Monday, January 31, 2011

Tata Steel

I have always been interested in Nakamura. Can a GM that comes from a Country that accepted psychoanalysis 100 years before Europe produce a world class player? Apart from Fisher of course.

So this is an interesting debate. Here.

What is the proportion of self in chess?

Philosophers throughout history have thought about this and argued about the self with no certain conclusion. But what is generally accepted is that this is one the greatest and biggest mystery in the universe. Know thyself and you will know more about chess. Interesting isnt it?

Understanding self by a GM

Good one Hairulov. Hear it from a GM.

Report from Renegade.

Results here. Story here.

Renegade Datcc was impressive to say the least. Strong players and we achieved and learnt much from this one trip. The night before, I spent time with potential sponsors. One of them was involved with a company that secured sponsors for Nichol David. Also spoke to people who has a footsal team plus others.

They were trying to explain to me the mentality of NGO's and the challenges they faced working in sports. It was very insightful.

Also got all our chess programs up to date thanks to Andrew of Gilachess.

Of particular note at the tournament itself, I was happy to hear an announcement from Najib that IM Mok, IM Mas and FM Nicholas Chan are commiting to play at Datcc events. This is fantastic news. To me this means that we are circulating internal knowledge. Whether any of the Juniors or other seniors manage to win against them or not, (although I remain optimistic) Malaysian Chess will move up a notch just from their participation. Who knows they may even decide to play at National Close. That will really speak of a new and fighting Malaysian Chess.

The Juniors gave a good account of themselves and I want to congratulate the Champion Jianwen for an impressive performance. Iron sharpen iron. This is the way to go.

Datcc has now set up a shinning model for others to emulate and surpass if possible. Healthy competition. Good work Najib. One for private enterprise. Keep it up.

ps: Ilham also got to spend time with a parent who was at Asean. One more person got to hear the truth. And that is a good thing. At the very least the parent displayed the courage to speak the truth.

Quote of the day.

"Remaining unaffected in every situation is meditation"

Charlie Chan.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Quote of the day.

‎2 types of problem: 1. You donno what is the problem! that is the problem! 2. You know the problem, but you ignore the problem! that is the biggest problem!!..Quote by Nicholas Cheah (Problem Solver)

When is a draw bad?

Yesterday Jimmy offered a truce. See comments here.
What is the fight about? Is it about the right to express opinions without being slandered or shouted down? I started this blog to express certain ideas I feel will be beneficial to the chess community. If you dont agree then start you own blog. Then we allow the market to test which idea is better. But certain people are very threatened by my ideas. Why? We have been going around blaming MCF, other people etc. But when I ask to shine the light on oneself and see what you did not do it caused a lot of discomfort and anger.

So if a truce, a draw means status quo, then that is not a good thing. That means if you say something they dont like, if you try to explain why we are stuck, they will slander and shout you down again.

However Siew Fai (deleted comment) in his convoluted way did make some sense about this being an aversion to potential sponsors. Maybe some dont care because it doesnt affect them but I think its an important issue too.

Anyway I will leave that till after the weekend. Sumant and Mark have been training in my house and I will be bringing another boy from Perak to play at renegade. So leaving for KL later today.

Btw, the juniors vs the seniors is not off as claimed by chess ninja. Greg has said he will organise a senior team and I will organise the junior team. I will be meeting with sponsors this evening to see if I can secure the funding.

So see you after the weekend and I will see if there is a way out of extending this "senseless" war on words, war against the freedom of expression, war against new ideas.

A draw here if it means status quo is bad for chess. Is there another way?

Note: The GM comes from thinking. Chess is about thinking. And they want to prevent new ideas, prevent thinking.

More on competition

Quah Seng Sun says something on competition. Here.

There is of course 2 ways to treat chess. One as a hobby and the other as a competitive sport. In his article, it looks like Quah's assessment is that when we compete it's about egos. I think it should be about ideas and changing oneself. But his views are interesting and does show the mentality of the current "war" of words.

Let me give you an analogy. A lecturer teaches a subject on the board. And he has 20 students. Not all 20 will receive the lessons in the same way. Some will absorb more, pay more attention and apply what they hear.

So you will have some who excel and some wont. The students are in competition to be the best. Now is the competition about egos and then trying to knock out the ones that are doing better by slander, shouting down etc?

I dont think so. I think if you missed the lesson then pay more attention. Engage the information and be better.

Think on it. Have we understood competition wrongly? Is it about egos, putting the other down or changing oneself so that you can achieve too? Is that why we dont have a GM?

Tata Steel


Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday Reflections


MCF remembered.

Remember I did some force field analysis last year? Here.

I was just talking to another parent yesterday and he was saying MCF must change. And I was trying to remind him of what it was like before. I have spoken to juniors who told me that the time before Greg, selection was not based on merit. I think there is change but it is happening slowly. Right now there is a fairly good process till U20. At the senior level I think it may still be flawed. I believe the Olympiad demonstrated that. I think representation to SEA games or the next Olympiad should be based on a better system.

But I still believe that the ultimate decision lies with MCF. So there is a struggle. Some are trying to impose their views on what MCF should do by coming up with their own criteria. That I feel is not the correct way.

I see improvement and I know many are impatient for more. But if we still the noise, we can see that there has been change. If we can stop for a while and remember what it was like before we can see that.

We need to lend our voice and show support for change. Like I said MCF is not a monolithic organisation. There are those within that want change and those that want to go back to the old times. Times when they were Kings.

The way to have change is to support those moves that are improvements. The more solid the support the more we empower the change. And the faster change will come. Be on the right side of issues.

Are you understanding the struggle now? Now look around you. See who will benefit if you cannot see the change happening around you? See who will benefit if we go back to the old days. How many of them are there? Look beyond the noise and you will see.

Do you remember what it was like before? If you are new talk to people who have been around before. Then you will understand why a simple suggestion for selection on a train ride has attracted such venom.

ps: PICA today is very much like what it used to be if you want a comparison. Have you seen any Perak players recently? Where have they gone?

This is good practice for your chess.

Dont run from the noise. Go to Jimmy's site, Chess Ninja's site, Rationality's site. Go there and look hard. Learn to tell the truth from the lies.

Actually they do speak with a voice that is also running in your head. That is why they can be so effective. When you start to see the truth, the noise dies down. You become still.

When you begin to see the truth, you will find that the psycho tricks dont work anymore. If you run from this noise, it will remain unresolved and the next time you meet them they will use that noise against you on the table.

Try it. Dont be afraid. This is what I call imagined fears. Good luck.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Kramnik demonstrates his game.


Datcc- latest calender


We'll be there on the 30th. Sunday. See you there.

Tata Steel


One up for Dolly Parton.

If you don't like the road you're walking, start paving another one.

-- Dolly Parton

Convert the win and stop the noise.

How do we stop the noise and get down to work? I have had this discussion many times. I say if we do not solve the issues, it will become tomorrows noise again. I say if we can solve the tough problems, then other problems will appear minor. And I say this is the way to serenity, to unity, to progress.

If we allow them to divert the issue then this problem will never be solved. What is the current issue? Do the senior players have the right to continue to play for the Country without selection?

Let Ilham get to the bottom of the Asean affair. Let him speak to the players and parents who know the true picture.

We focus on the current issue.

Look at this email I got from an IT guy about the poll.

"The one by chess ninja and others that I've seen so far can be fixed.

Using browser tools which has the 'forget-I-was-here' feature I can
vote multiple times on anything easily.

The voting programs do not use IP to check for multiple votes but
instead saves session or cookie which can easily be deleted."

There are very few people against this issue. That is why they have to come in the many guises of anonymous and guests. One very easy way to get to the bottom of this is to ensure they leave their name when they comment. If we do this even in the shout boxes, you will see that there are very very very few of them.

But these few can poison many because they post many times creating an illusion of many. So maybe we can do this. Insist they leave a name or delete the post. That is if we want to get to their true number of course.

Can you think of anyone who doesnt want a proper selection? So we are winning on the board. Now convert. Do not let them swindle this win.

Do this and the noise will die down. Who is really for our chess to progress and who is against? You have to decide. What is the issue and where do you stand? Dont allow the distractions to work. Let Ilham get to the bottom of Asean. Ilham, go and read up. See what the accusations are. Then compare it to the truth.

For the rest of us. Decide which issue is for chess and which issue isnt. If you cannot make a decision, this problem will still be here next round. You still have not defeated the opponent because you have allowed him to trick you yet again. Learn to see past the illusions and the cheap tricks. Chess is claimed to be an intellectual sport. A thinking mans sport. If we cannot make a decision on this now we will still have this issue tomorrow. Lets not wait another 30 years again. Lets do something now. We have the numbers by a huge huge margin and the winning argument. Your move.

The Silence of the..Rationality. Have you been tricked Ilham?


It does look like Jimmy's ploy has worked to some degree. Even a strong player/thinker like Ilham has fallen. Ilham you seem like a fair person to me and someone who would like to get to the truth. You say in point 3 that you bet that Rationality has done his homework.

