Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The hidden potential of Malaysian chess.

Recently I had a few people asking me to focus on writing about chess. Actually I have been writing about chess but they just cannot see it. Currently all they can see is some of the technical aspects.

So this is the problem. Right now we can see that almost all of our IM's are fighting around the range of 1900 to about 2200 in International circuits. So no matter how they twist and turn about rating inflations etc that is the reality based on actual performance against real competitors overseas. So in today's chess they may not even make FM. We saw Li Ting floundering against the 1600's in India when she is a 1900 here.

Our major problem is that we keep trying to bury our heads in the sand. The first step to raising our game is to accept current reality instead of hiding in self delusion. And as we can see that is a very difficult and painful process. But that is also part of chess.

Look here. This was posted by Marina Mahathir on her FB yesterday.

"Yesterday I had a visit by some students from a public university wanting to interview me for a paper they were doing. Lovely young people, well spoken, polite and neat. But the title of their paper was typical of many others I have come across before in that it had already made a conclusion about the problem they were studying. Thus their 'research' is only to support the conclusion which was probably handed to them by their lecturer. It's not their fault. I just hope I managed to put some doubt in their heads".

I trust she is describing the general state of our education system but that is also happening in Malaysian chess is it not?. Our lecturers are Jimmy, Peter and Eddy. They think healthy competition is a dirty word. And so we have become the laughing stock of our chess playing neighbours.

What I am saying is that we do not have to follow the main stream. What I am saying is that we can provide the lead to the questions that the whole of Malaysia is asking about our education system. We can be the source of solutions.

Why? Because we are a mind sport. Because we compete with our ability to think and reason. Ref: Here.

What we first need to do is to compare how we train versus our neighbours. That is what I did in my Phillippines trip last year. Ref: Here. And in that session it was so so so obvious that we are light years behind on even understanding what training is about.

But very honestly, even that is not really enough although it is a very necessary first step. For those are but the parts. Only a part of the game of chess.

The real game of chess only starts when we compete. When we go out and really compete after the correct training, we will see that chess is really about the winning mindset. About correct thinking under pressure. When we really compete we will also realise that it is not only about learning (which is where our current struggle to accept reality is, as described by Marina) but much much more about SPEED of learning etc etc.

So it looks like we have a very long journey ahead. But every journey starts with a single step. The big question before us is do we have the courage to take that first step. Our neighbours seem to be miles and miles ahead of us yes? They have continued to move while we were sleeping.

But if we can do that, I believe we will be able to bring very valuable contributions to our other task of Nation building.

This is really what chess is about my friend. So stop hiding and open your eyes.

The huge potential of chess is that we can be at the forefront of Nation building by building thinkers, if we get it right. We are a mind sport, remember?

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