Wednesday, July 13, 2011

1st Step to GM

By now, I am sure that everyone is tired of reading about how to become GM by mere rhetorics:

1. Chess is about decision-making (No kidding)
2. Chess is a mental sport, so we must free the mind (Wow, spoken like a true expert)
3. Chess requires analyzing opponents (And we didn't know that?)
4. Think on it
5. No, seriously, think on it
6. Think on it again

I could go on all day. As I said before in a previous post (Why First GM is Stupid), getting the whole country to want a GM is a stupid idea. It is a very Mahathirist frame of mind, where the success of one person can represent the success of everyone. It is like saying, America has Steve Jobs, or Bill Gates, we should all be happy, because America Boleh (Or in Obama's words, Yes, We Can (although he was speaking in a totally different context)). In Malaysia, we always want things like the tallest buildings, sending people to space, climbing Mount Everest, and in the chess scene, a GM.

As I asked before, what use is a GM in Malaysia if the chess environment doesn't improve? In Singapore, for many years after Wong Meng Kong attained his GM title, chess in Singapore was relatively stagnant. It is only recently (last 10 years or so?) when they started opening up their borders to chess talents that the level of chess exploded from the doldrums.

Anyway, I digress. The main issue I want to talk about is simple. The first step to becoming a GM starts from yourself. If you start expecting the chess federation or whoever to support you in your efforts to become a GM, then it will remain a dream forever. The two REAL questions (as opposed to useless rhetorics) that you must ask yourself are:

1. Do I want to become a GM?
2. How badly do I want it?

I think if you ask yourself these two questions daily, and provide yourself with honest answers, you can accurately assesss how close you are to become a GM. The second question is probably the one that is the most important. How badly do you want it?

Of course, asking yourselves questions is never enough. The above questions are guiding principles. In fact, they apply to everything we do. Success is achieved through personal motivation. We don't expect our bosses to give us a high-paying job, but we work to deserve it, because we want it. And how hard we work depends on how badly we want it. Simple as that. For some of us, we want big cars, big houses, comfortable lives etc. We slog day and night for it. Why do we do that? Now, imagine yourself wanting to become a GM as much as you want a big house, or a big car. Are you willing to give all that up?

We don't expect our spouses or children to automatically love us. The same goes for chess. We should not expect anything from the MCF or whatever F there is.

The question is simply how badly do you want it?

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