I saw this on one of our local chess communities hosted on facebook titled in Malay, "What's the point of sporting events if we only think of cheating?"
Indeed that is the big big question. I look at sports as the means for us to improve ourselves by way of healthy competition. And to have healthy competition we must all play within the rules.
However on my blog, I try to investigate a wider issue apart from just the game itself. I try to ask the questions of what happens when the Chess Federation itself does not apply the rule book. If this is endemic, then I ask us to see further if this will also foster the culture of cheating by the players.
What happens if the players cannot progress by playing good chess? What happens if the selection is fraudulent and non deserving players get in via the back doors etc etc? What happens when the players are attacked when they win selection fairly and they see their attackers getting rewards instead of censure? Is there now pressure for them to cheat too if they want to progress?
If you cannot get ahead because of your chess then why not join them and hope to get one of those very few slots if you ask very nicely. Maybe one day when they retire, it will become your turn if you do that.
What happens if you are a State Association with a promising player but you also see this happening? Will the State be under pressure to also play the "politics" to give their player a chance? But how many slots and how many State Associations are there? So is that method really feasible or is it just an illusion? You may be "forced" to "cheat" but you can never win. Do the maths. There are now at least 10 State Associations registered with MCF under COS regulations with another 5 waiting for recognition. How many places are there in the senior slots for SEA games, for the Olympiad? So why bother to raise the standard your State players at all? Can you get the back door deal? And it doesn't work by rotation does it?
Is that what Team A was talking about here? Maybe that was what they meant. They can fix the State selection but the politics at the National level is just too complex for them to handle. Too many people chasing too few places and no "senior" player has retired from old age yet. And even when they cannot play chess anymore, they are still sent. Is that what happened in the past and still happening today?
Who then is ultimately responsible for the cheating? Is it still only the players or Both the players and the Federation? Or is it just the Federation that carries the ultimate blame?
If the Federation ignores or manipulates their own play book ie. The Constitution, is that also cheating? If so then what is the role of Fide? Who can write in to them? What can they do if they see a whole Country of chess players subjected to that sort of cheating, match fixing etc?
And so we see the players not doing well primarily because of this. And in Malaysia, some "seniors" put the blame on the Juniors for the failure and with all sorts of funny psychological attacks to take away their self esteem. But aren't those attacks really trying to hide something much more sinister?
Do continue reading my series on how to build a strong MCF. I hear more and more stories almost everyday as we are approaching the AGM. Now I hear that whole States are being sabotaged because of the vote count. Can you imagine that? Instead of improving MCF, now it seems that the effort is to stop the States that don't like what is going on from voting.
But still that is just another distraction from my series. In part 4, I will start to examine real solutions.