Wednesday, August 31, 2011

How far off are our Juniors?

Mark beat an FM rated at 2281 and a WIM at 2276 at Datmo. His first scalp of titled players. What does that mean? Our other Juniors have beaten and drawn with even stronger players. Again what does that mean?

Lets use Jimmy as an example. He was 2299 at Datmo and ended it a 2300+ playing at veterans. Does that mean he is stronger? Lets examine more closely. Now I said that when we played at Asian Youth, we found that even the 2100's there were playing stronger games than what we expected based on our experience of playing strength and the relevant ratings at local tournaments.

Therefore my evaluation tells me that Jimmy's rating cannot be used as a yardstick in today's chess anymore. He chooses his tournaments to only increase his ratings. That is not true fighting strength in today's chess.

Are you starting to see why he and his satellite blogs talk so much about rating? So what does all this tell us? Does it mean that the juniors are strong now and can replace the seniors? Actually it doesnt. They are still not consistent enough. But it also tells us that they are near to breaking that glass ceiling. That is if we continue to have selection of course. And they learn how to repeat their winning formula more consistently.

Now do you understand why the Juniors need to be attacked? Why fear needs to be injected into them? Why Jimmy's friends need to say, wait your turn or you will make enemies? That is the only way the current senior squad will stay the senior squad without continuing to improve.

But it will take the Juniors a little more time to become consistent. My belief is that if they can be encouraged to continue to move forward, they will replace the seniors who have checked out sooner rather than later. So the Juniors must not cave in to the psychological attacks. They must not be knocked out of the game by these dirty means.

Another way of looking at this is if those seniors who have checked out were to fight in real tournaments their rating will not be very far off from where our Juniors now are.

ps: In their desperation they have even resorted to using my name to attack others on the shoutboxes. That is how "strong" they really are. They are trying to sow discord and distract from the real issue. Ergo batu api tactics.

Shadow boxing and imagined fears.

This is my perspective. Every Malaysian that played at the Open is deserving of special respect. No matter what the result was it took courage to play in that very tough field.

They were not playing for Malaysia there. It was an individual event which they paid for themselves. It was a private affair. And so they can use the tournament for any purpose they deem fit. Practicing new lines etc. etc.

I was informed that Sumant and Zhuo Ren was being attacked on the blogs since I do not read the blogs during competition as my focus is on other things.

So lets now talk about shadow boxing with imagined fears. Who are these anonymous commentators? What do we know about them?

From what I can see, they are bred around Jimmy's site. From observing the shoutbox there, it looks like he is the conductor. I have seen them turn a full 180 degrees with a single prompting from Jimmy. They are shadows and they stand for nothing and believe in nothing. They are only there to serve Jimmy's agenda and ego.

We do not even know if those anonymous commentators can play chess. They have probably never played at high levels and probably never ever won a single tournament. And they are cowards. Hiding behind anonymity to spew their venom.

So why should Sumant or anyone of our fighters need to apologise to them? Why be intimidated by shadows?

I told Sumant at Datmo that these people cannot take away his right to play at SEA games. They are attacking his mind. His performance is solely in his hands and nobody elses.

Consider this. Do you remember how the rest of the team performed at the last Olympiad? Did they do well or were we distracted by the mistakes made by Khai Boon?

I have said that Jimmy did not take advantage of the high level tournament at Datmo to test himself before SEA games. So he has reduced his chances to shine and to do his personal best. The best strategy for him now may be to shift the spot light to someone else.

I told Sumant to avoid Jimmy if possible during SEA games and to stick closer to Yee Weng if he needs advice and support.

What do we need in a tough tournament? We need our support system, our self respect, our dignity, our believe that we can win against a tough opponent if we have done our homework etc. We do not need team mates who attack our minds.

That apology to shadows and toyols is not helpful. They have put more fear in you. What could be the possible strategy of these people? What would happen to you if you allow them to separate you from your support system?

Imagined fears at work. If you allow imagined fears to work, you may bomb and then the chess community will focus on that. Be strong Sumant. Look through their tricks. You have nothing to apologise for. Learn to repeat the formula that helped you win in the past. Learn to be more consistent, more disciplined etc. Learn to make good decisions.

That is the correct way. Learn to defend your mind against attacks from shadows and imagined fears.

The way to success is to train hard and to fight well at SEA games. Trying to appease Jimmy and his few shadow friends is impossible. So focus on what is possible.

There is something wrong when fighters need to apologise to cowards and shadows.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Monday, August 29, 2011

Are we going back to handpicked players?

"Juniors wait your turn or you will make enemies." Those were the words on Jimmy's shoutbox when we were pushing for selection for SEA games. I have been speculating with a few friends about the implication of those words. We saw the attack on Lim Zhuo Ren and now the attack on Sumant. I was made aware of the non chess playing related pressures put on Sumant during Datmo. It was brought up to me and I did what I could to help him.

So what is it about? I said that certain people are upset about the selection process. They want a return to being handpicked. And the basis of being handpicked? Fide rating.

So lets examine how ratings can be earned. One way is from age group tournaments where the gap is not too large, usually around the U12 category. Another way is of course not to play in strong tournaments but play in, say the veterans or just a weak field. And yet another way still is to play in a certain country where the ratings are inflated. So there are many ways to increase rating without improving your chess.

My opinion is that that way will not produce the type of players that can make our Country proud. Those are not fighters. They are the short cutters and they will be decimated in a strong field. Strong players are like diamonds, they are made under pressure in healthy competition. Make no mistake about this.

At Datmo, I saw a "new" player coming up. I am talking about Nicholas Cheah. He made a good run and with more high pressure exposure he may yet make it all the way to the top.

So this is what I said at Datmo. If we want selection to stay, if we think that is the best way, then we have no choice but to withstand the attacks from Jimmy and his friends since there seems to be no way to stop them. Otherwise our gains will be reversed.

This is how they work to get you to comply. Belligerence, haranguing, lies and slander and other underhanded gangster type methods. Not by reasoning or improving their chess to ensure their place.

