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.


  1. I think Sun Tzu said the same thing about 2500 years ago.

    "Knowing yourself is half the battle won, knowing your enemy would be the other half"

    I guess it doesn't take a genius to extrapolate the art of war to chess.

  2. I absolutely agree. But somehow, this understanding is not applied to Malaysian chess. The focus is on technical. Look for yourself. Some cannot even read objectively. They twist and turn and distort. They deny their weaknesses and they try to pretend to be strong when they are obviously not. To apply Sun Tzu we have to be honest with ourselves first and only then we can see our enemies clearly. So its more than just a quote, its a way of being.

  3. We dont even have proper training or competitor analysis before tournament. Sponsors who try to come in to help are attacked in the most vicious ways. So we are stuck. Maybe an application of Sun Tzu's quote to ourselves is the appropriate response to our quandary now before we try to take on an International Field. Who are these people who are sabotaging any progress and how can we stop them from doing anymore damage. Then maybe we can have some traction finally. Application of the quote. Can we do it?