By now, the community is already aware that Malaysia was not able to proceed beyond its pool to advance to the Division 2 stage. In the Pool A Division 3 event which was played and completed 2 weeks ago, Malaysia finished fourth behind Pool Champion Singapore, second place Ireland and Albania with top seed Monaco fell to 5th place behind Malaysia. Malaysia was one match point and two game points shy of making the cut even after an impressive 5-1 win over top seed Monaco in the final round.
Malaysia put up a great fight in their first round match losing by a thin margin of 2.5 – 3.5 against Albania but redeemed themselves in the next round by beating New Zealand 4.5 – 1.5 and South Korea 4-2 in the following 3rd round to wrap up the first day schedule. At the end of day 1, Malaysia was 3rd behind leader Albania and Syria, with top seed Monaco in 8th placing after losing the first two rounds to Singapore and Albania respectively.
On day 2 of the event, Malaysia’s won its opening day encounter against Japan with a 4-2 score in Round 4 but suffered similar defeat against southern neighbor Singapore in Round 5. The team bounced back in the 6th round to beat the higher seeded Ireland 3.5 – 2.5 to maintain its 3rd placing in Pool A after two days of play. At that point, the team spirit was high as the team began to feel confident of their performance having managed to maintain its 3rd place position for the second consecutive day.
On the final day of the event, Malaysia had a good start with a 5-1 win against the slightly higher rated Syria and was on course to qualify for the next Division 2 stage. However, a surprising strong challenge from Hong Kong in the following Round 8 quickly diminishes Malaysia’s chances as the team fell 2-4 against the 9th seeded team. Although Albania drawing with Syria 3-3 in the same round provided a glimpse of hope for Malaysia, it all boils down on how well the team does against Monaco with hope that one of the top three teams – Singapore, Ireland or Albania, losing to their respective opponents in order to allow Malaysia to squeeze through.
Malaysia was impressive in its final showing to win 5-1 against top seed Monaco but failed to climb up the ranking as the top three teams also recorded victory against their respective opponents. But it was a good run by the team and they had good fun while preparing for the matches. Albeit losing the unexpected match against Hong Kong in Round 8 which would have allowed the team to continue to the next stage, Malaysia’s chances from the beginning was fair considering that it was seeded 6th behind Monaco, Singapore, Albania, Syria and Ireland.
The Malaysian Chess Federation would like to congratulate the team especially team Captain FM Sumant Subramaniam who had arranged for hours of training and preparation prior to their campaign in the Online event. A note of thanks to Federation Officer – Asst Secretary Iwan Schani Ibnu, for managing the team throughout the event, and the support received from every players in the team, MCF officials, fans, supporters, well wishers and the entire Malaysian Chess community as a whole.
Full results of Malaysia’s Pool A results and other results can be found by clicking HERE. The Online Olympiad is scheduled to be completed by 30th August 2020 with Division 1 stage being played this weekend to select the top teams for the final round next week