The fact that he deleted his posts shows that he knows he has slandered isnt sufficient clue for you as to who is lying. The fact the Jimmy has not uttered anything about the stories that happened at the Olympiad but chose to distort a simple statement I made about parents heartache still did not wake you up to the opening trap that you have walked into. You seem to have no clue as to other peoples motive and underlying intentions.

So how about this? I have Rationality's original posting if you have forgotten. How about if I introduce you to the parents and players who went to Asean? What if I arrange for you to talk to them? Would you like to find out for yourself what the truth is?

You make it seem that Rationality has been victimised when it was the other way round. No one said he cannot write. All we said is that slander is wrong. Check the facts against his postings. 2 points. He said that I (and implied others in FGM, Air Asia and MCF) cheated the parents by charging them RM1000 for a "lousy" training. And he said that MCF charged 3.8 as the exchange rate.

Would you like to find out if you have been tricked Ilham? Many parents and many players. Thay can tell you the truth.

Mal/Sing. Many parents and many players. Would you like to speak to them too? Ask them if they feel that me asking Peter to shut up was necessary to stop him from demotivating the players.

When you are satisfied who has lied and who has told the truth will you now focus on the real issue? Do you think that players who have not played competitively for a period deserve automatic selection to represent the Country?

You say you love Chess. Do this for Chess. I can set it up for you to speak to as many witnesses as you want. I can even not be present in case you feel I may influence their answers in any way. Just let me know if the truth is important to you and I will arrange this.

Is this rational?

Who lied to you Ilham? Or do you want to throw stones at people who tell the truth that is harder to hear. Who are they trying to silence here and why?

Ps: You now see Jimmy who is normally a taciturn person running around congratulating people and engaging bloggers. Why do you think he is doing that now? Is that another sign of guilt from wrong doing?

Is Malaysia ready for SEA games?


Today's contemplation

The voice of our original self is often muffled, overwhelmed, even strangled, by the voices of other people’s expectations.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Lets look deeper at why we dont have a GM yet?

Chess is a game of reasoning. It is also a game of trusting your own reasoning. As we go up the rating, the challenges to your thinking gets tougher and tougher. Your sense of self doubt becomes greater for you are now challenged by more and more superior thinkers.

At some point, if your confidence takes a knock, you implode. You give up. I think you may be able to get up to IM by white knuckling. A combination of psycho tricks and understanding may get you there.

I think the divide happens at the GM level. There you cannot bluff anymore. There you are laid bare. The psycho tricks dont work anymore. You are in the presence of grand masters.

And so the culture we need is one where we can learn to reason and reason at the highest level. Once we use belligerence, intimidation and cheap tricks we have lost the plot. So the first thing is to learn not to be distracted. Stay focussed on the plan, the issue. That is the way to the top.

That is why I say the current culture is not condusive to getting that GM. Most are broken before they can get there. That is the fruit of this culture of fear.

How many games have you played and lost because of self doubt? When you dont trust your own analysis, when your thinking shuts down under the pressure? When you lose courage?

The trick is to improve your ability to reason, to see through the cheap tricks. And finally to have the courage to stand behind your analysis. Then you are on your way to being GM, to being a stronger player. No short cuts.

Could this be the culture we are looking for?


I do not have to accept your point of view.

If you bring forth poorly thought through points of view, I do not have to accept them. I may even think it is stupid and dumb. But I will defend your right to have them.

It is your responsibility to articulate your ideas convincingly. You cannot just shove it down peoples throats. You cannot try to intimidate and slander just because people think your ideas are dumb. That is the line.

Learn to present your case. You should have outgrown childish tantrums by now.

Aversion to adversity

I have pondered on this for a long time. Is there a time when you have to fight? I think so. I have watched the bullies at work and I have seen the destruction and havoc they rain on people. They do not, I repeat they do not, stop until you can stand up to them. They prey on the weak. That is their nature.

So where do we draw the line? For me the line is when they attack the children. That is when I stand up. Like I said before, the adults have made their choices and only they can change their own decisions. So we have the rule of law. If there is slander, we go to the law. If there is abuse of authority, we bring the case to a higher authority. That is all we can do.

But when we see children being abused, we need to do something, say something. They cannot defend themselves yet. For if we keep quiet, they will do it again. And the next time we may not be around to defend them.

Remembering the train ride.

On the train ride back from Singapore, when I saw the camaraderie between the juniors, I couldnt help but feel that the GM will come from this type of spirit. Can this spirit be recaptured or was it just a fleeting thing? I wish I could have transported you there. It is not easy to describe.

But yesterday, I saw the naked hate of an anonymous commentor. I deleted his posts. It is not easy to shock me. I have been in construction for most of my business life. What could have brought on such rage from a suggestion of a selection criteria for all tournaments? Reality check. No more free rides and no more representing the Country if you do not play competitively anymore.

I think success brings its own momentum. The more success we have the less petty fighting we will have. And to bring more success, we need to have a more competitive model. We need to look at competitors analysis, better preparation and training or we risk another generation of bitter people. But we can only move one step at a time.

The Serenity prayer

I first heard this more than 20 years ago. It has so many layers of truth that to this day I am still discovering new layers. It has helped me many times through many trials and tribulations. I hope it does the same for you.

God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

An interesting observation

The blame game. It is so easy to blame this person or another. Blame the situation etc. This is what I hear almost everywhere I go. But then I ask, why do you accept this? What can you do to change this situation? What can you do to change yourself?

Dont look at anyone else. You can't change anyone but yourself. Not an easy message to hear. Hopefully in time we'll see.

Notice to anonymous commentors

All future anonymous comments will be deleted from now. If you have a point to make then get a name. The same anonymous person is running around and attacking everyone left right and center. This is not proper or right. Reveal yourself and then have your say. However keep your comments civil and do not attack children. That is the lowest possible form of cowardice.

I will leave the other unsavoury comments to date as a reminder of the problem we face. This will not go away unless we say this type of behaviour is not acceptable. Attacking from the dark is not acceptable, attacking children and families is not acceptable. And until we as a community can take a stand on this, I'm afraid it will continue and we will not be able to turn our chess around.

This is important. See them for what they are. If they have courage they will say it in the open. Do this for the children.

Thank you.

I'll leave you with a thought.

I find one of the hardest thing in the world to do is to see oneself clearly. Beneath the layers of self deception.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Crux- Self Sabotage

So we have the winning game, the winning number if we can stay focussed on the issue and we dont allow the cheap tricks to work. The issue is, let me repeat, should those players that have not played competitive chess for a long period still be allowed to represent the Country without a fight?

So how do we convert?

This is very very hard to argue against. We know chess is a competitive sport. We know that those that have lost the fire and do not fight will not do well. We also know that in the longer term that opportunity should be given to fighters even if they may be lower rated. And we know a selection will tell us who is who?

Actually this is so obvious that they must resort to cheap tricks. Otherwise how can that handful of people subvert so many?

But there is an even deeper problem. We always had the numbers but we just could never speak with one voice. We could never work together. For the mamak vs junior, questions have been brought up about FIDE rating etc. etc. See here.

We are building our own roadblocks. So dont blame anyone else. Look at ourselves. This is the issue. If both the mamak gang and the juniors fight it out in full public glare, what are we saying?

I think we are saying, yes, we can work together, yes, we are not scared to fight it out. That to me will be the biggest statement we can make. That will show this suggestion deserves support.

So this leads to one last hurdle. If we do fight it out will MCF recognise our fighting spirit and be moved to support selection?

That is a good question. We normally talk about MCF as a monolithic organisation. But in reality its not. In MCF there are also those that want change and those that do not. I saw this during the Asean initiative. One side supports, one side attacks and sometimes even the one that supports can attack when scared or pressured. That is the reality.

So what can we do? All that work and then no results? I dont think so. I think as we move along more people will be convinced. Deep down we all want to be proud of our players. We all want to see a fighting Malaysia. We want to bask in their glory and rightly too for we helped shape the culture.

So do this. Stop putting up the roadblocks. We are many and they are few. Dont let the lunatics take over the asylum. We can do this.

Cheap Tricks in Chess

Remember the question raised below. That is the issue. Now if you go to any tournament, speak to most players and parents, they will agree. So we have the winning argument. We are winning on the board. So now how?

Here comes the cheap tricks. First they distort the the point of the parents having heartache when they hear about the stories of what happened in the Olympiad. Of course the investigation should now be if the stories are true or not, isnt it?

Then they add a little slander. Go to the poll, its on chess ninja's blog. The poll is about whether I have a case to sue? Another misdirection. Who said sue? Go back to what I said. Now if the poll is about the point I raised which is who is Chess Ninja and who is Rationality? What do you think the outcome would now be? Do you want to know who they are? That was the issue.

So a few members have now fallen for the cheap tricks. Our numbers are whittled down. Remember the issue still is do we want players to represent the Country after a long time out of competitive play.

So they bring up the PICA issue. Let us distract even more people. The PICA issue has been brought before MCF. They are the highest Authority in Malaysian Chess. Would I bring it up to them if I have something to hide?

