Friday, April 26, 2013

Off to Selangor Open.

Off to Selangor Open in a bit. Will be back by May 2nd with more stories to tell. It looks like an exciting field and usually many opinions are shared during tournaments.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A GM at Selangor Open.


What a fantastic opportunity for our players! And IM Jimmy Liew is making a comeback too!

New Announcements from MCF.

Ref: Here.

Please see accompanying links on the side regarding National Close as well as State Affiliation. I wonder what the implications are for these new rulings so I will reserve comment until I find out more.

Do take note that National Close is 28th May to 1st June in Terengganu.

Looking forward to Selangor Open.

After 4 plus months of beta testing some new openings we are looking forward to stress testing our work at Selangor Open. Hopefully we will have time to do further refinements before National Close when the dates are finally out. Difficult to plan without timely information.

All my best to those players going to Selangor Open. See you guys there tomorrow.

More news coming out soon from MCF.

Ref: Here.

I'm glad that a decision has been made about getting the announcements out early so that we are able to forward plan.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Monday, April 22, 2013

Correction- That was a GM run by Saptarshi.

Ref: Here. and see post below.

That was a GM run. So I shall rephrase my question. What do we have to do to get our players to that level. Are we on the right track?

Observation and questions raised from Bangkok Open.

Final ranking here.

I invite you to click on the name of player no.17, IM Saptarshi Roy and look at his run. Can you see what I mean by the correct weaponry? He got 6 points, the same as our players but quite an amazing run.

Now go and look at the run of our strongest players by clicking on their names the same way. Question. Could it be they are using different tournament strategies? If the answer is yes, then this poses an interesting topic for further debate. A point to consider is whether you can have a tournament strategy to place yourself higher in the final standing by ducking early to avoid meeting the strong players.

Interesting yes? Now let me ask you this question. Which player do you think is closer to being able to make a GM run? Which strategy brings us closer to that GM?

If we can find the answer to this question then I think we will be ready for the first Malaysian GM.

Now read this again. Here.

Thank you for taking this thinking journey with me.

All my best in your chess development.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

My case for a more representative senior squad selection criteria.

I have suggested that maybe we can increase the numbers qualifying from National Close to the Masters to 7 or even up to 10 like in the last SEA games selection. On what factors have I based my suggestions?

It has been my argument all this while that the players can take 2 major routes during their development. One is to take the road of hard knocks by playing main lines and risk losing and not have high Fide rating until their game matures. And the other is to opt for drawish lines and then go for the higher Fide numbers.

So which is the better route? Hard to say for we are still in the debate, right? However I think it is safe to say that playing at Veterans and avoiding strong Open tournaments is very obviously not the way. Still as we can see in Bangkok Open, we now have both schools of thought playing in an Open and tough tournament.

See the results again here. Yit San and a few others have taken the road down the main lines and is not seen doing so well here. But he has been doing well in local tournaments and winning the last National Juniors. And he will probably have the better chances further down the road of his development. So what can we conclude from this? What working hypothesis can we construct?

My belief is that all our players from both schools of thought are not yet complete to do well in International competitions. Again Mas and Li Tian have drawn with lower rated players. And that is why we are not on the top tables. Wrong weaponry.

Now if we go back to our senior squad selection criteria, the rationale is that the active list is a basis for selection. But we can see that there are players there who have avoided Open tournaments in favour of playing selected tournaments to maintain high rating. So I submit that using the list as a premise for selection is somewhat flawed.

What I am arguing for is to let the players who will play in the National Close to have better representation. Let the players that I say comes from the school of hard knocks meet the players from the active list on a level field. At least 7 from NC to meet the 7 from the pre-selected list.

There are many players who are outside the pre-selected list that has a chance to bring in serious challenge despite lower Fide ratings if they are given the chance. 3 places represent a bottleneck for them. They should not be penalised by a narrow selection criteria for having taken the much harder and fighting road.

No protection. The bottom 4 from that playoff does not qualify. Brutal? Yes, perhaps. Chess is a tough game. And I think that is the best way to take us out of the rut we are in now. If we do it this way, the major lesson to our players is that they must stay sharp. They need to play in tough tournaments to stay relevant in order to remain in the senior squad. And that they will be tested yearly at our National Close to ensure they remain sharp.

That is all I am saying. We know that even one year away from tough tournaments blunts your game. How much more so when you have checked out for years and years? And then they still want to stay on the squad? That is perverse logic. And I also submit that is why certain players use all those psycho tricks to knock out our Juniors.

Once the selection criteria does not support that type of behaviour anymore, I believe Malaysian chess will now become just about chess and nothing more. But it won't happen so long as there continues to be protection for the "active list" players.

