1. It is simple. After few phone calls and SMSes and we already manage to assemble a team for a dangerous mission...to win Best State Team in Merdeka Rapid!
· First Board Mohd Arshad
· Second Board Nor Ilhamuddin
· Third Board Rahim Ramli
· Fourth Board Fairul Yusoff
2. Based on our average chess rating, we are seeded number 32 out of 104 teams. Not bad but I guess we could be seeded higher if seeding is based on age average…and definitely will be in top ten should it is based from waistline average!
3. We know the odds stacked heavily against us. After all we are like those bunch of retired killers/soldiers in The Expendables film, stood against active, fit, lean mean professionals. At 39 years old, I am the youngest, the baby boy of the team. We know it will be difficult but we also damn sure we are going to have a lot of fun here.
4. Other than chess skills, each player got their own unique skills and duties for the mission to win best State Team:
- Mohd Arshad a cameraman and finder of best place to eat." To enjoy good food, just follow me" For record his favourite restaurants are Nando's or Chicken Rice Shop.
- Rahim the mathematic professor, he contribute by giving his mathematical analysis/targets on the team’s performance. "We should got at least 12 points from first day to be among the contenders" etc. For Record we scored 11.5 from first day but manage to recover the lost ground on second day by beating two teams 4-0, drawing one and lost one to Coup de Grace.
- Fairul the motivator, contributed by always giving the optimistic view of the situation when everything seems bleak. " Don't worry. I will contribute 9 points and we should be State Champ" etc. For record he really scored 9 points...but 9 terbaliklah (6 points)! :)
I am in charge to buy morning breakfast and by virtue of being the only player with a pen, I am unofficially the team captain with duty to write down the player's name and signed the result. After few rounds I ‘delegate’ the duty to Mohd Arshad since being on Board 1, he stood the nearest to the Result Sheet.
Still if you asked me who is the captain? I will say he is Rahim...the most respectable player/ person in the team.
5. Our first round opponent is a Collin Madhavan’s junior team. Before the start of game, Collin said please be gentle with his boys. I replied ‘No, the boys should be gentle when playing against old uncle like us” Anyway, for record we managed to beat them 4-0.
6. In second round we face Philippine Team and we lost 0-4. Hmm, our performance is just like Malaysian Team at Olympiad, beat weak team 4-0 before being whitewashed by stronger team 4-0.
7. But still, to my curious (and delight), for most the rounds when we played we always facing All Ladies Team…whether they are in front of our table…or next to our table…always FACING them! Pairings done in Heaven...Hmm, God works in mysterious way!
8. After the end of the round 8, we have surprised even ourselves when we got 11 points and we ARE the best state team at that time. Mission almost accomplished and how we wished Merdeka Rapid is played over just 8 rounds.
Even mighty Penang stood at 10 points. At the Hotel Lobby I asked Chuin Hong how is his team (Penang) doing? Chuin Hong then replied ‘We are now 10 points, just like you guys (Terengganu).
I then smiled and replied “I am sorry but we are not 10 points, we are 11!”
9. Still at the end of the day, Penang (and Penang CLOBA) beat his last round opponent while we lost to Mok’s Coup de Grace. Penang entitled for one of those Best Malaysian prize while Penang CLOBA snatched the Best State Team.
Looks like Penang, sorry…Penangs, are the ones who have the last laugh…Grrrrr! :(
10. All things considered, it is a good outing for us. Each players contributed between 5 and 6 points out of 9 rounds…there is no star and no failure in the team and we have performed better than expectation.
Each players got their very own moment in the sun…Arshad, when he manage to beat Max…Rahim, when he manage to draw with Jamals Henry from Jakarta and drew with Kamaluddin Yusof …Fairul Yusof, when he beat NM Kamal Ariffin and drew with WIM Upi Tamin. Me? I guess, my moment in the sun is when I beat RED FM* Ooi Chern Eei (with indirect help from one angel...)
Yeah, we have our moment of failure too but I guess it is too few to mentions.
11. Terengganu will send a team to Sabah next month but I will not be in the team (and Rahim too)…I am not sure who will be playing but looks like the line up will be Syazwan, Arshad, Fairul and Suhaidi.
Take this opportunity to wish you guys all the best!
*Movie buff will know that RED here stands for "Retired, Extremely Dangerous."