Monday, February 4, 2013

Benchmarking and the snake medicine seller.

Ref: Here.

Actually the debate on Jimmy's site is very interesting and revealing if you can stomach the venom spewed there.

So let us examine the points raised there slowly here. For today lets look at their assertion that you are all washed out by 15yo if you are not a GM and my assertion that the realistic age for Malaysians is in the late 20's. This change of perspective changes many many things. Lets see.

Now one of the things all the top Juniors do is to benchmark themselves against their top rivals. This is normal and part of the learning process as we shall see. So for years we benchmarked against Sumant, Zhuo Ren, Edward Lee, Evan Capel, Nabil, Syakir, Eng Chiam etc. And they did the same to us. Please note. This does not make them enemies, in fact this makes them very good friends for this simple reason. When we benchmark we are able to train specifically. And when we do the training to narrow the gap we find new found respect for each other. We start to see how much work and thinking our competitor has put in.

The key word here is mutual respect.

And of course all National Junior parents hire experts to tutor their child. I have engaged a top and actively playing GM to teach my son online and I have engaged an IM who trained the Ukranian Youth team; one of the top teams in the world. But no, we do not use the NM's here or our local, out of date and scared FM's or IM's.

NB: But remember this factor also. Our target time is around late 20's. This is in order for us to manage the many other priorities of the young Junior's life. 

So that is us and there is them who wants to do it all by 15yo. No problems there. To each their own. We have our technical experts and they have theirs. We have our targets and they have theirs.

But then this happens. When we are benchmarking we see that the level of skills of our top Juniors are actually very close to the level of our IM's here. A short leap with the right training and they will be there. We learnt this from our experience earned during SEA games training for selection.

Now we are then told there is a very young protege at age 13. Wow. So of course we now want to benchmark against him too. What manner of skill and magic does he have and what can we learn from him? The emphasis is to LEARN.

And then we see this game. Ref: Here.

Lets go and analyse that game. Did Li Tian play well? My answer is yes, he did. Is he strong? Yes he is. Around what level? Give or take around the level of the other top Juniors. What Li Tian has is very strong drawing weapons. And so he will do well against high rated players who wants to win and underestimate him. Well and good. He has a good strategy there. But he also has big problems when he plays a field with players near his strength that is content to draw with him. So he is not complete. What the other Juniors have is that they can beat weaker players but have difficulty drawing or beating stronger players. So each only have a part of the total solution. And so we just need to continue to benchmark and learn; to continue to narrow the gaps and to develop new strategies (which incidentally, is what I do).

So what was wrong with the game above you now ask me? Now Barbosa is a super GM. Rated at 2600 at the time. And after this game with Li Tian went on to win the Asian Masters. So the real question is why is Barbosa playing at around NAG lower age group level?

Now if you remember, the hype around Li Tian started before he went to Brunei. I don't know about you but it sounds a little off to me.

Since we collect model games to analyse, we have been continuing to follow Li Tian and other rising players game even when we do not have the time to train like during STPM. This is just so we know how much the other Juniors have moved during that time. After all, we are not in a mad rush.

Then we saw this game. Here.

Again it doesn't make sense. Forget about Li Tian's Fide rating. It's a ruse. Here in Malaysia the numbers can be cooked. It's just an illusion. Look at the games. Look at their skill level and knowledge. Look at Barbosa and then look at Gomez. Li Tian played well. Around the level of the current Juniors. But I think some Juniors are even better than him overall. Why indeed are those GM's playing Junior level chess? So the "fix" did not happen on Li Tian's side of the game.

Now I hope you have been given a more objective evaluation of the current situation.

Lets us continue with the evaluation later and then I will answer all the questions and issues raised on Jimmy's site. And then we will see their real game. I think we have plenty to chew on for today. All my best to Malaysian chess.

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