Friday, January 14, 2011

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.


  1. Thank you for clarifying matters especially about losing the game without a fight. I for one initially thought that "throwing a game" was stating that Mas had lost his game intentionally in a morally wrong manner. My English is not that good so looking up the Mirriam-Webster dictionary, the term "throw a game" means "to lose intentionally". I think you did not mean that. Perhaps wording it differently and NOT using the term "throwing a game" is more sensible.

  2. Agreed. The comments by Jimmy and Irrationality did threaten to spin the words used out of context. Their English is slightly better than most so I can only assume bad intentions on their part. I hope I have clarified here.

  3. Please dont make assumptions, you look stupid

  4. chess is same like football. It doesnt matter how many times you beat Manchester United (seniors) or draw with them, its the amount of trophies (performance) you won that ppl will remember. So how many times did West Ham United (juniors) won the English Premier League(Selangor Open) or be the best at Champions League (Malaysia Open)? These are already the criterias to represent Malaysia, not just a one game event against the seniors. Try putting juniors against the Mamak Gang and im sure the Mamak Gang will win.

  5. I like this. Strong opinions for and strong opinions against. This will be quite a fight. For the seniors to show us that they are still relevant and for the juniors to show why they are our future hope. Lets call this the wake up tournament.

  6. Hi Raymond
    You have heard mine. I have heard yours.

    Lets agree to disagree on this particular subject and lets move on.


  7. Sharing is good. The most important is to find a coach that really can improve the juniors game. I propose a good GM trainer. No need to waste money travelling all around the world before get a good coach. Find a coach first.

    Chess Teacher

  8. Wrong approach chess teacher. The best approach is always to use what you have first and to move as far as you can with what you have. Sitting down and waiting for that coach normally means that you would always be waiting. Why introduce a new problem? If we had done what you suggest we would still be in Ipoh hoping to find that coach instead of nearly winning the National Junior. As they say when the student is ready the master will come. Always use what you have first.

  9. Hi Ilham

    Sure thing. At least we agree that this is one tournament that can be hot. Whether the Olympiad is attached or not will be up to the wisdom of MCF.

    All my best

  10. Ref to finding a good coach first. Try to learn from past mistakes first. We had Ziaur Rahman. What happened? We have IM's who dont return knowledge to the National Junior squad despite the opportunities provided to them by the Country. Also know your limits about wasting money. That is a really dumb statement. It is the parent who finances their child to play for the Country. You have no locus standi here to object. We have locus standi to object only when public money ie sponsors money is spent.

  11. I notice that the senior players who got direct coaching from the late e.gufeld became strong players untill today. They dominate about 15-20 years because they got the correct coach. Self coaching and sharing is a minor technique which can improve slowly. Correct coaching + correct tnmnt + sharing(group) + talent = success.

    Chess teacher.

  12. You see what you want to see. Maybe there are other reasons why they have dominated for so long. Anyway instead of waiting for "Gufield" to come again maybe we can challenge this illusion. They look kinda stuck to me. What have we got to lose? And you can change your title to chess learner after the tournament. Chess teacher is not a good title in Malaysia. No success.

  13. What's wrong with being a chess teacher? I take offense that you make sweeping statements that chess teachers are not successful.

  14. The juniors these days are not as strong or hardworking as the juniors those days. Even during their time, they dont have IM's in the country to guide them to this level, its all pure hard work. What you want is the SHORT CUT, spoonfeeding by our successful seniors, and you seem to be jealous of their success, not even crediting them for their achievements i.e Sea Games Bronze (Beating Indonesia), beating teams like Canada, Switzerland, Iran etc etc. Chess is not like other sports, whereby once you grow old, the young will overtake as you lose out on physical terms. Even if we put the juniors in the olympiad, trust me they are not even ready to conquer the ASEAN Age Groups, what more a battlefield?
    For now i see only Yeoh Li Tian deserves a spot, others are no match to the seniors. Enough said

  15. Anonymous 1. How can you take offence? You are a non entity without a name?

    Anonymous 2. Where is the short cut? We are asking for a fight. The past is history. We are talking about the future unless you think we have already reached the pinacle of Malaysian chess.

    To both anonymous. Your opinions will carry a lot more weight if you dare give your name. It is hard to erase the thought that you are cowards otherwise. Do it and perhaps you will have have converts to your way of thinking. Just trying to help you guys out here, teacher plus one.

  16. we already reached the pinacle of chess. But with your ideas, we might reach the pineapple of chess

  17. Why do you aim so low and why are you so afraid of ideas?

  18. Fair deal to the seniors in the Olympiads. If there was selection, and they won the selection to go. They should good even if they have been in the scene for 20-30 years. This just means the juniors are still not up to par yet and if they want to play, they got to be better.

  19. I agree with you. Next time you post please use a name. Thank you.

  20. Sorry, I meant I agree so long as there is fair selection.