Thursday, March 29, 2012

The training of a National Junior- Cont.

Ref: Here.

My starting paradigm is that while technical is an essential component, it is not the most important facet in the building of a Champion. I believe that the mind set takes precedence, together with the correct training. And I believe that competitor analysis is an important cornerstone. And from the 2 elements of competitor analysis of knowing your opponent and knowing yourself, the much much harder part is in knowing yourself.

My views were in part formed after our exposure to GM Ziaur for those few days of training prior to Asean 2010. It was very instructive from the view point on how to train but we found that the openings he recommended to us were not the right ones for Mark. Why is that? My conclusion is that Ziaur is not Mark. Each have different giftings and different styles. So even a GM will not be able to help with openings unless he has a very deep understanding of his student. And that takes not only the willingness and ability to understand the student but also the required time to do so.

From this and other observations of technical trainers is that they normally teach the openings and style of play that they are familiar with and not necessarily what the player needs.

My methods.

I engage my players. I question them after every game and every tournament. I question them about the openings/response with each player they have encountered. What the problems were. I then assess if the problem is technical or mental. Whether it's a failure in courage, a lack of discipline or bad judgement in changing pre-agreed game plans.

If it's technical I then refer them to the trainer with the correct skill sets to solve that particular issue.

The most important criteria for me is in helping the players to make good decisions and to know where they should go for the correct solution. And I am very careful about engaging any technical trainer for the greatest danger to the players well being is in engaging a trainer who instead of aiding in technical knowldege instil fear in them instead. For fear causes the players to implode and self sabotage in time. So I only choose trainers that do not put down the players or who shows a lack of emotional restraint.

I have seen many instances of that and I believe that is the major cause of the players failing after U14 when the damage begins to show. That and the use of backdoors. Diamonds are formed under pressure. But the players need to be taught how to do that. How to take pressure and thrive. Not take the short cuts. That never works and we have 30 years of evidence to prove it.

And so in my sessions my players can question anything. I can question their assumptions and reasoning and they can question mine. And so another lesson is also taught. How to question with civility and without rudeness. And with this other disciplne I find that they learn to understand and manage their emotions and make better decisions. And they are also able to transfer this discipline to the other issues and problems in life.

That is the true power of chess and the lessons held within it.
For chess is the exercise of reasoning under pressure.

Read this again. Here.

Next: After the weekend, I will talk about what took place in the SEA games selection training in my home.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

2 types of competition.

Ref: Here.

Healthy competition is rule based. It includes collaboration. It is about building something. It is about unblocking ourselves to be the best that we can be. And with each goal achieved then one's confidence is increased. It requires a fleeting commodity called courage. You are called again and again to be courageous and to retain your own personal power. It builds character.

Unhealthy competition is about tearing down. It builds nothing. It's about spreading lies and sabotage. It's about collusion. With unhealthy competition you will find that you are in the same spot 30 years down the road. Why? Because the moment anyone tries to build, someone else will try to tear it down. There are no rules in this type of competition. It's about keeping the other down as opposed to raising yourself up. Ergo, the glass ceiling.

Reminder. This is part of what you should be learning from chess. Here.

Note: There is one revealing characteristic about healthy competition. Information is not hidden. All is revealed. Why? Because with the same available information, some will learn and some will not. It's all about learning and the speed that you acquire knowledge. This is the antithesis of small mindedness; of prejudice and bigotry.

And from this environment our GM will come.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The mind of a champion.

Ref: Here.

He is able to still his mind and to hold on to his game plan and trust in his training. He is able to keep strong emotions at bay and to trust his strategy and reasoning. And he can only do that if his confidence remains intact despite the pressure.

That ability has to be horned through tough training. You are not born with it.

Not giving in to excuses and blaming others for the loss of our own self control.

That comes from being able to solve problems and continuously improving.

We will not have that so long as the money is drained from our associations. So long as we attack our own players or try to ban the strong ones.

So we need to speak up and ask our association reps to vote in the leadership that can give us those conditions. That there are proper guidelines. That associations do what they are supposed to do and private academies/organisers do what they should be able to do.

What does speak from your own truth mean?

What happens when we reach the stage where even when there is video evidence, the argument becomes "It looks like me, sounds like me.....

I think that means that rationality and reasoning has gone out of the window. Go back to all my past posts. What have I said? There is no use finger pointing. This will go on and on without end and we will never be able to solve anything.

And if we cannot solve anything we cannot progress.

So all I say is that we look at the man in the mirror and then we speak our truth. I do not advocate anger or shouting down. All I am saying is give reason a chance. We try hard to understand the issues.

If you have a vote, use it. If you see a friend(or your own child) doing something wrong, tell him/her; quietly if possible. Our purpose should be to solve problems and issues.

But that can only start when we awaken our own conscience and speak our truth. I cannot see any other way working. Can you?

Note: I have observed that sometimes the truth seems very loud even when spoken softly. That is because there is a bell ringing inside you. Not the volume outside. I choose to listen to that bell rather than pretend it is not ringing. Curiously I find that this also has strong bearings on how we play chess too.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday musings on "why I play chess".

Ref: Here.

In this last week I have been reminded several times why I am still involved in chess. Early in the week I took a couple of people who had helped out, for drinks, to celebrate a closed property deal. One of them was my banker who had graduated in Mass Communication. So I asked her if she intended to use her university degree later to do what she studied. I could see that the question agitated her. She looked at me and said, "I don't know what to say to you Mr Siew" as though I was from Mars, "Don't you know that working life is just that"?

Get up, go to work get paid and then home again.

I have been in business a long time. I have seen Malaysian business given to foreign companies even though the skill sets are available in Malaysia because our people just can't work together, among other reasons. I have seen the collapse of a Multinational Malaysian company because of internal sabotage.

I see chess as our intellectual bastion and a prime asset to Malaysia. So I observe here. I try to see how reasoning can be overwhelmed by fears and strong emotions. I look to see how our best minds can be twisted with the destruction of hopes and dreams.

I try to observe and to understand the conditions that can prevent our National aspiration of Wawasan 2020.

