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.