A few other minor cheap tricks were tried. I wont insult your intelligence by going through them all. You are chess players. You can work things out.

So who are these people? Why do they need to use this tactics? Why use threats and intimidation if they have the winning argument and the winning number? Think on this. Who would object to this case? Who is affected and what is their true number?

Now you are learning to see past the cheap tricks. If you can see past these ruses, I promise you will be a stronger chess player. You have the winning game. Now convert.

ps: I've just been told by an IT guy that the poll can be fixed. What a waste of time.

Is this chess?

One party asks a question where the opposition has no answer ie winning on the board. The other party throws all sorts of distractions hoping to divert from answering that question.

Now if we can stay focussed and not sabotage ourselves then we can win.

The question is should players who have not played competitively for a period be automatically selected for representation of the Country?

If not, then what is the solution? We have SEA games this year. Dont you think we need to at least debate this question now?

Carlsen explains his win over Nakamura


Focus on the issue

Actually what started this round of vitriol? Look back. Everything has been thrown except the kitchen sink. The issue is, do the juniors have a right to fight for a place for the olympiads? The idea has since developed as all ideas generally do. But this was what started the fanfare. This is the core issue. Dont get distracted. And dont allow them to intimidate you away from making a stand on this.

Thoughts for today

Do your little bit of good where you are; its those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.

-- Bishop Desmond Tutu

"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.” -Roald Dahl

Monday, January 24, 2011

More on hate posts.


Interesting article by Marina on people who fan hate.


Silence met Silence by Charlie Chan

Once a buddhist monk came to visit Baba Muktananda in California accompanied by a few disciples
the monk enjoyed expressing himself in Quoan like speech; Baba very happily matched the monk's style
what began as a gentle duel of words on the part of the monk ended up as a meaningful teaching for all gathered there

the monk began by asking Baba "what is the shape of the Self?
Baba replied the form of the Self is formless, it is also of the form of Supreme Light
the monk leaned forward and countered "if the Self is formless as the void, how can there be such a thing as the Supreme Light?
Baba answered "the Self is beyond the Void, the Self illumines the Void; the Void cannot know anything and cannot do anything while the Self knows everything and can do everything"

"well" the monk retorted "if it is really true that the Self can do everything .....then speak without words"
....not skipping a beat Baba said "if you want me to speak without words then you must hear without ears"

Baba continued "if you want to know the truth beyond words then you must go beyond your ears..... and experience the supreme silence within."
Baba went on: "the scripture say speaking about the experience of the Self is like a mute person trying to describe the taste of is only through silence itself .......silence can be taught and experienced."
and then Baba looked at the monk intently and said "when you become supremely silent you will know it"

now the monk with great sincerity asked "show me that Self of which you speak"
Baba leaned forward and smiled " it is really very simple are a manifestation of the Self... you yourself are a manifestation of the Self .... you can know that just like that."
when Baba uttered "that" he snap his fingers and said "everything else is just a play of words"

the monk and Baba embraced each other ... in that moment...

Silence met Silence

Carlsen bungkus Nakamura

See here.

Some good advice from Jimmy


The problem with camps.

I have always resisted being in a camp. Too many problems. I will support a good idea no matter where or who it comes from. Some people say that I am not tolerant of other peoples ideas. That I am stubborn. Look at the evidence.

Yes, I do not support ungrounded ideas based on flawed reasoning. I rely on my own judgement. Lets see if there is any basis to this stand.

When we look at a chess game and have a review after the match, you will see many people giving different opinions to solutions. Even if you get 2 GM's they will have different opinions. The game of chess is about different opinions.

So what happens if you cannot make up your own mind? Abdooss says in the comments below that he supports both Jimmy and me. Actually I have come across this type of thinking before. In the PICA elections when I stood for Presidency, a friend told me that he supports both me and Dr Yee and if it was acceptable that he casts 2 votes. One for Yee and one for me. That is fine since he will always be a fence sitter. I lost by 2 votes since Chan was fielded instead of Yee.

But let us look deeper. When we play chess, there are many camps in our minds. One saying this and the other saying something else. What happens to our chess if we cannot make up our own minds. Forget about me. To improve your chess you must learn to make your own decisions, to rely on your own judgement. That is all I am saying.

Focus on the issue not the personalities. If you made the wrong decision, dont worry about it. Find out what you missed out in your consideration and improve on it for next time. The chatter (camps) will reduce.

USM Team results

Conratulations to the senior team without a name. And well done Insanity. Here.

A flawed strategy

I dont know who started this strategy or who is promoting it. But it looks like some of our strong players stay away from local competition to protect their rating. On the surface this looks a little reasonable.

But its the first step to failure. This decision is based on fear.

Let me show you another philosophical divide. During National Junior I explained to the parents present the strategy that Mark and I had deviced after round 4. Even my friends didnt understand my reasons for doing so so I'll explain it here. The title comes with a burden.

I told Mark if you can still win after them knowing our strategy then you can lift that title and bear the burden that comes with it. But first lets see if we can figure out what they will do to stop us. In the final round Syakir found the winning strategy. We had spent the night before trying to anticipate what it could be but we were surprised in the last round. You see this is not about a title. This is about learning to play chess.

We play many tournaments to learn and some tournaments to win. It is not about the rating or the title. When you have learned enough the rating will come, the title will come. What is the hurry?

Dont listen to those voices who tell you that you cannot become GM unless you show something extraordinary before 17 years of age etc etc.

Look at the evidence and dont listen to the lies of your fears. There is enough evidence of players who have become GM way after 17. Even today. Do not compare with the Countries that have produced 15 yo GM's. They are much further up the learning curve and they probably have a more competitive environment. We can make our environment more competitive. That is within our current ability. But for now we still have to figure out what makes a GM. Then we get the next one younger. It's a process. No short cuts.

Think about it. Those are the lies from people who have given up. Who dont believe anymore. Open your eyes. It's a flawed strategy. It doesnt work.

If you want to improve you have to play more, learn more, fight harder. Not protect a number that doesnt really mean anything. When you have learned enough you will then be called a Grand Master.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Do we want to see Mamak gang vs the juniors?

What are the issues? The parents are saying that there should be competitive selection for any tournament to represent the Country. The elite seniors are saying that you get your rating up first. I am saying that maybe even the seniors who have not represented the Country before may give us a surprise by being able to beat some of the elites. Rating doesnt tell all. Who is to say? Maybe even some of the juniors may yet surprise us all.

So first step is mamak gang vs juniors. One step at a time.

I can't say everything here as there are issues still being discussed. But I will say this as a parent. An issue was brought up by a parent and echoed by another parent that MCF must give an undertaking that should the juniors play then it must come with the guarantee that all future eligibility must be based on selection.

To me this is unreasonable. I think the elite seniors have a point too. If our juniors cannot put up a fight against the mamak gang then they still have much more to learn. I hear "if we lose where can we put our face"? Hey, if we cannot fight mamak gang then how to fight more terror people outside?

Actually my trip down to KL was also to speak to potential sponsors before my bridge session. I will admit here that even members of FGM is scared to lend further support. It is a little frightening to support chess.

We cannot all stay in our own turf. We need to work together or this wont work. How can anyone help us if we are fighting among ourselves? Everyone give a little and we can get this thing going. The question is, if this fight happens, will we be closer to getting public support for competitive selection or not? If it is, then lets stop putting up roadblocks and get this going.

The proposal is circulating. Lets find a solution for chess. I hope we have all done some soul searching over the weekend and next week we will dare to move forward.

Fight first then we have a better case for MCF to consider. If no sponsor then we all tong tong or maybe the arbiter can waive his fee. I dont have all the answers yet. Give suggestions not only objections. Maybe a potential sponsor reading this will be moved by our spirit to improve and will pledge their support.

What are National Events?

Or National interest events? I think we need to define this term better.

I saw Asean as a national event. The point is this. We have Academies and people who earn from chess as a living. My suggestion is that at least once a year they give something back if they can. The training for Mal/Singapore was another such event. If all chip in conscientiously then we will have better traction.

By all means the commercial enterprises are entitled to profits under normal circumstances ie Tournament organisers, trainers etc. or else how can they give otherwise? Perhaps the ones who are doing better can give a little more.

If we can untangle this knot we will go further. What goes around comes around. Perhaps MCF can suggest some guidelines.


First you must form a carefully considered view. Then you must stand behind it. It's the opposite of being a lallang.

You also see this in chess do you not? Is that also the difference between strong and weak players? The courage to stand behind your analysis, to make brave decisions for a win.

What is my motivation?

Even some of my friends are still guessing. Here's a clue.

Let us wind back the clock. I was witness to the rapid breaking up of a multi million multi national company partly because of infighting among the Directors in the final days of 1997. I was witness to the demise of a Malaysian Consortium to refurbish Star Cruises Interiors because we could not provide the solution to why Malaysian Interior Contractors couldnt work in the pressure cooker of Shipyard work.

So these questions were already running round in my head. And this was before Mark even played chess. After Mark started I wondered if chess can provide the training that can help. But I saw the same infighting in chess.

