11 February 2020, Kuching: Sarawak’s position as a sports powerhouse is once again defended as the state wins the bid for the 17th World Xiang Qi Championship and Forum 2021 – making Sarawak the host destination for Malaysia’s first win for this event, beating a top contender from Europe.
Xiang Qi, or better known as Chinese Chess (Catur Cina), is one of the most popular board games in China with growing influence in the West due to its similarities to international chess.
The event is under the collaboration of Kuching Xiang Qi Association and Business Events Sarawak (BESarawak) with the endorsement of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Sarawak. It is expected to bring in a crowd of 650 delegates into Kuching, Sarawak.
The forum will gather global leaders and decision makers of Xiang Qi to discuss on the revolution and progress of the game; while the championship will feature 5 categories: Men’s Open Category, Women’s Open Category, Non-Chinese Open Category, Youth Open Category and Fast Speed Open Category; by which the latter category will be organised for the first time since the beginning of the Championship and Forum in 1990.
Chairman of the Federation of Xiang Qi Sarawak, Chairman of the Federation of Xiang Qi East Malaysia and Organising Chairman of Kuching Xiang Qi Association, Kapitan Dato Lau Sie Lok, announced the game’s significance to the global sporting community, “For the first time, Xiang Qi will be introduced as a competitive sport categorised under Board Games category together with international chess and Go (Wei Qi) at the 19th Asian Games 2022 in Hangzhou, China.”
Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Sarawak, YB Datuk Haji Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, expressed his satisfaction over the bid win, “Having Sarawak as the chosen destination for Malaysia’s first win is tremendous. We are an esteemed sports hub with some of the best athletes in the region, therefore today; this event has marked its first legacy by putting Sarawak’s name and reputation high on the sporting league – especially for Xiang Qi.”
Touching on legacies, BESarawak’s new Legacy Impact Programme is designed to help build professional, economic and social communities by utilising the professional networks, knowledge exchange and inclusion of the local community to better develop the destination and people. The anticipated impacts of the 17th World Xiang Qi Championship and Forum 2021 are to nurture Sarawakian Xiang Qi athletes for international competitions and discover new talents regardless of race and sporting background.
The 17th World Xiang Qi Championship and Forum will feature Sarawakian Xiang Qi athlete, Ms. Jee Xin Ru, who is ranked 4th at the World Women Open Category, 1st place in 2019 Malaysia Women Open, 1st Place in 2019 East Malaysia Women Open and 2nd place in 2014 Asia Women Open, thus achieving her awarded status as Master of International Xiang Qi.
 At the time of bidding, the Ministry retained its former name to ‘Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth & Sports Sarawak’.