Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Birthday Mantra

My birthday was yesterday. No big thing. Just turned 16. But had a thought, contributed from an Anon who's comment I deleted.

As far as I know, we rejected Communism in this Country. So we are a Capitalist Country. I hope there is no dispute there. But in chess, some of us at least, have replaced Capitalism with Fatalism.

It's OK to sit down and beg for money from anyone. It's not OK to go out and work for the money by coming out with new ideas to increase revenue for development in the chess community. It's OK for the corporations to make money from us. But it's not OK for members of the chess community to make that same money.

On a bigger perspective, it's OK for the Mat Salleh's to make money from us. It's not OK for us to make money from them.

So my new mantra is, I love money. I love money. I love money. :)

Really, there is nothing wrong with making money. So long as you do not lie and cheat and stab others in the back for it.

Strange but true.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What is the significance of imagined fears?

Imagined fears distort reasoning. It factors in something into the conclusion that does not belong. It only exist in the imagination.

If you ever meet someone you cannot reason with, someone who will deny all evidence, what can you do?

You try reasoning but he will blank out the evidence, he will selectively read, listen etc. In short there is no way of reaching that person until he decides he wants to see the evidence, want to examine his own irrational fears. And that is something only he can decide. A wise man once said, "you cannot teach anyone anything, they can only learn".

Note: Since the fears come from faulty thinking, the first step must be to learn to reason. Learn to examine the facts without preconceived notions or the fears cannot go. He will just imagine more and more. There is no end to imagined fears.

When I find someone is beyond reasoning, I've learned to walk away. Trying to explain is a waste of time and energy. It doesnt work.

But chess is an amazing training tool that the person can use. But only if he apply the lessons beyond the 64 squares. In chess if you ignore the evidence, you lose. That is self evident.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Details of First GM offer to Asean Players

Note: First GM is provided with about 40 Air Tickets from Air Asia to fund our training.

If there are at least 10 players who undertake the training, we will charge them a sum of RM1K for the training. This sum is not fixed, if the numbers are greater we will reduce the price.

However we will also provide the players with Air Asia tickets to Subic Bay for undergoing the training at no extra cost to them (pls note, this is not inclusive of airport tax or baggage).

On top of this, we will also provide the parents who's children undertake the training also with the sponsored air tickets, providing we have not crossed the 40 number.

This is the outline of the training program. We will finalise the details if there are at least 10 players. We will make this decision on the 1st May.

Friday, 28th May
Morning session. Train the trainer. Here GM Giaur Rahman will train our local trainers on how to help our players develop their opening repertoire. ie the road map. Following that he will oversee, guide and supervise the trainers over the remaining sessions.

Afternoon. Players training.

Saturday, 29th May
Training of players.

Sunday, 30th May
Training and close of camp.

Currently these are the trainers under consideration for development
under the First GM train the trainer course.

Head Trainer:
GM Giaur Rahman

IM Lim Yee Weng
Loo Swee Leong (Head Coach, Penang)
Uztaz Rahman (chief trainer, First GM)
Greg Lau
Jax Tham.

Other trainers can be considered on application.

Important note: First GM has been informed that MCF is issuing new travel guidelines and we do not know how this will impact on our discussions with Air Asia to date. We are seeking urgent clarification and a meeting with MCF.

Value of time and NGO speak

I have wondered for the longest of time why chess cannot flourish in Malaysia and why we cannot get sustainable corporate support eventhough chess training gives a critical solution that the corporates are crying out for.

Let me use a PICA example and view it from 2 different perspective. From the NGO and from the Businesses.

For the Syuen Tournament, I brought in a banquet hall as venue. Add all the other perks like VIP room, VIP parking, staff to help in setting out, serving etc, parking for officials etc. I am told the value of Banquet Hall is about RM10k. But never mind, say the total value of everything is RM8K. Now in business, a favour asked is a debt which needs to be repaid at some point. In Syuen's case it was a debt to me for the services rendered in the past. In other words, in business, contacts, goodwill are business resources which can be converted to tangible value.

Now on top of that I was personally running around for 2 months, doing the registration, collecting the money and managing the website, securing the sponsors etc.

And I was spending my own money for petrol, admin charges for writing letters, phone calls etc. etc. I estimate my own out of pocket at around 2K plus (all that against an income for RM1.7K which doesnt even go to me :)). No salary, no reimbursement of expenses. So net tangible outflow is over 10K and my time is not even factored in.

