Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Every new generation of players....

Must strive to go further than the old guards. Every new chess official must strive to be better than his/her predecessor. Then we have progress.

So when lies are spread that they are all washed up when they are not GM by 15yo, we must correct those lies. When they are told that they must wait their turn till the old guards retire or they will make enemies, we must raise our vigilance; if we want progress.

When they bully, lie to and attack one of our Juniors till he breaks down, we must get to the truth of the matter or we will have no next generation. I don't think all the IM's are involved but those that are not should speak up or be tainted by the action of their peers.

When they sabotage the only training available to our Juniors before National Representation, we must ask why? When they attack the sponsors, we must investigate the reasons behind those attacks and then we must count the cost.

Go there and listen to their reasons. Here. A handful of people there are trying to reverse any attempts by our chess community to progress. Go there and listen to them. Find out for yourself.

Ask them, what is their solution? Ask them why they need to pick on the Juniors? Ask them why they need to lie? What are they trying to accomplish? What is their goal?

We need our Juniors not to be afraid of them. We need them to see that these people are paper tigers. We need them to fight hard to improve their chess and to go forward.

And if these very very few people become our enemies, so be it. The price of ignoring them; the price of accommodating them is too high. The price is stagnation or even reversal of our chess ambitions. They are just too destructive.

So come on Juniors, get back into the fight. Kaulshal, Izz and all the rest of you guys. The race is not over. Dont let these gangster type people intimidate you. Tell them to pick on someone their own size. The road to those IM norms, GM is wide open. But first you need to stand up for yourself. And then you have to wipe the floor with them on the chess board. This is chess.

A reminder from an old post.


Good luck at Asian Junior Sumant.

Sumant Subramaniam of Malaysia will be travelling to Sri Langka for the U20 Asian Junior starting on the 1st June. FGM is setting up a remote support system to give him as much help as we can. I am hoping that the lessons Sumant and us learnt over the SEA games training and our lessons at Asian Youth will be helpful to him at this Tournament. Good luck Sumant and give it your best shot. Our best wishes go with you.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Wishing all the MSSM players a good Tournament.

I think this may be Penang's year. They have been working hard and smart for many years now. I think this year could be the year of the harvest.

Winners look for solutions.

Losers, whine, criticize, complain and look for excuses. And the worst ones sabotage. Isnt that what chess teaches us? What would the lessons of chess tell us to do if we want a win as a result and there are obstacles on the board?

Dont bark up the wrong tree.

Every time there is a gathering of the parents, I will hear grouses about MCF. How come we are playing for the Country and no Sponsors? Where is our uniforms? etc. etc. Is it possible that we are barking up the wrong tree?

The first thing we need to do is to look at ourselves. Chess has no spectacular successes like squash or badminton. So there is very little government funding. And I dont think that is going to change anytime soon. Second is that it is not a spectator sport like football so there are no TV rights like FIFA, to sell.

Sometimes I think we may be treating MCF like it is the Government. But it is just an NGO and it does not have Petronas to fill it's coffers.

Look further and you will also see that MCF does not have the people with the right skill sets or experience to deal with the Corporate Sponsors. NGO's like MCF may not even be stable. Only recently have we seen a change in leadership that may inspire confidence. But things still look murky. A written selection is a step in the right direction but it is far from perfect and too recent.

So I think we can see many reasons why MCF cannot by itself get sponsorship today.

But there are a few who still take pot shots at MCF disguised as anonymous bloggers etc. Speculation is rife that those people may even be from MCF itself or those that benefited from past abuses. What could be their motives to try to reverse the first positive steps in regulating chess? Isnt it transparent?

Before Asian Youth, I took the opportunity to speak to some old friends. Dr Nathan, the President of the Malaysian Tenpin Congress and John Eu who just organised the Maybank Open for Golf which carried a million ringgit prize money.

They have a lot of experience bringing in sponsors and working in and with Associations. And they have found solutions to the problem. I will be talking to them again to see if there are steps forward.

