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.