Friday, September 30, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Courage comes from character.

And vice versa. I have said that confidence is hard to develop. You are not born with courage, with confidence. It can only come when you pay the price of not taking the easy way out. So it has to be carefully nurtured and developed.

I have also said that if the fighting spirit is strong then the technical will come eventually. Lets look at a GM run. You need to beat GM's to get a norm. At that time GM's will probably be your technical superior. So you will need tons of courage.

Note: Competitor analysis and profiling can aid but it cannot replace courage.

So when I see someone who attacks a training program meant for the juniors, attack a program meant to help the parents save some money, attack the thematics meant to provide training tournaments, attack the juniors till they break down, it tells me something about their character.

Is it surprising that they can now lose to players who are around 2100? And is it surprising that they will find tons of excuses to hide their failings? So can that glass ceiling be breached? I think so.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

All actions are driven by a core belief system.

It's not the belief system that one espouses but the one that is deep inside. Once you can see that then random actions stop being random.

Note to Jimmy.

Ref: Here.

Maybe you can also show us the game with Jax Tham where you lost as white. I suggest some show of mastery at SEA games will do more to convince us of your superiority.

Today's Contemplation.

One's dignity may be assaulted, vandalized and cruelly mocked, but cannot be taken away unless it is surrendered.

-- Michael J. Fox

Congratulations Jimmy.

Ref: Here and here.

Bravo! You are the consummate magician. Able to make demons/ghosts/toyols appear and disappear at will. And in broad daylight too! No wonder you have such contempt for the chess community and the juniors. We can all be broken and tricked at will by your amazing mastery.

So what if we dont have proper training, so what if LZR and Sumant is traumatised by your little games. You have lived up to your reputation as the go to guy. You can make players reappear even if they fail selection.

If only all that energy had gone towards improving your chess you might have beaten Fadzil. But then again maybe not. Afterall we are only here to feed your ego.

It doesn't matter if the rest of us is now wondering what is the point of selection if it's only a charade. The really important thing is that the glass ceiling must not be broken.

So now we won't know what it could have been like if the juniors were given proper support and training. Well done again! We can now all sit back and wait to see the results of your machinations at SEA games.

Monday, September 26, 2011

An interesting article on stress.


National Rapid at UTP. 1st and 2nd Oct.

Reminder. Here.

See you guys there.

Congratulations Fadzil Nayan.


From a Turkey movie.

Heroine fighter comes to town just in time to befriend woman who was subsequently killed by mobster. The victim has a younger brother who has some computing skills but little else. In the final encounter heroine asks the younger brother to stay away. But he insists on going. Heroine asks why?

He said, "This is not your fight. She was my sister. I am afraid of what will happen to me if I don't fight this fight."

In final encounter, younger brother didn't do much except throw a stone which changed final outcome.

Hmmmm, maybe not so Turkey afterall.

Note: Fighting does not equate to violence. It is enough to resist intimidation and fear.

Do not fear death so much, but rather the inadequate life.

-- Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

From a story.

Psychological damage.

A senior law enforcement agent was asked why she retired early from a promising career. She mentioned one horrendous case where she felt she let down the victim of a crime.

This is what she said. "It's like a naval convoy where one of the battleships gets holed below the waterline. No visible damage, but it falls a little behind, and then a little more, and it drifts a little off course. And then when the next big engagement comes along it's completely out of sight. That was me."

I hear we are sending a strong U16 team to Turkey. Here. Lets value them. My best wishes to those Juniors and I hope you guys will break out from that false glass ceiling sooner rather than later.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Interview with GM elect Barbosa.


Also see comment here.

Steps to world beater.

Ref: Here.

I wonder why he says that we have no world beaters among the juniors? Isn't the steps from weak IM's to strong IM's. From IM's to GM's. From weak GM's to strong GM's. And from strong GM's to world beaters?

Why this separation? An impossible target for the juniors when even our IM's are struggling.

Steps to recovery.

From denial we need to get to acknowledgement. And from knee jerks we need to get to considered decisions.

Implications from GM interview below.

Ref: Here.

He made GM at age 26. I think that's a more realistic number. Given what we know and our own conditions here. Where are we at the moment? We don't have the level of skills in our local trainers to produce high level players. Our juniors will probably end their run as juniors at around 2100 plus in todays world and given current constraints with other factors like education etc.

So unless you have the resources to get that very strong GM to assist your protegy's run from a very young age, to expect a GM by age 15 is unrealistic. So in all probability our GM will start his run sometime after age 20. And he will probably have to do it on his own.

Now do you see why running down our own juniors with that lie that you are all washed up by 15yo is such poison? If we keep injecting that lie into our juniors they will have "failed" for 5 years running by the age of 20. We are setting them up for failure with unrealistic expectations. We are tearing them down instead of building their character, mental strength and discipline.

What we need now is for our juniors to breakthrough that glass ceiling and go forward. And btw, that glass ceiling is much too low anyway going by world standards today. Haven't we got enough evidence to show us that already?

Look at that GM's run again. He worked with other strong players to share knowledge. That should be our route too. As well as increasing internal competition and devising better training. What are we doing instead?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Today's Contemplation.

Self-acceptance comes from meeting life's challenges vigorously. Don't numb yourself to your trials and difficulties, nor build mental walls to exclude pain from your life. You will find peace not by trying to escape your problems, but by confronting them courageously. You will find peace not in denial, but in victory.

-- J. Donald Walters


You know at Datmo, people were coming to me and telling or asking me about what was happening at the top tables. And I always say I have no clue. It's true. I don't even know who won. Even now.

My focus has always been on what is happening to my players at that moment in time. How are they making decisions? What mistakes are they making? What is their mental state? Which band are they are playing in? What more do they need to cross just one more level?

My belief is that by doing it one step at a time, there will come a day when my players will be at the top tables. Then I can have the luxury of seeing them there and then doing the same all over again. This is simply to ensure that they can stay there.

How to get a Malaysian GM by 15yo.

As I delve further into developing our competitor analysis model and with more interaction with other trainers and still competing GM's, it seems to me that it is only possible to have a very young GM under one condition. And that condition is that the young protegy has a second who is also a very strong GM.

Lets assume that this analysis is correct for the moment and lets look at the implications if that were true. Most high level GM who is current and still competing will not be a second unless he has a strong belief in that protegy. And even with that belief he still has to be financially compensated.

That GM's primary role is to prepare the competitor analysis for every landmark tournament and to oversee the technical training. So if I am correct the cost implications and variables have changed. The sponsor has to now finance both the player and the GM. Then it is possible to have a Malaysian GM by 15yo.

Note: You may also have to factor in cost of training etc. It's not just the tournament. And I presume you will also want the type of training where the player is getting stronger and stronger mentally, more disciplined etc rather than more and more fear bound. So it is not just technical.

There are 2 very important characteristics necessary for a GM run. The first is the correct anticipation of the opponents opening or response and the correct specific training. And the second is mental strength/toughness which has to span for at least 3 GM norms.

So I suggest that unless you have access to that type of funding and is able to convince a strong GM to dedicate serious time to your young protegy, our best bet is to increase internal competition.

And that can be accomplished if we can raise our awareness to what is happening now. If acknowledged, this basically means that we need good rules and discipline. Look again at what I have been saying. The self sabotage of Malaysian players. The sabotage of sponsors who took the first step to sponsoring a training program etc. If we can stop this and discipline the culprits, we will be much closer to the desired result.

I suggest that no serious independent sponsor will enter into the environment that we have allowed to fester. I do have some insights to this. I have been talking to them for sometime now. And this is the feedback.

Caveat: Unless the sponsor also has interest in controlling MCF there is no other returns. (But that brings in other problems, don't you think?)

Note: We do not have local expertise that can give us that type of guidance. As I have said before, just compare their knowledge/skill level to those of our neighbours or even to the knowledge now freely available on the internet.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Training elite forces.

There is something very fundamentally different in the approach to the training of elite forces. Generally they operate in small teams. Each with their own speciality and yet each team member is trained to fulfil the mission alone if he is the last man standing. That means each team member is taught to be a leader.

