The ASTRO Merdeka Rapid Team Event attracted 70 teams this year, 4 more than what was registered last year. And for the first time in a rather long time, a Malaysian team in the form of SMS Gold is seeded number one for the event. The ballroom in CitiTel Midvalley was filled to the rim with tables found at each available corner to accommodate the number of teams that are playing.
Whilst there were fewer foreign teams taking part in the event, there are more teams that are combining local talents with foreign powerhouses. Some notable power teams are:
Crusher - made up of GM Arun Prasad of India, Dirk Jordon of Germany and locals Soon Wai Cheong and Yeap Eng Chiam
Uzbek Connection - made up of GM Saidali and GM Marat of Uzbekistan with help from former National player Ismail Ahmad and youngster Mohd Syazwan Zulkifli.
Magic - made up of IM Khamrakulov Dzhurabek, Vakhidov Jahongir, WFM Asya Son and local Abdullah Che Hassan.
Bengal Tigers - GM Niaz Murshed of Bangladesh, GM Laxman of India, FM Abdullah AlSaif and Penang youngter Elgin Lee.
International Rhapsody - a team of players from 4 different countries lead by GM Gerhard Schebler of Germany, Sahapol of Thailand, Ian Udani of Philippines and Tan Ken Wei of Malaysia.
For those who have been following the festival since it first started, one will realize that noticeably missing from the team event are teams from Indonesia and Philippines but they are still being represented albeit the teams were not many and not as strong as the previous years. Indonesia has 3 teams in the event whilst Philippines had only 1 team.
Other teams seeded in the top 5 after SMS Gold are the Chesskidz Mens Team from Singapore, Klang Valley Koalas from Australia, Rusty Nails from Singapore and in 5th seed is the ASTRO Arena Team consisting of GM Ziaur Rahman, IM Jimmy Liew and youngsters Muhd Izz and Yeoh Li Tian.
This year's event, teams are being paired based on Match Point with the team's game point being the first tie breaker. Technically, a team winning 4-0 will score the same match points as the team scoring 2.5-1.5 hence the "runaway" factor has been minimized.
For team composition, round by round score.pairing and team standings, please visit our official website at http://www.datmo.net
Some of the photos from the event for your viewing pleasure:
Bengal Tigers Team (upper left) and ASTRO Arena Team (upper right)
Packed Playing Hall (bottom left) and SMS Gold Team (bottom right)
Magic Team (upper left) and Uzbek Connection (upper right)
Below: The powerful and balance Crusher Team with GM Arun Prasad on Board 1, Dirk Jordan of Germany, Soon Wai Cheong and Yeap Eng Chiam of Malaysia at Board 1, 2, 3 and 4 respective
Below: IM Mas Hafizul of Petronas against GM Arun Prasad of Crusher Team
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