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Amidst caution and excitement following the government decision to ease MCO for non contact sports to resume its tournaments and events, Malaysian Chess Federation took the initiative to kick start the activity by organizing an Over-The-Board (OTB) tournament last weekend on Saturday 8/8 at its new office in Chess Hacks@Bukit Jelutong, Shah Alam. While the activity was mainly use to gauge challenges that may face MCF (and other Organizers) in holding OTB event post COVID19, it was also an avenue for chess players, parents and friends to get together for a gathering of sorts after a force closure of all activities in the last 5 months of MCO.

Only 30 participants took part in the small event consisting mainly of school children and a few adults, but there were also many other organizers and chess enthusiasts who were present to witness how the tournament SOPs are being enforced for the revival event. MCF acknowledged that for a small tournament like such, it was easy to control the crowd as only a small group of players were seen lining up at the door to enter the playing hall while registering their names at the entrance and having their body temperature checked. And that activity alone took almost 20 minutes to complete, and for a bigger tournament, it may take more than just that considering plenty of kids will be running all over the place, and plenty of players eager to start their games.

But the cooperation received from non-players i.e. parents and spectators, were excellent as many were aware that they were not allowed to be in the hall at all – unless there was a nature’s emergency, and with only a single entrance open, it was easy to manage the traffic flow. There were occasional entries made by MCF officials i.e. VP Yeoh Chin Seng and Treasurer Emran Mohd Tamil, to witness the event, and during lunch break – when the hall was empty, even IM Yeoh Li Tian, also took some time to enter the hall to play a few friendly games with one or two of the of the players. Chess Hacks management team took the liberty to prepare plenty of chairs, tables and chess sets at the common walkway beside the center for parents to rest, which also served as the venue for the opening briefing and closing ceremony.

And for once, Chief Arbiter Nur Farihah was one relief official as there were no need for her to print (and paste) the pairings as all pairings are only posted in chess-results.com website for the players to view. A welcome change as the event now become very much paperless leveraging on the power of internet. The only challenge was having to announce to all players to enter the hall for the start of a round as the event had overran slightly due to the delay caused by players having to register at the entrance prior to entering the hall for Round 1. And the slightly longer time control that was used did not help the situation as many players were found having to maximize their time control to earn their wins – a possible rusty sign of playing too many online games. Although the event overran by about 1 hour to complete, it was considered a success with players (and officials) were provided with breakfast and lunch, and a tea reception which includes “roti jala” and curry that awaits all present – a definite value for money comparing the low RM 30 entry fees imposed to all participants.

And in line with the SOP that has been agreed, MCF announced the names of the prize winners at the small closing ceremony with all the prize money to be transferred to the winner’s bank account compared to the usual “pay by cash” norm that we have prior to the MCO. A full list of all the winners and players for the Chess Revival tournament can be viewed by clicking HERE.

MCF wishes to thank all the players, parents, friends and spectators who had come to join,and providing the support and cooperation (and feedback), and with the success of the kick off revival event, there are already talks by those who attended to kick start their own OTB tournament within the next few weeks. Chess Hacks owner and MCF Committee member Eliza Hanim is also contemplating to organize a Women only tournament soon to further popularize her center not only as MCF office, but as one of the premier chess center in Klang Valley.

Thank you again and hope to see everyone at MCF next event soon!!

#staysafe #stayhome #kitajagakita #lovechess #ChessMalaysia

MCF Secretary (Najib Wahab) and MCF VP (NM Yeoh Chin Seng) tooks some time to match wits on the board. The game ended in a diplomatic 1.5-1.5
Players seated a meter apart
Players briefing prior to the start of Round 1
Players in the main hall with face masks
Some of the chess practitioners coming over to view the Revival event – with MCF Asst Secretary Iwan Schani (left)
A new experience for Arbiters Hakim and Farihah in managing a post Covid event
IM Yeoh Li Tian made a surprise visit
When FAs meet – MCF Treasurer Emran Mohd Tamil and FA Syawal
MCF Secretariat