The training is very tough not only physically but mentally as well. They need to be able to think under pressure. To continue to make optimum decisions and to evaluate best odds under ever changing conditions.

Talent alone is insufficient. We need to look at the training. Which model is closer to the training requirements of chess warriors? So my question is if we are training GI's or elite forces? It seems to me that we are instilling more fears into our own players rather than teaching them how to withstand the assaults from the outside.

If you ask me who would I fund, my answer would be the trained elite warrior. One who has calculated the odds, done the preparation, is able to not only acknowledge the pressure but able to thrive in it and surmount the odds. Someone like the Nichol David of chess.

I think we have a way to go yet.

Dedicated to our currently still fighting and our future chess warriors.

We are not training GI's, we are training elite forces/officers.

GI's. General issue. Theirs is not to question why. Theirs is to do or die.

Just for some fun today, lets see how we can create GI's. Lets be creative here. The first thing we have to do is to break their spirit. Are we agreed here? Otherwise how are we supposed to ask them to do crazy things like charge a position and die like men so we can get a count of the enemy concentration in that sector or apologise to ghosts?

So the first thing we need to teach them is rank. I am FM and he is IM. It really doesn't matter if we are cowards or if they respect us. They cannot question us. We just teach them to obey orders. And if they don't we punish them. We ban them. We frighten them into apologising to ghosts. Hell anything, so long as it's not done with thinking. So long as we make them more frightened of us than the enemy.

Any other ideas? How about we tell them the other side have got a new IM. And I beat him 2 years ago. Got to make them feel inferior right? Otherwise how to control? Otherwise how would they know I am boss?

Any more? Lets see. If we tell them that they are all washed up by 15yo, would that mean there will be no one who can challenge our wisdom? Lets think on this.

Hmmmmm, but there are tons of evidence everyday on the internet to the contrary. In every International tournament....

I got it. If we keep them frightened enough they wont be able to see this. Aren't I smart? :) If I keep this up maybe they wont see me screw up at SEA games. I'll just blame the other fella. Good idea.

Any other ideas? Lets keep it coming guys. We just invented ghosts but they are catching on. And all the other ideas have been overused for the last 30 years. Come on......

No new ideas? Sigh! I'm surrounded by people who cannot think. How did it get that way?

Dedicated to my muse Jimmy and Peter. Guys, you inspire me. You are the greatest. Please accept this humble tribute to your great teachings.

Some ideas compiled by Al Kamil.


The many levels.

the best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up....
Hayda Yasmine Hartmann (facebook)

Gerald's moving story spoke to me on many levels. Who are we to judge a man's life? I think that is why we are taught to love the criminal but to "hate" the crime.

People only change when they want to change. That is an immutable fact. They cannot be forced into changing. It just doesn't work. And the best way to help anyone change is to tell them the truth.

(Caveat: But they can be broken so we wont call that change here.)

And so lets return to chess. We are in a highly competitive sport where seeing the truth is paramount to success.

So why do we get upset when it is said that the seniors need to buck up? That we should not manufacture numbers. That we should train harder and smarter. That we need basic rules of conduct and strong leadership.

That it is not ok for our juniors to apologise to ghosts. The only people who should engage toyols are mediums and ghostbusters.

Why do we tell our seniors that they are great when they take pathetic steps like playing in the veterans before they represent our Country for SEA games?

We cannot be great if we continue to run from the truth. It is not for us to change anyone. That power we do not have. But it is within our power to tell them the truth. Then it's up to them.

Can we do that?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Gregory Lopez, a true story.

This is an email I just received from an old friend that I publish here with permission. Gerald is a very old friend from my teens. We studied together in the UK where he did law and our friendship has spanned both time and continents. In all the time I have known him he has never spoken of his father. Gerald now resides in New Zealand. So here in his own words.


My father, Major(Ret'd) Gregory Joseph Henry Lopez P.J.K, died last Thursday after several weeks' illness, and was buried in a small village in East Timor.

As a child in World War II, he was imprisoned in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp, and escaped with his brothers.

He was an intelligent and dashing young man, and went to Sandhurst Military College in the UK, where he a met a beautiful French woman who was to become my mother. He became a Major in charge of a whole regiment of men, engaging the so-called Communist Terrorists in the jungles during the Malayan Emergency.

Although I didn't see much of my father, I recall that at the tender age of seven I was very proud of him, and wanted to grow up to be smart and important like him. One year later, while my mother and sister were away in France, he left me all alone in our apartment, and disappeared to Singapore. I fed myself and went to school for three days before someone found me and took me to my uncle's. The rent went unpaid, the landlords took possession of everything we had, and sold it or destroyed it. I can see the moment my mother came back from the airport, the look of horror on her face as she realised her home had gone, and my vague sense that something terrible had happened.

Over his life of adventure and exploit Gregory left a trail of financial disasters, of dispossession, of women with broken hearts, and of children with shattered dreams.

Yet he chose to live the last ten years in one of the poorest countries in the world, a country of dispossessed people who had long suffered extreme inhumanity and unspeakable cruelty. He avoided the luxuries and trappings of modern civilisation to live a life of simple needs, helping the people of East Timor to rebuild their shattered lives. He fell in love with the country, and with a woman who looked after him with heart and soul. He must have touched their hearts, as his funeral was attended by many who had travelled long and arduous distances.

I realised in the last few days that there is an invisible and very real web in society, a web of positions and roles to be played. As men, women, fathers, mothers, sons, daughter, youngers or elders; each "place" has a set of responsibilities. We can choose to either take our place or not; and depending on the choice there will be hurt and destruction, or healing and repair in the fabric of family, community and humanity.

I was never aware of my role as a father's first son, until I was called to give my consent to his burial in East Timor.

The grief that I have felt all my life, and the tears that now roll down my cheeks; are for a man who, in his early life, did not take his place as a father and husband. He later knew this, yet he also knew he was unable to mend the many broken bridges within his lifetime.

From endings shall come new beginnings. From his passing have come many wonderful realisations, many heartfelt connections, and many new possibilities for redemption and repair.

Peace can come not from changes in external circumstances, but from lifting of judgment, and from forgiveness. Forgiveness not only releases others, but also frees ourselves from our past.

Although this is a general email, I have specifically addressed it to you because you are important to me, and you have a place in my heart. If I have caused you the slightest hurt or grievance any time in our life, I am truly sorry. Please forgive me.

My deepest love, and wishes for your health and joy,

2 different systems.

Ref: Here.

I was reading with interest about this split. Personally I prefer Carlsen's system. I think it's very important that the person on the front line learns to think for himself. I see my job is just to show the player how to evaluate, how to think and reason. We run through scenarios and we prepare responses.

But the moment the clock starts he is on his own. He has to make his own decisions.

The million dollar question.

Ref: Here.

Besides the many demented comments from Jimmy's toyols, there was one that said, we just don't care. Actually that is not quite true. Lets look at the clues and see if we can make some decisions today that can make a difference. Let's apply the lessons we have learnt from chess.

What do we know? We know that if a Junior wants to explore new knowledge, he will be attacked. We know that if a Junior wins a spot in the senior squad, he will be attacked until he apologises to ghosts. We know that actually no one is above the attacks. The Fide Secretary is attacked personally and even Fide itself can be openly attacked. We also know that they have zero respect for MCF.

We know that they mainly use invisible people to launch these attacks and their methods is to twist the facts and then play with your mind. So all these things we know. And we know that with strong leadership from MCF these things cannot happen. But MCF seems paralysed.

On the flip side we saw selection coming in against very strong opposition. We saw the people who supported selection attacked and attacked again.

So somebody cares. Or there will be no need for the escalation in the attacks. Something must be happening. The obvious answer had always seemed to be to change the leadership in MCF and so I have heard many discussions along that vein. I don't really agree.

Lets relook again at recent history. There was a strong consensus for selection and it came. Now they are trying to reverse that gain by little small steps. They increase the pressure and they hope the support will wither one by one. They try to turn the issues and create more confusion.

So somebody cares. Or they will not be manning their computers night and day and reading every word that I write. So what is the answer to that million dollar question? I propose that we leave MCF alone. There is nobody better to replace the current administration. At least with this new administration we have seen more progress than we have seen in many many years.

