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But WCM Sim Jia Ru secures Malaysia’s first medal opportunity

It was heartbreaking for the chess fans all over the country but – as the Malay saying goes, no matter how heavy the eyes see, it is the shoulder that bears the burden.

Team Malaysia with IM Yeoh Li Tian (seated) and (from left to right) – Poh Yu Tian, FM Lye Lik Zang, WIM Puteri Munajjah Az Zahraa Azhar, WFM Tam Li Ting, WCM Sim Jua Ru and WCM Chua Jia Tien

Malaysia’s Numero Uno IM Yeoh Li Tian was half a point away from becoming Malaysia’s first-ever Grandmaster and a point away from the possibility of being crowned the SEA Asia Chess Champion. And in the last round of the 31st SEA Games, the title and the medal are almost certain his – at least on paper, but Thailand CM Laohawirapap Prin had other ideas in mind. Tian was comfortable with his Caro Kann opening – a repertoire that he has been using for many years, and although Prin was able to maintain a slight advantage throughout the game, it could still go both ways. But it was not meant to be. In time trouble, Tian blundered his rook, and with that, the game.

Seeded 3rd for the tournament, Li Tian had a good start – winning his opening game against Daniel Quizon, drawing Truong Son in the 4th round, and when he literally demolished Indonesia’s GM Novendra Priasmoro in the penultimate round, destiny seems to side with the 23 years old IM. It was an all or nothing for Tian – and he had to settle for all, but in the end, it was clear that he will lose it all. It was not meant to be – at least not now.

Regardless, it was a commendable and definitely a valiant effort for the young mathematician. In a critical time such as this, he went all out for it. And it was definitely not for personal glory – for he would have offered the draw, and secured his GM title. No worries Tian – there will be other opportunities. After all, there are 4 more events to look forward to. This is definitely not the end.

Move on to the Rapid event, Malaysians were once again jumping for joy when Li Tian won his 2nd round game against GM Le Quang Liem – one of the top GM in the world. It was more impressive that he did not drop even a single point in the even but alas, the Tie Break ruling saw Tian once again missing the cut and therefore, diminishing his chances to defend the Gold Medal that he had won at the previous edition in Manila.

However, Malaysia’s spirit is somewhat lifted when WCM Sim Jia Ru managed to secure a place in the semifinal, confirming at least a Bronze medal for Malaysia. But of course, Jia Ru would definitely want to give it her all and it would be wonderful if she can proceed to the final and go for glory.

With the Standard event out of the way and the Rapid Individual event to conclude tomorrow, the Rapid Team event will start on Wednesday with the Preliminary round and the final rounds to be played on Thursday. On Friday, it will be the Blitz Individual event and the chess competition will conclude on Saturday with the Blitz Team event.

For full results of all the games played in the SEA Games, please go to https://chess-results.com/tnr635999.aspx?lan=1

For the Rapid Team event, FM Lim Zhuo Ren will partner FM Wong Yinn Long, and for the Ladies Team, WFM Tan Li Ting will partner WCM Sim Jia Ru.

Scene at the tournament hall prior to the start of Rapid event earlier today.
MCF Secretariat