After an excellent start on Day 1 of the Online Olympiad 2021, reality hit hard on the Malaysian Team on Day 2 of the event.
Team Malaysia started the day against Switzerland – lead by GM Sebastian Bogner (2552), and the team did well to steal 2 valuable points from their encounter. The highlight of the day came in Round 5 when Malaysia managed to secure a draw against the Italian who are seeded first in the pool at an average FIDE rating of 2343. With 3 GMs in the team and a handful of IMs, Malaysia managed to hold the mighty Italians to a 3-3 draw with WIM Puteri Munajjah, WCM Chua Jia-Tien and Poh Yu Tian all securing valuable wins to secure the tie.
In the final Round 6 of the day, Malaysia was paired against Estonia and Malaysia narrowly lost 2.5-3.5 with wins coming in from FM Lim Zhuo Ren and FM Chan Kim Yew, with draw from Junior Poh Yu Tian
At the end of Day 2 Round 6, Malaysian is now placed 6th with 6 match points – 3 match points adrift from the top 3 teams Latvia, Italy and Uzbekistan, 2 points away from Moldova and a single point from Estonia.
Malaysia will be meeting Iraq next in its Round 7 encounter followed by a critical encounter against group leader Latvia in Round 8. Malaysia will end its campaign with Moldova in the final round tomorrow and in order to make it Division 1, Malaysia will need to win all its matches especially against Latvia to have a chance of climbing up the ladder.
Malaysia’s hope of advancing lies in the fact that match results have been unpredictable and erratic with the top few teams recording mix performance when playing one another. Aside from the Italy – Latvia match to be played in the last round (which will be very interesting what the outcome will be), Moldova’s game against Estonia will also be critical as a win by Moldova may allow Malaysia to leap frog pass the two teams should our team secure a win against Moldova in our last round encouter.
In any event, Team Malaysia has done well to be where they are now, and we hope that the players will continue to give their best albeit the uphill task that they have for tomorrow