Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Malaysia's first GM.

I was just invited to a facebook forum where I was asked if Malaysia has any strong players and if I think any of them can be GM. My answer to the forum was no. I do not see a Malaysian GM yet.

Let me explain why I said that more thoroughly here. Yes, we have strong players but no I do not see a GM yet. A couple of years ago when I was putting together the training for the juniors going to Asean, I consulted with a few people to get a better idea on how to structure the training. I asked IM Lim Yee Weng this question among others. I asked him what will it take to become GM and his answer to me was that if he knew he would be a GM.

Now that Yee Weng has beaten Megaranto twice I said in another post that maybe the technical gap isnt that big now. So where is the problem? Lets explore this further.

I have said that we need to be mentally tougher and I have also said we need a better understanding of competitor analysis. Lets see why I said that. Yee Weng has sussed out Megeranto to an extent. But in that 9 rounds he also needs to suss out the other opponents in the field in the same manner. And he would probably find that he would need other tools to achieve the same kind of success with different types of players. So Yee Weng will need to analyse them and they will also analyse him in depth. Cat and mouse. And to do that better you need a deep understanding in profiling. Competitor analysis.

Mental toughness. I am sure you realise that beating one person of that strength is very very tough. And you need to do it many times to achieve one GM norm. And after that you need to do it twice over to make GM if you are not already too traumatised by that one run.

Imagine the work and time involved. Imagine the discipline needed. Not only Megeranto but the other players as well. How much more work do you think? How about the training? Same type of training to beat Megeranto as it is to beat the others in the field?

Now is it becoming more obvious that we do not have that type of support system? Don't you think that the player may need a coach, a manager with him or do you expect him to do all that by himself/herself and still stay competitive? Do we have the type of training so he is even ready to go and have a fighting chance?

So there is still a lot we don't have. Yes, we have strong players. But untrained and unsupported to play at that level. Do we know what the true gap is? What is the measure? Our players now need to find the financing themselves, do the training themselves and act as coach, manager and player all by themselves.

So the answer is no. I do not yet see a GM. We do not have the conditions yet. And those conditions will not come so long as we bury our heads in the sand and "hope" a GM will come by accident if we keep running here and there like a chicken without a head. Get what I mean?

No head, no leadership, no planning. No guidelines, no policies. We are still trying to figure out who gets paid what for tournaments. See here. We are spending a lot of time to figure out how to ban players stronger than our own and still not sure who is in charge of National policies. See here.

Chess is a very real game. So lets get real here. We don't even seem to have the courage to look hard and define what our problem is. We need to do that first before we can even attempt to structure the solution.

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