Friday, March 28, 2014

I am wondering.

I think Jimmy, Peter and Eddy are developing their own play book. They each have specific skills to compliment each other. That to me is to be commended. At least they are showing that they can do something in Malaysia to win in chess.

However I do wonder if that play book will work on the International stage? Perhaps when they manage to change the whole world, you think?

Anyway, good luck guys. I hope your efforts pay off.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

This is what I think.

Ref: Here.

When you need to use lies and slander. When you need distraction and deflection. When you need intimidation and bannings. When you need to call yourself a "Ferrari" and then cheat and fix matches; then you cannot possibly be strong. For these are exhibitions of self delusion. For this tells me that you have something to hide and you are deeply insecure.

All these things come from fear. And if you are fearful of me that must also mean we are very close and snipping at your heels.

And so I am further encouraged and further charged to beat you on the table in healthy competition. We do not need those tools or crutches simply because I cannot see any reason why we should be fearful of anyone so afraid of us.

And chess is about finding the truth on the table. So it is only a question of time when we will find yours.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Productive habits.


Read the post below again and then contrast it to this. I wrote this in 2009. Here.

Have you done that? Are there any similarities?

Now let me ask you a question. Why do you think Jimmy, Peter and Eddy feel so threatened? Figure this out and you will begin to understand what is really going on in Malaysian chess.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Good advice.

Just read this on FB. Not specifically about chess but general all round good things to think about.


Monday, March 24, 2014

What is the cost of winning at any cost?

Psychology Today.
"Those who would eschew morality in favor of victory should consider something else that Vince Lombardi said near the end of his life about the "winning isn't everything, it's the only thing" quote: "I wished I'd never said the thing...I meant the effort. I meant having a goal. I sure didn't mean for people to crush human values and morality."

Read this. Here.

What do we lose when we use lies and slander? What do we lose when we cheat and fix matches? What do we lose when we ban players we feel are threats? What kind of players will we produce from this system? Can they really be strong that way? Can they be strong when they fear to compete without their crutches? What is the International platforms like, outside our bubble?

Why the need to over defend?

Ref: Here and here.

If you have the time do read all the other recent posts from them. It is quite revealing.

Now let us recap a little before I reveal a little more. All I said was that if there are suspicions that there was cheating at the National Close then it is an idea to have that playoff at the Masters. Here. Particularly since it is in danger of being cancelled because of insufficient players. That was all.

But the response was the above. All those accusations from Jimmy, Peter and Eddy Fong are not new. The funny thing is that they don't realise that the players talk to each other. We are all connected on FB now. Facts can be checked in the blink of an eye. And many players were present in all the events mentioned. But just for the record from my side, Eddy never taught Mark or me anything about chess. In fact the match fixing got worse in Perak from the time he arrived.

Anyway back to the story. What was my point? Did I ever say that Mark was stronger than Yit San or Li Tian today? Go back to my evaluation on the National Junior. Here. In fact I said that Yit San is probably stronger than Li Tian and we are just trying to play catch up after Mark's STPM. So why the need to over defend? What is so frightening about a clean selection?

Actually I thought realistically we had chances for top 3 but not Champ and so we planned our strategy accordingly. If the National Close was held in May/June as per past practice then we would have had better chances. But March was a little too early and we had to cut short our training as well as we couldn't get in any high level conditioning tournaments before NC. But still we went and fought as best as we could. And in healthy competition.

So now let me give you a little more information and you can judge for yourself if it is related or not.

1. We made enquiries for HD to which there were no replies from the organiser. We only requested for information. We did not register. So isn't it funny that Mark's name was on the starting list? And then paired with Paulo on top of it? Mark and Paulo training. Here.

2. I was informed by the Deputy Chair of Selection at NC that they checked with Eddy Fong, who the official players for Perak should be and if he had any objections since Mark was second at Perak Close and qualifies on merit. Now Eddy is not in the State Association but he seems to be "consulted". Curious isn't it?

3. The money I paid for Mark to enter KL Open was returned to us by the Dep. President of KLCA at NC.

So all of these could just be coincidences. Or it could be circumstantial evidence of a collusion taking place. Here.

But there is a flip side as well isn't there? If they are so scared of us that all these things need to be done to try and stop us, then doesn't it also tell us that we must be heading in the right direction? Otherwise why are they so afraid of a "weak" player?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Grandmaster- Ability to think followed by courage to act on your thinking.

Have you ever wondered why our IM's cannot get even one GM norm? Sometime back I read a post by IM Goh about his first GM run. How he was shaking so much that he found it even difficult to open a door after the event.

So what does that tell us? We can conclude that it is highly stressful yes? But where does this stress come from? Can you see that the stress originates from self doubt? From making difficult decisions? From finding the courage to do that? Yes?

But there is more. There is more because you also need the right arsenal to go into battle. You need to do your competitor analysis so that you have the right weapon to match with the right opponent. And that is a lot of work and thinking.

And then there is the training. You do not suddenly become an expert in a particular opening unless it has been stress tested many times. You cannot go into a high level tournament unless you have been properly conditioned by playing in other high level tournaments.

So that is the basics.

Now lets come back to why certain people in Malaysia use intimidation, deflection, lies and slander. Can we argue that it is because they do not want you to think?

You see, it is very simple. If they have nothing to hide they will explain, they will reason with you. If they use all those unsavory methods it is simply because they don't want you to think. They suddenly become very afraid of questions simply because they have hidden agendas or just plain incompetent.

But do think on this. Chess is a mental sport. It is a requirement for you to think. It is a requirement for you to develop your courage for that is not an innate gift. At each level more courage is required of you and that is why you train. That is also why you do not take the short cuts.