But clearly the Asean initiative by FGM was a step forward to getting training for our Juniors. Clearly the Thematics is a step in the right direction to giving our strong players a Tournament to improve their skills.

MCF is a regulatory body. It is supposed to set conditions so that Chess can grow in Malaysia. They need to ensure that our Tournaments benefit Malaysians. They are supposed to be our voice when our players go overseas by liasing with other Associations and Organisers. If they can do that well, isnt it enough? And are they finally not doing that now? Is there new written selection criteria? Are we seeing new responsible Head of Delegations?

So why is some people still telling you that MCF should be responsible for sponsorships and uniforms? Did they implement that in the old regime? Why are they trying to reverse any steps forward? Why did they sabotage FGM's training initiative for the Juniors before International Tournaments? There was sponsorship and uniforms wasnt there? It may not have been free but it was heavily subsidised. Wasnt that a step in the right direction?

So why are they asking you to bark up the wrong tree? Do they now need to be held accountable for their actions? Like I said, Asean is now around the corner again. Do the sums, see the results of their sabotage. Now you will barking at the right tree. Stop this and progress can come. Dont be a victim of misdirection. Focus on where the problem is and we will have traction. Stop using MCF like an old punching bag. Punch where it matters, where things can change for the better.

There are many things we can learn from chess. Apply competitor analysis, here, to the problem. What is the result we want and where is the obstacle? It is not personal. It is the result that we want. Identify the blockage and remove it.

Our image is created by us. Look at ourselves first.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Dear Zhuo Ren

The last thing you said to me before you left my home was that you had come wanting to learn about mental strength. You seemed disappointed that I had no pill, no magic formula. I am sorry that I do not have an easy answer for you.

Maybe that is why you took that "deal". It is definitely a more tempting answer. Guaranteed place. How can I possibly match that?

But lets look more carefully since I did not offer you a solution you wanted then. Or at least a solution that you wanted to hear. First of all, was the deal kosher? Did they deliver on their promise to you? Was it even something that they can or should deliver in the first place?

So why do you think such a deal was offered? Is it because they care about you? That they want you to succeed? Think carefully on this. This may be the answer you are looking for if you really want that mental strength.

Or could it be that they were frightened of you? Did you get a measure of their true skill level? You are going to World Youth. Use that experience well. We measured the strength at Asian youth and we measure "them" at only around 2200 in today's chess. Test it out for yourself there if you found the results of the SEA games selection unconvincing.

Something else. At Asian Youth the top seed was only 2400, the rest were 2300 and 2200's. The strong ones at least. And they are the best in their Countries. These are the 18 year olds I am talking about. So they are not GM's at 15yo are they? Will they become GM's eventually? What do you think? So are you that far away? And is the race really lost? Don't let them fool you.

They used your fears against you. And that can only be because they are fearful themselves. If they really believe that they can beat you fairly, they wouldn't have had to resort to such underhanded ways. What do you think happened to you when you took that deal? Was that reflected by what you did to Sumant after that? I have known you a while. Was that the same Zhuo Ren I knew at one time? The Zhuo Ren I invited into my home?

Now you are instructed not to talk about it. I say talk about it. Those deeds can only thrive in the dark Zhuo Ren. I think you know that. If not for yourself then do it for the next person who will take your place. Do you want that to happen to someone else too? Could this why our Juniors seem to be dropping off after U12?

The crux is this. Their chess is not good. Your chess is just starting to grow. You have many years left to overtake them. But not this way. Improve your chess. Drop the dirty tricks. They are only for people who do not believe in themselves anymore. And so they try to cast an illusion about how "good" they are.

Here is your chance Zhuo Ren. Your chance to be strong mentally. And this is the prescription from me if you want to take it. Tell them to stuff their BS where the sun don't shine. Improve your chess and meet them across the board and beat them. Tell them no more deals.

If you take that prescription, I guarantee you that you will be mentally stronger. Dont become like them. They have given up. Take the other road, you'll go further. If you do that you can achieve those norms. But not this BS way.

