Saturday, May 25, 2013

Asian Continental, the table speaks as we go into the last round.

Ref: Here.

Our hopes lie with our Juniors and the table is the bearer of the truth. So I hope we won't continue to allow those people to put down our Juniors anymore. I hope we won't just sit by and let them destroy our future. Let the results speak and not PR campaigns from people who are out of touch with reality. Don't allow the back doors in all their disguises anymore. If we do not do that, then we'll just see this type of results again and again and again. This will go on until we can learn from our mistakes.

I rest my case.

Off to Kuala Terengganu tomorrow morning for National Close.

So see you guys when we get back in about a week. Bye for now.

Malaysian players going for Asean 2013.


Good luck boys and girls. You are our future. Train hard. Train smart. And go out with the will to win. Make us proud.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Some good questions raised by Khairy.

Ref: Here.

Asking who is responsible is a good start.

Excellent questions raised by Marina.

Ref: Here.

I think we need to ask the same questions about our chess. Why are we going backwards? Are we not doing that? What does the results of our overseas outings tell us? Please read this article. Those are the questions we need to ask too.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Quote by Magnus Carlsen.

Self-confidence is very important. If you don’t think you can win, you will take cowardly decisions in the crucial moments, out of sheer respect for your opponent. You see the opportunity but also greater limitations than you should. I have always believed in what I do on the chessboard, even when I had no objective reason to. It is better to overestimate your prospects than underestimate them. 

- Magnus Carlsen

Saturday, May 18, 2013

How to build strong chess juniors.

IM Jimmy Liew at Asian Continental.

Follow the tournament here. 

It is good to see Jimmy back on the horse again. This is the way. Keep fighting with courage and dignity for our Country. Raise the flag high for Malaysia.

Good luck and all the best Jimmy.

Self esteem and Chess Champions.

Many years ago I read an article that said that the Government of California identified that raising the self esteem of it's citizens was the single most important factor for the success of the State. That set me thinking. Of all the many pressing concerns, how could they single out this as the highest priority?

The clue to this answer is more apparent when we watch American Idol for instance. The contestants are frequently asked to own the stage. What does that mean if not having self esteem, a sense of self worth and self confidence?

So how does one achieve that elusive characteristic?

I think it must begin with believing that you deserve the stage. That you have paid the price and according to the rules.

That self belief cannot be cheaply bought. It cannot come from cheating, from sabotaging players you know are more deserving than you. Self worth means its about you and what you know deep inside you about you. And you cannot hide from yourself.

Some players have asked me in the past of what do I mean by mental strength? How can it be developed? My answer to you today is that it comes from your sense of self worth.

In any evaluation of odds, we have what is called book form. And that is an evaluation of what can be seen. And then we give the odds. But there is always one unseen factor that can change book odds. And that is the heart; the fighting spirit....mental strength...

I hope you can see now why you must never give up your self esteem and still want to be a Chess Champion. Just technical alone is not enough. You need your heart to go with you into the mental fight. You need to know you deserve to win; deep inside....that you have worked hard and done the right training.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Malaysian Chess Festival.


I have always found this a great event. Do mark this on your calender and attend if you can. A real chess fest. Plenty for chess players of all levels.

Khairy voices opinion on sports.

Ref: Here.

Khairy is Youth and Sports Minister.

Ref: Here.

I have seen different comments about his appointment on facebook and I too have been pleasantly impressed by some of his very progressive thoughts in the past as well as dismayed by some of his stance. However on balance I think this will be a good thing for Malaysian sports. Lets see how this will work out.

Selangor players at National Close.

Ref: Here.

National Close is shaping up to be a strong event this year. Looking forward to the event.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

This is a good dialogue, isn't it?


2 steps to a healthy and vibrant Malaysian chess community.

The first step is that we need to acknowledge the legitimate grievances of all the stakeholders. Ref: Here. This means we need to recognise that there is a need for fair selection; that there is a need to curb illegitimate use of authority. Once this is recognised then we can go to step 2.

The second step is for clear rules and procedures for all to follow. And there must be a mechanism for conflict resolution that is timely, fair and transparent.

Without those 2 steps there will continuously be senseless issues that will take away the energy from the entire chess community and detract us from focusing our energies on the development of our chess. And without this energy we will not see success.

I think this is common sense. MCF is the governing body of Malaysian chess. This is not in dispute. It is the way we have been governed that have raised dissatisfaction. It is the hope of the Malaysian chess community that the new committee in MCF will do the necessary to address the issues.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Dear Dato Tan, if I may offer a small suggestion....

Dear Dato,

Ref: Here.

