The IGB International Open Chess Championship headlines the 2015 Malaysian Chess Festival, and this year there are 143 players from 19 countries already signed up!
Amongst them, 11 GMs and 25 IMs out of a total 80 titled players.
Surprisingly it is Indonesia with 31 participants having the largest delegation, Malaysian only second with 28 players with the 23 Filipinos and 21 Indians not far behind, and Australia with 13 the least large delegation.
In recent years as China sets its sights ever higher, the Malaysian Chess Festival has begun to drop off its radar but it is a surprisingly small number from Vietnam this time around.
The only 2600+ player Axel Bachmann starts as the ratings favourite and is expected to be challenged by India’s Lalith Babu, Poland’s Bartlomiej Heberla, Uzbekistan’s Jahongir Vakhidov amongst others.
No previous winners have returned this year but there will be a great deal of young talent on show including Indonesia’s Sean Winshand Cuhendi, Filipino Pascaa Haridas, Indian Padmini Rout, and Australia’s Anton Smirnov.
Malaysia’s interest will be led by No. 1 ranked FMs Nicholas Chan and young National Champion Yeoh Li Tian, both who will be hoping to get their first IM norms.
Report by Peter Long