And I hope to find a way to use chess to help develop Malaysians who can stand tall in the International Arena. People who are disciplined and will carry our flag with pride and honour. People who are not afraid of hard work and want the dignity of true accomplishments.

And if all that fails, I hope that at least my son will have his hopes and dreams still alive to pursue whatever he wants to be in the new globalised world. That I have stood by his side against those that have tried to break him.

Note: I think our aspiration for that first GM is closely tied to Wawasan 2020. If we can succeed then Wawasan 2020 will be that much closer to reality. But to do that we need to wake up and see what is ahead of us. Measure the gap and find ways to get there.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Some random thoughts this weekend.

Ref: Here.

Whitney took drugs to hide the pain of the intense pressure to stay at the top. And she had a lot of support from professionals.

Sometimes I wonder if the people who mouth so much on the blogs have any idea of what it is like to represent the Country. What the pressure is like. What the pressure is like to go for that GM run? And without proper support.

So for all those people that want the current system to remain. The ones that allow a few corrupt officials and their cronies to rob the funds from our associations. The ones that attacked the only training program that was done for our juniors before national representation. The ones that attacked the thematics that could have allowed our players to horne their openings in a training tournament.

The ones that attacked the only junior to have made the senior squad via selection. The ones that want to ban the only male junior that came out from Perak in over 10 years and made U18 and National Junior number 2 in the same year.

I want you to think about what you are doing. Are you so far gone that you cannot see your destructive ways?

After you have thought this through, if you are still able to think; then speak.

Do we have our own version of Whitney? Maybe not drugs but just as twisted and dysfunctional. Do we still use these people as the role model for our kids and upcoming players?

An example of spreading rumours.

Go to the comments in this post. Here.

This is a problem isn't it? What do you think of the thinking skills of this Chee Seng person? He says that Greg took Mok's money in a round about way.

My point is that Mok should say it himself. Then Dato should say that the money has been given to Greg. Then problem solved. Why should he speak for Mok?

I speak about what I have observed or experienced. And then I ask for you to do the same. I say some of you have spoken to me about this and that but what can I do about it? If I write what you say on my blog, I become like Chee Seng.

So it's a trap. The same trap that has caused us to go round and round for 30 years pointing fingers without resolution while our players continue to be whacked again and again in the International arena.

The only way to solve problems are for those involved to voice up. They need to find back their power. They need to stop feeding their power over to them because of fear. Can you see that?

Can you see the difference between me and Chee Seng? Is there a difference at all?

This is not about Greg.

Reminder again. Here.

To change anything we need to understand the issues. I see Fadli is still angry from his facebook comments. That is understandable. But we need correct action or else somebody just like Greg will take his place. And nothing will change. We will be back to square one for another long long time.

The main issue is the position of Secretary of MCF. It is way too powerful with almost zero check and balances. Even when we replace Greg we will face the same problem again with the next secretary. So we must have good guidelines and policies. We need the whole committee of MCF empowered to act as the internal check and balance. My feedback is that the main obstacle to this is the President. So he needs to be replaced.

But there is a catch. Only the affiliates of MCF can vote. So we need to voice our concerns to the State Representatives.

Now this catch is a little more complicated. Even with the new President, how can we be sure that he will implement a proper system and not fall into the same power trap of the past Presidents? That is the first point.

The second point is how do we convince the State Representatives to act for the good of chess when you can see that they may already be corrupted. Look below again and see the examples. Say you are an upcoming player and you want the backdoor. Can your vote be bought? Say Greg promises that your brother can enter into selection without pre-qualification. Can your vote be bought? Say if I allow you to create National policies and give you fat projects and together we rob MCF. Can your vote be bought?

So you see. To empower ourselves we need to just highlight the injustices. We need the truth to come out. All of these people try to pretend to act in the interest of chess. They pretend to care for the players. But we can see this is not true.

We can see from their actions. And so long as they know we can see, they will know their position is not secure. That is the best brakes we can have. That is why they try to frighten us into silence. And that we must not allow.

So forget about legal action Fadli. The better way is for them to sue us if they dare. Play chess with your head not with your emotions. Don't let them push your buttons.

To do this is difficult for we can only find the strength to not react to the bigotry and racial taunts by tapping into a higher power. And that power is from the love of chess or for the players; the children.

You cannot find that power from your ego. So just speak up. That is enough. The true essence of bullies is fear.

Do not make this personal. For if you do then your actions will come from hatred which is just another form of fear. Then instead of changing anything, you will become just like them.

We do not need to be afraid of scared people. For if we are we will never have the culture to bring up players who can face strong players from across the sea.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The illegitimate transfer of power and energy.

All of us are invested with legitimate power and authority as stakeholders. Whether you are a parent, player or official. And with that authority comes responsibility.

So we now come to the question of how did an insecure secretary reach the all powerful position where he seems to be a law on his own and everyone else silenced. Reminder here.

The simple answer is that we allowed him. We allowed him to use our fears and prejudices against us. Lets examine the methods used to get some bearing.

He "allowed" the training and then he went behind our backs to tell players not to go. He "allowed" the thematics and then allowed the sabotage. After Sumant won his place as the first junior to join the senior squad via a selection, he first played with Sumant's mind by "dropping" from the Malaysian Team at Malaysian Close. Then there were whispers to his parents that he may be dropped from the SEA games team. And of course the attacks on the blog asking him to apologise.

You come and tell me that Greg owes money, that he has taken money from people and not returned. I hear the money from Asian Amateur meant for the winner of National Junior has been siphoned away. I hear that he has withheld the winners certificate from players. In fact this I know. And yet nobody dares to speak openly about this. Why?

Could this be the reason? We fought for written selection and he has tried to use this to bend the seniors (and others) to his will. Did you also notice the inclusion of Kamal Ariffin as well as Jun Feng at SEA games selection? New criteria formed after the event. What could be his motive and what signal does this give to others?

I remember Mok was defiant and did not accept Greg's authority at Malaysia/Sing 2011. And he played badly in the tournament. Why so meek now that he cannot even have lunch on his own. Why quietly accept the public humiliation like that at National Junior where he was chief arbiter?

