Monday, February 28, 2011


It's funny how so much can change in a matter of a few months. Mas is playing in rapid tournaments, selection criteria, etc. Someone said that the MCF is changing.

So much is probably true. But before we jump the gun, let us think about what caused this change? Is it all the shouting that is done by chess bloggers?

Or could it be something else? Some people may say it does not matter.

The correlation between the turning point and particular events that have occured is very glaring but left unsaid.

Does anyone else see the correlation between the "revolution" and the fact that Hamid has left the chess scene, with new faces being given a say in the MCF?

Or is this purely coincidence? Or is this because of the voice of a blogger and parents?

Regardless, kudos to Najib for the refreshing change.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Nothing Else Better to Do - Deja Vu?

(edited with video :) )

What do you do when you have nothing to talk about? Keep talking about the same old stuff again and again and again I guess? No more new ideas? Give up on thinking? Nothing left to contribute?

Here's a list of things a wannabe blogger can talk about to keep your number of visitors up:

1. Pretend that there is an issue to talk about. Better still, pretend that someone is attacking you and then you are fighting back. This way, you can pretend to be the knight in shining armor to save the realm against the forces of evil and capture the holy grail and so on and so forth. Or maybe you are "Spaceman Spiff" from the Calvin and Hobbes comic fame.

2. If you find yourself imagining too many enemies? Fighting against overwhelming odds? Never fear! Just pretend that all your attackers are actually just one fool. If you imagine hard enough, it will be so. You can also imagine that your backup has arrived. Pretend that your allies have arrived and now you are able to fight back the imaginary demon.

"You shall not pass!!" - Gandalf the Grey, Lord of the Rings, the Fellowship of the Ring

3. Once you begin to believe that you allies have formed a large enough group, you can then pretend that you are winning the imaginary battle that you create in your head. Then crush your "enemies" to satisfy your bloodlust. "You insignificant little insects!!" Everybody loves a good show.

4. When you really run out of ideas? Why not google up some random quotes? Then post it. Then ask your readers to think on it. That should buy you some time to invent your next story.

5. When you're really bored and can't find a way to increase your visitor count, pick on someone innocent and drag his face through the mud for the world to see, Gladiator style. That should entertain them. Even if they are not entertained, at least they will pay attention to you.

"Are you not entertained?" - Maximus Decimus Meridius, the Gladiator

6. Looks like I am running dry. Never mind. I shall post a link of someone who links someone else.

7. Repeat steps 1 through 6 every single day. You are bound to increase your hit rate significantly.

I am a frequent reader of the New York Times online (don't ask me why I read the New York Times), and I frequently visit the blog written by Nobel Prize-winning economist, Paul Krugman. He averages 3.5 posts in one day.

He discusses economic issues around the world and very often suggests policy measures for his blog readers to discuss. Some of us might think that he is wasting his time. After all, he is just a professor and has no hand in actually implementing any policy in the US or the Eurozone. But he does them anyway. I guess when you're that good at something, you should probably keep on doing what you do best.

Only a delusional real estate agent would try to give advice on the stock market.

The reason I brought up Paul Krugman was because despite his busy schedule, he manages an average of 3.5 posts in one day. What I was shocked to discover was that, some Malaysian "chess" blogger is averaging 5.2 posts a day, more than Paul Krugman.

So in awe, and admiration, I went deep undercover to decipher the secrets of coming up with new ideas to blog about, and the above seven points is most definitely the easy (and probably the best) way that I have managed to come up with to increase your hit counter.

Oh wait, my IT-specialist just informed be that you can fix the hit counter to show whatever number you want. So actually, you can pretend that you have readers. Arghh... all this research for nothing.

Disclaimer: The above research is copyrighted material and all of its intellectual property rights are protected. The examples used above may or may not be fictional, but are used for illustrative purposes anyway. I trust that my sources have done their due diligence as I am no expert in their fields of work. Any reference to a real person or entity could be purely intentional, but quite likely to be coincidental.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Nothing Else Better To Do

In economics, we learn about this idea of specialization and comparative advantage. For those of you who are unfamiliar, the above two ideas stem from real world occurences where a group of people (labor) can produce more when they are "assigned" to tasks that they do best as a part of a production chain.

This idea was implemented on a massive scale when Henry Ford used it to mass manufacture cars for the first time which completely revolutionized manufacturing. I leave it to you to read more about it here.

So, why bring this up?

