Wednesday, July 21, 2010

2010 Khanty Mansiysk olympiad team

Previously, MCF already announced that the finalists of the Malaysian Masters will qualify for the forthcoming olympiad in Khanty Mansiysk. The final four are Mas, Lim Yee Weng, Nicholas Chan and Mok Tze Meng.

Except for Mok who can be considered a chess professional, the others have full time jobs. When you are working in the private sector, it is not easy to get the required leave to represent your country. True, you get a letter to your employer saying you are representing Malaysia and please allow you to take time off. In the private sector , it does not mean much, except that you are going to be away for  2 1/2 weeks and who is going to take over your responsibilities?

I already knew for some time that Lim Yee Weng had declined and Nicholas is unconfirmed, Both of them already started their careers. I know from my experience it is not easy to take extended leave when you just started a new job .

I was offered a place as well as team captain but sadly the timing is not right and I had to decline.

The current line-up is Mas, Mok Tze Meng, Tan Khai Boon and lastly Peter Long. Khai Boon got in due to his winning the current National Championship and will have his first exposure at this level.

If I remember correctly, Peter's last olympiad was in Dubai 1986 which means he has not played at this level for over twenty years. Also his past olympiad results have been mediocre.

However the circumstances of his selection are dubious. I was told he offered himself as a possibility in case there were no other suitable players and also his willingness to pay his own way.  I understand from MCF Secretary , Gregory Lau , MCF have obtained the funds necessary to send a team this year. I'm trying hard to understand why Peter is picked and what will happen to the money that was saved if indeed he is funding his own way. I hope it will not be used to fund an unnecessary official instead of a player.

For the record, Peter has not played in a local tournament for many years (he played one game in this year's Malaysia-Singapore match) . He has competed in tournaments in Singapore, India and Bangladesh over the last two years. Strangely the tournament in Bangladesh was a women's tournament - I suppose he is just trying to help out there.

I do not have any issues with Peter Long offering his services but I do have with the way that MCF selected him. MCF does not seem to look into the future. If seniors like Nicholas and Yee Weng are declining to play who will replace them in the future? As long as we are sending an under-strength team why not give a junior a chance? Yeoh Li Tian is already rated over 2100 on the July ELO list. He accumulated a massive 141 rating points over two rating periods. I think he should be our best junior for the team. Age should not be a factor, I remember Bacrot playing for France at a similar age.

How about the others like Lim Zhuo Ren and Sumant Subramaniam? They are actively playing. Have they been offered a place?

It will be likely that there will be only four members in the team unless someone is willing to pay his own way and make up the last place as a reserve. It will be rather tough without any reserve player. In the unlikely event that someone falls ill, he will still have to play.

There are times when one member might have one or two bad rounds. In such situations the usual strategy is to rest him  and wait for a weaker opponent to field him. The idea is to let him recover his confidence and team morale. That will not be an option with a four man team.

MCF, wake up please.


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