Saturday, December 14, 2013

Penang Open and a postmortem of results.

Remember I said that I believed that Yit San has the potential of being the strongest player in Malaysia in a year or two? Ref: Here. Let me try to explain further.

Ref: Here.

What do you see from the results? What I see is that he is able to punch above his class. That means he can beat players higher rated than him while not losing or drawing to players lower rated than him. Those are necessary ingredients for a successful run ie traction. And that can only be accomplished by daring to play in open tournaments.

If you compare that to the top rated Malaysian player in Penang Open, you will see that that player cannot beat players higher rated than him. And he is still drawing with players lower rated than him. Especially now that he has achieved a 2300 rating. He has missed the necessary development work when he was lower rated by only playing in select tournaments to reach his 2300 rating.

Do you understand what I have been saying now?

Many do not remember that Yit San actually beat that top rated Malaysian player at National Close this year. And not many remember that he was losing tournaments for a whole year when he started using new weapons in his games before he made National Junior Master for the first time in 2012. And that took courage and fighting spirit.

So what about my report card for Mark since his come back to chess this year after a layoff for a year and a half for STPM? In the past Mark was able to beat some higher rated players. But he also had another problem. He sometimes drew and even lose against lower rated players. Plus one and then minus one means you are not going anywhere. No traction. So that was the goal of this run of tournaments. His job was to make sure that those weaknesses were eradicated. The goal was no more draws or losses with lower rated players. And as far as I can see, we have accomplished that goal by the end of Penang Open.

Now we can fully focus all our energies on beating higher rated players again. 

Do you not think that is the correct route to developing players?

Getting a high rating by only playing in select tournaments has a big price. And you pay that price when you reach a high rating without learning how to beat lower rated players during the rating climb. For it is those lessons that you draw on to beat higher rated players further up the road.

As we can now see, that "top" player is still drawing with lower rated players now that he is a 2300 and his drawish weapons don't work to win anymore now that he is 2300. And that is a problem isn't it? Isn't he stuck? Unless that problem is solved, there is no way to do a GM run or maybe even an IM run in today's chess. He just doesn't have the developed weaponry. And when he tries to win now, he will lose rating. For when you try to win, you can lose too. And that lesson is best learnt while your rating is lower. Much less painful.

Now can you see the damage done to him by the people who took him down that road? Now do you see how our gifted and talented players are broken?

Evaluation from National Junior just before Penang Open. Here.

The training prior to National Junior and Penang Open. Here.

How to select a chess coach. Here.


  1. Li tian is stronger than any Malaysian at the moment. His potential is damn high. I was amazed by his stunning play when he beat both mark Paragua and China's Ju Wenjun which is amazing and shows that, yes he has the weapons.

  2. I think at the moment is probably correct. However you need to weigh matters more closely to assess potential. The first point is that Li tian has never won National Junior or managed to get selected via National close when he plays. He has only won in age group locally. So we are left with games in selected tournaments to base our evaluations. So lets talk a little about those games. Lets look closer at them. Was his wins based on fighting openings and lines or based on drawish openings and lines? There is a difference. The first way you take the initiative and in the second you need to rely on your higher rated opponent underestimating you or it will probably end in a draw. So if he finds himself in a must win situation for say an IM run he is disadvantaged. Especially now that he has achieved 2300. Very few will underestimate him now. So in that sense he has not much potential to climb higher as things stand today. Unless he fixes that problem first which will take time and be painful. I see problems in his future runs from now. On the other hand I think you will find that Yit San's potential is as yet uncharted. And he has the fighting lines. Hence greater potential. Having said that potential is potential. Many had potential but lost it along the way for want of a little courage. You know what I mean.

  3. Also note that evaluations are also based on skills to outthink your opponent and not from accidents. I have been informed that Mark Paragua is highly inconsistent and have lost for no apparent reason before to low rated players in the past. So we need to take accidents out of the equation. Actually you may find that Li Tian's perceived prowess was based more on the hype from Jimmy and Peter rather then in his actual games. Look at his games during that hype period. It was not that good. You could not taste the quality. Having said that I have also observed that his game has gone up this year. Right now he is under tremendous pressure to live up to his rating. And that probably means that he has been desperately trying to do that recently. That is not a good place to be in. He would not feel that kind of pressure if his run was genuine. We spent 8 days with FM Paulo Bersamina. He wins selection every
    year. I see a vast difference in confidence level between them. Paulo knows he is a Champion and he demonstrates it yearly. Li Tian is backed by back door specialists. Have you seen him recently? Does Li Tian look confident today? He was at one time right? You see, that is what Jimmy and Peter took away from him. His self confidence. And without that you cannot go far. Do you see my point now?

    All of these factors need to be considered when we assess potential. In my mind Li Tian has been robbed of his potential. At one time I thought he could have been one of our greats. But I don't think that is the case today. He has been badly damaged.