As I write in the wee hours, whiling my time till my departure at 6am, 2 things came to my mind surrounding the event - my students and their state of preparation for the tournament, plus my own in analysing their opponents' games based on what's available.
We had learnt a lot about the Vietnamese and the Filipinos from the last event in Chiangmai, so I cannot stress the importance of fitness enough to our own boys and girls. The Vietnamese do not display great strength in their games, but they do have fitness and patience on their side. They can make safe moves and wear down anyone past 4 hours of play. Hence we need to be most alert entering into the 3rd hour to ensure no big endgame blunders appear. Many also chose not to follow the book moves but relied on simple opening systems hoping to avoid book preparation. Our players therefore need to know their endgames well in order to match their opponents once pieces are exchanged on their behest.
Our current diet of rapid chess does not help our juniors develop endgame skills as the endgames are often conducted with less than 5 minutes of play left, leaving one no time to strategise or plan. Hence I am advocating games to be played not from move 1 but from positions taken from famous endgame masterpieces where one gets to guess and execute the correct plan made by the winner. This will give the juniors exposure and practice in conducting their endgames.