They have kept to their promise as I knew they would. Juniors wait your turn or you will make enemies. And if you go to Jimmy's site you will see many not so intelligent arguments as to why high rating is the basis of strong players. From there it is but a small step to bringing back players who do not have the nerve to play in strong tournaments.

It will be a sad day for Malaysian chess if that is to happen.

ps: So Sumant, its ok about what you said on the shoutbox. It is very hard to withstand those kind of venomous attacks. You need a very strong support system in order to do that. You made it through the SEA games selection with our support and guidance, so congratulations for that achievment.

I am sorry they attacked you but then again it was to be expected. You saw Zhuo Ren attacked and then Mark being "banned" from KL Open. It's all the same attack. The juniors have been warned beforehand but you had the courage then to fight for your rightful place. You now need to find that same courage again for SEA games. Focus on that now. My best wishes go with you.

My concerns now are for those who come after you. Strong chess players who have paid the price of learning, strong fighters who deserve a chance. What will happen to them if we return to "manufactured" fide rating for selection? Will they ever get a shot? Will this be good for Malaysian Chess? If handpicked players are to return, who will they be? Take a guess.

So I hope the chess community will either take a stand on selection now or all the complaints will stop when we lose it. This is your chance to make a difference so dont blow it. Make your opinion heard.

Chess does not belong to Jimmy and friends. It belongs to all of us. If Jimmy and his very few friends want their place then let them fight for it in healthy competition just like all the rest of us.

Note: There are no objections to age group selection. It's the senior squad that is the problem. They have no concerns about the Juniors since after they have passed U20 and no longer Juniors, they will still be a long way from being able to represent the Country since their Fide rating probably wont have the required number. And so they will just disappear in time since there is no selection for them to make a come back.

It is getting harder and harder out there. Everyone is improving. Question. Where will Jimmy be in the Open? What is his true fide rating in todays chess?

Presumably new openings for the senior squad will be when the senior squad gracefully retire with their arthritis and pension; long after their due date and long after they are still able or willing to fight for the Country.

Report from Malaysian Open.

I'm glad we chose Datmo. More from circumstance than planning. We have spent this morning grading our performance and weapons. Which ones worked? At what level? Which weapons will we keep? Which ones do we discard or modify? Which ones worked or can work in classical and which ones will only work in rapid? Etc. etc.

Datmo was perfect for this. So I consider Datmo as a learning tournament. We had 2 days where only one game was played and two off days. This was important for us for we came to the tournament with 4 new and untested openings. And the tournament gave us the breathing space to do repairs as we went along.

So after grading ourselves today we will submit the rest of our games to our GM trainer for an independent evaluation. Our aim is to prepare for National Junior. So I am curious how our GM will grade us and for us to see if we are closer to the mark or still far off.

However we did have a pleasant surprise. At the last round of Datmo, we faced IM Yee Weng. If Mark had won he would have been best Malaysian. So we did our best. I like to think we presented some difficulties to Yee Weng. I think we surprised him at the opening but that wasnt enough. Our evaluation is we lacked the depth of preparation to beat some one of his strength and depth of understanding. But it was a good testing all the same.

We hit the ceiling but were not good enough to punch through. Yee Weng was also kind enough to show Mark where he had gone wrong. To me he gave us an invaluable lesson and that is the mark of a gracious winner and a true sportsman.

An aside: Yee Weng and Sumant are our representatives for SEA games and they played in the open. Mas Hafizul played in the US. Irrespective of the results of these tournaments they now have a good indication of where their strengths and weaknesses are. If they use the lessons well, they can make a come back for SEA games. But to me this at least show that they are still in the fight.

Ratings mean nothing. You are not going to intimidate anyone at SEA games with your manufactured ratings. The fighters will just view you as a fat cow to slaughter. Mark played 2 unrated National Masters from Indonesia at the Open. Ratings didnt mean a thing to them.

If you are ready for the fight, you will have the chance of taking someone 300 points higher etc. If you are not ready, you will just bomb. We also saw this at Datmo.

Yes I am talking about Jimmy who played at veterans. This doesnt seem right. To me he has checked out. And at SEA games he will not be prepared. This is my personal opinion. I guess his performance at SEA games will be the acid test. Maybe he has a deeper strategy, so lets see.

For the other SEA games athletes/warriors, I hope you will do a good postmortem from your tournaments and come back stronger. So long as you fight there is a chance. And it's not over till the fat lady sings. I hope you will do Malaysia proud. All that can be asked for is that you do your personal best. My best wishes in your endeavour.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Link to action at Datmo.

Go here.

Here.

Quotation

“More important than the quest for certainty is the quest for clarity.” -Francois Gautier

Today's Contemplation.

...that the method of the enterprising is to plan with
audacity and execute with vigor.

Christian Nevell Bovee said that, and it is a valuable
observation. As we approach this holiday season, and
you begin thinking about the New Year ahead, plan
with audacity.

And as you move into the New Year, executive your
plans with vigor. There is excitement in life -- but you
have to put it there.

Incidentally, you may begin executing with vigor right
now. Why wait?

The beginnings of a Team?

The joining of like minded individuals within a framework, such that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

The players job is to play chess. I see my role as the manager is to ensure that my players have the resources to go the distance, to protect their interests in dealings with other organisations. My role as Coach is to look after the mental wellbeing of my players. To help them rise above their trials and tribulations so that they are able to come back and compete stronger and stronger. And in finality to develop into well rounded individuals of good character.

But there was still an important missing link. Until recently, we relied heavily on online videos and sites to develop our technical knowledge. I have found it difficult to find the right technical expert who believes in FGM's philosophy of nurturing the players, of building their self esteem and confidence and yet increasing their knowledge at the same time.

We may have found just that expert in the GM who we are now working with. I have been sitting in on the classes and I am getting a good feeling about this GM. Although it is early days yet, I feel he has already added value to the team.

Our first testing as a new team will be at the Malaysian Open. One step at a time. I hope this will be just the beginning of a winning combination.

See you guys at Datmo. All my best to the players and competitors.

Malaysians at Universiade

Well done Nur Shazwani Zulkafli and good luck to all the rest. Here.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Lim Zhuo Ren. R13

Here.

Here.

Today's Contemplation.

"Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause, of fear. Perhaps the action you take will be successful; perhaps different action or adjustments will have to follow. But any action is better than no action at all."

Norman Vincent Peale
1898-1993, Author of The Power of Positive Thinking

Lim Zhuo Ren. R12.

Here.

Psychology of winning- Amorphous fears and the Coach.

As a major tournament approaches, the players tension starts to rise. Has my training been enough? Will I achieve my objective? What if I crash? Etc. etc.

These fears are without form and need to be dealt with. Here's why. Have you had problems sleeping at night before because the mind just keeps playing a tape that you cannot shut off? If the insomnia is not too advanced, a simple solution is just to wake up and figure out what is bugging you and come out with a simple game plan to deal with it in the morning. Then sleep will come.

Another way to look at it, if you are a computing buff, is the operating system is infected with a virus. If you ignore it the virus continue to operate and it can crash the system at the most importunate moment.

So those fears need to be identified and ordered. The first step is to review the strategies, make sure that you believe you have the right tools for the right circumstances. And that you are clear in your mind what the strategies and realistic objectives are. This will begin to reduce the internal pressure. Your coach has helped to reaffirm that you understand the game plan.

The next step is to reframe the tournament. There is a quirk in memory. You tend to remember the defeats and failures more than you remember your victories and successes. This mental image distorts and creates a perception of a problem or challenge that is larger than the reality you are facing. By reframing, rebalancing the pressure is then again reduced.

After both is done, you are more realistic and grounded as you approach the tournament.

Then comes the tournament. The tension mounts again. The lessons and objectives are quickly forgotten. Fear disrupts memory. The coach reminds you of the objective at the correct time and gives you a balanced picture of what is happening. The coach would have worked with you before and given you the tools to deal with your fears and anxieties. The aim is to manage the pressure to prevent you from spiralling, self sabotaging and keeping you in the fight.

There is too much to go into here. But google rational emotive therapy. It breaks down the different emotions and helps you identify the cause as well as how to deal with the different types of emotion. I use this technique often.

The entire process is a form of debugging. To keep the player playing at his optimum and enabling the knowledge he/she has acquired. Too much amorphous fears crashes the mind.

Different trainers will have entered the system at different times during this process. If you have an opening problem you will find an expert in opening to train you. The same goes for middle or end game problems etc. Trainers input into the system and not the other way. That is the framework.

I have noted a few discussions on facebook and I hope this article will be helpful in someway. I will be there so if you feel you need a chat at the tournament just come up to me.

All my best at Datmo and Challengers.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

World Junior. LZR Round 11.

Here.

The framework.

Datmo is just a few days ahead. And we get to test our theories again. We started out with a very basic model based on competitor analysis for National Junior in December last year. And we tested a slightly more developed model again in Asian Youth. Since then we have been following Asean and the current World Junior to see in our minds at least if the models still hold water.

Our framework has been competitor analysis. Know your opponent and know yourself.

1. At what pressure does your mind start to disassemble? How can that pressure be managed?

2. How do you handle opponents that are better calculators? How do you play against naturally intuitive players, players with better positional feel, better natural tactical players? Everyone has different giftings. No one factor determines outcome. It requires a parcel of relevant factors.

3. What is the strategy against measured weaker players, measured players around equal strength and players who are better all round?

4. We try to see if we have the right weapon for the right opponent. So we measure our playing strength for each opening, we measure our middle game and end game strength for different types of position and endings.

5. Etc. Etc.

We also realise that it takes time to work through our weaknesses and so we need to acknowledge what they are and not be afraid of it. One step at a time. And we begin our training early so if we do not have the right weapon, we can develop one in time for the competition that counts. And so we use other tournaments to track our learning, our understanding, our grasp of the strategy.

We use the thematics to develop new weapons so they can be ready for use at the right time and against the right opponent and in the right tournament.

As I have said before, openings, tactics and end game lessons in isolation has no framework. We need a framework to understand what we are doing and the direction we are heading. And that framework is competitor analysis.

Then we hire the right experts with the right specific knowledge to help us close those gaps. And I believe that in time, with the right guidance and direction, we will get to where we want to go so long as we are still willing to pay the full price for the transaction.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Malaysian chess community.

If we look carefully, past the noise on the blogs, we will see that the Malaysian chess community is a very inclusive community. We are still very tolerant and accepting of the vastly differing views that is the cornerstone of any functioning community and we generally understand healthy competition as the way forward.

That is why I think that chess can be used as a tool to raise globally competitive Malaysians.

We have a couple of dark spots but nothing overwhelming. Lets look closer at this. There are only one or two persons that come out openly to attack with lies and slander. Another few choose to remain anonymous. This is significant. Basically this means that they still feel shame and know that their actions are wrong and so they need to hide.

With only very minor tweaking we can help make this community a world beater. This is my sincere opinion.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Lim Zhuo Ren vs FM Soors Stef

Here.

Our preparation for Malaysian Open.

My methods are different from our main stream. I generally focus on the longer term. So we don't play most local tournaments for ratings or to win. The few exceptions being NAG and National Junior. My emphasis is always on learning. I believe the ratings and wins will come when we have learned enough.

Right until recently we did not even have drawing lines. I believe we learn to win first before we learn to draw.

And with each game we measure. The last Asean and the current World Junior has been educational. We evaluate the games and we ask these questions. What is the technical gap? Where are we stronger or weaker? In what area? What is their gifting and how does it compare with ours? How would we play if we are to meet them on the field?

And we approach these questions with total honesty. No excuses and no fluffs acceptable.

I also do not believe in last minute preparations. This leads to heightened anxiety. And we chart our progress in little steps. We have set small milestones to achieve and we work on them a little at a time most days.

Most of our work has been done by ourselves with little outside help from local "experts". I am very cautious about "experts". And so you have found us playing almost every opening under the stars. We wanted to find out for ourselves what we like or do not like. So we went broad instead of deep initially. And we use online materials and online videos.

The first question I ask about "experts" is do they believe in us and our methods and are they confident themselves. Many come from their ego and instead of helping, try to hide their ignorance from us instead.