So I think very obviously it doesnt make any commercial or business sense. But that is what NGO's do (At least in chess).

As a businessman I would have been shot to bring such a venture to my partners. In business, time is money. My time has a cost to the company, they pay me a salary, pay other staff, pay for overheads, pay my expenses and on top of that they expect to make a reasonable profit. And they expect me to bring in deals in line with their strategy, their direction.

So what happens when the 2 worlds meet? There is a problem right?

The NGO's do not have the right expertise, capital, marketing know how, contacts etc. etc.

And one comes from a culture where time has no value. They are not paid to bring in results. And the other comes from a culture where time is money and they are expected to bring in the results, the profits.

Until there is clarity on these issues, we will not have resources to bring in that first GM. In the current model, the partnership keeps breaking down. Therein lies the problem.

The corporates have a need, thinkers that can perform under pressure. The NGO's have a need, the funds to promote their programs. So big question. Where is the meeting point? How do we partner? Can we partner to solve a need?

Another interesting point. It is very possible that businesses can bring in extra value and at a lower price if it is well conceived and receive coorperation from all. That is the current experiment.

Partnering and Teamwork

I wrote on this topic a few years back and maybe it has relevance here. The underlying concept to partnering and teamwork is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Now this concept is very very important.

When that principle no longer applies, the partnership dissolves, the teamwork breaks down, the business fails over time or will need to downsize and get rid of the deadwood to survive and thrive.

We come into partnership to do more than we can do as individual entities. We form teams because each team member brings an expertise the other do not possess to undertake a task that requires certain key competencies to produce the results. And each team member must carry their individual tasks effectively and efficiently.

A little like a football team or a team event in chess.

If on the other hand we find 10 people doing the task 2 can handle better by coordinating well, then that team does not deserve to exist. Reality will take care of it. If a partnership creates more problems than the value of the collaboration, that partnership becomes a liability. These are the hard facts.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday Musings

I love tournaments, preparing for Selangor Open. Need to keep reminding myself why I'm in chess. :) I love seeing our players fighting it out with their minds, in a healthy environment and in a gentlemanly fashion.

I like to think that some of them will move on to become Grand Masters or a global player in business or some other notable achievement. I like to think that they will use the skills learned in chess to have a better life.

A thought. Is there something to being peaceful and playing chess, like the story below seem to suggest?

Have you ever seen an Aikido expert fight? From a deep place of connection to their centre. A fierce fighting spirit from a place of calm.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Saturday morning story

There is an old Cherokee story about a young man who keeps getting into trouble because of his aggressive tendencies.

The young man goes to his grandfather and says, "Sometimes I feel such anger, I can't stop myself.

Grandfather says, " I understand, I used to be the same way" "You see there are 2 wolves inside of you" "One is good and kind and peaceful, and the other is evil and mean and angry", "The mean wolf is always fighting the good wolf."

Young man asks, "But grandfather, which wolf will win"?

Grandfather replies. "The one you feed."

Friday, April 23, 2010

The First GM offer in a nutshell

There are 2 separate offers on the table. Parents and players can choose either one.

First GM's offer includes training and we believe at a lower overall price. But this can depend on the numbers who are going. Puan Adzlin is continuing to talk to Air Asia and trying to come up with an even better offer. All will be revealed on the 1st of May.

Why has First GM chosen to make the offer for Asean?

1. Because Air Asia is supporting the training for Asean.

2. We believe that the training will increase our chances of bringing back a medal.

3. We are laying down the foundation of working with MCF as a step to helping establish training as a norm for International Tournaments and will do all we can in that direction.

4. We would like to see our local trainers benefit from GM Giaur Rahman's knowledge.

The details will be given to the participants on the 1st May. See you there.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Air Asia sponsors First GM training for Asean players

Good news.

We finally have it in writing. Air Asia will sponsor the Asean Training after seeing our training proposal. I want to thank Najib Wahab here for working with me to structure the training program as well as acknowledge the contribution of Adzlin, our National Events Coordinator, who contacted Tony Fernandez, while on a very busy schedule in Bosnia.

We then followed up with our training proposal and Air Asia replied and said that they would support the training by providing up to 20 Air tickets for players that want to undertake the training. They also said that they will try to get special air fares for the adults going for Asean. However the travel period is peak and we need the names asap.

We have spoken to the Secretary of MCF to have a special meeting between all of us to go over the details. The Secretary has agreed to having a meeting on the 29th April but have yet to confirm the time.

