82 players from 15 countries – including 2 Malaysians, took part in the recently concluded ASIA CONTINENTAL (Hybrid Mode) CHESS CHAMPIONHSIP 2021 organized by the Asian Chess Federation and FIDE. The 9 round Swiss event conducted via Hybrid on Tornelo platform started on 21st May 2021 and concluded with the final round yesterday, 29th May 2021. The only setback for the event was that it was not FIDE rated but regardless, the top eight(8) winners of the event will earn a direct ticket to the FIDE World Cup to be held from 10th July to 3rd August in Sochi, Russia.
It was a tough outing for both our National representatives – FM Lim Zhuo Ren and FM Rohan Shan Tze Navaratnam, amid a strong field of 20 GMs, 20 IMs, 1 WGM and 4 WIM taking part in the event. Top seed for the event was Iranian GM Maghsoodloo Parham (2698) followed by China’s GM Lu Shanglei (2615) and another Iranian GM Tabatabaei M. Amin (2613). Noticebly missing are players from India and Vietnam who may have decided to forego the event due to the pandemic.
Philippines and Mongolia had the most representatives in the event with 15 players from each country followed by Indonesia with 9 players and Iran with 8 players. Details of the event can be found at chess-results website http://chess-results.com/tnr561222.aspx?lan=1
After the dust had settled, GM Vokhidov Shamsiddin of Uzbekistan came up on top with 7 points, followed by Singapore’s IM Tin Jingyao – also with 7 point, who was denied the top spot after the tie break. GM Kuybokarov Temur of Australia completed the podium with 6.5 points.
The remaining 5 players to earn the automatic spots at the World Cup are GM Tabatabaei M.Amin (Iran), GM Yakubboev Nodirbek (Uzbekistan), IM Ervan Mohamad (Indonesia), GM Sindarov Javokhir (Uzbekisatan) and IM Gan-Erdene Sugar (Mongolia).
For Malaysians Rohan and Lim Zhuo Ren, both players ended with similar 3.5 points from 9 rounds and had the event been rated, FM Rohan would have garnered addtional 80 over points to improve his rating beyond the 2100 mark. As this was a Hybrid event, both Malaysian players played from a local venue here in KL and was oversee by IA Abd Hamid Majid – who acted as the Local Site Arbiter, and NA Ellie Emira Syamimi Ahmad Nazari – as the Local Technical Arbiter. Amidst the outbreak of COVID cases in Malaysia, there were originally 4 Malaysians who were supposed to play in the event but, as the approval from KBS came in at the 11th hour, two players decided to throw in the towel and withdrew, before the approval was obtained.
Malaysian Chess Federation congratulates both players for their fine showing despite not being able to contend for the top spots and qualify for the World Cup. Both Rohan and Zhuo Ren put up amazing efforts to find their own venue, determination, training and practices to participate and continue with the event. Congratulations!