Philippines: Brunei Darussalam Chess Federation has done the country proud when its team of four performed outstandingly and placed in the 10th position of the Asian Chess Team Championship held in Philippines recently.
The historic achievement was the best so far under the guidance of national chess coach Tahir Vakhidov.
The four chess players that represented Brunei Darussalam were Siti Nur Fatimah binti Hj Azahari, Pg Kamarunsalehin bin Pg Kamis, Md Aliuddin bin Hj Azahari and Amir Fakhry bin Hj Sulaiman.
They competed against some of the highly ranked chess players ranging from Grandmaster, International Master and FIDE Master.
A total of 87 players from 18 cities in Asia competed in the biannually competition. Brunei's top chess player Yee Soon Wei didn't take part because of work commitment.
The team was given a moral boost when Hj Zainal Abidin, the president of Brunei Chess Federation visited the-team mid-way in the tournament.
Brunei Darussalam were placed 22nd out of 24 teams at the 2011 Asian Chess Team Championship in Jakarta.
Following the disappointing result, the Brunei chess team started its systematic training since November 2012 and chess players have to attend training for at least three times per week that also included physical fitness training. The training has paid off for the team.
Despite the milestone in Philippines, national chess coach Vakhidov has reiterated the importance of overseas exposure for the chess players.
"Upon a post mortem and analysis, it showed that Brunei players are capable of competing at the international stage but would require adequate competition exposure.
"Overseas exposure is very important because only training is not enough. By playing against strong opponents our players can improve," Vakhidov said.
Special thanks were also mentioned to Youth and Sports Department under Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports for the support and believing in the Brunei players.
The Brunei Chess Federation will next prepare for the World Chess Olympian 2014 in Oslo, Norway. Brunei hoped to make another historic achievement in the world event following the footstep of the 2006's achievement whereby Yee Soon Wei acquired his FIDE Master title in Italy.
Other events the Brunei Chess Federation are preparing is the Asian Cup (Vietnam) in February, Thailand Open and Brunei Open in April.