Tuesday, March 18, 2014

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?

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