There is no such thing in the selection of the Junior squad. So how is it that comes into being at the senior level? Is it because at the senior level the Country now sponsor the players?

Let the players test out which is the better system on the table at the Masters. Let at least the top 7 of each challenge it out. Let them compete to complete each other. Then I strongly believe we will rise again from the ashes like the legendary phoenix. And Malaysian chess will be renewed once again.

This is important for us to consider deeply. Thank you for your time. It will now be up to the new MCF to set the direction towards our future.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What do we know about the senior squad selection criteria and the new MCF Council?

Ref: Here.

After the AGM and the first Council meeting on March 17th of the new MCF committee, there were new hopes raised that our legitimate grievances were heard at last and steps taken to address the issues raised. I was informed that there is now committee members assigned to various roles and responsibilities. And on the surface, it did look encouraging.

This is my understanding; that the Chairs of the various committees will make recommendations to the general Council for approval. This is a good way to use the entire wisdom of the committee members as a guard so that less personal agendas can go through without challenge.

So lets take the case of the selection Chair as an example here. I was informed that Encik Ghalam is the selection Chair and Peter is the technical chair. I was then informed that the Council approved the 3 qualifiers from National Close as the confirmed members of the National squad and the top 5 of the 7 pre-qualified to play at the Masters as well.

I didn't think that was the way that best reflects and bring out the strongest players that Malaysia now has and so I made some suggestions on my blog. It was my hope that if my suggestions were convincing, then maybe the Council can consider it at their next Council meeting after Selangor Open. I was hoping that the first decision was not written in stone as there have been no official posting of the criteria yet. But that was it, a suggestion. In finality I believe we need to respect the Councils final decision since they have been elected by us to represent our interests.

And so I have been sort of taking Peter's postings as suggestions and not the official stand of the Council. But Peter's postings do raise many alarm bells. The questions raised are these. Isn't it the jurisdiction of the selection chair to include new players from the active list, subject to confirmation by the Council? Peter has no authority here. He is merely the organiser. Why is he so desperately trying to pre-empt Council decisions?

There has been no Council meeting since March 17th as far as I know. Doesn't the Council need to meet before new inclusions are accepted as was the agreed due process?

It looks to me that Peter is trying to usurp authority he doesn't have. That is blatant disrespect to the other Council members. This looks like sheer bulldozing.

MCF has a chance to work well when all committee members respect the process. The confidence of the chess community is also raised when we can see good deliberation and due process. Peter's attempts to determine selection of players look like vestiges of the cowboy/gangster culture we protested so hard against at the AGM. For what we need to bring Malaysian chess to the next level is professionalism.

I believe no human agency is perfect and the new committee needs time to bring order back to Malaysian chess. And so we all need to be more patient and understanding of this.

But I do hope that the new MCF Council does recognise that Peter is doing them a disservice by the way he is blatantly trying to push his private agendas through.

In my next posting, I will try to argue how the new selection criteria can be improved and why the current one may be flawed. But I will leave the decision to the Council as is the correct way.

I think that is the proper role of a chess blog. And the Council's role is to make the best decision they can for the benefit of the entire chess community, according to due process.

Bangkok Open


I have found the results fascinating. Look at how our players are doing against different types of opponents. I only wish there are games to download so we can see in greater detail.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Why and how the senior squad selection affects every member of the Malaysian chess community.

If you are a parent with a child playing chess the senior squad selection is important and relevant to you. You come into the game of chess hoping that your child has the talent and skills to go far in chess if they have what it takes. And so you nurture the talent and you develop that skill. And you invest your time and your money when they are Juniors. And you invest your energy. You invest and you invest because you believe if your child is any good, he may eventually qualify for the senior squad and then the Country takes over and develops the player after all your hard work.

What if this is all being taken away from you right before your eyes now?

If you are a player with the talent and skills to go far. You have invested a lot of time in the game. You train and you study hard to improve yourself thinking that one day if you are good enough and qualify for the senior squad, the Country will have recognised your effort and support you in developing your chess.

What if you found out that it is all a fraud? That the selection is fixed for only a few cronies and you may never get into the team no matter how good your chess is for the odds are stacked way way against you and it has nothing to do with chess?

If you are a good Coach or a Trainer, you have spent a lot of time with your players. And you would have taken their money as partial compensation. However it is their achievement that drives you to find out what knowledge your player needs in order to excel. And you spend a tremendous amount of time developing them for in finality you realise that it is the players success that validates your thinking and effort. That makes the journey worth all the sacrifice. And that is even more important than money.