Actually the answer lies with you. Reject the fear, don't allow the mind tricks to work. Don't allow the divide and rule methods they are trying. Once you can do that and we have consensus again, more change will come. That's all we have to do. Learn to protect our own minds and develop our reasoning powers.

Then MCF will change too. It has been demonstrated. And then our strong players will come. Who cares what that players name is so long as he is Malaysian. When he fights on the world arena with courage and dignity we can all be proud of his/her achievement because we have all helped shape the environment where he/she was born. So focus your energies, dont let them continue that silly divide and rule strategy anymore. Just focus on you. That's how this chess game can be won.

Iron sharpen iron. And so we cannot afford to lose any more players. The diamond is developed by slowly increasing the pressure and helping them to handle it. What they have been doing all these years is to knock the new players out one by one before they can become strong.

It's a very simple method. Inject enough fear while they are still vulnerable and you will break them. Then they can never again be strong players for you need confidence and courage to compete. Not fear, hatred or anger, for those emotions only cloud the board.

And all this is done to help a few who want to keep their place way past their due date. Get rid of the fear and you will see it too. Is it clearer now? Can you see the clues?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Real confidence is the hardest thing to build.

Have you ever wondered why we accept criticisms so easily and resist compliments? Why we remember our failures and forget our successes? That is an interesting phenomenon.

Lets talk about character here and what it actually means. Lets say I was to offer you a bribe of RM1,500 to allow me to demoralise an entire Malaysian contingent. If you have "strongish" character you will resist. Lets say I now increase the amount to RM15,000, then to RM150,000 etc etc. You get the picture. How many of us can take that pressure? Lets be honest here. True character means that you will be able to resist, no matter what the amount of pressure is.

Now lets look at developing our Juniors. And let me use Mark again as an example. He got to being State Champion without ever compromising on his principles. Then the pressure got higher and he slipped at National Junior. So my friends at Jimmy's site, it was not a mistake on my part to talk openly about it. It was a lesson for Mark (and the other juniors) on how easy it is to take the short cuts at higher and higher pressures.

It was to mold his character; for him to admit the mistake and then resolve to continue and fight again. He knows I will not condone that and he knows I will measure him the same as I measure anyone else, including myself. What I did was to show him, it's OK to slip up. Admit your mistake and then move on. It is human to make mistakes and that is how you also learn.

When you hit another level of pressure the temptation will come again. It is only by training your character over higher and higher pressures will you become a diamond. And incidentally, I am not training him to be a GM. He has not made that decision himself. For that decision can only be made by him alone and nobody else.

I am merely training him for life using chess as the tool.

Musings from Jimmy's shoutbox.

Since I have a little spare time this morning, I wonder how helping Sumant get a place in the SEA games squad is beneficial to Mark? I wonder how asking for clean and fair competition and selection is prejudicial to others? I wonder how I tried to sabotage LZR by allowing him to come to our training, at his own request and showing him our methods?

As I said, no capacity to reason. Just hate filled rantings, distortions and lies. All that is offered is tearing down. No building, no guidance. As they say, birds of the same feather...

ps: Have you ever wondered why the real abuses are not mentioned? Isn't the omissions super glaring? What they don't say?

Quote from facebook.

When asked what profession young Albert should take up, his headmaster told Mr. and Mrs. Einstein,"It doesn't matter, he'll never make a success of anything."

Decision making and Chess.

Perhaps the greatest lesson with universal application that chess can teach us is decision making. If I told you the theme of the puzzle, if I said there is a sacrifice on H7 or there is an end game win from this position, many good chess players can find the solution.

The real difficulty to chess lies in recognising the clues before the opportunity slips away. And to do that your mind needs to be clear. You must not only look at the things you like but also the things you do not like. You must not add or subtract to the issues facing you. You need confidence and have the courage to make decisions when the door of opportunity presents, for the door will surely close again. That is the nature of opportunity.

In real life, just like in chess, you will not have all the facts before you at the point of decision making that can make a difference. In chess you can see the board but you cannot see your opponents mind. And so the need for anticipation from clues. Hence competitor analysis, profiling etc.

Do you see the problem now? Once all the facts are known the game will already be won or lost. The way to play chess, is to make good decisions as you go along but you generally need to make it before all the facts are known or you'll run out of time ie developed judgement. (Apart from the very obvious answers of course.)

Take this understanding and apply it to all the issues that have been raised on this blog.

ps: Jimmy complains that I do not allow him or his friends from discussing on my blog. Actually I did try to reason with him and his friends at one point but that was fruitless and a waste of my time. I think the reason is because they have hidden agendas or just have too much fear, anger and hatred in them to be able to reason.

So I publicize his and his friends blogs as often as I can. I even encourage my readers to go to his shoutbox to see his and his friends "reasoning". So there is no need to invite him here. I have done enough to help him get readers. Here we want a quiet place to think and reason.

For your ease of reference, please find Jimmy's site here. Happier now Jimmy?

Note: So you may find that chess engines or certain postmortems have limited use. They give answers after the fact.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Our SEA games Team.


If the entire team sees that we are only as strong as our weakest link and all work as one, we will see a good outing. Train hard and fight with courage and dignity and our best wishes go with you.

Note: In case you are wondering, Yee Weng is still on the team and I'm told Mok is our rep. for blindfold chess.

End game decisions.

Ref: Here. I think this is a really good piece. I will write more on decision making later. Meanwhile have fun.

The shoutboxes is a training tool.

Strange but true. Let me recount an experience when we first started out in chess. Mark's first MSSM for Perak. We were given a few days training by a trainer who came down from KL. Mark was playing Scandinavian as black then when he was U12. This trainer called me up on the day before MSSM and told me that Mark needed to change his opening. I asked for his reasoning but he just tried to assert his authority as a trainer and on top of that he was belligerent and rude. His basic "argument" was that I do not play chess and he was a trainer.

Even at that time I knew you cannot change your opening at the last moment. As I have said before, the first level of attack is on your mind. If you cannot tell the hidden agendas, the half truths, the lies, the fabrications, the obsfucations etc from the truth, then you will succumb very early. The belligerence and the threats is meant to overwhelm thinking.

A few friends have mentioned about the ugliness on the shoutboxes and in the beginning I used to agree with them. But now I think there is a use for them.

We like to think that chess is a safe place for our kids. But maybe we are in denial. Maybe we need to see it for what it really is. There are a very few people out there who are out to do harm. And if we don't acknowledege they are there we will be unable to protect our players.

Now I encourage you to look hard at the shoutboxes, see their lies. It's about judgement. We need to learn who we can trust. The strongest clue is that they remain anonymous apart from the two I have named, who think they are untouchable. The second clue is that they are unable to reason and can only use personal attacks.

Be clear. We cannot move to the next level if we allow the threats from these few people to overwhelm our reasoning. Use the shoutboxes as a training tool. See how psycho attacks work, see how the illusion of numbers is created. Learn to protect your mind through reasoning. It is enough to just see clearly. To understand why they have to do what they do. It's now in English and Malay.

ps: Ref: here. Peter was not the trainer but can you now see the correlation of why he thinks he can say we have messy minds and then call us lowly and then know he can get away with it? What does he know that we don't?

Note: If you cannot see past the psycho attacks, you cannot play chess. Can you see examples of this is your own chess games? If you can see through the attacks and you now know their "arguments" well, the next time they whisper it to you in person, you will be able to recognise them. Like if they tell you to change your opening the day before a major tournament for example under the guise of "help".

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Here. In case you missed it the first time, Judit's father is a psychologist.

It's always "Us and them" but it's not personal.

Ref: Here.

Confusing? Not really. Read on. But first allow me to address Jimmy's opening paragraph. Maybe that's how you think Jimmy and you judge others from your own yardstick.

It's always about issues. We are for clean competition and they are against. We are for selection and they are for priviledged position based on manufactured numbers. We are for looking at new ideas and they are about juniors, wait your turn. We are about producing our own Champions and they are about tearing down. You get the drift.

