National coach Tahir Vahidov
(3rd R) and national chess
player Yee Soon Wei (3rd L)
during yesterday's 4th Asian
Indoor & Martial Arts Games
opening ceremony at the Samsan
World Gymnasium in Incheon.
Picture: BT/Jason Thomas
Not only is today's 4th Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games chess competition going to be huge mental test for Yee Soon Wei, the four-day tournament is also expected to push his physical conditioning to the limit.
Yee will go up against some of the best in the region at today's men's classical event, and with at least two four-hour sessions on the cards in the coming days, his coach is well aware of the challenges ahead.
The 50-player tournament kicks off at Yonsei University's International campus in the afternoon following the draw and manager's meeting in the morning, and the competitors can look forward to strenuous eight-hour days over the next three days - with today's opening session limited to four.
"If the competition starts at 4pm it might finish at 8. And in the morning, if it starts at 9 it might finish at 1pm," explained national chess coach Tahir Vahidov on Friday.
"So during those three-hour breaks we'll have to analyse the previous game, prepare for the next game, eat and rest.
"The players will get tired after three hours so they need to be in good physical condition
"Imagine four hours of full concentration. That's why after the players finish, the first thing they do is eat.
"When you think, you need energy. It depends if you're serious or not. You can play five-minute games if you're not serious.
"But if you're serious, you'll spend energy," stressed Vahidov, adding that players can lose up to two kilos after each game.
The coach seemed confident enough that Yee could handle the pressure that comes with playing in such tense environments though, and is probably for this very reason that the World Chess Federation/FIDE Master (FM) was chosen ahead of five others.
Yee's last overseas tournament was the 7th Tashkent Open in Uzbekistan in April, where he finished in the middle of the field.
Here in Incheon, he will be play seven rounds and will go up against against higher or lower ranked players depending on whether he wins or loses his subsequent rounds.
Vahidov said that Yee might be rated 38th and a good performance by the country's strongest chess player will see him improve his world ranking.
However, the Uzbek knows the cards are stacked against Yee.
"There are many professional champions here from China, Vietnam, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Iran - and they're all Grand Masters (GM)," said Vahidov, a GM himself.
"I expect at least 20 GMs and 10 IMs (International Master)... Maybe more. FMs, maybe five to 10.
"It will be a strong field."