National Chess Grandmaster Tahir Vahidov (L) watches as FIDE Master Yee Soon Wei (2nd L) plays against the national team in a mini tournament yesterday.BT/ Ak Fauzi Pg Salleh
The Brunei Chess Federation has set three targets for the national representatives at the 41st Chess Olympiad and the 85th World Chess Federation (FIDE) Congress in Tromso, Norway.
Five Bruneians Md Aliuddin Hj Azahari, Siti Nur Fatimah Hj Azahari, Izzuddin Zain, Pg Kamarunsalehin Pg Kamis and Syairazi Suni will be flying the country's flag at the Aug 1-14 competition and they will be leaving on Thursday.
"The federation's first target is to come back with one FIDE Master," said National Chess Grandmaster Tahir Vahidov in an interview with The Brunei Times at the Brunei Chess Centre yesterday. "The second target is to better Brunei's ranking in FIDE by five positions, and the last one is that every player must increase their points by a minimum of 10."
Brunei is currently ranked 138th with an average rating of 1986 in the FIDE rankings. The biennial event will see teams travel across the globe from 181 countries to battle for top honours. "We have been practicing hard throughout the year and I am confident that this team will be able to fulfill the target that has been set by the federation," said Tahir.
Aliuddin who is heading into the tournament following an impressive performance at the June 14-21 World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championship in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), is aiming to achieve the ultimate target of gaining the FIDE Master title.
The Dubai meet saw the 23-year-old defeat a number of highly rated players in both events.
His victims include FIDE Master Byambaa Zulzaga from Mongolia, International Master Tissir Mohamed from Morocco, FIDE Master Alhuwar Jasem from UAE, International Master Omar Noaman from UAE and Grandmaster Kuzubov Yuriy from Ukraine.
"I am going to focus on my points to increase the ratings and I will try my very best to get the FIDE Master title this year," said Aliuddin, who had competed in the 2006 Chess Olympiad in Italy. Pg Kamarunsalehin is just as confident. "I have increased my rating by as much as 90 points in the past months and I have a good feeling about this tournament," said Pg Kamarunsalehin.
"But we all must work hard together and strategise to achieve the target that has been set by the federation," said the 28-year-old. The trip to Norway, meanwhile, is an opportunity for 21-year-old Syairazi to meet highly rated players from all over the world.
President of the BCF, Hj Zainal Abidin Ali, expressed his appreciation towards the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports for providing partial sponsorships to the athletes.
"This is the strongest team ever sent by the BCF and the Olympiad is amazing tournament where more than 2000 Chess enthusiasts will be participating. I hope that this will be an eye opener for them and that they can play the Grand Masters and enjoy the experience of a life time," said Hj Zainal.
BCF yesterday organised a mini tournament for all the five participants to go up against FIDE Master Yee Soon Wei. "I think they played very well against me in the match and I think they just need to be confident and put in 100 per cent in the match," said Yee, who is unable to travel with the team due to work commitment.