I realise many States are now active and want a National Junior of their own. So I would like to share a little of our journey. How a young boy from sleepy Ipoh, Perak made it into the top 4 of NAG in 2010 and the number 2 in both the U18 as well as second placing for all the juniors under 20 for the year 2011 in the National Juniors.
When he made top 4 in 2010 he was the first male junior from Perak to break into the National squad in over 10 years. He has since represented Malaysia for Asean, Asian youth and was part of the team that won that historical event against Singapore for the first time in 10 years again in 2011.
It is not easy to break into the top 4 in order to win a place among the National Juniors. From the top 10 onwards, the kids are improving at a very fast pace. And it gets much faster among the top 5.
There has not been any player outside KL, Selangor and Penang who has succeeded in that journey for a long time as far as I know. So this is for the players in the up and coming States. Allow me to share how you can take the fight to them.
Note: When I first talked about trying to win by going to tournaments in KL, the President of the Perak Chess Association told me to give up on the idea. "They are different in KL" he says. "There is no way you can make it there". Obviously I didn't listen to him.
How you can come from a State without a strong chess culture, fight discrimination, match fixing etc and still make it to the top. And we did it without the traditional trainers. We did it the mind coaching way.
I will be busy over the next few days so I will probably continue this after the weekend.
To give you an indication of the journey, when Mark finally played his first Malaysia/Singapore, it was already Sumant's 10th. They are both the same age. So how did we close the gap in around 2 years?
Note: I would not even be writing this without the help of Sumant. He came to my house for a week and helped Mark in his chess at the outset of our journey. He also gave us all his online materials on chess. For that we are always indebted to him. I fear I may have let him down when I could not protect him against all the attacks after he won his SEA games place in the senior squad. For that I will always have some regrets.