OCT 9 — Local chess enthusiasts are in for a busy year's end spent hunched over a board, as joining the Penang Open held from December 8-12, 2014 will be a new event — the Johor International Open — to be held a few days before from December 1-6, 2014.
These are the next two decent-sized international title and rated events (although the long-running Selangor Open deserves mention) besides the Malaysian and KL Opens which are clearly in a different league altogether.
As the majority of chess players who participate in tournaments are children, these dates of course take full advantage of the long school holidays and will also benefit from being held at popular holiday venues; these have many attractions as there is a need to cater for the family circus that follows these young players to competitions!
Playing too will no doubt be the usual large number of Filipino woodpushers who seem to ply their trade here courtesy of rock bottom Cebu Pacific budget fares and the open homes of parents whose children they teach without work permits on 30-day ASEAN visitor visas and so bypassing the need to pay income tax.
This is in stark contrast to other countries, for example India, where the organisers announce up front that 10 per cent of any prizes won by foreigners will be withheld for tax reasons but I suppose we don't bother as Malaysians don't win many prizes when these professional players from neighbouring countries are able to come and play even in our small weekend events!
Yet we do have a number of very keen amateur chessplayers who from time to time make time to play and it is always nice when they are successful overseas. Dr Zaidan Zulkifli in July played in the Asian Dragons Invitational held in Taipei when for the first time Malaysia was invited to join representatives from Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Macau and emerged the winner.
Following are some examples of his fine play there which he so kindly provided with annotations: