Monday, December 31, 2012

Lesson in 2012

Amongst all the things that I learnt while blogging in 2012, this particular lesson stood out:
If you are truly capable, you do not need to put others down to make yourself look good
I think this lesson applies even in the corporate world that is filled with backstabbing and office politics. Sometimes, it is very tempting to criticize others so that we feel better about ourselves. I will not pretend to sit on a high horse because I sometimes do have such tendencies as well. But I try my best to avoid it. I find that the following guideline by Elaenor Roosevelt helps:
Great minds discuss ideas; 
Average minds discuss events; 
Small minds discuss people. 
I think we must strive as much as possible to practice the first line. I am sure that we can't go very wrong by associating ourselves with what great minds would do. Of course, inevitably, we will discuss events every so often. After all, if an event is not discussed, it is probably not even supposed to be called an event. But what I find to be the most important is that we should, at all cost, avoid discussing people. People rarely change. You can talk about them all day and all night, but they are who they are. It is counterproductive to discuss people. So, in an increasingly competitive environment globally, time is of the essence. It hardly pays to waste our time discussing people.

As another year passes, while we reminisce about how fast time flies, I hope that we take a moment to think about how better we could have used our time. Life is, indeed, short. I hope that you have had a year that is as fulfilling as mine and wish all of you the best in your future endaevors.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

An Alternative To Time Increment

Tse Pin brought up some pros and cons of time increment in chess tournaments. One of the cons that was brought up was this:
As for the Organiser, each round have to start late if experienced players go into Bishop opposite colour endgame where the game may exceed 120 or even 150 moves with no end in sight and refuse to draw. For your information, a typical chess schedule with increment time is built based on 60 moves per game. In this case, 70 minutes per round. A 120-move game in every round will set back the schedule by 20 minutes for every round. This will add another 2 hours to the schedule for a 6-round competition. As for Arbiter, he shouldered a huge responsibility to make sure the event is able to finish as per schedule, else the Organiser reputation is at stake. Do you still remember one event that was played from 9am until midnight several years ago?
Yes, the problem with time increment is that it doesn't set a maximum to the time that can be added on to both players. When I was in the US, I saw a very interesting time control which I have yet to see in this part of the world. They called it "Time Delay". Basically, time delay means that after your opponent presses the clock, there will be a delay, typically five seconds, before your time starts moving. This works like an increment except that the time does not get added on to your clock. This still has the benefit of avoiding the "draw claim" scenario because in an obviously drawn position, players should be able to make moves in under five seconds, which doesn't start their time and in such a case, the arbiter can easily declare a draw.

I think it is a great benchmark for a draw claim. If players want to claim a drawn game, they should be able to play a move in under five seconds to demonstrate a clear draw.

And how in the world do we set such a time control? I don't know about the clocks that are being used by the organizers here in Malaysia, but here is such a clock that allows you to set such a time control:

It is called the Excalibur II and it costs about USD40. I don't get any money from this. You can buy the clock and try it out for yourself. Personally, I bought one such clock and I really like it. It is easy to use, the numbers are big, which is great for the elderly. Of course, the delay does not have to be set at five seconds. You can even set it higher. Perhaps, this is the future of time control in chess?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Congratulations to Mok!

Amazing victory by Mok. Kept steady all the way to the very end. I would like to speculate that Mok got some extra motivation from all that FGM bashing that he has been given. He hasn't even said a word about this, and all this while, FGM is bashing him left, right and center about his abilities. Pretty good display to hopefully silence the Fool Gone Mad.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Psychopath In Our Midst?

After reading this, this and this, I thought I was seriously going to puke blood. But then I was reminded of an article I read.

I was reading this article on psychopathy the other day, and all the symptoms just reminded me of someone. This was the definition given:
Psychopathy is a socially destructive personality disorder usually characterised by a combination of emotional, interpersonal and behavioural traits. The most common of these are egocentricity, extreme impulsivity coupled with irresponsible behaviour, pathological lying and a lack of guilt or remorse.
And here are some of the symptoms:

1. glibness (layman's meaning: able to talk/write fluently about bullshit like a politician)

2. grandiose sense of self-worth (i.e. egotistical maniac)

3. pathological lying

4. cunning/manipulative

5. lack of remorse/guilt (i.e. never says sorry)

6. emotionally shallow

7. callous or lack of empathy

8. failure to accept responsibility of own actions

Need I go on?

I have often tried to think that he is not insane and on tried not to make this personal. But going through this checklist, my un-expert opinion is that Voldemort seems very close to being or is a psychopath. I think it is probably closer to a narcissistic personality disorder, but again, I am no expert.

Oh, in case you think I made up the checklist, I got it from Dr. Robert D. Hare's psychopathy checklist. Dr. Hare is a world-renowned psychologist researching the field of criminal psychology.

This is by no means a criticism. Psychopathy is a very real condition and I am not in the habit of discriminating against people who are suffering from various disorders. This post is merely to illustrate and make an observation as well as to raise awareness for those who are unaware.

Dr. Hare describes people he calls psychopaths as "intraspecies predators who use charm, manipulation, intimidation, sex and violence to control others and to satisfy their own selfish needs. Lacking in conscience and empathy, they take what they want and do as they please, violating social norms and expectations without guilt or remorse". "What is missing, in other words, are the very qualities that allow a human being to live in social harmony."

In other words, listen at your own peril.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Russia's Grandest Master

Chanced upon this recent interview by the World Policy Journal with Kasparov with a really interesting title: Russia's Grandest Master. It's a really long interview and to be honest there is not much chess in it. But he does talk a lot about the benefits of chess and how it can help educate the world. Certainly more credible than some of the things that has been peddled around the chess blogosphere as original ideas, which are most likely not. 

But I think that it shows clearly that despite being a world champion, he is not only good at one thing. He demonstrates very broad knowledge and this, coupled with his ability to think very deeply is an uncanny combination and is a force to be reckoned with in any field.

Here are some examples from the interview:
GARRY KASPAROV: Let’s start with chess as a bonding mechanism. It has its universal values, and it’s quite a unique game. It’s a game that fits the Internet era, because you can play it online. You can follow the game’s great players, and you can analyze it through computer engines, which is very helpful for amateurs. To some extent, there is no longer a cloak of secrecy covering the game. You may have two of the world’s greatest players competing, and any amateur can immediately see the blunder. It’s very different from when I started.

It is no longer the old-fashioned game, when two big champions play the game and one is smoking a cigar while the other one is drinking coffee, and they look at the board, and it takes ages to make a move. Every move is like an enigma for those who do not belong to this temple of ultimate chess truths. Now they just look at the computer screen, push a button, move the mouse, touch the screen, and the machine can give you quite an objective evaluation. If it’s a bad move, the machine will show that it’s a bad move. The machines don’t know everything, but you can no longer hide behind the authority of the player who made the move.
And I particularly like this allusion towards a comparison between Gutenberg and Zuckerberg. For those of you who are not sure who Gutenberg is, he is the inventor of the printing press. In essence, he was the first person who was able to mass produce books in a scale of thousands. Before this, in order to copy books, one had to reproduce the books by hand, one by one. Essentially, Gutenberg's printing press facilitated the Renaissance era due to the ease of spreading information through "cheaply" printed books.
WPJ: So are we reaching that stage now in Russia? Are we there yet?

KASPAROV: Close, very close. But I wouldn’t look at Russia as something unique. It’s also applicable to the Arab countries. We are entering a brand new world, and the changes we are facing now can be compared only to the late 15th and early 16th centuries with book printing, which united the Reformation and led to the collapse of the traditional map with its old-fashioned monarchies, aristocracies, and Rome. That’s what Martin Luther said when praising Gutenberg—that they got a very powerful weapon in books, printed books, which could involve thousands more people in decision-making. The moment you expand the circle of people who participate in decision-making, you create a new political reality. What we are seeing is that the circle has been expanded from millions to hundreds of millions. We don’t yet know the consequences of the move from Gutenberg to Zuckerberg.
We are in the "Facebook era", for the lack of a better term. Now, instead of information being passed around in books to hundreds of thousands within weeks or months, it can be passed to billions of people in just a matter of seconds. This is more power than anyone could have ever dreamed of. But as in all Spiderman comic strips, "with great power comes great responsibility". It is what we choose to do with that power that will determine the course of our future.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Why First GM is Stupid? - Part 2

First of all, heartiest congratulations to Goh Weiming on his second GM norm.