So we were very fortunate to find this GM. He is still an active competitor and current in his knowledge. So far we have had 5 lessons. This is what he has done for us in this time. The first thing he did was to find the gaps in our knowledge. He does this by just playing and testing. And then he sends us the material to close that gap.

No hand holding. I like that. Now we are deepening our understanding. The goal is still National Junior. One step at a time.

As for Malaysian Open, our aim for this tournament is rating. Now we want to see where we are with regards to that.

Opening choices.

Here.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

IM Mas going for GM norm.

Good luck Mas. Go for it. Here.

Building our players.

We need to examine the correct reasons for the loss. Once that is identified, we need the player to agree to it and then to deal with it. And very often the player will need to be shown how and a game plan developed.

I have seen so many players lose for non technical reasons. And yet they are only given a technical evaluation. The solution isn't there. And so the problem is further compounded, deepened.

With no viable solution, the player continue to lose confidence and eventually they drop out.

You do not build a player who is suffering from a loss of confidence by telling them they are stupid or is without talent; their mind is already disassembling. More pressure and no solution will only hasten their downfall. By offering them shortcuts you are only ensuring they will never recover. You are only confirming their fears that they are not good enough.

The fact is different players will bloom at different times. And you cannot compare apples with oranges. Some have more technical support and at an earlier age than others. Also their giftings are not identical.

Mind coaching is a slower process but it works simply because you are looking at the underlying causes. When the real cause is examined and resolved, then the technical will bite. The knowledge can be used.

Zhuo Ren R8 in Chennai

Here.

Here.

Overview. Here.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

3 of our kids in Kunming, China.

Here.

Best of luck to our players.

Fide commission for modernisation.

Here.

Build their self esteem.

Recently I met up with an old friend who was a National Junior in squash and he said that the problem we have is that we lack confidence in international competition. When I spoke to Marina she told me that her brother Mokhzani said that Nichol David is an anomaly. He is also wondering how to repeat that formula to create another Champion.

I have said that if we nurture their fighting spirit, the technical will come eventually. Destroy that and no amount of technical will bring them to the top. That is the crux. Chess is a mind sport.

So how do we build self esteem, confidence? I say by fair handed guidance, by giving them the same tools as their competitors, by giving them the right training, by building the right support system of sponsors, managers, trainers and coaches; by allowing their minds to remain inquisitive and allowing them to explore new ideas etc.

And how do we tear them down? By giving them the short cuts, by telling them they have assured places, by attacking them and saying wait your turn or you will make enemies. By trying to ban them because they don't come from your chess school etc.

I have also said that there is enough pressure in competitive chess. By pilling on more attacks and fears you are in fact tearing them down. What we need to do is to teach them how to handle that pressure. How to confront their imagined fears.

By telling them they are all washed up by 15yo if they are not GM, you are tearing them down.

The way forward is to improve the skills of the trainers and coaches. To order errant organisers and to make the slanderers accountable. Then we will have the fuel for this journey. Sponsors and new ideas.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Round up.

If you go to Jimmy's site now, you will see that they have gone back to the argument that studies are more important to Asian families. This is another attempt at creating a glass ceiling.

The truth is we do not know. I have spoken to many juniors and their parents. Just look at the heavy price they have all made. Many have stated that they started out with the dream of being the first GM. The fact is there are too many roadblocks for them to move any further than they have now.

Consider this. If we put our focus on training our juniors before international tournaments, if we embraced competitor analysis, if good sponsors are not slandered, if players that are willing to pay the price are facilitated and not "banned", if officials are not sacked without basis and against the constitution when they bring in new sponsors, if new academies were allowed to bring in new value without being attacked etc etc.

Would all these things bring us closer to that first GM or further away? That should be the focus. Not coming up with new excuses every day.

To get all that done we just need a fully functioning MCF. That's all. MCF has brought in selection for SEA games. I hear the next selection is for the Olympiads. If we do not go backwards, we are in the right direction. That is already partly accomplished.

Now all we need is for MCF to bring to account the slanderers and the errant organisers. One step at a time.

The debate over the last few weeks have opened many of our eyes. Think on it. Don't fall for the lies anymore.

Without a dream, men perish. We are also much more aware of the technical gaps. Good blog after good blog is bringing us the latest games and ideas. But that in itself is still insufficient.

We still need that compass to give us direction. Right now we have built a car but without the fuel. Or maybe it's just the spark plugs that are missing. Either way, this car wont move forward if the roadblocks are not contained or removed.

Monday, August 8, 2011

No player left behind.

When are you being set up for failure?

Whether it's Eng Chiam, Nabil, Syakir, Sumant, Kaushal, Mark Siew, Edward Lee, Justin Ong, Nabila, Zhuo Ren, Tariq etc. etc. etc, no player should be left behind after 12yo.

Here's why. We are very far behind the other chess nations. We have very little idea of what it takes to make a GM. Or for that matter today's FM's and IM's. At this moment those(above) are the players who are closest to breaking new barriers.

Lets take a hard look. The training for the juniors before International competition is sabotaged, competitor analysis is not acknowledged, the thematics is not fully used as a tool for development, sponsors are attacked etc. etc.

With the dropping out of any player we lose a big pool of knowledge. Knowledge hard earned and paid for with a heavy price. And Jimmy is telling you that only he and his friends have the answers. And if you do not agree, they attack you, they try to ban you.

But let me ask you this. What have they contributed recently? They only talk of their past achievements.

And yet they tell you that you are finished when you are not GM by 15yo. The truth is we still have a long way to go. The very first step is to hold those people responsible for the sabotage accountable for their actions. They have no answers and yet they tear down any new ideas.

They want to go back to focussing on the U12 simply because then they do not need to improve. They just have to tell our older juniors that they are lousy.

If we allow them to do that, then we are setting ourselves up for failure again. All our new players will hit 12yo and then start to fade away again. And then they will say, see..I told you so. This is the same stuck tape we have been playing for years. And if you look carefully it has been constructed to protect a glass ceiling.

Take away our energy and focus from our older juniors and we will fall into their trap. There is zero reason why we cannot develop a GM at an older age. We still have much to learn and we still have strong forces that are against progress. Step by step. But lets take action against the saboteurs first, lets take off the brakes.

