Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Is chess just chess?

Or is it more? In 1999, I was personally invited by Star Cruises PLC to form the first Malaysian Consortium to refurbish their cruise liners. The original protem Consortium members included WTW Lehrer Mcgovern (project manager of KLCC) and Federal Furniture PLC. I was told that Star cruises budget approx. US100 million every 1 1/2 years for each of its cruise liners and they had 11 vessels at that time. Star Cruises were sending their vessels for reburbishment in Germany then and if we could do it in Malaysia that will mean tremendous savings in our foreign exchange etc etc. After 2 years plus, I had to report back that it was not possible to form the Consortium.

Let me tell you why. In a normal land based job, the timeline for completion is long. A vessel is typically dry docked for a period of about 4 weeks. During this time thousands of workers throng into tight confines and typical projects run 24/7 and project management intervals is at approx. 20 minutes interval. This means that when the supervisor spots a discrepancy between plan and site he has to communicate with the designer, get the corrections approved and continue work in very tight time frames. With LAD running in the millions, you cant get this wrong.

At that time Malaysian companies were not able to perform at that level of pressure. Then I discovered chess. I thought to myself, this game can help our people to think well and think well fast ie. classical and blitz training. And I became a chess fan.

So I don't see chess as just a 64 square problem. I see more. I see it as a tool to help Malaysians excel, to help Malaysians become global players. I see chess as a National need. For chess provides that sort of training.

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