Can you understand their methods better now? If they cannot explain, if they cannot reason then I think a very logical conclusion is that they must be frauds. And they cannot possible be high level chess players. The technical alone just makes you a hobbyist. When you are really out to compete then you must have all the rest.

Now do you see why they need to hide all these things from you? They have no answers, afraid to look for answers. And so they serve you with bullshit instead. That is also why they need to cheat.

Why do we have Associations at all?

Have you ever thought of this? Why not just have the private academies run the show in chess? Let's examine this a little today.

Could it be that impartiality is an important aspect for the development of any sport? Private academies could be partial. Sports is competitive or supposed to be competitive to compel the development of excellence.

And so man in his wisdom decided to develop an organisation called Associations with a Constitution and vested powers to order the situation so that the competitive spirit could be fostered. And the Associations do this by being impartial.

And so the private Academies compete. The players compete for us to achieve that excellence.

But something has gone really wrong with this concept in our chess scene here. Here it seems that the impartiality has been lost. Certain people seem to be able to do whatever they want and the Associations seems to have lost the ability to act impartially.

And so this institution has collapsed in it's ability to function as it was originally supposed to function.

I often suspect that our sports associations mirror the way our government works. However I think we need to make a distinction. The general wisdom is that sports should be separate from politics. Separate from the influence of big business. The bigger picture of politics in government is beyond the scope of this piece but I think we can see that chess cannot develop under the conditions we are in at the moment.

I think it would be good if the Council of MCF sits down and reflect on this. Match fixing is a big problem and we need our officials to very very very aware of their responsibility in this matter.

Let me use an analogy here. In an examination like SPM for instance, we bring in outside invigilators. Their job is to ensure that there is no cheating. It is as simple as that.

So was there cheating at the National Close? MCF needs to make a determination without fear or favour. And if there is any doubt then a playoff again is the proper thing to do.

And if so, then we also need to determine who was involved and how was the cheating done? We need to be serious on this. Throw away what doesn't work. Read what Bruce Lee said again. That is the way to excellence. But to do that we need courage to discard the old and what doesn't work.

For that to happen the officials and you need to stand up to those that use intimidation, deflection, lies and slander to forward their hidden agenda.

The way forward is not to join them in their recipe of failure as proven over the last 30 years. The way forward is also not to bury your head in the sand shaking with fear.

If everybody says nothing, does nothing then we will see another 30 years of kangkung players over time. I think it is a fair statement to say that there was probably a time when Jimmy was a strong player. When Jimmy was a man. But look at him today. What happened that he can so viciously attack the Juniors as he has done over the last few years? What does he want? What has happened to the players that have fallen to his influence?

Think about it. Maybe the chess community was unfair to him at one point. But that is history. The players today were not responsible for him becoming a kangkung. So why the desperate need to make the current batch into kangkungs like him?

That is the real question. If we can answer that then we can do things differently today. Or our next crop of players will all end up the same way.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Bruce Lee, chess and courage.

Do read what Bruce Lee wrote again. Look very carefully.

Now let me ask you a question.

Does it take mental courage/strength to even TRY to do what he suggests?

Now tell me what is lacking in our chess leadership. Can you smell the fear? Ref: Here.

A short interlude for a message from Brucie.

Top 10 Lessons from Bruce Lee
Be YOUR best. It’s not about following in someone else’s footsteps or trying to be somebody you’re not. It’s about unleashing your best version of yourself. According to Bruce, “Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.”
Absorb what is useful. It’s not about blindly adopting patterns and practices. It’s about taking the best of the best and tailoring it. It’s also about throwing away what doesn’t work. Bruce borrowed concepts and techniques from everybody and every art in a relentless pursuit of the best of the best. According to Bruce, “Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what is uniquely your own.”
Keep an open mind. You have to be willing to throw out what you already know and have a curiosity to explore new paths. If you’re cup is already full, you can’t learn new things. According to Bruce, “First empty your cup.”
Aim past your target. Aim past your target, so when you fall short, you still land in the ballpark of success. Bruce Lee was famous for his one-inch punch, but in reality he was aiming past the one-inch. According to Bruce, “Don’t fear failure. Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.”
Stay flexible. Be flexible in your approach. Learn from everybody and everything and don’t get locked into a particular style. According to Bruce, “Expose yourself to various conditions and learn.”
Focus on growth. Push past your limits. According to Bruce, “There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”
Know yourself. Your blind spots and ignorance can be your biggest weakness. According to Bruce, “After all, all knowledge simply means self-knowledge.”
Master your mind and body. It’s not enough just to be smart. It’s not enough just to master your body. Your body and mind support each other. Your body helps turn what you think or dream up into results. According to Bruce, “As you think, so shall you become.”
Apply what you know. Life is not about watching from the sidelines. Use what you know and put knowledge into practice. Test yourself. According to Bruce, “Knowing is not enough, we must do. Willing is not enough, we must apply.”
Make things happen. When there is no wave, make one. According to Bruce, “To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.”
I think it really boils down to making the most of what you’ve got, including your mind and body, pushing past your limits and following a path of continuous learning and growth.

Bruce Lee’s Physical Feats
While we don’t know whether the following stretch the truth, we do know you don’t look the way Bruce did by default. It was by design and he pushed his physical limits.
These are some of the physical feats attributed to Bruce based on various demonstrations, his friends and associates, and interviews:
Bruce performed one-hand push-ups using only the thumb and index finger.
Bruce performed 50 reps of one-arm chin-ups.
Bruce performed a sidekick while training with James Coburn and broke a 150 lb (68 kg) punching bag.
Bruce could cause a 200-lb bag to fly towards and thump the ceiling with a sidekick.
Bruce could snatch a dime off a person’s open palm before they could close it, and leave a penny behind.
Bruce’s striking speed from three feet with his hands down by his side reached five hundredths of a second.

