Dato Tan's team Think Big won the 3rd Datcc League by 1 point ahead of last edition winner Team AU.
Think Big, despite powered by GM Ziaur Rahman on the first board and IM Mok Tze Meng on the Second Board in the earlier rounds, they were not given much chance to win the tournament as their 3rd Board and 4th board players, Yeoh Li Tian and Tan Li Ting were considered to be suspiciously weak compared to some of the seasoned players on the lower boards. But fine performances by their reserves NM Yeoh Chin Seng and last minute recruit Faisal Zakaria, elder brother to Mamak Gang leader Fairin , in crucial rounds made amendments by winning important points. Credits must be given to Yeoh Chin Seng for managing the team well at every round to ensure full participation from the team members and not allowing for walkovers.
Team AU somehow could not reassemble the same winning team for this year's edition and had a peculiar record of fielding different combination of players for all 9 rounds. The unavailability of FM Ooi Chern Ee (who is usually very dependable) due to work commitments for some rounds affected the team greatly but on the other hand, Ian Udani's magnificent performance of 7.5 points over 9 rounds helped in getting the points for the team to win . Team AU also had the services of FM Peter Long during the last round for the crucial make or break last round encounter against PricewaterhouseCoopers. Jax Tham had a memorable last round win over Hazril that secured the full points to help Team AU secure the 2nd place finishing. Yeap Eng Chiam was outstanding throughout the tournament although he had to skip the last 3 rounds and his contribution to the team was priceless.
Team Excel , considered to be a rank outsider for the event won the 3rd place after consistent performance in the event. Lim Zhou Ren, Kaushal, Ken Wei , Tariq Amru, Nabil and a later addition of Edward Lee, all showed great passion , exceptional commitment, great teamwork and with a never say die attitude in upstaging their stronger opponents for crucial points
KAM MAH, the favorites on paper, have only themselves to blame for not being able to finish in the top three position. Though some may point fingers at certain players for missing important games that may have put them in a better position to win the title, the team spirit was a bit lacking . To add salt to the wound, KAM MAH after routing Tan and Tan 4-0, still pipped of the 3rd placing by Team Excel by a mere half point . Excel beat 17 chess club 2.5-1.5 in the last round to deny KAM MAH of the 3rd spot
Nusa Mahkota finally had a decent finishing by securing the fifth spot ahead of teams like PricewaterhouseCoopers and Sea horse. Crucial wins by Ng6 Razali Hamzah and Izz Saifuddin helped the team coupled with captain Hairulov devious strategy of sacrificing himself, had benefited the team well to maintain itself as one of the possible contenders for higher placing in the event,
Scratch team Ad Hoc and UKM both gave away too many walkovers in this tournament and such walkovers could have been avoided if the teams were better managed
The girls of CS Solutions should be congratulated for their fighting spirit and commitment in this edition and for making sure that players are always available for every round. Most importantly, whenever they need their hero to be around, star player Khairunissa will take time off to travel 250 km to play and help the team!! That's COMMITMENT!
Debutantes Sea Horse and Black Pearl , both from Petronas performed reasonably well and though Sea Horse with IM Mas Hafizul on first Board finished ahead of Black Pearl, its Black Pearl who had the last laugh when Sea Horse were beaten 3-1 in the last round by DATCC. It was apparent that DATCC made Sea Horse to pay for resting IM Mas in the last round. DATCC lost 3-1 to Black Pearl in their earlier encounter.
Tan and Tan also did reasonably well for 2 reasons - not finishing in the last position unlike in the previous edition, and not conceding walkovers. They had a fine performance without their regular IM and NM, but with seasoned veterans who were our national heroes in the younger days. Credits must go to Lim Chong for managing the team well.
School boys First Saturday also did well to finish 6th. It was a good all around performance by the boys who were represented by Tan Jun Feng, Amier Hamzah ,Tan Wei Hou, Roshan Singh
Wong Jianwen and blogger Yat Guo Jie. This team should be retained for future tournaments and with some training and proper coaching, should be a team to reckon with in our future events.
PricewaterhouseCoopers could have performed better but an unthinkable white wash by Nusa Mahkota in the earlier round may have broken their stride and interrupted their momentum. But they must be commended for a great effort in their last round against Team AU , losing barely 2.5-1.5
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