Tuesday, May 24, 2011

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?


  1. Note that I am not on anyones side. I am only adressing the situation currently in "chess world" in Malaysia. Everything below is my own opinion.

    My point was, both players and adults are at fault.

    By adults i mean officials and people who are actively in organisations and some parents and by players I mean juniors to be exact, who are our future.

    I see most people on other sites blaming the officials for not doing enough. Of course they are right to bring up this issue too but look at the big pictures.

    If adults cant bring in sponsors its because of the players. Lets say I go to a big company and ask them for sponsorship. They would like to know what is credibility or potential of malaysian chess before giving lots of money. Not amazing I must say. Handful of IM's and FM's. Juniors now are going no where. After people like Mas,Mok,Jimmy,Nicholas,Peter and the likes, who are our future? I only see Li Tian. Is it not a shame? Only having 1 player who can be considered strong respective of his age. Would a sponsor want to give loads of money for a sport which lack of potential of juniors.

    Lets look at it the other way, lets try to put the blame on the adults now. I have come to know that there are sponsors to organise tournaments. Thats fine but do we need every weekend/month a tournament or do we need trainings for the players. What they are doing wrong is getting sponsors for the wrong reason. I have always been a fan of systematic training. What I think they should do is train the juniors. Get sponsors to train the juniors for free. Example, they sent Li tian to china. Almost instantly he became 2100. Thats what they need but now with no follow up. He is stuck at 2100. He is stagnant at his strength now. Give him more support. Bring in coaches to train juniors. Use sponsors for training not tournaments. I always thought if you can bring 30juniors roughly 1800-2000. Give them systematic training. I'm sure atleast 10 ppl will reach 2100 - 2200. Out of that 10 probably 2-4 will reach IM strength. Once we have a huge pool of IM's, atleast 1 GM will be born. Thats what the adult need to do. Organise a platform for training the players. Which I dont see them doing.

    I cannot pin point which is the causative factor. Is it because of the adults, the junior cant do well or because of the juniors, adults cant do well. Till we have both juniors and adults doing their part and correctly. We cannot move ahead.

  2. The above post was cut and pasted by me on behalf of Kaushal.

  3. Dear Kaushal

    I think you may have pointed out the causative factor if you carefully analyse this. Partly true that Li Tian is now currently favoured player. Just like Eng Chiam was at one time. Go back and I think you will see others. To me this shows intrinsic latent talent.

    But also consider this. Our fad is to much to the next name after the boy has reached 12. This indicates to me that we are unable to develop talent. So who is responsible for that development? We have the raw material.

    So I put that responsibility squarely on the adults.

    Now, lets go back in time to last year. Before that you must understand process. Nothing happens overnight just because we want it to. Things happens in steps, in process. That is the real world reality.

    FGM brought in a sponsor for the training of the Asean players. It was not totally free. But it was heavily subsidised. Step one. Now what happened? FGM was attacked, my partner and sponsors are attacked. And who lead the attack?

    Now this year no sponsorship for Asean and Asian except for FGM members. So is this a step forward or backwards. Again I rest this responsibility squarely on the adults.

    The players are meant to play. We need good trainers and coaches who can develop players to the next level. If the trainers and coaches are not up to the job, the players cannot be blamed.

    As I think you know, it is not only about technical. It's about discipline, attitude and mental strength. You have properly identified this. Now join the dots. If the players are not disciplined and have no fighting strength in them, where is the causative factor. Are you born with the strength to take intense stress? Or is that ability developed. Think on this one. Look at all that have been lost. Could they have been developed better? Hard one to see clearly. But try. The answer is there.

  4. If you say players are not to be blamed at all. Why are there IM's in Mok, Mas, Ooi,Ronnie,Peter's ( all are atleast 2300 strength) Generation and not a single IM or 2300+ in this generation? I am pretty sure in their generation, the federation was still the same, gave same facilities, benefits and the likes. Could it be that players of that time worked harder in chess? had the right frame of mind? had goals? Could it be the juniors now are just lazy. I mean its a problem too. If we can have 2-3 IM's in this generation we can hail them high and show potential and bring in BIG sponsors and do the plan the correct strategy to develop players. Its just that we dont have anyone to hail high.

    I still think there is no clear causative factor on this problem. Both sides have to change. Maybe adults a very slightly more to blame for incompetence in carry on noturing people like Li Tian and Eng Cheam but I still think both sides are to be blamed.

  5. I think it is commendable that you are trying to be fair. But let me now go back to the conversation I had with the parent of that protege in Asian Youth. He is of the opinion that somehow a "glass" ceiling was formed by some of the IM's so that no juniors can overtake their achievements. I think I can concur. I also saw this comment on Jimmy's shout box. "Juniors, wait your turn" "Do not make enemies...". I can only assume that if you beat the IM's then you will have enemies. Dont you think that is indicative of something? Find out more on the Zhuo Ren case. That also smells off to me. I am not saying all IM's are like this. But something bad has seeped into the system and it needs to be addressed. I am now told that bloggers who supported the thematics that FGM is trying to organise is being "adviced" not to support. I asked that blogger if a better solution has been offered to help our players to improve their openings for International competition? And he said no. Just boycott. Ergo, tear down not build. So there is a causative factor if you care to look.

    The kids, when they are kids, is a plain sheet of paper. What is written on it becomes the future player. That is the point. So yes, at the end of the day if the players are not disciplined it is a problem. But it is not an unsolvable one. But if the sponsors are blocked from coming in to help then there is no solution. Even with the best discipline, it costs too much for the parents to go it alone.

    So the preponderance on fault lies in one direction. If the players are fired up, given support and right training, do you think the star will continue to dim year after year? That is my point.

  6. Another point is that even if we get new IM's, this does not automatically translate into sponsorship. Sponsors look for/at something else. A few more or less IM's will not move the business world. But that is another topic.

  7. Malaysian chess is in bad shape as the players cant control their emotions and are unable to channel it to spur them to fight harder. Often, they get easily contented with their local results which I see is hardly a benchmark to being a "GREAT CHESS PLAYER". "Im the champion of this Open, therefore Im already good". We are inflicted with this sick mentality and cant think in a wide and global way of what the "GOOD & GREAT" definition actually means.

    They get easily excited by a 1st place finish and then fade into the wind, thinking the chess throne already belongs to them. No, celebrating a victory and taking pride in it is never sinful but letting it get to their heads is what pushing off players from the cliff of success.

    Futhermore, lots of promising players always think that their playing strength is way underrated and they say "Oh my rating is 1900 but im playing at 2200 level.". This again causes them to think that they possess half the calculation speed of Anand, two-thirds the positional sense of Kramnik and half the imagination of Morozevich and half the attacking prowess of Tal when in actual fact they possess very little of them. They just dont feel that they need to improve.

    Still, with all the support that some parties say we are lacking, the most important thing is attitude. You can throw your superb technical abilities down the drain if you dont have the right attitude. I say most of our players dont have the right attitude yet. They dont give their everything, their heart, passion and soul in what they desire. They dont give their best shot. They are just not fired up enough. Passion is seriously lacking. The fire is burning out. Its up to the players most importantly.

  8. Please read the latest article above this one. I think we are looking at the symptom of years of being bashed about. We need victory to reignite the fire. But a few are blocking any improvement.

    So to see success, we have to remove the roadblocks. If the players still do not perform despite the talent and support, I'll agree with you.

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