As of today 6 August 2012, some six weeks before the 17 September start of the DYTM Raja Nazrin Shah International Open Championship, we now have 56 ‘official’ entries of the targeted 80 that the playing hall will allow.
The big news is that the current Asian Continental Champion (and a former Malaysian Open Champion) who also had the distinction of being the world’s youngest grandmaster (not so very long ago!) is returning to KL, and the current Indian No 4. with a rating of 2664 at 19 years of age is certainly a big favourite despite his observation that the tournament is being played at a somewhat demanding two rounds a day!
He will be joined by at least 10 other grandmasters, fellow 2600+ ex Soviet Sergei Tiviakov who now represents the Netherlands, many time German Champion Thomas Luther, Uzbekistan’s Tahir Vakhidov and Saidali Yuldashev, top Filipino woodpushers who are all national team stalwarts Oliver Babosa (winner of last year’s masters and a double Indian Open champion), Mark Paragua (winner of the recent Battle of the Grandmasters), Darwin Laylo and Richard Bitoon, Vietnam’s veteran Nguyen Anh Dung and Hong Kong based Singaporean amateur Dr. Wong Meng Kong.
So far the International Masters looking for title norms include two Filipino Rolando’s, Nolte and Bancod, two of the three Vietnam Olympiad team Nguyen’s, Van Huy and Duc Hua (winner of last year’s open), former Australian Champion Alex Wohl who will also be at the Istanbul Olympiad, Kazakstan’s Kiril Kuderinov, and Uzbekistan’s young Jahongir Vakhidov.
Roses to date include Indian’s Woman Grabndmaster Kruttika Nadig whom many will remember from the Melaka Open in April and Uzbekistan’s long standing No. 1 Nafisa Muminova.
With so many of our national players amateurs and involved in Istanbul Olympiad which ends a week before, unless our No 1., International Master Mas Hafuzlhemli steps up and/or our No. 2 FIDE Master Dr. Nicholas Chan is miraculously able to get leave from work that starts the same month, the local challenge will be led by FIDE Master Dr. Ronnie Lim with other notables being veteran Lim Kian Hwa, Nor Ilhamuddin “GM at 56” Shaik Ali, and a blast from the past in the surprise participation of former top junior talent Prabhaharan Rajendran.
Of our current young talent, Penang’s Elgin Lee is so far the most prominent entered to date but many more are expected to follow once leave from school can be obtained.
More info here: http://www.klchess.com/