Your real friends will tell you the truth Zhuo Ren even if you may not want to hear them at the time. Come back down to earth and see who your real friends truly are.

When you are running a marathon.

There are 2 voices in your mind. One is telling you that you can do it. You have the talent. If you dont believe me measure the distance. You have done it before. And you can do it again. But you need more consistency, you need more training etc. The other voice is telling you, you cannot do it, you are not good enough. It is too far... and that voice in your mind gets louder, they shout more, the closer you get to the finish line. Which voice are you going to listen to?

In Asian youth, I was talking to some parents. They told me of the experience of a Malaysian student in a college in UK, if I remember correctly. They said the boy wrote back and said there were students there who were GM's. And they excelled in their studies too.

Think back. Stop for a while here. Think back and remember who has been telling you those stories that you are not good enough? It is not the parents of Juniors. Who are these people? What was their achievements? Are they relevant today? How many of them are even strong players? They whisper in your ears and they try to take you down. What do you think their motives are?

They attack the sponsors who can help you and then they tell you they are doing it for the good of chess. Look clearly. This is important.

I hear there is now a mini storm over the Zhuo Ren case. See here. Some people are upset. The bullies rely on your silence so they can do this again and again. Remember the case in Perak where the girl was robbed of her win? If there was no publicity, if the case was not exposed, it would have gone on. But there was change there. That PT was replaced and a better one took his place.

So I want you to talk about it. I want you to know what is happening. We are very close to losing another generation of Juniors. I want to intervene as best I can. I want to see this rot end if it is possible. And I think it is possible if we all become more aware of who is really destroying Malaysian chess. Step one.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Where is that glass ceiling?

Is it possible that our Juniors are already at that ceiling but dont know it yet? Did the SEA games selection show us that all that separates them may be some old numbers that doesnt hold true anymore? What would it take for them to go through that ceiling? Breaking new ground....progress...


I saw the list of the players going to Asean with a slight sinking feeling. Are we now looking for a new Yeoh Li Tian so we can whip up the hype again? What has happened to the older Juniors? The ones that we have invested so heavily in in the past.

How can we grow as a chess community? I think the answer is to help them succeed after U12. We need to see progress in U14, U16, U18 and U20. I agree we have problems with the older Juniors now. But this is where the associations, trainers and coaches can learn. Learn how to undo past mistakes so we dont do them again.

Look carefully. This is what happens when we send them out year after year unprepared. This is what happens when we tell them over and over again that they are not as good as our previous FM's, IM's. In Asian Youth a Junior player estimated that our IM's of yesteryear is probably playing at around 2200 in todays world. Does that estimation ring true? How can this evaluation be tested? There are huge implications if that assumption is correct.

When we set our eyes on doing well overseas, then that glass ceiling that is set in Malaysia will be broken. I asked Mark, "who is the player you most admire in Asian Youth"? Measure his strengths. Try to catch up with him or at least narrow the gap. If this can be done, you will be able to overtake the current level in Malaysia eventually. This goes the same for any of our players.

I told the players during the SEA games training in my home that you must be as well prepared as you can be for a major Tournament. That is the only way to maximise your learning. Go unprepared and you wont know if you lost because you didnt do your homework or because there is a real knowledge gap.

If we give up on the older Juniors now and keep going back to only the U12's we will never learn, we will never grow. The initiative to give training to the Juniors have been sabotaged by certain people. No more training sponsored by Air Asia. No more sponsored flights for parents and officials. And they are also now trying to sabotage the Thematics. I am sure that is because they are planning to offer something much better. Lets wait and see what their solution is. The clock is ticking.

We can only move to another level if we can identify what is blocking our progress and remove it one by one. I cannot see another way out of this trap. Have we learnt anything from the last 30 years? Where are our future FM's, IM's and that GM going to come from if we keep heading down this road and starting with the U12's again and again. We have been blessed with the raw material, the talent. Now how do we move forward?

Note: I see only Nabila surging forward now for Malaysian Chess. Well done girl. That is an example to follow.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The objective of competitor analysis.

The objective of competitor analysis is to find the winning game. So we search for gaps in the opponents knowledge, we look at their strengths and weaknesses. We look at their thinking skills. Are they linear thinkers or can they grasp complexities?

Are they good defenders or can they only attack? Do they cope well under pressure and can they be easily intimidated. What are the limits of good thinking under different time controls? Etc. Etc.

Then we form a plan. We measure our skill sets vis-a-vis our opponents. If they have better knowledge in certain types of game, can we take them outside their knowledge base?

Then we choose an opening, then we choose a line that gives us the best odds. To do this implies you have an array of weapons.

We had this funny experience while we were beginning to develop our models. After a thorough analysis of the opponent, I asked the player this question. I said I think this type of game will give us the best odds. So what weapon (opening) do you have that can give us this type of game? The answer was pirc. And we went on. All the answers were pirc. :)

No other weapons. We have now moved on of course. We are currently developing new openings and type of games to fight different types of opponents. And we are pressure testing each of them to see their limits.

So, it is not lines taught in a classroom that will take you to the next level. It is the correct weapon for the correct opponent. This answers the question, do you have the game to win?

Question: What do you do if you only have Najdorf against a superior expert in Najdorf? How do you fight if you are an open player and your opponent is a much better open player than you are?

And you cannot assess that without field tests. So again I say, the trainers teach in the classes and the coaches help you win in the field.

The coaches also help you to stay positive in the battle field. Sometimes he encourages and sometimes he kicks you up the backside. The objectives are always set realistically. You cannot expect your player to win if they do not have the right pressure tested weapons. The objective then is to learn, to measure. Then go back and train to increase your odds for the next tournament.

So dont beat up the players if they are not properly trained. If you have not strengthened their minds and prepared them for the fight. If they are not properly supported.

You will only demotivate them. Isnt that what some of us are now doing to our players?

Note: In my discussions with GM Ziaur, he estimates that in today's game over 60% of the odds are determined before you even reach the table. That means the correct competitor analysis. If you are fighting with the wrong weapons, it could be over before the game even starts; before the clock is pressed.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What sponsors see.

This was done by a psychology student. Now if a sponsor was to visit our blogs, what type of thinking do you think he will see? We say chess promotes the intellect etc etc etc. But what will the evidence show? Do you want those blogs and those few people on the shoutboxes to represent you? Is that who we are?

Asean and the next level

What should be the goal we can aim for us to hit the next level? At Asian Youth there were comments that even our current IM's will find it tough in that field. They would be categorised as weak IM's today. I think that sounds like fair evaluation from what I can see.

We know that we can produce strong players till U12. Boys and girls. Now Nabila is going for the U20 in Asean. I have always been a big admirer of Nabila. In her I see a strong fighting spirit. And the fire rages strong in her. What I am concerned with is if she has the technical support to bridge that level. You will need both to succeed there I feel.

Nevertheless I wish her well and every success.

And what about the boys? What happens to them after U12? Where is Nabil and Syakir? I dont see their names on the Asean list. Are we content to just have them do well till they reach U12? Are there any plans to see to their development in U14, U16, U18 and U20. The Juniors. Because if we cannot bridge this level, there will be no future Champions. No future FM's, IM's and defintely no GM's. We would have lost the chance.

Dont compare them to the IM's of the past. They are only playing today to protect their old ratings. I really dont think our current IM's can make it out there anymore. It's a different world today.

I dont think we can afford to be complacent. We really need to set that goal. Not only till U12 but beyond. And set in todays world level. Not the one in the past. We had better start to think about this and start planning for it or we will not break out of this trap we are in.

And to be fair, this is not something we can dump on MCF. They are meant to develop the base. This would rightly be the work of the Academies, trainers and coaches. What Peter did for Roshan is a step in the right direction. So dont bark up the wrong tree.

I think if Nabila has the same sort of support it will increase her odds. A suggestion if I may. Can IM Ivan do something like what Peter did for Roshan to help? Just a thought.

What is a warrior?

