Thursday, 11 September 2014

Chess reunion

I'm looking forward to travelling down to Kuala Lumpur next week to see the Malaysia Chess Festival 2014 for myself. No, I'm not in any way associated with the running of the show or even as a player. But as a long-time supporter of the annual Festival - I've been contributing stories for their souvenir programmes for a very long time - I have an open invitation to be there every year.

For a long while, I had thought that this year's Festival would have been cancelled. I clearly remember that at last year's event, the octogenarian Dato' Tan Chin Nam, who is the man behind the Festival for umpteen years already, had indicated that the 2013 edition, coinciding with the 10th Arthur Tan memorial Malaysia open chess tournament, would be the last that his business empire, IGB Berhad, would be sponsoring.

Apparently, Tan had a change of heart because just about a week ago, the main organiser called to invite me to KL and at the same time, asked me for a story for this year's Festival. "Or else the souvenir programme would be rather bare," he admitted.

"It is all rather last minute, isn't it so?" I had grumbled to him, but he said that the Festival had actually been announced by email as early as June this year. Oops, I must have missed his email in my inbox then.

Anyhow, I've already sent my story to him, just in time for print, and told him that I'd be there as always to drop into the tournament hall on the fifth level of the Cititel at the MidValley megamall.

Actually, the Malaysian Chess Festival is much more than just the Arthur Tan memorial Malaysia open. This year's event starts off with the 34th astro rapid chess tournament on 12-13 Sept 2014. Then there's the fifth Swensen's age-group chess tournament on 14 Sept 2014. Only then do we get to the 11th Arthur Tan memorial Malaysia open, the fifth KLK Tan Sri Lee Loy Seng international seniors open chess tournament and the ninth Malaysia chess challenge on 15-21 Sept 2014. And sandwiched in between the rounds of these three events will be the first Bukit Kiara rapid chess individual tournament on 18 Oct 2014.

So I'll be staying in KL next week from Thursday week till the end of the Festival. I'm raring to find out how happy can I continue to be while in the presence of my long-standing chess mates. I'm saying this because with each passing year, I am finding myself to be more and more irrelevant because the Internet had overtaken the traditional methods of chess reporting. News gets around faster at the speed of electrons than the printed word ever can.

Besides cavorting with my old chess mates, I also hope to use my time in KL to check up on some music stores, especially those that are still offering vinyl record sales to their customers. There is a bigger rejuvenation of record sales in the Klang Valley than in my hometown, Penang, and I would want to see how it is like there. And finally, I hope to catch up with several people that I've lost touch with for a very long time. It's really time for a reunion of sorts...

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