Circumstantial evidence; this is allowed in law.

Ref: Here.

In a court of law it is permissible to present circumstantial evidence for consideration by the Judge. If there are enough circumstantial evidence the Judge can rule in favour even without any solid evidence.

I said there were 3 incidences that I know of where there were suspicions of chess engine usage. And 2 cases were reported. In one case the opponent was an MCF official and the player in question was not allowed to go out without an escort. And the player lost. But in the other 2 cases this did not happen. So the player won one from a losing position and drew the other also from a losing position. And we know that any changed results affect the pairings and the subsequent run of opponents and thus affect final outcome.

So there are reasonable grounds to ask for the NC fighters to playoff again. Especially since I understand only 2 from the current squad wants to play at the Masters. Add another player from the active list and that only makes 3. So that leaves 9 places available for the playoff since they say that 12 players is the ideal number for a round robin.

So MCF has a choice. Either cancel the Masters and then we will be in a quandary as to who will be in the squad this year and who will play at the Olympiad or we have that playoff.

There is no concrete proof but I think a strong suspicion is enough under these circumstances to relook at how to conduct the Masters.

As for the game where many think were thrown, I think the player involved has come up with a lame excuse on his blog. So you can decide for yourself. But the feedback I have received so far tells me that people doubt his explanation.

So it is not too late to get the very best 5 players we have in Malaysia to represent the Country. It is not too late to have fighters who will fight for honour and Country.

All it needs is for some wisdom and the courage to do the right thing from MCF. It's about time yes? I think there is some support for this solution within the Council. So they must speak up or we may yet see another cartoon show again at the Olympiads.

My 2 cents.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Is KL Open on a tight budget?

Ref: Here.

Dear Peter,

I am finding it a little difficult to do the sums here. Dato Santhara told me that he sponsored the event to the tune of RM150K. And I presume that is on top of the fees you are charging for entry.

During the training for the National Juniors going to Asean in 2010 where I provided a GM to do the training, Jimmy and other anonymous bloggers, with your support were accusing me of making exorbitant amounts of money. So much so that I published my accounts on this blog to show that in fact I lost money providing the training to our players. And I also put up on this blog the letter which showed that Air Asia was sponsoring the training and that the air tickets were not gratis.

I am not going to accuse you of making an exorbitant sum of money from this event out of dire poverty. Instead I think it would be fair to ask you to explain on your blog how you managed to blow RM150K plus the entrance fees and not pay your people.

I showed my accounts and correspondence with Air Asia in order to quell the lies and slander being spread by Jimmy with your support. Surely it is only fair now that I ask you to do the same. And I am not even making any accusations till we examine all the evidence.

Over to you Peter.

Btw, I paid all my people. Even if it came out of my own pocket since I was responsible for the event and they were working for me.

Let's be brutally honest.

Ref: Here.

Let's be brutally honest. The vast majority of chess players enter the circuit because of co-curriculum needs, certificates for university entry, scholarships and sponsorships etc. Very very few do it because they are going for a GM run. Of the lot of our top players perhaps only Fong Yit San has made that total commitment. He has sacrificed his education after SPM in a do or die attempt while the rest will probably find other pursuits in life that they believe will be more rewarding.

That is our reality. But let's stop here for a little while to reflect on this before we continue.

Let me try to explain why I brought Mark into chess to illustrate my point. It was purely for him to develop his thinking skills. The thinking skills I believed he will need in a globalised world. And so I used chess to inculcate these lessons. Here.

But there is more. I also wanted him to develop good values, to be able to trust himself, his thinking and never to take the short cuts no matter how tempting it may look. I use the chess analogy of the poisoned pawn in my explanations to him. Take the short cuts and that means you do not trust in your ability and skills. And chess provided that personal training because the higher up you go, the greater the pressure and the stronger the temptation to take the easy way out. I believe understanding this will hold him in good stead in his future business life. Follow the rules and do not cheat. Or you may end up in prison in a rule based world. (And if you want to be in International business). Think and develop within the rules. Be creative within the rules but never break them. To do all that is also called character building.

And so he will be entering University soon. And I think chess has helped to prepare him for that next stage of his journey in life.

Let me now come back to our chess culture and my assertion that only Fong Yit San is prepared to try and committed for the distance. For him to do that he needs to have the mindset and mental strength to back it, in his arsenal, besides only having mere technical. If he accepts a point he does not deserve here in Malaysia, then he too will have accepted the poisoned pawn which will work against him later.

If he wants to go out there and fight people who are not afraid of challenges then he must first win all the Malaysians here without a crutch. Only then will he have the fortitude to face the world stage.

But what about the rest of our chess players? What will they learn from their time in chess? How will just studying the technical aspects which they will never use in their other pursuits help them? They would have taken much from chess if they have learnt at least this. Here again. They would have taken out even more if they went on to develop their understanding of competitor analysis. Why? Because that too has real world application in business.

In conclusion, we have not only failed the vast majority of chess players because of our narrow mindedness, we have probably failed those that want to become world beaters because our officials are not doing their jobs. They only seek posts for their vanity and egos when what they need to do is to stop the match fixing and to find the funds for the development of our players. So who have we helped? Who has our chess helped to make smarter. Nobody? Wasn't this the same way we "developed" the previous lot kangkung players who now cannot play high level chess? Think on it. Can you take on the world if you cannot even win here without a crutch?

The 2 persons mentioned in my post below is none other than the selection chair and his deputy. Shame on you. What kind of example are you guys setting for our players. You do not even have the courage to think for yourself and to make the right decisions. Fear. If you are that fearful, get out of chess. It's a game to develop men and not for small boys.