What if you are to find out that certain other "trainers" who have not spent any effort developing their players are busy looking for the back doors and your player will never have a decent shot in a proper selection?

If you are a conscientious State Affiliate and you organise events and training to develop your State players. And you work very hard with no pay developing and implementing your Vision and mission statements.

What if you found that there is no real chance for your State players in the senior National squad based on their skills and knowledge alone because it is all fixed?

If you are an organiser and your income is based on the success of how MCF governs AND promotes the sport. And you realise that the more popular the sport the more business you will have. And a major factor in promoting chess must be that there is a reasonable chance to succeed in the game via proper selection.

What if you found out that there is a person within MCF that is doing all he can to subvert selection so that only his cronies have the higher chance to succeed based on fixing the criteria in their favour?

I have tried to show my readers that selection is the key to promoting chess and that the selection Chair is a key seat within the Council of MCF. I have tried to show that it is primarily because of selection to the senior squad that we found some of our best Juniors attacked on and off the blogs if they are not in the "ordained" group.

There are certain individuals, players included, that will do all they can to subvert selection and if this is not corrected, then Malaysian chess on the whole will suffer. So lets see if the scenarios described above can be true. I will write more on this topic in my next few postings.

NB: Since this will the very first selection criteria under the new Council it is important that we set out properly for this will set the precedence for future selections.

Monday, April 15, 2013

FGM comments on Zhuo Ren's inclusion into Malaysian Masters.

Ref: Here.

It is important that the selection criteria of MCF be properly respected and not only be fair but also seen to be fair. It was the perceived unfair past practices of MCF that lead to the serious revolt from the Malaysian chess community and I hope the new MCF council will take note of our concerns.

Peter argues that Zhuo Ren has been included for 2 reasons. The first is that his exams clashes with National Close and the other is that he has been covered by IM Goh. Ref: Here.

My questions are these. If the selection is based on the top 6 of the active list plus current NM, ref: here, then were the players ahead of Zhuo Ren contacted and given the right of refusal? This is important to show that there is no favoritism or personal agendas in the selection.

His reason that Zhuo Ren's exams clashes with National Close also does not carry much water. I was informed that the dates for National Close has not been confirmed and it was speculated that it may fall sometime in early June as sufficient time needs to be given for a National event and the next Council meeting is after Selangor Open. So how does Peter know that the dates will clash?

Surely we must be past the stage of PR campaigns for National selection by now? Hasn't any lessons been learnt from the Li Tian PR campaign and the uproar it caused?

Yes, there are many strong players that may be missed out by the narrow selection criteria as it now stands. The best way to make it more representative would be to increase the numbers allowed to qualify from National Close. This way we will probably see the strongest Malaysian Masters and also the strongest National Close ever as well.

I hope that the new MCF Council will take note of this. Peter's inclusion of Zhuo Ren could very well be perceived as an attempt to perpetuate the back doors for hidden agendas.

Thank you for your time MCF, in hearing our concerns.

Note: The game on IM Goh's site is against a 1800. See here. It's not even a high quality game is it? There are only 2 GM's there so of course he is just behind them. Doesn't this look like another attempt to hoodwink the Malaysian chess community again?

If Peter's logic holds, then can we also send in a game against a 1900, cover the game on FGM blog and then cite that our exams will also clash with the unknown dates for National Close to be pre-selected into the Masters? Surely a game against a 1900 trumps a 1800?

And then what about Sumant, who is the first Junior to enter the senior squad by beating Mok and drawing with Yee Weng instead of taking the back door? Doesn't that count too?

Competition rules.


A friend of mine has sent me this and Najib has also said he will comment on this when he has the time later. Please note the preamble in the document above as well as competition rules from article 6. Knowing the rules will enable us to have better quality tournaments in the future.

All my best for Malaysian chess. May we grow from strength to strength.

Jianwens game against Megaranto.


A technical question for our arbiters.

When I was in Kedah, Najib made a ruling for the blitz event there. The ruling was if the player knocked down a piece or the clock, then he must correct the mistake on his own time and not press the clock. This is a good ruling as under time trouble, I have seen players knock down the clock after they have pressed it and so the opponent has to correct this on their time. The other scenario is that they will knock down their pieces and then press the clock thereby causing confusion on the board. The third scenario is that they knock down their pieces, then knock down the clock after they have pressed it.

It would be good if the arbiters can clear up this technical point up so that we can have better tournaments in the future. So my question is if this ruling also applies to rapid and classical time control? And if it does apply to rapid and classical then what are the remedies under Fide rulings if this occurs?


Today's Contemplation.

Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are.

   --  Augustine of Hippo (354-430)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Off to Chung Ling tomorrow.