One of the first things I taught Mark is to use his judgement in all things. I said if you are swayed by titles, intimidation, flattery, you will not go far. You need to apply the faculties of reasoning. And the enemy of reasoning is strong emotions. Fear as well as euphoria. And so to reason well, you must reduce your ego. I dont even know if Mark wants to be a GM or not. But I do know if he takes this lesson well, his future will be brighter.

So if truth be told, I have very little ego. And that is what confuses many people. I dont care for the limelight. If possible I prefer to stay in the background. So why have I stepped up?

I really dont care much about what adults do between themselves. But I do care about our future and I do care about what is happening to the kids since they are the future. We have lived our lives and we have made our choices. I care that they be given a chance to choose something better for themselves. I care if there are unreasonable roadblocks simply because I think chess provides good training if done the right way.

Some have tried to move me by saying we support you etc etc. But I can only be swayed by reasoning and not by flattery. And I am not a tool to be used to attack anyone. If you back your words with action, I will do my part. I think chess can help us to a better future. A reasoning future. But first we have to be the example ourselves before we can convince others that this is the case.

So lets just stick to the issues, reason things out and forget about the personalities and titles.

Where is the philosophical divide?

I am grateful for the phone calls, SMSes and emails of support. I am grateful for the few comments of support on this blog and shout boxes. I do realise that most people have more important things to do than to shout in shout boxes. Anyway its a waste of time to write many many times in different guises to project an illusion of numbers. I much rather we sit down and seriously think how we can move our chess forward. More importantly, how we can contribute.

But where is the real divide? This is not a Raymond vs Jimmy, Rationality or Chess Ninja issue. They are not important to me. The development of chess is important to me. This is about the chess community waking up and taking responsibility for the way things are. During the Asean initiative we saw the problems. That was a National project. FGM lost money on this but we didnt mind because it was for the Country.

We will make our money from other projects. But what we saw as a problem was that other people didnt see it this way. They saw it as a way to make money out of FGM. They saw it as a way to pass all the work to FGM and then ride on the success of the project if possible.

That is the divide. We all want improvements but we want someone else to do it. FGM will work with others if we are all sharing the work but not otherwise.

Like I said, if we want the community to prosper, then we must sacrifice and roll up our sleeves too. If that is the case, you can count on us to do our part.

But FGM cannot carry everyone. I stated this after Asean. Nothing has changed. I will continue to write and hopefully one day more will step up to undertake National events. Otherwise FGM will focus on its commercial events. I think those that benefit from chess should give something back.

The stance is for the issues not the personalities. If we think deeply about this, this is also about our players taking responsibility for their game. They need to do the work and think rationally on the board. They must make courageous decisions to win. Not say why we should draw when up against an opponent 300 points higher when we are winning on the board and then write about other Countries/players that took down even stronger players.

This is about that. We need to believe we can first and then we need to do. We need to move away from asking someone else to do things for us. That FGM will not do. That is the philosophical divide.

Which is worse?

I have heard an interesting array of opinions. Some say Rationality is by far the worst. I am wondering. Rationality and Chess Ninja both hide under a veil of anonymity showing fear that they may be wrong. They dont have conviction.

On the other hand Jimmy uses his IM title to promote and protect what they say. He doesnt say anything slanderous himself. He starts the ball rolling by first distorting a statement and then the rabid hate blogs take over. The anonymous shouts happen in the shout boxes. So we all start shadow boxing.

But hey, there is one in the forefront. He is not scared. He relies on that IM title to protect him.

Which is worse? The one who hides in the dark from fear or the one who is in the open protecting an illusory right of the elite players to continue playing for the Country long after they have ceased to be competitive.

Who is strategising to prevent a competitive environment to help our juniors reach even greater heights? Maybe even beyond IM. Personally I think Mok and Mas still have a shot. But they musnt give up fighting and hide behind an ivory tower.

They need to stay sharp too and I do wish they will also give something back by playing the local circuits and giving our juniors a good fight here. Even for the seniors that cannot go overseas. There is a multiplier effect if this is done.

I dont know why Jimmy is against the idea of healthier competition but I dont think his ideas will work. I think the evidence has already shown this if we care to look.

Tata Steel



I like what Firey is doing. The games he puts up will help our players stay current. Really good work.

A sense of personal responsibility

Somebody said that asking the bloggers to delete the hate sites from their own roll is oppressive. I think it is an encouragement to have personal responsibility for the betterment of chess.

Do notice that I do not tell others to do what is against their conscience. To do what they think is wrong. What I do is to encourage them to have the moral conviction to do what they think is right despite their fears.

Go back to everything I have written so far. What have I said? I proposed that eligibility for International Tournaments should be by selection and not based on old ratings. Some have represented the Country after many years missing from competitive play. Does that sound right?

I am not looking at blaming anyone. I am just saying let us improve a faulty system.

I threatened a police report when FGM was slandered. There are a few parties that have a right to making that report since all their names were dragged in the mud. MCF, Air Asia and FGM since the accusation is about defrauding the Malaysian public over the Asean initiative.

The way to object to the youth vs the senior is to present your arguments. Personal attacks, distortions is not the way. Slander is not the way. Slander can only be dealt with by rule of law. What other options are there?

But since Rationality spent a lot of time deleting his slanderous posts, I personally feel my point is made. The deletion is an admission of guilt. Him writing to Jimmy for advice points to possible collusion. Jimmy writing back for them to write him is confirmation of collusion.

But just because I am satisfied doesnt mean others are.

So I feel if we can all act out of a sense of personal responsibility, we will become a stronger community. If we all continue to close one eye to what is going on we are just continuing the rot.

But I dont force, I dont shout and I dont harangue. I present my case and reasoning and then its up to you. Chess belongs to you. It will be whatever you individually have the courage to make it be.

Sunday morning musing


To have that sense of one’s intrinsic worth which constitutes self-respect is potentially to have everything.
-- Joan Didion

I had a good day at bridge yesterday. Seeing old friends was good. Looks like I retain a little of the old skills but the amount of concentration necessary to play well over all the hands were taxing to say the least.

Today I recall the case about that girl who had her win declared as a draw during MSSPK. Her parents didnt stand up for her. Their argument is that then she will become a future target.

My argument is that if you dont stand up to bullies, they will always continue to pick on you. That is the nature of predators. They always prey on the weak. And they wont change because you cringe away from them. Think on this. I will cover more later.

USM Team current team standing


Go Insanity Go. Well done boys.

Friday, January 21, 2011

IM Mas- Game of the day- 2009


Strike while the iron is hot.

For those few moments when the iron is hot we can mold it. After it is cold we cannot do anything or it will break. We are stuck and we have a lot of resistance to change. It has taken us 10 years to win against Singapore. And the juniors lead this battle.

For this little while, within a finite window, we see that maybe we can. We need to use this opportunity to forge forward. If we lose momentum, we may have to wait another 10 years for another opportunity like this again for our juniors.

FGM is right now working on another initiative to keep this momentum. Your support is needed.

MCF calender of events

I like this format better. Thank you Jax.

International Events. Here.

Local Events. Here.

A suggestion to other bloggers.

Maybe it is time we think about some self regulation. We have started this community in the belief that anyone should have the right to air their views. Personally I feel that right must also come with responsibility.

Some of our bloggers are now abusing that right by spreading lies and fanning hate. If we want a positive learning culture in chess where people can share ideas without fear of being shouted down or slandered then maybe we can remove them from our blog role. The culture of being able to agree to disagree is important. The culture of reasoning is important.

I believe if we can enforce this self discipline, we will be much more attractive to good sponsors and many more parents and players will join our fraternity.

This culture of hate is keeping many people away as well as driving away the few good people that are working in chess and we have lost good players besides. I for one will start by removing the hate sites from my blog role. I hope you feel the same way too.


Chess is a game best played in the moment. The past is the past and the future hasnt happened yet. If your ideas are fixed and you cannot see what is truly happening in the here and now, will your chess be good?

USM Team Event

The team event starts tomorrow. Here.

I am rooting for team 34, Insanity. I hope they put up the results. I on the other hand will be playing bridge. So need some quick practice today. Seriously rusty.

Good luck to all participants. Fight hard and fight fair. And have fun too.


Ignore people who tell you ‘you can't’ or try to discourage you.

-- Jeffrey Gitomer

It takes a lot of work to build a positive culture. And it can so easily be destroyed.

Raymond Siew

Kelantan is looking at their juniors

Good for them. Here.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Some think we can escape stress by running away from our problems and fears, when the opposite is true. It's by confronting them one by one that we reduce our stress.

Some think that by diverting attention to the splinter in somebody's eyes people wont see the log in theirs, when the opposite is true.


Ref: Here.

I was just talking to Greg and he clarified that MCF has been making refunds to parents for the difference in exchange rate as a matter of policy and that the refunds made is not the result of the email from FGM. I would like to thank him for the clarification and I retract that statement.

Evan Capel is USM Champion.

Congratulations Evan. Well done. Here.

Happy Thaipusam

Wishing our readers Happy Thaipusam.