The real journey in chess is about raising our skills and knowledge. Not about learning sabotage, short cuts, gaining unearned points, back stabbing and writing anonymous poison letters/blogs. And not about using the players/kids as scapegoats and proxies in a "war" you have no courage to engage in yourself.

Thank you for your time and consideration in reading this post.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Have you noticed that some of our chess leaders are unable to deal with tough questions?

Ref: Here.

During the conversation with that official after National Close, he suddenly developed deafness and said he doesn't understand what I am saying and he said that is why he and "others" are "afraid" to talk to me.

That is a little funny because before he got his current position he was talking to me about his so called "unfair sacking" from MCF. And I explained to him that he could not be sacked under current rules and I told him why that was so under the Constitution.

Before he was "sacked" I advised him quietly on my blog without mentioning his name not to write poison letters "anonymously" against other Council members. If I can identify him from my sources, so can others.

Before he got his new position he was reporting to me about the so called unfair selection criteria and how he stands for no more back doors and clean selection.

But suddenly he has developed selective deafness after being "reinstated" and getting the new post related to selection. Suddenly his mind is scrambling and he becomes incoherent and afraid to talk to me. Why do you think that is so? Curious isn't it?.

Ref: Another conversation with another official in the same committee. Just for comparison, if any. Here.

Why it is essential for us to change our chess culture if we are to succeed.

For 10 years since Mark was U12 Champion in Perak in 2005, I have watched with much incredulity at how our chess culture has affected our children. I was witness to the horrendous attacks on our top Juniors over the training for SEA games in 2010. I saw the viciousness of the blog wars where pure intimidation, lies and slander were spread. And no amount of clarification or evidence produced was sufficient to quell even more lies and slander from spreading. And they used our top kids as proxies in the "war". And we experienced fixing in one form or another from 2006 onwards. And these usually come from the top boards.

So over the years I have seen many potentially strong players drop by the wayside. I will try to explain why from my perspective. There is a character trait among our top juniors that make them particularly vulnerable to the type of attacks I mentioned above. Our top players are extremely intelligent and extremely driven to win. And I felt that we could use that drive to teach them this. Here.

But what are those people teaching them instead? In our current climate it does not take a genius to come to the very logical conclusion that they must cheat to win. If you don't do it, the other party will. This seems to be the inevitable conclusion if we follow the logic of our current climate and we do not have another purpose from chess.

This was aptly described during the blog war by a staunch Jimmy supporter from Singapore. Law of the jungle. Kill or be killed. No rules.

That is our reality. Our institutions are not working. In fact many seek office to get the power to give their players the extra edge against their opponents. And there is no redress. Or so it seems.

So let me try to offer you another perspective today.

During National Close I spent an evening with some old friends. I also met a new friend who works for SapuraKencana Petroleum Bhd. He told me of his experience when he started working for an American company. After the submission of his first claim for expenses, the CEO returned his claim to him and asked him to read up the rules and claim his full entitlement. Not one cent more and not one cent less.

I am not sure if you can see the full ramification or implication of that "statement". In global businesses the culture is different. The Company doesn't try to cheat you out of your money. They want you to get everything you worked for, everything that you are entitled to. Why?

It is simply because their outlook is that they are working in partnership with their employees, they are working in partnership with their suppliers and their clients. Only by working together can they succeed against the other team. So nobody should be shortchanged.

So let's just quickly contrast that scenario to ours today. I was informed that a player disputed the final result that determined the Champion. Now this player is also on the National squad. Now imagine us sending out a team to the Olympiads that consist of these players. Imagine if the squad also had a member who came in from the side door.

Law of the jungle. Winner takes all and there are no rules and no redress. Cheat if you have to, to get in. And then we ask them to fight as a team for TEAM MALAYSIA.

But what is their experience of each other? Can they fight as a team in a team event? What do you think? Do you think trust is a necessary ingredient to function as a team?

Perhaps we cannot change other realities. But I think that we may succeed to change the culture in chess at least if we all work together. And why is this important?

I think it is very important because our top chess players represent our best brains in the Country. They have the greatest potential to rise high in our business world. And they have the best potential to become global players in many fields. So lets not disadvantage them because of our short sightedness. Because of our narrow self interests. And because we lack the courage to correct wrong doings or to think clearly in difficult situations.

Those kids are our collective responsibilty. They are being formed and moulded under our watch. Are we developing global players or are we creating Frankensteins that can never survive is a world with rules without cheating. For very simply they will likely end up in prison outside of this Country where they seem to be protected instead here. Their perspective and mindset is being formed by the reality they are currently in.

I hope we can think on this. What have they learnt about chess if they allowed/encouraged to cheat? Would they be able to bring those skills to the world stage without consequence?

Isn't this what they should be learning?  Here.

Growth and self development comes from trying all we can within the rules. We learn nothing from cheating or using the back doors. I think that was Michael's message in the post below. We grow and develop only by increasing our knowledge and skills and not by sabotage. Can you see that? Can you see the results of our past culture today? What type of players have we produced so far from this culture?

Today's Contemplation.

If you're trying to achieve, there will be road blocks. I've had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.

   --  Michael Jordan

Monday, March 17, 2014

No holds barred report on NC 2014.

After being briefed on the new selection criteria, I felt that there were vast improvements technically over last year's format. Top 3 from National Close, the current 8 players from the National Seniors Squad and the top player from the active list. So objectively there seems to have been some good thinking behind the criteria with a view of continuity, giving due recognition to the fighters from National Close and giving some recognition to those that went down the Fide rating path.

So all these players will meet at the Masters and we will eventually see the evidence of which is the better route from the results over a few years. So all that is good on paper.

