Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Observations and learning from Langkawi.

I think one of the most glaring observation from Langkawi is that Malaysian chess has gone up a lot in the last couple of years. Almost gone are the days of a few easy wins in many tournaments. With the advent of the internet many players are at least strong in the normal lines they play. So this again begets the question in my mind if some of our senior players are competent anymore.

We were lucky to room with Nelson Villeneuva and I asked him about how they did selection over in the Philippines. This is what he told me. I can't remember the detail of the second level selection process but this is the gist.

There is an open tournament where all non titled players compete. The top 30 gets to play at the Masters level where they compete with IM's, FM's and NM's. Here the detail is a little fuzzy but I think the top 10 then moves on to compete with the GM's.

And then the top 6 gets to represent Phillipines at the Olympiads. I see their system as all about chess with no respect for titles if you cannot compete anymore. And everyone has a fair shake. Even if you have no rating but play strong chess.

How does this compare with our current system?

I am not sure if you remember this but I wrote earlier that their Juniors compete for 15 rounds, Standard time to earn the right to play in Asean.

My belief is that if we even adopt some of those measures and stop trying to have selection to preserve those that cannot compete anymore then we will see an almost immediate improvement in our ability to compete overseas. Just that alone can change our fortunes. We have many strong players but we have also created a bottleneck. Remove that and we will see Malaysia truly boleh.

Can you see that too?

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