Say we take an IM and we pit him against one of our U12 Juniors. And the IM wins. Does that make the IM a warrior?

It's just a function of knowledge isnt it? Say this U12 can maintain his/her fighting spirit; say he or she understands that it is just a knowledge gap that can be closed in time.

Say one day the knowledge gap does not exist anymore.

Now and only now we will see the beginnings of a warrior. From the fight amongst knowledge equals.

We are doing well. Our entire chess community is moving up the knowledge chain with just a few exceptions. Some faster than others. Soon we will see our warriors born.

Is that something you would like to see? How would we get there?

Decision making is chess.

Part of my model of competitor analysis includes a psychological profile of the player and his opponent. Why is that so? Isnt it just a technical game?

Say you are a procrastinator, is it possible you are more likely to ignore a "small" threat on the board until it is too late?

Say you are conflict adverse, would you be more uncomfortable when the fight is brought to you?

But before you can start a profile you must first measure your own skill sets/propensities and inclinations. Your open game strength, your close game strength. Why? Because you have an opponent in chess. Your profile needs to be matched against his/her. You could be a bigger procrastinator than your opponent, more conflict adverse etc.

So I always measure first; before I do a profile and form a strategy. This is not anything new. This is normal practice in many systems of competitor analysis.

And if your evaluation is correct then the strategy should work ie if you can keep to the strategy under duress; impulse control.

You then make a series of decisions based on the strategy. In the direction of the win. Then there is forward movement and a win at the end.

So make your evaluation, be decisive. The ones who are sabotaging your progress in chess are decisive. They have no conflict in them. They set the conflict in you so you are unable to move, to decide, to think. Psychology 101 in action.

Look at their motives, judge their actions. This is just chess. It's not personal. You want a particular ending and they want another. Issues. Remove the blockage and you win. Our chess moves to another level or not. They have used the same dumb argument for years. They have stopped progress for years. You know that right? And they want you to think its your fault while they actively sabotage. The casting of illusions. :)

Look at relative value of pieces. Some are working against the plan. Now you have to decide which ones are doing what. To progress in chess, you must learn how to make decisions; form a plan and then follow it.

Question: Can the threats be ignored if you want a particular ending? What ending do you want? Focus on that and then look again at what I said above. Interesting isnt it?

For those that want to know more on the creation of inner conflicts, read here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Asian Youth report- The right tools

I was surprised that a player went to an International Tournament with written notes on lines to play. And some players did not have up to date database for competitor analysis.

In todays field and in an International Arena, I think having chessbase with the requisite database is a bare minimum.

Only Roshan had remote support. Once he finishes a game, he keys it in and sends it back to Peter. So in this day and age there may be less need for the trainer to accompany the player.

If we can arrange to have that type of technical support, I think it will be a small step forward. The trainer can also look into the next round pairing and give the same sort of heads up to the player.

This system is less than perfect but at least its a small step forward and one that we can implement almost immediately.

What happens when you drive the car with one leg on the accelerator,

And the other on the brakes? The wheels spin round and round on the same spot, yes?

I think we can all agree that we are fed-up of not doing well in the International Arena after 12yo. I think we are all also fed-up of the excuses. I think we also know that there is a lot of work left to be done and we are not going to change our fortunes overnight.

So let me go back again to the big picture so we can see where we are. We have a National body called MCF. They are mandated by MSN and OCM to further chess in Malaysia. That is why MCF exists. They are supposed to regulate events in Malaysia to further Malaysian Chess Interests.

So we see that we have now got selection for SEA games. Finally after all these years! We also had the first sponsored training for our Juniors for Asean last year and sanctioned by MCF. New responsible officials are coming to the forefront to help start a new culture. All of these things take time and energy to formulate and take off.

FGM started the Thematics to address a problem that we see our players are facing. The lack of high level testing of their openings before usage in International Tournaments. For the thematics to work as it should, it cannot be open to beginners. So there is very little income for the organisers as only a few players will be eligible. This means sponsorship is essential.

Look carefully. Are these positive steps forward? Is that the leg on the accelerator?

