Sunday, December 8, 2013
This will be the second part of our 2 tournament run of NJ and now Penang Open for this year. Previous to this run was Malaysian Open. I prefer to space out our tournament runs so that my team have time to do a proper postmortem after the runs and then followed by fine tuning or if necessary even an overhaul of the training program.
And then we train again. When we feel that we have been able to correct our weaknesses then we do another run to test if the training has worked or not. I am not inclined to subjective opinions or claims. So how do I evaluate? Yes. By the results. And only that.
And that is why clean tournaments are important for the progress of Malaysian chess. And that is why cooked Fide ratings, back door selections and dubious claims of being the best together with dubious tournaments is a crime against Malaysian chess.
Look back, think back. Is that not how almost all of our previously strong players have been weakened?
They start out strong.
Then they are told to kow tow to the seniors. Wait for your turn they are told or you will be attacked. They are also told that they must kow tow to the officials by not complaining if side doors are used, if they think there are fixed tournaments. Keep quiet. Or you will not be selected. Or we will ban you.
And so the strong have been terrified into being the weak. The lions become kittens. Then we send them out to fight for Malaysia. Is there any truth to what I say?
Has it been about the quality of chess or has it been about little Napoleans protecting their power? Has it been about building strong chess players or making money from new and naive parents?
Lets think of this a little more. If they are strong they will not need to avoid tournaments where their weapons cannot fire. They will not avoid playing International age groups because suddenly the whole world can see the the touted lion can only mew among his peers.
The only thing that is good about that is that it generates business for the Fide rating sellers.
The only real basis for evaluation is a clean fight in a proper tournament. Wake up and look at what they have done to Malaysian chess. And do you wonder why, like I do sometimes, that they seem to be so proud of that fact?
Now do you understand why we are not worried about those players? It is only a question of time and correct training for when we will catch up with them.
We only "worry" a little when the lion can roar. For then it will be a question of speed of learning. Who can learn faster. Who can learn without resistance and who can drop subjective opinions.
Underlying all this is, who has the greater amount of fear of change? The essence of competition. And chess is a mind game more than it is a technical game. U think?
Friday, December 6, 2013
Fong Yit San is Champion, Fong Yit Ho second and Mark Siew third. A complete Perak sweep of the top 3 placings.
We of course went with the slim hope of winning the Championship although I recognised that it was a long shot in the dark. The two and a half weeks of detailed preparation after the chess camp was insufficient time to narrow the gap. Plus we were hampered by a lack of current information for a planned strategy based on accurate evaluation. Here. However I am still pleased with the results on a few counts.
The first was that we correctly identified from our competitor analysis that Yit San was the man to beat to take the Championship. And Mark had that chance in R7 but was beaten as white.
The second was how our team of trainers were there for us 100%. Here. They tried to view the games but the live rounds were not broadcasting for the relevant games. Still directly after the event and seeing our games which we later sent to them, we got a lot of constructive feedback on how we can improve by our established training goal of National Close.
And from that we come to the third point of now having measured the gap that we have to close. This means that we now have sufficient information to further fine tune our training program for a fighting chance during National Close.
Allow me to give some general comments here from the many questions I was asked during National Junior. First let me say that I think Yit San is perhaps a year or two from being the strongest player in Malaysia.
An aside: That does not mean he will have the highest Fide rating as I have explained before. There are just too many ways to cook the ratings as practised by some trainers. So that means he will be the strongest chess fighter if he maintains his current fighting attitude but may not have the highest rating. He needs to continue to fight in all tournaments and not only select ones like many of our "top" players are now doing. See here for an example of how a strong chess fighter with genuine rating is built.
Having said that, this of course begs the question of where Mark will be relative to Yit San during this timeframe. Whether Mark can overtake Yit San or not will now depend on his relative speed and rate of learning and the quality of the team supporting him.
And this is where I feel we have the edge. We are of course still a new team. But we challenge each other's assumptions constantly in finding ways to improve. We work in the spirit of one for all and all for one. Ergo we back our players with all our knowledge and resources without any reservation.
So I remain confident that we will give Yit San a run for his money to the finish line of National Close for this run.
Now I am sure you are wondering why I have discounted the other players in my evaluation to becoming the strongest player in Malaysia. So I will say this. I have discounted most of them because of one, they do not have the right weaponry. Two, they do not have the right fighting spirit and the willingness to confront their weaknesses. And the third reason is that they do not have the right team of trainers backing them.
So remember what I have said today come the next National Close.
Caveat. The selection criteria must not be biased to protect the outdated, uncompetitive players and the tournament must not be controlled by trainers/arbiters from another era who have no idea of what it means to compete in today's world. Ref: Here.
If those conditions are met I strongly believe you will see the results I have predicted. Then we will see the really serious run based on objective and substantive evaluations, for our first Malaysian GM.
I will of course back my statements by attending and playing in all the strong tournaments leading to the National Close for our preparation.
Note: Iron sharpen iron. And for that reason we are glad that Yit San has taken the fighting route. He will be there to keep my players and my team on their toes.