The only legitimate transfer of power, authority or energy is by reasoning and due process. All attempts by lies, manipulation, deflection, intimidation is illegitimate.

Now this is the funny thing. Greg and his supporters know that. That is why they hide and do things via cloak and dagger. Lets stop here. Lets think about this. This is important.

Do you see? Do you see what I am getting at? Do you see that they have no legitimate power and authority. He had to allow the training, the thematic. He did not have the authority to remove Sumant from the SEA games squad. He does not have the authority to take money earmarked for someone else, to keep your money or to withhold your certs.

All he has is the bluff. Now do you understand why Peter needs to say that he did not see the email? And why Greg is so willing to sacrifice this poisoned pawn by getting him to do the dirty work?

So what did we do to help him and his supporters? We believed the lies. And lies can only be spread because we do not dare to tell the truth. It's all an illusion. The power is still with the players and the parents. The law says so.

But the power has been transferred illegitimately. So next time you see his rosy face and see your own reflection in the mirror as pallid and shrunken, remember this. You gave your power to him. Your fears transferred it.

So Fadli, don't worry about him sabotaging you. He can only do it in the dark. Your best defence is to talk openly about it. But only talk your truth. That is enough.

You see when we talk, with every conversation, with every truth revealed we take away their power. The power to lie, manipulate, distort and intimidate. The power to take away your power.

And over time I guarantee you, you will have the rosy cheeks and their complexion will be pallid and shrunken. Trust me on this.

Note: Think deeply on this. They do this to the parents and they do this to the players. Can we expect our players to play with dignity and to hold their heads high when they meet strong opponents when they are already beaten down at home?

All they want is your money but they have nothing of substance to give except their fears. For they are failures who have given up on trying to improve. Who is the strongest player those actors have produced that they shout so loud? Why are they so sacred of meeting other strong players in our own selection tournaments to legitimately fight for their place. Why this twisted way of doing things?

The truth of the matter is that they are scared of us. We have the money. We the parents and players pay for everything. And all they do is keep re-arranging the dust. If we are not so scared we will see this. They have nothing for themselves but what we give them. Illegitimately.

Face this and take back your power. I say this to both the players and the parents. If you have lost your courage on the board, go back to the board to reclaim it. Don't try for the backdoors. If you have lost your power to a petty official because you were intimidated go and tell your truth. You do not need to lie, intimidate or shout at them. All you need to do is to quietly tell your truth.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

You need to go back to the place where you lost your power to reclaim it.

I hope you will read this and the next few postings carefully. If you can do that, I am fairly confident you will have much deeper insights into what is going on in the chess community and why we don't have that GM yet.

You will also see how you can change things by simply speaking up from your truth.

I got a message from Fadli aka Stone Master that he was writing a complaint to Hamid and Tuan Haji regarding the "kurang ajar" and "biadap" manner that he was treated by Greg.

So lets look a little at the issues. Fadli is a private organiser and so he has rights. Fadli is not MCF or it's affiliates and so MCF does not have direct control over him. Apparently Fadli was "ordered" to move his event as it clashes with Melaka. So it's a strange situation where the secretary of MCF does not do what he is supposed to do within his ambit but now tries to muscle private organisers instead. So what is going on and how did it get this way?

How did Greg reach this point where he thinks he is all powerful?

Lets go back a little in time. When Greg was a newly elected secretary he used to call me. Usually late at night and our conversations will go on for hours. Very often my battery will even run out.

At that time he was surrounded by enemies and he didn't know enough to defend himself. And so I shared what I knew with him. And I told him that I will support him so long as what he did was for the benefit of chess.

But at the last National Junior I saw something that didn't sit well with me. It went like this. IM Mok wanted to have lunch and apparently he could not have lunch without Greg. Greg was talking to someone and Mok kept trying to get his attention. After a while even the guy that Greg was talking to told Greg to go and have lunch with Mok. But Greg kept ignoring Mok much to the embarrassment of those that witnessed the incident.

Why such disrespect? Of course Mok also did the same thing to Zhuo Ren after he came to my house for the SEA games training. So what is happening? Zhuo Ren is a player who is also deserving of some respect by virtue of his being NM isn't it?

And Greg's decisions went further downhill from there. Allowing his new friend Peter to make National policies, maybe hoping that this half crazed man will do his bannings for him. Warning FGM not to try to do our own tournament as we would be "spoilers". And now this fracas with Fadli.

Read this again. Here.

In the next few postings I hope to share some personal insights into what Marina wrote. And I hope after that you will be able to see why Sumant was attacked, why there are efforts to ban Mark, why all the contributions by FGM needed to be put down etc etc.

But above all, I hope you will see why no GM can come from this type of culture. Thank you for your time.

Note: If you think what I say makes sense, please share this post with your friends. Together we can make a difference for our kids. For us.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What you can do to change things.

The million dollar question. 30 years of rot and there seems to be no way to turn things around. Year after long years we see our strong players dropping like flies under the intense pressure of international competition.

We see players who have not played any proper tournament in years suddenly representing the Country. We see our associations taken over by people who only care about finding ways to siphon away the money for private gain. And we seem helpless to do anything about it.

We see all kinds of abuses but we seem to be without voice.

We try to do our work quietly. We do our own thing like come up with a training program for the juniors before international tournaments and we are attacked. We then try to do our thematics and we are attacked. We try to help some juniors to get into the senior squad by training them in our homes and we are attacked. When one of the juniors win a place in the selection for the senior squad he is attacked. When one of the juniors is seen to be gaining in strength and becoming strong, they try to ban him.

You go into the associations and bring in your contacts to help fund them you are either sacked or else your appointment is not acknowledged.

We all know what is going on. Every tournament I go to I hear more and more stories about the abuses.

Almost everyone that I speak to knows more or less what is going on but the feeling is that of resignation about being able to change things. So what can we do about it?

Let me explain the mechanics first and then I will explain to you in greater detail why I think the way I suggest will work.

All you have to do is to make known to your representatives in your own associations that you know the truth of matters and you want change and it will happen. All you have to do is to speak your truth about what you know and things will change.

