Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Who is behind this MCF watch blog?

Ref: Here.

The Enemy within.

Who are the people behind this blog? The old timers will know so let me help the newer people in chess understand what is really going on.

Let me go back to 2009 to give you a more complete picture. At that time there were no written selection in MCF and Greg Lau was the new Secretary replacing Hamid. The first attempt at written selection, to the best of my knowledge, was tried in PICA (Perak Chess Association). That attempt lead to the expulsion of the committee member who tried to bring it in. Me.

I then shared my experience with Greg and argued why written selection was important to close the back doors. Greg then attempted the same thing in MCF in 2010. And these bloggers appeared. And FGM blog together with other bloggers attempted to support that effort. The very first written selection appeared in 2010 after a fierce fight on the blogs. And that was for NAG.

Later, National Juniors also came up with a written selection and finally National Close in 2013.

And all this while these bloggers have been attacking from the dark.

The selection procedure is still not perfect. This year there were accusations levied on the use of chess engines during National Close. But it is still a very much more improved situation from before where the players represented Malaysia based on favoritism. And we are beginning to see results. Did we not see a better quality of players coming out from selection? Given a little more time will we not see even more improvements?

I had a chat with Greg during National Rapids. He asked me this question. How do we get more sponsors into chess? My answer was to clean up selection even more. When good sponsors see that MCF is serious about bringing out strong chess players, they will come.

But more needs to be done. We also need to stop these bloggers from slandering people and sponsors when they do come onboard. (For those that remember these bloggers also attacked the first training by a GM sponsored by Air Asia, before International competition).

So let me tell you what these bloggers really want. They want to knock out anybody that wants to build up chess. They want a return to the old days where they can play for Malaysia without having to compete.

These bloggers need to be stopped for the final piece of the puzzle to fall in place and chess will blossom in Malaysia. For these people will prevent any decent sponsors from supporting chess. Nobody good will support chess if they find their reputations sullied by these people who attacks from the dark.

So MCF, finish the game. Checkmate them. They are the enemy from within. It has taken many years of fierce fighting to get to where we are now. It started in 2009. All that effort just to do something so obvious as having a proper written selection has taken so long to implement. Don't let it go to waste.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

A good ruling during Malaysian Chess Festival Classical Event.

Ref: Here.

During the event the Chief Arbiter announced that no player can leave the playing area. And toilet breaks are a maximum of 5 minutes or the player will be disqualified.

I believe many are aware that there was the suspicion of a player using chess engine during our National Close. So I hope this ruling will also be applied at our next National Close. It is important that we continue to close the loop holes for cheating if we want our chess to progress.

Those players that rely on the back doors, by passing each other points etc will not do well overseas. If they also try to cheat there then they will become a National embarrassment.

What happens when we shift the goal post?

In the post below, the video argued that liars have more white matter than grey matter which is necessary for deep reasoning. I interpreted liars to indicate learning the art of pusing pusing ie distraction, deflection, sabotage etc. If that is so, then what is deep reasoning?

Read this again. Here.

Allow me to use our experience of this year's National Close. We were informed from the schedule of tournaments that National Close was in June. And so we planned accordingly. We started out last year in December by going to the Philippines to train with their National Junior and his trainer. We then planned our training sessions as well as our tournament runs to peak just before National Close. When the date got changed to Feb, leaving us 4 months short, our entire training regime was crippled and we just had to make do and go not fully prepared.

So how does this relate to deep reasoning? If you go back to my article above, I think you will see that part of how deep reasoning is developed is from analyzing our prediction of results from our training against actual results achieved. This will enable us to improve for the following year.

I now put it to you to answer this question. Is it possible that one core reason we do not have a GM is because we do not have a culture of training tied to goal setting? Without that we cannot develop deep reasoning for we are constantly surprised by that goal post that keeps moving. For the treatment of moving goal posts is getting an insider track as to actually when the tournament will be held instead of developing the best training and preparation system.

Do you think I have a point? Could that be why we don't have a GM despite our vast resources and depth in talent when our much poorer neighbours can? These things count do they not?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The science of lying.


Many reasons have been postulated as to why we don't have a GM yet despite us having superior resources and depth in talent when our poorer neighbors can. I suspect the main reason is that we have been unable to develop deep thinking within our chess culture. Have a look at the video above. Can you see what I mean?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Peter Long in his death throes.


I have always said that if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Without doubt Malaysia has a long way to go before we will get a strong player on the International arena. But is what Peter saying a fair assessment? I don't think so. Let me explain.

Peter talks about Kasparov and the sponsorship he promised for Malaysia which Peter covets but probably won't get now. But isn't his attitude symptomatic of all that is wrong with Malaysian chess? Peter wants to be spoonfed.