I will get back to you once that has been finalised. I will also post updates from time to time on this blog. It is First GM's hope that we will have a well trained team for Asean and come back with something good in our hands.

I realise that this is a new working model but it is our sincere believe that this model will produce results. And finally thank you MCF for your cooperation.

First GM announces 90's Perak Champion

I met up with another chess dad yesterday evening for a quick cup of coffee and ended up talking for 4 hours. He is the father of Deon Moh. For some strange reason his son's achievement and contribution to chess has been deleted from Perak's chess history. I have heard of Deon's name mentioned in tournaments outside of Perak but could never get an account of him during my time in PICA.

I hope I can make up in some small way by giving him the recognition on this blog. Please see here his contribution to Perak and Malaysian chess.

PS: The link has been removed at request of parent. I will try to put up a small write up when I have the time. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What is effective thinking?

Thinking that will change things, some call it strategic thinking. In all matters there are certain parameters that MUST be considered if we are to get results. So in chess, I argued that those parameters are ourselves, our opponents, the board and time.

Some of those aspects are hard to look at. Very hard. But look at it we must if we want a direction, if we want results.

What I see in many of our thinking, mine included, is that we try to blank out the hard parts, the difficult parts in our consideration. That will already askew our thinking, our reasoning.

But even more destructive is when we add our imagined fears to the equation. Now imagined fears are imagined. They do not exist. Real fears are like when someone is coming at you with a knife. That is REAL. And you cannot imagine it away. Like you cannot imagine away that we have been stuck for 40 years. That is real.

Now the problem with imagined fears is that there is no limit to the amount of fears that can be conjured up. So nobody apart from that person himself can deal with that. It can only end when that person stops conjuring up, out of thin air, imagined fears and look at the facts.

On this blog, you have seen people coming up with imagined figures, 30% addition to cost etc. This is pure imagination.

They have read, deleted the parts they do not want to see ie the benefits, add new parts ie 30% addition to cost and walla, an imagined counter argument.

Strange but true.

Monday, April 19, 2010

I can see clearly now

Woke up this morning and I think I understand where the confusion is. Let me try to explain again. There are 2 deals on the table. One from MCF and one from First GM. We are 2 separate organisations. MCF makes an offer with their terms and conditions and First GM does similarly. It's like going to a supermarket and you see 2 products on the shelf. You choose the one that best meets your needs or your pocket. But you cannot tell the 2 brands that they must mix and match so you have a mixed product. There are 2 management structure and 2 different decision processes. First GM cannot tell MCF what deal to give and vice versa.

Is this clearer?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

What is the deal for the Trainers?

What is the deal for the trainers in the First GM proposal for Asean players?

I got a call this morning from one of the trainers on the list under consideration. I didnt get his question at first but after some consideration I note his concern and consider it genuine.

His question to me was what was the catch? Is there a tie to first GM if he takes part? Will I go to him later and ask him to do questionable things because he feels obligated?

My answer is no. Let me try to explain again. MCF made an offer to the Asean Players. First GM looked at it and thought we can bring additional value from our corporate backers. In the original package from MCF there is no training. We had no part in that decision.

With the help of our backers we want to bring training to the players for the same or maybe even a lower price. This is our initiative to bring more value.

To add further we value we want to train the trainers. We hope the trainers will then impart these skills to their players. First GM does not need to benefit from this. We are even considering paying the trainers for expenses if the budget allows.

To add further further value, we also hope to reduce the burden to the parents by getting them subsidised tickets. Hopefully free. But no promises.

And to add further further further value, we are also hoping to send a coach with the players to Subic bay. Again if the budget allows. That coach has not been decided on yet because we do not have all the details yet.

All of these for the same or LOWER cost to parents and players than the original MCF offer.

And to maybe add further further further and further value if we can also get cheaper or free tickets for the officials, MCF may be able to reduce the fee they charge to participants. But that will be up to MCF.

These are the issues under consideration. In this consideration please join the dots and remember that MCF and First GM are 2 separate entities. MCF is an NGO and First GM is an academy doing business. And we can collaborate if the collaboration can bring further benefit to the chess community. And each of us make our own decisions.

I hope we can stick to the issues at hand and not bring in your suspicions, imagined fears. Stick to the facts. It is not complicated unless we bring in our fears and past baggage.

The question under consideration is if First GM is bringing additional value to the table or NOT. This can be mathematically quantified for simple reasoning. Treat this like a chess puzzle.

