Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Is there a single factor historically that lead to our decline in chess?

There are probably many factors today but if we are to trace back the roots I believe this may be the biggest contributing factor. And that factor is probably because the sponsor determines the team that represents Malaysia.

Why do I say that? The first clue for me was during the last Olympiad when suddenly MCF did an about turn on the selection criteria and sent a team that did not have a single player that qualified from selection. That was the event but this was the clue. When I enquired I found that I could not get a straight answer as to who the sponsor was. Now this is strange because usually the sponsor wants their name proudly mentioned. And this time it seems the sponsors were ashamed of revealing themselves. Like they have something to hide.

And then we had the last SEA games where Jimmy proudly tells us about how the Myammar chess deal came to being. Again the sponsorship is not clear but the rumour is that someone sponsored the whole team so that his son can get a certificate that he represented Malaysia.

I have raised all these issues before and you only need to look back to find the relevant posts.

So what is the net effect of this? Chess is a competitive mental sport. The role of chess is to teach us how to compete by raising our game by becoming better chess players. But in Malaysia that does not seem to be the case if we look at the senior team.

Instead we find very sophisticated ways for killing off the competition. From attacking the training by a GM to the banning of players etc etc etc. I have covered these grounds many times.

MCF will soon be coming up with the criteria for this year's senior squad as well as the players going to the coming Olympiad.

The question before us in the chess community today is if the sponsor has this right? The right to pick their own players despite any selection. Does a sponsor who sponsors once every 2 years in the case of the Olympiad have that right? Did the sponsor for the SEA games have that right?

What about the rights of the players who trains hard to compete to try to join the squad? What about the rights of parents who pays year in year out? Do they have no rights at all?

Look hard at this question and see if it does not explain why we have kangkung players and why we cannot compete anymore. Then look at how Peter is still practicing banning without grounds. Then decide if chess is still a worthy investment if the lessons your children will learn from the game is that if they do become good then they will be attacked mercilessly by the people protecting the back doors.

Ask yourself if that is the way you want to raise your child. To be beaten because the game is fixed. To be punished if they dare to pursue their hopes and dreams honestly. Is that the lesson you want them to learn before they face adult life?

Think back. What was the original reason why you brought your child into chess? Why did you choose to play chess? Can you still remember?

What we need is a competitive selection criteria to bring competition back into the game and to stop the banning without grounds. And we also need the sponsors to stop interfering in the selection of Malaysian players.

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