Hard to believe yes? But it's true. All you have to do is to speak your truth. About what has happened to you and that is enough.

All you have to do is to raise up your hands and call the arbiter and say there has been an infringement of the rules. The point is not whether the arbiter is fair or not. The point is that you raised up your hand and demanded your rights according to the rules.

I would like to remind you here of what happened to get us written selection. We spoke up and change happened. So bring up the issues to your association leaders. They have the vote at MCF's AGM. They can vote for change. Don't worry about whether they have integrity or not. Just tell them what you know and ask for change.

But do it in the open. Don't whisper in corners. Just like you don't complain about an infringement on the board after the game. Raise your hands and ask for a ruling, ask for a decision.

In my next few postings I will explain why that alone will change things. In the meantime try it. Ask more questions. Trust me on this.

Monday, March 19, 2012

How do we get our own Le Quang Liam?

Ref: Here.

I think it can only be done if all the backdoors are closed. If we have proper guidelines and policies that forbid banning of any player without justifiable grounds. If we have strong associations as well as strong private academies and organisers that are also able to compete in the open/international market. They cannot be mollycoddled or allowed to take their own backdoors via associations.

Then the players will have the proper support. Then we won't have players "training" via the veterans before representing the Country. We won't have our own players shamelessly attacked just because they chose a different type of training than is conventionally given here. And our juniors won't be told to wait their turn or they will make enemies.

Note: All those actions are driven by fear. All need of backdoors are driven by fear. All attacks on our juniors are driven by fear. We need to change this culture or the GM won't come. The attacks on the training of our juniors is driven by fear. The attacks on the thematics is driven by fear. The big question now is why are we scared of people driven by fear?

"If you are scared, get out of business"

I remember those words clearly like it was yesterday. Those words were told to me by my late partner and mentor Dato Hisham Albakri, who was the architect for Pan Pacific, Bank Bumi Headquaters, National Library etc etc.

The context was this. I was preparing a contract and faxed the draft to Dato. In reply he made some changes. After 3 attempts I finally called him, in some frustration, to explain that the contract had been vetted by 3 lawyers.

In the conversation I said "Dato, this clause is necessary, I'm worried about ......"
In reply he said those words to me. "If you are scared, get out of business."

His basic lesson to me was you cannot pen in all your worries about things that may go wrong. You need to believe in your ability to solve problems as a businessman or else get out and seek employment.

How does this relate to our chess community?

I think those words also mean if you are scared don't play competitive chess, don't try to represent the Country via the backdoor. Give those who still have fight the opportunity to develop. Play chess as a hobby instead.

It also says, if you have entered in the business of chess then stay away from the associations. Don't milk them dry till they have no money to perform their task which is to serve the chess community.

We now have the situation where our chess activities fund business people who cannot compete in the open market. So the only way they can survive is by colluding with certain officials in associations.

These practices have kept us backwards for many years. If we want that GM, then we need the associations to do what they should do and the private organisers and academies should do what they should be able to do.

Note: For instance. MCF is unable to fund proper training for our players and yet they will sabotage any attempt to get the training to our players. I submit that this is because of the trainers in the association that feel threatened. Isn't that the only reasonable inference? The interests are co-mingled and this sets up a conflict that keeps us backwards simply because they cannot do it but they will also not allow anyone else to do it.

If they are scared to compete, I suggest they close down their businesses and join the associations as volunteers instead. But taking over associations for private interests or colluding with officials to strip the associations of their funds is not the right way.

On the other hand, if you joined an association for money making schemes, then I suggest you go into business where you can make all the money you want legally. If you are any good that is.

The associations are not there for you to strip of funds. They are there to serve the chess community. Hobbyists as well as serious competitors who want to go out there and fight the fight. So why are you taking money not meant for you?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

My reply to Fuyoh

Ref: Here.

First allow me to apologise for misspelling your name Tse Pin.

Apart from that I think that I have not made any assumptions apart from what was stated in your first article. But looking at the second part of your article above, I see that we are in general agreement. NAG is the responsibility of MCF.

Actually it is the current secretary of MCF that told me that NAG makes money for MCF to allow them the funds for other activities. That information was shared in the early days when it was still thought that FGM would take part in certain activities. So why was this decision changed? And who authorised it?

I commend you for your principled stand. I assume that this means that the suggestion made to you is unprincipled.

So if possible I would like you to take it one step further. I see you balked at the question of where the RM10/head was to go to. Which bank account? That answer would be very revealing I'm fairly sure.

The main point is that there should be transparent accounts. For Asian Amateur as well as for the Melaka event. Overseas money has been given to MCF for the purpose of the development of chess in Malaysia or so I believe. Therefore the full committee of MCF should be able to vet where the money goes to.

I ask even more from you. I also ask that you request a discussion on the agenda on whether KLCA is a proper association at the next MCF AGM. And I also ask that you vote for better leadership in MCF.

As a man of principle I ask that you speak for those of us with concerns but without a voice at the AGM. Can you do that Tse Pin?

ps: May I also suggest that you do a Selangor age group as a way of getting extra funds.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Now what is wrong with that article?

Ref: Here and here.

Lets see. Lets go back to basics first. An Association is supposed to serve the community. So there are regional chess associations. Each serving their own locality. They are NGO's which means they are not supposed to make a profit and all the money earned is poured back into the Association to better serve their members. Period.

So you will find that properly runned associations are managed mainly by volunteers, parents etc. So they are right in a way when they say there is no money in chess.

An aside: I have been associated with associations and its politics for 8 years now. I know that there are sponsors who will sponsor an association out of their corporate social responsibility. I have written about this. How PICA asked a sponsor to write a proposal to them when they wanted to sponsor PICA from their 2 million CSR fund thus driving them away. (A few days later I was sacked since I brought them in). I have also organised a tournament for PICA which at that time was the largest in Perak's history. So I have insights.

So there is more than enough money to run an association if it is done the right way. But there are serious distortions in our structures. Look carefully at Tze Pin's article. What was the title he used? A money making scheme? Is that a freudian slip?