Today I am going to argue that it is the unwritten rules that will upset all the good intentions of the selection criteria. I am going to say that the culture of irresponsibility is also going to undo the good intentions of the criteria.

Let me explain. Look at this again first. Here.

During the National Close there were a couple of incidences that happened that made me wonder about the efficacy of the criteria. One was the twice reported incident of suspicion of a top player possibly using a chess engine during play. The officials were informed. And for one game the player was told to report to the arbiter if he went out. He was to be escorted. However after that he repeated the same action the following day and the warning was not enforced then. At the top boards it is highly essential to monitor this as any undue advantage can affect the outcome of the selection.

As an observer this was my thinking. Once the incident is reported then the officials need to act. I believe that in those cases our culture works against us. In my mind I could sense the officials were hesitant to embarrass the player by searching him. This is a problem since the suspicions were not over one game but 3 that I know of although only 2 were reported.

The second incident was one where it looks like a player deliberately lost a game in order to forward another top player. Now of course this is very very difficult to prove since we cannot look into the players mind. But still I think we should look at this seriously since it affects the entire selection. Circumstantial evidence that can be considered is if a player of that experience and level can lose a simple end game like that. (Particularly if he is an end game expert and with a long history of questionable practices).

If we are unable to deal with controversial incidences like this then I am afraid that these things will make a mockery of the best intentions of the criteria.

And finally we come to a conversation I just had with an official who had been supplying me with information of the going ons in Council till he got a key post in Council. And this conversation is reflected with the other conversation I had with another official in the link above.

I called the official and made some suggestions. I believe that is the best I can do. And if he genuinely wants to see improvements then he will bring up my suggestion for discussion in Council. Or not.

I believe the results of the National Close is tainted and it is not too late to try and save the situation. It is my information that only 2 of the players from the previous National squad will play at the Masters. If we add the one player from the active list then we will have 3 players. I have also been informed that the best number for a round robin is 12. My suggestion is that if that is the case, then the other 9 players should come from the fighters in National Close.

Note: But this time there must be close monitoring. We are selecting for 5 players to play for Malaysia. We are not selecting for our 5 best friends. This needs to be done right.

The official I spoke to asked me to write in officially. I said I will write on my blog instead. What is my reasoning? Well dear official, it is this. If you have the intention of improving chess then you will use your position and authority to change things. I have given my opinion. You have the authority to act. Furthermore you have the same evidence as I have to make decisions on. The only question is whether you have the courage to state your opinion or not. It is that simple. I say this from my observation of 10 years and I also say it because the same official has confessed to me in the past that he is afraid of being shot down in Council.

To that I replied. If you seek leadership position then you must bring courage and the ability to think for yourself along with your candidacy for the post. Otherwise you do not belong in that post.

Similarly, if you want our chess players to play fighting chess according to the rules in International competitions then you have to be that testimony to them in Malaysia. If you have no courage, show no courage they will be just like you from your own example.

Am I making sense? Is that not the same question about leadership that the whole Country has been asking over the last one week. So begin with you, begin with chess. Lets show we can answer the hard questions. Lets show that we can think under pressure. Lets show we do not have to break the rules to win.

Lets show we do not need to have easy scapegoats before we dare to make decisions. Let the buck stop at the feet of the man/woman in charge at the time.

Then we will see our GM. Not this way. The GM will not come with this culture unless we buy one of course. And that is not a GM we can be proud of. Just like we are not proud of bought internet Phd's or leaders who cannot make tough and difficult decisions for the betterment of the chess community. That is simply not chess.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Strong chess and the need to introspect.

I wonder if we realise just how much the ability to introspect is related to our progress in chess. Let us look at some of our common scenarios first. We like to put the blame on others. Since coming to chess all I see are the fingers pointing all around but none pointing to themselves. So lets think a little about this today. Is it all their fault that we are not doing well today? Blame MCF, blame this and blame that.

But what about us? Do we not have a role at all? Do we not need to train, do we not need to be responsible in our posts? Do we not need to say something when we see something wrong going on?

That is what introspection does. It helps us to see the proportion of our own role within the drama/game. But this is the difficult part. For when we introspect we will come face to face with our own fears. So much so that even a simple question can start our minds screaming. That is the price we pay for self delusion, for trying to live in a bubble devoid of reality. And so we want to shut out any questions that causes the screaming in our minds. It does not matter if the question is asked softly or even gently. We hear it as a loud scream.

Can you see that? If you can then let us proceed to the chess part.

In chess we look for weapons that will trip you emotionally. To make your mind scream till you cannot see the board. This is what our opponents do when they compete with us. That is why we are not world class but can only be jaguh kampungs. Too much fear.

That is what all openings and variations simply are and do. We look at the technical aspects but we do not know which weapon to use for which opponent to trigger that fear in them. That part only comes from competitor analysis. And we use competitor analysis only when we dare to compete.

Otherwise what we do is to carefully prepare our tournaments with the right arbiters to manipulate pairings etc. We select only certain tournaments to hide our lack of skill. We arrange for the back doors because actually our players cannot play. We learn the art of manufacturing numbers to cast the illusion we are strong etc etc etc.

But the fact remains that we cannot compete on the world stage. Why? Because we do not dare to introspect. We do not dare to look at what we need to improve. It is much much easier to blame somebody else. So we try to change the whole world so we do not need to hear the screams in our minds, so we do not have to look at our fears.

My question to you today is if that is a sensible way of doing things. Do we change the whole world first before we change ourselves? Is that even possible? Why don't you just learn to introspect, face your fears and then when your opponent does try to trip your mind, they will find that you can still think for you would have conquered your own demons and cannot be deflected, distracted, manipulated, intimidated etc.

I believe that is the only doable way to improve and progress. Try it. I think it may even be easier than trying to make the whole world into your own image.