Is there a role for blogs like Rationality, Chess Ninja?

I think we still need watchdog sites. But they have to be careful of not turning rabid. Care must given to sieve through misinformation from the truth. Otherwise you become a pawn in other peoples games.

Rationality, you may have a case about the commitment fee. I and others have raised the same issue with MCF. You do not have a case with the 3.8 exchange rate issue pertaining to last Asean and World Youth. The difference was refunded and was reported on this blog. And this came as a direct result of an email from a member of FGM threatening further action. You cannot selectively filter what you dont like to see.

Chess Ninja, I dont think being a vigilante is a good way to be. That means you are only looking for faults and that you will always find in anything or anyone, if you look hard enough. Nothing and no one is perfect. When you take that stance, you will never see anything good. That is a bad place to be and not good for you. You are only feeding your anger. We have talked about this before.

The task of the watchdogs is to see objectively. Not to jump to conclusions and then find ways to justify it. In that you have erred.

Why Juniors vs Seniors is a good idea.

If you compare the seniors to their peers then we can see that the gap is very large. I do not see the possibility of them ever closing that gap. In fact the gap is widening further as time go by. The window of opportunity is now closed for them. So lets move on.

With the Juniors, Mal/Sing shows they are still within fighting distance. If we focus on this group and avoid making the same mistakes then we may yet have that GM. That means pouring in all available resources we now have towards their development. Not waiting for the "miracle" GM coach to appear before we can take action. This waiting business is one of our mistakes. Our previous thinking was wrong. The results show that.

... if we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin.

-- Ivan Turgenev

Tata Steel

Read here.


"You are the sum of the people you spend the most time with. If you hang with the wrong people, they will negatively affect you. But if you hang with the right people, you will be far more capable and powerful than you ever could have been alone. Find your tribe and work together to make a difference in all of your lives."

Found in facebook.
Rozz Ritzmann

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Not emotions but the voice of reasoning

Not the push and pull of strong emotions but the quiet voice of reasoning. Isnt that what chess really teaches us?

I hope we have all learnt something since yesterday. Fanning hate doesnt solve anything. It only make matters worse. You may not like what is said but by twisting the words used ie "the heartache parents feel....which lead to a "thrown" game", that hate almost came back and knocked you out.

Rationality, Chess Ninja and Jimmy. You have a right to the anger you feel. It is not for me to judge you. Whatever it was that caused such terrible anger in you, I hope you will resolve in time. However you cannot take that anger out on anyone you like or try to destroy their reputation. You do not have that right. This makes you just like the people you say you do not like.

There are many baying for your blood Rationality. People want you exposed and out of chess. I do not want to aid them. So be careful what you say in future.

We did our homework last Oct. It only takes a police report to be lodged with MCMC and your names will come out. This has been done before. Many times. Even your deleted posts will resurface. If you had written that email to Jimmy, that will also come out. Dont you know that you cant hide nowadays? But if I was to do that you will never be able to show your face in chess again. That I do not want. But I do want you to stop the slander.

Jimmy, you have disappointed many. As the elder in chess, you were expected to be the voice of reason. Chess Ninja, you seem very young. I like that you are now attempting to explain your views. My suggestion is that if you can stop your profanities more will listen to you. I still dont agree with you but that is OK.

But that is not all. There is a lesson for MCF here too. In my last meeting in KL with Greg, I said this to him. MCF must take leadership or we will not go far. MCF must not only be fair to all but also seen to be fair.

I have made a police report before pertaining to chess. This was a case concerning Mark during MSSPK for wearing jeans. The case was there were many wearing jeans but they were just given a verbal warning except for Mark. He was sent back to change while his clock was ticking and he lost 40 minutes on the clock and the game subsequently.

But there is more. Unit Sukan took action on the police report and brought in the official and sanctioned him in a minuted meeting. The official was removed the following year.

MCF can take a page from them. There is alot of anger in chess. MCF must take responsibility for this. There have been too many abuses overlooked in the past. I ask for no special favours but I think I deserve a fair hearing just like anyone else in my place. And I have been waiting a long time for the hearing to clear my name. Reason needs to prevail or the anger experienced by many will boil over again. And this is bad for chess.

I will not take action over an individual. There is enough "fixing" in chess. We all want change for the better. Do it the right way. This way doesnt work.

I have learnt alot over this incident. I hope you have too. Goodnight gentlemen. Sleep well.

We suspect

We suspect that there are only a few individuals. But they speak with many voices. A very few poisoning the well for the many. It is very very easy to spin illusions on the net.

A reasoning culture.

I have just come back from a meeting with DKLS, the company that said they had RM2 million of sponsorship. This is the company that PICA told to write a proposal to PICA before PICA will consider accepting the sponsorship.

I think we can all agree that this is a ridiculous stand for PICA to take. A few days after this meeting I was sacked from PICA without charges or due process.

Now my meeting with them is to enquire if the funds are still available. Their answer is yes but not unless the issue with PICA is solved. I can understand their position. I would have made the same decision when I was in their shoes.

The corporates will view the issue this way. If there was an irregularity in my sacking then there must be an administrative solution to the problem. Otherwise this sport is runned by cowboys. MCF had sent a letter to PICA asking for the reasons for my sacking. Till now there has been no reply. This shows that MCF has no muscle or will to solve problems. Now if DKLS were to come into the picture and there were some minor issues, would they now also risk their reputation too?

Lets rewind the clock here. I was on a train to Singapore. A parent presented an idea to me that I thought was good. After winning the Mal/Sing I wrote about it, hoping we can ride on a good thing and maybe create even more success. Now this idea was opposed by a few people. But instead of giving the reasons for their opposition, they attacked FGM when they felt that the idea was gaining ground.

Instead of giving good reasons for their opposition they now besmirch the reputation of the sponsors of Air Asia and FGM. What does this say about these people? What image do they give of chess? Daily we are crying for funding, for sponsorships and we can see the reasons why we are not getting it.

So the big question we have to ask ourselves now is would we be better off without their poison or not?

This is not a personal issue. If by making this police report and exposing this poison, it means that somebody else will dare to make a suggestion for the improvement of chess then to me its a good thing. If somebody else is able to bring in sponsorship and is not seen as a threat to be got rid of by blatant disregard to rules and regulations, its a good thing.

If FGM is to allow itself to be shouted down, falsely accused and take no steps to protect both its reputation and the reputation of its supporters then what is to say that this wont happen to anyone else?

So is it necessary for this poison to be lanced? I think so.

More chess by IM Goh



There is a general lament that I hear all the time in our chess community. That the type of gutter politics we see all around us is also found in our chess. Chess is for thinkers we say but we dont see many good examples in our intellectual sport.

Rather than using chess to raise good thinkers and future leaders, some wants to drag us into the general confusion by the spread of lies, innuendos etc. to prevent the introduction of new ideas, to silence suggestions.

So how can anyone tell us apart from the confusion outside? Why would any good sponsor want to promote a sport that produces poor quality thinking and gutter level behaviour?

I believe that if this poisonous behaviour can be held accountable, at least in chess then it is a step forward for the whole Nation. Do you think it can be done? Can we at least try? Can we be that example?

Tata Steel

Results and games here.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

We have a right to face our accusers (with addendum)

This is natural justice. And this is the feedback I am getting from the ground. You cannot hide behind a mask and make accusations you cannot substantiate. And you cannot make a police report in a mask either.

Many people want you revealed Rationality. You have made a lot of enemies. It's a terrible pity that IM Jimmy is involved too.

ps: Incredible. They attack from the dark with no justification and they now accuse us of victimisation. What twisted and sick logic is this?

We have tolerated this for long enough. Warning has been issued and ignored. In fact the attacks have intensified.


‎"i know i have given you. i do not know what you have received"

Charlie Chan

"some people walk in the rain, others just get wet".

Charlie Chan

There is a very big divide.

There is a very big divide between voicing an opinion, making a suggestion and slander. The accusations levied against FGM implicates many parties. The implication is Air Asia, FGM and MCF are involved in fraud since the Asean initiative is an MCF sanctioned event. It says that one or more parties are involved in an attempt to defraud the Malaysian public.

Rationality, Chess Ninja and IM Jimmy Liew. You now have to back your accusations with proof. Don't try to twist this around. Your lies are going to be exposed. Deleting your postings is not going to help. Rather it is an admission of guilt. By now huddling together this further shows complicity. Check with your lawyers.

This needs to be done to protect chess or future sponsors will shy away.

How can our players be strong?

How can our players be strong when we are enveloped in a culture of fear? If you bring up a grievance or suggestion, you risk being "fixed". You risk being shouted down. Even the parents are afraid to voice up abuses. What kind of example are we setting for our kids?

Lets look at the game of chess again. One party presents a problem/idea and the other party is asked to refute it if he can. So its a game of reasoning. And it is presented in a civil manner. You can't shout at the opponent.

The game and its reasoning has to be played out in the full glare of the public. So part of the skill sets necessary for a strong player is the ability to present his ideas reasonably. You cannot be afraid of demonstrating your ideas in real life and suddenly be a lion on the board. The two are linked. Fear in life is shown up by fear on the board.

