Saturday, July 3, 2010

What is a champion?

From the comments of the trainers on this blog, I dont think they see the bigger picture. It is an obvious and easy conclusion to say that the technically stronger player will win some games at a tournament.

But let us look further. Let us look at what the final objective should be.

Let me use an example here.

In a lower rated tournament, the technically stronger players will just beat half the field with no pressure. Say 9 rounds. That is 41/2 points. Then he may beat one after a little tension. Say it takes 7 points to be champion. He needs 11/2 more points. Now what do you think are the factors that will give him those points?

Confidence? Good judgement? Concentration? Remember he is playing the game, not the coach. Would how he view things, whether negatively or positively have a bearing on outcome? If he cannot see the possibilities because he is anxious, fearful, angry, frightened or just plain tired or jaded. Would that affect the outcome?

Now let us see even further, he goes for higher rated tournaments, the pressure mounts. There are no more easy games. What do you think happens at ever increasing pressure? We are nearing technical parity. What will carry the day?

If he cannot look at the board clearly. (Is there a correlation to if he cannot even read a posting with understanding, with comprehension?)

If he cannot evaluate the position correctly. (Is there a correlation to how he sees himself in the larger scheme of things, like partnering, training?)

You cannot learn to fight on the board only. The Champion is distinguished by having internalised all the qualities it takes to be Champion. And that is why there is so few of them. That is why they are special. That is what it takes to be GM.

But even a Champion can be crushed when they are young. By trainers that need to prove they are superior to the young ones. By needing the respect of the young minds, they try to bring them down to their beaten state, instead of grooming them. These are observable phenomenons, if you care, dare to look. It is happening everyday all around us. Is this a clue to why we do not do well after U12?

Over time do we not crush our Champions. Or Champions to be had they been nurtured; had we been more vigilant to protect their fighting spirit in the course of giving them technical knowledge. Do I have a point here?

We need to plan with the end in sight. If this is what we want, what are we doing wrong? As a VP from Thailand Chess Association said to me in Subic Bay, technical we can buy, its no big thing. But how do we instil fighting spirit in our players?

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