Master (IM) Giam Choo Kwee
(C) pose with national
chess players (L-R) Siti
Nurfatimah Hj Azahari,
Amir Fahkry Hj Sulaiman,
Md Aliuddin Hj Azahari
and Yee Soon Wei. Picture:
Courtesy of Vakhidov Tahir
Yee Soon Wei believes Brunei can challenge other countries in the region if the Sultanate's chess players compete abroad more.
Yee was joined by Amir Fahkry Hj Sulaiman and siblings Md Aliuddin and Siti Nurfatimah Hj Azahari at the Astro Merdeka Rapid Team competition in Kuala Lumpur last month, where they finished 33rd in the 110-team competition.
Though he felt their lack of experience in such matches contributed to their performance, Yee who was the only chess player to represent Brunei at July's Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) in South Korea was confident that Brunei can be on par with other countries if its players continue to participate in more international events.
And with Yee saying the team hoped to be selected to compete at the Southeast Asia (SEA) Games in Myanmar, any additional overseas assignments before the Dec 11-22 event would be a welcome boon.
"As a team, we couldn't make it to the top 10 probably because we lack experience and exposure competing in team events like these," the World Chess Federation/FIDE Master (FM) said yesterday.
"The tournament was a very important international exposure for all of us and we gained experience playing in the team and blitz events against much stronger opponents.
"So if this continues, in the next few years we can be as strong as our neighbouring countries," added Yee, who finished 28th in the field of 50 world-class players at the AIMAG.
The two-day rapid event at the Cititel Mid Valley Hotel in Kuala Lumpur saw the team do "quite well" on the first day.
But a draw against a team from Jakarta in the penultimate round on the second day combined with a loss to a team from the Philippines in their last game meant a top-10 finish was out of reach.
A blitz event which ran over half a day saw Md Aliuddin and Amir Fahkry do "fairly well" after both scored 5/9. Siti Nurfatimah recorded 4.5/9 while Yee managed 4/9.
Yee also participated in another blitz event and scored 4/7, defeating Filipino International Master (IM) Ronald Dableo in the process.
Prior to the Astro Merdeka Rapid Team competition, Yee took part in the Dato Arthur Tan Malaysia Open where he picked up three wins, four draws and two losses for a total of 5/9.
"Although I could not defeat any higher ranked opponents, I managed to hold them to draws so that's a small achievement," said Yee, who also competed in the event in 2008, 2010 and 2011.
"The last time I even dropped points to lower rated opponents, so this is by far my best result in this championship," he added.
Yee also thanked the Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council and the Department of Youth and Sports for their support.