Young players harbor hopes for higher competitions
Paper Edition | Page: 20
For young chess players, joining the national championship is a opportunity to advance to the international level.
“I am participating in this competition to win, so [the Indonesian Chess Association] will notice me and send me abroad for international chess games,” 16-year-old Muhammad Luthfi Ali, who competed in the 16-year category, told The Jakarta Post.
The five-day championship, which started Sunday, features 665 young players from 24 provinces. Matches are divided into 14 categories — seven for boys and seven for girls.
In his fourth national championship, Luthfi, who represents Central Java, took the lead, collecting 5.5 points from six of nine rounds in the competition held at the Sahid Jaya Hotel, Jakarta.
The Candidate Master hoped his good run in the event would help him improve his international performance, in which his latest showing gave him seventh place at the Asian Nations Chess Cup in May in Zaozhuang, China.
Another player in the lead was Galang Rambu Anarki, in the under-20 category, with 5 points in five rounds.
After showing convincing results in several local tournaments, it did not take long for the Indonesian Chess Association to take notice of Luthfi’s talent.
He said he had already gained entry to the National Training Center, where he would develop his talent while continuing his studies.
Kristianus Liem of the association said the national championship was important to find new seeds to replace old players.
“The championship serves as an initial step to select excellent junior chess players to send to international games,” Kristianus, who is in charge of development affairs at the association, told the Post.
He said that at the Southeast Asian level, Indonesia traditionally faced fierce competition from Vietnam, Singapore and the Philippines.
At the ASEAN+ Age Group Chess Championship in Hue City, Vietnam, in mid-June, Indonesia won 12 gold medals in 13 age categories.
“Vietnam and Singapore are similar in that they think chess can make their children brighter and cleverer because it develops children’s discipline, systematic way of thinking, diligence and accuracy,” said Kristianus.
“This is what makes them strong contenders,” he said, adding that Vietnam set high standards for its players.
He hoped Indonesia could send more players to international tournaments. As an example, he said that the Philippines, which faced similar hurdles as Indonesia in chess development, still managed to send 41 participants to Vietnam, almost double that of the Indonesia delegation.
“They were fortunate to able to get more sponsors than us,” said Kristianus, referring to the Philippines.
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