Like I mentioned in last year’s post, I was honored to be recognised as someone from the media worth inviting to a chess event so I am here at the second edition of the Festival Catur Putrajaya. Also not that altruistic as I was there to collect my last year’s T-shirt which was promised but still haven’t received 🙁
As in last year, this is a grand event attracting the biggest ever number of participants for a one day event in Malaysia.
This year it’s 1935 participant !! At least that’s according to chess-results.com. Obviously, there are absentees but even then the final numbers is still huge (not many absentees considering you have to pay up to be registered!).
First thing I noticed arriving at the venue was large number of kids getting off the busses. Are these kids also playing in the chess event? I found out later they were !
Still it was not the total number of participants the organisers were aiming for but they were more interested in the total number of children. This left out the OPEN and Under 18 sections which is a significant number. However even then the total number all under 15 players was 1539 which broke last year’s 1224 total.
Another record set!
Despite the potential for things going wrong, the organisers deserve a pat on the back for a well run chess tournament.
One would expect a logistics nightmare with 1900+ players which does not include the parents, teaches and coaches!
Amazingly, the event went on without any problem (that I noticed) which to me personally is an impressive feat.
Also, anyone would expect the problem of crowdedness but thanks to the spacious Menara Seri Wilayah, which not only housed the huge number of people but had enough parking spaces available. To be honest, I did park 5 minutes walk from the venue as I didn’t want to get into any possible jam leaving the place. I later saw I was mistaken as this was not a problem too.
The success of the tournament was helped by experienced and capable people. One of them include Chief Arbiter Najib Wahab.
Also to add to the prestige of the event, top boards for the Open section was broadcasted live on websites as well as on Facebook thanks to the efforts of Norazwan “Shin Azwan” of AI Chess fame.
Even food was catered for as about one dozen food trucks can be found right outside the playing venue.
end of Part 1.
More to post later.. have to sift through more pictures and videos for the second part 🙂
Having announced I have retired from blogging about chess events a long time ago, it’s strange you see this new blog being created.
So with corrections, I am just “semi-retired” and will blog on occation for special and rare events.
Festival Putrajaya 2017 is just one of those rare event simply because I was invited by Norazwan (better know as “Shin Azwan”) from AI Chess to blog about it. Not only that…
I was surprised be included into the Whatsapp FCP Technical Team as a “reporter”. Even had a T-shirt size assigned (although I didn’t get it 🙁 ).
Update: Just got a whatsapp message and they kept a T-shirt for me after all 🙂
I am honoured as my blogging services was required so I had no choice but to go!
The event was held at Wisma Seri Wilayah, Putrajaya and being my first time there, I lost my way because my Waze lost internet connection just as I reached Putrajaya. As a result I parked 10 minutes away from the actual venue but still arrived in nick of time before the first round started.
I was greeted by the sight of Chief Arbiter Najib Wahab giving instructions to his numerous floor arbiters.
The first thing that hit me was the sheer size of the tournament.
The tournament took up 3 floors of the building with an estimated 1500 players taking part ! That’s not including parents who were there. The event was massive to say the least.
I could have done a better job blogging live if not for the hiccups I had with my internet. For that, I accept my gaji kena potong for this event 🙂
Still I managed to get a couple of pictures to make this pictorial report.
Finally Shin Azwan cornered me for a AI Chess app picture endorsement. I should hit AI Chess for an endorsement fee!
Also, notable was the huge projected screens in the hall for all the DGT boards which was also broadcasted live on the internet.
The facilities of Wisma Seri Wilayah was impressive. Big TV screens were plenty, showing boards as well as live videos of the event. (The videos were broadcasted live via Youtube as well as Facebook Live).
I spent most of my time in the “junior hall” with the U9 and U12 since the control centre (Chief Arbiter) and all of the screens is centered here.
As a result, I regretfully missed bloging about the drama that took place on the open section played at the 7th floor like the clash between IM Mas and Abdullah Che Hassan. Unfortunately too, the Open boards were not recorded by the DGT boards because of the segregated floors and some technical issues trying to sync the Open with the junior categories timing of the rounds.
Tech was used to the fullest. From the big screens and to the apps as well as the internet. Parents can check for pairings and results live for their child as it is posted immediately to chess-results.com.
Also, pairings were entered via phone apps (updating Swiss Manager immediately!) by floor arbiters making this a precedent in Malaysia. Of course there were hiccups in it’s first time use but it is promising to see chess tournaments going high tech like this.
My other excuse for not being able blog round by round reports is the sheer amount of “distraction” this one day event has. There is mural painting competition taking part outside as well as GenX competitions etc. Chess was not the only main focus here.
There were chess booths with books, chess equipments and T-shirt being sold.
I would have bought this nice magnetic wooden chess set (RM220) if I had not already have a DGT chess board.
I was impressed by the sheer number of people present for the prize giving as previous local tournaments only had the prize winners staying back while the majority have already left. Not so here. Almost all who took part stayed back!
Of course the fact that the organisers prepared attractive lucky draw prizes(hover boards, bicycles etc) also helped in this fact.
Another thing that impressed me was how loud and clear the kids were singing to the National Anthem at the closing ceremony.
Prize winners from the various categories.
IM Oliver Dimakiling won the Open event taking home RM 1000 while Malaysians NM Timothy Evan Capel and IM Mas Hafizulhelmy took 2nd and 3rd place respectively. Full results at chess-results.com and my crosstable results will be posted later.
Overall the organisation of the event was superb and everything went smoothly with only some mistakes like one misrecording of a result and perhaps the missed chance of live coverage using DGT boards for the Open section.
For an ambitious event of this size, the organisers must be commended for an professional, excellent and job well done. It is impressive to see all the result of planning and organisation coming to fruition in this one day event.
Records Breaking Event
Of course, the event breaks many records but the organisers chose the biggest children chess event in Malaysia (1224 participants!) which is entered in to Malaysian Book or Records. Also the event is easily the biggest ever if it includes the Open section (1490 participants) too.
Just one example of the numerous things that were excellently and professionally presented is this video montage created on the go while the event was being held and displayed on the big screen at the prize giving.
(take note a drone was used to take the aerial view!)
Have a look…
I give a big thanks to the organisers for inviting me as well mentioning my chess portal catur.org in their flyers as well as in the choosing title for each category in chess-results!!
And finally I am very proud to be part of the team (even just as a lowly blogger)
And finally, major media coverage for this event was extensive too :