Just wanted to get the pleasantries out of the way before I "defile" Weiming's achievements. Let it be known that Weiming is one of the hardest working players I know. I don't know many people, though. But let's just say I know enough. Because of his work ethic, self-belief and immense motivation, it is safe for me to say that I will take each and every word he has to say about chess with respect and great thought. He is gunning for the coveted GM title without expecting any favors from anyone. But he does have a lot of support from his friends and family, which I think is reflective of the kind of upright character that he is.

So, enough brown-nosing, and on with the point of this post. I read Weiming's post this morning and what he said really resonated with a point I was trying to make many many months ago. He said this (emphasis mine):
I will also like to emphasize just how critical GM Zhang Zhong's inclusion in the team is. He is truly a remarkable player given that he had not played a competitive game since May 2011 (Zonals, had to teach at his chess club, look after his 2 kids and still managed to hold his own easily against active top players like Sasikiran (2720) and Wang Yue (2690) and a few other 2500+ players.

One characteristic of his play is the amount of grit and determination he displays in each game. A simple illustration is his game against Kazakhstan GM Rinat Djumabayev, where he was close to losing but fought on gallantly, making it difficult for his opponent to consolidate each turn. His opponent eventually cracked and allowed Zhang Zhong to save the draw. I don't care what a lot of people are saying about foreign talents, people like Zhang Zhong and Wu Shaobin are role models and locals have a lot to learn from them.
Many of us don't understand the value of foreign GMs. We are so caught up in the "Malaysia Boleh" bullshit that was served to us by the 4th Prime Minister that we think that getting any foreign help in our achievements in anyway is belittling to our own achievements. Why is that so? Nicol David has a foreign coach. Does that make her achievement any less notable?

This brings us back to my point about why trying to get a first GM in Malaysia is stupid (I will only share the relevant point here. You can read more in the actual post in the link provided):
3. What is wrong with importing a GM?

Very often, we look over to our neighbour, Singapore, and mock them for importing GMs to fill their roster. Let me pose this question, can Malaysia even attract a GM to play for Malaysia if it wanted to? Why not? Are we too poor to pay for a GM? Maybe, maybe not. If we look at it deeper again, we will understand that Singapore (good or bad), has a system that attracts talent. This is not only in chess, but in all areas in Singapore (in sports, in the workplace etc). Why don't you ask, why do the GMs want to play for Singapore so willingly, that they are willing to forsake their own country? Is it purely because of money? Or is it because Singapore recognizes their talent?

Let us consider a hypothetical situation. In fact, this is as real as it gets. As we all know, Malaysia is suffering from severe brain drain. Our best minds are leaving us for greener pastures. It is not just the money, but the quality of life, the  recognition etc. Now, who is to say, if we do end up getting our first GM or super GM after years of struggle, that he/she won't just move to another country to play for that particular country? It happens everywhere, even to Super GMs. Sergey Karjakin now plays for Russia instead of his home country, Ukraine. Gata Kamsky plays for the US, Boris Gelfand plays for Israel. So there is nothing wrong if Zhang Zhong plays for Singapore. It happens. So what's going to stop Malaysia's first GM from NOT playing for Malaysia?

So, we come back to the point of attracting foreign GMs to play for Malaysia. If we have the culture and environment to attract foreign GMs, then only we have the capability to keep our very own GM, if he/she ever comes by. If not, who is to say that the GM won't leave Malaysia? Brain drain is a reality. Singapore has foreign GMs and those GMs have helped their locals to improve.

This is like the story of Proton. We insist on having our own national car (like having our own first GM), but at what cost? Just like we pushed so hard for Mas to become a GM, but he has failed, just like Proton has.

Look at our neighbour, Thailand. They do not have their own national car manufacturer. But Thailand is the 3rd largest car exporter in Asia (if I am not mistaken, only behind Japan and Korea). How many cars does Malaysia export? Thailand has a robust and resilient automobile manufacturing industry thanks to its liberal economy. Conversely, Malaysians are all suffering because we have to pay huge import and excise duties for purchasing foreign cars to subsidize Proton. Otherwise, you have to buy the low quality Proton cars. Thank god for Perodua (which intelligently collaborated with Daihatsu). Do we not see this similarity in the chess scene in Malaysia? Are we going to keep focusing on subsidizing one or two people (with potential) to become a GM at the cost of everyone else?

Whether it is Yeap Eng Chiam, or Yeoh Li Tian, or Teh De Zen, or Tan Li Ting or whoever the next top junior is, the goal should not be to focus on individuals. The goal should be to focus on creating a culture that promotes excellence, and recognizes achievement. That is of utmost importance. If talents and achievements are duly recognized without bias, I can assure you that the GM will come automatically. We don't have to subsidize them.

