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.


  1. I feel that we are not training like our life depended on it. If we look at china, they cant afford to play for fun and waste money because poverty rate is so high that everyone is trying to gain a certain skill to push them out of it. They train so hard, and once they plan to get out of china to play chess. They are GM's or IM's almost immediately with provisional ratings of 2400 or 2500. Wang Hao example, before Dubai Open 2006(i think) we basically didnt even know him. Once he came out, he won tournaments after tournaments. Who could forget, winning Malaysia Open with 10/11! They train like their life depended on it. Hard and smart.

    In Malaysia, most of us who play chess are atleast average in financial status. It feels that there is no pressure in doing well. Thats why we dont train hard enough.
    And of course MCF is not doing things correctly. No offence to officials. There is not much help, any increase in strength of juniors are basically due to parents money to pay their coaches/tournaments. There is no allowance, no luxury of being the best in repective age. It should be noted that in India. The top players ALL has sponsors. If you are a GM(irrespective of age), IM (respective of age) you are confirmed a sponsor. That shows there is incentive for being the best. This creates competition and this drive brings players to thrive to be the top. Malaysian players are too moody, when they feel like training they train. If not, they dont bother.
    That is why Malaysian Chess will be weak for now and in near future.

    And I think you are doing the right thing atleast to my eyes. I dont bother about others who say otherwise and you should not bother too.

  2. Thanks Kaushal. I think you can see some of the problems. But I dont think we can fully ignore the damage that these people do. Look at the recent SEA games training. You can find out more from Sumant and Mark. They are not just mere irritants. They actively and consciously destroy. So that makes them dangerous. To me one junior lost from their poison is one junior too many.

    Also look at those Countries that is not poverty stricken. How are they motivated to rise to the occasion? Compare with more like systems. It can be done. The gap appears big but I think it can be closed.

    I think a key word is believe. FGM is trying to get the support to address some of the issues you have raised. I believe it can be done. :)

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