Note: There is a rule of thumb when you choose a mentor, a trainer or a coach. They must first believe in you; themselves believe that it can be done. This is important.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Soul surfer

Amen Andrew, amen. Here.

Don't believe the lies of you not being any good if you are not GM by 15yo. These are the lies spread by people who are bankrupt of ideas. There is a lot of evidence that it can be done after 15yo. So don't let them put you down and don't fall into their traps.

Love the criminal but hate the crime.

I remember telling Jimmy this once. I said I do not hate him but I am angry about what he is doing.

Personally I have found it very hard to see the truth of matters. Things are seldom what it seem. But I think that is the way forward. To see into the truth of things.

But some practice lies. They lie to themselves and they lie to others. I don't think that is the way.

Bobby Fisher.

Ref: Here.

See also here.

Yes, chess is truly a double edged sword. It can build and it can destroy. Look at the many ways it can do that. I have raised so many examples. We need to be alert to that.

It's a movie, not still frame. The unfair advantage.

Jimmy says I cannot have an opinion because I do not play chess. What he is really saying is that only "strong" players can have a say. Not the parents, managers or non playing coaches. Not the up and coming players, the aspiring players and not even MCF.

The question we have been seeking answers for is why don't we do well after 12yo in an international arena today? According to Jimmy's logic only he can give those answers. But he has provided no solutions. He has not even tried.

He attacked the first training program for the juniors. He put down suggestions to include competitor analysis.

All things work in process. So I submit that the juniors first need to overcome the glass ceiling that has been created in Malaysia. Step by step. You cannot do well internationally if you can not do well at home first. The selection for SEA games has already shown us that our juniors are not that far off vis a vis that local glass ceiling.

Now here is the challenge to Jimmy. Following your logic, I have given you a very big head start. Yes, I am not a strong chess player. And I have been in Perak for most of the time. In fact I only started going to KL regularly in late 2009. But I have started to slowly look for answers since then. And it was mainly from trial and error. But today I have developed the U18 and U20 number 2 and I have helped put a junior in the SEA games squad through selection.

So if you still think I do not know what I am talking about, I suggest you play in the Malaysian Open and show us how it's done. Talk is cheap my friend. Sabotage and lies only show your true character.

Show us how its done on the chess table. I do not play chess. So I may have been misguiding my players. And you have the advantage. You can draw from 30 years experience in chess. So why do you need to "cheat"?

Lets just meet on the chess table and you can demonstrate the error of my methods. That will be irrefutable proof. Do you still need more handicaps? Do let me know.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

In good faith.

This is a legal concept but one that has broad application. This term recognises that there are people with different understanding, different perceptions and paradigms. That the intention ie good faith is important for the success of any engagement.

So lets say the object is to build, to work together to bring our chess to the next level, we will still find many disagreements. So we will sit down to talk, to discuss, present our arguments. If there are still disagreements, we will agree to disagree, allowing time or new evidence to lead the argument one way or the other. All in good faith.

Good faith also recognises that no one is perfect. Not the juniors, parents, not even MCF officials, not the arbiters, the trainers or the coaches. Everyone is learning, mistakes will be made. In fact it is from the mistakes that we grow. So long as we learn from it. It's all a process. Patience. Resolve. Good faith makes all of the above a positive engagement.

Mala fide. Bad faith. (also see "mens rea") In law, if mala fide can be proven it can render even a contract null and void.
Bad faith is shown by calculated lies, non disclosure of relevant information and sabotage; by hidden agendas and ulterior motives. Engagement is then pointless. There is no good faith.

Now if this situation exist, can we take the law into our own hands? The answer is no. We need rulings. That is why we need a functioning MCF that is guided by its own constitution. All have the right to exist but that right needs to be circumscribed. That is why we have the higher authorities. They are the compass. They set the way.

Friday, August 5, 2011

And the spin goes on.

Here.

Actually when I got the feedback on the possible fixing, the first thing I did was to call Yee Weng. And he assured me that there is no fixing on his part and he was also sure of Mas and Jimmy.

Hmmmm, but I was not so sure of Jimmy. Not after he published that email from Zhuo Ren. And I also smelled a rat.

Consider this. If Zhuo Ren went into the tournament thinking he already had an "assured" place, will he play his heart out?

The other consideration was Sumant had trained with us and I wanted him to have a fair shot. But these are all conjectures and hearsay. So what can I do? I am not the authorities. But I have a legitimate interest because FGM has a player on the field.

I believe the only reasonable course of action I can take at that point is to report this to the ones who has the authority to act. And that is Najib and Greg. Isn't that the correct way?

I don't think anyone should play judge and jury. We need to follow the protocols. And that is also why we will submit a call for enquiry to MCF on the actions of Jimmy at the right time. I am not telling MCF what they can or cannot do. I am merely reporting to the proper authorities what I feel are sufficient evidence of lies and slander. That is our right. It is for the authorities to act.

I cannot explain why Jimmy feels that is wrong. Maybe Jimmy Liew thinks that he has more authority than MCF?

Change.

Everything begins with the resolve to take the first step. From that action, wisdom arises and change begins. Without action, nothing changes.

Mr the Rock. (facebook)

But with change comes a little discomfort.

I was talking to a chess friend yesterday and he said that they don't want to improve. I think that is now obvious. They are stuck in a time warp. For some reason Jimmy and friends think that they own chess and they also own MCF. So they keep telling MCF what they should do or not do. They attack anything new. Even a training program for our Junior's before International Tournament.

So I told my friend, chess does not belong to Jimmy. It belongs to all of us. It also belongs to all the players that came back to play when we had selection. Each of us should be able explore our own path to improvement without offence to Jimmy. That is our right. We should not be subject to lies and slander just because we bring in new value and different ideas.

Since Jimmy claims that he knows best, the right way is to prove it over the table. In a clean and fair chess competition. The ideas that don't work will then just slowly disappear. All the dirty tricks to defend ideas that hasn't worked for 30 years will just keep us backward. So we do not need Jimmy to tell us who are strong players and who are not. We want to see for ourselves.

