Thursday, October 14, 2010

How To Spend the Moolah?

Agree with most of what Anonymous says.

Bringing foreigners to Malaysia is one thing, but bringing them to win our money in a rapid tournament is not worth it. Bear in mind that it is a rapid tournament. Also, RM14,000 does not have to be spent on chess tournaments. I am personally not a fan of allegros.

So how should we spend this money? For example, the RM14,000 can be used to build a useful chess library. You know how many chess books you can buy with RM14,000? That is per year. Then you can make the chess centre a popular hang out place, where people come and spar and read chess books. Strong players may even gather there for discussion and analysis. The benefits could be multiplied and this investment is long term in nature. The RM14,000 "lasts forever" because the books will always be there, instead of being in some foreigner's hands and spent on something else. Heck, it doesn't even have to be RM14,000. It can be RM4,000.

The serious tournaments should remain. The Malaysia Open, KL Open etc. I am not against that. Malaysians have every chance to play against foreign players then. Why need so many rapid events for foreigners?

Other ideas include, "chess scholarships". Organize several strong junior tournaments over the year and use that money as a sponsorship to the best 3 performers in these tournaments to go play in other countries (such as Vietnam, India, China, Philippines, Indonesia, Australia etc.).

I am sure many other people can come up with much better ideas to use the money. My supposedly weak mind has limited ideas. But the idea to keep the competitive spirit alive among juniors and seniors is this thing called meritocracy. As long as everyone can see the goal, they will be willing to work towards it. The current situation is a result of people moving the goal post all the time. Deserving players are not selected. Our national tournaments are treated lightly by our "senior" players. Most of them don't even take part. If you employ a system where results matter, people will work for it.

As for the neighboring countries, John has hit it spot on. The difference is the hunger. I already wrote about it. I couldn't believe a Vietnamese junior player would hammer out 2.5 hours of chess to win an opposite colored bishop ending. I can assure you that these kids have a lot more to lose than Malaysians/Singaporeans. To them, chess is their ticket to freedom. If they fail, they will just be some guy. We can always fall back on studies and other such things. But, that said, still, if the goals are clear and attainable, there will be people who will be willing to work for them. Right now, hard work does not seem to pay in the Malaysian chess scene. So the simple answer is, reward hard work!

1 comment:

  1. I feel if there is a resource problem that it should be tackled separately. Are there lack of sponsors in Malaysia? I don't know.

    When we're organising the K visits, what we found out was that networking is extremely important.It can open doors. We do not have chess in the news for a long time but somehow, reporters seem keen to cover the event not only on print, but online tv (see Razor TV).

    So I don't think we should quip about the money that's spent on the Merdeka, because the objectives are different.

    If I may say so, I see tournaments held every other weekend publicised on the blogs. Given only 52 weekends a year, there's a limit to how much chess one can play. If the prize money is scattered over that many tournaments, the top prizes will be thin. Logical. So why not pool the money and organising resources for a few tournaments to make it 1 big tournament with higher prizes? Or for starters, try not to give money or trophies to the children but chess books?

    As we are unable to change the circumstances of what anonymous has described, Malaysians and Singaporeans need more to incite their interest in chess. Monetary incentives aside, much has got to do with the appeal of either fame or recognition of some kind. Well that only happens if the sport is elevated to that of a national sport or pastime. Therefore, much of the energies of the organisers should be directed toward organising large-scale mass participation events that will force the media to cover you. The Candidates Match 1991 is one. The Merdeka tournament is becoming one. Why not try to expand it beyond the Cititel and aim for 100 teams?? Scale has got to count here if you want to be noticed. With budget travel, there are opportunities to hold large-scale events in Malaysia where cost is much lower compared to Singapore.

    Shanghai has just joined the fray of international chess city with Bilbao. Singapore and K L have the potential I believe to stage such a tournanemt that will bring glamour and prestige to the game too. Mainly a question of will.