Fear of new ideas, fear of change, fear to experiment, fear to prepare and fear to train. I do not condone rudeness, I never have. If you disagree then let us discuss to find a solution.

And that brings us to the fact that I shouted at Peter Long at Mal/Sing. Am I proud of that fact? No, but it was necessary. If the morale of the contingent was lost in that moment, then it would have been irretrievable. So is there ever a case for shouting? Not when a child is speaking to an adult. And not as a weapon of first resort but maybe the very last when all possibility of reasoning has failed or when its an emergency situation. Or walk away.

So does that mean that I dislike Peter? Also no; I just dont think he is a good front man. He has no manners but I think there is a role for him in the backend. Just like I think Hamid is best suited as a tournament director. This is my sincere opinion.

I am told that Peter issued an apology to Greg but his offence is to every member of the contingent including the parents and other officials present. There were many people there so this can easily be verified.

As for IM Jimmy Liew, he has to learn to read and verify facts before he supports and promote hate and slanderous postings. It is not my responsibility to point things out to him. He is an adult.

Belligerence is a form of cowardice. It has no basis and comes from a culture of fear. We need the culture of reasoning to bring forth strong players.

The "new" MCF.

I see in the shout boxes that Mark will be victimised, I have been warned by friends not to criticize MCF or I will be fixed.

I think this is an imagined fear that we now need to overcome. Yes, this has been the culture in the past. Nobody dared to make a suggestion for improvement; very very few even dare to use their names when commenting on the blogs.

In my discussions with Greg Lau, I do not sense that he is like this. I find him open to constructive criticisms and comments although he can be long winded. I also do not think that our past negative culture can be changed overnight and so I counsel those that want change to frame their suggestion/solutions in a positive manner. And allow time for change to happen. Sometimes I see good suggestions from other parents or players but they seem to want immediate action. They seem to demand perfection. Everything is a process. Please try to remember this. An organisation is like a big ship. It takes time to change direction. MCF has many other considerations besides just the ones of parents and players.

But the culture of maligning other people under the guise of anonymity has to stop. The culture of lies and distortions has to stop. I would like to assure you that if your intentions are for the good of chess, you do not need to hide. Learn to express reasonably and confidently. Dont hide. There is nothing to be scared of. It is now time for the ones who are malignant to be exposed. Not the other way round. Why should we be afraid if our intentions are noble and good?

Do encourage every effort to improve and not the other way round. Then when we next shout Malaysia Boleh, we will feel what that sentence really means. Deep down inside.

Back to chess

Look at this game by Carlsen. Here.

For those who still argue against mental coaching, is this a case of lack of technical? We need to look at this aspect of our game or we cannot improve. Technical is not easy but controlling the mind is by far more difficult.

Monday, January 17, 2011


In Oct. last year Rationality accused FGM of cheating the Asean players. A warning was posted on this blog against slander. Another explanation of Asean was again put up subsequently.

Now another posting has been put up by Rationality repeating the same lies and promoted by Chess Ninja and IM Jimmy Liew. FGM has contacted the Secretary of MCF, Gregory Lau, as to what his views are. By repeating and promoting this slander, the reputation of both FGM and MCF has now been publicly smeared yet again.

Tolerance has its limits and compassion must not be mistaken for weakness. The final line has been crossed.

This is now our course of action. Unless all 3 parties issue a public apology within 48 hours and Rationality and Chess Ninja reveal who they are at the same time, FGM will lodge a police report to be followed by a report to MCMC to reveal the names of these culprits pending further action.

The power of belief

I wrote a while back that it is what we believe rather than what we say that dictates our actions and interactions.

If we had believed that we can beat Singapore, we would have had a better training session of chess instead of playing Chor Tai Ti.

If we dont believe deep down inside that we can, we will find a way to self sabotage. And even now that we have won there are still those that try to belittle that achievement. Why? To justify their belief that we can't.

And that is why the Captain of the team is so important. He personifies that belief. When he fights he sets an example for the rest. In a team event every little thing counts. Even if one player loses to an opponent in one round, the fact that he put up a fight may tire his opponent enough for our next player to win.

It is important that the seniors show that example when they play for the Country. All this dancing around, accusations, excuses, will not change what we know deep down inside. Do you still believe?

Lets go back to chess.

Firey Rook has continued to diligently post the games from Tata Steel.

Go here and here.

Rhetorical question

I asked a rhetorical question in my last posting. Yes, the poisonous snakes are out and they are regrouping. Now we see them banding together. Jimmy, Irrationality and Chess Ninja. That is good. They are all in one place.

Their tools of trade are lies, innuendos, belligerence etc. etc. It is sad perhaps to see our first IM sunk to such depths. A terrible casualty of the sick culture that had enveloped Malaysian Chess for such a long time.

But do we have to do something about it? That is the million dollar question isnt it? If we want to see improvement, see our first GM, see more success in our chess. A friend of mine told me to ignore them, dont even go to their blogs. I dont really agree.

Actually I think they are in chess for a purpose. And the purpose is for us to observe and learn how their lies work. It is not good to adopt the stand of seeing no evil; for it exists. And it exists for us to know what is good.

Let me share a technique I use. Open up your feelings. Dont be scared to feel. Feelings are a good radar for what is going on in the world. Go to their sites. Take note of the feelings that emanate from them. They use words and lies to confuse. What do your feelings tell you about them?

I dont think we should intervene or try to "fix" them. That is their method. If we use those methods too we will eventually become just like them. It is enough to just recognise them for who they truly are. For they have a right to exist too.

I do make an exception though. I do intervene when the children are at stake. They are not ready to deal with the poison yet. But eventually they too will have to grow up and face the world. So use this to help them recognise the lies so they can choose to be different.

But lets also not be distracted from what needs to be done. And that is to build a positive and supportive culture so that chess may thrive in Malaysia. They want to sap our energy. Dont let them.

ps: I have begun to delete those comments that ask the same questions over and over again. I think the purpose of allowing negative postings have been achieved. Thank you for participating.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Further musings while having Sunday coffee

Now that we have most of the poisonous snakes out of the woodwork, would it be a good thing to see if they can be tracked down from their Ip addresses so that we know who they are? Or would it be a waste of time?

I know we have lost sponsors because of these "enemies" from within. I believe many will stay away from chess and many have left chess when they see these products from our chess culture at work. I definitely know they are a terrible example for the juniors and the kids.

Clean up chess once and for all so our kids dont have to live in a culture of fear and can be taught to express themselves reasonably and confidently. These people only have courage when they can hide in the dark. Can they play good chess in the light of day? Or will their thinking show through in the decisions they make on the board? Have they any real value?

What do you think?

FGM banned from all MCF events.

When there was that outburst by a parent in Mal/Sing there were whisperings amongst the juniors that the man's son has played the last game for Malaysia. That has been the culture in Malaysian chess. Actually there was a much more serious event that happened during Mal/Sing. A senior player who was also representing a sponsor threatened to demoralise the entire contingent by objecting to the incentives earlier announced to the players on the last day of the event. Now remember that this was the time when we were trailing badly. I asked that man to shut up during the players meeting.

And yet there is no mention of this outburst on the blogs. This was a far more serious event.

My point. It is the sick culture that we have that is preventing us from getting that GM. Chess is a game of reasoning, of thinking. We have to understand what it takes to win and then prepare ourselves for it.

You cannot shout at your opponent and then say you cannot play that line or else I lose. You cannot shut your mind to reasoning and then hope to win.

Look at the thinking pattern of the people who shout in this blog and others. They take things out of context and then they spin into never never land. An irrational guy even went the distance and talked about how other countries wont fix a match with Malaysia when what I talked about is the heartache of parents over a handphone ringing incident that lead to the "throwing" of a game.

Sheesh, if these are our strong players and all they have are this tactics, then we deserve to lose in International Tournaments. If they cannot see that the purpose of the Olympiads is to play chess and not to sell books or make business deals then we are doomed for another 30 years in the wilderness.

If we cannot bring forward suggestions/possible solutions in a reasoned manner then we have not understood the lessons of chess.

I had a heart to heart with Greg in Mal/Sing and in my recent meeting in KL. He tells me that there are people who think that I should be fixed. But what is their motive? Is it for the betterment of chess?

This culture of fear is bad. Inappropriate outbursts at the wrong place is not good either. Being so selfish as to have no consideration for the welfare of the Malaysian contingent is far worse. And I see no public apology from this senior.

We can only progress by thinking about the roadblocks to where we want to go. And solving them one by one.

We are not teaching our kids to be gangsters. We are trying to teach them to be brave, to trust their ability to make good judgements despite their fears. We are trying to teach them to be great leaders for a better tomorrow.

I am still here. I am not stupid. If I did not think there is hope for the new MCF I would have shut down this site a long time ago. I would have taken Mark out of chess a long time ago if the best examples we have of our great chess players are people who can behave no better than gangsters.

Perhaps it is these people who should go. They have poisoned the well for long enough.

ps: And there are those who shelter in chess to abuse the kids. What do we about them?

