Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Is this the reason why our system cannot produce strong players?
What we have seen so graphically displayed on Jimmy's blog is the attack on the Juniors when they trained to win selection for the last SEA games. And I have attempted to give the reasons here.
They are attacked very viciously and in a very public manner should they ever try to get into the senior squad. (Unless it is a sanctioned young U15 of course. And we know that game too don't we? Here.)
I have attempted in my blog to say that this type of attacks on our children when they are still young, cripples their chess for the lesson Jimmy inputs into their minds is the association of deep pain with any attempts to beat the seniors. And this attack is a lot more damaging when it comes from someone who is supposedly from their own team as opposed to psychological attacks from their opponents overseas.
And then we know that MCF only supports age group events till around U16 in the main and occasionally U18. But at the U20 level they are sent out one at a time, if at all, to be slaughtered overseas. And then they are made fun of by people like Peter and Jimmy who will lose no time to publicize their lack of success overseas as if this will make them look like stronger players by comparison.
We can see that the chips are heavily stacked against the Juniors to ever supplant the seniors no matter what the true level of their chess is. So let us look at what the real level of some of those seniors really are in order to understand why they need to attack children. We now know that fat numbers don't count right? It can simply be manufactured. Every chess player knows this. Just play in tournaments where you know that most of the players are weaker than you. Then you can accumulate lots of fat numbers over time. But does that mean you are strong relative to real chess players overseas or those who plays in tough open tournaments but have smaller numbers?
Lets look at the performance of Jimmy at the Olympiads. We can thank the internet for that. Today we can follow their games. The actual level of Jimmy's fighting strength is around that of the real players in the band of Fide rating that can stop him. And he was stopped at around 2100 plus. Lets be generous. Lets say the higher 2100s. And if he is at that level lets also guess where Peter is. Can we say 2000 or maybe even 1900? Hard to tell. He doesn't dare to play anymore. Today he just practices bending nails and shouting.
So that is our current reality. The question now is how did we get so bad?
Ok. Let me show you the comparison of a neighbouring Country. Lets look at their Junior program first. Their National Juniors are endorced by their Federation and given letters to help them to secure sponsorship. If they cannot get it the Federation then comes in to help. If they play overseas under sponsorship and they don't do well, they are recalled and asked to prove themselves in local tournaments before they are allowed to go out again. Now this is very very important for the development of the players. Juniors or Seniors. They go out and fight and the Federation supports by helping them secure sponsorship. And if they don't do well then they are recalled for repairs at home. Ergo, there is respect for the hard earned money of the sponsors.
Lets now ask another very simple question here. Why can't we do that for our own Malaysian players? This is my view. MCF does not like to give out letters because they want the sponsors money to be banked into their account. Letters are given out but usually after a lot of arguing and then arrive late (so you won't have enough time to get sponsors yourself?) but they will always try to get the money into their account rather than directly to the players. The question is why?
I postulate that the driving intention is to try to get their hands on the money. I have heard of a case where the sponsor paid to MCF and the player was not allowed to go and the money was not returned to the sponsor. Does this sound familiar? Here.
Can you see the systemic effect of when the Secretary is not paid and he has insufficient independent income? My assertion is that this one factor eventually leads to the situation we see currently. The players feel cheated after all their sacrifice and in return they try to make sure that no one else succeeds. Is that plausible?
And so the system now perpetuates itself. And now we have weak players all round because of this. Why can't we support the players who dare to fight and improve their chess? Why try to destroy them psychologically and if that doesn't succeed, try to ban them when they are a threat to the seniors? What have they done to you personally? If the seniors have a problem and can still play fighting chess today then they need to take it up with the leadership of MCF. Past and Present. Not take it out on the Juniors.
So this needs to change before we can build strong players in Malaysia. Otherwise we can shout Malaysia boleh till we are all hoarse or say we want this person or that person to be GM but it won't happen unless these issues are dealt with first.