All together there are only 30 players took part, maybe this is because there are two other tournaments (at Shah Alam -Insofar and Malacca) held on the same day. 15 rounds, begin at about 10.30am and finished at about 3.30pm with solid one hour lunch.
Very efficiently conducted by young Mr Kaber. in fact, most of the time Kaber is just standing there watching games in progress. He jot down the report there and then. In fact, if your game happen to be the last game to finish in that round, shortly after the game finished and after you have cursed your bad luck or blessed your lucky star... and started to reconstruct back the pieces...tup!,next round pairing is up again!...That efficient and any pairing faster than that I predict could only be achieved by Nostradamus.
Mas vs Najib
In the first round, and on the first board the encounter is IM Mas vs Najib Wahab...:)...and gosh, what an encounter! Najib played like player possessed and keep on sacrificing piece after piece after piece!...and winning! Totally have no respect to his IM opponent.
After the fireworks show by Najib is over, the position is...Najib is a piece down but 5 healthy pawns up! The Dragon pawn some more. Mas also readily admitted after the game that Najib is winning but unfortunately he played few inaccurate moves beginning from move 32...and Mas escaped with a win.
They say blitz game got no value...but when Najib nearly brilliantly beat Mas with the disadvantage black pieces, of course there is value to it. Below is the game.
Fasten your seat belt....
After that first round scare...the tournament is all Mas. He just keep on winning game after game after game...the general feeling among the rest of us is...who is next we are going to feed to hungry Mas? Ofcourse, undeniably in some game (especially against Dr Zaidan) Mas is losing but he is very resourceful in creating unbalanced position in which it is easy for his opponent to make mistakes. Mas finally beat the soft spoken Doc even though at one time Mas is two pawns down.
And in Jax vs Mas game...We, (myself and NM Kamal Ariffin) watched the game from the beginning...Kamal after he beat his opponent in 4 or 5 moves, me because i got bye :( in that round... silky smooth performance by Mas. It is a Sicilian game in which Jax, castled queenside, advance all his king side pawns where Mas king's castle...Mas just tap the position here and there and a bit at the middle, advance his queenside pawns...and its all over. Mas make it looks so easy. Both Kamal and me just shake our head in silence... he understand the position like cab driver understand roads of KL. Every lorongs, short cuts, holes, traffic jam, complete where to get best food etc of the position is inside his head. Literally.
I have the opportunity of chit chatting with him during this tournament. He is kind enough to provide few tips to excel in chess like the needs to master (master, not a mere 'know') the endgame etc. The tricky knight bishop checkmate...rook vs queen pawnless endgame...ok, all this normal until later, unknown to Mas, one player informed me that Mas is teaching him how to checkmate (knight, bishop vs lone king) blindfolded!
Ofcourse Mas is very humble about his knowledge. Talking to him, he lowered himself to 'kito' or we...'kito nie, hok asah nie pong tok pahe lagi...' etc ' we sometimes do not even understand the basic...' but i know Mas is not 'we', the patzer. Mas is in different league...
Don't ask! Did i told you i got bye in round 9 or is round 10...go figure it out how i performed!
1. 'The IM' Mas
2. 'The CM' Fadli
3. 'The Doc' Zaidan
4. 'The Sifu' Jax Tham
5. 'The Tricky' Abdul Shukor
6. 'The Agdestein' Ezmi
7. 'The NM' Kamal Ariffin
8. 'The Smiley Assasin' Najib
12 hours ago