What happens if the Olympiad is open to all strong players?

Would this force the seniors to play in more competitions to stay in the game? Would that be good for them? Would that be good for the upcoming players? Would this provide incentives for the strong seniors who have not had the chance to represent the country for whatever reason to strive to improve further?

Would this be good for Malaysian chess? No more free rides? Yesterdays achievements are yesterdays achievments. It is to be respected for sure but it is tomorrow that we are heading to. And we still have quite a journey to go. Which road will help us to that first GM in Malaysia?

Sunday Quotation

Always be a first-rate version of yourself instead of a second-rate version of someone else.

-- Judy Garland

Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly....

Found on Nicholas Cheah's facebook posting.

Sunday morning musings over coffee- Fundamental flaw

"life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards"

Charlie Chan

Lets think a little about the quote above this Sunday morning. Our postmortems in chess is only about how the line failed and how to find better moves within the game. This is akin to finding out how the patient died on the coroners table.

Surely the way forward is how to keep the patient from dying in the first place instead of looking at cold slabs in the mortuary. This means we need to look at how we make decisions.

If that is the case then we need to look at how we prepare, how we train. Asking questions like are we using the right opening for the right opponent, the right time control etc.

You can tell a lot about the state of chess in Malaysia by looking at the thinking of our strongest proponents. Do they make good decisions? Can they challenge past assumptions? Can they see the big picture or do they shoot off at tangents? Are they forward looking or stuck in the past?

Are they stuck repeating past mistakes again and again? This pattern of thinking is repeated on the chess board. Observe carefully around you.

See past the illusions, drop the self delusions and we will do better and better.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Musings over a cigarette

What if we have some strong seniors who cant afford or were not sponsored for Fide rated tournaments overseas? There are quite a few around who may or may not be able to give the elite senior players a fight too today. Should they be a part of the tournament too?

Fight it out and find the best of the best. Just curious.

International competition in Perak- report from KL

Had a fruitful meeting with the first gm team in KL and met up with people who can move things in Perak as well. We are agreed that we will back this tournament if we can resolve a couple of concerns.

One was of course our recent past history of dealings with MCF over the Asean initiative. So it was agreed that a meeting with Greg was essential to decide whether we will put our efforts behind this project or not.

We are fairly satisfied from the meeting that a new MCF is in the making and we will not face the same problems as before.

The second issue seems a little more interesting. As Perak is a borderline opposition State, will we still have the same government after a general election in April or June as the rumours go? How will this impact on the tournament?

Still thinking on this. Giving myself the weekend to find the roadmap.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Sharing knowledge- It is already happening

Slightly over 2 years ago Sumant came to stay in my house and he helped Mark improve his game for nearly a week. He helped Mark change from a d4 to an e4 player and he gave us a lot of resources. After that Lim Zhuo Ren helped Mark to understand preparation by showing him how to prepare a line against an opponent. During Asean and at the Singapore Open as well as Mal/Sing Edward Lee continued to share with Mark and together developing deeper understanding of openings and strategy.

Many other juniors have shared with one another. Jianwen, Jun Jiang, Tarik, Kaushal, Roshan etc.

And during Mal/Sing Mark and Afiq Afyfy shared from their understanding of modern. And Mark helped Sumant prepare a line for his next round opponent.

Currently it is not formalised and is ad hoc but I think there is a lot of power in these exchanges. Lets consider the scenario of the juniors. First, they are no Kasparov so in reality they have no real "secrets".

Second, they have no one else to help them since there is no return of knowledge from the seniors. Knowledge gained in part from the sponsorship of the Malaysian public. So the juniors only have themselves. If they share then others will share with them too. Together their standard will rise and give each other tougher and tougher fights. By doing so they are in a way also forcing themselves to improve.

Think about it. What is the alternative for them? If we formalise this then what I will do is to put up the names of each and every senior they will have to fight. We will look at their games over the years. I will ask every junior there to share of their experience if they have played against any of the seniors before. I will ask for their evaluation and conclusions drawn from the games. I will then ask for feedback from the other players. We will examine if the evaluations/conclusions are valid or not. We will then discuss alternative ideas generated by the group.

And then we will prepare. Each preparation based on their individual strengths and weaknesses.

And then they will continue to share as they develop their weapons. And at the end of the 5 days they will emerge and give the seniors a fight for the money. How about it? Would this be a tournament you would like to see?

The long road back

Read here.

Another view of Senior vs Junior

Read here.

Dear Ilham

Thank you for sharing your views with us. I believe more civil discourse is the way forward for Malysian chess. I see we are roughly in half agreement. That is good for a start. :)

Let me try to explain further the half that we are still not jelling and see if we can have a new meeting point.

With reference to point:

1. This idea was brought to my attention by Azhar as we were travelling to Singapore.

2. I agree.

3. I think more respect can be earned by the fight. Let me give you an example. In the first round (maybe second) of Singapore Open, Mark was paired against IM Girinath of India. Mark lost but I later saw Girinath at the bus stand. After learning that Mark was my son, he told me that Mark fought well. Players know if we are fighting or not. That to me was more important than the loss. And it is accorded more respect than if the player had gone down tamely. I'd like to see a Malaysian team of fighters rather than high rating without fight.

4. Personally I would only like to see one Senior and the rest Juniors if the stories of what happened in the last Olympiad is true. The purpose of that senior is only to guide the juniors as a playing Captain. From what I know, Mas could be that person. I too think he may have lost his fire but as far as I know he is not toxic. Maybe by leading a team of fighting Juniors he too may find the fire again. I know that they do that for me. The Juniors may be scared but their spirit is not defeated. There is a difference.

5. Here you are looking from the perspective of the individuals. I think its a different picture if we see it from the perspective of what is best for the Country and development. If it is true there is no more fire in the Seniors except empty belligerence but cannot play fighting chess on the table then they are no longer playing a role. So I'd rather see a promising junior player get the exposure which will give us a better chance for future success. Remember that the next Olympiad is 2012. There is still time for the Juniors to improve further.

6. The stories are of them going and wanting to sell books, looking for business opportunities and the handphone ringing. I mentioned throwing a game. If you read that paragraph in context, the ringing handphone lead to a loss of a game without a fight. Thus in that context the game was thrown. I dont know how this statement was twisted out of all proportion. From the feedback I have received it seems only Jimmy and Irrationality and a few more of their ilk see it that way.

Anyway the truth of the matter is known only to the seniors themselves and to those who were there to observe. All the same it is a painful thing for parents to hear about since they finance almost all the other International Tournaments.

Also the point is that it could be the seniors are already demoralised and if that is so then this suggestion has merit. This is chess and not boxing but fighting spirit is just as important.

7. You bring up a good point here and I'm sure it will lead to great debate. Would we move forward better and faster if we learn to share than if we were to keep our "secrets"? Look at it this way. From a National perspective, we are stuck. We have no secrets that the great chess playing nations dont know. Even amongst our closest neighbours. If our aim is to remain Jaguh Kampong, then not sharing makes sense. If not then we have to risk sharing. Then everyone will raise the standard a notch. That will make competition in Malaysia stiffer. Then we will do better in the International arena.

Let me give you a concrete example here. For the National Junior the strategy I devised with Mark was to find the lines that forces his opponents to play a middle game. Or to find the line that can only be simplified to a losing end game for the opponent. My observation is that our Juniors are not strong in middle game. And we only trained our middle game for that tournament. We didnt have much time as it was directly after SPM. I shared this idea with the parents present there at the National Junior. Our aim was not to win the title. Our aim was to learn more about chess. With this simple strategy now known by the parents and now here on this blog, we expect to have stronger fights in the middle game from now onwards. This makes everyone stronger in Malaysia. The aim is to do well, stand tall in International tournaments. Does this make any sense?

Actually in training, we learn alot more from our peers. This is well known amongst trainers. The juniors do not need spoon feeding. They need guidance. I remain confident that if they share with one another then they will see how to take down stronger players. The knowledge is already in them. All we need to do is to make them understand strategy better and do the necessary work.

8. The challenge makes sense if the seniors are no longer fighting. Anyway there is a very simple way to kill off this challenge. Convincingly trash the juniors and convincingly show us fighting chess in International Tournaments. Btw, there was another parent present too that agreed with this suggestion by Azhar. I too agree with Azhar. I think many others too agree with Azhar. This is not only about the Seniors and the Juniors. This is also about the financiers of International Tournaments. We want to see our players fighting.

Incidentally, I met up with Greg as well when I was in KL. I believe he also sees some of our points. If more of us voice up our dissapointments then maybe we will see some changes. If we keep making excuses for dissapointing results we wont go far.

I hope we are now a little closer in understanding.

All my best to you Ilham in life and in your chess. I respect your views but these are mine.

ps: Ultimately this is an MCF decision. All we can do is to express our opinions and MCF will have to weigh the merits and if they are in agreement, come up with the structure. We saw an excellent example with Najib who was responsive to suggestions with merit. I hope MCF can show the same type of leadership by example.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I like this quote. If you make the idea chess and continue to find solutions the sky is the limit. Good luck.

Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life-think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to SUCCESS ... If we really want to be BLESSED, and make others BLESSED, we must go DEEPER.

-- Vivekanda

I like this also:

"If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?" - Rumi

And this:

I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what is said against me won't amount to anything.

-- Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), 16th President of the United States

Kudos to Najib

It is good to see the example set by Najib. After complaints about the tie break used for the recently held 17chessclub tournament he immediately took note of the merit of the case and made improvements for the tie break of the renegade tournament on the 30th of Jan.

If we can keep this up, this augurs well for our new future. Lets continue to improve one step at a time. Then truly Malaysia Boleh.

ps: We'll be attending the 30th too. See you there.

Words that heal

I like the message here.

What amazes me is the number of hateful people in our chess community. They can take a paragraph about the heartache that parents feel towards the stories floating around and spin it to try to start a hate campaign rather than looking at the issues. What a waste of energy and time. And how irresponsible.

This to me is a reminder of how chess can be used to damage rather than build. What happened to these people? How did they get so hateful? Just what is it about giving the juniors a chance that is so frightening to them? All we are asking for is a chance for the juniors to compete for the places. Could it be that they fear that the seniors may actually lose?

The stories mentioned is the talk of the chess community. I did not say anything that isnt already talked about in almost every congregation of chess players, parents and officials.

There is an important lesson here though. Lets be very careful that the next generation of chess players do not end up like them. It may be too late for them. I hope not but they may already be beyond the reach of reason.

Look at it this way. If the juniors are now frustrated by unreasonable roadblocks that are put up by people like this, then does that increase the possibility of the creation of a new generation of bitter people? This makes it even more important that they do not get their way. We need to break the circle of failure and abuse to build a new future.


Imagination is better than knowledge.

Albert Einstein.

Musings from Singapore

I was asked by the mother of a Singaporean National Junior if Chess really promotes creativity. We always run around saying that it does but does it really?

Well lets think about this a little here. Creativity; thinking out of the box. Now if we keep doing the same old thing, is that creativity? And if we do something different, try to think in a different way, is that creativity?

Also when we try to think differently does that produce discomfort?

If the answer is yes, does that mean we need to tolerate some discomfort in order to be creative? Interesting isnt it for we have great resistance to change in Malaysian Chess. Does this mean that our chess is not creative?

Anyway, my answer to that chess mum is that it depends on our perspective when we learn chess. We can look at it as a General does, seeing the big picture and devising strategies to win by understanding what it takes to win. And that means giving due cognizance to the 4 components of chess ie understanding ourselves, our opponents, the clock and then the board. Understanding the psychology of the winning mindset, understanding the importance of morale, preparation, training and discipline.

Or we can look at it from a purely technical perspective. The technician. Ergo middle management thinking. Here we sometimes cannot see the forest for the trees. The perspective is too small. If we take this perspective then chess is not creative. It is merely operational. Necessary but insufficient.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Musings from KL

I met up with a few chess officials in KL and with a couple of them the conversation got to why Malaysia hasnt produced a GM yet. The reasons got pretty lengthy as to why we tidak boleh.

I cant help but think that in the corporate arena the people who dont believe in the project are removed. And one of the first things I taught Mark is that if you dont believe you can win, then dont play. It is akin to being defeated before you even start.

I am wondering if these officials have ever sat down and asked the question why they are in chess if they dont think that we can do it.

Mark told me that after playing the Asean Masters, Edward Lee said that he felt during the tournament that maybe the Indonesians are not that invulnerable afterall.

Have we deeply looked at our competitors withour fear? Maybe they are not that strong afterall. But if we really dont believe we can, then why are we still in chess? Is that why so much energy is spent looking for faults, excuses and so little towards finding solutions?

Role model

Just got back. I see some interesting comments on the shout boxes. Have some news but will save it for later.

Anyway, its a question of role models. If the seniors are fighting their hearts out, I will say to Mark and the other juniors; this is what you want to aspire to. Work hard. You have to earn your stripes too so you can join their ranks.

But if the stories are true.....Do go back to that posting on what I actually said about them; there seems to be many many versions....So I say again... But if the stories are true, then the juniors deserve the slots. Here.

I will now say to the Juniors (if the stories of the seniors are true of course). Dont become jaded. Dont lose your fire. When you fight for your Country, you must fight with pride and dignity. You must give your best.

So are the seniors good role models for the juniors? That is the question isnt it?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Final note before KL

To those that are not yet convinced. Think of this.

If you accept that it is the parents that are financing virtually all of our International Tournaments. That they are paying for our flag to keep flying overseas. That they are investing for our future by investing in our Juniors.

If you accept that the last Olympiad was found wanting. If you think that maybe our seniors have lost their fire.

If you think that a Junior vs Senior scenario can yield postive results.

Then why are the people investing towards the future have no say because of an administrative roadblock for the only Tournament that is sponsored? Does this sound fair to them? All they are asking for is a fair shot. They are not taking away from the seniors. They are saying the juniors have a right to compete for a place too.

With the new conditions added of course. That the juniors have the time in a well facilitated session to share and to prepare. This will even out the odds. Then lets have the fight. I am prepared to volunteer for this assignment. How about it?

Going away to KL

I will be leaving for KL in a few hours for a series of meetings to find that roadmap to the International Tournament in Perak. That means there will be reduced postings for the next few days. I would like to thank those that have spoken up in support of "the Juniors take on the Seniors for the rights to Olympiad". If this can come to being I believe it will be good for our future. That is a way to raise the standard of our front liners without incurring additional expense.

I believe we really need to stop shying away from real issues. If we tackle the problems one by one we can move forward. We have been spinning our wheels on the same spot for years and years now. One year becomes the next and we still have the same problems. Nothing gets resolved or solved.

I am told that Perak needs this event and I have also been reminded of what happened to the Commonwealth that was supposed to be held in Ipoh. So I go to KL upbeat but at the same time mindful of the problems that can emerge.

Do use this timeout to look back on the past postings. We have started the year well. If we can all pull together, with the momentum gained we can move to new ground.

All my best and have a good weekend. See you soon with good news.

Malaysia Boleh

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Parents have talked to me about the terrible financial burden they have to bear when they carry the Malaysian flag. Is chess really for the rich only? Unless you treat it as only a hobby then I can testify that it is not cheap.

Then what about the talented but financially not so well off. There are parents who are just teachers and yet they have a gifted child. Can something be done for them?

I dont have the answers yet but I hope some of our great chess minds may want to apply themselves to this problem. That to me will be time well spent. We need more solutions to real issues and not people creating more imagined problems.

Paying to represent the Country

The parents of the National Juniors are paying a lot of money to finance the teams that represent our Country. They have invested deeply for the future of Malaysian Chess. They also pay a lot to those that are earning from the chess community in the form of attending tournaments, paying for lessons; apart from paying for the trips overseas to represent Malaysia.

So maybe they have a different perspective from those that play chess as a hobby. Can you imagine their heartache when they see those going to the Olympiad that is fully funded and then hear stories of the players there not taking the opportunity seriously? Stories, true or not, of them wanting to sell books and not wanting to play. Stories of them wanting to lobby amongst the delegates for business deals and not wanting to play. Stories of handphone ringing and throwing a game.

As the major investors towards the future of Malaysian Chess do they have a case that the Seniors prove that they are serious about representing the Country? What they are concerned about is the road blocks that can prevent the Juniors from progressing further. Road blocks of our own making.

No free rides. If the Seniors are no longer interested to fight for the Country and if they are also not interested to give something back to the Juniors then what is their value as to where we want to go as the Malaysian Chess Community?

Locus Standi (with addendum)

The right to speak. The weightage is not always the same.

Take the question of the Juniors taking on the Seniors. Why was the Olympiad used as the example? That is the only tournament that is fully sponsored. Or at least that was the case last Olympiad to the best of my knowledge. In almost every other tournament, it is the parent who finances or finds the financing.

That is why when the parent of a National Junior brought up this question to me, I listened. I run a blog and he doesnt. He has the locus standi to voice his opinion. Their opinion has weightage. Some have sponsored their kids for 10 years. They have paid out of their own pocket for the Malaysian players to represent the Country. They have paid their dues.

The parent who got upset in Mal/Sing has locus standi to voice his frustration even if the other parents may not agree. I returned the SMS to that parent to say forget about the outburst; there is nothing to forgive. He has paid his dues and he has the right to speak although he may have brought the issues up in the wrong forum.

I too have the locus standi to speak on this issue. While Mark may have just gotten into the National Squad, we come from Perak where almost everything including the kitchen sink were thrown at us to stop us from progressing. And Perak has not produced anyone notable in over 10 years. We too have paid our dues.

The Seniors have locus standi to argue against the suggestion. They too have paid their dues.

But out of concern for our kids who are fighting so hard this is a question we felt we needed to ask.

PS: I just remembered another parent with a National Junior child, who was present during the discussion of the play off, and he informed me that he borrowed RM25K to finance his child's trips to represent the Country last year. Does he have a say about how things are?