I really don't know where to start. Well, I think it started a week ago after the tsunami warning. That night, I dreamt of tsunami drowning me. I woke up frightened and told my wife. To my surprise, she told me that she heard dreams like that mean that I would 'get something big'. Well, I really don't believe in dreams. Especially not when I have never get anything big in my life.
A Tournament to Remember
Initially, I didn't want to play in SMACH Open. My purpose was just to give tournament experience to my charges, particularly Maznie, Elanie and Syikin who are going to the MSSK Selection in May as the Tumpat representatives. However, circumstances had another idea, and I ended up playing in the Open Category. There were so many times when I was denied the championships before - Kelantan Closed in 2009, Kelantan Closed in 2010, and SMACH Open in 2010 just to name a few - by losing my last game to the eventual champions, but this time I kept my cool and claimed the number 1 spot convincingly. Receiving the trophy from the namesake - the trophy was named Zaaim Redha after him - was just a bonus for me. That night, I shared my joy with my students at Kok Lanas KFC.
Today, I sit in my room staring at the trophy wondering whether the interpretation of the dream given by my wife is really true.
1. Yours Truly 6 points from 6 games
2. Wan Mohd Amirul 5.5
3. Nasrul Humaimi 5
4. Fairul Yusoff 5
5. Sahadi Ismail 5
6. Marzuki Yaacob 5
7. Abdullah Che Hassan 4.5
8. Nik Mohd Nazri 4.5
9. Baharuddin Hamzah 4.5
10. Mohd Khairul Ikmar 4.5
They were quite interesting, the last three in particular. The opponents kept giving me the advantage though; I got a Bishop in Round 3, a Queen in Round 4 and I managed to screw a checkmate in Round 5. Only in the last round the opponent was able to take me to a time trouble ending spree. Eventually, he gave me a Bishop as well.
A Tournament to Forget
I departed from my home at 6.30 a.m. and reached my school at 7.05 a.m. When my students said that they wanted to have breakfast, I gave them until 7.30 a.m. Then we sped towards the venue 45 kilometres away and managed to arrive there before 9 a.m. I thought I was already late, so I rushed to complete the registration. However, we were among the first to arrive, and I even managed to park my car under the garage. Then, it became a waiting game after that which went on for nearly 3 hours! Finally, we started our first round barely before noon. As a consequent, the first two rounds were played with a 10 minutes time allocation (actually, my first round was 11 minutes/player, a mistake, perhaps) and the players were given 20 minutes each for the last 4 rounds after the Friday prayer. Then there was another waiting game before the prize giving ceremony at 7.30 p.m.
More surprises happened in the Female Category. I waited for the arbiter to announce the pairing for my students, but I found that the round had started without our knowledge and we had to play against each other at the back tables. Then, the unexpected happened. After the Friday prayer, the game restarted anew, and the results for the first game before that were annulled. However, the tournament kept getting worse. Round 4 and 5 were played with only 3 minutes/player, and I saw one of my students cried when she lost on time while leading in materials.
The Problems and some Suggestions
I asked the arbiter what actually happened, and he told me that the problem stemmed from the double entries. There were names keyed in twice, and the pairing programme used could not rectify the mistakes. And then, there was the usual problem - the late registration. The players were still behaving the way the shouldn't, letting it late to register their participation.
Personally, I have some suggestions for the organiser. Not that I think I can do better if given the opportunity, but these suggestions are really my humble opinion.
1. The double entries should be minimized by assigning only one person to handle the registration. One email, one phone number, simple. This way, the person will surely manage to keep track on the names given to him by the participants.
2. The late participation should be minimized by fining the registration confirmed after the deadline. Not the initial registration, but the paid registration. There is no problem in paying for the fees before the deadline; there are plenty of cash deposit machines (CDM) around. Fining an extra RM5 or RM10 will surely make these people think twice before doing what they usually do.
3. Try another arbiter. It is always a good policy trying new means in order to find the best. What more Kelantan already have three International Arbiters who surely can do the job.