Ref: Here. 

Off to Chung Ling tomorrow to get back into the spirit of competition before we knuckle down to prepare for Selangor Open. Here. The Selangor Open will be a great place for players who wants the chance to benchmark themselves against our local legend IM Jimmy Liew before going on to the National Close.

Do remember to also follow the Bangkok Open which starts on Sunday too. Here.

All my best and see you guys again on Monday.

The game of bridge vs chess.

I love both games but I play bridge and my son plays chess. Both are strategy mind games but both comes from different paradigms. And both paradigms has real life application in differing scenarios. We just need to differentiate them. Let me try to explain further and I hope we can think a little about it this weekend.

The game of bridge is about partnership and chess is about me against all opponents that sits opposite me. So the perspective of a bridge player will be not to mislead their partners. If there is a problem the bridge player will say, "partner, there is a problem with our system and if we don't get it fixed, we will not win against the other partnerships".

And so bridge players will view MCF, the State Affiliates, parents, players, organisers and coaches/trainers as partners that need to work together so that we can win against the other team; and the other team is the chess players from other Federations, in healthy competition.

I think that is the better perspective for where we are right now. Many of us are now trying to talk to our partners and say, partner, there is a problem with our system. Can we get it fixed so we can become a winning team?

But the question remains unanswered. How we can bridge this divide will determine whether Malaysia can emerge as a chess powerhouse or NOT. We have the talent and the resources but we need to learn to work together to unleash our potential. Not fight each other to a standstill.

And so I think the very first step is that we must communicate better. Lets think about it this weekend.

Note: The chess players perspective of "I am white and he is black" or vice versa will not solve the current issues. This is not a black and white problem. We need to constantly remember that we are Team Malaysia.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Jimmy Liew joins Selangor Open.

Players list Here.

Welcome back Jimmy. This is the way. Thank you for allowing your fellow Malaysian chess players the opportunity to challenge you on the table. I hope more players will now return to chess as a result. Good luck in the tournament.

Fadzil Nayan and Syazwan joins the fray at Bangkok open.


So now we have 3 Perakians in Bangkok Open that have declared that they have serious intentions for National Close. Fadzil, Yit San and Yit Ho. This is amazing. I believe we are now seeing this amazing energy released because there is now hope for a proper selection to the senior squad.

Let me talk a little about Fadzil since I know him well. He was a child prodigy from Perak and was showing extraordinary talent from Standard 3. One day I met his mum in a tournament and she was telling me about how they used to try to sideline him early on in his chess development. I suppose she was telling me this because she wanted me to know that it was not just Mark alone that was victimised. This happens to many who have the potential to shine but does not come from the "ordained inner group".

But Fadzil has been coming back and doing well in his University chess and I am always happy to see him in tournaments.

There is always a chance if you get back on the horse and fight again. Put the past behind you and get back into the fray. Good luck Fadzil and Syazwan. All my best.

I have also said that I will be watching out for our strongest Junior this year who is Fong Yit San. From what we saw in Kedah he has developed some powerful weapons. Lets also see what Peter has to say about this here. Last paragraph.

I suppose Peter as our Technical chair in MCF knows a lot more about chess than the rest of us. Lets see if he has good judgement and things work out the way he predicts. He has been wrong many times before but maybe he will be right this time.

Lets see when Bangkok Open starts on Sunday.

FGM wishes all our players in Bangkok Open all the best. May all your hard work and investments land you in the place you deserve.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Yee Weng writes in to clarify.

Yee Weng has written in to clarify his position vis-a-vis my post "The case for increasing internal competition".

Quote. "I have given MCF full backing for the Malaysian Masters and I will only play for Malaysia when properly selected". 

He has reiterated that he will only play for the National Squad if properly selected and believes that only the best deserves to be in the National Squad and will qualify on merit. Accordingly, having had the liberty of hearing him out, I will reserve and qualify the comments that may appear to implicate him in a negative light by saying that he is not party to the machinations of Jimmy and give him my best wishes.

I welcome Yee Weng's statement which will be a huge relief to the Malaysian Chess Community and sets us out in a new direction to bring Malaysian chess to the next level. Thank you IM Yee Weng for making a principled stand.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Koperasi Pemain Catur Malaysia is formed.


It looks like they have the support of 7 States. Promising start. All my best.

This is their objective:

OBJECTIVE To organize Rapid event in Putrajaya & to develop a chess community that is united, morally upright and progressive in the social and economic context as well as to develop a chess player that adopts a healthy sports culture, and thereby contribute effectively, towards the nation`s unity and development.

More coverage here.

The case for increasing internal competition.

