LOCAL chess fraternity is having a great time witnessing a strong field of foreign and local chess masters and promising players in action at the ongoing Penang Chess Festival at the Red Rock Hotel in George Town.
Penang Chess Association (PCA) president See Swee Sie said they were happy that more than 300 participants from 19 countries have been attracted to this year’s championships, with a total of four Grandmasters (GMs), four Women Grandmasters (WGMs), 11 International Masters (IMs) and nine FIDE Masters (FMs).
Malaysia have entered the most number of participants at 165, followed by Singapore (44), Indonesia (32), India (32), China (15) and the Philippines (12).
The others came from Australia, United States of America (four each), Germany, Vietnam (three each), England, Uzbekistan (two each), Azerbaijan, Brunei, Spain, France, Thailand, Chinese Taipei and Ukraine (one each).
“We are thankful to the Chief Minister’s office for their annual support and sponsorship of our annual chess activities,” See, who runs a legal firm, said in her speech.
“We are also thankful to the Penang State Sports Council, state Youth and Sports Committee chairman Soon Lip Chee and various state departments, including the Penang Island City Council and the state Educational Department, for continuing to promote chess in the state.
“I am also very touched to receive contributions from parents and enthusiasts towards the Penang Open.
“Penang has been the MSSM (Malaysian Schools Sports Council) champions for at least the last five years.”
She also congratulated Wong Yinn Long of Penang for capturing the gold medal in the MSSM Under-18 boys this year and was given a full scholarship by Multimedia University.
Another player See praised was IM Yeoh Li Tian for winning the first gold medal in the SEA Games chess ever history this year. Li Tian took part in the 2017 Penang Open. His father, Yeoh Chin Seng, hails from Penang and is currently the Malaysian Chess Federation (MCF) vice-president.
Pulau Tikus assemblyman Chris Lee Chun Kit, who represented Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow at the opening ceremony, complimented PCA for having run chess activities for many years.
He also encouraged the youth of Penang to play in the spirit of good sportsmanship and as a form of mentally stimulating activity.
The Penang Chess Festival comprises four events – the 11th Penang Open which is also known as the 11th Penang Heritage City International Open (Dec 9-14), Penang Challenger (Dec 9-14), Penang Blitz (Dec 12) and the Penang Chess League (Dec 14-15).
The top seed in the Penang Open is Sivuk Vitaly of Ukraine while the Women Fide Master Dian Thi Van Anh of Vietnam is the top seed for Penang Challenger.
Story by K.H. Ong
Pix courtesy of Quah Seng Sun