I think there is something you can do that can make a huge difference. It has always seemed to me that as a major sponsor in Malaysian chess that if your sponsorship was directed to those that are making positive contributions to Malaysian chess instead of those that are doing otherwise, it will send out a very strong message.

Dato, there are many good State Affiliates, good officials, good organisers, good trainers/coaches and good players who work hard and want to make a difference. And they all need support too.

And Dato, there are also a very few bad apples who do the opposite. That is sadly our reality.

If money and support goes to the good ones and withdrawn from the bad apples till they get the message, positive change will come to Malaysian chess and come soon.

I do hope you will give my suggestion some consideration.

ps: You told me that your grandson, Daniel, will be taking over your mantle. Let him go to the ground and find out what is really happening.

All my very best Dato and thank you for your time.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

My full reply to Dato Tan.

Dear Dato,

You asked me at Selangor Open if I thought we will see a time when the entire chess community can be as one. And my reply was yes, but only if one thing occurs.

And that one thing is that there is a proper mechanism for the timely resolution of legitimate issues arising from all the stakeholders in chess.

Please allow me to elaborate here. Having been an official of a State Affiliate myself, I do realise that sometimes parents and chess players do make unreasonable demands. Perhaps it is because they do not fully comprehend how difficult it is to build a strong chess culture with supporting structures. And so some of them unrealistically demand for immediate improvement. It is my belief that those voices will slowly subside when they do see real changes over time.

So that is different. But what I am talking about are legitimate issues like unfair selection criteria, unfair bannings without grounds. What I hear others complaining about is unfair practices and abuse of authority against successful and hard working organisers. And many many more. None of these voices can reach the Authorities in MCF and none of those issues can find resolution. And so the problem festers.

We need to differentiate between one from the other. Between unreasonable and legitimate grievances.

Dato, many people talk to me. Both that support what I have been saying and those that have reservations. Let me address some of the issues that were brought up to me by people who are not so supportive. I was accused by a State Official of posting slander. This is what I said to him. If you read my posts carefully you will see 3 basic types of postings.

The first is eye witness reports. That means I write about what has happened to me and/or my son or I was in fact a witness to the incident. An eye witness report is not hearsay or slander.

The second type is when I comment on the postings of other bloggers. Those postings are public domain information and fair comment is allowed. That is also not slander.

The third type is my personal opinions. For example my opinion of what I think fair selection should be. That is also not slander.

However some people have used the "reason" that I slander so as to whitewash the many genuine issues that have been brought up by this blog.

Dato, if you go back to my blog I believe you will find that I have adhered to the guidelines I mentioned above. So no slander.

You will also see that I have made many many attempts in the past to solve issues privately via meetings and private correspondence. All to no avail.

It seems to me that the message is this. We can do what we like without reference to your rights as a stakeholder in chess and if you complain then we will just attack your children. Is that the right way Dato?

There is no mechanism to protect our interests and we also cannot highlight or talk about it.

So Dato, how can we unite under these conditions? Can you reasonably expect a parent to stand by and watch his children unfairly attacked without responding? If they think I have slandered them, then sue me if they really think they have any grounds. But taking it out on our children is cowardly and beneath contempt.

Everybody knows that this is what a very few bad apples in MCF and certain State Officials do. It is no secret. They do it very very openly. So please help us to correct these injustices. Those few bad apples is not worth the unity of the entire chess community. Somebody has to stand up for what is right Dato. Don't you think it's about time? My question to you Dato, is will you help us correct the wrongs?

Thank you for your time and for your question to me.

Fear is the only darkness.

How we can be as a chess community.

MCF, new ruling, post election and selection criteria, for National Close.

Ref: Here.

I have always argued that chess can be a place where we can be a living example for the rest of Malaysia on how all Malaysians can work together and yet have healthy competition which is essentially about self improvement. Chess, the mind sport, where we can demonstrate how it works when we are united by our passion for the sport, where we remove politics from our consideration and only care for our players who will then stand for the pride of our Nation.

We too have had our AGM (election) and also not without incidences. I have tried to show that the selection criteria is also not very fair. But that is also behind us now. The decisions and rulings have been made. And so we head for the National Close on the 28th.

At Selangor Open, the above new ruling was one of the most discussed topic. I have had discussions with MCF Council members, State Affiliate Committee members, Chess Club officials, players and parents over this. And the views are varied. This is my feedback.

It is apparent that not all are so worried about the new ruling. It seems to me that there are States with little or no history of the abuse of players and so they show no major concern here. However to those who come from States with a long history of abuses they are very worried indeed. I am told that some are even looking to join new States or have done so etc etc.