Note: Looking at it this way also helps us realise that competition is not so much about taking down the other but also about raising our game. This can also be called healthy competition. The competition with ourselves to improve ourselves. And the "opponent" is just someone we benchmark our progress against.

Have a look at this and see what you think. Here.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

We need to identify the problem before we can find the solution.

You may realise that I do not overly protest the so called abuse of funds in MCF. Why is that? In reality the people who are working hard in MCF needs to be paid. That is the fact of life. But lets look at this a little closer today.

Actually this is the responsibility of Council. 

(They need to find legitimate ways for their working people to be paid. Otherwise they expose their workers to the risk of prosecution).

However I do actively protest the way Jimmy and Peter has been using the net to spread lies and slander; to attack players and perceived competitors in the business of chess. I do protest about the unfair selection criteria. And I do protest the use of the State Associations to promote a single chess "university" that has not produced a single strong player yet. Why? Simply because this affects all of us. This is used as a method to protect the back door boys and to prevent the rise of strong players in Malaysia.

Can you see that?

If you can, then let us examine even closer still. Can you now see that the failure of Council to address the income issues of it's workers has lead to the second part? Without a legitimate income they need all those dirty tricks to cari makan.

So it is an interconnected problem. We cannot solve the second part till the Council solves the first part.

If and when the Council solves the first part then we can all focus our energies to developing our players. Right now tremendous amounts of energy is wasted from trying to prevent people like Peter and Jimmy from sabotaging our players.

Is it clearer now? It takes 2 hands to clap. For us to progress, each need to fulfill their responsibility from where they are. It is the job of the players to train and play strong chess. It is the job of the Council to set the conditions where our players are able to do that and progress according to their chess playing strength and not from manufactured numbers etc. That way only produces kangkung players who think they are Ferraris. They have become delusional and have bought into their own lies.

Friday, March 7, 2014

List of National Close players and some comments.


I am really glad to see Jimmy's name on the list. He is by far the highest Fide rated there, apart from Jonathan, and also an International Master as well as a self proclaimed Ferrari. My respect to him for the courage to attempt to prove to us all in open tournament that Fide rating is the most correct indication of fighting strength, as he asserts. For his courage to demonstrate to us how a Master navigates the race course.

I will watch with anticipation at how he will conclusively demonstrate the superiority of his thinking. Much more superior than those that hides in the dark and proclaim an ability to play chess. Kudos to you Jimmy. See you there.

What does this evidence show you?


Can you spot the hidden agenda? Hint. What is the message to all of KL? Are there other coaches and trainers? Better ones maybe? Can you name his fears?

What can we learn about hidden agendas from chess?

Ref: Here.

When your opponent makes an unusual move, that is usually the time to look for a hidden plan. That is quite plain and obvious in chess.

Did you know that this knowledge is transferable to real life situations? Lets look at this situation. When somebody objects to a case you present, there could be a few possible reasons. Sometimes it is because they are not convinced by your argument. However you continue to show the evidence. And the evidence is conclusive or at least casts doubt onto the situation. Therefore if you are convinced that the evidence does at least that in your best reasoning then this often means that you are in the face of a hidden agenda.

They have something to hide. And if instead demonstrating that your argument is flawed in some way, they proceed to use intimidation then you can be almost certain that there is something going on that you should know about before you proceed.

These are all part of the lessons from chess that makes you smart. If you are not learning these things, then something is going on. Read this again. Here..

They are correct in a way. Chess is supposed to make you smart. But some people use it as a slogan to deceive you and to keep you dumb. Those people have a hidden agenda. Can you see that better now?

Now apply this to other situations yourself. With some practice, you will learn to make better decisions in life.

All my best.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

And tough questions are tough because of the emotional elements.

Winning in chess becomes tough when we compete. When we compete there is the element of fear. As a chess player would you agree with me?

Finding the way forward for Malaysian chess becomes tough when we compete. When we compete with our neighbors we will need to have a good look at why they are so far ahead of us. And then you have to face your fears for all the lost time. As a chess official would you agree with me?

Would you not need to develop your fortitude, not get dejected and give up? Would you not need to have the courage to stand up to all the false accusations that is Malaysian chess?

So let me ask you a question here. If that is the reality then is it not the solution to develop your courage, to sit down and really think of a good plan to move forward?

Or is the answer to develop the back doors so you do not need to compete. Or is the solution to knock out or to subvert all the good officials so you do not have to face that question?

Let me try to illustrate my point on how fear can make you stupid with my favorite example.

Peter does not want to allow Mark to play at KL Open. He says that the player to watch out for is back door Li Tian. In fact he doesn't want many players from Malaysia to play because then we can benchmark Li Tian's and Jimmy's true standard.

If he is confident of himself then he would want Mark and all the strong players in Malaysia to play so that he can show what a great analyst he is. Does that make sense?

Instead he hides. Instead he uses the entire State Association to ban players without grounds. That is how much fear he has. He cannot face any tough questions. Yet he wants to infect all of KL with his fears; yet he wants to attack other players when he cannot even play chess anymore.

I have offered many times in the past to pay for his entrance to tournaments if he cannot afford it and if he writes in to me. If he is so sure of himself then he would have offered Mark the same. Why? Because that is the best way to prove that he is right and put mud on my face? And in full public view too. Think of the publicity. After that all the top players in Malaysia will rush to his university because he is the man.

And he thinks of himself as a businessman, as a smart man. And yet he cannot see this. Does this prove my point? Fear.

So Peter, a word of advice. If you have lost your confidence and cannot compete and cannot teach chess anymore, I hear there is a profession without stress. Try planting kangkung. No stress and not much thinking needed there. And you do not need much skill either I am told.