In short, this goal of striving so hard to get a first GM is utterly stupid. We need the right environment to grow a GM and so far, I have not seen anything close. Hopefully, I will be proven wrong someday.
 And here is more from the comments of the same post:
I am not talking about importing GMs to play for Malaysia. Importing GMs to win medals is just as stupid (Think Chelsea and Real Madrid compared with Barcelona (who develop their own talent)).

I am talking about creating the environment to attract GMs. It doesn't matter if the GMs are here to play or to coach, but as long as they remain in Malaysia for a sustained period of time, they will contribute to chess in whatever way. Paying a GM to coach is one thing, but in the case of Malaysia, if the GM has no incentive to stay here for a prolonged period (due to unsuitable environment etc), then we also have to pay for his expenses and lodging, which adds to the cost.

If the GM believes he is able to set up a residence here (i.e. can live in our environment and create a livelihood), then he/she may be more willing to forego the living expenses portion, which is usually the substantial part of the cost.

Another point is that the level of chess now is not as important as the rate of improvement. Having the right environment quickens the pace of improvement. Even if we are behind Singapore now, if we are improving at a faster rate, we will overtake them sooner or later.
This first GM dream is entirely shiok sendiri. Don't you think it's time to go achieve something with your own life?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mamak Hunting - Stupid or Lazy?

My apologies for the dramatic title. Just to be clear, I am not using this term in a derogatory nature, nor am I defending Mamakchess's arguments. I have been out of action for many weeks and my fingers are just itchy after seeing another brainless "argument":

If you guys have not been listening to my advice and have kept on visiting a certain blog, then you would have known that this whole issue resulted from a stupid question:
"But since the topic is brought up, can I ask the blogger in Mamak Chess if it is true that Greg just gave Kelantan a sum of money to do a "chess tournament"? This money has not been cleared by MCF committee. Not tabled and so the money could be haram."
I just can't believe that FGM has the gall to associate "Mamak Gang" with Kelantan Chess and then later in the post, ask who is Mamak Chess? If you don't know who it is, how can you say they are associated?

Never mind, let us pretend that in this world, such nonsense is possible. Anyone with any idea how to browse the Mamak Chess blog will know that the following are considered players that are typically classified in the "Mamak Gang":

Yes, I took the picture from the Mamak Chess blog. If you were a regular chess player, you would easily know who these guys are. In fact, with a bit more homework, you can also look at the "Mamak Gang" team at last year's Astro Rapid:

Of course, there are others who are not in the picture and also not listed above. I can think of Abdullah Che Hassan.  How many of these players are actually from Kelantan? I would say almost all of the above players are NOT from Kelantan. So how can FGM claim that:
"As far as I know Mamak gang is part of the Kelantan group..."
when the only player that is probably remotely closely associated to Kelantan is Abdullah. And if I am not mistaken, Abdullah used to play for Johor.

How do I prove that the above players are not from Kelantan? Fortunately, thanks to "Sicilian-Najdorf", I could get my hands on the list of players from Kelantan. This is from the Jan 2012 National Rating list:

2271 Mas Hafizulhelmi
2112 Ahmad Maliki Mohamed
2101 Azahari Mohd Noor
1877 Abdul Haq Mohamed
1870 Abdullah Che Hassan
1849 Nik Ahmad Farouqi
1800 Mohd Musa Al-Ashaari
1782 Mohd Irman Ibrahim
1749 Nasrul Humaimi Mahmood
1746 Mohd Azizul Mat Daud
1741 Syed Azizi Abdul Rahman
1706 Mohd Ezmi Mahmood
1701 Mohd Amin Mohd Noor
1663 Nik Mohd Nazri Nik Hasan
1658 Izuddin Ahayat
1655 Marzuki Yaacob
1628 Muhd Bakri Jusoh
1621 Wan Mahadzir Wan Sulaiman
1597 Shahril Sulaiman
1591 Siti Nur Afiqah Mohd Haslam
1588 Rosmizal Ibrahim
1586 Mohd Bukhari Yahya
1582 Noor Hisyam Ahayat
1574 Baharuddin Hamzah
1572 Ghazali Che Cob
1563 Laila Husna Sahadi
1562 Mohd Rezal Che Man
1559 Mohd Fauzan Ahayat
1540 Muhd Nor Khairullah
1539 Muhd Ariez Azman
1537 Anuar Ahayat
1527 Sanusi Muhamad
1527 Azmizi Abdullah
1519 Sahadi Ismail
1519 Muhammad Ali Asghar
1509 Khairul Aznan Mohd Kamal
1506 Mohd Hafidz Mat Daud