The distortions are in fact that a few people are using the associations for money making schemes. And they do it by diverting the money away to their private enterprises. So you will see trainers who enter into associations to ensure that their players make the list despite the fact that their players are not good. You only have to see the last SEA games selection for an example. In fact if you look at the last Olympiad you will also see that same trainer playing for the Olympiad just beacuse he is an official of MCF. Can you imagine that?

You will see private organisers using associations to get funding by pretending to be an association. An example is KLCA. Now when this happens, who is going to serve the KL chess community?

You will also see organisers banning strong players in order to make their own players look good.

Note: Some sponsors will only sponsor community type activities. Private entities need to find other type of sponsors. But they can only get those type of sponsors based on real track record which they do not have and are unwilling to work for.

So these are the corruptions of the system. Private enterprises are supposed to compete in the open market. If they are good they thrive and if they are lousy they bite the dust. So we now have these people who cannot survive in the open market enter into associations and then they try to make money out of it.

But the associations suffer. The money is siphoned away. We also now see the bannings, backdoor selection etc. We need to keep the two functions separate. There is enough money to run the Associations. But there is not enough for the greed of failed entrepreneurs.

Go back to Tze Pin's article. Take out the costs. The rest is purely for the associations runned by volunteers as it should be.

Now you understand who is leading our associations. Trainers that cannot train. Private organisers who cannot compete and so need to disguise as associations.

I submit that this is the major reason why we do not have a GM by now. Instead of trainers raising their skills they still use methods that do not work. They rely instead on their ability to slip their players via the backdoor etc. So you now see why these people and their supporters fought us so hard against written selection.

Now can you understand why they have all those ready excuses? You are all washed up at 15yo. Actually it's not our players that are at fault. Not our talented players. It's those trainers that are all washed up.

There is no knowledge that they can transfer to the players compared with what is available online after approximately 12yo. The only thing they can transfer is their fears. So they need to buck up.

Can you imagine that after all these years, Tze Pin still don't know what the function of an association is? What does this say about his ability to learn? What would our children learn from him? The type of players our system produces after enough of these distortions are those that still think they are the best in Asia etc etc.. Stuck in la la land.

This is not good enough for our talented Malaysians. We deserve better but we won't get it unless we demand for it.

ps: Look carefully. Think of all the people that fit the profile that I have described. Are they not all trainers? My suggestion to them is to give up trying to look good by promising their players all the backdoors. This keeps them weak. Try instead to coach them into Champions.

My challenge to you. We meet on the table and you can show me how good you are by thrashing my players in fair competition instead of trying to ban them. Fair enough? Or do you still need your crutches to compete with me. If you truly love chess like you say you do then isn't this the better way?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A trainer and a coach

I have argued before that once you reach around 12yo, you do not really need a trainer any more. Why pay for a simple lesson found in any book that with some discipline you can learn more in one sitting instead of it being spread over 10 boring lessons?

What you need is a coach. To teach you how to win within the rules. To show you the price you have to pay for success.

A grandmaster once asked a super grandmaster what is the difference between them and the super GM said decision making.

To succeed in chess at the next level, its about decision making and how to improve it. It's about the ability to reason. How to recognise deception, deflection, manipulation? How to make and then hold on to your decision in the face of fear, intimidation and confrontation. For all those things will surely be tried on you by your opponent. It's part of chess.

How to understand your opponents strengths and weaknesses and how to see your own. That is where the masters will come. From that study.

So lets look at this article next. Lets improve our reasoning. Read this. Here.

Lets see where the manipulation is? Where is the character weakness? Will cover this in next post.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

When preparation meets opportunity.


Read this again.


In the heat of the moment it is so easy to lose your cool and say the wrong things. Usually this can be reversed if the general relationship is healthy and the child knows that you are trying your best to look out for their interest. That must be your only motivation.

If it is about you having bragging rights or your ego, you will set up a conflict that will be very difficult to resolve.

I am only telling you this because I have been around. I have seen many vibrant kids grow into troubled and embittered young men/women who have lost their confidence. This can be done by the most well meaning parents as easily as by the most ill spirited trainers.

Chess is super intense so be careful, restraint yourself. Take care of yourself and your kids.

All my best.

Today's Contemplation.

The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality, the last is to say 'Thank you. In between the two, the leaders must become a servant.

-- Max De Pree

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Now I know.

Ref: Here.

Now I understand why some associations are struggling. It's just like business. Those who know will make money and those who don't won't. And in the same trade too.

Why some trainers can get results and some trainers don't. And in the same game too.

Today's Contemplation.

Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.

-- James Baldwin

Friday, March 9, 2012

Questions for NAG.

NAG is the time of gathering for many parents. I probably won't be going this year but still this is a good opportunity for parents to talk and share information.

What will happen is that the top 4 of each age group will be eligible to play for the Country. And the cycle starts again. We will be sending those boys and girls out to fight the fight and to carry our flag.

So I hope you will ask these questions when you are there. Are our boys and girls going to receive any training before they go? What about the competitors that they will be facing? Will they be trained by their respective Federations?

Why are we sending our players into the boxing ring to be the punching bags for others? What happens to them after being punched over and over again without having the means to fight back?

Note: In 2010 we started a training program for the training of our Juniors. This was not successful. Find out what happened. Ref: Here. Ask the parents who went to Asean 2011 what they paid and what they got for it.

Talk to the MCF officials there as this is a national event and it is their responsibility. If you are not satisfied with the answers then talk to your State representatives and ask them what can be done to change things. Compare notes with other parents. There is also a lot of information here on this blog.

Do email this post to friends you think may be interested or affected. You can email from the end of this post.

You will be paying for the overseas tournaments and you will probably also be paying for the officials going there too. And it will be your kids that they are sending out for cannon fodder so you have the right to ask and demand for answers.

If they say there is no money for training, then ask why is this event managed by Datcc? There is no prize money for NAG so almost all the money that you are collectively paying for the event can be used to pay for the training for our Country's representatives.

But where is the money going to? Why does MCF need an event manager when even a large part of the Malaysian Open which is a private event can be managed by volunteers?

Aren't things a little upside down? Ask those questions. We owe it to our kids.

