Monday, September 30, 2013

Confirmed list of players for FGM Thematics.

1)      Sumant Subramaniam
2)      Mark Siew Kit-Tze
3)      Gavin Tan 
4)      Yeoh Zi Song  
5)      Yeoh Zi Yuan
6)      Christine Lee 
7)      Syamaizar 
8)      Ang Jing Xuan 
9)      Tan Yik Chean 
11)  Evan Timothy Capel
12)  Keok Kai En

Please note that there will be no registration on the day of the event, Sat 5th Oct. I will close the list on Wednesday for non French players and on Friday for current French players.

If there is no substantive increase in number of players, I reserve the right to make some minor changes on the day of the event. This will be discussed before Round 1 at the players meeting. So please be present at the tournament hall at 8.45am. Thank you.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Learning beneficial openings.

French: teaches about pawn chains and proper wing attacks. Both players often attack on the root of pawn chain and mobilize the pieces on the side with space advantage. Black often has space advantage on queen side, white has on king side. Black often attacks on white's d4 square for example Nb8-Nc6, Ng8-Ne7-Nf5, Qd8-Qb6, Bc8-Bg4 (to trade bishop to Nf3 that defends d4 pawn).

FM Jari Jarvenpaa

Source: Here.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Reminder for the Thematic.

Please read the articles in the links below if you are coming to the Thematic. The Thematic is a training tournament and so you get the best traction if you do the work before you come. Briefly, apart from learning about the control of squares, you also get to test a possible sideline opening.

Event date is weekend on Oct. 5th and 6th.

How to use the thematic: Here.

A short write up on French defence. Here.

Registration details. Here.

For those who are new to French defence, please get the package where there are video's etc to get an overview first as well as more detailed treatments of the French defence.

All my best.

Monday, September 23, 2013

What chess can do to help you become a General/CEO.


I wrote above a few years ago. And I still believe it is true. That is the path to our own GM. 30 plus years of our old ways has brought no forward results. We have been going backwards. Can we try something new to reverse our fortune?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

An insight into the Chinese methodology and philosophy on Chess.

Just before going to KK for the Sabah Grande, a friend of mine sent me 2 sets of Fide trainers manual for me to check my training methods against the official version. For that I thank him. It showed me 2 things. The first thing was to show up the gap in my own technical training methods which we are now working to close.

The second was the real teaser. Although it doesn't say much, it has created much speculation on my part. In the manual there was a one line statement that says that the Chinese differ in methodology and philosophy. So what is the difference?

The normal methods focuses on pawn centers, structure etc. The Chinese however work according to first strategy, then structure and only then space. In that order of priority. Hmmmmmm.....

Doesn't say anymore but it is interesting isn't it? That took me back to the last National Close. There was a player from Sabah who was stopping a few strong players by drawing the games. Aron Teh was to meet him next. We met Aron and his mum for dinner and I asked him if he was aware of the other players strategy. And he answered yes but he was not worried. And he won his next round easily.

Here is my speculation. From my understanding of strategy, it must mean that he understands his opponents weaponary and has the right weapon to handle it if he wants a win or a draw. Strategy is the big picture. It also encompasses competitor analysis.

So while I do not have full details, I think I may have stumbled onto the better path. I suspect my path is closer to the Chinese methodology. Anyway it makes sense to me. Look at the history. We went to China at one time to teach them chess. I don't think that is the case anymore. So why don't we learn from them today instead? Better than being in a rut yes?

Strategy first. That is what we are missing. We need to change tact. That is all I am saying.

My 2 cents.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Jimmy's comments is very revealing.

Ref: Here.

I am very familiar with Jimmy and his supporters views. And I agree with him that they are now in a rut according to the article he referenced. Since this question was also posed to me by a few members of the new committee in MCF, let me try here to explain again why I think Jimmy's approach is wrong and is in fact the primary reason why the old MCF had done so badly over our long history.

You see, Chess was historically actually designed to train Generals or CEO's in the business world today and not for the technicalist. So attributes like being able to see the big picture, good decision making under battle conditions were the goals of the game together with good planning, good training etc.

But that was not the case in our MCF of yesterday.

Please allow me to use my son, Mark as an example since I lack any other now. I have used chess as well as other mind games to teach Mark those aspects. Granted that my technical knowledge in chess is not that deep. However Mark has become a school debater when I used chess to demonstrate the structure of arguments, he produced a video for his school which was short listed for a prize in Perak. He was also his school magazine's editor-in-chief.