I stopped at above 1500. If you want to see beyond this, go to the website that I linked. Where is Saprin? Where is Kamaluddin? Where is Fairin? Where is Kamal Ariffin? So how can the Mamak Gang be associated with Kelantan Chess? So when FGM says "As far as I know..." actually, he doesn't know very far. He is just tying the Mamak Gang with Kelantan, then attack Kelantan + Greg, and then discredit the Mamak Gang. If this sounds confusing, then just look at the illustration below:

Disclaimer: The picture above is merely for illustration purposes. Any negative implication on the parties involved is purely coincidental

If an idiot like me can figure out that the Mamak Gang and Kelantan are totally different entities, then it just means that it is either utter LAZINESS or STUPIDITY on FGM's part for his failure determine whether Kelantan and Mamak Gang is related or not.

Of course now, he won't even apologize. He will just say, I reserve the right to pose questions. Blah blah blah... we have all heard the story before.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Crash Course on How To Argue Better

This post is dedicated to people who have no idea on how to argue their viewpoints properly. Needless to say, this is in reference to the mass "dumbass comments" (as Eddy calls them) that were left on his blog.

I generally agree with Eddy's views on discourse. To have a proper debate, we must first have respect. Use logical and sound arguments to make your point. If you start asking rhetorical questions like FGM, then it is no longer an argument. It is political spin. Also, it makes no sense to just simply assert your own viewpoint and then fold your arms and say "I am entitled to my own opinion". Yeah OK, last I checked, it's a relatively free country. But assertion without justification is the fastest way to prove that you are not very smart.

So here is the Idiot's Guide on How to Make Better Arguments:

1. State your assumptions and assertion

2. Explain your assertions based on your assumptions

3. Give examples to support your assertions

4. State conclusion

5. Check whether your arguments make sense

Of all the steps above, No. 5 is the hardest to do. Steps 1 to 4 are probably taught to you when you were in primary school. Of course you do not have to do it in numerical order, but these are the bare necessities of any cogent argument. But often, we get lazy and just jump from assertion to conclusion, without even checking whether it makes sense. I must admit that I am one of those people sometimes, but I try very hard to avoid it.

The most useful way that I found to check whether your arguments make sense is the "5 Whys". This is one of the underlying techniques of Toyota's kaizen philosophy, which brought it to great heights. As an aside, Toyota seems to have lost its way, but that is not the focus of today's topic.

Let me use Ronnie's arguments as an example:


In fact, I would claim that despite the fact that an 11-year old Yeap Eng Chiam or an 11-year old Fong Yit San is likely to beat an 11-year old Yee Weng, Zi Jing, Ee Vern or Jonathan, the tables are turned as they are older.

Yes, I do believe that a 15-year-old Yee Weng (already two-time national champion), Zi Jing, Ee Vern or Jonathan (already a national champion at 13) is probably able to beat a 15-year-old Eng Chiam or Yit San. And even more surely, an 18-year old Yee Weng, Zi Jing, Ee Vern, Jonathan, Nicholas or Tze Han (all already national champions by then except Zi Jing who only won it at 20 years old) would in all likelihood win an 18-year old Eng Chiam or Yit San. Even an 18-year-old Anas might not stand a chance.
Examples to justify:

To go further, the 20-year old Yee Weng, Zi Jing, Jonathan, Nicholas, Marcus and Tze Han were National Champions (except Marcus who won it at 21), mostly rated around 2200 plus, performed strongly in local tournaments, represented Malaysia internationally (with some good perfomances) and have beaten FMs and IMs internationally. Some of course improved further, getting their IM titles in their twenties while some basically stopped playing.

I hope you get my point. What I'm trying to say is that the OVERALL achievements of these players before they reached 20 were unparalleled by juniors in the years after (I'm pretty sure in the years before too).
The point here is not to discuss whether Ronnie's arguments are true or not. But this is just to show how a good, strong, logical argument is made. Hopefully, future discussions will be more productive and that some idiots would also have learnt a thing or two in making logical arguments. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Pot Calling the Washing Machine Black

Let me first declare that I am not an interested party to any of this laundry-airing that is going on. Which is why I can say that I will be able to provide a more objective analysis on things.