And we look to MCF to protect our right to that space.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

What entry form Peter?

Ref: Here.

Your instructions were to send you an email. Presumably the details and entry forms are to follow. I have been writing to you since June 18th. So I am surprised that you infer that I have not submitted an entry form.

Assuming again that it is me you are referring to, then the proper discharge of your duty is in emailing me the details. How can I submit an entry form when you haven't sent me one??? Administratively this is still a "ban".

Let those without sin cast the first stone.

Ref: Here.

I am glad to see that Chin Seng is the voice of reason here. I was beginning to wonder if I had badly misjudged him. Chin Seng is right, many are not even aware of their actions.

Let us look at the scenario again. These are our strongest juniors. They are where they are because they are highly competitive. And with that kind of drive and intelligence it is very easy to go wrong. The secretary of MCF was present, at least 2 other arbiters were present. And they have made the correct ruling. That is what I meant by the cooperation of all. Even the parent supported the ruling.

Right and wrong. I counselled the boys after that. I explained that what they were doing was to deprive the tournament of the right result and other players of their right position. What was needed was a firm hand of guidance. Actually months later I was to hear these 2 boys explain all this to another junior. And the other junior also said that he was not aware that he was robbing others of their rightful place.

Chin Seng is also right that there are others involved. Over the years, I have spoken to a few juniors on the same point. That is why I am talking openly about this. We need to be more aware and try to give proper advice and guidance. Then they will bloom into strong players.

Now if the boys had lied and tried to twist the facts or they were multiple offenders then I would have viewed it more seriously. Measured response. But our juniors are not like that. They are all good kids. They just need fair handed guidance.

---------------------------------------------------------

Chin Seng, you did well. What I hope you can now do is to see this whole issue clearly. There is a rule of thumb that I use. If the response to any incident is over the top, there is usually something else going on. Try this. Take away Jimmy's IM title in your head. Go back into the history, the beginning. The attacks were orchestrated by him from the time FGM started the Asean initiative. Our very first initiative. See if the allegations of us cheating the parents and players carry any weight. All the evidence has been presented.

Do you now see that the attack on Sumant is just another way to muddy the waters. He has not yet replied to his complicity on the attack on Zhuo Ren. Now imagine if Zhuo Ren is Li Tian. If you can do this, you will now see Jimmy clearly. He doesn't care who he hurts or what damage he does. Look carefully. And then trace the history back to today.

Jimmy has a lot to answer for.

PS: My apologies to Sumant and family for any anguish that they have suffered as a result of this attack.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Lim Zhuo Ren at world juniors.

Game here.

And the truth shall set you free.

Ref: To comments and shoutbox. Here.

I suffer from no illusions that the matter will be resolved here but I think the lies can be exposed. If you have read what I said about the Mark/Sumant case, my point was that this is a common occurence when the kids are under pressure.

So here is the long winded version. Sumant won, he gave the win to Mark. They submitted the results to Uztaz. Greg spotted it and told the boys that the arbiter was not happy with the results. Marcus was the arbiter. Greg questioned Sumant and Mark admitted that he lost to save Sumant any embarrasment and the result was changed. Marcus came up to me later to explain. I told him no need. That was the correct decision. I even had a conversation with Greg about it after and we agreed that we need to keep the competitions clean.

Mr Yeap brought it up to me again in Subic Bay and again I said that was the correct decision. But still I praised Mark. Why? Because as we know it is not easy to admit the truth even when caught red handed. That took courage. So go back and read again what I said. No lies there. I have admitted what happened many times. My post was just a point to illustrate how difficult it is to make the right decisions under pressure.

None of the juniors are angels and if we do not carefully advice them, they will find it easier to take the short cuts. But we need everybody's cooperation to do this.

So lets juxtaposition the above case to the Lim Zhuo Ren case. Another short cut case. Maybe he made a mistake in signing up for FGM without consultation with his trainer and parents first. But I felt it was his right to explore. The solution was so simple. Call up and say he changed his mind. But telling him that he had an assured place at SEA games etc. was surely wrong. And what else did his "advisers" ask him to do?

So Chin Seng, let me tell you what I adviced Mark. Yes, he is angry with Zhuo Ren and no more talking. I told Mark to judge himself first before he judged Zhuo Ren. I reminded him of his own difficulties in making the right decisions in the past when under pressure. I believe that they will both get over it in time. Kids usually do.

Chin Seng, you also said I caused enmity amongst the juniors. I think you need to stay objective. You may have been affected when the decision was made for selection; I know you were disappointed at the last NJ. But the point is still this. All the juniors will need to prove that they are the best over the table and not anywhere else.

As far as I know the only friendship affected is between Zhuo Ren and Mark and I do hope that they will both learn from this and laugh about it later. So can you explain that sentence again? And for your further information, Mark's problem is not in having too few friends but more the opposite.

But do you not see the hypocrisy Chin Seng? My accusers are the ones that have lied and slandered. And they even went so low as to attack a young junior. Have you seen them having the courage to say that they are wrong even when presented with the evidence? I do hope you won't join them. Get over the selection. Prepare well for the next National Junior. I wish Li Tian all the best but we will come prepared too.

I will answer Peter tomorrow. This post is already too long.

KL Open.

Details here.

It's about decision making.

It's also about learning. No child has highly developed decision making skills. So they will all make mistakes. It is only when we examine the underlying reasons for those mistakes that we can see where the blockage is. And each child is different. So we need to talk, to discuss and to learn where the mistakes come from so there is progress.

Note: In finding the mistakes, I don't just mean the technical, going back to the lines. That is just a very small part of what went wrong. We want our players to learn how to handle the pressure and still make good decisions. Not run away and take the short cut simply because that is impossible to do if you still want to progress.

As their decision making skills increase they become stronger players. Note: The GM we have hired told us he asked a super GM this question. What is the difference between the super GM's and GMs? And he was told, decision making.

With regards to the chess community, we need to be able to discuss the issues too without being attacked by lies and slander. Asking for an investigation is not an accusation. An investigation helps us to make better decisions too. So we wont keep making the same mistakes over and over again. But Jimmy and friends want to keep the issues hidden, bury it. Again I ask. For what motive?