Note: A question that beggars answering is if MCF cannot do the training because the vast bulk of the money has been diverted away then why would they still need to make sure that any private initiative to train our juniors is also frustrated? That is the extent of the malign of those who are leading MCF (and their supporters) currently.

ps: I will try to drop by if time permits. If I can make it please come up to me with any questions you may have and I will tell you what I know.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Tips for NAG

I cannot stress this enough. Each player has their own unique gifting and they will all mature at different times. Remember also that not all start the game on the same footing. Some have parents who are strong players already or have outside trainers.

So if you start at around 12yo like we did and you meet a player also 12yo on the other side, they may have already been playing tournaments from the age of 6yo. That means that in chess terms the player is 5/6 years his/her senior on the table. But don't despair. Read this. Here.

The most important thing you can do for your child is to protect their fighting spirit. Nurture them. It's not over till the fat lady sings. Don't make him/her feel insecure and inferior to the other player. That is the worst thing you can do.

There is a lot you can learn from chess even if they do not decide to continue chess but do keep them away from the negative people. They can do terrible damage to your child. If you can do this your child will shine in time. Here.

I hope to see your child grow in strength year by year. That is good enough. It is not the beginning of the race that matters. It's the finishing line that counts. Whether he/she crosses it or not?

Protect the spirit and the technical will come in time. All my best to the competitors. Fight hard but fight fair. Your time will come if you stick to this principle. See you at the finishing line.

Success equals energy

With every success you release new energy. Not only for yourself but your immediate environment. That is why it is so important to push the envelope, take the next step with courage.

This is what happens when courage fails. You have a winning position. You are playing with someone 300Elo points higher than you. You don't have self belief. You take a draw.

We have seen many who have taken down players with 300Elo points higher. They won and then the entire team is energised.

In 2011, we beat Singapore for the first time in 10 years. We came back and we fought for written selection. We had energy released from that one victory.

The ones that have no self belief will say it was nothing. They will find all sorts of excuses to deny the energy released from the coming of written selection. They are scared to move forward, in case they too are required to bring in results. So they must put it down.

But we need to push forward or things will grind to a halt. For this year selecting a new leadership will bring us fresh energy again. Tournaments are not enough. Tournaments that keep MCF broke and not doing the work that they should be doing will not take us forward. Lets make a brave move forward this year.

Lets us show our kids what chess is really about. How to win within the rules, what a winning mindset means. Lets do it by example.

Simply put. You cannot win by quitting.

Fide and MSSM

Fide has a chess in school program. Probably a more structured program than what we have for MSSM now. So the Fide Secretary came to Malaysia to promote it to our PM's wife.

Lets think about this a while. Just a mental exercise, limbering up, like when we do puzzles before a tournament.

Now we have a well established infrastructure called the MSSM. Why was it that the Fide Secretary was doing the proposal and not MCF? And why need to see Rosmah?

MCF should be meeting with MSSM officials and volunteering to assist isn't it? After all they all say they love chess.

Could the reason be that MCF has no money to be able to engage MSSM? Or is the reason because MCF officials need to cari makan? Or is it both? Chase big tournaments, make money. But money not going to MCF, money going to outside pockets.

A simple important step like this will advance our chess in leaps and bounds. Why the twisted round about way of doing things? Isn't it obvious that it's a racket?

The supporters of this ineptitude want their share. We support you and then you don't forget me k they silently hope. But if there is one defining feature of these people it's that they do not understand gratitude. They only know how to use and exploit. That is their nature. Their promises have no value.

Did they promise you something too? Perhaps a backdoor for you? Perhaps a small project where you get the crumbs. Open your eyes. Same trick for 30 years. Can you really be a strong chess player if you can't see that? Are you the person we would want to teach our kids? Why such moral and character weakness?

So please dont say that you are doing it for the love of chess anymore. We are not blind. If you really love chess, if you really want progress, you will vote in change.

You will make sure that we have a culture of healthy competition. No more backdoors. We want the best to represent our Country. Not those has been players but hungry players who can pay the price and fight with honour. You will not allow our national players to be banned without justifiable grounds.

So you can drop the pretence. We see you clearly now.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A post by Marina.


I think its self explanatory.

Amateur and Melaka, a gift to the nation or something else?

There is something unique about Asian Amateur and Melaka. The prize money for Asian Amateur was provided by the Asian Chess Federation and the prize money for Melaka was provided by Fide in the form of the Campomanes memorial. Ref: here.

So lets try and do some critical thinking here. These are not small sums. This monetary support from Fide and the Asian Chess Federation is given directly to MCF ie under MCF control.

Now is it possible that the money was meant for the development of chess in Malaysia? What would Campomanes have wanted since it is done in his memory in the case of Fide?

If the support was meant for chess development in Malaysia, what is the situation if that money is now diverted for something else and MCF is left with zero in the coffers?

We have established earlier that MCF can run these events themselves as they have the internal expertise, contacts and resources. We also know that MCF is mandated by its own constitution to develop chess in Malaysia. And we know that there are many things that MCF is not doing due to a purported lack of funds since there is "no money" in chess.

I have argued that there is sufficient funds even if MCF only does National events and if even that is not enough then to charge endorsement fees to private International events like Malaysian close and KL Open. Endorsement fees are legitimate since MCF will have to do liaison work with other chess federations to boost participation.

So these 2 tournaments mentioned are extras. Windfalls.

Now the question remaining is that whether the windfall is for the nation as a whole or for private gain.

If the conclusion is that the money is meant for the nation and not for private gain then any official/s found diverting the funds from its true intention could be found guilty of racketeering. And if the money went into MCF accounts and is misused then the officials could be found guilty of Criminal Breach of Trust, CBT.

Note: For those of you not so familiar with proposals, putting up sufficient prize money to make a tournament attractive and yet be able to run the event without cost over runs is one of the dilemma's private organisers face. So these 2 events is just pure gravy for MCF if the money is not diverted.

The other questions are what happened to the money that went into MCF from the Asian Amateur and who is in control of the bank account that players pay into for Melaka.

Of course we also want to know how much money MCF makes from this windfall if the money is meant for the nation because then we all have a stake in it. So we have a right to the accounts.