Today he still uses his lessons in chess when he practices his martial arts in Kendo and Aikido. And I am now using chess to teach him about the strategies involved in the trading of shares on Bursa as well as about business as conducted via the internet.

And I still believe that he will do well in next years National Close as he now trains to narrow the technical gap after his one year layoff for STPM. I think the greatest lessons that Mark learned from chess is his discipline, concentration and a strong fighting spirit.

So I have argued that Chess can be seen from both perspective. To develop the CEO or to develop the technicalist. And of course that debate is still raging across Malaysian chess today.

A few new members now in the MCF committee actually come from the General/CEO category. I think it is time to give those views a chance. Think about it. Jimmy's referenced article has shown the end result of his methods. So what have we got to lose? Surely we know by now that that road leads nowhere.

So why don't we try another plan and agree to changing our fortunes? At least give it a try and stop trying to undermine efforts to improve.

At the very least if we change tact, we will be producing more General's/CEO's along the way. However it is still my belief that our GM also lies along that track.

Thank you for reading.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A short write up on French Defence.


It is my belief that we often need more then one weapon in a tournament to do well. That understanding comes from competitor analysis. That analysis poses this question. What do you do if you say play mainline Sicilian and your opponent is an expert in your opening or at any rate more experienced than you there?

So the Thematics help you find another weapon to prepare on the side till it is good enough to take into the battlefield. Make sense?

Remember your job as a player is to win the Tournament. And in any tough Tournament you will find players with a variety of weapons. And you may find that you do not have the right weapon to answer the challenge. I think it is better to have a second weapon and not need it than to need it and not have it. Yes? Otherwise that drop of 1 point or a half point will affect your overall tournament standing.

Another question that was raised by a parent was that her child plays D4. I have fielded many trainers opinion and those that I have spoken to says that you always start with E4. E4 teaches tactics. And tactics precede understanding position. Mark started on D4 and he got stuck and couldn't improve. Then he had to switch to E4 to improve again. But that was after having to lose for a time during the switch.

So it is important to start right. Otherwise there will be so much wasted time. Just my 2 cents.

So do use this opportunity in the coming Thematic. Registration details here.

Report from KK.

KK was a wonderful experience. Mark said that he would like to retire there when it is his time. In a way Sabah reminds me of my childhood memory of what West Malaysia was like before all the heavy politics. A walk down memory lane indeed after I caught up with my Kadazan childhood friend in KK.

Our experience of Sabah Chess Association would rate them as one of the top 2 most well run Association in MCF besides Penang. The large number of enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers from their committee speaks well of the leadership of Muammar, the President of Sabah Chess.

Mark didn't do so well there but we left with much clearer ideas of our weaknesses and where to focus the rest of our training. So it's back to the grinding stone of tough training.

Sabah Chess Association is pitching to do our next National Close. I wish them luck. Would love to visit again.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Saturday, September 7, 2013

How to use the Thematic.

Some excellent questions have been raised by the participants that have signed up so let me address some of them here.

Remember the whole purpose of the Thematic is to help you to bring back the spirit of enquiry and learning and not to win. That will come later k? Another strong point of the Thematic is that I encourage peer sharing during the training tournament. I have found that peer sharing is one of the best ways to accelerate learning.

So this is how you use the Thematic.

For the French player.

You may currently be playing Winawer, Advance, Tarrasch, Exchange Variation or Classical as your strongest weapon. That is fine. However for the Thematic, I encourage you to try out the other treatments. So if you are a Winawer player say, try out the exchange variation, the classical. Why? Your French can only become stronger the more territories you know about your opening. This will help you achieve a more complete understanding. Know this; ultimately you are playing chess, not a line. Do you remember what Sun Tsu said about territories?

For the non French player.

You are learning French not because you are considering French as one of your primary weapons. You are coming to the Thematic to learn what French can teach you about the control of squares. After the Thematic you may or may not want to consider French as a side weapon for certain opponents but that will be up to you. After 10 games you will have a better inclination whether you want to do that or not.

So try out as many variations from the materials given as is comfortable before you come to the training event. But do not stress yourself out. Learning is best achieved when you have "fun" while doing it. :)

All my best for Malaysian chess.

Registration details. Here.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Reminder for the FGM Thematics.

1. For those who are new to French, please sign up early at the rate with package to get your material so you can start studying the opening before you come to the training tournament. Btw, French mainline is played as both white and black.

2. For those that require a room, I need your names early as the special discount is on a first come first serve only and I need to submit the names early to secure that rate.