Finalists of 5th Indonesia National Championship, Malang 1958 

PGN 2013.09.15. 1 game. Incomplete.

Qualification. 1958.??.??-?.
Final. Not played.

The final stage has never been played. The cause was something tragically funny. It was ‘funny’ because it didn’t make sense. We said ‘tragic’ since that funny cause was responsible for halting the most important national chess event in Indonesia.

At first the qualification ran smoothly. Thirteen players qualified for the final according to the rule. Before the final started, Kusno Kromodihardjo from Bandung was proposed to be added to the finalist list. The reason was … he couldn’t play with focus in the qualification. Funnily the finalists and Percasi (All Indonesia Chess Federation) officials all agreed. The chaos began from here.

Kusno inclusion gave an idea to Dame Panggabean, the Chairman of Percasi of North Sumatera province. He proposed to add another player, Merlep Ginting. The player was from Medan, the capital city of the North Sumatera province. Dame’s idea had a full support from GS Pandjaitan, the General Secretary of Percasi. The reason was the same, even funnier. Merlep couldn’t concentrate in the qualification because … he lost his wallet. Again that was agreeable. Now the championship had 15 finalists and was ready to go.

At early morning before the start of the first round four players suddenly launched a strike action. Those players were Abubakar Baswedan from Surabaya and the trio from Banjarmasin, Arovah Bachtiar, Salman, and Subli Arsjad. They demanded that Surabaya player Lim Kok An had to also be included since he was unhealthy during the qualification. At this point the players were divided. An agreement could not be reached. The then Chairman of Percasi, Ds FKN Harahap, faced a difficult situation. To make things worse, Harahap was the only Percasi official left in the event. He could not include Lim if not all agreed but he could not just to deny the demand as it had ground too. The ground was surely as ridiculous as it might sound but the previous two were no better and more importantly were agreed. Harahap opted for the third and drastic choice, abandoning the final stage altogether.

To understand Harahap’s decision we must not forget that Percasi was still infant at that time. People still learned to each other and tended to minimise conflicts as they could. The lesson is we should stick to an agreement once it has already been made. Simple but easily forgotten.

Selected Games (viewer © ChessTempo)

Photo of Lim Hong GieWhite
Lim Hong Gie
Flag of Indonesia
Photo of Abubakar BaswedanBlack
Abubakar Baswedan
Flag of Indonesia

5th Indonesia National Championship Qualification
Malang Flag of Indonesia 1958.??.??
1-0 D46 Semi-Slav: 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 Black avoids the Meran


  • Kejuaraan Dunia Catur 2 1979 (Ds FKN Harahap)
  • Putaran Ketiga Sirkuit Grandmaster Asia Pertama 1978
  • Sejarah Catur Indonesia 1986 (Ds FKN Harahap)

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