Thursday, December 24, 2009

Why aren't we using our IM's?

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.

Raymond Siew


  1. Hi Ray...actually im quit agree with your opinion...why we dont use our IM and FM???

    if we look the history for example the Great GM Leonid Stein.Even his coach Sokolsky is juz a master not a GM.but Stein always mention bout sokolsky as one of his superb trainer during his past. SOKOLSKY give Stein the basic knowledge until he become GM and win USSR championship 3 time in a row.

    Me - Kendong

  2. Hi Kendong

    From what I am told, IM's charge about RM 120 for 1 1/2 hour coaching. That is too expensive for most and in my opinion, only useful if the player is preparing for a high level tournament. What I think could be more feasible is for say MCF to hold a seminar where the IM is invited to give a road map to young players. To me, that has tremendous value too as precious time can be wasted going down the wrong road. The IM can also tell the participants when they would need specialised help so they know when to look for the IM. I think that would be a win win for all parties. Information should be more readily available for our players to have a better shot at GM. Thank you for sharing.

  3. I think one of the main issue is chess development in Malaysia. There is no proper direction where chess is heading. In fact I dont think we have plan anything> I think before the interest of parents dying, perhaps we need ask MCF on their dev plan and make this plan known to the public. It is also timely because in 2011, SEA games will inlcude chess as one of the event. In addition, the other pressing problem is getting financing for international participation. This never ending stories need to be addressed by MCF and it would be good if we can hear their plan to solve this problem. Otherwise I think chess will still like as is where only parents will work hard for their kids and I beleive, as we experience before, chess talents will gradually retreat from chess.

    December 24, 2009 4:02 AM

  4. Thank you, anonymous. I have reposted your comments here. I hope you dont mind.

  5. we have many groups of very enthusiastic parents who wants to better their kids in the game of chess, but there is no one concerted effort to group all these parents under same umbrella for a louder voice. I think this blog is a good startup to get parents involved; but more importantly we need to prepare bring this blog to the next level, at this moment all i can think is making our voice heard up to MCF level. If we can bring in sponsorship thru this forum all the better. In short, we need a roadmap in place (which involves parents, players, sponsors, MCF, etc) and not forgetting lots of communications between all parties. When this is in place, then we hope that we can then get our first GM.

    Question - can we bring this to the next level???

  6. Hi daniel

    You have brought up a good point. One that has been discussed often by parents. (About getting their voices heard by MCF). I have informed Greg about this blog. I hope this will be a start to better communication. We now have the space here to start this dialogue.