yeoh Li Tian to lead the local charge. Li Tian, by the way, is going great. After six rounds, he had scored one win and five draws. I haven't taken a look at his game in the seventh round yet. [Update: He lost.]

Caught up with Nigel Short yesterday. He gave a clock simul over 10 boards and could have wiped them all off the board. However, an indiscretion in one of the games saw the British grandmaster struggling to contain his opponent in the endgame. In the end, he defended well and had to concede a draw.

P.S. Photos may come later. Wifi connection is real slow and erratic.

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