These lessons are distilled from my observation at the Asean camp, the players performance at Subic Bay and later at National Close.
There are 2 glaring weaknesses that showed up.
1. Insufficient thought had been given to teaching the U10 and below. Apart from Amier Hamzah who is quite unique, we struggled to get the other players to grasp chess concepts. Both Ziaur and Jax did not seem to be able to reach the kids and I could see their eyes glaze over. So in desperation I tried using Mark. I think in a small way that helped a bit. I believe that a special skill is needed. You can have knowledge but how to transfer it to young minds requires special methods.
So while I have no solution myself, I did observe Khairulnissa at National Close teaching a few youngsters. She seems to have a gift for reaching young minds.
Note to Najib: Do take note of this and what I write below. I wish your chess development camp every success.
2. Ziaur Rahmans sessions with the older kids gave better results to those that had little technical training before. Notably Mark and Lim Winsen. Lim is currently playing at Penang Close. With the other more established players there may have been some technical improvement but that was over shadowed by other non technical reasons.
Eg. In Subic Bay, I told the boys to rest well as even a day without sufficient sleep will have a knock on effect for the rest of the tournament. But there were entrenched habits of working the lines the night before the game. Burning the midnight oil. From the feedback I received this caused a few losses that might have been avoided had the players been fresher.
These non technical reasons seem to be the more telling cause for loss for the technically stronger players as it was often reported that the player was better before a bungle. However I feel it is very difficult to change these habits for the older kids. They may listen to the reasoning but under pressure they revert back to old habits.
In other words, they may be looking at the wrong place to improve results. In the event of a loss, they need to evaluate the cause of the loss, be it anxiety, fear etc. and deal with it. Rechecking the lines does not help in those situations.
Good habits need to be ingrained when they are young and the children taught how to manage stress etc. Or they can be scarred. Tournaments can take a heavy toll on young minds if we are not careful.