So where are the brakes that will keep us in the same place? Extremely high Tournament fees for International Tournaments in Malaysia. Beyond the means of already heavily taxed Malaysian parents of junior national players.

Sabotage of the only training program that was available to the Juniors before National Representation. Attacking the sponsors and their supporters. Even the bloggers are not spared. Anything that is tried to improve and move forward is attacked and sabotaged for the most twisted of reasons.

To move forward we need to take the brakes off.

So work out for yourself where the accelerator is and where the brakes are. Dont let the lies and twisted reasoning work. See clearly where we want to go and support steps in that direction. Be careful, the brakes are telling you that it is the accelerator. Dont be fooled.

Now we have no training for the Juniors and they are trying to tell you that they did it for the good of chess. Now there is no sponsored flights for the parents and officials and they tell you they have done a good job in preventing the destruction of chess in Malaysia.

Decide for yourself and decide where you stand on these issues. Stay on the fence and these people will take you back to the "good" old days. Is the evidence clearer now? Or would you need a total reversal of our small progress before you can decide? So take sides. What is wrong with that? Use the accelerator or use the brakes but dont stay on the fence and just whine and criticize.

Code of conduct

Nobody in their right mind will support a community bent on destroying itself. No good sponsor will do so simply because that community really cannot be helped. But the culture of a few people is giving all of us a bad name and giving the impression to the outside world that we condone such behaviour.

In the Lim Zhuo Ren case, I am told that he was attacked until he broke down and forced to write that email. I am also informed that he was lied to about the selection and told that a deal had been struck for him to represent Malaysia for SEA games even if he lost in the selection; if he wrote that email. This is unbecoming conduct.

The attacks by those few people on Air Asia has lead to no sponsorship for training this year. Do the maths on the number of people going to Asean this year and measure the quantum of damage they have done.

The active sabotage of FGM's Thematic Tournaments is a most vicious act. No alternative offered.

How are we to get our players to the next level if we allow this type of behaviour to occur again and again?

I do not think we can afford to close our eyes anymore. If they cannot offer a better solution then do not threaten the bloggers who are supporting the event and do not sabotage.

Our community had better wake up and start to work together to build a better future or we will all still be here 30 years from now and saying the same old thing. Stop these unrepresentative voices on the shoutboxes. Do not give exposure to the vile and slanderous sites. And do not allow these few people to intimidate you to the point you cannot decide what is right and wrong. That too is mental strength. Display this strength against these people and it will also be reflected in your chess game. If you can be intimidated by mosquitoes, then you have no chance against strong minds across the chess board.

Clean up our own house and the sponsors will come. Help make us a community worth supporting. Help to make us a strong community.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The parts, the whole and the disease.

Some guy on gilachess shoutbox says that having a Head of Delegation who acts responsibly to the players has nothing to do with chess. The venue they stay in has nothing to do with chess. What can I say? He has obviously never played at a high level International Tournament before. And he has definitely never been on the winners podium. So he is must be just an idiot.

Anyone who has been to Jimmy's site and seen the bunch of negative people that congregate there, because they are carefully nurtured like minds, will think that all chess people are like that. No big deal right? They have the right to their opinion, they have the right to slander, tear down, lie, etc. etc.

But wait. Are they representative of the chess players, chess parents, chess officials and organisers you know? Or are they like the few meek people who suddenly act like road rage maniacs the moment they are behind a car?

So now comes a sponsor. He goes into our chess blogs and he sees these people on the shoutboxes with a brain the size of a pea and much smaller IQ's. Would the sponsor think all chess people are like them? They are the most vocal. They threaten, harangue etc. The parts and the whole.

The entire chess community is now tarred by the same brush. What would a surgeon do if he found a diseased part in the body? That disease has even got the players to think they are at fault when they have not been taught how to win, have not been given the tools, the resources or the support to win. A malignant disease and it wants to spread.

What will you think of us if you are an outsider looking in. Would you want to sponsor these people? Are they in the way? Or do they genuinely represent your voice? Because if they do, then dont dream of getting good sponsors. The parts and the whole.