And so we have discourse. That is in fact how we have progress. From difference of opinions. And so each party present their arguments. In a healthy environment, it's about which way we can improve better, faster. In a mature environment the discourse is usually civil. And we use reasoning. Sometimes the arguments can be "hot" if the parties are really passionate about their stance. But it is still not personal.

But now you see me use names like Jimmy and Peter. Has it become personal? Lets look at this closer. What happens when one party uses lies and fabrications. When they use intimidation and threats. When they slander etc. etc. When they have hidden agendas?

Look carefully. I have named the parties and I have asked for the proper Authorities to act. So it's still not personal. I have not tried to take the law into my own hands. All I have done is to show you their lies and fabrications using their own action and their own postings and comments.

Note: Isn't that how chess is played? You think you have the winning argument? Prove it on the table. When you use sabotage, banning without grounds, what are you really saying? When you attack the juniors are you displaying confidence, courage? If not, then what is it?

Question. Have you seen one idea, one suggestion from them about the way forward? Or has it only been about their ego, their fears?

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Malaysian Team at Merdeka rapid.

Ref: Here.

There seems to be no end to this man's hypocricy. At merdeka rapid, I was informed by Greg before he went to China that there was an MCF sponsored Malaysian Team fielded. And this team was open to the SEA games players.

We were not intending to play at Teams as we wanted to head back home to do our postmortem after a long and tiring trip.

However when I saw Sumant he told me that he did not have a Team. Anyway to cut a long story short, this sponsored "Malaysian SEA games Team" ended up with Jimmy, Mok, Li Tian and Soon Wai Cheong. I asked Ismail Ahmad who was the team manager to check up what was happening. He told me that he spoke to Mok and Mok did not want Sumant on the team.

So I got together Kaushal, Justin and Mark to form a team around Sumant as it was not good for his psyche not to have a team. This is how much Jimmy cares and now he tries to twist again. I spoke to Greg on this recently and he told me he felt so bad that he paid RM100 to Sumant to reimburse him. Actually we all paid our share of the entrance fee.

So my advice to Sumant still is to avoid Jimmy at SEA games if possible as rejection and more mind games there would not be good for him. Jimmy is poison. It's as simple as that.

Note: Avoid if possible is not the same as treat with animosity. That I have never advocated for that will mean we lower ourselves to his level. As the junior there Sumant may find himself in need of advice and guidance. At that time I believe Yee Weng is the better person to approach. The type of advice Jimmy gives can be found from the Zhuo Ren example.

With reference to Mok saying he doesnt want Sumant on the team, I wonder why he has such a voice in a team meant for our SEA games athletes. Surely Jimmy and Sumant should have more say in this matter. If that had happened, it would have shown us Jimmy's team spirit.

With reference to Sumant getting into trouble with me, he knows me better than that. My opinions are always offered with my reasoning. I never force anyone to accept my arguments. All I ask is that they treat the opinion with consideration and not knee jerk reactions.

Happy Birthday Malaysia.

On the 16th of September 1963, Malaysia was born.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The case of two hats.

It was explained to me that it is hard to act against Peter because he wears two hats. Two hats or more is not an issue. The principle remains that an officer has to make the best decision for the organisation that he is representing at the point of that decision.

Lets look at the structure of KL Open. It first comes under KLCA, a State Association. This is important; if it came under Polgar first it has other implications. So it all comes under a State Association. And all State Associations come directly under MCF.

And so MCF cannot abrogate responsibility from this matter. It can ask KLCA to show the resolution that gives the right of organisation to Polgar. KLCA is not one man. If that is the case then KLCA itself should be investigated. Then it is merely pretending to be an Association and that itself is cause enough to strike KLCA from the register.

Whatever terms that are given to Polgar must also be within KLCA's rights. Since it is merely a State Association who's rights are circumscribed, KLCA cannot confer rights to Polgar that are beyond it's own rights.

So any banning can be rightfully questioned. It doesn't matter how many hats Peter wears. That is still the process.

Peter Long "banned" from all Fide events.

Go here and scroll down the blog list to the very first one. "FGM banned".

Now go here. Note reference to Fide.

Do you notice something abnormal?

FGM conducted a training sanctioned by MCF and we were attacked by lies and slander by Jimmy Liew, his anonymous bloggers and the toyols reared on his shoutbox. So much so that FGM did not sponsor this year's Asean and our players went to Tarakan without any training and each parent lost out by paying thousands more.

The Secretary of Fide is invited to Malaysia by MCF to conduct an arbiter event to benefit Malaysia and both the Secretary of Fide and Fide is attacked.

So who is Jimmy and Peter? Why are they so powerful that they can spread lies, ban national players, attack our other juniors, insult other organisers, insult other trainers/coaches, call our minds messy and say that we are lowly etc etc and we just sit there and take it?

Even the Secretary of Fide and Fide itself is not spared. Who are these trouble causers who are so full of themselves that they can attack all and sundry with such impunity?

If we allow this to go on what will happen? What is happening? Lets extrapolate a little here. At the end of all this only Jimmy, his toyols and Peter will be left. So we will not have; players who can fight, trainers/coaches who can train, tournament organisers that is better than KL Open, sponsors for our national players etc etc. You get the message. For nobody else is needed. Only Jimmy, his toyols and Peter left. So they will do everything for you. No more Fide events. It's too frightening to support Malaysia.

We want strong players, we want good support. For that we need a good culture. Strong players come from strong leadership. And MCF is the leader of Malaysian chess, like it or not. Not Jimmy and Peter. They are our past failures and they cannot be allowed to infect our future.

We need disciplinary action against these two visible ones. After that anyone whom they have insulted and slandered against can pursue their own civil cases for damages to their reputation. But MCF must take the lead.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

An exercise in reasoning.

When I started this blog, I said this is an educational blog. Go here first to refresh what we are talking about. Here.

Learned behaviour. Now a part of chess is misdirection, sudden attacks to overwhelm thinking and reasoning etc. This is of course a weapon we can use against opponents.

It's a different situation when we are investigating amongst ourselves how to improve Malaysian chess so we can stop being an embarrassment when we are against a foreign field. Win or lose is another matter. At least we can still be respected because we fought, we did our best.

You may have noticed that I have never started a personal attack against anyone. But I have asked hard questions. And I have dedicated this blog to explaining to you how your mind can be attacked by using examples of their posts and comments.

If you can see through the "cheap tricks", I guarantee you that you will be a stronger player. This is the first level attack against weak, untrained minds. If that fail and you now know how to see through those tricks, you will move to a higher level. Deep reasoning.

This example comes from "one of us". But do it anyway. Sometimes the enemy come from within.

This is the exercise. Here.

Try to see through the misdirection, the distortions etc.

Have fun doing this. No need to get angry. It is enough to understand. For if you do it well, you will have learned new behaviour and well on the way to being a chess genius. Good luck.

What did we achieve with written selection?

It was an uphill battle arguing for written selection guidelines. A new and intense blog war started and accusations, misdirection and lies were flying everywhere. People were attacked and threatened. So was it worth it? What did we achieve?

I think the clearest success is seen in the coming alive of the local chess scene. Players are suddenly invigorated with the possibility of representing Malaysia if they put in the work and learn how to compete in healthier competition.

There is a big increase in the use of the internet as players find that there is a plethora of information there. And information at a much higher level than what is locally available. Players are also starting to use the latest tools for analysis.

We saw the return of the IM's in local events since there are no free rides anymore. And we also saw which ones are still fighting and which ones are not.

Selection broke the myth of high manufactured numbers versus true fighting strength. Well at least for most of us. I think some are still lagging behind. But this is an important point. If we now focus on learning how to win tournaments instead of manufacturing numbers, Malaysia will become a stronger chess nation. The reason is simple. You don't go out there with your fat number, cannot fight and hope to intimidate your opponents. It doesn't work that way. You don't go to International Tournaments and only play to increase your fide rating when you are fighting for your Country.

We send you out there to win for Malaysian honor. To fight with courage and dignity. If we have that we too will see our players taking down opponents 300 Elo points higher like what we have seen in Datmo and Kl Open.

That is what we achieved when we won the argument for selection. Certainly we have pissed a few people off. But was it worth it?

