|May-28-05|| ||offramp: Sensational Chess Boom in Myanmar
by Milan Novkovic
Forget the Russian School of Chess! Forget about Boeblingen 1998 and "Fritz"
up someone's sleeve. In Myanmar you can push your FIDE-rating to unknown
heights much more effectively, quickly - and with the blessing of FIDE. If
things continue as successfully and as peacefully as in a last two years,
then the former Burma - situated between China, India and Thailand - will
produce the world's next number one and the top 100 of the FIDE rating list
will be adorned by hitherto absolutely unfamiliar names.
In January 1997 Myanmar had a relatively modest number of internationally
rated players, totalling six. Highest ranking among these proteges of Caissa
was Lwin Aye with 2360. But that year saw the beginning of a chess boom in
the country of Aung San Suu Kyi, winner of the Nobel peace price and leader
of the opposition movement. Its not clear whether the chess players have
been refused visa by the military junta so that they could not play abroad
or whether other reasons have kept them from doing so, but they have still
managed to turn their situation into an advantage by fighting numerous
tournaments among themselves.
There some managed to achieve almost superhuman feats. Chief among those
unsung heroes is Moun Moun Latt, who scored 15,5 out of 18 in the "9th TMW
Invtl Rating Trnmt" in September 1998 in Myanmar. His opponents were all
fellow countrymen with an average rating of 2391. Thus he gained a rating of
2554 and number 196 on the current list, one point ahead of such GMs as
Lobron, Macieja and Dzindzichashvili.
Moun Moun Latt is only one of the many shooting stars from Myanmar. Until
July 1998 as many as 73 players had catapulted themselves into the
FIDE-list. Much to the chagrin of the visionary and mathematically gifted
organizers of such tournaments as the "Battle of two Cities", the
"Department Chess Tournament" or even the "Tal-Memorial" - all taking place
in Myanmar - a great number of active players still did not produce the
|May-28-05|| ||offramp: Therefore, the established players continued to crush new-found aficionados
of the game until they had reached olympic status in terms of ELO.
Chessfriends all over the world had to wait for an unduly long time to see
their strength reflected in numbers, but for the men from Myanmar it was
well worth the wait. 201 players are listed as of January 1999, among them
16 with a rating higher than 2500 and 36 with more than 2400. Only Russia,
Germany, the Ukraine, the USA, Yugoslavia and Hungary do better. Even chess
powers like England and Israel or the Netherlands have failed to push so
many players beyond 2400, despite decades of hard work, that is. |
Zaw Win Lay - a name to remember
If the chess-boom in Myanmar continues in this vein, then Garry Kasparov
will certainly lose his top position on the FIDE list, but he will not do so
to Anand or Kramnik, but - most likely - to Zaw Win Lay. In January 1997 Lay
was far behind with a measly 2230. In the meantime he has improved by leaps
and bounds, thus becoming his country's number one and the world's number
155 with 2565 ELO. As he picks up roughly 100 points per rating period, it's
easy to figure how long Kasparov will remain unchallenged.
In August 1998 Zaw Win Lay (then ELO 2465) crushed 10 fellow countrymen at
the "Battle of two Cities" with 10/10, gaining 35 points. This resembled his
triumph at the "Tal Memorial". There he destroyed all local opposition
(average rating 2386) by scoring 11/12. Two more triumphs in local
tournaments were to follow. Unfortunately, he dropped 16 rating points at
the Rangoon zonal (zone 3.2a) in December against an average of 2329. The
tournament saw Indonesian GM Utut Adianto in first place. Mr Zaw finished
among the also-rans with 4,5/9. Nevertheless, the second half of 1998
brought another 100 rating points.
Independent observers hope that Mr Zaw can get over this unexpected setback
at the hands - and minds - of foreign players. They hope that he will be
able to rehabilitate himself on native soil in the tournaments to come.
Anyhow, the chess world is eagerly awaiting the July 1999 rating list.
Perhaps it will announce the first player from Myanmar to cross the
threshold of 2600.
|Nov-10-05|| ||atripodi: Well he beat Elvest and drew Karpov, so he can't be a total hack. But the whole Myanmar situation is like Claude Bloodgood's rating inflation on a national scale.|
|Nov-11-05|| ||notsodeepthought: <Zaw Win Lay - a name to remember> Certainly <Win Lay> sounds like a successful night in two important departments.|
|Mar-26-06|| ||romerno: <atripodi> Thanks for your comment. It's unfortunate that there was rating inflation,but it is unfair to the players to blame them or mock them for the whole situation, and certainly Zaw Win Lay is not a hack!|
|Mar-26-06|| ||EmperorAtahualpa: How does this rating inflation trick work? I know how it goes on chess websites like FICS, but I guess in real life it goes differently.|
|Nov-30-06|| ||Maatalkko: <notsodeepthought> ROFLMAO!|
|Dec-02-06|| ||Rocafella: <notsodeepthought> LOL I bow down, you are a legend. Notsodeepthought boys REPRAZENT :P|
|Dec-01-09|| ||psmith: "Current Fide rating 2382"
well, apparently it didn't happen.
|Dec-01-09|| ||lentil: I am reminded of the scam used by Claude Bloodgood to become the 2nd highest-rated player in the US: play huge numbers of games against much weaker opponents and win >90% of them. Even at +2 rating points per game, the gain would be impressive.|
|Oct-22-13|| ||Kikoman: <Player of the Day>|
Happy 50th Birthday GM Zaw Win Lay! :D
|Oct-22-13|| ||Penguincw: Happy Birthday to the <POTD>: Zaw Win Lay.|
|Oct-22-13|| ||Zappa XP: To quote myself:
If you want to get layd, go to college. If you want an education, go to the library.
|Oct-22-13|| ||TheFocus: In Hawaii, tourists get leid every day.|
|Oct-22-13|| ||TheFocus: "Don't just lay there! Make a move!"|
|May-13-14|| ||perfidious: <EmperorAtahualpa: How does this rating inflation trick work? I know how it goes on chess websites like FICS, but I guess in real life it goes differently.>|
There is always Strumica 1997, with which you would be familiar, given that the very first kibitz on Azmaiparashvili vs Kurajica, 1995 was by you.
|Oct-08-14|| ||Eastfrisian: According to the FIDE Zaw Win Lay died on October 3, 2014 in Mandalay due to diabetes and high blood pressure. R.I.P.|
|Oct-15-14|| ||wordfunph: rest in peace, GM Zaw Win Lay..
|Oct-16-14|| ||perfidious: <notsodeepthought: <Zaw Win Lay - a name to remember> Certainly <Win Lay> sounds like a successful night in two important departments.>|
Maybe more than the two to which this poster alludes--I've no objection to laying odds and coming out winner!
|Oct-22-16|| ||Domdaniel: Zaw Win Lay will be remembered for his loss to Khalifman in the Tarrasch/Chistiakov line of the French: Zaw Win Lay vs Khalifman, 2000.|
Zaw follows theory all the way to a refutation.
In the Chess Stars book reviewing the year's most theoretically important games, Khalifman wrote that he had been curious about the real strength of players in Burma/Myanmar, but this game went some distance towards assuaging his curiosity.