For context, read Eddy Fong's email.

No matter how I read Raymond's reply, I just can't help but notice the big elephant in the room. Raymond kept emphasizing on the fact that Sumant's name was not in the list. As part of a selection committee, is it not their role to bring in any qualified player up for consideration? While Raymond may pretend to claim that he does not want to pick his favorite, but the truth of the matter is, he is also biased when he chooses not to bring in a qualified player for consideration.

Does he really believe that Sumant is not qualified to represent Perak? He is trying to shift the blame to the Perak committee. But let us all not forget that Raymond is the head of the selection committee and as the head, he is supposed to lead the discussion and choose the best players to represent Perak.

So from my understanding, here is his main reason why he did not bring up Sumant's name for selection.

People told him Sumant is not from Perak

Any one with any cow sense to read the National Closed rules know that in order to represent the state, you must be either born in, residing in, or working in the state. Furthermore, as I said, the big elephant in the room was that Sumant was ALLOWED to play in the Perak Closed. If Sumant was not from Perak, why the heck was he allowed to play in the Perak Closed? By virtue of the fact that he is allowed to play, he definitely is qualified to represent Perak. Why was this not brought up by the stupid head of the selection committee who claims to be so good at thinking? Isn't it the job of the head of the selection committee to bring up names for consideration? No one is asking him to select Sumant. What is wrong by bringing in the name to be considered by the whole committee? It shows ill-intent by virtue of the fact that he intentionally left out the name.

Let me postulate a couple of reasons. The committee already had four names. The committee only had room to select four players. If Raymond had decided to bring in another strong player, it would mean that they would have to kick out one player. And based on the "understood and long-standing" criteria, the selection was supposed to be based on merit, by using the Perak Closed results. If that was used, it would mean that Mark would have been relegated to 5th place and could possibly not be selected at all. Given such a possible conflict of interest, Raymond should have recused himself from the selection committee instead, since he is all about taking the moral high ground of walking out the room and what not.

Raymond himself is also a strong advocate of "selection by merit". I did not know when "loyalty" was included as a criteria to represent a state or country. Granted, playing strength should not be the ONLY criteria, but it should be a main one. I fancy the day I am selected to represent Malaysia in whatever tournament just because I have always paid out of my own pocket playing for Malaysia.

The joke of the year is that the selection criteria used was "number of FIDE-rated tournaments played". A criteria cleverly designed such that Mark would be an easy number one pick. Given that this is the case, the committee should have forced Raymond to recuse himself as he was the one who chose the selection criteria and based upon the criteria he chose, his son was the number one pick. Anyone can see how absurd this is.

The selection criteria was arbitrarily crafted and most definitely not "written". But should it not be based on results? Can you imagine a beginner who just started chess and played five rated tournaments and scored zero points? Would Raymond have insisted on using that very same criteria? Isn't it obvious that results should be used, instead of number of tournaments played?

All I can say is, when you talk from ass, shit comes out.

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Beginning of The End

Hilarious post here by Jimmy

But the comments makes me very sad.

Just a fair warning:

"When you corner a wild animal, its natural instinct would be to fight back. "

I hope for everyone's sake that Raymond's preferred course of action right now would be to privately apologize to Sumant and his family and keep quiet so that this will all blow over.

After all, this is his "technique" for solving problems. In this case, I think that it is for Sumant's benefit that this kind of nonsense does not go on and is no longer dragged out in public.

I think almost the entire chess community is angry at the damage that Raymond has done and will likely demand an apology from him. But I think it is unnecessary. To demand an apology from him would be to legitimize his "authority". The chess community as a whole does not need an apology from a nobody.

Also, an apology does not make it OK. You cannot go in someone's house and vandalize it and then say you are sorry. I think finally everyone knows the truth, if they haven't already, and we should all move on with our lives and let Sumant pursue his own goals in peace.

There is nothing left to say about this. The truth is out.

Shocker... Best Trainer In Malaysia

I was drinking water when I read this and I almost spat all my water on my computer. Luckily I managed to hold it in.

Just for the record, the results he is talking about is this:

1. Sumant qualified for SEA Games
2. Mark got 2nd place in National Junior

With these sort of achievements, I think even the Stonemaster would not have the stones to boast about it. Let me just dabble into how insignificant these achievements are.