Note: We need to make distinctions here. SEA games is fighting for Malaysia, so is the Olympiads. The National Juniors are fighting for the Country when they fight in Asean, Asian etc. Datmo is a private event. Mok is going for a private event in Myanmar. There he is fighting for his GM norm. That is for his personal honor. Nothing wrong with that.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

IM Goh's game.


A good video of the KL Open closing ceremony.


I think this is it.


I wonder if Peter and Jimmy has seen this. Looks like, sound like but is not. Interesting isn't it?

What do we need to move to the next level?

If we know what we need we can focus our energies. So what is the priority now? We have enough good tournaments. But we do not have good academies. I have argued before that this is not the work of Associations. Their work is grassroots. To build the base. From there the academies need to take over for it is expensive to build International class competitors. And it takes specialised knowledge. Especially in today's chess. Ask the parents of National juniors.

So if we don't have that you cannot force anyone to join you. Get the training skills up and people will pay to get the results you can produce.

When the players/parents see our Vip's giving a top prize to a product of your training, they will come to you. Right now we are giving our prizes to foreigners. And if your answer is to then force the players/parents into your mediocre academy by removing their choice, then that is wrong.

And on the right corner we have.......

I have reliable information that someone is trying to set up a structure similar to Singapore here in Malaysia. But lets just call this a story.

For those that are not familiar with the Singapore structure, let me give you some background. In Singapore the National players have to take part in a National training program under SCF. This program is under a private academy which is owned by an official in SCF.

So lets call this party the right corner. And on the left we have the challenger Peter, who has no less than a "university". And he too wants control of MCF. Both parties realise that without control of MCF a new structure cannot be set up.

And so the struggle. But lets see if this struggle makes any sense to the rest of us. Both parties do not have a good track record of successes in training at a high level. But they want control.

Isn't this premature? Don't you think where they should be focusing their energies is on how to develop high level players? For if either now wins, we won't have anyone who can develop our players to the next level.

So what makes sense? Lets first consider how training works, how coaching works. The first thing is that the trainer/coach must believe in the players they are training or they wont give their best. Second the players must trust and believe in the training and the trainer/coach that they have or they wont do their best. For these are personal choices. So if either wins, we have lost our choice again. And the Country loses.

What makes sense is for the academies to find ways to improve their training first. To have different philosophies and methods in contention over the chess board for it to prove their worth.

So this is just a struggle of egos. Both without the track record or ability to train at a high level. And instead of improving themselves they want to control and force mediocrity on us. But they also want us to believe they are heros. So they spin lies to try to cast an illusion on the Malaysian chess community. And if they can't do that they want to frighten you into not opposing their plans to keep Malaysia mediocre.

So I say, go and improve yourself first. Show us you can produce Champions in the real world. Then we talk.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The struggle to control MCF.

Ref: Here and here.

In the first reference link, it shows Peter's desire to take the mantle from Dato Tan. And in the second he talks about his disappointment with Malaysian Open. Lets talk about the second reference first.

It seems to me that if the KL Open did not immediately follow the Malaysian Open, Peter would have had very very few players. I am not sure if Peter is even aware of the opinions about him from organisers and National Associations in the region. He rides on the coat tail of the Malaysian Open and then he attacks it's success.

So the story is out in the open and from Peter's own mouth. But isn't there something wrong with the story? Doesn't MCF belong to it's members? What about the player's say, the parent's say, the other trainers and coaches; the other academies? Don't we have a say?

The final piece of the puzzle. Now we can have a clearer picture of what has been happening to Malaysian chess. When FGM first came into the scene, I explained to many friends that we have no interest in the struggle for the Presidency. That is up to the members. All we want to see is that when we put up a proposal, we do not want it rejected for political reasons. That our proposals will be adjudicated purely on it's merit.

If we see that we will continue to invest our efforts, our contacts and our resources.

And so we started out with the Asean initiative and then followed it up with the Thematics. Both projects are towards the betterment of our players and helped to relieve the load of the parents. But both these initiatives were attacked with lies and slander.

FGM then tried to support our junior players by sponsoring their training to SEA games selection. And that lead to the attack on Zhuo Ren and Sumant. When Mark did well at National Junior and NAG, he too was attacked.

So that is the result of the politics in our chess community. The struggle for the Presidency. But why attack us? FGM has already said we have zero interest in that struggle. I guess it could be because they either do not believe me or they are seriously worried about our stance for an independent and professional MCF. Or both. This combined with the fact that they have no ideas on how to bring Malaysia to the next level means they have to tear down instead of building our future.

Let the members decide. Give them back their rights. Peter, focus on Roshan. He is your best player at the moment and if you help him succeed, it will say more about you than anything else can. As far as KL Open is concerned, it's not very convincing. Choose a date where you can stand on your own without using Hamid's contacts and work. If you then succeed, we may say that you deserve a chance to lead us.

But then again maybe not. There are other factors to consider after all. There is your lack of emotional intelligence, the fact that you think our minds are messy but cannot see that yours could be messier. That you think we are lowly when you do not have the nerve to play a real competition anymore.

For me, I want a leader who can think, has courage, have ideas, is independent and respect the contribution of its members. Who do you think you are to think you can insult the entire chess community and then say you want to lead us?

For the politics to "stop" we need to have the officials elected from the membership. At least then the non performers can be voted out. But that's another story.

Don't you think it's a little dumb to declare your intention this way Peter? Do you think we may want a leader with your little capacity to strategise or reason?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The new Emperor.

Ref: Here.

Of the two types of dictatorship, I would certainly prefer a benign dictatorship to a malevolent one. I would certainly prefer one that conducts tournaments that are open to all Malaysian players unless there are justifiable grounds to ban them.

I would also not think that someone who is selfish enough to try to intimidate a Malaysian contingent or who has no regard whatsoever for the morale of the players; has no respect for parents or other trainers/coaches is fit to be an official in whatever capacity.

However that is not really the point. The point is if MCF is aligned to one party or another there will always be abuses. Only greater or smaller.

I too have had discussions with Greg. And I have informed him of FGM's stance. We believe that MCF can best serve the Malaysian chess public if it remains impartial.

Healthy competition is not only good for players but also good for the Academies. Let the academies compete. Let them scratch their heads to bring more creative and higher value programs for the betterment of chess. And then let them make proposals to an impartial MCF for deliberation.

Let the abuses by certain associations be investigated. Let abuses by certain officials be investigated. Let there be transparency and accountability and many of our alliances will support.

I told Greg, that we are unable to support right now because we do not see enough done in that direction. We want a professional MCF that stands for the interest of Malaysian Chess without fear or favour.

And if we see that, we will step up to the plate. So for now, I would rather see the current set up than see it going totally down the drain if Peter somehow got further involved in Malaysian Chess. That will truly be a disaster we will not be able to recover from.

I fully recognise that the points I have brought up are very tough and difficult issues for an MCF so used to having a Patron, to tackle. But there have been signs of courageous decisions. Selection was one of them. So there is hope yet for a revival of Malaysian chess.

So let's do this properly. Going from the frying pan into the fire is not a solution.

Changing our mindset.

Malaysia will become a strong chess nation when we have this mindset. When we support our fighters instead of defending our quitters with excuses. When our chess warriors are able to explore new knowledge and learning without being attacked by the quitters.

When it is no longer acceptable to represent Malaysia and then play in the veterans. When it is not acceptable for anyone to try to intimidate a Malaysian contingent. When we take action on anyone who tries to use a tournament to ban National players or any player without grounds.

Then we are saying we expect our chess athletes to fight with courage and honor for the Country. Then we are saying we too will fight alongside our warriors.

The correct way is for the chess academies to bring up their own players. Not tear down others. The correct way is to fight in strong tournaments and not manufacture ratings.

When we have this mindset, our Champion will come. When we celebrate courage and not cowardice.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Where to now Malaysia?

Both Datmo and KL Open has now ended. And it looks like we haven't done so well. Actually I think we have made some real strides forward. This is my perspective. There is now a big upsurge in chess interest in Malaysia since selection and there is now a clear demarcation between the fighters and the quitters. It wasn't so clear before. From this place we can make a fight back.