The unnatural order of things.

Have you noticed this unnatural order of things? Everything that has written on this blog has been discussed by players and parents in groups. We talk about all these things quietly. In every gathering, for years and years. But isn't there something wrong here?

We talk about the fixing, the unfairness etc. etc. in the dark. And the abuses go on in broad daylight. Shouldn't it be the other way round?

Don't we need to talk about what is going wrong in the open? If we cant do that, then how are we going to fix things?

Beyond the veil.

Ref: Here. Compare what he said and what was actually said. Here.

The fact that Jimmy and friends distort, lie and slander can no longer be in dispute. There are so many lies that I won't even attempt to list them. It will be a sheer waste of time. If you go back into the history, you will also find that FGM has never lead an attack on anyone but have merely defended itself. Yes, we have called for an investigation into the stories of the happenings in the Olympiads but that was just that. A request for enquiry.

What is usually more revealing isn't what is said but what is left unsaid. So lets look at that today. I ask you this question now. Which memory will serve Zhuo Ren better in Chennai? He is badly outgunned; the memory of what he achieved at National Junior or the one when he was attacked till he was forced to write that email?

The SEA games selection has already put paid to the arguments of higher rated players being the best criteria. So why is Jimmy still talking about ratings? We know that you can play tournaments just for ratings. In fact I am told that there is even a Country where you can do just that. So ratings depends on the type of tournaments you play in, the number of tournaments, your strategy in that tournament etc. It does not conclusively tell you how strong the players really are; their fighting strength.

A big clue was provided when it was reported back to me that Zhuo Ren was offered a draw from the IM's for the SEA games selection before the fight. Even more troubling was that a "deal" was made for Zhuo Ren to play at SEA games even if he loses; if he writes that email. Again I lodged a complaint. FGM has a player playing there and so we needed to be assured that the selection was fair. I informed both Greg and Najib of my feedback and action was taken to ensure that this did not take place.

In my article on NJ revisited, I mentioned that Sumant offered Mark a win. This is very common. Chess is very intense. And all sorts of temptation will be put before the players. I see my job as partly to help the players make the right decision during those moments. This is simply because that is not the way if you want to go further. Focus on the chess. If you made a mistake then take the loss like a Champion. Learn from it and go on. If you stay true to that path, you will eventually reach your goal. There are no short cuts.

So that's the players trap. To find the easy way out under intense pressure. The same goes for the parents. Our concerns for our child can also be manipulated. I see that in the Chin Seng case. I know of the inordinate power Jimmy holds over Chin Seng and Li Tian. We have spoken about it before. Anyone who knows the Yeoh family cannot help but like them. Me included. The incident in Najib's blog hasnt changed my mind about them. I know the pressures that the parents face.

Jimmy and friends are selling the short cuts. I am just saying that is not the way. The way is in helping the players develop the heart of a Champion. That is not easy but I really dont think there is another way. Look back into our chess history. The answers are there.

So there is no vindictiveness on my part. The way forward is through selection. Not going back to ratings that dont mean a thing. Those high ratings dont mean anything in an International field. Unless you earned it fighting Champions too.

That is what this is all about.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Malaysian Open: List of players.

Here.

NJ Dec. 2010 revisted: The heart of a Champion.

Some of you may be wondering why I say the National Junior is the best determinant for the strongest junior player. Very few players will get to experience what it is like to fight for the National Junior title. So let me tell you first hand what it was like from my perspective as manager, coach and father of Mark Siew.

National Junior was just 5 days after SPM. And so Mark had to split his time between his studies and still do a little chess on the side. After the exams he had only a few days to prepare. And that we did. With the short time remaining we came up with a simple strategy. Keep his opponents in the middle game. And so we worked on that.

At the National Junior itself, Mark found that he was losing every opening fight. So he went back to his lessons of keeping his mind strong and his concentration intact. With that tremendous effort he found himself the front runner right until the last round when he lost to Syakir.

That meant a play off with 5 players having the same points. Lim Zhuo Ren, Wong Jianwen, Syakir, Sumant and Mark.

By this time the boys had already played 5 gruelling days of chess. And they were all exhausted. Some more than others; depending on their run.

The play off consisted of a double round robin rapid. Players playing both white and black. And if the results were not conclusive then armageddon, a blitz with white having 5 minutes and black 4 minutes. White to win.

The play off didn't end till around 10pm that night. In the interim, there were some confusion over the rules, after the play off had started. The chief arbiter Najib Wahab was not clear with the other arbiters and he had left the scene. Just so you can understand what the fight was like, I asked Mark to take a short rest while the arbiters were sorting themselves out. I still remember vividly what he said to me. He said, "dad if I close my eyes now, I wont wake up". He was past the point of exhaustion.

Another thing. During the play off, Sumant was playing Mark and Sumant won. He offered Mark the win because Sumant didn't have a chance in the running anymore. To his credit, Mark declined the win and they submitted the correct results.

Finally, a new National Junior Master was crowned and Lim Zhuo Ren lifted that title.

All the boys fought like true Malaysian tigers that day. As a father and coach I was proud of of them all. In that one day I saw the boys grow up into men. Men worthy of respect. They didn't take the shortcuts.

Now that you have a glimpse of what it takes, I will tell you what it's all about in my next post.

Ref: Here.

Malaysian Open

New link to Datmo. Bookmark this to follow the tournament. Here.

Today's Contemplation.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life...Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.

-- Steve Jobs, Founder, Apple Computers

Yeap Eng Chiam vs Yeoh Li Tian.

Eng Chiam vs Li Tian. Now that's a game I would like to see too.

Ref: Jimmy trying to Jedi mind trick us again. Here.

What Jimmy and friends fail to understand is that the entire chess community has voted. And we have voted to have SELECTION. No more handpicked players.

He also fails to understand that since he has now won the right to play at SEA games, every Malaysian chess player will cheer the team going even though it now has one IM less. That would not be the case if he had gone in from the back door. The chess community understands healthy competition.

Ratings are only accurate when it is current. And even then it is not a measure of fighting strength.