A suggestion. Close down the shoutboxes or delete stupid posts. Unless you are like them of course. Support the blogs that are furthering chess and delink from the ones that are doing damage. Then visitors may want to visit and spend time with us. Seriously, if the chess community is represented by those voices, we are doomed.

Fix the faulty parts and the whole will function.

The power of believe and the Mal/Sing. story.

Believe lends confidence. The first thing I ask the players is if they believe in the training they are receiving. Do they trust their Trainer, their Coach?

If the players believe that they are getting comparable training as their opponents are getting, it lends believe. It lends confidence.

If the training is started early enough so that the players can work on their weaknesses instead of doing quick emergency repairs just before the Tournament, it lends confidence, it lends believe. But all these take coordination, proper support.

If the parents know that they have the financial support, then they are less stressed and can be more supportive in other ways.

Now if the players are getting all this and they still fail then the spotlight should be on the player. That is nurturing Talent.

If the player has none of the above and he still wins; If he is able to run the Olympics without shoes and win. That is mental strength. That is grit.

Malaysia vs Singapore is no small thing. We won away from home. We won with less resources, less training and less preparation. So why is this achievement put down by Jimmy? Is today's chess comparable to running? How would our IM's have faired in todays Asian Youth? That would be an interesting test.

Kaulshal, if you had been given proper resources, given proper training and support and you didnt win, I'll look at you and say you suck at chess. I'll agree that its the players fault. But would it be fair for me to say that now? Be fair to yourself. Dont take the blame for other peoples shortcoming.

Today's Contemplation.

What happens to the barrel of apples when you leave the rotten apple inside?

Dear Dr Kaushal

I think you have described the symptoms afflicting Malaysian chess well in your comments below. Lets have a little debate. Read this first. Here.

For sure there is a lack of discipline, the lack of understanding of the hierarchy of priorities. Good judgement requires one to see a balance of views. Not only opinions we like but also opinions we do not like. And put it all on a weighing scale.

I hope you can see, these are not skills we are born with. It needs to be developed. And my friend, that is also the game of chess in a nutshell.

Now we come to the crux. As I said in the article, those are difficult skills to develop. Chess provides the passion to enable the teaching of those skills. But who is responsible for the teaching? So if we see our kids slowly sliding where would be the cause?

It seems to me that you think the players should take the guilt for that lack of discipline. I look at it from the other side when the child is young.

I made a stand in the Zhuo Ren case simply because he is no more a child. But the seed of what happened was planted in him a long time back. But at some point he must learn to move past the damage and take responsibility for his own actions. But what I am talking about is the damage inflicted when he was not yet an adult.

So I am asking the adults to be more responsible. Stop blaming the children for their own failing. The guilt should not be laid on the children. And I am also asking them not to sacrifice the child on the altar of their own egos/fears.

Then Malaysian Chess will progress. That is the responsibility of the adults. The parents, adult players; IM's, FM's etc. The Associations, Trainers and Coaches. Dont you think that its weird that it becomes the childrens fault in some of their eyes?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Asian Youth- The report

Ref: Here.

What did we do right?

On our arrival at Subic Bay, we were told that the Malaysian contingent had been transferred to another hotel away from the playing venue. However our Head of Contingent, Mr Yeap was having none of this. Just like Adzlin did for Asean last year, he told the contingent to put down their bags while he arm wrestled with the Hotel management. The entire contingent got to stay at the playing venue. A seemingly small victory but I think a significant one. I believe this contributed to our little ones who got placings.

Another thing we did right and a first as far as I know, is that the Head of contingent was present for every game and stood in the hall for the entire duration while our players fought their hearts out. He needs to be there in case any of our players got into trouble and need a witness who can intervene on their behalf.

So kudos to MCF for bringing a Head of delegation who was responsible and accountable to the players and sponsors. Mr Yeap has set a new benchmark for MCF officials.

Competitors analysis- The gap.

