Monday, June 24, 2013
What is right about the Malaysian Chess Festival?
Feedback is coming in thick and thin about the latest happenings in MCF. Peter, and I hear a couple of others as well, are causing more and more problems in MCF. There is so much new information that I need to break it up into parts to analyse the full implications.
Remember I said we need to understand the issues or we may end up electing the wrong officials? Well we also need to understand the real issues so we can make a stand on the issues that take us forward instead of mistakenly supporting the ones that take us backwards.
So lets us first deal with the story of Peter trying to block the Malaysian Chess Festival. We all know that Hamid has left MCF and is now a private organiser. I have said in the past that I think Hamid is possibly one of the best organisers we have for International events. We also know that the fee for this year's Malaysian Chess Festival has gone up and payable in USD or it's equivalent. But I believe it is comparable to other regional International events.
Now the big question. Is that a good thing or not a good thing?
I think a major confusion lies between the role of MCF/State Associations and the role of private organisers. I have argued in the past that their roles are not the same and should be recognised as such. MCF and State Associations are NGO's and as such is non profit and is there to serve the chess community at large. Private organisers are there to bring in added value and is a for profit body.
Consider this. Malaysian Chess Festival brings in top flight International players and hosted in a top hotel? Why can they not make money out of it? They are there to serve the players who are trying to fight in International circuits. How much would we have to pay to travel overseas in order to get that level of competition for the players that wants to compete on an International stage?
So why can't we allow our own private organisers make the money that other overseas orgainsers are allowed to make and which we pay without complaint? So long as they bring in added value, right? Private organisers' survival is based on market forces. Does that make sense?
Question. If we don't allow this, will we ever have an organiser that can bring in big competition like Bangkok Open, like HD in Vietnam?
So this is very short sighted and not in the interest of Malaysian Chess to try and block this event. However to clarify further, Peter was succesfully blocked on this attempt and that is the correct decision.
But I want to go further. I want to now look at what KLCA is doing. Private organisers are for profits and they take the risks of not making money after all their investments. But what about KL Masters? It's a State Association event is it not? It is an NGO is it not? So is it not their role to first and foremost serve the chess community in KL? Should the Malaysian "Masters" not have been an MCF affair in it's entirety if at all? Is the current format not confusing? Who are the beneficiaries ultimately?
Think about this. There are many other implications to this action which I will cover in the next few days.
All my best for Malaysian chess. May we go forward and forward. But lets understand where the mistakes are first. Lets see the big picture and then see what takes us forward and what keeps players who cannot play chess anymore on the senior National squad.
ps: Note to Hamid. I think you are heading in the right direction and I think you deserve to make the right returns for your risks and effort. However I think the Malaysian chess community may appreciate a small discount for local players if you are able. But this is for your consideration and decision alone and no one has the right to make such a demand.
All my best in the event. I wish you every success.