Tuesday, December 29, 2009

First GM New Year Resolution

I was told about a meeting by a group of parents about their concerns not being heard by MCF, even talk about setting up an alternative. This is my take from my short exposure to Association politics in Perak.


Who are the stakeholders in chess? Chess Officials, organisers, coaches, bloggers, parents and lastly the players. Each has a role, without which the structure crumbles. In an ideal structure the stakeholder that puts in the most has a greater say. So what is the situation in chess? Arguably the largest stakeholder would be either the parents or the players. In terms of finance, time spent nurturing their child or the hours spent sweating it out in tournaments, training and preparation.

And who has the greatest say? The chess officials. They determine who gets to play, who runs the tournaments, which tournaments etc.

So is this correct? I say yes. But, but, but... I say yes because they volunteer their time to do all these things. NGO's are essentially non profit so the time they spent doing these things are unpaid for. Yes but with a caveat. Some officials double up as organisers, coaches etc. This is not a bad thing necessarily but it's a double-edged sword. To get the first GM, our organisers and coaches need to make money or they won't stay in the game. Money is needed to build resources and skills.

But it is a double-edged sword nonetheless, if these organisers and coaches are placed in a situation where there may be a conflict of interest in the NGO's.

So we come back to the issue at hand. We need our official bodies to make decisions without fear or favour. But how can this be achieved?

The main one is transparency of information. But how can this be achieved? Let us study the structure of MCF. MCF answers to its affiliates. (MCF just had their AGM, only State officials are allowed to attend and vote). So if you want a say, you must say it through the affilate associations. We need to deeply understand this.

So if we want change, change has to take place there. Stop baying at the moon. If you have a big stake and you want a say, go to the State Association and cast you vote. Stand for election if you have the time. If you can only vote, make sure you vote responsibly, vote for the people who love chess and not for the ones who love power without contribution. I have some interesting tidbits of my time in Perak. Maybe I'll share it here so you know for yourself the shenanigans that go on there and know what to watch out for.

Happy New Year and this is the resolution: I will make my vote and voice in my State Association count this year.

Note: I am not qualified to talk about MCF. From my limited perspective they are doing a lot more than where I come from. And I find Greg Lau (Secretary) of MCF more responsive than most officials. Also I believe that to change the whole, we need to first change the parts which count. That is where I come from. If all the parts work, the whole will work. And the first GM will come. :) The floor is open to those who have better knowledge of MCF and its workings. This is your space. Use it.

Raymond Siew


  1. First and foremost, congratulations Raymond on the launch of this new blog covering all things chess. I do hope this blog gets support and will be a means of responsible comments and suggestions on how we could improve the Malaysian chess scene.
    I’d just like to share my family’s key experience since coming into the Malaysian chess scene which has just been these past 2 years. Our son Amier Hamzah only started participating in tournaments 2 years ago when he was 6 years old. I have found it very frustrating getting clear and timely information on all things related to chess tournaments, be it those organized by chess associations or schools etc. All information is always so piecemeal and largely by word of mouth. I really think we need to thank bloggers like Gilachess and Gilocatur (I’m sure there are others but these are the two sites I’m always checking for tournament updates) for their dedication to update all on such tournaments or most of us might have missed out on many good tournaments.

    As mentioned above, information is always key and I think we need to support Greg Lau’s suggestion that MCF hold a workshop to explain to all stakeholders: parents, players, sponsors, actually anyone who is interested, on the selection process for state/country representation via the NAG, National Juniors etc etc. Again, before it came out on your blog, everyone had only bits of information and some of it was so conflicting. I hope this workshop happens and soon.

    Last but not least, truly all stakeholders must come together if we are serious about elevating our chess players to the next level and towards creating Msia’s first GM. Its not just the responsibility of state associations or the MCF. Parents must also take an active interest and we must come together to ensure our voices are heard. If it means that one way to make sure we are heard is to vote at the associations AGM, then we must do it. It is no point just making noise in the background, because that’s what it becomes, just noise. Nothing will then change for the better. We need to work together and work smart. I, like many other chess parents, want my child to do well. I am proud of my son and willing to sacrifice money and time but I think there has to be a smarter, better way to make sure he succeeds in chess. I think we need all stakeholders to come together. There has to be a structured, cohesive approach to developing the country’s first GM. This is my two cents worth, this round..Thank you.
    Adzlin Azhar

  2. Thank you Adzlin for sharing and not being anonymous. I was beginning to wonder if I'd made a mistake starting this blog. So many parents have told me that they supported this idea and in fact the idea for this blog was not my own but that of a parent. But it's early days yet. Maybe they busy having dinner now and they will flood this blog directly after eating. :) It would be good to hear from the players too. And yes. As you mentioned sponsors as well.

  3. I totally agree with Puan Adzlin on lacking of chess info here. But, slowly and steadily it becomes better and better when there are many chess blogs around. I just hope that chess organizers and sponsors can provide the info and the results as well to all chess bloggers so that the info can be shared with both the players and parents.

    I also hope that more and more chess parents will get involve and participate actively in the chess associations and organizations. We unite together to make our voice heard by everybody especially the chess officials and vote count.

  4. Hey Salleh,

    Thank you for that pep talk at UPSI to continue blogging. Traditionally, the info is passed to the affiliates and then out again. Since that does not happen, it is up to us bloggers to get the information out there. The ones that get left out are the parents and players who are not yet internet savvy. So we do need the Associations who are sleeping to wake up.

  5. Puan adzlin.
    Kami setuju dgn apa yg puan perkata kan d blog mr rymönd terutama nya tentang info abt trnment, contoh national junior yg baru berlalu. Saya dapati tiada pendaftaran dari perak melain kan mark siew , nasib baik saya ada tel no pengerusi teknik mssperak. Jam 11 mlm 14.dis saya beranikan diri call ckg zaki. Dan maklum kan beliau. N beliau pula terus hubungi student. Jam 1 pagi saya dpt call dari selama perak. Mereka ada 5 org utk sertai kejohanan.tp masalah tmpt tinggal. Saya terus tawarkan rumah saya dan d bwh jagaan saya sepanjang trnment. Saya rasa sgt trharu kerana tanpa mengenali each other tp parents 5 org player sanggup memberi izin 2 org ckg menghantar anak2 mereka
    Turun bermain d kL . Sebagai org kecil setakat itu lah yg termampu saya hulurkan. Salam tahun baru masihi.

  6. Dear Zuraidah

    Thank you for taking care of our Perak players. I was pleasantly surprised to see a few Perak players at the National Juniors. When I was in the Perak committee, I argued that NAG and Juniors were important events and it was debated and passed in the committee to sponsor these events. But when I was told by the players that there was no sponsorship I was dissapointed. For MCF to be strong, they need the support of its affiliates. I was also informed that Perak was not represented at MCF's AGM. That is one whole State out of the equation. And Perak is a strong chess state with many talented players. Your post also reminds me when I was team manager at Datmo. I managed to get the Association to secure 2 rooms at cititel but some Perak players were not allowed to use them and had to rest in the hallways. I tried to allow them to rest in the rooms but was over-ruled. Sad but true. Now we have you from KL more concerned about our players than our own Association. I find this embarassing. Except for the dedication of a few teachers and parents, chess would have died in Perak. Thank you for your sharing.