During one of my tea tarik sessions with Mr Yeap (father of current National Junior Master), Mr Low (father of Low Jun Jian/Jun Keat), Subramaniam (Sumant's father and number 2 at the National Juniors), this topic came up.
In our pursuit of the first GM, we seem to have overlooked one very important resource: The FM's and IM's in our country - Do they have any lessons for our Juniors? Why are we importing, or trying to import GM's? Why are we sending our kids overseas for training in China for instance?
To me, it seems a waste of resources and foreign exchange. I have no doubt that we will require expertise we don't have now to find our first GM, but it makes sense to me that our junior players will do better if they can learn from those who have forged ahead before. Use what we have first, before we spend on others.
Note: I am not saying that our current IM's won't make GM's. I believe some are still trying hard and kudos to them.
I also understand we have 5 IM's (4 of which are in the country now). I don't know exactly why they are under-utilised but let me hazard a guess here.
I have been told many times that chess is a cheap sport. Hmmmm, true but not true. Not true if you want to excel. Ask some of the parents. My experience tells me that if you want to do well at State level, you have to play and be exposed to the National level. If you want to play well at the National level, you need International exposure. Not cheap, but maybe I'll cover this more in a later article.
But if the understanding continues... that this is a cheap sport... then I think it follows that we need to pay our IM's cheaply. Never mind that they have spent a small fortune getting the knowledge, never mind that they have applied their minds to an endeavour that may surpass a PhD in difficulty.
But hey, this is a cheap sport. So let's undervalue them. Over to you. I am curious. What do you think?
Btw Merry Christmas.