In 2015, Kelantan chess fans are treated with tournaments for all levels of play, starting with NCCS Rapid Chess Series for age groups, which was held on 19th February at SMK Raja Sakti, Kota Bharu and the much awaited ZADANO Kelantan Open, an international FIDE-rated event, a day later. A turn-out of more than 160 players for each tournament means that Kelantan chess enthusiasts are really craving for playing time after nearly tournament-less year of 2014.
Personally, I was involved in both. Here are my views on each :
NCCS Rapid Chess Series
Youth players competed in three categories of Under 12, Under 15 and Under 18, respectively. The tournament was a great sparring prelude for the upcoming MSSM which will be in June, as well as respective district and state selections. I was told that there will be other similar tournaments (hence the word SERIES) which will be held at the same venue. I think this is very good for the target group as there will be plenty of tournaments to toughen them up before the big game.
I brought some of my Project Squad from Tumpat, and one of them did very well in winning the best female under 12 category.
ZADANO Kelantan Open
I was personally involved with this one, as the organizer and also a player. It was daunting, but it was rewarding. Objectively, the tournament was held to fund the purchase of chess clocks for PCNK. We got what we wanted, and we also got more than we bargained for. Bonds with SMKA Naim and also the Kelantan Sports & Youth Department were sealed, as well as ties with players from Lipis and Kuantan. There will also be new FIDE rated Kelantan players to be added to the existing ones.
The list of ZADANO winners can be read here.
PCNK General Meeting was also held in the eve of the first day, but the turnout was still far from satisfying. Nonetheless, new committee was formed and, reluctantly, I was chosen as the new President for 2015 - 2017 (read about the new committee here).
Anonymously, the meeting agreed that the representatives for the National Closed (a) would be taken from the best in this very tournament, while (b) taking into account their rating qualification. After the final round, this is the final verdict :
1. Nik Ahmad Farouqi
2. Wan Mohd Adli
3. Yours Truly
4. Nik Mohd Nazri
There are two slots for State Representatives for the Open Category and another two slots for Female Category. With the FIDE rating of 2063 and National Rating of 1979, Nik Ahmad Farouqi qualified hands down for the first slot. Wan Mohd Adli, with National Rating of 1485, on the other hand, did not qualify because of (b) rating qualification. Therefore, the next best was Yours Truly with the FIDE rating of 2068 and National Rating of 1696, who qualified based on both (a) and (b). Najihah and Nurwahida Atira completed the remaining slots.
So, here I am, on the verge of competing in a FIDE rated classical time control for the first time since 2011. Hopefully I can do something in this National Closed. I already completed marking for all my students for March test to focus on this tournament. My games at ZADANO were far from convincing, yet, I still believe.