This brings us to FGM's latest hoo-hah. Let us see what he said (about me):

(I have decided not to link his blog because he has shown the tendency to edit the things that he has said and twist his meaning later. So I am just going to paste what he said here. The comments in parentheses are mine)

First let me explain what was/is going on at Chess Ninja's site. He first appeared on my site as a new blogger. In the beginning he was all out against Hamid. We had a long discussion on that. Then he urged me to use my influence on MCF. I told him I didnt have anymore than the next person and asked him to present his own ideas like everyone else. Then he started talking about selection criteria and challenged me to state mine. (Up until this part, it is not too far from the truth that I need to challenge it.) And of course it all went down hill after that. (Now, you can ask why this is so. How did this first go downhill? FGM decided to start his name-calling (remember poisonous snake?) and went berserk and attacked pretty much anyone who disagreed with him.) He just needs to attack something or someone.
(Any 12 year-old can tell you that this statement is ludicrous. Do I sound like someone who has nothing else better to do than to attack someone for the sake of attacking them? For someone who tries to sound intelligent and claims to be intelligent (aka a man of reason), Raymond shows very little reasoning power.
Why do I have the need to attack you? You are self-deteriorating into kingdom come. You are fighting invisible demons. No one is in kahoots to get you. I have not mentioned a single thing about you for the past week and now you decide to drag me into the mud with you. Perhaps you are the one who has nothing better to do.)
Here is the next paragraph:

So what is the point? The point is us talking about the details of the selection criteria now is a waste of time. We are not MCF and so we must know our role. I have said that we can urge MCF to come up with written criteria. If that happens we will have something we never had before. That is step 1. From there the criteria can only improve. But getting dragged into the details of something that doesnt exist yet is just a diversion. Coffee shop talk. They talk like they are MCF when they are not. So the focus should be on step 1. Get something written first. Then step 2. Improve on it. In that order of move.
This brings us back to the part where I talked about specialization and comparative advantage. You are right. We must know our role. What I do best is to discuss ideas and to provide a space to everyone to express their views and opinions. I do not believe in censorship because I respect my readers' intelligence. They have the responsibility and intellect to discern right from wrong. Why belittle their intelligence?

Plus, if you read the newspaper, especially financial newspapers like the Financial Times or the Wall Street Journal, you will see numerous economists giving their opinions and ideas on what policies to implement to curb the financial crisis. You might as well say the same thing about them. Why are these economists pretending to be lawmakers? They have no power to implement any policies. So are they wasting their time? Do they spend their time writing in to the government about every single small idea that they have? My role is to share ideas and to provide whatever little insight I have from my experience in chess.

Once again, I have my share of ideas and I am more than willing to contribute them. But I am not the least bit interested in the politics of chess. I have had my share of dealings with the MCF and I think it is safe to say that I am more than happy to let someone else who has the energy to deal with them to actually do it. I would rather focus my energy on what I am good at. I am exercizing my comparative advantage.

If you claim to be so great at finding sponsors, then continue exercizing your comparative advantage. What you suck at, is obviously communicating your ideas. It is always easy to blame the whole world when everyone disagrees with you. Perhaps you can find it within you to examine yourself for just one second. What if the problem really lies with you? I guess you will never allow yourself to think that way, because you would consider that imagining your fears. Practice what you preach. Be self-aware.

I leave you with some hopefully inspiring quotes:

"If you are standing upright, then you do not have to worry that your shadow might be crooked"

"If you think you are too big for small things, then you are too small for big things"

"Effort is not how much you speak for your work, but how much your work speaks for you"

Sunday, February 6, 2011

GM at 26

IM (or WGM) Nadezhda Kosintseva (from Russia) just earned her 3rd and final GM norm in the Gibraltar Masters. No surprises there as it was long forthcoming. Let it be known that her older sister, Tatiana had earned the celebrated title two years earlier in 2009.

I would just like to point out that with the kind of advantages that Nadezhda (i.e. from Russia, plays chess full time, etc), it still took her all the way up to the relatively ripe age of 26 to achieve the GM title.

For those of you who are aiming to get there, perhaps it is time you start studying the success of other people and learn from what they did right and what they did wrong. This would be far better than the trial and error method or listening to half-baked and vague ideas that has been circulating around lately.

More details of Nadezhda's results in Gibraltar here.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Interview with IM Goh Weiming

Weiming never fails to disappoint. This is not to say I idolize him, but he is one of the more open IMs when it comes to sharing thoughts and ideas in chess and I really appreciate that. This is why I have been sharing a lot of material related to him here.

This interview shows partially what kind of tough decisions a professional (non-chess) has to go through before thinking about pursuing for a GM title. Also, it shows a very positive attitude in viewing up and coming juniors. He does not see them as rivals, unlike what some people are trying to do, which is to divide chess.

Juniors and seniors alike, are chess players and should compete just the same.

Anyhow, here is the interview.