Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Change must come with discomfort. Please take a few moments to reflect on this.

Can you think of any change that does not come together with discomfort?

So you cannot say you want change and you want comfort too. In fact its arguable that the more discomfort you can bear, the further you'll go.

Lets take a chess example here. You are in a drawn position. Both opponents are now in a "comfortable" position. Havent lost yet. Crunch time. To go forward would be to invite turbulent emotions.

Scenario 1. Both of you are of about equal technical strength (assuming you have evaluated accurately). Now the one that is able to accept or even welcome the change in status quo, go into the turbulence with greater equanimity has the better chance of winning. That half point extra is where the champions are made.

Scenario 2. Same drawn position. One is a stronger technical player but with poor emotional control. The slightly weaker player with better emotional control and able to accept change has now even out the odds. In this fight the weaker technical player can triumph and steal the championship. I have seen this many times.

So taken outside the 64 squares, if we want chess to progress, the chess community need to embrace change, embrace discomfort. We are not setting a good example if we tell our players to accept change with equanimity and we ourselves resist change. We need to work together with our kids, our players, hand in glove. Then we have unity of purpose. We have synergy.


  1. R,
    Have you considered a career as a diplomat?
    Why? Because a diplomat can ask you to go to h@// in such a way (no offence meant) that you would be looking forward for that journey!!
    But seriously - we Malaysians do need to change. We have been subsidised for so long that we can't imagine life without it.
    Hopefully, you can be our Agent of Change.. :)

  2. Have a look at this posting.

    What is interesting is that I think there is a tie up to why we have such difficulty getting a GM.

    My reasoning is like this. When I was overseas, Malaysians do well at their studies. And yet when I return home I find that we often get the Mat Sallehs in to handle the big projects. Very often they have less in terms of paper qualification than the locals.

    I believe the major difference is that 1. They handle pressure better and 2. They join the dots and see the bigger picture.

    So my working hypothesis is that with just technical knowledge we can only reach IM level. What we need now is greater emphasis on the other aspect of this mind game.

  3. On your other point. We can all be agents of change. I have a small talent in writing so I offer that as my contribution. We are all gifted in our own ways. Find yours and then offer that as your contribution. My advice to my own son is to be critical in his evaluations even of me. I am still learning and I do not claim to be right all the time so ask questions always. Many things are not always what they seem. I wish you well in chess and in life.