It took a lot of guts for both IM Yee Weng and IM Mas Hafizul to fight on our shores in such a strong field and in full view of the Malaysian public. Just for that they deserve our deepest respect.

If I may now make a suggestion. Do look for the actual cause for the drop in form. If you can nail it, you can turn the tide. That is the only way to avoid making the same mistakes again. Together with Sumant, you guys are the fighters we will be sending to SEA games and you have been severely tested. If you can find where the problem is in time for SEA games, I trust you will do well.

The numbers dont say much about your real fighting strength. A quick look at the final ranking from KL Open will tell you that.

As for Jimmy, you are the only one who gained in rating playing in veterans. I hope you are right. Maybe your opponents will be intimidated by that slightly larger number. I don't think so but what do I know right? So SEA games will be a good place for you to prove your argument. I have no problems in being proven wrong there. Best of luck.

KL Open.

Final results. Here.

Chess- The mind game.


Competitor Analysis.
The comparative study of measured relative strengths and weaknesses. Where you are stronger or weaker vis-a-vis those of your opponent etc.

The characteristics of your opponent.

Then you choose your weapon of choice, the opening/variation that will give you your best percentage chance for a win or a draw.

All these happen before you even reach the table. Our GM has estimated this to be nearly 60% of the battle.

At the table "chess" is played between moves. Between moves, the questions will arise in your mind....have I done my training? Was it thorough enough? Am I making the right decision? Etc.etc.etc.

Doubts or confidence. And if your mind goes negative, you will miss the clues and not be able to seize your chances. Mental chatter. Self doubt. Noise.

Then you make your move. Fear infected decisions or clarity. After the move it starts again. Move after move.

At the end of all this, you win, lose or draw depending on how you have answered those questions in between the moves. Or if you even have an answer.

It is best if many of those questions are answered before the battle. For if they are not, they will certainly be asked during the battle. Ergo, loss of concentration and focus.

That is why it is said that confidence is key.

Interesting isn't it.

Fear infects...

And birds of the same feather flock together.

Ref: Here. I mentioned the Stockholm syndrome. Don't you think it's interesting that the abused got to form such firm bonds with the abuser? Intense fear. And if you are then lead to believe that your well being is in their hands then the illusion is complete. You cannot now see that their real intention is to do you harm.

Have you noticed that in any competition, the ones who have checked out will want others to accompany them? Not only have they quit but they need others to quit too in order to feel "good" about themselves.

And so evolves a system of intimidation, of twisting the facts and outright lies, of poison in the guise of help.

But fear is the enemy of reason. And chess is the ultimate game of reasoning. One skill that is very important in chess is to be able to let go of fear quickly. Have you noticed that if you lose concentration or become negative for even one move in a high level game, it can infect the next move? One bad decision becomes a series of bad decisions. You lose objectivity and your mind starts to spiral.

This has nothing to do with the technical knowledge you possess. Fear has now made it inaccessible.

Now in this quiet moment, go back and visit Jimmy's site. Do you see what he and his friends are doing? Can you believe their claims that they love chess and want to develop others?

Now is it clearer why they needed to attack Zhuo Ren, Sumant and Mark? If they too become infected by this fear can they now progress? Can you now see why Peter talks about Mas's "woeful lack of confidence"? Why he says we have messy minds and are lowly?

Zhuo Ren, Sumant, Mark, Mas, Yee Weng are our fighters. They have taken up the challenge and are still going for it.

They cannot accept the poison of fear or they will soon become part of that flock. What is important for them is to learn how to protect their minds from this type of attacks since it cannot be stopped by us. What they need is a strong support system to sustain them in the fire of intense competition. Then they can become diamonds. What they need is to strengthen their fighting spirit and not the injection of more fear.

The poison can come in the form of a rescue. Don't be fooled. It's just a mind trick. Now do you see how that glass ceiling is created?

Friday, September 9, 2011

KL Open.

R8 results and final round pairing. Here.

This is normal.

Ref: Here.

Any tournament is high pressure. And at that level the pressure is higher. Even Kasparov said that it took a sound trashing at one tournament to wake him up. But so long as you fight, there is still a chance to turn things around. You just need to find the real reason for the collapse and deal with it. In fact Kasparov himself talks about the psychological problems he had with certain positions.

The trick is to learn how to handle those pressures. Not run away from it. When Nichol David plays for Malaysia she has to handle the pressure of the expectations of the Country.

The problem becomes terminal when we run from tough competitions. When we start to manufacture numbers, when we quit.

The fighters do not need to apologize. They have courage. They just need to ask the right questions. But the solution can never come from the quitters.

KL Open.

R7 results and R8 pairing. Here.

Developing our talent base.


We can no longer afford our best and most talented to be attacked because they dare to seek knowledge and learning. Because they have the courage to challenge for their rightful place in clean and healthy competition or because they do not come from a "chess university" but from an academy that teaches them competitor analysis and competitor profiling and talks about mental strength.

We cannot allow the selfish interest of a very small handful of people stuck in the past from allowing us to move forward.

On courage and confidence.

You do not need much courage or confidence when you are playing a technical inferior. You just simply out knowledge them. A walk in the park. All you need to do is not to underestimate them.

You need courage when you are fighting a technical equal or someone close. You need courage when it is possible to lose. You need courage when you are fighting a technical superior.

You have confidence when you go to the battle well prepared. When you have done your training and prepared your mind. And then you need courage to pull out the win.

UPSI 2011. Oct.15th/16th

Here. This is a tournament we always like to attend. We haven't made up our minds yet for this year due to other commitments but I would like to encourage you to go if you can.

Feedback from KL Open.

Ref: Here.

I was informed that MCF would fight for a player if any player is rejected from a tournament without proper grounds. Lets assume this is the case. So what is the issue for KL Open?

Apparently the case in KL Open was that the entry form from the player was not received so there is no case to answer. Lets examine this argument.

In all cases it is the player who fills in the forms. So there is no dispute there. However in the case of KL Open, you cannot get the form other than by email to Peter Long. And he chooses whether he wants to give you the form or not. So he is using a loop hole. Is that justifiable?

Lets look again. In many cases it is the parent who gets the forms and passes it to the players. Actually this is healthier. We do not want the players to get involved in administrative matters or in fact the ugly face of the politics in Malaysian chess. That is why many sports uses managers for just this reason. The players job is to play chess. Politics will affect their state of mind.

We do not have to look far to see many examples in our local scenario. That is why FGM applied for the forms as a chess academy. And those emails were not answered.

A simple way to stop further abuse of the system and abuse of the players rights is simply not to allow organisers to do it the way Peter has done it.

If this is stipulated in MCF guidelines then no Association organisers can abuse the system in the future:

Forms must be freely available to anyone applying. The players fill in the form and the payment made. If the organiser then has solid grounds to reject, the organiser must state those grounds in writing and submit it to both MCF and the player.

Then Malaysian chess can grow. We will have guidelines and will no longer be subject to the malicious intent of ill spirited organisers. We cannot allow Malaysian chess to remain in the control of cowboys if we want to get to the next level. Malaysian Chess does not belong to Peter. KLCA is a State Association meant to serve the Malaysian chess public. This has clearly been subverted.

Note: Peter may have borrowed a page from the Perak Chess Association. That's how they do it too.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

An excellent video.


A very professional job. Well edited and presented. Certainly one aspect towards the next level in marketing chess in Malaysia. And the interview was well articulated.

Mental strength.


Today's Contemplation.

...that you cannot hope to solve any problem using the

same energy that created the problem.

Whether it's the endless wars in the world or the

unending quarrels and fighting in your own home, the

problem is the same: conflicting energy. If you want

to change the outcome, change the energy.

Neale Donald Walsch

What this says to me is that you cannot fight hatred with hatred. Insults with more insults. Fear with more fear. Then you become just like them.

The way out is to change the energy. And that can only be done if you understand the source of their hatred, the real source for their insults. If you can begin to see why they need to do what they do, then you are on the correct road. This is actually the basis of this blog and my writings.