So Peter, either change yourself and improve or leave chess. I have offered a suggestion to you. Take it or not it is up to you. But do not do any more harm to Malaysian chess players. Ok Peter?

Answering tough questions makes smart chess players.

I was just following the postings of a Malaysian friend of mine in the UK. And when he says something his friends on FB will ask him to quote the source. Then they will investigate and then decide if they agree or not. And they can ask awkward questions.

That is one of the reasons why I like to work with our top chess kids. They ask insightful questions. They want me to prove the veracity of my thinking. And as a result I too grew.

So that is the way chess makes us smart. Chess openings are also statements. "This is my analysis. Prove me wrong. And if I am wrong then I lose". As simple as that.

But have you found that they do not like you to ask questions in Malaysian chess? They do not like to be challenged on the table to prove their thinking.

Instead they have all these ways to shut you up instead of looking at whether their thinking is correct or not.

Then they want to go out there and challenge people who are not afraid of tough questions; who are able to defend their reasoning on the table.

Do you think that may be a possible reason why we produce kangkung players? Just wondering.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The game only starts after you are elected.

Ref: Here.

Have you ever noticed that the election slogans for change almost always disappear after the election? Why is this so? Let me share from some of my experiences. Back in 2009, after the contest in the Perak AGM, we got a fairly balanced group of old and new in the committee. Those that got into PICA on my ticket were jubilant. But I adviced caution. You see, the game has just started. We haven't won anything yet. Nothing substantive except for the posts. We got good positions from which we were supposed to initiate the changes we campaigned on but nothing came of it.

I think part of the problem is that many who seek positions do not realise this. They think they have won at the AGM. No, my friends, nothing has been won yet. The game has just started. And to win, you need to know how to play the game.

So I have seen one by one seduced by the power of their position and then they forget why they were elected in the first place. Then some are attacked as I have mentioned in the link above. And then they become incapacitated or join the other agenda or removed.

And very quickly the game is lost. So the moral of this story is that you are only a player when you sit at the table. At the AGM you have merely won the right to play but you have not won yet.

To win, you must know your game plan. You need to know your opponents play book. And you need to have the wisdom and courage to form a good plan and then stick to it.

And what is the win?

For me it is when we can stop the agenda of certain officials that penalizes and attack our strong players who are not in their camp.

For our success in Malaysian chess will be measured by the number of strong players we can produce. When they can win medals etc. This agenda must not be hijacked by officials who use their position to only bring in their kangkungs that goes to their chess "universities" etc. And especially one that has not produced a single strong player but is very good at stealing or attacking the players developed by others by exploiting their position in the Associations.

Simply put. If the players are no good and cannot survive tough selection without back doors, they deserve to be knocked out. And officials that do not know how to play the game to bring success to Malaysian chess also deserve to be knocked out. Same difference.

For it is the results that finally matter.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Why are hidden agendas so dangerous?

By almost all accounts we know that MCF is in crisis. Almost daily we hear of some drama or another. And we know that these dramas sap our energy do we not? Where is the energy to develop if there are daily dramas created? Where are the new ideas for improvement when we are all kept busy fire fighting?

So let me try to explain that the source of all dramas are caused by hidden agendas.

Can you see that?

The daily dramas are caused by people wanting to subvert the National and State agendas for private gain or profit. So they are always scheming one thing or another to deprive someone of something that is rightfully theirs.

The simple fact is that they will not need to scheme and plot if they can earn the money legally, win their place on the squad legitimately.

So if we want to solve this we need to develop our Vision. That acts as the guide. It tells us if we are still heading in the right direction or if the agenda has been hijacked.

And for that to take place we need every remaining good official to stand up and do their job. Or we simply will not progress by default.

Can you see that? Do you now understand why hidden agendas are so dangerous? Is the example from KLCA obvious enough for you to see how it works? Once you can see that then you can also see it in operation wherever you are. It does not exist in KLCA alone. KLCA is just the most transparent example.

Just out of curiosity Peter?

Ref: Here.

Was there a selection? What is the criteria of becoming a KL player? Do you mean all of KL is reduced to just this under your watch?

Do you realise that almost every State has had a selection? Do you want to lay down bets that those that came through the tough challenge of selection will bungkus your players? And so it will be that mighty KL will be humbled because of your incompetence. Do you think I will be proved right?

See you at National Close Peter. Do show your face to cheer on your players. I am sure your presence will do much to inspire their fighting spirit. Can KL compete when they have an enemy from within taking it down?

Why MCF will never change unless you change.

Yesterday when I was in Kampar, a Perak State Official asked me about the cert from MCF for an arbiters course that he attended when I organised it in 2009 for about 20 Perakians. So I told him to write in to MCF. But he said he didn't know who to write to. I told him, I can supply the contacts of the relevant people but he has to write the letter himself.

Over the years I have heard this a lot. MCF must change. Then I ask them, what can you do in your position? You are the treasurer, the chair of this committee or the other; the President/Deputy President of this Association or the other. Why don't you ask what you can do in that position to change things?

Why do you want everybody else to change before you change? Isn't that an impossible thing? For instance, if I am to wait for Jimmy or Peter to change then I could be waiting forever no?

Do your job and fulfill your responsibility where you are. If you are a player and the rules have been infringed, call for an arbiter. If you think there is cheating in a tournament, inform the organiser. Then it is up to them. If you do not get satisfaction then follow the process and keep writing up. Somebody somewhere with the authority will act. Don't despair and don't give up hope. Just keep pushing the envelop.

I told that State official that I will help him to address his concerns to the right party. But it is up to him to write the letter. I cannot force MCF to issue the cert.