And so I want to end this section by giving Fong Yit San, National Junior Master for the second time running a big congratulations for the merit of real achievement. May you continue your powerful run to becoming the strongest player in Malaysia. (But do look behind; we look forward to outpacing you to the finish line in healthy competition.)
Note: A successful run must be based on correct training underpinned by objective goals and evaluations. Not mere subjective exclamations and cooked Fide ratings.
See here. If your player is not getting those lessons, I can only say you are being short changed and fed with false hopes and promises. And in my mind that is the primary reason why so many of our gifted and talented players have failed in the past.
Ref: On trainers. Here.
Ref: On training. Here.
Saturday, November 30, 2013
I have mentioned in a post here that we started sparring with Paulo from the beginning of this year. So by the time we went to the chess camp in Batangas we had already played over a hundred games with FM Paulo. I believe this is an important part of the process before we attend the chess camp. Here.
The chess camp is where we are able to device an even more streamlined training program since we are already known to each other. During the first part of the training I was getting feedback from Norlito and Paulo. I then compared the feedback to what Mark thinks was his progress.
At the chess camp we are able to see even more nuances and then fine tune. To me chess camps are not places to introduce each other. Chess camps are for fine tune ups and then a new training regime is introduced.
So we have been training since Batangas under the new training regime from the camp. And Norlito, Paulo and Jayson has assisted in giving feedback during all of the rest of November.
Now I feel we are ready for the start of our tournament runs to test our training to the fullest. Have we dealt with all that we needed to deal with within the given time? Are we still on track for the final goal which is the National Close next year?
These are the questions that this interim run is meant to answer. Looking forward to National Junior. Leaving later this morning.
Our wish for National Junior. Here.
The difference lies in the training. Here.
Friday, November 29, 2013
FGM trainer and sparring partner now playing at his National Youth Championship. It's a single round robin event. Good luck Pau.
Note: Please see comment for games.
Before we look into this subject, lets see how a Coach and a trainer interact to get a better perspective. Their relationship revolves around a goal agreed between the Coach and the player. The trainer is the fountain of technical knowledge but it is the Coach that helps the player to unblock his mind and to reach for the stars ie the goal.
You know that mere knowledge is not enough. You may have the knowledge but you may lack the courage, the commitment, the drive. You need to have more than technical knowledge to compete succesfully in a tough field. You need to also know how to win relative to the goal you have set.
So if you agree with what I have said above, then the Coach will relate to the trainer in this way. He will engage the correct trainer to fill the knowledge gap that the player needs in order to achieve the goal agreed.
Look at it this way. You have limited resources and you have limited time. So without a realistic goal you are not going to get anywhere. Merely increasing your technical knowledge is not going to get you anywhere. Merely going to tournament after tournament is not going to get you anywhere if you do not have a clear goal; if you do not work on your weaknesses; if you do not manage your time well etc.
So when you look for a Coach, ask him/her this. What is the roadmap? What do I need to put in to arrive at my goal? What would I need to learn? Ref: Here.
An aside. Actually this is the very big problem we have in Malaysian chess. We have no goal. So we do not see how others are moving ahead of us at a very rapid pace. We celebrate a victory where the opponents sent their weakest players for exposure where we have fielded our veterans. Without a goal we will be still at the same place 30 years from now. But I have to admit that setting a goal can be frightening. It means our progress is measured. It means we have milestones and it means questions can be asked if the milestones are not reached. And so we harp on technical knowledge without a goal.
Then you can pay and pay and not get anywhere. And then they will tell you that your children haven't got the talent; that they haven't got what it takes. That is not true. It is the trainers who have been telling you this that are the ones who do not know what they are doing.
Ref: Here and here.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
I have made a few enquiries about this before from different sources but never got a convincing answer. So when Norlito suggested it at our chess camp in Batangas, we went for it. I wanted to see for myself if learning blindfold chess really improved your game or it was just a novelty.
This is what we found out. Lets pause a little. Let me ask you a question here so you can follow my reasoning better. Have you ever calculated variations in a particular position and then missed out a crucial one?
There are many reasons for this of course. But consider this. You have arrived at a position. You cannot touch your pieces or you have to move it. So what do you do?
Do you not play out the variations in your mind? Is that not an untrained form of blindfold chess? So our conclusion is yes, learning blindfold chess can improve your game.
Playing and training in blindfold chess aids your tactical/positional vision by improving visualisation.
So we are keen to bring this training to Malaysia. Remember, in the Philippines, even the street players can do this. So we need to catch up, no?
Monday, November 25, 2013
Manny is a hero in The Philippines. And he is a strong supporter of chess there. When we choose a hero, his fighting spirit is also infused into us.
In Japan, they revere and celebrate even the losers of their titanic battles for they believe it is not the win or the loss that matters. It is the manner in which the fight was conducted that matters. Whether the fight was worthy of respect or not.
So who is your hero? I think who we choose speaks a lot about who we are.