You can also look at this as First GM's corporate social responsibilty (CSR) to the chess community.

What is the role of MCF?

From what has been said on this blog and elsewhere, there seems to be much confusion on this subject. I am going to risk saying something here. I have noted on this blog that many will jump in to criticize but few will offer constructive ideas. It is alot easier to destroy than to build.

I see MCF as the Vison provider, MCF as the beacon that says, this is the way. The way to the goal of our first GM. I see MCF as the helmsman correcting the course if we go astray.

So if MCF determines that healthy competition is the way forward, it will set policies that guide this process. If there are rogue organisations that do not share the Vision, then it is MCF's role to guide them back to the correct path.

But there is more. I think we also need to have realistic and reasonable expectations of what MCF can and cannot do. Now remember that MCF is an NGO. The officials are not paid, their officials are elected and cannot be expected to have all the skill sets. Let me elaborate on this point.

For much of my corporate life, I acted as the deal maker and as a negotiator for construction contracts. In my experience, it is very very time consuming to learn how to navigate the corporates. It took me almost 2 years to understand how Star Cruises made decisions, who to see, how to present etc. so as not to face road blocks. So in business, this know how is highly valued. You can only see this if you have walked this path. For this same reason we look to a GM for his road map for he has walked the path.

Now let us take the First GM offer and see the possible role of academies. Is it reasonable to expect, say Greg from MCF, to get the sponsors, learn how to be a tour operator, get up the guidelines etc. etc. and not be paid? Is it even reasonable to expect him to have all the skill sets even if he was paid?

I think that expectation is unfair, very unfair. And we criticise and attack. I think MCF should focus on providing the Vision, be the Helmsman by providing guidelines. If MCF does this well we will have a direction.

The academies will provide the other services in line with that Vision. This seems reasonable to me unless of course you subscribe to the idea chess does not need money to grow. All we have to do is sit down and cry and someone will provide.

It may well be that academies can provide greater value for the same price or maybe even cheaper. That is what we are attempting. Why don't we let the evidence speak for itself instead of jumping to conclusions and putting in weird and wonderful assumptions based on our imagination. And if we fail, you have one of 2 choices, you can either say, hey you almost made it but maybe you got this part wrong. Better luck next time but good attempt and at least you tried. Or you can say, you see I was right. :)

A little like chess yes?

Friday, April 16, 2010

First GM offers training to Asean players.

First GM is working together with MCF and Najib Wahab of CS Solutions to offer training to all the players going to Asean. First GM is also working hard to bring value to the parents and officials. See Below.

This announcement is slightly premature but we felt that we needed to get the word out there to those that are considering going for Asean as the dateline ends on April 30th.

This Is How It Works.

What we have so far.

We have an undertaking by Tony Fernandes of Air Asia to assist by providing the air tickets.

We have the undertaking of MCF and Najib Wahab to assist and facilitate the undertaking of this training.

The mechanics is as follows.

Air Asia is to sponsor the training via First GM in lieu of air tickets. Although we have yet to finalise the details this is what we hope to achieve.

Let me use the example of double sharing in terms of cost. Under the original offer, players are to pay RM4615 and accompanying parents RM4040. The budget for Air fare is RM1500.

First GM will attempt to get the free tickets (in lieu of training) for not only the players but for parents and accompanying coaches and officials.

This way the costs for players remain at RM4615 but with training by GM Giaur Rahman.
We hope to reduce the cost to parents as well as any savings offered by Air Asia in terms of air ticket will be deducted directly. If free then cost to parents will be now be reduced to RM2540 for example.

There is more. In line with our corporate Philosophy and Vision of getting the First GM with integrity and transparency, we have offered to open our books for inspection by MCF. First GM will make a profit from the venture by making a reasonable 30% from its efforts.

We have estimated that this program can run on a shoe string if there are 10 players. Monies collected in lieu of Air Tickets from a larger number of players will be used in the following manner.

1. We would like to send at least a Coach to accompany our players at Subic Bay.

2. We want to have an expanded training program.

This is the wish list program we want to offer.

Friday, 28th May
Morning session. Train the trainer. Here GM Giaur Rahman will train our local trainers on how to help our players develop their opening repertoire. ie the road map. Following that he will oversee, guide and supervise the trainers over the remaining sessions.

Afternoon. Players training.

Saturday, 29th May
Training of players.

