Hangzhou 2022: Gong hopes Chess can move back regularly into Asiad fold
By Patrick Johnston
Singaporean women’s grandmaster Gong Qianyun was left feeling somewhat frustrated after drawing the final match of her Asian Games campaign on Wednesday (Sep 27) to finish the competition in 17th place.
Gong was Singapore’s only representative at the Hangzhou Qi-Yuan (Zhili) Chess Hall as the sport made its first appearance at an Asian Games for 13 years.
She was keen to show off the strength of Singaporean chess in one of the sport’s rare appearances at an international multi-sport games. Chess hasn’t been at the Asian Games since 2003.
Singapore’s Gong Qianyun looks on as she awaits the start of her Asian Games women’s individual round one chess match against the UAE’s Wafia Almemari at the Hangzhou Qi-Yuan (Zhili) Chess Hall. (Photo: Sport Singapore/Stanley Cheah)
Gong played nine matches in Hangzhou; recording three wins, three draws and three losses in the 25 minute rapid format, where there is a 10 second increment from move 1.
“I feel like I wasn’t really in form,” Gong said after her last match. “I felt in some games that I was a bit unlucky, due to many factors.
“I actually will take a break until the end of the year. Do some preparations for my opening moves. I feel I have many problems with that.”
The standard of the 30-woman competition in Hangzhou was strong, with four-time world champion Hou Yifan of China, considered one of the all-time greats of the sport, securing a bronze.
Singapore and UAE flags are seen next to the chessboard ahead of Gong Qianyun’s Asian Games women’s individual round one chess match against Wafia Almemari at the Hangzhou Qi-Yuan (Zhili) Chess Hall. (Photo: Sport Singapore/Stanley Cheah)
Gong, 38, who is a chess coach back home, said she hoped to be able to compete at another Asian Games for Singapore again soon. She also wanted to see more players meet the eligibility requirements so that Singapore could also enter the team events in future.
“There are many talented players in Singapore. Very young, they started young and have talent.”
After a heavy schedule in preparation for the Asiad, Gong said she would take some time off from the sport before plotting some new strategies ahead of the Singaporean championships next year.
The 19th Asian Games are held in Hangzhou, China from 23 September to 8 October 2023. For the latest Team Singapore coverage and news, follow Team Singapore on their social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok) or visit the official Team Singapore website.