Welcome to the 16th ASEAN+ Age Group Chess Championships 2015
Welcome Message from Ignatius Leong, President of the ASEAN Chess Confederation and Chairman of the Organising Committee, 16th ASEAN+ Age Group Chess Championships 2015
The ASEAN+ Age Group Chess Championships (AAG) is the flagship event of the ASEAN Chess Confederation (ACC) which has organised it since it was first held in Vung Tau, Vietnam in 2000 with 155 players from 7 national chess federations.
For many years now the AAG is the most eagerly awaited event in the region – and I am particularly proud of the fact that in a few short years the players from the 10 member nation ASEAN proved themselves to be able to compete with their peers elsewhere – so with the agreement and support of both FIDE and the Asian Chess Federation, the ASEAN Age Group Chess Championships officially became ASEAN+ and players from outside the region, in fact from anywhere in the world, also became eligible to participate .
The first ASEAN+ was held in 2007 in Pattaya, Thailand and we saw a big increase to 241 players from 13 national chess federations, and by the time 2012 came around there were as many as 398 playing in the record breaking championship held in Hue, Vietnam.
Macau in 2014 became the first non ASEAN nation that hosted the AAG and another record was achieved when 22 national chess federations took part.
While the ASEAN+ Age Groups Chess Championships has never attempted to compete with continental championships such as the Asian Youth Chess Championships, I have to say that thanks to the great popularity of chess in the Far East, even before the AAG became ASEAN+, our event had already exceeded all others in popularity and prestige and for that I have to congratulate all of you!
Most certainly the countries in the region – the core of ASEAN and also the Far East, especially Hong Kong, Macau, Chinese Taipei, and South Korea – prioritise the ASEAN+ Age Group Chess Championship – and other neighbours like Australia and New Zealand, Japan, even China, all have significant representation.
India and Sri Lanka have also discovered the ASEAN+ Age Group Chess Championships and are big supporters today, and for some time now we are getting ever increasing participation from Middle East nations like UAE, but perhaps more significantly, also ever larger delegations from countries like Mongolia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan.
Of the many international youth championships, only the ASEAN+ Age Group Championships supports fully all three formats of the game – Standard, Rapid and Blitz – with medals awarded to the top three finishers in each of the twelve by three or thirty six categories, a total of a hundred and eight medals.
There are also team medals based on the combined scores of the top three finishers from the country representatives in each category which adds another hundred and eight medals while Seniors are not left out, having two categories of their own, over 55 and over 65, and adding another twelve medals to the mix.
I welcome all participants to Singapore – the last time the championship was held here was 12 years ago and it is fitting that in a year that we are celebrating 50 years of Nation Building, Singapore is once again the host.