11th Asian Cities Chess Campionship: Genting Highlands 1998

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Basic data

11th Asian Cities Chess Campionship for Dubai Cup
(see all-time tournament summary)
Date: 8th - 15th April 1998
City: Genting Highlands, Malaysia
Venue: Awana Genting Highland Golf and Country Resort
Tournament Director: N/A
Chief Arbiter: N/A
Teams participating: 26 from 18 countries
Players participating: 140 (incl. 7 GMs, 10 IMs and 13 FMs)
Games played: 468 (4 games were forfeited)
Competition format: Four board nine round Swiss.
Final order decided by: 1. Game points; 2. Buchholz
Time control: 23 moves in 1 hour, then 1 hour for all remaining moves
Website: http://www.oocities.com/timessquare/stadium/6485/index.html
Downloadable game file: 98asiancities.zip

Tournament review

(This article is abridged from The Star newspaper of 17 April 1998)

What an exciting finish it has been for the Asian cities team chess championship which concluded on Wednesday at the Awana Genting Highland Golf and Country Resort.

The tournament had gone into the final round with three teams having a chance to carry off the Dubai Cup and the first prize of US$3,000. Shijiazhuang and Tashkent were leading the pack of 26 teams with 25½ points each while Palembang (Indonesia) was on 24 points.

Theoretically, Palembang would still have a chance to catch up on equal points with the leaders if they were to score 4-0 against Beirut in the final round and if Shijiazhuang and Tashkent happened to drop 1½ points in their respective encounters with Chrompet and Padang. If this had happened, the championship standings would have been decided by a tie-break.

The interesting question is how, in the first instance, Shijiazhuang or Tashkent had allowed this situation to occur.

When the event started some nine days ago, Shijiazhuang had jumped into the lead by mercilessly hammering the Penang and Beirut teams 4-0. Tashkent had also scored the maximum points against Kuala Lumpur in the first round, but only managed a 3½-½ score against Chrompet in the second round.

The two tournament leaders met in the third round and Shijiazhuang upsetted the defending champion 3-1 to take the lead.

At the same time, Palembang beat Singapore 3½-½, Sydney 3½-½ and Tehran 3-1, to creep into third position. Palembang met the Chinese players in the fourth round, and were narrowly beaten 1½-2½. Shijiazhuang next played Padang in the fifth round and beat them 3-1.

But Tashkent kept on to Shijiazhuang's back by beating Talesh 3½-½ in the fourth round and Palembang 2½-1½ in the fifth round. Where Shijiazhuang was concerned, after having disposed of their nearest rivals - Tashkent and Palembang - the way seemed clear for them to maintain their comfortable lead and coast to victory in the remaining rounds.

Not so, unfortunately. On the tournament's rest day, the Chinese players chose to go to Petaling Jaya to play in the Amcorp blitz tournament. It was a trip which probably lost them their comfortable two-point lead.

After returning from Petaling Jaya, Shijiazhuang could only score narrow 2½-1½ wins over Tehran and Yangon in the sixth and seventh rounds.

Tashkent, on the other hand, chalked up a 4-0 win over Ho Chi Minh City in the sixth round and a 3-1 score against Tehran in the seventh.

The result, at the end of the seventh round, was a revelation for Shijiazhuang. Their lapses had cost them dearly, and suddenly they found themselves tied with Tashkent with 21½ points.

The eighth round left the status quo unchanged. Tashkent disposed of Yangon 4-0 while Shijiazhuang beat Karachi also by the same score. The stage was thus set for an interesting finish in the final round of play.

The Asian cities was only one of two events going on at the Genting Highlands. The other was the Asian women's individual championship where, after six rounds, the sole lead was in the hands of Xu Yuhua. Xu, the highest rated player in this event, overwhelmed Uzbekistan's Angela Khegai in the sixth round.

Wait a minute. I should not keep you in suspense any further, should I? I am sure you want to know the outcome of the Asian cities team championship first.

Well, the long and short of the story is that, yes, Shijiazhuang won the title. It was a close race but Tashkent's challenge fizzled out. Tashkent could only manage a 2-2 draw with Padang while Shijiazhuang won handsomely by a 3½-½ score against Chrompet.

The participants were very appreciative of the superb facilities provided by the sponsor, Resorts World Berhad. Apart from the full board and lodging, the facilities at the hotel created an atmosphere really conducive to chess playing.

The run-up to the two events, covered by the national dailies, had helped promote an awareness in the country. I recognised people who made repeated trips to the Awana in order to watch the various teams and players.

The official website registered more than 2,800 hits during the first eight days of the Asian cities team and Asian women's individual championships. Yes, I would say that publicity for these two events has not been lacking.

Best board results

1st Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. GM Peng Xiaomin SHJZ 8 9 88.9
2. FM Hafizulhelmi, Mas KLUM 9 83.3
3. IM Al-Modiahki, Mohamad DOHA 8 81.3

2nd Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. Chan, Mark SING 8 81.3
2. GM Iuldachev, Saidali TASH 7 9 77.8
2. IM Zhang Zhong SHJZ 7 9 77.8

3rd Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. Zaw Oo MDLY 9 94.4
2. GM Saltaev, Mikhail TASH 7 92.9
3. FM Zhang Pengxiang SHJZ 9 83.3

4th Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. Zaw Win Lay YNGN 5 6 83.3
1. FM Aung Thant Zin MDLY 9 83.3
3. IM Barus, Cerdas PLBG 6 8 75.0

1st Reserve Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. IM Juswanto, Denny PLBG 9 94.4
2. IM Egin, Vladimir TASH 7 92.9
3. Maliki, Ahmad JHBH 5 6 83.3

2nd Reserve Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. Omran, Tariq ABDH 4 4 100.0
2. Simanjuntak, Sebastian PLBG 4 87.5
3. Tayeb, Suhail DBAI 5 7 71.4

Interesting games