Monday, January 27, 2014

Notes on training and tournaments.

Do read this again. Here.

My point is that before we can raise the standard of chess in Malaysia, we need to adopt a strong training culture. So let me relate some of my thinking and attempts at preparation here.

The first thing that comes to mind is that the training for blitz, standard and classical is different. And while you can develop some ideas in the laboratory of training, the best method to test the validity of the ideas is in actual competition. In the same or nearest time control.

And so on the assumption that National Close was going to be in June like last year and before, we had prepared to train and then to test the training and ideas at HD (Vietnam) in March and then KL Open in April before NC. Both are high level tournaments that will test our ideas and training to the fullest.

So you can imagine how the sudden change of timetable affected our training plans and need for testing before we enter the National Close. Now we must go and play on the fly which is bad all round.

But before you jump to the conclusion that it is about me or FGM, let me say that this affects all the players that are going to attempt a challenge at the National Close.

As a result of moving the date so far forward the standard is bound to drop all round and advantage given to those with prior knowledge. But the net effect will still be that the competition won't be as stiff during National Close in March as it would have been if it had been held in June. And this will impact on the overall quality of the games.

But what is done is done even as we now scramble to pare down and streamline our training and without the benefit of testing out the ideas before going to National Close since we had to cancel HD as the dates coincide.

I trust you can see how this will finally affect the overall standard of chess in Malaysia. If the culture of training is well inculcated then MCF would have ensured that all players are informed well in advance. A proper training should take about a year, given other constraints and priorities. Six months or so we thought, was going to cut it fine. But 6 weeks warning for THE NATIONAL EVENT?!! (Give or take for CNY).

That is of course if the goal is to raise the standard of chess in Malaysia. If the goal is that we are going to fight for medals, to raise our standing in the world circuit or to eventually get our own GM.

Iron sharpens iron. We need ALL our players to raise their standard before our GM will come. It is that simple.

Therefore I think the only thing left that we can still do now to try to raise the standard is to at least make sure that the selection criteria better serves the strongest players in Malaysia. And that would be to make the selection criteria top 8 from NC versus top 8 from active rating. Or a close variation. Straight from the top.

Or we will be sending a weak team to the Olympiads. Over to you MCF.

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