Thursday, June 20, 2013

Winning is a pleasure eh Raymond?

A friend of mine said that to me on facebook after she won a construction contract. I didn't say more at the time as I am fairly sure I am not in the same space I was in during my construction days. Let me try to explain. Of course there is great pleasure in winning and a big congratulations are in order for success. In fact I would even say that it is essential to win often to keep the fighting spirit alive. But today I would add a few more caveats.

I think the journey in my thinking sort of started during the training for SEA games 2011 in my house. In that discussion I became more aware of the need of not taking something that doesn't belong to you as part of the winning experience. That discussion resolved around arranged draws and the implications to the other players in the tournament. Today I am still ambivalent about that as I have seen situations where it is difficult to make a judgement if you look at both sides of the argument.

However I have drawn very firm lines about cheating, about using the back door, suspect selection criteria and PR campaigns instead of competition to select our players.

Very honestly I don't think there is any reason to congratulate a "winner" under those circumstances. I think those practices are the major reason why we have regressed as a Chess Nation for all these years.

Do think about this. Do you feel any pride when you "win" like that? Does it bolster your confidence when you compete overseas without the crutches of preferential treatment? Is winning under those circumstances a pleasure or is it really a curse?

Winning should be about your self improvement, that you have crossed another line in your development. That your chess is getting better and better. What do you achieve when you succeed under false pretenses?

I believe this is something both Jimmy and Peter need to think deeply about. Where are they today after all those years of back doors? Can they even play strong chess anymore or will they continue to need to arrange for new crutches to stay in the game? That is the question before us today isn't it?

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