The players of Hong Kong Open and Women team started their journey to Baku from 1st Sept, 2016 to attend the 42nd Chess Olympiad which is organized once per 2 years.
It is a team event with 180 teams in the Open section and 150 teams in the Women section from countries all over the world and played over 11 rounds. Each round can easily linger past 4-5 hours. It is a contest of chess skill and endurance of the chess players!
In order to anti cheat in the tournament, all players and captains have to past through metal detector and X-ray scan of personal belongings. All phones, and even pens must be stored away before entering into the tournament hall.
Hong Kong has not been sending women’s team to Olympiad for over 32 years and in the year 2016 we send women’s team once again to Olympiad!!
Hong Kong team has sent an Open team consisted of FM Brian Wong, Daniel King Wai Lam, Luke Lau, Yui Kuen Pang, Edwin Borigas, led by captain Michael Cheung and Head of Delegation Robin Lai while the women team is consisted of WCM Rachel Lu, Sigappi Kannappan, Crystal Jing Xin Deng, Estella Song, and Lok Yi Lee, led by captain Sydney Lai.
Hong Kong women team started with a rating ranking of 108 in the world, at round 8 Hong Kong Women team was once as high as rank 69, and we finished as rank 98! 10 ranks higher than our starting. Hurray!
Women team’s first board WCM Rachel Lu scored 4 points after 7 games and is eligible for WCM (Woman Candidate Master) title which she already own though. Despite all the pressure from WGM WIM WFM in first board, she managed to draw 2 Woman International Master (WIM) and defeat one Woman Fide Master(WFM). She scored well as board one and earned 55 points rating in this tournament. Way to go Girl!
Our 2nd Board Siggapi Kannappan scored 6 points at round 8 and is entitled to the title of Woman Fide Master before the tournament ends. She won 2 Woman International Master, drew another one, defeated 3 Woman Fide Master, and drew another one. And she finished the tournament awesomely with 8.5 points out of 11 games! She ranked 3rd in board 2 if rank according to points! Congratulation to our new WFM of Hong Kong. She well deserved her WFM (Women Fide Master) Title.
Our 3rd Board Crystal Deng won 4 points after 8 games and got her WCM (Woman Candidate Master) title as well, she scored 2 more points in the remaining 3 games and ended with a 6/11. She even managed to defeat a WFM at round 10. She harvested 78 rating points in this single tournament as well! Congratulation to Crystal!
Our 4th board Estella did not feel well and could not make it to the remaining of the games after round one, while our 5th board Lee Lok Yi seemed to have difficulties facing opponents with average 200 points higher than her. Hope she can perform better next time.
Our Open team players definitely faced more challenges comparing to our female team. With a starting rank of 132 among 180. the Hong Kong Open team at round 4 reached a peak of rank 92 and faced strong Austria team at round 5.
Our first board FM Brian Wong faced all kinds of title players from CM to GM, and had huge pressure, we will remember your sacrifice!
Our 2nd board Daniel Lam, after defeating 3 FMs (Fide Master), managed to get 6 points at his 9th games and is entitled to get his FM Title and finished the tournament with a 2293 performance rating! Congratulations Daniel. New Fide Master of Hong Kong.
Our 3rd board Luke Lau seemed to be quite unlucky and faced players ranges from 50 to 400+ rating points higher than him (3 of them are 2400+) and had an uneasy time with his games.
Our 4th Board Yui Kuen Pang scored 4 points in his 7th games, defeating a CM, and is entitled to a CM as well (Candidate Master). Congratulation Pang!
Our 5th board is Edwin Borigas scored 3 points out of 7 games, and was once very close to get a title, but he could not score a win at his 8th game and barely missed it. Hope he can get it next time.
It is a very great experience for the players, parents, and captains of the team to attend the biggest chess event in 2 years playing against players around the world.
We will be back in 2018 in Georgia for the 43rd Chess Olympiad!!!!!!
Words from our new Woman Fide Master (WFM) Sigappi Kannappan [right]:
Thank you very much for sending women’s team to Baku 2016 Olympiad. Representing the Nation is a dream. And never thinks about participation in chess Olympiad before. It’s all comes true because of you all!
Special thanks to Robin, Sydney, KK and Brian! Robin always cheer up and motivating all of us. As a women’s team captain Sydney always closely watched all of our games and analysed well.
I got 8.5 points / 11 rounds. 3rd place in Board No.2 according by points. 9th place out of over all players according to the points. “WCM and WFM” all these titles dedicated to “HONG KONG CHESS FEDERATION LIMITED”.
Once again thank you so much!
Words from our new Fide Master (FM) Daniel King Wai Lam
Daniel Lam had the worst start of all the Hong Kong players — losing in 18 moves and under an hour, to perhaps the most famous player Africa has produced — Grandmaster Ahmed Adly from Egypt, who is the only African player to have won a World Title (Under-20 Champion in 2007). Being the player who was most off-form, he voluntarily opted out of Round 2. On his day off, he regained his composure and won Rounds 3 and 4. Even though he lost Rounds 5 and 6, he was most grateful to his opponents, who shared their thoughts during the post mortem, and allowed Daniel to understand what he has to do to improve further.
With 2/5, and the FM title being 6/9, Daniel must get 4/4 in his next games. He remained faithful to his preparation, and did not back down from sharp opening variations. Instead of aiming for results, he focused upon just playing to his best ability game by game. With sheer willpower to win, as well as some aggressive and forceful play, he managed to win all his following 4 games, and obtained the FM-title with one round to spare. His final tally of 6.5/10 and close to 2,300 in rating performance, was the best out of all the Hong Kong players.
He believed the great team atmosphere contributed to his success in this tournament. Of course, the change of rule in players’ selection by the new committee, in-line with international practice, also allowed someone like Daniel, who has the ability to compete, but not able to play in the qualifier due to work commitment, to participate in the tournament in the first place.
Words from our Women Team Board one WCM Rachel Lu:
It’s been a wonderful learning experience for me at the 42nd Baku chess olympiad and I played some of the strongest and highest rated players I ever had in my life. Although I suffered many losses as the board 1 of the Hong Kong women team, these losses have helped me learn from my mistakes and gain new knowledge. It was an extremely tough tournament but I think that Hong Kong team performed well.
Words from accompanying person David Lu (Rachel’s Daddy) :
This was a miraculous journey. As an accompanying person, I stood in the stands watching so many top players – which before were consigned to the pages of books – playing with people in the Hong Kong team which I knew. In my opinion, that was a very rare, precious experience.