Sunday, 30th May
Training and close of camp.

Currently these are the trainers under consideration for development under the First GM train the trainer course.

Head Trainer:
GM Giaur Rahman

IM Lim Yee Weng
Loo Swee Leong (Head Coach, Penang)
Uztaz Rahman (chief trainer, First GM)
Greg Lau
Jax Tham.

Other trainers can be considered on application.

It is our hope that GM Giaur Rahman can assist Malaysians in the longer term by transferring his knowledge to our local trainers in line with our goals. It is also First GM's hope to bring value to Malaysain chess by providing solutions to our National dream of the First GM from Malaysia irregardless of which Academy that GM comes from. We intend to work in joint collaboration with any entity in the sprit of healthy competition and shared values.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Performance Coaching

When I was trained as a performance coach by UNDP, I was introduced to a concept that I think makes a lot of sense. Let me share it here. The question asked was where do the coach pay his attention in a big group of people? The argument goes like this. The top 5% are movers and shakers, they dont need your help. In fact they are probably doing better than you. The next 10% already have forward momentum, so they need little help, if any. Then you come to the next 20%. They are stuck because they are short of a few ingredients to move. The coach places his efforts here. For with some effort from the coach, some added ingredients, this group will move up. Making new space.

For the 65% of the group unaccounted for, the top 5% of the bottom 65% now have space to move up. They feel motivated by the forward movement and they want to move too. And so there is upward movement from the whole group.

What happens when you place your energy on the bottom 65% first? The coach burns out. No matter how much energy you put in there will be no movement. Or it will take 1000 pounds of effort to produce one ounce of movement. Same thing. Burn out. They are stuck for a reason. Think on this.

This also applies in business. Reality check.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Mental Strength- Nature vs Nurture

If you accept the argument that mental strength has to do with fighting spirit in line with reasoning, read here and here and here. If you also accept that our assumptions determine our conclusions which in turn become building blocks for other assumptions, and if those assumptions are faulty then we can arrive at strange conclusions, read here. And if you further accept that much in life are illusions and have nothing to do with the essence, the substance, read here.

If you accept the above, then these articles start to make a little more sense — Read here and read here.

From the above I hope that I have demonstrated that the road to that GM needs wider consideration. The substance is determined by understanding ourselves, our opponents, the board and the clock. Understanding ourselves is not an easy journey for much is illusion. The point of mental strength for instance. Nature vs Nurture. Nature can give you IQ, a predisposition to certain styles, that is a gift. But nobody is born with mental strength. This has to be built step by step and through rigorous and correct training. Tough but fair evaluations must be made and the real separated from the illusions.

Time itself is illusory. Ever played chess and wonder where the time went?

And so I argue that while it is not easy to build that GM, it is very easy to destroy anyone with potential. Fixed tournaments, lack of acknowlegement, allow the players to conclude that they are helpless. Especially the young ones. Read here and read here.

So if we really want that GM, we all need to be part of the solution.

The above also tell us that we need to also see further than the 64 squares. Or I hope I have at least presented enough for you to consider my points. For that GM lies at 1000 meters below. And so it follows that development of mental strength needs to be included in chess training. Read here.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

So what is mental Strength?

To me it is the strength to look at reality without flinching.

The strength to make judgements and evaluations; to prioritise and have the ability to hold on to your plan in the absence of contrary evidence and the strength to change direction when the evidence dictates.

I was watching American Idol the other day and saw Simon Cowell critique the singers. I was amazed at how some of them took it. Accepting both the good parts as well as the bad. And in the correct proportion. And we see those singers improve so much just within that one season. They took the lessons and they shone. They were able to learn and learn fast because they had less mental resistance. See here.

Many people will just latch to a negative point and shut down their mind. They will see the black dot in that white space and so miss all the learning.

When I look at Li Tian, this is what I see. See here. I believe he saw and evaluated accurately that his percentage chance of winning was very very slim. Lets give it a number. Say 5%. That means he will win 5 games in 100. And that was enough for him to keep fighting. And so his mind conitnued to look for that win when there was destruction and pandemonium all around him. That is very impressive.

To me chess can be an amazing training tool, if we teach our young ones how to look and evaluate evidence, how to see into their own minds and stop the self sabotage. How to slow down their thinking and see the flaws in their reasoning.

I was once told by my former boss in Syuen that he liked bankrupts. I asked him why? He said it was because their minds are very clear.

