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The Malaysian Men’s University Chess Team equaled the feat achieved by the Women’s team to secure the Bronze Medal but on the individual achievement, IM Yeoh Li Tian did one better by securing the Silver Medal for the country.

Call it the luck of the draw or being at the right place at the right time, it was a roller coaster ride for the Malaysian Team who at one point, was in 5th place and seemingly in a hopeless position as the Indonesian Team – led by GM Priasmoro Novendra, and China Team – led by GM Liu Yan who are seemingly in the driver’s position to steer the game to their favor. Team India was the tournament favorite from the start – with GMs Abhimanyu Puranik and Venkataraman Karthik in their line up, hence it was clear that it was seemingly to secure the race for second spot.

Although IM Yeoh Li Tian managed to secure the Silver Medal as an individual performer, he had a rocky start losing to Iran’s Mahdi Gholami Orimi in Round 2 and to IM Tin Jingyao of Singapore in Round 5. However, Tian managed to win the remaining 4 rounds – with lady luck in his favor as he managed to avoid the higher ranking players, until his last round encounter against China Liu Chang which he had fortunately won due to breach of rules by his opponent. Regardless, the 7 points he collected from 9 rounds was good enough for Tian to secure the Silver medal behind India’s GM Abhimanyu Puranik who is half a point better.

Malaysia’s second board player FM Aron Teh – who is playing in the tournament from UK , also had a worrying start with a forfeit win in Round 1 and drawing in Round 2 and 3. Aron lost his 4th round encounter against Kazakh’s ALen Rakhimzhan and another defeat 2 rounds later at the hands of Indonesia’s Arif Abdul Hafiz. In the end, Aron managed to secure 5.5 points out of 9 rounds to finish in 16th position overall.

Emir Rusyaidi Ahmad Nazari also had a tough tournament losing his 1st round game before picking up the momentum in the next three rounds to win all his games. But, in the later rounds, Emir faltered in rounds 5, 6 and 7 having to play against a string of the leading pack. Eventually, Emir made up for the loss to win the 2 remaining rounds to finish in 18th position with 5 points from 9 encounters. Finally, Subramanian Sivanesan had the most ups and downs to finish the event with 4.5 points out of 9 games with 4 wins, 4 loss and a drawn game in the final round.

In any event, KUDOS to the Malaysian University Team, and to Malaysia’s Numero Uno – IM Yeoh Li Tian, for sterling performances and exemplary fighting spirit to continue believing that we can always perform if the heart is willing.

Coached and Managed by Mohd Ezmi Mahmood – better know as Herosifu, this is the 8th year running that Mohd Ezmi has been involved in managing and coaching Malaysia’s University Team at International and Regional tournament platforms. And surprisingly, more often than not, the team that he has coached have managed to spring surprising performance and achievement proving that to be a good coach, its the heart that counts – not the rating nor the title, to motivate and mold a winning team.

Congrats Mohd Ezmi, IM Yeoh Li Tian and the rest of the Malaysian Team for making us proud.

MCF Secretariat