If each one of us fulfill our roles then we will see change. But don't wait for MCF to change before you change. It just doesn't work. Start with yourself from where you are. Then MCF will change. Why? Because MCF is you. MCF is MCF because you are you.

The other side of the coin.

There have been so many officials in MCF, past and present, who has told me that they have been attacked from the moment they enter the Federation. They will be accused of everything under the sun. I have told a number of them that this is normal. This is Malaysian chess. Now how do we look at this?

On the one hand it is bad, since the officials will leave, the good players become victims of the politics in favour of kangkung players etc etc. And there will be no progress.

BUT lets try to look at it another way today. 

That is also the way to separate the wheat from the chaff, the men from the boys. As the song says, if you can make it there (in MCF), then you can make it anywhere.....

If you don't quit, if you don't get bought, if you can stay with the game plan to improve and not get deflected, dejected etc etc.

So MCF is actually primed for us to find a true leader. For only under that type of leadership will our players find the example of what it takes for Malaysian chess to shine on the world stage.

U think?

Note: This also applies to the players. If you can withstand the mental assaults, trust in your own training and game plan. Then you too will become a strong player/leader. 

KL Open is closed for admission and the ramifications.

Peter's announcement. Here.

Have a look and see how many Malaysian players are there. I have written, spoken to State officials as well as talked to top organisers in Malaysia to try to increase the Malaysian participation. All to no avail. Some of the reasons given is that they want to boycott the event. Others say that they are worried that the President won't honour his word to me and so they don't want to go through the hassle of getting a bank draft. So this is a problem. But the question I want to ask today is how do we look at this?

The first thing we need to understand is that this is a KLCA event endorsed by MCF. So both parties has a say. Peter is just an organiser but he seems to have hijacked the event.

I think the problem lies here. The first thing we need is a Vision on the National level. Then the States need to buy into that vision and attempt to replicate it on the State level. Without doubt there will be difficulties with people like Peter. So we need strong and committed leadership who are willing to make difficult decisions with courage. Or nothing will change.

In the event above the President of KLCA himself has asked me to quote his name to bring in extra participation. Here. Not only is Dato Santhara the President but he is also the sponsor of the event. And in fact this offer also had the agreement of the Deputy President of KLCA.

That is one side of the coin. The question above is what does KL Open mean to KLCA and why was Peter allowed to hijack the event?

The other question I'm afraid has to be addressed to you. Why did you not take up the offer by the President to participate? Would you rather point the finger at Peter as a way to vent your anger? Isn't that cutting off your nose to spite yourself? You have a responsibility as a player to uplift your skills. You have a responsibility as a State Association to expose your players. In the past you were not given a door in. We have provided the door for you. Both the President and Deputy President. And me. I was willing to collect the bank draft on your behalf even though it would be a difficult process.

It takes 2 hand to clap. Ignore Peter. He is not relevant. But why don't you trust what Dato has said? Why don't you find out for yourself if he is a man of honour? Why didn't you give him a chance?

On my part, I will buy the bank draft for Mark and pass it on as agreed. I believe we should not prejudge anyone without giving them a chance. Do not rely on rumours. Make your own determination.

Am I making sense to you? Think about it. Is that not also a lesson from chess? You need a plan, you need to trust your own evaluation and then you need the mental strength and courage to go for the win.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Good article from google.


Teamwork and Team events.

Since the USM team event is going on today, this may be a good time to investigate this. Now depending whether the event is match point or game point the strategies will differ. But lets use match point today for an illustration. In match point play, depending on the goal of the team, sometimes players are asked to take a hit for the team. Sometimes a player is required to win above his class. So an accurate evaluation of team strength vis-a-vis the other teams is essential to establish realistic goals. Are you a Champion team or is the best you can hope for is a placement? And the Captain evaluate chances round by round.

But I am not going into the technical aspects today. For that you can consult with the many technical experts around us. Today I would rather explore the concept of teamwork.

Now for a team to work, every member of that team has to function. They need to fulfill their role or the team breaks down. A good model can be found in football. I see many comments on Man U on FB.

So the first prerequisite of a team is that you cannot pass the ball when it is your responsibility. When you have the best chances to affect outcome. Each must carry their own burden or the team fails. Agreed?

And now we come back to chess. Did you see from the last Olympiad that we didn't have a team? Everyone was either trying to achieve a norm for themselves or not playing for fear of losing rating. Nobody was playing for Malaysia in the team event. And the captain was totally useless. We can see this clearly when it is football yes? Now lets us try to see it where it matters to us. In chess.

In chess, the role of the players is to train and play good chess. The role of the managers, trainers and coaches is to assist and to prepare the players. The role of the officials is to facilitate this by carrying out their responsibility. The role of the State Associations is to develop their own players. The role of our Open Classical Fide events is to develop Malaysian players since MCF is involved. The role of the organisers is to keep their tournaments clean. 

But what are some of our officials doing instead? And then they finger point. So all I am saying is to fulfill your job responsibility wherever you are on the totem pole and then we become a team. Then we become a better team if we work at it. Then we become a Champion team. But it all starts with you. Pointing the finger and then not fulfilling your individual responsibility and role is what got us into this mess in the first place. Agree?

The point is each has a role. And your job is to perform your role well. That is being part of a team.

Do your job. And stop making excuses. Or worse, deflect from your own shortcomings by attacking the Fide President, attacking other players, trainers and coaches because you cannot develop even one strong player yourself or play strong chess anymore etc etc etc.

A team is created and bound by a common vision and brought to success by a strong and commited leadership.

Note: It may become more obvious when we use the football analogy to see that the role of the manager/coach is also to protest when the rules have been infringed and their players have been unfairly dealt with.


The darkest hour in any man's life is when he sits down to plan how to get money without earning it.
   --  Horace Greeley (1811-1872)