Controversial and uncertainty are two words that best describe this tournament. Controversial is because it is held during CNY and some netizen considered that as racial discrimination.Woaa! I will not go deeper into that but suffice to say that there are many tournaments that was held during Christmas, Wesak, Hari Gawai, Pesta Keamatan etcetera. Why can't during CNY?
Uncertainty because suddenly, the organizer (under reasons best known to them) decide to reduce the prize by half and limit the entry to those with national rating of below 1800. Quickly I checked my national rating and was relieved to find out that mine is 1783. But still, based on how things developed over the last few days, there is still possibility that they could still did not allow me to enter base on the fact that my rating was once above 1800 and currently my Fide rating is 2000 above.
At about 9 o'clock I arrived at the tournament hall. Regular faces (rival!?) that I saw are Fadli (busied with his laptop), Faizal Andin, Abdul Sukor, smiling face of Mr Balendran, Norazman (either seriously blitzing or continuosly showing his latest 'brilliance' win against NM Kamal at Shah Alam), full force of Azman Hisham's clan, almost full force of Zulkafli's clan and many others. Pretty strong field i would say and suddenly, it is obvious that it will not be a walk in the park for me like I previously thought.
I ended the day scoring 2.5 out of 3 (draw with Amira Shahmina and a win against Izz Saifuddin- i predict bright future for him in chess), not bad for someone who was seeded number 24!