Note: Check out Stockholm syndrome. (Psychology) a psychological condition in which hostages or kidnap victims become sympathetic towards their captors

[after a group of hostages in Stockholm in 1973]

Psychology of insults and confidence.

Ref: Here.

Generally insults work only if we believe there is an element of truth in it. But consider this. If the intention is to build then there is no need to publicize the fact. A quiet word will achieve much more.

You may also notice that the criticisms are not considered or weighed. Usually they will pour an array of insults hoping one will hit the mark. This is key.

Actually the intention is to distract. To make you lose confidence in yourself, since most of the insults have no merit. You are in fact taking in poison. Now do you see why the insults need to be delivered with beligerence?

So Tuesday, you talked about the need for confidence. One way is not to accept the poison of unjust and unreasonable put downs. To do that you need to look closely at the motive of the person giving the insults. It's the other way around. It's the persons giving the insults who lack confidence.

Their intention is never to build but to tear down. Look closely, for if your confidence is restored, you will be able to see that they actually have no substance.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The psychology of insults.

A friend texted me and said I was honoring Peter with an article of his own. Actually no. Look at the title again. What I am really curious about is why we continue to accept his insults? So lets look at this closer.

For an "insultor" to exist there must also be an "insultee". It takes two hands to clap ie we also need to believe deep down that there is basis to the insult.

So lets do a little speculation here. His title is an FM and his rating is 2282 from some years back. Lets say he was to fight in the real world today like what Mas is doing now and lets say his rating was to drop to around 2100 in today's chess.

Do you think you would now consider him qualified to comment on Mas's confidence and fighting strength? That he can say that we have messy minds and that we are lowly. An interesting question don't you think?

Now even if his real strength is 2200, does that make him qualified to judge a higher rated game?

Where is his bona fide on courage and confidence? He yells at parents at his tournaments, he attacks all and sundry including FIDE and MCF. He "bans" a National player because his father stood up to him. Is that how confidence is measured?

He avoids genuine competition but claims strong fighting chess. Is that how courage is measured?

So why do we feel we need to play the role of "insultee" to him?

Could it all be an illusion? Could that be why he cannot play in a real tournament that we can follow and monitor?

R6 results and R7 pairing.


Don't you find it a little galling?

Ref: Here and here and here.

First he says we have messy minds, then he calls us lowly. And now he calls one of our fighters "still improving but woefully lacking in confidence".

I don't know about you but I generally want to learn from someone who knows more than me, follow a leader with greater leadership skills and take advice about courage and confidence from someone who has more courage and confidence.

Peter signed up for Datmo but was a no show. He hasn't played a proper tournament in years. Almost all the older Juniors who have been with him even for a short time have nothing good to say about him. He has taken RM1,500 and tried to intimidate an entire contingent of Malaysian players at Mal/Sing. 2011.

Actually who has he got as a player now? He "bans" a Perakian player from KL Open. I can only speculate that this may be because he is worried about the possibility of having to present a Perakian player to the Regent of Perak as the best Malaysian in the KL Open. How can he allow that possibility? After all he has a Chess University and FGM's Coach doesn't even play chess. So how can "backward" Perak produce a National player?

I would have a lot more respect for his statements if he was to play in a real tournament and really show us what he knows about today's chess. I may still not like what he says but at least there will be some basis for his insults.

As far as I am concerned, our fighters deserve our respect. They are still out there and that takes courage. So to Mas Hafizul, my deepest respect. To you, to IM Yee Weng and to Sumant Subramaniam, go to SEA games and make us proud. If you fight there is always a chance. Good luck and may all our best wishes go with you.

To the IM who checked out. I hope you check back in again.

KL Open.

R6 pairing. Here.

KL Masters.

Ranking after R5 and results. Here.

KL Open

R5 pairing. Here.

Masters games here.

Today's Contemplation.

Whatever you believe with emotion becomes reality. You always act in a manner consistent with your inner most beliefs and convictions.

-- Brian Tracy

How do you build Champions?

We first teach them how to make decisions with courage, how to confront their fears with reasoning. How to think under ever increasing pressure. How to protect their minds.

We nurture their confidence and build up their spirit. They will make mistakes along the way but we show them how to identify the correct problem and then we show them how to overcome them but without breaking their spirit or adding to their fears.

That is the building of the character of a Champion. That is the framework, the heart. And then we slowly add the content, the technical.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

KL Open

R4 results. Masters here.

Games Here.

KL Open.

R3 results. Here.

Well done Kian Hwa and Nabila for taking down stronger opponents. More than 300 Elo points difference in both cases. A big big Congratulations!

R3 results for masters. Here.

On sponsors and MCF

A favorite topic among gatherings of parents of National Juniors is sponsorship. And the favorite grouse is that MCF should be responsible for getting it. Somehow I always feel that we may be a little off tangent.

This is what I think. There are basically 2 types of sponsors. The Government and private sponsors.

To get government sponsorship we need to show results. Medals from International Tournaments. We need to get into the sports radar. So SEA games is a way to get noticed. And to do that we need a fighting team, a unified team. We need our chess warriors to train hard for the event. Then we may have a chance.

The other type of sponsors are private sponsors. Lets be realistic. Private sponsors will often come with strings attached. They are business entities and they may have their own opinion of who or what is "sponsorable". Actually there is nothing wrong with that idea. After all it is their money.

I think this may be part of the cause for the confusion over the Asean initiative by FGM as well as the controversy over Li Tian's sponsorship to China by Dato Tan. We have very often mixed up Government and private sponsorship. There is a difference. The same way that there is a difference between Association and private organisers.

Right now all we have are private sponsors on a more or less regular basis. To get more Government of Malaysia funding we need to shine. Otherwise we need to live within our current realities.

I am hoping that if we are clearer on these issues we can stop barking up the wrong tree and focus on changing the things that can be changed. MCF needs to work with both to get best traction. But they are both different animals.

Note: This confusion has been exploited by certain anonymous individuals to create problems within the chess community.

Today's Contemplation.

Somehow I can't believe that there are any heights that can't be scaled by a man who knows the secrets of making dreams come true. This special secret - curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy, and the greatest of all is confidence. When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.

-- Walt Disney

Monday, September 5, 2011

R2 KL open


Results: Open R2 Here.

Masters R2 Here.

On the difference between Association and private organisers.

During Datmo, a parent complained to me about Penang having many teams playing. Najib also brought up organiser's rights here.

There seems to be some confusion on the subject so let me see if I can help to clarify the issues. There is a big difference between Association and private organisers. Their reason for existence are both different.

An Association is to serve the chess community. That is their primary purpose. Go and look at their Constitution and you will see this.

Some have argued that the State Associations are autonomous. Actually they are not. There may have been some confusion in the past when they were under the ROS (Registrar of Societies) but today they are directly under the MCF and COS. (Commisioner of Sports)

The old argument stems from the fact that some of the State Associations may have predated MCF. A little like the concept of Federation. The States pre-existed the Federation and so the powers of the Federation is circumscribed by the powers given to them at the point of forming.

This argument doesn't hold anymore. First and foremost all State Associations were dissolved and then rejoined MCF under COS regulations. MCF is the body authorised by FIDE to promote chess in Malaysia. And so today the State Associations have re-applied to join MCF under the rules and conditions set by MCF which is circumscribed by FIDE, COS and OCM.

And so the State Associations are not autonomous anymore, if they ever was, and now come directly under MCF rulings.

Now you see a differentiation of roles. Private organisers are again different. They exist for profit and their purpose is to bring in additional value that Associations cannot achieve.

Take Datmo for instance. The organisers put in the effort that the Associations are unable. They have business contacts and have done the work of presentation to corporate sponsors etc. Private organisers have more leeway to negotiate with MCF for different conditions that are in line with business realities.

And finally we now come to KL Open. There is nothing wrong with the Invitational. But there is something wrong with the structure of the KL Open. The Open come under KLCA, a State Association. And a State Association is meant to serve the chess community.

Now this begs the question if the KL Open is doing that. It is not a private organiser and so it cannot be selective on who is allowed to join in without sufficient and legitimate grounds. More so since it is sub-ed out to a Chess Academy.