The fact is we just got a criteria of sorts for selection for the Olympiad squad this year only when there were none before. So that is an improvement. So what we need to do is to improve that criteria even further.

The fact is that KLCA is the most dysfunctional Association in Malaysian chess with almost zero transparent activity for Kuala Lumpur and that association is helmed by Peter.

The fact is that Peter is using KLCA to hammer his competitors running training schools.

There are now more training schools in KL and they have better trainers available for the KL kids than what Peter can provide but since KLCA is not functioning they have no platform.

So Peter, both you and Jimmy have been a part of the problem in Malaysian chess. You have been participant in all the politics for back door entries that have crippled Malaysian chess for so long.

So I suggest you do something to improve things within your sphere of influence. My suggestion is you leave KLCA and allow others to enable it to function as it was meant to function and then you learn how to actually train players who can compete instead on relying on the back doors.

Then you will become a part of the solution.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Is this type of article helpful for the development of chess in Malaysia?

Ref: Here.

First of all I think there is slander. Second I think it is divisive. And third I think the guy who runs the least constructive and the least transparent chess Association in Malaysia should not talk about chess affairs.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Lessons from Tromso.

Ref: Here.

We have achieved one of the best results in recent years. Allow me to give my perspective as well as a little history. It may not be apparent but I believe this is the fruit of implementing written selection criteria for the first time in 2009. The very first actually appeared on this blog after I was privately passed it via a parent. My reason for publishing it then was that selection criteria should not only be known by a few privileged people but available to all that will be participating in the competition. Too often the goal posts  have been moved in the past because it was inside information only. Matters snow balled from there.

So Tromso, is the first Olympiad where there is some semblance of a written selection. The previous teams were available only to the back door boys. And the culture then was a play in perception for qualification to the senior Malaysian team. Methods used were threats against players who dared to compete, playing select tournaments to give perception of strength. Claiming to be a "Master" although afraid to play in tough tournaments etc etc etc.

But today's games are different. We can see in real time and analyse how our players are doing. So there is nowhere to hide. So we see that a few players who applied the methods mentioned above are no longer playing in our national team.

And so we have progressed a little for the first time in many many years.

However I hope this is just the beginning of our resurgence and not just a temporary glitch and we go back to the old days of the back doors. We need to continue to tighten our selection criteria even further. This year there was the suspicion of chess engine usage raised. I hope that next year MCF will cut off that loophole as well. There is also another matter of point passing on the top tables. This is very serious but not easy to solve. If MCF can find ways of identifying those that practices this and then levying penalties then our future will be much brighter.

Chess is a competitive mind sport. If our players cannot perform here without cheating then they will not do well overseas. If they try cheating overseas then they will be a national embarrassment if they get caught.

Still I want to give acknowledgment to the committee members within MCF who have heard our complaints and have taken action to improve. We have improved. No doubt about that. A lot of the deadwood who cannot play competitive chess anymore but still want to play for Malaysia are gone.

It has been a hard struggle to improve given the resistance of the people who wanted the back doors retained but I think it has been worth it.

So kudos to those committee members within MCF who has fought the good fight. My deepest appreciation and heartiest congratulations.

And my congratulations also to the players of the senior Malaysian squad who earned their place in clean competition. You know who you are.

We have the talent and we have the resources to become a great chess nation. But only if we keep going forward.

Malaysia Truly Boleh. But we must also believe that deeply in ourselves.

All my best.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Reply to Wai Leong and Kim Yaw.

Ref: Here.

Wai Leong,

Thank you for your honest comment. I believe you have come to the correct decision in abstaining from match fixing but allow me to tell you here my own thought processes and approach to it. The first thing is that match fixing stops your development. Why? Read below first.


Let's be honest. Very few if any has the drive and ambition or resources to become a GM. But almost anyone can benefit from the lessons of chess. And that benefit as explained in the link above comes when we learn to compete without cheating. Can you see that? And that is not an easy lesson to learn. Take for example Mark's own journey in the one time he "cheated". He broke under the intense pressure of the NJ Championship in 2010 where he almost became Champion. To cut a long story short he accepted a point he did not deserve but chose to come clean when confronted. So enough pressure can break anyone. But once that becomes a habit then you stop learning. The real benefit comes from analyzing how the pressure got to you and to find ways to become stronger next time without cheating. Clearer?

We have encountered match fixing almost every year since 2005 when Mark became Perak U12 Champion. This year we suspected the use of chess engine during National Close. Our approach is to now find a way to beat the use of chess engine usage in tournaments without cheating ourselves. So we need to learn even more. That is my approach. It is always about learning. And you don't learn if you cheat.

