Saturday, March 30, 2013

On developing our Juniors and understanding strategy.

I have argued for a long time that Chess was not meant to be a game for "technicalists" but for commanders-in-chief, generals etc. Today lets use the concept of CEO's. Maybe that will make it clearer since we have new corporate boys in town. In corporate life we have the board which sets out the policies and the targets and the COO's who implements the operational side of the strategies ie the technicalists. And sandwiched between the board and the COO is the magical CEO aka the chess player. He is the guy/gal who makes things happen. The guy with the big picture, with the competitor analysis and the strategies.

And he is also the guy that was missing from MCF and which I hope will be the role that the new corporate guys can play. Chess is a powerful tool for the development of CEO's and the best way to use that tool is if our players can see it in practice from the decisions coming out of MCF. Ref: Here.

So let us go back to an analysis of Li Tian again. I use Li Tian as an example since he is used by his adult handlers to attack other Juniors. Ref: Here. Ergo adults who hide behind children to attack other children. So this is about them and their lack of understanding of strategy and not about Li Tian per se. I hope this is clear now.

There are 2 basic strategies that can be used. The one adopted by Jimmy/Peter is short term and flawed. Lets delimit what a stategy is before we go on.

A strategy cannot be based on wishful thinking and must only use factors within our control.

If we understand that then we can see that Li Tian has a huge problem in not being able to beat players around his band. Ref: Here. His drawish weapons have this effect on players around his band and on players much stronger. With players around his band, he does not have enough from his opening repertoire to fight for a win if his opponent is content with a draw. With the higher rated players he does have this advantage, if they want to beat Li Tian then they have to take a risk. And if they underestimate Li Tian, that creates a chance for a win for Li Tian. If you go back to the Olympiads, you will also see that Mok used this strategy against Van Wely to great effect by using marocxy bind.

So while this is a "strategy" of some limited use, the major flaw is that the win is not in our control. It must rely on the cooperation or from the mistake by the opponent.

So very obviously as we shall see, Li Tian simply does not have the weaponry to go for a GM run. He will soon hit a ceiling and with his big numbers will now enter a psychological trap. The same one our seniors are now in. Big numbers and wrong weaponry. Let us see why.

The proper way to develop the Juniors is to teach them how to win against opponents of their band and lower. So they are taught to play to win. And to do that well, they will lose many times. If you also look at the body of work that needs to be covered in learning to win, you will find that it is a huge huge volume. And Li Tian has bypassed all of that. So he has a huge gap in his knowledge. Learning to draw with drawish weapons is a tournament strategy and not chess per se. Drawing itself is an art and not so straight forward but it is much much easier learnt than playing to win.

And so it is only when you have all the neccessary weapons and strategies are you able to make a GM run.

This is why I say that Li Tian is not anymore of a prodigy when compared to our other top Juniors? In essence they went down different roads. And in my mind the other Juniors has the better strategy for the long haul. Much more difficult and takes a longer time. When you play to win then your numbers will take a hit. And so the other Juniors do not have those high numbers but I believe they will do better in a selection.

A hint. We know Li Tian has draw weapons that can withstand against a GM. A simple tournament strategy is not to fight for a win against him. You see drawish weapons is a double edged weapon. When he has the higher number then he needs to fight to win and take the risks. But Li Tian hasn't learnt how to win against his band yet has he?

So all are incomplete. But the other Juniors have a shorter journey to the GM run if given equal chances. It is much easier and much faster to learn how to draw later, than it is to learn how to win with big numbers later.

And so it is very very wrong to take away the places of Eng Chiam and Syazwan from the Olympiads. Jimmy and Peter, it is very wrong to hide behind a child like Li Tian to attack the other Juniors and to steal their places and their sponsorship.

When the top Juniors can win at will against players of their band, then and only then are we able to develop a real strategy. But Jimmy and Peter cannot see this because they think Chess is for the technicalists. It is not. It is meant to develop CEO's who understand strategies. That is basically why you are stuck Jimmy and Peter. So you guys should not be dictating strategies for MCF. You just don't understand too much.

I hope the corporate boys in MCF can see this better now. Use their methods and Malaysia will not get out of the rut we are in. We are in this rut because of their lack of understanding of strategy. And they want to repeat their own mistakes with Li Tian. Lets follow Li Tian's progress at Bangkok Open to see if what I say holds water.

There may be a win against a GM if Li Tian is underestimated (getting less likely) but he will flounder against players around his fighting strength and is content to draw. Ergo no strategy.

So let all the Juniors play in a proper selection and not claim anyone as the strongest before winning on the table. And even if they do win on the table, that only proves that they are the strongest for that tournament, for that year. The numbers they have now are only indicative of the journey they are undertaking currently. Long term or short term. To get our very own GM our strategy must be long term.

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