Thursday, April 11, 2013

Selangor Open–The Early Years

11 April 2013, Kuala LumpurHere is an article from Lim Chong’s memoirs on Selangor Open. The exact author of the article I am unsure as some of the articles do not have the author’s name. It would be safe to assume that it was Lim Chong if there is no author’s name to the article. To shed light on some of the earlier and little known Selangor Open chess champions, here is one article to appreciate the significance of the Selangor Open in the 1970s.


First Champions

Woo Beng Keong
Woo Beng Keong emerged as the champion when the first Selangor Open was held at the Royal Selangor Club premises in Kuala Lumpur in 1974. The result did not come as a surprise as he was already considered a strong player then.
Two years earlier, Woo showed his promise when he was part of the Selangor team that won the title at the first MSSM (Malaysian Schools Sports Council) team chess championship held in Penang.
And two years after winning the Selangor Open title, Woo ended as runner-up in the third Malaysian individual championship which was won by Goh Yoon Wah. Making further progress, he was chosen as the second board player for the Malaysian team at the Chess Olympiad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1978.
Basically self-taught, Woo would have been able to achieve more in chess if he was not tied up with work commitments as an accountant. He developed an aggressive style, with the Sicilian Defence as part of his repertoire, and was known as one of the strongest local players in the 1980s. Still able to fight hard in every game, Woo continued to make his presence felt, making occasional forays in local tournaments in past years.
Displaying his dominance, Dr Max Wotulo, an international master from Indonesia, was the Selangor Open champion in 1975, 1976 and 1977.
According to a write-up, he was born in Menado, Sulawesi, in 1933 and is considered one of the strong players in South-East Asia with international standing. He has been playing chess since the age of 15 and was champion of Jakarta in the 1964/65 period and twice finished second in the Indonesian Open chess championship.
With his strong positional game and a deep understanding of chess, it is not surprising that he played first board for Indonesia at the Chess Olympiads in Leipzig, Germany, in 1960 and in Skopje, Yugoslavia, in 1972. He played second board for the Indonesian team at the Chess Olympiads in Havana, Cuba, in 1966 and in Siegen, Germany, in 1970. At the 1960 Olympiad in Leipzig, he was able to hold grandmaster Aleksandar Matanovic from Yugoslavia to a draw.
Wotulo became an international master in 1969 and since then he continued to remain active in chess in the local, regional and international circuits, travelling extensively to play in tournaments.
In 1974, he came to Kuala Lumpur to join Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia as a lecturer in mathematics. He immediately took part in local tournaments and found success at the Selangor Open for three successive years from 1975. He has been giving simultaneous displays and his presence in the Malaysian chess scene has been a stimulation for our players.
To read more about the 40th Selangor Open 2013, please click here.
(source: Lim Chong’s memoirs on Selangor Open)

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