It is without any doubt that the current global COVID19 pandemic has thrown a huge spanner in our otherwise routine and normal lives that was usually filled with colors of rainbows and everything in between. With the earlier phase of MCO (Movement Control Order) which many considered as partial lockdown, and the ensuing CMCO (Conditional Movement Control Order), many resigned to the fact that this is how we will live our lives moving forward. The colors have somewhat dispersed, replaced by abundance shades of grey and a few more black spots that was not significantly noticeable before. While many of us are hopeful that the normality will return – sooner than later, many have put off their plans and events towards a much later date in the year, or at worse, towards the middle of next year. Many can expect the year 2020 to be a mostly an uneventful year except for the few activities – social or otherwise, that will resume but simplified with great precautionary steps taken.
For the chess community, based on the directives given by the government for all sports associations, MCF has little choice but to postponed the Malaysian Chess Championship that is scheduled to be held from 10th to 14th June in Bangi. While MCF has not yet decided the fate of the MCC 2020 edition, a prolonged movement order may eventually caused the total cancellation of the year’s most awaited national event.
On a more sad note, MCF has also decided to cancelled the National Youth Chess Championship 2020 scheduled in July, and pending further development of the current pandemic, will decide if this will also impact the planned Inter State Team Chess Championship that is to be hosted by the Melaka Chess Association in September.
As for the other 2020 major events, Johor Chess Association and Penang Chess Association have tentatively cancelled their events even though the dates are months away in December 2020. On the other hand, MCF is yet to receive news from the organizers of the Malaysian Chess Festival but would not be surprised if the event is also being cancelled in view of the pandemic and the restriction on international travelling.
Nonetheless, in view of these uncertainties – as to when organizers are allowed to resume with events and tournaments, and the sudden popularity surge of Online Chess, MCF is also exploring the possibility of Organizing the Malaysian Chess Championship and the Inter State Chess Championship via Online mode sometime before August 2020. The Federation is currently reviewing a possible plan that can be developed to make the event a reality especially in mitigating cheating issues that has created negative impact towards the game’s popularity. With CMCO expected to end by 9th June 2020, and some restriction is expected to ease, MCF is waiting for KBS/MSN/OCM to issue some form of organizing guidelines before finalizing the plan. If it is viable and practical, MCF hopes to expand the Online model as a possible option of how online chess events can be run in the future to complement the real “over-the-board” tournaments that we are so used to organizing.
MCF also wishes to announce its partnership with its affiliate – Penang Chess Association, in driving FIDE’s initiative dubbed “Checkmate Coronavirus” aimed at popularizing Online Chess playing throughout the global chess community during the pandemic period. Penang Chess Association – led by its President See Swee Sie who is also the MCF VP for Women’s Bureau, will be Malaysia’s focal point in implementing, organizing and monitoring online activities associated with the initiative. In a nutshell, the FIDE program has partnered with selected popular online chess websites such as chess.com, lichess.org, chess24.com and FIDE Online Area, that allow online chess organizers to organize event that has the potential to attract global participants to play in their tournaments. Plenty of attractive prizes are up for grabs and further information on the program can be found at https://checkmatecoronavirus.com/