I think we can help our kids have clear minds and without having to become bankrupts first. :)

Because you see, in chess we have the chance to correct our thinking move by move, game by game and tournament by tournament. So many many many chances to correct our thinking before going out into the big world. And if it is done right, they will make less mistakes out there and hopefully contribute to a better world. Can you see that?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Form vs Essence- A First GM Story

This story is dedicated to Lim Zhuo Ren, who told me at NAG that my writing is sometimes too complicated. Thank you Zhuo Ren for your gift of the 2 books and the inspiring words inside for both Mark and me.

Story ( Part true, part fiction )

In walks the dream girls. A team of 4. All very pretty. Accompanying them are 4 GM's, one for each. There is a team meeting just before the game and they do it in plain sight. The girls are all in uniform, with manicured fingers.

They sit down opposite you and before the game starts, each is given a back and shoulder massage by their 4 personal masseur. Then the tournament director starts the tournament, the first move is made and the clock is pressed.

Now reality starts. The rest was just an illusion. What matters now is whether you know how to play chess or not. What matters now was the team that supported you before the game. The depth and intensity of your training. Your mental strength. In hollywood, post Star Wars, the earlier going ons is called the Jedi mind trick. And we know it only works on the weak minded.

When the clock is pressed you face the essence. For if you are the better player you will win. It doesnt matter if you are wearing Ipoh round collar tea shirt ventilated by many holes and coloured by spilled Ipoh white coffee in strategic spots and with splashing of this morning's egg breakfast. It also doesnt matter if you fart during play. Or it shouldn't. :)

The only thing that matters now, is you, the opponent, the board and the clock (together with your training). Everything else is irrelevant. It never was a factor. The only thing that matters now is that you can play chess.

Some say stubborness is a virtue.

Some say stubborness is a virtue in chess. The ability to dig in, to sustain the fight.....

Lets define the word.

This is the ability to stay dogged in the face of all. The "all" defines this word. The stubborn will hold to their points of view despite all reasoning, despite evidence on the board telling them they are wrong. The conclusion is reached before the evidence, before reasoning...

In chess we need to examine evidence, do careful evaluation before deciding strategy. We also need to be constantly on the lookout for new evidence that may impact on strategy. And then we need to be decisive and within the timeframe allocated.

In short stubborness has no direction. It cannot lead the way to victory.

In my mind stubborness is a liability. Not an asset. We need a strong fighting spirit in line with reasoning.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What is Logic?

Many times we hear people saying this or that is logical or not logical. But what is logic?

Logic is a system of reasoning that can be scientifically proven. It is a process. The inputs are the assumptions. If we imput faulty assumptions then we can get very stupid but still 100% logical arguments. The basic one is this. Say all men are bastards, and Prince Charles is a man. It is now logical that Prince Charles is a bastard. This argument is 100% logical.

Many of the flaws are found in the assumptions. The assumption that all men are bastards is clearly flawed. Maybe most men. Maybe many men..... and so assumptions must be severely tested and verified before we apply logic to it.

Do you know speeches, scientific treatises can be broken down into "logic symbols" and shown to be logically proven or not?

We need to check our assumptions very very carefully or we can logically arrive at an absurdity.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Mental resistance to learning

When I used to practice as a coach, I fairly often come across cases where I deem someone "unteachable". Or at least by me. Don't get me wrong, all are intelligent but some are just unteachable without draining me totally of energy. After completing my work on the inner child, I had a deeper realisation that those cases spent most of their energy on what I called either "intelligent or emotional traps". In short they either apply their intelligence to blaming or making excuses or they have reached a stage where they are so fear and anxiety bound that they will grab on to any distorted reasoning to keep themselves in that state.

This problem becomes apparent when goals are set and compounded when timelines are given.

When I discovered chess, I realised that chess is an ideal self learning tool. For chess can help us realise that the same thought processes in the game are the very same ones that limit us in life.

You can pick up chess to the level that you are comfortable with and at your own pace. With some guidance, this can now be a self learning tool for life. And its fun too.

Monday, April 5, 2010

First GM looking for sponsors

We are appealing for sponsors for 3 newly minted Perakian National Players. As far as I can ascertain Perak have not had National representation since 1975. Anyway at the very least since I have been involved in chess. If you are interested to help out please write in to me. My email is on the RHS.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sunday coffee musings

Remember the comprehension tests? Pretty simple yes? Read a story and then give a synopsis. My answer to this question is both yes and no. Yes it is simple if there are no emotional content ie a simple factual account.