A) Classic case of "shiok sendiri" aka Malaysia Boleh

Sumant has "merely" progressed from a strong national junior to play for the senior team. FGM makes it sound like it was responsible for ALL of Sumant's training since he was a small boy. The gap between an already strong junior player and a senior team player is not that huge. Quite frankly, let us take a look at some of the players who have done it. Ronnie Lim, Nicholas Chan, Wong Zi Jing, Jonathan Chuah and so on and so forth. Why do I call this Malaysia Boleh? This is exactly like how Malaysians try to boast about Lee Chong Wei's and Nicol David's success as if it were their own. Hello!! Can you imagine how absurd it is if Misbun started jumping up and down by claiming that he was responsible for Chong Wei's success?

B) Overestimating the value of coaches

I don't know about you guys, but representing the country (even in a fair selection) and getting 2nd place in National Junior is far less of a deal than what most people think. These are perfectly achievable goals even without a coach, or with minimal coaching. If I am not mistaken, Jonathan Chuah won the National Closed when he was 13, and he never had a coach. Nicholas Chan won back to back National Closed Championships in 2003 and 2004, when he was 15 and 16 respectively. Granted, he did a stint with John Wong and I am not sure who else (if any). Lim Yee Weng won the National Closed in 1996 and 1997 when he was around 13-15 (also with minimal coaching). Bear in mind that these are all National Closed champions and not MERELY National Junior RUNNER-UPS.

This is just like our DPM who has the nerve to claim that Malaysia has better quality education compared with the US, UK and Germany. A psychiatrist would probably diagnose these people as being delusional with potentially harmful tendencies towards others.

P/S: In no way am I trying to belittle the achievements of Sumant. I am just saying that FGM cannot pretend to be responsible for Sumant's success. In fact, I am trying to do both of them a favour by saying that they should not rest on their laurels. These are not achievements that anyone should be shouting about. It only advocates complacency and arrogance.

In the words of Steve Jobs, "Stay hungry, stay foolish".

Monday, April 2, 2012

Quote of the year (for now)

Nothing much to add lately, mainly because nothing much has changed. Lately, a lot of discussion has been going on about the national juniors. Every one wants a stake in "spotting" the next top talent. Every one wants to place their hopes on a first Malaysian GM.

If the objective is for fun and laughter ala coffee shop talk, by all means, carry on. My first thought is, we will always have strong juniors. We always have players with very great promise. I mean, how is the Yeoh Li Tian of today any different from the likes of Ooi Chern Ee in the past. Let us be reminded that Chern Ee was tied 2nd in the World Youth Chess Festival, an achievement that is unmatched until today. So, my point is, juniors will always come, and some of them will go. So as far as this goes, it is great as coffee shop talk. No different from a debate comparing Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Who cares which of them is the best in the world?

Personally, I don't get what the big fuss is about. As I said before, the goal of getting the first GM in Malaysia is utterly stupid. That should never be the end goal. So if the discussion about the Malaysian talent is to spot a potential GM, I am afraid that all that time is completely wasted.

As for anything new to add, here is simply a quote which reflects the reality (compared to all the fictional stories that has been bandied across all the blogs):
'I take it for granted there is really no such thing as “intelligence”. There are a million ways to be smart and no one’s smart in all of them; everyone can be slow on the uptake, and most human beings, whether plumbers or professors, will be remarkably apt at some things and hopeless at others. "But stupid isn’t dumb. Stupidity is different. It involves an element of will. This is why no one ever talks about “militant dumbness” or “militant cluelessness”, but they do talk about “militant stupidity”. The Polish science fiction writer Stanislaw Lem once tried to imagine the stupidest possible computer. It could only do one problem, 2+2, thought the answer was 5, and when anyone tried to tell it otherwise, it grew outraged and eventually, tried to kill them.

'It is in this sense that I we can call Bush stupid. He is a man used to deciding what he thinks is right, and then sticking to his guns no matter how insane, disastrous, or simply incorrect his premises turn out to have been. But of course this is precisely the core of what his supporters like about him. He’s firm. Decisive. A strong leader. Not like those over-intellectual flip-floppers who are always going on about how many sides there are to a problem.'

--David Graeber, "Militant Stupidity"
All of us know that the "emperor (or dictator, or Hitler, etc)" is naked. The joke is on those who support his every move.