I had a long conversation with Mr Yeap (father of our current National Junior Champion, Yeap Eng Chiam) as well as Greg Lau (Secretary, MCF) over the last 2 days. Each brought up different points. These are my views.
There are 3 aspects to chess development. The first is the training, this encompasses the knowledge part of the system, studying the lines, counter lines and in finality coming to a deep understanding of positions and its possibilities.
The second part of the system is preparation, this will encompass the studying of our opponents past games, characteristics, and illiciting strengths and weaknesses.
A strategy is then formed which is tested in tournaments. And the tournament will tell you the coach as well as the player if you're understanding is correct or not. If your understanding is correct, then you will achieve your goal. If it is not, then you will not. As simple as that. You then go back and re-examine your training, the assumptions underlying your strategy and then you test it out again.
I advocate toughness in training so our players are prepared for a good fight (of ideas mind you), and the preparation stage done well before the tournament.
During the tournament the job of the coach is to keep the player on an even keel, gently remind him of the lessons taught, keep him focused on the strategy and also to look out for latest development and information that may give his player an edge. During the tournament, it is too late to input technical knowledge
I dont think I need to say to those who know, that our practice is different. We have trainers and good tournaments organisers. But I think we are missing the coaches to connect the two.
So a chess school provides training, a coach prepares the player and then both coach and player go out there to see who has the better system.
I do hope you will add your comments to this little note. Any other suggestions or views?
Thank you for your time.