Monday, August 18, 2014
Lessons from Tromso.
We have achieved one of the best results in recent years. Allow me to give my perspective as well as a little history. It may not be apparent but I believe this is the fruit of implementing written selection criteria for the first time in 2009. The very first actually appeared on this blog after I was privately passed it via a parent. My reason for publishing it then was that selection criteria should not only be known by a few privileged people but available to all that will be participating in the competition. Too often the goal posts have been moved in the past because it was inside information only. Matters snow balled from there.
So Tromso, is the first Olympiad where there is some semblance of a written selection. The previous teams were available only to the back door boys. And the culture then was a play in perception for qualification to the senior Malaysian team. Methods used were threats against players who dared to compete, playing select tournaments to give perception of strength. Claiming to be a "Master" although afraid to play in tough tournaments etc etc etc.
But today's games are different. We can see in real time and analyse how our players are doing. So there is nowhere to hide. So we see that a few players who applied the methods mentioned above are no longer playing in our national team.
And so we have progressed a little for the first time in many many years.
However I hope this is just the beginning of our resurgence and not just a temporary glitch and we go back to the old days of the back doors. We need to continue to tighten our selection criteria even further. This year there was the suspicion of chess engine usage raised. I hope that next year MCF will cut off that loophole as well. There is also another matter of point passing on the top tables. This is very serious but not easy to solve. If MCF can find ways of identifying those that practices this and then levying penalties then our future will be much brighter.
Chess is a competitive mind sport. If our players cannot perform here without cheating then they will not do well overseas. If they try cheating overseas then they will be a national embarrassment if they get caught.
Still I want to give acknowledgment to the committee members within MCF who have heard our complaints and have taken action to improve. We have improved. No doubt about that. A lot of the deadwood who cannot play competitive chess anymore but still want to play for Malaysia are gone.
It has been a hard struggle to improve given the resistance of the people who wanted the back doors retained but I think it has been worth it.
So kudos to those committee members within MCF who has fought the good fight. My deepest appreciation and heartiest congratulations.
And my congratulations also to the players of the senior Malaysian squad who earned their place in clean competition. You know who you are.
We have the talent and we have the resources to become a great chess nation. But only if we keep going forward.
Malaysia Truly Boleh. But we must also believe that deeply in ourselves.
All my best.