I am saying that these events warrant investigation. I am saying that there appears to be a strong case of failure in leadership. I am also saying that it is the responsibility of the delegates to the AGM of MCF to ask these questions on behalf of its members. It is also their responsibility to elect credible leadership.

If this can be done we will find that overnight we will be well on our way to being a strong chess nation. We will be well on our way to that GM.

But this will need courage and foresight on the part of the State chess affiliates. They need to see this issue clearly. Whether to join the corruption by colluding with the MCF officials involved or to stand up for their members or players under their care. For the money that MCF makes also belong to the State Affiliates as MCF is mandated to develop them.

Note: Personally I think the money is meant for the nation. What do you think? Doesn't this warrant an investigation?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

It is possible.


A strong faith, self believe and a willingness to pay the price and anything is possible.

Accuser or Witness?

When I first started this blog, I said that this blog will in the main be educational in nature. My intention was to explore the reasons and the issues surrounding why we are unable to get a GM after all this time. And I think I have stayed true to its mission.

So lets now go to the other part of the debate/discussion on facebook last week where certain people asked me to go for the post of President of MCF or to report to MACC. Questions were also raised about why I accused certain people on my blog with names mentioned.

So let me try to explain comprehensively here what my position is. As a blogger I sometimes have more access to certain information. People tell me things. But I always say to them do what you can with what you have. If you are an official, stand up. If you think someone has cheated you, speak up. Speak up from your truth. But that is your struggle, not mine. So while I can play a supporting role, I will not speak for you. You need to find your own courage. It's your game.

So yes, I write about the going ons in associations; the manipulation of agendas and minutes; the unconstitutional sacking. I talk about the abuses in the system; the match fixing. I talk about the attacks on the first training done for juniors before International Tournaments and the attack on the sponsors involved.

I talk about the selfish nature of the people that asked for the boycott of the thematics because they do not want others to improve. I talk about the extortionate billing to FGM for work not done during the Asean training. I talk about the call I got from an MCF official interfering in Perak's affairs. I talk about the attacks on the players who attended my training for SEA games selection. I talk about the "banning" of a national player without grounds from an organiser/trainer who is a disgrace to Malaysian chess.

But I only talk from my truth. Only from what I have witnessed and experienced; what I observe, and then I have asked for an investigation when I think there are grounds for it. My considered solution is to replace the top in a fair election at the AGM.

So if anyone of you have thought through another solution; if you think you want to be President, if you want blood by calling in the MACC, then that is your call. Do what you think is right if you have the evidence. That will be your fight, your call. I can be available for advice given my experience in chess but it is still your fight. Not mine.

All I ask is that you consider carefully. Are you really the better President? Do you have the proof to bring it to the MACC? Know yourself. What is your true intention? Mine is raising awareness so that others can learn from what I went through. Then you make your own decision.

It's a little like chess. You are across the table. Do you know yourself, know your opponent (in this case, the actual situation) and do you have the guts to make the right decision, the fighting decision?

Don't turn around and look to me. Find your own solution. I have given you mine and I have even suggested some names for the post of President. Do that thinking and you will have learned something of the needed critical thinking skills mentioned in the post below. You can learn it from chess. The clock has started, now decide. Make your own move.

Local grads not up to the mark.


Actually we are in possession of an incredible tool to teach critical thinking if we but know how to use it. If we were to honestly evaluate the quality of the debate coming from the chess blogs can we conclude that chess makes our kids smart? Here.

So what has happened to the game of kings in Malaysia? Here and here.

I will write on the second part of the debate/discussion on facebook a little later. Have a look and see what you think. Don't you think we need to do something about it? Isn't it our national duty? A duty to our kids?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Why is competitor analysis so important.

When I first mentioned it on this blog, I was surprised at the adverse reactions. New anonymous blogs were formed to attack the idea.

I asked why don't we do competitor analysis? More importantly; against our neighbours. We need to benchmark, to know what we are up against, to measure the gap and then to find the training to narrow it. I thought this was obvious.

But now I see better why they were so fearful of that suggestion. You see, the moment we do competitor analysis, we start to learn about ourselves, who we are, what is our gifting? Are we natural attackers, defenders? Do we like high tension games and complexities or we like to simplify? Are we conceptual players or calculators? Etc etc etc.

Simply put, we measure our competitors relative to ourselves.

So that is one thing more thing that terrifies certain people. Once you do competitor analysis your self delusions will have to go. Competitor analysis is about reality not fantasy.

Once you do competitor analysis and see the gap, you cannot say I want to be GM and it is easy anymore, you cannot claim to be one of asia's best player anymore, you cannot say they are all washed up by 15yo anymore etc. Those type of people need their delusions like addicts need their drugs.

And so now you know why a few people will foam in the mouth at that word. But don't be fooled, they are not chess players who can compete? At the most they are club level players or hobbyist today. Now do you see another reason why we don't have a GM?

So don't let them stop you. Those people live in "No GM" land. A fictitious la la land that does not exist. It can be done but we must base the effort on reality not fantasy.

Democratisation of chess.

Almost every nation in the world have chosen one variety or another of democracy. The common wisdom is that with democracy positive energy is released. Stakeholder interests are protected. There are measures of accountability and transparency. Questions can be asked by the people and leaders elected.

Everywhere except Malaysian chess it seems. Somehow they missed us. Here in one of the last bastions of tyranny anyone can be sacked without rhyme or reason, no questions can be asked, parents are tricked year after year into volunteering their services and then dumped like disposable tissue.

Players chess history can be rewritten, players banned without reason, funny people writing national policies, officials that seem to have life tenure and unlimited power to change rules as and when they want etc etc etc etc.

And all this is done without any resistance. Nobody dares to question. WHY? WHY? WHY?

Chess is our strongest mind sport. When I said that chess can teach you all these things, few seem to be even aware of the lessons. Here.

When I talked about competitor analysis, a veteran senior player started to attack the idea. When we tried to train the juniors, the attacks were so venomous that the training had to stop.

Now how can a mind sport progress when it is ruled with tyranny? Where certain officials can do anything they want and all the other stakeholders have zero say.

