Monday, March 28, 2011


So this is the MCF's "reply" to my previous post.

I suppose no one can really fault them. I suppose it really is in accordance to the selection criteria. Let's see:

1.2 Selection for the National Squad will be based on the following criteria:

Performance in the Malaysian Master Championships (Current)
Performance in the National Closed Championships (Current)
FIDE rating (Top 10) (Current list)
Performance in National Open / State Affiliate Open Fide Events (Current)
any other factors which the SC may determine from time to time

SC reserves the right to exercise final discretion in the selection of players for the National Squad.

I suppose that is the criteria they were using. Back to square one?

And the next section?

Selection for

• The Chess Olympiad

• Asian Team Championship

The Criteria 1) Top 4 from Malaysian Masters Men and Women Championship. (Current list)

2) One (1) choice to be at the discretion of the President

3) In the event when one player decides to pull out from participation after selection, SC reserves the right to exercise final discretion in the replacement.
EDIT (28 March 2011):
Selection for
• Asian Cities Team Championship
The Criteria 1) The Champion Team of Malaysia’s Inter-State held (current)

Apologies as I missed out this paragraph earlier. I guess this begs the question, what is Malaysia's Inter-State tournament? When did Penang win it? Even if they did win it, does the exact same team get selected, or is the PCA allowed to select whoever it chooses to represent Penang (not necessarily the same team that won the Inter-State)?

OK, I suppose I was wrong. There really is a selection criteria. I guess I should clarify that we hope for a TRANSPARENT selection criteria.

SC = Selection Committee

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Forgotten Tournament

While all the focus was on the National Closed as a pseudo-selection to represent Malaysia in the SEA Games in Palembang, Indonesia, there is one other international tournament in Indonesia that seems to have received no coverage at all in Malaysia.

The tournament is the Asian Cities Chess Championships, which is to be held from 21-29 April 2011 in Jakarta. By virtue of encompassing a larger region, the Asian Cities is arguably a more prestigious event, with the first prize being USD10,000. More details here. But to highlight, only one team is provided free lodging, while additional teams have to pay for their own lodging.

From several sources, I was informed that Malaysia is indeed sending a team to the Asian Cities. Typically, in these events, Malaysia will send several teams that are represented by several states. Since free lodging is only provided for one team, there must be some kind of a selection criteria for this. I was searching high and low for this tournament in the MCF blog and found nothing. Not a word is mentioned about this event, except in the MCF Chess Calendar 2011, where they show you the date of the tournament. So clearly, the MCF is aware of such a tournament, way in advance, considering the calendar was posted on 3 Jan 2011.

So where is the selection for this tournament? Some comments and clarification from the MCF officials are welcome. Even so, this is not really just about the selection. The lack of any action to publicize this event is irresponsible. Is this the attitude of the so-called reformed MCF?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Get Paid to Play?

Jimmy said something about how some senior players should be paid appearance fees to play. There may be some merit to that, but I must say that I can't agree with such additional broad-based preferential treatment. There is already the incentive where FIDE rated players are given free entry, and also how the top 8 players being eligible to represent the country. On top of that, there is also the prize money offered. Granted, it is not much, but since when do chess players in Malaysia feel like they are entitled to high prize monies?

Jimmy is right to say that there is too much to lose, and too little to gain. Nonetheless, being a strong believer of the incentive-based system, I also doubt that urging seniors to do some "national service" will do the trick.

However, I think paying appearance fees for the IMs to play would not be a bad idea. I must say that I am utterly disappointed that both Mas and Mok were given automatic spots to play. It is not that I feel they are not qualified to play for Malaysia, but "forcing" them to play for their spot would certainly encourage a more competitive culture in Malaysian chess. In fact, any of the IMs that we have are welcome.

I just don't think that NMs should be paid, despite the fact that some of them are actually hard-earned. Perhaps the defending champion can be paid an appearance fee, but most certainly not all the past NMs. Please rethink the incentive system so that all players would know what behavior is rewarded and what behavior is "punished". Incentives should be exclusive and be performance-based.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

More Chess Training

More of IM Goh's selfless sharing.

For those of you who are preparing hard for the National Closed in studying your openings and what not, perhaps you can take a break and look at something fresh.

Practice some calculation and determination. It just might come in handy during the National Closed.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Good Chess Player

In the spirit of the upcoming NAG and National Closed, just thought I'd like to share some words of inspiration in hopes that we will all do better than our best.

Not sure about you guys, but back when I was in my prime (not that it was that great), almost every player strove hard to be one up on each other in terms of resources. This is not only limited to chess books, the latest novelties, etc. Having the latest ideas in chess was not only a fashion, but it was an incredible advantage. This is of course not limited to openings only. But it is a start.

Nonetheless, I would like to draw your attention to chess databases. Any chess player who aspired to be someone in the chess scene knew where to find new chess games. Off the top of my head, one of my favorite sites was TWIC. I had updated my database weekly back then. If you wanted games of anyone important, they would be there, as long as they played in a tournament of note.

While I think it may be OK to share our resources in the spirit of the greater good, I think it should not come down to a culture of begging. If you have the moxy to play good chess, or at least the smallest inkling to try, then you should be ready to put in the extra effort to amass your own resources.

Being a good chess player is not only being able to play well on the board. Kasparov (and probably Sun Tzu) will tell you that half (at least) of the battle is already won at home.

I find it shameful when we have to rely on others for links, or for material or books or any kind of assistance provided by others to improve ourselves. In short, a good chess player must be resourceful. Stop holding onto your crutches and try to walk on your own. Hard work is only the beginning.