When I was in Kedah a few parents from Penang asked me about the value of the investment of going to Asean. So let me share my experience here. Mark represented Malaysia 3 times. Asean in 2010, Malaysia/Singapore in 2011 and Asian Youth in 2011.

In terms of learning, we learnt the most from Asean. And this was what we learnt. Being part of the official team we had the experience of seeing how the other top Juniors prepared for their games. This proved invaluable and we have been improving on this ever since.

In Asian Youth, it was more of a discovery than learning. What we discovered was that none of our players there had the weaponry to give our opponents a proper fight. So we had good preparation but wrong weapons (openings and responses). And so after Asian Youth we started on the journey to change our weaponry so that we will at least be able to take the fight to them when we next go out again. But 2012 was also STPM and changing the weaponry, getting it beta tested in local tournaments before it is ready to be stress tested in International Tournaments takes time. And so that is what we have been doing for this year after the year away from chess in 2012. And so far we are about 4 months into the beta testing stage.

Some of our friends asked us to go to HD in Vietnam and we were seriously thinking of going to Bangkok Open. But our major consideration was that until we have the weapons to put up a fight at that level there was no point going. So we decided not to go out yet. We have already had 3 overseas exposure and I didn't think anymore right now will change the outcome of us being thrashed without having worked those things through at home first.

So my answer to the parents from Penang. Yes, International exposure is good. It sets the benchmark. But after that we have to do the work in Malaysia to increase our chances before we go overseas again. It makes much more sense to me that way.

And to do that well, we need our strongest players in Malaysia to stay in the game to give us tough testing in Malaysia. Lets look at this again. Here. Mas, Ronnie, Tze Han and Roshan agreed to play. Jimmy, Yee Weng and I assume Mok too wants to form a cartel to pressure MCF to give in to their demands. This is not good. It looks like collusion to subvert and blackmail MCF. I wonder how MCF will respond?

What we really need are for these players to come back and play. Here. Iron sharpen iron.

Look, those 3 guys have not delivered in donkey years. But they have taken and taken from the Country. That is just plain selfish. And partly because of them needing special privileges we have lost so many strong players. See above link. The other players are simply not given a chance.

What is so wrong about playing for your place? If you are truly a Master, it will be a walk in the park for you. A good friend of mine in the Philippines has his son playing in the selection for Asean in the U16 right now and so far as from this morning he has won 6 out of 6 games with 9 more to go. Yes, 15 rounds played at 2 rounds a day. This is how they select. And this is just the Juniors.

And Jimmy, Yee Weng and Mok wants a "special" pass. This is wrong. Isn't that the main reason why we have almost disappeared from the chess world?

By playing and competing in Malaysia they also give back to the Country. Internal exposure; internal competition. Why do we need to travel overseas so often and spend so much energy and money when we can test many things here first just by encouraging our strong players to stay in the game? It's a massive drain on national resources.

All we need is proper selection as an incentive for them to stay in the game. If we can do that then when we do go out, we can go out with a chance to win after good beta testing at home.

Isn't that better?

Do read this again. Here.

And this. Here.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

An appeal from Selangor Chess.

Ref: Here.

The list of inactive players. This list makes for interesting reading. Actually I have had feedback from some strong players in the past, including former National Masters on that list, that one of the reasons why they don't play in classical events anymore is because they believe there is a closed shop for the senior squad.

There are signs that this may be changing. Read this carefully. Here. Midway; from the line, MCF Council.....

So there may be more places offered from National Close and it also sounds like nobody "automatically" qualifies just because of title or high rating. There is hope yet for a level playing field guys and gals; that it will be based on your chess skills alone.

I have also been informed that the dates for National Close cannot be confirmed at the moment as PRU may fall on the 11th of May. So wait for the announcement but start preparing now. It is very unlikely that it will happen on the 3rd as previously announced by Peter so Selangor Open will be a good place to warm up for National Close. See you guys there.

Good luck and all my best in your chess development.

A new attempt to foster inter State cooperation and to increase independent funding.

Ref: Here.

I have been asked to promote this new event and idea. The Acta 502 referred to in the objective is the Acta Koperasi 1993. The difference between a Koperasi and an NGO is that a Koperasi is for profit whereas an NGO like MCF is non profit.

On the whole, I think this is a good idea for it may solve some of the problems of the State Affiliate or MCF officials who are not paid. So maybe this can alleviate the financial pressure if it is done properly.

I hope the chess community will look upon this effort as a positive development. It is important that we see ourselves as partners in developing Malaysian chess and not as adversaries. Our true opponents is outside the Country and we will meet them in healthy competition in International tournaments. If the entire Malaysian chess community can see this then we will be much stronger.

