Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Good problems (Challenges) and bad problems.

No matter what you do in life you will always be faced with problems. That is why problem solving skills are important to develop. And that was really why chess was invented. The idea at that time was to teach the Generals basic concepts of war ie strategy etc without risking lives. Ergo, problem solving.

So what is a good problem and what is a bad problem? Let us look at bad problems first. A bad problem to have will be trying to find someone to push Jimmy's wheelchair at some future time in Malaysian chess because we cannot find a deal maker of his quality who is capable of both his PR and manufactured numbers expertise, and he is getting thrashed by the future generations of 2000's. And then even later still he will be hammered by the 1900's of the future. Make no mistake, chess will get tougher and tougher with the advent of the internet and knowledge abounding everywhere. Manufactured fat numbers has reached it's shelf life.

A bad problem is when we will still hear people complaining of fixed matches for the next 30 years. A bad problem will be when we return to the U15 again to promote because certain trainers just cannot learn and are unable to help our players move beyond that level in the International Arena but won't let others try. A bad problem is when our Associations are stripped of money that could have been used for development and the officials are running ragged trying to "fix" the accounts to avoid going to prison. And there are many more examples but you get the drift.

So a good problem? A good problem to have is when we are innundated with sponsors because we are producing results from the wonderful pool of talent that we are blessed with. The problem is in selecting which ones to take because they are all pounding on the door to share in our success. A good problem to have is when there are so many good players coming up that MCF is running ragged trying to arrange which Tournaments to send them to in order to develop them further. A good problem to have would be when MCF has so much money that they need to deeply study which is the best training module for our national players after having compared the training modules of the other Federations and finding the one that fits us best.

Etc. etc etc.

Is it apparent that before we can get to the good problems we need to solve the bad problems first? To do that won't we need good officials with skills and the ability to read and understand the Constitution? Won't we need to promote and encourage healthy practices like proper and fair selection?

Think on this. MCF has not solved any real problems since it's inception. Every year it's the same old problems. So we now have a culture that develops professional prevaricators. Pusing, pusing, pusing and we are still in the same spot while the World moves on. In real terms that means we are falling further and further behind.

Still don't believe me? Ask Jimmy and that big mouth Peter (who tries to ban our players without grounds and who tries to intimidate the entire Malaysian contingent with his RM1,500) to play one full year of proper Fide rated Tournaments in an open and tough field. Care to bet that they won't do any better and probably a lot worse than the older Juniors, the just ex-Juniors or even the other strong players that we have now? Their "M" means nothing but as a museum relic.

Solve the bad problems. That is what learning chess is all about. First you have to stop yourself from losing by having the right openings and understanding. Then you have the good problem of winning from a superior position etc. It's about time we did that isn't it? And then the good problems will come.

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