We are tired of Jimmy and friends telling us who they think the strongest junior is; how strong our IM's are. Your views are irrelevant. We want to see a good clean fight. And National Junior is the place for us to find that junior. Every junior has the right to fight for that honour and we want to see for ourselves in a clear selection process. So forget the side shows.

What Jimmy fails to see is that we are already the majority and he and his few friends are left in past. We all stood up to be counted at the selection call. We voted with our feet and money when we made this year's National Close the strongest and biggest ever. So stop trying your tricks Jimmy. Go back and play real chess. And we'll see what your true rating is.

Selection is the way forward and this is now the new reality. So deal with it Jimmy and friends.

Monday, August 1, 2011

NM Lim Zhuo Ren at world juniors.

Zhuo Ren is our only rep there. Here. All Malaysian chess players are rooting for you Zhuo Ren. Play your heart out.

All my best.

Reply to how strong is strong?

Ref: Here.

I believe that is what we all want to know. How would our boys and girls fare without interference from outside forces. That was why we asked for the selection criteria. In the SEA games selection we saw an IM fall to almost all if not all the juniors. So FIDE ratings don't mean much. Nor beating an IM or a GM on their way down.

I wont argue about Mark's performance at the last Malaysian Open. Actually he did very well if you really care to check. The point is he is still U18 and U20 number 2. And I hope even you won't say that was a fluke.

I agree with you that the Juniors can improve very fast but I wouldn't use you as a yardstick. I would use Asean, Asian Youth and even World Juniors as yardsticks. The Juniors are fighting in today's chess.

That is why FGM took a lot of pains to make sure that the GM we selected is still in the fight today. Today's world is very different Jimmy.

I think this year's National Juniors will be interesting. The technical gaps are almost closed. A way to see an even better fight is to limit it to only National Juniors. That's just a suggestion. It will be up to MCF.

An aside: Actually we did discuss an anomaly we found during Asian Youth. The 2100's, 2200's and 2300's there were of a completely different playing strength to the ones we experienced in the Malaysian Open. One Junior commented that those Juniors we fought were on their way up and so the ratings didn't reflect their true fighting strength. That is why I don't think Malaysia Open is a good measure. We need to benchmark against our peers and in today's world.

Note: Li Tian was at the last National Junior but he didn't shine. Can we now discount him? I don't think so. One glitch does not discount him. He is still a very talented junior. It will be our honour to fight him on a level field. And I wish him well. May the better chess player prevail. But I will not take any hanky panky lying down. I think you know that Jimmy.

That was what happened in Perak. We don't want to see the same thing on a National scale.

So since the ratings are not altogether reliable for many other reasons as well, like number of tournaments played etc., the best test to find the strongest junior is still the National Juniors of which Mark is currently number 2. And that my friend is still the reality.

FGM wishes our muslim readers Selamat Berpuasa

Selamat Berpuasa.

Yeoh Li Tian vs Mark Siew.

Is Li Tian that strong? Aren't you curious? His tauted strength was seen from the last Malaysia Open, private tournaments. We dont get to meet him. He plays in the age groups in a different category. In the last National Junior Li Tian didn't make it to the play offs.

Actually I was hoping that Mark would meet Li Tian at the last National Junior but that didn't happen. Instead he met Lim Zhuo Ren and Mark beat him. Lim Zhuo Ren is the current National Junior Master as well as the current National Master.

I didnt think Mark was ready to lift the National Junior title at that time. He was too far behind on his technical development. I was surprised that Mark even got as far as he did. He was losing every opening fight but fought back from just sheer grit.

I hoped Mark would meet Li Tian not because I thought Mark was stronger than him last year in December but to get a measure. A measure so we can get to take the fight to him on the table this year. This coming National Junior.

So since last month, I got him a GM to bring his technical skills up to par.

Every parent thinks his child is good. We are all biased to some extent. We don't really know who is better. So we congratulate each other's child for any achievement they accomplish. All we hope for is a fair fight, a level field. That has been the unspoken agreement among parents of National Juniors. We have all paid our dues. Does that agreement still hold?

We do not begrudge the sponsorships any one parent can get. That is just the way things are and we have learned to live with it. But let us at least use the chessboard to determine the outcome of who is better. With fair rules.

Would you like to see a fair fight between Lim Zhuo Ren, Sumant, Nabil, Syakir, Mark Siew and Yeoh Li Tian? And who knows? In a fair fight maybe someone else will come and blow them all away. Isnt that the way forward? Isnt that what chess is all about?

So will it be Yeoh Li Tian vs Mark Siew this National Junior? Or will it be none of the above? Will we see the chance of a Perakian holding the National Junior Master title and the chance of a Perakian being National Master again or will other intervening factors come into play?

Note: The Malaysian Open and private tournaments are not the best determinants. I think the best tournament to find the strongest junior is the National Junior since all the juniors will be fighting one another in that one tournament.

Chess in the dark ages

A democracy is supposed to free the forces of productivity, of innovation. In a democracy even the government's powers are circumscribed, even the powers of the prime minister is circumscribed. In a democracy your individual rights are protected if you do not break the rules. In a democracy you are allowed to conduct your legitimate business free from harassment, free from attacks, from slander and lies.

Let me go back to the first time I met Peter in the first KL Open. He attacked and shouted at the parent of a National Junior. And he attacked another player/trainer. And I was witness to these events. Now he wants the power of the Gods. He wants carte blanche.

In Malaysian chess we witness the arbitrary sacking of an official. We witness the records of a Perak player (10 years back) who made it to the National squad expunged etc. etc..

In a democracy, our contributions big or small should be accurately recorded. Nothing should be added and nothing deleted.

And so now we look to MCF to right the wrongs. This is our democratic right. And as you know we need our institutions to work or this cannot be achieved.

An aside: I am curious. I have noticed that there are some among us who are a lot more vocal about "bersih" than I am and yet choose to stay silent on these issues. It is much easier to shout on the sidelines than when it is in our homes, our community.

We wont have that GM if we continue to allow tyranny to rule chess. Lets get Malaysian chess out of the dark ages. Amen.