In a players meeting during Mal/Singapore a veteran announced that there is no such thing as a strong team only strong players when he proposed a player to play in the match. I think this is a very dangerous misconception and probably one that has kept us from moving forward.
Let us look at this statement in greater depth. Superficially there appears to be some truth in it. Chess is an individual game. It is fought one board at a time. But does team morale matter? Does it matter if a non playing team member cheer you on when you are up against a tough opponent? OK, these are psychological questions.
A "strong" chess player's mind is like a castle...no negative thoughts can penetrate this well fortified mind. I think that is his point. What does the evidence show you? Think of the "strong" players we have. Does this statement reflect on the evidence?
And then what about when your team mate helps you prepare a special line for your next round opponent. When they want to share because they feel included. They may have specific knowledge about the opponent you are going up against. Does this tip the balance?
There are so many other examples to show that this statement holds no water and yet the fallacy has stayed for so long. Deeply entrenched excuses that have kept us back for so many years. Bad demoralising behavior by officials, coaches and even sponsors explained away with this statement.
The morale of the team is important. I hope we will take note of what happened at Mal/Singapore and get rid of this terrible excuse once and for all.
I believe the sharing culture of our Juniors (if they can keep it up) will trump the island mentality of the Seniors. Lets put it to the test.