|1st Asian Team Chess Championship: Penang 1974|
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|1st Asian Team Chess Championship
(see all-time tournament summary)
|Date:||9th - 21st December 1974|
|Venue:||Dewan Sri Pinang centre|
|Chairman of Organizing Committee:||Mr. Encik Mohamed bin Yeop Abdul Raof (MAS)|
|Chief Arbiter:||IA Lim Kok Ann (SIN)|
|Players participating:||46 (incl. 1 IM)|
|Competition format:||Four board round robin.|
|Final order decided by:||1. Game points; 2. Match points|
|Time control:||40 moves in 2 hours 30 minutes, then each next 16 moves in 1 hour|
|Downloadable game file:||74asiatch.zip|
|Special thanks to Eduardo Bauzá Mercére, NY, for providing the tournament bulletin.|
THE FIRST ASIAN TERM CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP, PENANG 1974
As the ninth Asian team chess championship moves into the fourth round this afternoon, my thoughts turn to December 1974 when the inaugural championship was held at the Dewan Sri Pinang. Seventeen years is a long time to wait but I am glad that the Asian team chess championship is being held in Penang again.
There are many fond memories and in looking back, I am surprised how the organising committee of 1974 managed to put together a magnificent show when they had absolutely no precedence for reference.
That year too, the committee had to look after the bureau members of the World Chess Federation which was holding its Bureau meeting in Penang as part of the federation's worldwide golden jubilee celebrations. Being part of the organising team this time, I can really understand the pressure and the amount of work that had to be done to make the championship a success.
For many people in Penang, 1974 provided them the first opportunity to meet foreign players and administrators. I was lucky to be a player: initially, I had scraped in as the second reserve in the fledgling Malaysian team but due to seme withdrawals I found myself promoted to the third board.
Fledgling? Actually, raw and inexperienced more appropriately describe the Malaysian team. None of us had any international experience while most, if not all, of our rival teams can claim someone with an international rating or exposure. Australia came with Max Fuller playing on first board. He arrived in Penang early and the organisers were taken aback to see a tall gangly Aussie with long blond curly locks flowing shoulder length. Boy, was this person representative of a modem-day hippy chess player or what! Imagine everybody's surprise, then, when Fuller reappeared at the opening of the championship with the neatest of haircut, shorn of his tresses.
Playing on the first board for the Philippines then was their international master, Rudolfo Tan Cardoso. He came with a reputation of having beaten David Bronstein, a Soviet grandmaster who had challenged the world champion in a title match in 1951. Also in the Philippines team was Rico Mascariñas. Is he a veteran of the Asian team chess championship, or can we consider him to be "evergreen"? Anyway, he played a long and difficult game against Indonesia's Dr Max Wotulo, lasting 11 hours in all, and after winning it, he was not fielded for the next round.
There was no such luck for Wotulo. All he was given was a half hour's rest before plunging into another five-hour session against the Japanese. He won this game easily. Today, Cardoso, Mascariñas and Wotulo are all in Penang. Mascariñas is still a player in the Philippines team but Cardoso is now the coach of the Bahrain team and Wotulo is an official with the Indonesian team.
There is one other name worth mentioning together with the three above, and that is of Singapore's Giam Choo Kwee. He was also in Penang playing on the top board and he is here again today as the team manager. In 1974, he led a Singaporean team comprising mostly junior players. And you know what? The Singaporean juniors drew with the highly rated Australian team which had beaten the Singapore seniors earlier in the Nice Olympiad.
Not many people are aware that the English grandmaster Murray Chandler made his international debut as a 14-year-old boy in the New Zealand team. Chandler was another player in the vein of Fuller with his long straight hair but unlike his Australian counterpart. Chandler's mane remained with him throughout the tournament. But even at this age, his talent was evident and in abundance (Chandler returned to Penang four years later for the Malaysian leg of the first Asian grandmaster chess circuit and he was already an international master. I last met him nine years ago in Lucerne at the Chess Olympiad.).
I save my final recollection for Florencio Campomanes, who is popularly known everywhere simply as Campo. Campomanes is the president of the World Chess Federation, a post he has held since 1982. In 1974, Campomanes was "only" the deputy president. He participated in the Bureau meetings, turned up to watch the games of the Asian team championship and even played in a blitz competition organised for the bureau members and others.
I have played enough lightning games with the FIDE president to know that he is a crafty blitz player. When Campo played in the blitz competition of 1974, there was a game where he held the lone king against his opponent's king and queen, certainly a lost position but he played on and his opponent stalemated him! Campomanes' proudest moment came at the conclusion of the first Asian team championship when on behalf of the Filipino team, he received the winner's trophy from the late Tun Abdul Razak.
And where were the Chinese in 1974? Nowhere, actually, for in that year China was not even a member of the World Chess Federation. However, it was at the bureau meeting in Penang that China formally applied to be a member and was subsequently accepted into the chess fraternity.
IA Quah Seng Sun
(This reminiscence first appeared in a modified format in The Star, Oct 26th, 1991)
|2.||Giam Choo Kwee||SIN||5||7||71.4|
|2.||Sampouw, Jacobus Sawandar||INA||4½||7||64.3|
|3.||Wotulo, Max Arie||INA||3||5||60.0|
|3.||Chan Peng Kong||SIN||3||5||60.0|
|3.||Chandler, Murray Graham||NZL||3||5||60.0|
|1.||Maninang, Jesús Rafael||PHI||6||6||100.0|
|2.||Clarke, Peter Hugh||NZL||2||4||50.0|
|Only two players played at least half of possible games.|