Sunday, August 17, 2014

Reply to Wai Leong and Kim Yaw.

Ref: Here.

Wai Leong,

Thank you for your honest comment. I believe you have come to the correct decision in abstaining from match fixing but allow me to tell you here my own thought processes and approach to it. The first thing is that match fixing stops your development. Why? Read below first.


Let's be honest. Very few if any has the drive and ambition or resources to become a GM. But almost anyone can benefit from the lessons of chess. And that benefit as explained in the link above comes when we learn to compete without cheating. Can you see that? And that is not an easy lesson to learn. Take for example Mark's own journey in the one time he "cheated". He broke under the intense pressure of the NJ Championship in 2010 where he almost became Champion. To cut a long story short he accepted a point he did not deserve but chose to come clean when confronted. So enough pressure can break anyone. But once that becomes a habit then you stop learning. The real benefit comes from analyzing how the pressure got to you and to find ways to become stronger next time without cheating. Clearer?

We have encountered match fixing almost every year since 2005 when Mark became Perak U12 Champion. This year we suspected the use of chess engine during National Close. Our approach is to now find a way to beat the use of chess engine usage in tournaments without cheating ourselves. So we need to learn even more. That is my approach. It is always about learning. And you don't learn if you cheat.

So my approach to chess is different from the approach taken before. I focus on competitor analysis and strategy and not merely the technical aspect of the game.

Let me also correct a misconception on your part. Mark was already a 1900 in 2009 when he got his first Fide rating. 1500 is around MSSM level. What we learnt from Norlito, Paulo's father, were refinements in our technical knowledge to enable us to breach the Master level. But Mark's playing strength was already above 2000 by then. Another point which may have escaped your attention is that we do not play most tournaments to win or for ratings but to learn. This is so that we can apply what we have learnt in the tournaments that count.

Now if you go back to that link again, you will also see that I wrote about setting realistic goals. What does this mean? Well in our case it means that we need to modify our goals according to realistic conditions. Mark has just entered University and so he must now adjust his priorities. Chess has to take a lower priority for the moment. It doesn't mean we have stopped. It just means that priorities have changed till conditions also change.

We are still moving but at a slower pace. We do not want to drop the ball.

I am still writing and talking more on my FB so you are welcome to join my page. I accept most chess players.

Kim Yaw,

We do a beginners package that can bring players to the 1500 level but Mark is in charge of that. So do ask him if you get the chance. I only come in as a Coach at the higher competitive levels where deeper strategies are needed.

However I am still continuing to see if I can bring up my Academy again. One of the conditions I have set myself is my ability to protect my players against threats. My inability to stop that is the main reason why I don't take any more students.

You see, the responsibility to stop match fixing and threats to players that want to play clean chess and learn from the game lies with the Associations and MCF. My responsibility is to train my players to be the best players they can be according to their own set goals.

I see some improvements in the selection this year but still some hanky panky. But at least some of the back doors have been shut. And the day MCF realises that almost all the back door players will self destruct will be the day I will play a more active role again. But I will continue to do what I can and improve my own knowledge in the meantime albeit in a smaller way.

Thank you for writing in. I hope I have answered your questions and given you some ideas on how to move forward.

In a nutshell I define competition as improving our skills and not in cheating in all it's many ways. Learning to improve ourselves will take all the energy we have and so there is none to spare in learning how to match fix, which is also very time consuming.

Ergo, you cannot learn all the things I said you can learn from chess and learn to cheat at the same time. And I believe my way takes you much further. All in due time. There is no rush.

All my best in your learning.

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