The issues that have lead to the polarisation of the chess community is because legitimate grievances have not been recognised and addressed in the past.

Lets set this as the goal. To bring Malaysian chess to the next level. And all matters that prevent us from doing so must be addressed and resolved. So no more excuses and no more back doors. This is important. We have all dedicated ourselves to the development of chess in Malaysia. We have all sacrificed. We have all invested towards a brighter future for Malaysian chess. So no more special privileges.

Chess is a sport. Lets not have politics enter this arena. The answer to right and wrong in chess lies on the table and not on the blogs and PR campaigns. Let the table decide which way to go. And let us work together to get there. We need a vibrant chess community to forge forwards so sabotaging our own players is not the way to go.

The issue of paying the officials without sufficient independent income also needs to be resolved. And this is an effort to address the problem. So lets get it solved.

Then we will flourish and the first Malaysian GM will come.

FGM wishes the new Koperasi all the best. It's a bold move and if thought through properly, can contribute positively to Malaysian chess.

More on other blogs. Here.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Our boys that have answered the challenge to bring Malaysia to the next level in Bangkok Open.


This is the way. Good luck guys. I will be watching out for our National Junior Master Fong Yit San, the strongest Malaysian Junior for the year 2013. He has grown leaps and bounds and winning local tournaments recently.

Feedback from Kedah.

First off let me congratulate Kedah for a very well organised tournament. The tournament ran like clockwork and the rounds started on time. The event also managed to attract many of the strongest players in Malaysia.

I was informed that Terengganu has proposed that National Close be held on the 11th April. That makes much more sense than the 3rd, directly after Selangor Open, for such a prestigious event.

I also canvassed opinions for the selection criteria of the senior squad and this is the perception of the top players there and those others interested.

It is perceived without exception, that the selection criteria by Peter is designed to protect the weaker IM's. This perception raises the question if some of our Masters are really Masters. Consider this. Can Masters be afraid of competition? If you are truly Masters then you will want to demonstrate to Malaysia just what it means to be a Master, isn't it? Why would you need to be protected? If you are the best, you are the best. Simple enough.

Also, if you are unable to compete in Malaysia then will you be able to compete on the World or Regional stage?

It is believed that a fairer selection criteria is a playoff between the top 7 of National Close with the top 6 of the active list plus 1. Then the top 8 of the playoff will become the National squad with 2 reserves from the top 10.

So there will be 4 casualties from the bottom up. And no one has any protection and all will have to fight for their place, titles or not; high rating or not.

This is the best way to send out our very strongest players to represent Malaysia.

The current environment is very distorted from past practices of going for ratings instead of improving their chess and it will be best if we start out again based on our current realities. It should not be a closed shop. It is believed that if we can end this close shop, we will release the energy that has been locked up in Malaysian chess for many many years now.

A level playing field with no fear or favour and then we will really see that Malaysia boleh.

Friday, April 5, 2013

The senior Malaysian squad selection criteria as explained to me.

A council member of MCF was kind enough to help clarify the selection criteria to me last night. So this is what I have been informed. The top 3 from National Close is automatically in the Malaysian squad and they will play in the Masters with the 6 on the active list plus last year's National Champion Roshan. So altogether 10 players allowed in the Masters.

The top 3 from National Close is guaranteed their places on the Malaysian senior squad even if they end up bottom of the Masters. So that means that there will be 2 places culled from the 6 plus 1 after the Masters.

After thinking about it this morning, it does represent an increase in internal competition. And that is good. Could it be better? Perhaps. Probably. But I think this is still a step forward.

Now the interesting thing is this. The 6 plus 1 can choose to risk playing in the Masters by automatic entry and see 2 of their numbers culled or they can choose to play at National Close and be guaranteed their places should they end up top 3. As far as I can see, this is perhaps a difficult decision for Roshan.

The question is this. If say Roshan decides to play in National Close, will the invitation be extended to the player positioned 7th on the active list which is Li Tian onwards? I hope that will be the case.

Then we will see a good Masters.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The new MCF website is now up.

Here. Check it out.

I don't know about you but I get an uneasy feeling from what has been put up there. I will try to get further clarification. But what do they mean by the Malaysian Team 2013 on the website? Was there a selection this year that we are not aware of? Do they mean the active list?

ps: I was just informed that National Close is still not yet confirmed for May 3rd. Funny isn't it that the date is still on the calender of the official website. I will try to confirm tomorrow when I am in Kedah as the Terengganu Secretary will be there.

Off to Kedah tomorrow.

For this event. Here.

