A look at the action in Penang

DECEMBER 18 — In the end, it was a five-way tie at the 6th Penang Heritage International Open Chess Championships held at Red Rock Hotel from December 8-12, 2014.

With scores of 7/9 (seven points from nine games), veteran Filipino grandmaster Bong Villamayor took the honours together with Indonesian grandmaster Susanto Megaranto, newly crowned Indian Asian Junior Champion Narayanan Srinath, emerging Indonesian talent Sean Winshand Cuhendi and Indian International Master Sharma Dinesh K.   

The opening ceremony was graced by Chow Kon Yeow, a senior member of the Penang State Executive Council who pledged the government's continued support for the event.

In the Open section there were a total of 102 participants while the Challengers attracted 150 participants which made a grand total of 252, making it the largest local Open tournament.

Official statistics would put it as 14 countries represented and with 25 having FIDE titles in the Open.

Besides Malaysia with 45 representatives, there were also large numbers from a few countries, the ever present Filipinos in local events totalling 14, a typically good show from Singapore contributing 12, our other neighbours Indonesia having 11 while India had 7.

Our best finisher was 16th seeded Yeoh Li Tian, in my opinion our most talented young player and who is the current Malaysian Masters champion, doing well to finish 9th with 6/9.

More surprisingly was the performance of Eric Cheah; never really a top 10 player but always thereabouts, and with 5.5/9 and on the comeback trail, was clearly the best of the rest! 

Several of our young talents were in the 32--41 placing bracket with 5/9.

But while they must be asking why they had the same score as Singapore Chess Federation President Ignatius Leong, 58, it might have been even more embarrassing for more fancied and ambitious locals like Ng Tse Han, Fong Yit San, Marcus Chan and Loo Swee Leong who struggled to make 4.5/9 to reach 50 per cent, the same as 11-year-old Tan Jun Ying and 70-year-old Eddy Kwan!    

Generally the Penang Open was well organised and much credit for this should go to Tournament Director Tan Eng Seong and his team of helpers.

It is only on the technical side that local organisers always fall a little short, neither having the experience, knowledge and deep understanding of international chess, for example having just two grandmasters instead of the three required for title norms which downgraded the event somewhat.

Then failing to ensure the right mix through either number of rounds or minimum rating entry requirement which would have helped with international master norms, but I understand they will address this next year.

Strangely this year the Challengers was not as strong as in previous years and with the standard of play amongst the participants varying greatly from top to bottom due to the huge number of children taking part, it was almost like there were two different events going on!

Indonesian Daniel Hermawan Lumban Tobing was tied with top seeded Lim Wei Sheng on 8/9 but had the better tie-break, and were the standout performers one full point clear of a chasing pack of six others.

For full results see http://chess-results.com/tnr154646.aspx?lan=1&art=1&rd=9&wi=821

Games selection

The first is the first round encounter between one of our best very young talents Tan Jun Ying who took on his now regular opponent Eric Cheah who himself was a former Penang child prodigy almost 40 years ago!

Tan,Jun Ying (1712) - Cheah,Eric (2255)

6th Penang Heritage City International C Red Rock Hotel, 08.12.2014

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0–0 6.Be2 e5 7.0–0 Na6 8.Be3 Ng4 9.Bg5 Qe8 10.h3 f6 11.Bc1 Nh6 12.Be3 Nf7 13.dxe5 dxe5 14.c5 f5 15.Bb5 c6 16.Bxa6 bxa6 17.b4 f4 18.Bc1 Be6 19.Qe2 Qc8 20.Nd2 g5 21.Rd1 Nh8 22.f3 h5 23.Nc4 Qe8 24.Bb2 Qg6 25.Rd6 Rac8 26.Nd5 Rfe8 27.Na5 Nf7 28.Rxc6 g4 29.hxg4 hxg4 30.Kf1 gxf3 31.Qxf3 Ng5 32.Rxc8 Bxc8 33.Qb3 Kh7 34.Re1 Qh5 35.Qd3 f3 36.gxf3 Nxf3 37.Re3 Qh1+ 38.Kf2 Qg1+ 39.Ke2 Qe1+ 40.Kxf3 Rf8+ 41.Kg2 Rf2+ 42.Kg3 Qg1+ 43.Kh4 Qg4#

0–1

Next up is another first round encounter, Ignatius Leong making sure his young opponent did not get a draw as at the Johor Open.

Leong,Ignatius (2100) - Cheah,Kah Hoe (1370)

6th Penang Heritage City International C Red Rock Hotel, 08.12.2014

1.b3 Nf6 2.Bb2 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 0–0 5.Nf3 d6 6.d4 Nc6 7.0–0 e5 8.e3 Nd7 9.c3 f5 10.Nbd2 f4 11.Bh3 Qe7 12.exf4 exf4 13.Re1 Qf7 14.Be6 Qxe6 15.Rxe6 Nde5 16.dxe5 Bxe6 17.exd6 cxd6 18.Ne4 fxg3 19.hxg3 Rad8 20.Nd4 Nxd4 21.cxd4 Bd5 22.Qd3 Rd7 23.Bc1 Re7 24.Nd2 Re1+ 25.Nf1 Rf3 26.Qd2 Re4 27.Bb2 Re6 28.Ne3 Bh6 29.Re1 Ref6 30.Qa5 Be6 31.d5 Bxe3 32.Rxe3

1–0

One big upset told to me at length by the loser was where a young lady convincingly beat a Filipino professional.