But now watch what happens when there is emotional content.....

Have you ever asked a simple question and then recieved the strangest convoluted answer?

Ever asked someone beside about an event that you both witnessed and the account completely varies from yours?

Ever shown anyone a white sheet and all they see is the black dot? :)

I continually see this in myself and others. Very hard to stick to just what is real, what is verifiable and just in front of our nose. In cantonese they say "Kar Yim, Kar cho" ie Add salt and vinegar.

But hey! what has that to do with chess? Sorry, coffee running out. But before I go, I think the answer (on my next refill) applies not only to chess but to business, to life.....

Random Sunday musings

Please note that this musing is as much for myself as anything.

It is hard to build a champion if we keep calling him stupid. I see the frustration in the trainers eyes..... you have the knowledge, but you can't get the player to you vent, humiliate, intimidate, punish and sometimes even try to psycho his opponent. But in reality you are only damaging your player more.

For this player has to play tournaments by himself, think for himself, fight his own battles. The trainer cannot sit in his place. So how do we achieve this?

I think all trainers need to deeply reflect on this before letting themselves loose on the players, particularly the younger ones.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Academy's first class

Just finished our first class and all went smoothly. A big thanks to Simon and Uztaz. Puan Adzlin , our National Events coordinator, also sms'd from Istanbul while on transit to find out how it went. Both she and Shafrina are right this moment planning our First GM's coming out tournament in the transit lounge. It's all hush, hush and even I am kept in the dark. :) It promises to be a unique event in July just before fasting month. So do keep your chess calender free and watch out for the announcement.

See here

Friday, April 2, 2010

First GM Chess Academy starts classes tomorrow

We will commence classes tomorrow. Phew! Do check out the new format for courses and the latest line up here.

Do join us.

MCF takes action to order tournaments

One of the things plaguing the Malaysian chess scene is suspect tournaments that does not practice healthy competition or perform as advertised.

I think this new action is good for chess. While I suspect there will be initial glitches, I hope MCF will wield this newly exercised authority with a fair and even hand and also continue to be open to constructive criticism. If properly executed it's a step in the right direction.

See here

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Speculation and Inferential logic

What is mere speculation and what is inferential logic?

Besides being a chess fan, the other game I am passionate about is Bridge. A card game based on inferential logic that also teaches strategy, concentration etc. The obvious difference between chess and bridge is that in bridge all is hidden except for the declared contracts. I won't go into too much detail here or we will miss the point.

So briefly, what we do in bridge is to note the declared intentions (contracts), elicit the strategy applied, observe and memorise the details (cards being played and the count) and form assumptions. We then test these assumptions throughout the game. A skilled Bridge player will be able, when needed, to tell you what is the last card you are holding. All these without seeing your hidden hand. Many top businessmen and thinkers play this game.

This is of course an oversimplification for there are elements of each in chess and bridge although in different proportions and "apparentness".

In China, chess players are also required to play bridge.

So what is my point?

I have seen many good people fall into the same traps again and again because they lack this understanding. They say mere speculation. Without proof ie the accounts, a conviction in the law courts etc. we cannot make a determination, we need proof.

So it is now very easy to remain a con man. Just hide the accounts, the solid evidence, and they can still stand tall in civil society. Mere speculation they say, I must be given the benefit of the doubt.

True, to an extent. But if we note your declared intentions and we observe and remember the details of your actions. And we test our assumptions over time and in many scenarios then we can say with equal certainty that you are a crook.

In law, this is called circumstantial evidence and this alone can also lead to convictions. In law sufficient circumstantial evidence is proof.(Maybe not widely practiced in Malaysia).

In ordinary life, we cannot always get access to the accounts, cannot open up the brain of our opposite to "see what they think". But nevertheless if we are skilled in the application of inferential logic, we can still mark a crook a crook. This is important if we are not to fall into the same con traps by the same con men again and again. When enough circumstantial evidence is gathered we no longer need to give them the benefit of the doubt but we must be careful or it becomes mere speculation. But there is a solid line dividing both.

The greatest feat of Einstein is his application of inferential logic. He never did a single experiment, never "proofed" a thing. He just tested current assumptions in his mind, reordered the information and came up with the theory of relativity. And his theories are predictive.

Do think on this. It may be important.

This weekends chess activity

Sham has put up an itinerary here.

Another take on MCF meets the parents

This is the perception of another blogger. Read here