I focused more on the U14 to U18. I want to know why we dont do well after U12. Using the competitors analysis model we further developed during the SEA games selection, I proceeded to continue to measure the gap to try to get insights into ways to narrow it.

Here are some observations and analysis from the postmortem of mainly Mark's experience.

One thing that stood out more than anything else to me was the ability of the Indians to maximise their use of time to find deep strategies and their almost perfect execution of technique when the correct winning strategy is found. This is expressed by the way they manage their time. In one game with Jianwen, his opponent was on his 30 sec increment from move 18. This speaks of clear, sophisticated understanding and complex thinking as well as excellent impulse control.

This also speaks of well developed competitors analysis and models of engagement in different scenarios. To me this is very suggestive of the training modules we will need to have in order to move up the pecking order.

Another observation which I am currently attempting to address with our Thematics is familiarity with our openings. Mark played King Indians Defence for one game and it is clear to me that his understanding and practice of that opening is not deep enough for an International field.


As usual I shared with parents present as well as some of the players there. I was told by the parent of one of our protege's that our IM's do have a version of competitors analysis but this knowledge is not transmitted down. So we have lost a lot of knowledge expensively and painfully gained from our chess history. It is sad that we are now only beginning to put together a model from our current experience.

I am gratified that Sumant contacted me the moment I arrived back yesterday and asked for support for Asian Junior. So maybe we have something. Not as sophisticated as the Indians perhaps but I think it is better than sitting down whining and trying to shift the blame to MCF or other convenient targets.

Blame can only be apportioned to those who have and do not give. You cannot blame someone and ask them to give something they do not have. Clear enough?

Why do I say that? Look here. This pisses me off. Instead of passing down his experience, he tries to shift the blame again. It's OK Jimmy, you dont have to do anything constructive, we can find our own way. But dont try to shift the blame. That is unacceptable. If you cannot contribute, at least have the grace to shut up and stop putting down the juniors. You know very well that MCF do not have that expertise. So there is no need to rub salt into their wounds or to attack others who are trying to do something.

I am confident that by next year more juniors will qualify for the Olympiads. If you dont believe me, try out for that selection Jimmy. We are learning fast.

U12 shows we have the talent. U14 to U18 shows we do not have the training. You are not born with those skills that the Indians displayed. That needs to be correctly trained.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

An article by Marina Mahathir

This article speaks for itself. Here.

Direct link to Asian Youth coverage.


Today's Contemplation.

Wherever the delusion of your selfhood appears there's hell. Wherever "you" aren't that's heaven.

-- Abu Sa'id in Ibn Munawwar, "Asrar at-tawhid"

Asian Youth reports. May 15th to 21st.

I will be giving daily reports to Andrew Ooi of gilachess so you can follow the action there. Leaving for KL tomorrow morning for meetings so there will be no more posts here till after I get back on the 22nd.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Asian Youth in Subic Bay.

Now that that SEA games selection is over and the dust has settled, it is time for FGM to set its sights on Asian Youth. This will be our second outing of this nature, the first being Asean last year. The field for Asian is much broader than Asean and includes India and China. So this will be an interesting experience for us. I hope the lessons we have learnt at Selangor Open as well as from our training sessions with Sumant for SEA games will give us good returns at Asian Youth. I believe we have all grown from the recent experience.

My best wishes to the Malaysian contingent going to Subic Bay for Asian Youth from May 14th to the 22nd.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Today's Contemplation.

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend." ~ Melody Beattie

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Back from Selangor Open

It's good that the Selangor Open gives us enough time to fix our lines before Asian Youth. The games with Shreyes, Abdul Rahim Ramli, IM Srinath and FM Nicholas Chan gave us new insights to some of the flaws in our openings. I am sure that the Asian Youth will unveil new flaws but if we fix as much as we can, as best as we can, here and now, it will optimise what we can learn there.

On the flip side, we have new found confidence in the lines that held against tough opponents.

We were fortunate to get to play with both IM Srinath and FM Nicholas. This gives us a better sense of the gap. Also it is much cheaper to learn here than to go all the way to Philippines for those lessons.