My mum is from Penang and my late father was born in Alor Setar. And he used to travel up and down from Alor Setar to Penang while he was dating my mum. We all moved to KL when I was one. So I'm actually going back to my dad's State. Funny how things turn out.

Glad to be away from the big hoohah after Peter's post "Towards better selection and a committed National Team". Ref: Here.

I wonder how is it that he cannot see why having the National Close directly after Selangor Open is NOT towards better selection? The players from Selangor Open will be exhausted.

I wonder why he cannot see that the committed players PLAN their training and tournaments according to the calender given by MCF. They all live complex and busy lives.

So I must postulate that maybe he doesn't know this. Ref: Here. Maybe he is talking about himself and his cronies who don't understand commitment. Maybe he is talking about himself and his cronies who are so used to the back doors that they don't really understand about selection directly after another tough tournament without a decent break.

Maybe he has no experience bringing up a strong player or building up an Association.

Anyway glad to be away for the weekend. Maybe when I get back Peter would have grown up and will be talking some sense. You think?

Peter, I hope you don't mind a small suggestion here. If you are looking for committed players, just look outside of your few cronies. There are many strong and committed players outside of that group in Malaysia. But something tells me that you may already know that from the way you have structured your selection criteria.

If you really want to know what true selection is about, then try bringing up your own strong player without the use of back doors.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

MCF's new website.


I have been informed that this is the official website still under construction and that only information here is official and valid. The announcement on NC will come out as soon as the dates are finalised. Please ignore all statements coming from Peter. It is only his personal opinion. Do check on the website from time to time.

Review of Peter's selection. Is it the goal here to send the strongest team Malaysia has?

Ref: Here.

1st part here: Here.

If the old don't go, the new cannot come in.

Surely one of the ways to get commitment is if the players don't feel that they are irreplaceable. If you go to Peter's site it is not clear if the top 3 of NC will play in the Malaysian Masters. However he says that top 5 out of 7 from the Malaysian Masters and the top 3 from NC will form the Malaysian senior team. If that is accurate then we may not be sending the strongest team. Go to the list of active players plus Roshan. What do you think is going to happen? 5 out of 7 so 2 must go.

I am not sure if what Peter says is official or not but this is my suggestion if we want to send the very strongest team that Malaysia has. Ref: Here.

Peter says there will be a core team of 8 expandable to 10. Lets say 8 plus 2 reserves. So why don't we have a playoff between the top 7 of NC and the 7 from the active list plus one? 14 players playoff. Then 4 will go.

If we want to make sure that we select the very best then make it a double round robin. Isn't that the fairest way? Right now the active list is playing in a protected environment again for 5 places while the rest of Malaysia who have fought in open and strong tournaments, our riders in the storm, have to fight for 3 places.

Dear Encik Ghalam, Selection Chair,

I am writing on behalf of the players who will be playing at National Close. They are players who are not afraid of competition and have worked hard for many years to better their skills. They are hungry players who have fought and improved themselves without protection or sponsorship. Can you revamp the selection criteria so that they have more equal chances to represent the Country too? I am very sure that these players will fight hard for Malaysia and have already shown their commitment to chess by continuing to play in all available tournaments on their own dime.

Give them a chance. Let them have that playoff with the Masters as described above. I am sure they won't let you down. I am not sure what support you have within the committee but I am very sure that you have the support of the vast majority of the chess community as well as the States.

So will you stand up for them?

Thank you for your consideration.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

MCF, you need to get a handle on Peter.

Ref: Here.

No, this is not the review of Peter's selection criteria yet. This is a post asking MCF to control Peter. Peter's announcement that the National Close is on the 3rd May is causing a lot of confusion. Friends have told me that they are not going to Selangor Open because National Close is on the 3rd and I just spoke to the host Terengganu and was informed that NC won't be on the 3rd but later. Date to be confirmed. That is very irresponsible of Peter.

This is the published calender for the year and the parents and players have all made plans around it. Here.

Can we have official announcements done properly? Peter is out of control and MCF must put him back in line. Wait for my review tomorrow on the selection criteria. What I can make of it that is. Even that announcement is not clear.

Review of Peter's selection criteria, definitions and some left over matters.

Ref: Here.

Fide active list. Here.

Before we review the selection criteria, lets look at some definitions. When we say MCF, we are talking of the collective body of the main committee and it's rulings. So individual committee members is not MCF. Even the chair of sub committees is not MCF unless they have been given explicit authority from the main committee to make certain decisions without review. And that is unlikely unless the main committee is sleeping on the job. So any decision that is not ratified by the main committee is only a personal opinion even if they are in the committee.