Now it is then possible for an ailing Academy to attack other trainers and coaches who are perhaps doing better than them. They are now able to use the Tournament to ban National players from participating. This is an abuse of the use of a State Association.

So you see Datmo actually had more rights to ban players as a private organiser. But KL Open does not have the same right. They are a State Association who's primary function is to serve the chess community without prejudice.

Ref: Here and here.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

KL Open.

Round 1 pairing. Here.

Is there such a thing as chess instinct?

Ref: Here.

Instinct is the atavistic response to a real or imagined emotional stimuli. Fight or flight. Two responses to a perceived threat.

Chess is a thinking game. Not a knee jerk response. And so we need to train the mind to reach the higher centers; to find the other responses. To look for out of the box answers, to find new options.

I think Ilham has asked the right question here. To learn more, do go and read "Emotional Intelligence" by Daniel Goleman. Here is a very brief and abbreviated version by me.

Instinct is a fear response and a very powerful stimuli. It has a direct loop to the brain stem (which is the old brain of even pre-caveman days.) When fear is triggered the impulses reach the old brain first and not the higher centers ie the neo cortex.

Now the neo cortex is where creativity, reasoning etc is found. But the impulses take a few seconds longer to reach these centers. If you are to continually trigger the fear response, you can drown out the thinking faculty.

Just using this very basic model, do you see why civilisation has tended towards order and rules. Towards education. This is necessary for progress. It is to enable the thinker in you to emerge.

Can you also now see why Lim Zhuo Ren needed to be attacked when he tried to explore for alternative answers; a solution to his current dilemna? Why Sumant and Mark needed to be attacked?

The continuous firing of fear impulses. The drowning out of thinking. Another way of looking at this is that fear prevents your access to knowledge and reasoning. Actually the seniors may have more knowledge than the juniors now. But they have too much fear and that reduces their fighting strength. So the great equaliser is to instill more fear into the Juniors.

An amazing recipe. Now all cannot fight in the real World.

Incidentally, this fear is also injected into the parents. And so we have this vicious cycle. It is not that we do not have World beaters. It is just that we have injected too much fear into the system and into the players.

Does that now explain why some of the Juniors are backsliding? They are constantly attacked. They have no tools to deal with these vicious attacks. And then you blame them when they want to run away. And you attack them further when they want to learn how to fortify their minds. And when you do manage to separate them from their support system, you say they cannot think.

Don't you think this is a little crazy? And to add insult to injury, they now ask where is our World beaters?

Top Malaysian players.


Is this list representative of Malaysian fighting strength? How can we be more sure?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Beyond the Juniors.

If my suppositions are more or less on the mark, then our Juniors will end their careers as Juniors at around 2100 to 2200 Elo given current conditions.

These are the conditions we are working under.

1. The senior's real fighting strength are only around 2200 in todays chess.

2. Our chess culture is infected by people who attack rather then nurture our talent. The Juniors who are backsliding are a direct result of these people. Make no mistake about this. The moment they try to learn, try to explore new ideas, they are attacked. They attack our hero's; the ones who dare to fight. And they defend and make really dumb excuses for the cowards and those that have checked out.

3. We have unrealistic expectations of medals without doing the work. We point fingers rather than understanding and solving the underlying reasons for our deteriorating performance on the World stage.

4. We resist change for the better.

5. Etc.

So really at the senior stage today, we have a lot of people who are not very far off from each other in terms of fighting strength. It's just that some have worked much harder at creating false numbers than others. At Datmo Nicholas Cheah gave us a very convincing run. And there are many more. Offhand I can think of Nik Farouqi, Masrin Erowan etc. etc. etc.

They are fast improving. Together with the other former and current Juniors, these can form a band of players who can challenge the still fighting seniors given a little more time and more senior selection. From this healthy competition we can squeeze another 100 rating points or more. We need to increase our internal competition to move forward. The way of manufactured ratings or using outdated ratings as basis for selection will just keep us backward.

This will be the spark that will inject more energy into our system. This is our first step forward and we musn't falter now just because they attack the idea of senior squad selection with lies and misdirection.

Note: If you want a clearer sense of the direction we should be heading for, go to IM Goh's site and see what it takes to be a fighting IM. Then compare his knowledge level with our current IM blogger. That is the gap.

ps: What I am really saying is that the barrier now is mainly psychological. Objectively there is little to separate the chess skills at the senior level among our top players. And there are many of them. Just a very very small gap that can be bridged with some confidence and faith in oneself. And correct training of course.

Friday, September 2, 2011

National Rapid at UTP. 1st and 2nd Oct.

We will be going too. See you there. Here.

Some notes on rating.

Ref. in comments here.

I have made some references to ratings as an unreliable tool for selection or measuring fighting strength. Let me try to explain my reasoning here.

Lets start with the age groups first. Perhaps the truest rating we may have on how strong Malaysia is as a chess nation are those gotten from the U12's and below. This is simply because we are fairly successful until we go past that band. So our kids are measured against the best up to that level. So lets give that achievement an arbitrary number of 2100. However even this number is also not totally accurate for fighting strength as you will see when I explain on later.

From U14 onwards, the gap starts to widen. So when our kids start to compete at those age groups they may find their rating reducing even though they are continuing to improve. Why is this? This can be explained from the fact that the kids from other nations are just improving at a faster rate. Even as the kids compete among themselves, they will find that 2100 strength at U14 and above is not the same 2100 strength at U12. Fighting strength is not immediately reflected in ratings.

And so the gap continue to widen. Now you will find that the 2100 from U12 outclassed against the 2100 from the higher age groups. So I submit that all we can conclude from the ratings derived from age groups are their fighting strength within that narrow band. And that is all.

A further complication occur when say a boy/girl from an age group were to only compete in mainly age groups and certain "selected" tournaments and the other fight in strong open tournaments. The other boy/girl will have his/her fide rating dropping further since he/she is fighting a much stronger field. And so as you can now see, even at age groups the numbers are not totally reflective.

So the best way to determine who is stronger is still to fight it out in a tournament. The numbers are not totally reflective. It depends on whether you have been stage managed or not.

In Malaysia the best determinant for strongest Junior is National Juniors. Apart from that there are only age group Champions. Nothing more and nothing less.

Now if we were to extrapolate further, we will find the same anomaly with the seniors. They may have gotten a high rating at one point in history but it is again not relevant in today's chess. As the gap continue to widen the ratings lose further meaning. To get the truest rating these seniors now need to compete against their peers during their age group days ergo World level, not seniors or veterans. However this is no longer possible for obvious reasons.

A truer rating is gotten when they continue to compete in strong tournaments. Within Asean or Asia for instance. But these tournaments also need to be Open where all and sundry can come to compare skills. For example, Asean Masters.

Now you see there are many wriggle spaces for stage managing. I have said before that there is even a Country that easy ratings can be earned. Another way is to play in selected weak fields. Those ratings are false, manufactured and has no reflection on fighting strength in International Tournaments.

So I agree with anonymous. The Malaysian hero's are those that chose to fight in the Open at Datmo. They may have lost rating as a result of that testing. But I will back them anytime, in fair and healthy competition, over those that "cooked" their ratings.

As I said there are some players who have not fought in a local fide tournament in many many years. And they shout and deride our players from the sidelines. The quality of chess worldwide has improved leaps and bounds over the last few years.

So again I submit that if those nay sayers were to compete in an Open strong field, their rating will today be around 2100 or if we are truly optimistic, 2200. That is where we really are. The acid test is of course when we see them fighting among their peers again. I actually don't think they can even survive in todays higher age group challenges. But that is just my opinion again.

So using rating as the basis for any selection will not be true. Especially in Malaysia where there are those who only play to "manufacture" rating. If we ever use them based on ratings alone, they will be an embarrassment to the Country. Our best bet is to play in a selection and bring in new blood. It may be a shaky start but in the longer run, we will have strong players. Made under pressure and able and willing to fight. Able and willing to learn and improve. Real players made in Malaysia.

ps: What I am really saying is that the barrier now is mainly psychological. Objectively there is little to separate the chess skills at the senior level. Just a very very small gap that can be bridged with some confidence and faith in oneself. And correct training of course.