Malaysia Crowns a Returning National Champion and a New Women ChampionMCF Secretariat 09/05/2023 0 COMMENTS
This year’s event saw 54 hopefuls in the Open event, 14 in the Women, and 84 in the Challenger event. Going by the number, this year’s MCC2023 has the most participants – thanks in part to the encouraging number of players that have signed up for the Challenger event which enters its second year. In comparison to last year, we had 52 players for the Open event, 18 for the Women, and 32 for the Challenger event.
Two things were for sure – the event did not lack any drama, be it over the board or off the board. And, with Taiping being a first-time host for the event, many find it refreshing as the small city offers nice food, an excellent recreational park, and plenty of rainfall. If you do not enjoy chess, the park will win you over as it would absorb your frustration and stress due to its calming effect and awesome ambiance.
After a grueling and interesting 9 rounds – where leaders for all three categories changes hands until the very last round, it was hard to predict who will become the eventual winners. After the dust had cleared – there were some surprises, the Women’s Category had probably produced the most interesting outcome of the event.
MCF congratulates returning champion FM/NM Lim Zhuo Ren as the 2023 Malaysian National Champion, newly crowned Malaysian Women Champion WNM Ainul Mardhiah Mohd Afif, and Challenger Champion Muhd Haziq Muhd Nasruddin on their outstanding feats!
For Zhuo Ren, destiny was in his own hands as a win would secure him the Championship due to his better tiebreak. Albeit strong challenges from FM Yeap Eng Chiam, Loo Pin Xie, Subramanian Sivanesan, and Khaushal Khandar, Zhuo Ren managed to outplay Kedah youngster Darshan Revinthran to secure his second title – 12 years apart since he first won it in 2011
For the Women’s category, WFM Agnes Chong Kai Ni did well to maintain her lead although she hit a small bump in the 4th round when she drew with Perakian Farihah Nur Aisyah Mohd Azman. But, in the 6th round, she hit a big wall in the form of Ainul Mardhiah and eventually lost her game which opened up the field for other players to catch on. On the other hand, Ainul Mardhiah started on shaky ground after losing her first-round game against Ong Zhiwei but maintained her composure to earn 2 draws and 6 wins – including the decider against Agnes, to secure 7 points. Destiny was in Agnes’s hands in the final round and a win would secure her the title but, her opponent Lee Xia Sean played the spoiler and the two drew their game. By virtue of the tiebreak – that Ainul had won against Agnes, the Championship title went to Ainul Mardhiah.
And the drama spillover into the Challenger section and again, the leader of the event – Para SEAGames bound Ahmad Nazmi Md Nizam, was leading the pack until the final round with 7 wins and a draw, and holding his own destiny but, a strong fight from his opponent Muhd Haziq, let the win slipped from his own hands. And similar to the Women’s category, the tiebreak favoured Muhd Haziq who was declared the champion despite Ahmad Nazmi’s effort to maintain the lead throughout.
In ending, it was an interesting MCC 2023. To invigorate the event and attract strong players to participate, the Malaysian Chess Federation introduced a Free Entry scheme for players above a FIDE Rating of 2000 (if registered via State) but, it was rather disappointing that many players (and state) did not take the offer. The Malaysian Chess Federation will definitely look into how the situation can be improved for next year considering that next year is an Olympiad year and it would be great to have the best players in the country don our national colors.
The Malaysian Chess Federation wishes to express its sincerest thanks and gratitude to all players, parents, coaches, friends, supporters and fans, and officials for making the event a success. MCF also extends its sincerest apologies for any shortcomings and dissatisfaction that may have arisen, and look forward to further improving the event for our next activities and next year’s edition of the championship.
Sincere apologies, all the best, congratulations, thank you and look forward to seeing everyone at the Malaysian Chess Championship 2024