Question. How are we to have a GM when all they want are pliant parents who can be used, pliant players who jump when you say boo?

Note: They repeat this mantra that there is no money in chess and so you do it for free and then they rob us blind right in front of our noses. Why do you think there are no accounts from MCF? Why did they have to zero their books?

Think about it. Chess players need to think. This is also part of your training. This is really really important. What conditions will bring us that GM. What type of character does a GM have? Is he one that will trust his own decisions? One that cannot be intimidated no matter who he faces across the table? One that has discipline and is accorded proper support and training? Etc etc.

Now isnt it obvious? We are sending broken people out to play against tough people. Of course they cannot compete. They are already broken here.

So how can we change things? I have suggested that we change the very top. We need to do this if we continue to want to have a GM. Without doing this we have no hope in hell.

We need to get the self delusional people, the tyrants with zero ideas on how to bring progress, to accountability. Otherwise we give up that hope. 30 years have already shown us that tyranny does not work. So let democratise chess.

Don't you think that's a reasonable suggestion? Is it a wonder why we are falling further and further behind?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Chess: How to make smart kids dumb.

Another fictional story.

So these really smart kids start to play chess. And then they realise that there is a lot of politics involved. Certain people are meant to win and certain people lose; depending on which chess university you go to. Certain players enter into the final selection although they fail to qualify.

They find that although there are rules in the game of chess itself, there are no rules governing the game of chess or the rules keep changing. In this land even clowns can write new rules.

They find they cannot explore other forms of training. The very good ones; the ones that make it to the top find that they must learn to kowtow or they will not be selected. They learn that they must apologise to ghosts and anonymous people. Or else they find themselves banned.

Note: A serious catch 22. Kowtow without justification or reason then you cannot play strong chess again. Don't kowtow and you get banned. What a dilemna we pose our players.

And so very early in life they are taught to kowtow to the little people. And they are fed lies like if you are not GM by 15yo, you are all washed out. They are taught to respect players who do not train before representing the Country. Their role models are heros that crash spectacularly in International Tournaments. Respect is not earned in this land, you are bludgeoned till you "respect" them.

And so over time the light begins to extinguish. They need the backdoors in. They have learnt to kowtow to ghosts and petty people.

And then they are sent to fight giants without training. And when they lose, they are given a handbook of excuses perfected over 30 years. The book is titled "How to crash spectacularly and then confuse them with technical jargon."

They fail to realise that it is not what technical you know, but your fighting spirit shown by how you prepare, how you train. Everyone at your level has more or less the same technical knowldege. It's the discipline, the training, the fight that takes you to the next level.

Thinking is forbidden, asking questions?....only if you have a death wish.

So we are really fortunate that doesn't happen here. This is just a story of a fictional place far far away called "No GM land" where chess makes smart kids dumb.

Lucky for us here chess makes our kids smart. Aren't we fortunate?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The chess parent- A fictional story that bears no resemblance to reality.

A light interlude after all that heavy stuff. Enjoy.

The chess parent comes into chess because of their child's enthusiasm for the game. And because of this we devote our time to helping out, volunteering in the committees, bringing in our contacts to sponsors.

Then we are shouted at in tournaments, we are sacked by devious methods when we start to ask questions, we are given positions and then not acknowledged.

And yet we take it. We pretend it doesn't bother us. We take it when a sponsor of a mere RM1,500 for an entire contingent tries to exert his importance when each one of us have spent far more than that for that single event. We finance a big chunk of chess activities. Go and count. How many events would have happened without us?

And hey, we even provide the players for the State, for the Country. We can be attacked in the most public and offensive ways. But we cannot retaliate, we cannot say what you are doing is rubbish. Why? Because it is not good for chess. (We need other suckers to come in you know, wink wink)

All parents are open game with the word idiot written on their foreheads. Say one word against the "annointed" ones and you have committed the world's biggest sin.

But they can abuse us again and again for years and years. You know why? Because we come and we go and we don't talk about it; for we fear for our children; we dont want them victimised. Then the new sucker comes along. Times up.

These people have no respect for you and your contributions. They just see another fat check, another person they can twist and intimidate. And so the chess world continues to turn. And then those parents disappear and fresh meat come into the picture. And those get fleeced again.

This is just a story of course. We parents here are just too smart to be used like that, they quietly tell themselves.

But since this is just a story, I'll give this story a happy ending ok? Then one of the parents stayed and he learnt all their tricks. He even became a coach. And then he told all the other parents about those tricks. And the parents in this fictional story said no more to the bums and kicked them out. And everybody smiled and lived happily ever after in this GM land.

Then I woke up. :)

A short note on sponsors.

I just finished a short debate on sponsors on facebook. Since I won't have much time from tomorrow onwards, I just want to write a short note here.

I was told that what I have been writing is bad for sponsorship. I wonder where that person was when FGM's sponsors were attacked.

Anyway this is my view, which I have been saying since my days in PICA. The sponsors are our allies, our partners. You do not bullshit them. They are business people. They can smell bullshit a mile away.

So you do not hide your weaknesses. Instead you tell them your half full perspective and you tell them what your plan is to succeed. Then they may go with you.

Right now what can we honestly say? That our players will drop like flies after 14yo in International arenas? That they are going to have to go it alone. That the chess federation's officials are only out to make money from big tournaments and not interested in development? That if you work with MCF, sabotage is a real possibility?

Don't you think they have eyes to see?

I was upbeat when I heard that Dato asked Hamid and Najib to do the pitching for Malaysian Open. At last I thought; they will now understand why no sponsor stays with us for long. They will start to see how the corporates think.

It is not a problem if the picture is not rosy now. Businessmen understand that. What they want to see is how you are going to turn it around and become winners.

Why do you still think that you can hide your weaknesses? Do you think everyone else is stupid? Why the need to hide at all? Come up with a plan. Stand tall and tell them how we are going to change things.

But my question to that person is, do you know what the problem really is? Do you have the courage to look hard? Your assessment has to be based on reality. That is called judgement. Something we can learn from chess as well.

The training of a National Junior the mind coaching way.

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.

Appeal from Selangor Chess Association.