However some Council members have assured me that no State Affiliate can just prevent players from representing the State without legitimate grounds. But this is still early days so I won't comment much more. However this is my experience so far. I called the President of the Perak Chess Association when the details of National Close was announced and was asked by him to move Mark to Selangor. So that is already not a good sign. However I have written in and made the application for Mark to play for Perak in the normal way.

I am informed by the Secretary that there is a meeting on Saturday to discuss this so there is hope yet that maybe there have been some changes for the better.

I sure hope MCF has some mechanisms in place to look after the players who have worked their hearts out in preparation for National Close even though the chances seem slim for success with many strong players fighting for very few spots on the one hand and a pre-selected group who will more likely have a walk in the park on the other.

We have accepted those conditions. So I wonder what else can be done to even or uneven the odds for the the players aspiring to try to enter the senior squad?

I will keep you informed of the progress. I think this will be a good testing ground of how the new MCF Council will govern the chess community. Will it be rule based and fair? Or will it be otherwise? I have always argued that clean selection is the key to a healthy chess community.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Musings on change from a chess perspective.

I went to bed last night a little sad when I heard about the many stories of cheating during PRU13. And this is my perspective. There can be no change unless we change ourselves first. It seems to me that we are always trying to change the other.

This is what I tell my son. If you want to win on the chess table and you think there is cheating, then be the better player. That is the only way. It is almost impossible to convince the other that cheating is not the way. That is a choice that only they can make when the time is right. Maybe one day, when they realise that by cheating they do not become any better as a person or as a chess player.

So just keep changing yourself and don't keep using up all your energy trying to change something or someone that cannot be changed. Changing them is the job of a higher power, not yours.

Your only job on earth is to change yourself. And funnily, I think when you do that, you will find that change can indeed come.

I think that is a lesson that chess can teach us.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Selangor Open. Mark Siew vs Sumant.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Selangor Open. Nabil vs Mark Siew

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Selangor Open results with cross tables.


World Youth U16 Olympiad.

Ref: Here.

I have personally found that peer learning is the best way to develop your chess fast. This is a team event and the boys and girls need to work at learning together in order to put up a challenge against their opponents. There is no Olympiad for the U20's but this is a great opportunity for parents to sign up their U16 children for this event. Do hurry and sign up as the dateline is approaching.

All my best in your chess development.

Selangor Open, the table has spoken again.

Ref: Here.

Please note that the run by Saptarshi was indeed a GM run. Have a good look at what it takes to do that. I have repeatedly stated that some of our Juniors have taken the route of developing weapons to win against their band and that this is by far the tougher route and their Fide rating will reflect the tremendous struggle to do that. For in learning to use win weapons they can also lose.

However Li Tian and some of our seniors have taken the route of developing draw weapons. An aside. The new youngster Baush has also taken the same route.

But without win weapons they will not be able to do a GM run when the time comes. So in actuality all are incomplete. Let me show you Jimmy's run in Selangor Open as an illustration. Here. Notice that Jimmy cannot even win against a player rated at 1915. Also see his final placing from his run here.

So this is a problem when they are developed that way. They can only win against high rated players who do not want a draw against them when they are lower rated and a few will have "accidents" against their draw weapons when they push for a win. But on the flip side they also cannot win against lower rated players that are content to draw.

Players who have developed via what I call as the Jimmy method of only having draw weapons will have big problems learning how to win and use highly volatile win weapons later when their rating is much higher. Think about it. Is it timely for Jimmy to change his openings now or when he was much younger and lower rated?

That is my point and why I have always responded when Jimmy and Peter have slighted the Juniors that have taken the tougher road in the past.

Now lets look at Peter's posting on this event. Here.  I think his posting is very ungracious. Of course the Juniors who have taken the tougher path look forward to playing Aron Teh at National Close. We welcome the competition against a China trained player. That is what healthy competition in chess is all about.

We would also welcome meeting Li Tian and Peter on the table at National Close too. Or in fact any IM that has not taken up the "Masters" tournament offer.

From now to National Close, Mark will be trained to respond better to drawing weapons in order to have better chances at National Close. So this is chess and learning the correct route to that GM.

Note: My opinion is that the selection criteria for the coming National Close and Masters is designed to protect a few way past their expiry date players. If you look at the field in Selangor Open as well as the field that went to Sabah Open, ref: here you will see that there are many players who can challenge the "Masters". So 3 places in National Close is a designed bottle neck to limit possible contenders or we will possibly see the complete revamp of the senior squad.

But MCF has made the ruling for 3 places at National Close and we accept the challenge. Iron sharpen iron.

Thank you for your time in going through this evaluation with me.

Special note to Jimmy. Despite me using you as a point of comparison and evaluation I deeply respect your courage in coming back to the table in open competition again. I especially thank you for that.