So my approach to chess is different from the approach taken before. I focus on competitor analysis and strategy and not merely the technical aspect of the game.

Let me also correct a misconception on your part. Mark was already a 1900 in 2009 when he got his first Fide rating. 1500 is around MSSM level. What we learnt from Norlito, Paulo's father, were refinements in our technical knowledge to enable us to breach the Master level. But Mark's playing strength was already above 2000 by then. Another point which may have escaped your attention is that we do not play most tournaments to win or for ratings but to learn. This is so that we can apply what we have learnt in the tournaments that count.

Now if you go back to that link again, you will also see that I wrote about setting realistic goals. What does this mean? Well in our case it means that we need to modify our goals according to realistic conditions. Mark has just entered University and so he must now adjust his priorities. Chess has to take a lower priority for the moment. It doesn't mean we have stopped. It just means that priorities have changed till conditions also change.

We are still moving but at a slower pace. We do not want to drop the ball.

I am still writing and talking more on my FB so you are welcome to join my page. I accept most chess players.

Kim Yaw,

We do a beginners package that can bring players to the 1500 level but Mark is in charge of that. So do ask him if you get the chance. I only come in as a Coach at the higher competitive levels where deeper strategies are needed.

However I am still continuing to see if I can bring up my Academy again. One of the conditions I have set myself is my ability to protect my players against threats. My inability to stop that is the main reason why I don't take any more students.

You see, the responsibility to stop match fixing and threats to players that want to play clean chess and learn from the game lies with the Associations and MCF. My responsibility is to train my players to be the best players they can be according to their own set goals.

I see some improvements in the selection this year but still some hanky panky. But at least some of the back doors have been shut. And the day MCF realises that almost all the back door players will self destruct will be the day I will play a more active role again. But I will continue to do what I can and improve my own knowledge in the meantime albeit in a smaller way.

Thank you for writing in. I hope I have answered your questions and given you some ideas on how to move forward.

In a nutshell I define competition as improving our skills and not in cheating in all it's many ways. Learning to improve ourselves will take all the energy we have and so there is none to spare in learning how to match fix, which is also very time consuming.

Ergo, you cannot learn all the things I said you can learn from chess and learn to cheat at the same time. And I believe my way takes you much further. All in due time. There is no rush.

All my best in your learning.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Goal Setting-The lessons from Chess.

I always start my chess lessons by saying that Chess as a game has 4 major components that determines strategy and affect results. Those 4 components are the time frame of the game, your opponents skills and weaknesses, your skills and weaknesses and what is happening in front of you ie the board.

But today let us talk about this from the perspective of goal setting. Can you see that goal setting has a direct relationship to the time frame available?

If you can then I think you will understand why I spend a lot of time to make sure that the goals are realistic within the time frame available.

Lets say you have infinite time to execute a strategy. Under those circumstances does it matter if you get lost again and again? Wandering for 40 years in search of the promise land.

But lets say now that you have a limited time frame or the opportunity may be lost. And lets say that we have decided together that you have a time frame of 5 years to achieve the stated goal measurable in milestones.

Now to achieve that goal in that time frame, do you not have to measure the gap between you and your opponent? Competitive analysis or comparative studies. Take your pick.

Since the agreed goal is now 5 years, does that not dictate the speed that you have to learn to have a fighting chance in 5 years? What percentage chance would you like to have? 50%, 70%?

And are those percentages also not affected by what is going on right in front of you. On the board. The question here is if you continue to make the right decisions would you increase your percentage chance? Before you leave this earth, before the game is over. And if you make the wrong decision, move by move, as you are overwhelmed by your fears, what happens?

I hope you can now see what a double edged sword goal setting is today. Get it right and you achieve your goal. If you are also willing to pay the realistic price that is.

Now do you also see why very very few are willing to set realistic goals? They would rather wallow in the self delusion that they have infinite time rather than strive daily to make the right decisions to get there. Yes? No?

You still have doubts about what I am saying? Lets look at our Vision 2020. What is happening there. Why all that deflection, all that raising of new invented issues that take us away from that goal? Was Vision 2020 realistic? Did we measure the gap and then set our measurable milestones to achieve it? Are we willing to pay the price of success?

Do we believe in ourselves?

Chess is but a tool to learning. It doesn't have all the answers but it is a good start to learning how to think. But only if used properly.

Note: What do you learn when you fix the games? What would that tell you about the state of our chess today? Why has that happened?

Has the model above shown us where we may be going wrong? So what is the goal? And what do we have to factor in to achieve results. Do you have a goal? Do you have infinite time?

Thank you for your time today. Have a good weekend.