There is also some left over matters from the ROS days that may be pertinent to this review. I leave that for you to judge. Now on the main committee, there are elected representatives and there are appointed ones. I tried to argue when I was sacked from PICA that elected committee members cannot be sacked without grounds and they also have the right of appeal at the AGM should they be so sacked. On the other hand appointed committee members only serve at the pleasure of the President and so no grounds is necessary for their removal. There was no resolution on this issue at that time and we are now under COS. But this issue may now become relevant again. Lets see.

Simply put, elected officials have more authority since they are mandated by the States and so speaks on their behalf and appointed officials do not have that clout.


Anything that bears the word Malaysian belongs to MCF. And so the MCF main committee as well as the selection chair has all the say. And so the Malaysian Masters belongs to MCF and Peter is merely allowed to organise on behalf of MCF. If say Peter organises an event and calls it Peter's Masters then he will have more say. Are we clear on this? As such, the announcement from Peter as the organiser is not the final word on this matter. Lets look at it this way. The next Malaysian Masters can be organised by say Fadli if MCF is not satisfied with the way Peter runs things.

So how is what I have said above relevant? I believe that the selection chair is an elected official just like I was an elected official sitting on the selection chair in PICA. As an elected official mandated by the State Affiliates, the selection chair has the responsibility to canvass for the opinions of the States before agreeing to any selection criteria.

He should also not fear being sacked just because some committee members want a certain criteria. According to most Constitutions he cannot be sacked without grounds and if he is so sacked then he has the right of appeal to the people who voted him in and that is the State Affiliates. And if he has done a good job according to the wishes of the State Affiliates without fear or favour then he should be elected in again no matter what anyone else in the committee thinks or says.

We need to be very clear on this. MCF is an NGO which belongs to the chess community that finds its expression via the delegates who voted you in at the AGM. The selection chair is answerable to nobody else. Thank you for your time.

Tomorrow, the review proper.

Boundaries. To the Country, the Country and to the State, the State.

The feedback I am getting is a little bit troubling. Maybe it would be a good thing for MCF to sit down and discuss the boundaries. I am told that MCF is asking the States to find the sponsorship to host National Close and future NAG's. Does that seem right to you?

Look at the selection criteria below. Doesn't it look like there is some confusion between the rights of organisers and the rights of MCF? More in my next post.

What do I mean by to the Country, the Country and to the State the State? MCF has a National responsibility and so it should cover National events don't you think? That is why I said that it is good that strong, active States should have National representation in MCF during the run up to the AGM. Why? Because they have developed their State and can now contribute their expertise and know how on the National level.

But once they are in MCF they have to think on a National scale and no more on the State level.

But now it looks like MCF is passing their burden onto the States. It is the job of MCF to help the States that want to grow and not to pass on it's responsibility to the States. Then what happens to the development of the States if they are carrying the National burden?

Why take on National posts if you cannot handle the heavier responsibility? MCF needs to work this out urgently. Are you there to develop the Country or are you there to bleed the States? What happens to the development of the States then? Isn't that very short sighted?

Selection criteria from Peter Long.

The selection criteria is out and early too. See here.

Have a look at it and I will write a review on it later. Can you spot the strengths and weaknesses of this model?

Monday, April 1, 2013

The winning mindset.

I was servicing my car a few days back and I bumped into a friend from our local paper and we starting talking about sports. She was very excited about a hockey event that we just had in Ipoh. I don't remember her as particularly "sporty" but she was so upbeat about how our hockey boys came back in the last 40 seconds to take a draw against a vastly superior opponent, Australia. Mental strength. She said it was such a breath of fresh air to see our athletes display that kind of fighting spirit. Ref: Here.

I have argued many times in the past that this is something that chess can also contribute to the rest of Malaysia's sporting endeavours. We are a purely mental sport and so we should have much deeper insights into developing the winning mindset. This would be beneficial for the development of our business people as well as for our other sporting athletes.

But what do we have in Malaysian chess today to contribute? We are afraid of competition. We find ways and means to knock out our competitor by the use of banning without grounds, we are even afraid of proper selection by choosing selection criteria that prevent our strongest players from making their mark or bypassing selection altogether. We are experts in backdoor maneuverings and we have a penchant for declaring strongest players from PR campaigns before the fact; intimidation of stronger players who are children and all sorts of other ingenious ways to avoid competing on a level playing field.

So we really need to face up to this weakness. Hopefully the new MCF will have the strength of will to do that.

A question. If we are afraid of increasing internal competition; if our senior player train for SEA games by playing in the veterans, if our "strongest" Junior avoids playing at National Junior then how do we compete against outsiders who don't have this handicap?