Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Malaysian Chess-Strengths and Weaknesses.

For us to progress we need 2 essential elements. A strong vision which provides the forward momentum by energising the chess community and a will to unblock the elements of resistance that keep us backwards. If the resistance is stronger than the vision we will go backwards vis-a-vis the rest of our neighbours. If the resistance is equal to the vision we will stay on the same spot while our neighbours still move forward.

When Yee Weng beat Megaranto not once but twice, I believed that it is possible that we do not have much more to learn in terms of technical knowldege. With the internet today, we have access to almost as much technical knowledge as anyone else.

So where does the malign lie? We do not have a winning mindset. I propose that we are stuck because we habitually self sabotage. We have no sense of purpose and we only focus on tournaments. I see MCF has put in some "training" this year. But isnt it the quality of the training that counts? Not one that is just put up for show.

Lets put it this way. The training needs to foster mental toughness. And that can only be achieved if the training is at least on par with those that our opponents are receiving. For that leads to belief. Belief that we can win. And that leads to training harder.

This is simply because it is the players who must have that belief before they are willing to pay the price.

I therefore believe that a change of leadership is important. Right at the top. We also need leaders who believe that Malaysians can win. That we have the talent if we dont allow them to rot and if we dont kill them off in our petty jealousies. We need to put rogue organisers and associations in their place by having proper guidelines and policies.

What is happening now is a step forward from the past. We now have written selection although it is still not perfect and subject to manipulation. And it is not enough. One tiny step in 30 years and brought to us from the bottom up is not enough.

Note: Written selection criteria was hard won from the efforts of a few parents and bloggers. It was not initiated by the leadership.

Our neighbours are just moving forward at a faster pace than we are. And so in time we will find we are still behind even with our first tender step forward.

We are still very far behind others in the understanding of competitor analysis and then designing the requisite training to narrow that gap. Here almost zero work has been done compared to our neighbours. In fact we have not even publicly acknowledged its existence yet.

The future of Malaysian chess is now in the hands of the few delegates at the MCF AGM. If they can make decisions with courage then this will augur well for the rest of us. Simply put, if our leaders act with courage and wisdom then so will the rest of the chess community. And so will the players. And that is what I call the winning mindset.

Our strengths? We are blessed with a tremendous pool of vibrant talent if we can but see it. Dont let them become like most of the older players we now see. Broken and beaten down because they were never given the correct and proper chance to shine. Ergo, not the "shortcuts" tangled in front of them to rob them of their fighting spirit or arbitrarily banned. False hopes and promises. Broken and beaten down not by their opponents but by their own side.

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