Chuah,Yi Ning (1601) - Olay,Edgar Reggie (2225)

6th Penang Heritage City International C Red Rock Hotel, 08.12.2014

1.e4 e6 2.d4 c5 3.Nf3 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.c4 Nc6 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Bd3 Ne5 8.0–0 Nxd3 9.Qxd3 Qc7 10.f4 Ng4 11.b3 Bc5 12.Kh1 Nxe3 13.Qxe3 g5 14.Qc3 Rg8 15.b4 Bd6 16.e5 Be7 17.Qf3 Qxc4 18.fxg5 Rg7 19.Ne2 Bxg5 20.Ng3 Be7 21.Nh5 Rg5 22.Nd2 Qg4 23.Qxf7+ Kd8 24.Ng3 b5 25.Nde4 Rxe5 26.Qxh7 Qh4 27.Qxh4 Bxh4 28.Rf8+ Ke7 29.Raf1 Rxe4 30.Nxe4 e5 31.Rh8 d5 32.Rh7+ Ke6 33.Nc5+ Kd6 34.Rh6+ Ke7 35.Rxh4 d4 36.Rh6 a5 37.Nd3 e4 38.Ne5 Be6 39.Nc6+ Kd7 40.Nxd4 Bc4 41.Rff6 Ke7 42.Nc6+ Kd7

1–0

Marcus Chan has the good fortune to have many of the top talent in Penang come to him for lessons but here the female student is from Selangor.

Chan,Marcus (2225) - Azman Hisham,Nur Najiha (1974)

6th Penang Heritage City International C Red Rock Hotel, 10.12.2014

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 b6 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.Qxc3 Ne4 7.Qc2 Bb7 8.Nh3 c5 9.f3 Nf6 10.dxc5 bxc5 11.e3 Nc6 12.Be2 Qb6 13.0–0 d5 14.Rb1 a5 15.cxd5 exd5 16.Bd2 Ne7 17.Rfc1 Nd7 18.Kh1 0–0 19.Bd3 g6 20.Qa4 Ne5 21.Be2 Bc8 22.Qf4 f6 23.Nf2 Bd7 24.g4 Bb5 25.Bxb5 Qxb5 26.Re1 N7c6 27.Bc3 d4 28.exd4 cxd4 29.Bd2 Qd5 30.Kg2 a4 31.Red1 Rab8 32.Bc3 g5 33.Qg3 Qc4 34.Bb4 Nxb4 35.axb4 Rxb4 36.Ne4 Qe2+ 37.Qf2 Qxf2+ 38.Kxf2 f5 39.gxf5 Rxf5 40.Nd2 g4 41.Rg1 Kf7 42.Rg3 h5 43.h4 Nxf3 44.Nxf3 Rb3 45.Rd1 Rxb2+ 46.Kf1 gxf3 47.Rxd4 a3 48.Rd7+ Ke6 49.Rgg7 Rb1+ 50.Kf2 Rb2+ 51.Ke3 Re2+ 52.Kd3 Rd5+ 53.Rxd5 Kxd5 54.Rg5+ Re5 55.Rg1 f2 56.Rf1 a2 57.Kd2 Re1 58.Rxf2 a1Q

0–1

For many years the still very young Hazel Liu Yang was Singapore's top woman player and she had one of her best results ever at the Penang Open and here is a typical effort.

Chan,Marcus (2225) - Azman Hisham,Nur Najiha (1974)

6th Penang Heritage City International C Red Rock Hotel, 10.12.2014

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 b6 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.Qxc3 Ne4 7.Qc2 Bb7 8.Nh3 c5 9.f3 Nf6 10.dxc5 bxc5 11.e3 Nc6 12.Be2 Qb6 13.0–0 d5 14.Rb1 a5 15.cxd5 exd5 16.Bd2 Ne7 17.Rfc1 Nd7 18.Kh1 0–0 19.Bd3 g6 20.Qa4 Ne5 21.Be2 Bc8 22.Qf4 f6 23.Nf2 Bd7 24.g4 Bb5 25.Bxb5 Qxb5 26.Re1 N7c6 27.Bc3 d4 28.exd4 cxd4 29.Bd2 Qd5 30.Kg2 a4 31.Red1 Rab8 32.Bc3 g5 33.Qg3 Qc4 34.Bb4 Nxb4 35.axb4 Rxb4 36.Ne4 Qe2+ 37.Qf2 Qxf2+ 38.Kxf2 f5 39.gxf5 Rxf5 40.Nd2 g4 41.Rg1 Kf7 42.Rg3 h5 43.h4 Nxf3 44.Nxf3 Rb3 45.Rd1 Rxb2+ 46.Kf1 gxf3 47.Rxd4 a3 48.Rd7+ Ke6 49.Rgg7 Rb1+ 50.Kf2 Rb2+ 51.Ke3 Re2+ 52.Kd3 Rd5+ 53.Rxd5 Kxd5 54.Rg5+ Re5 55.Rg1 f2 56.Rf1 a2 57.Kd2 Re1 58.Rxf2 a1Q

0–1

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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