Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Comment from Siew Fai

Siew Fai made a comment to one of my posts. After reading it, I felt he has put it so eloquently (for once! Sorry Siew Fai, truth hurts), much better than what I have written in a hundred posts. His observation is so accurate that I have to put this in a post by itself so nobody misses it. Below is Siew Fai's comment.

Dear Jimmy,

You had fallen for the trap of Ambush Marketing! By exploiting your good name and repeatedly smearing it with bad taste, he had succeeded in positioning himself as equal to all chess players. He had achieved instant publicity among the chess community without even lifting a single chess piece in a game of chess. Even though Ambush Marketing is an unethical practice, I must say, he had done well in practicing Ambush Marketing to market himself to the chess community as the chess expert.

And he had been on the spin ever since in a raucous manner to keep himself relevant in the game. Even chess players of respect had not been able to write open letter “addressed to Dato Tan or Dato Sri Santhara”. He claimed he had all the answer to Chess in Malaysia and shown disdain to the efforts of the past...

He exploits the weak spots of money invested and sells the “truth” that any parents spending enough money on chess shall have a said in how to develop the exciting chess talents. If that is the case, we should already have plenty of IMs & GMs by now financed by the many rich Malaysians that had been to the chess halls across the nation. Plainly, all parents should be informed that money spent does not guarantee success over the chess board. Genuine chess players know what it takes to be real good...

He claims he knows the right selection criteria and yet he chooses not to reflect on why the Swiss System was used for chess competition. A system based on estimation is never going to be precise! Throw in the other facts of life; a lack of opportunity to play, a school exam across the horizon, a career in waiting, a life of matrimony bliss, a burden of child-centric, and we will never have the right player in the right selection arrangement. Selection becomes merely a trial for who can commit time for chess and get measured as is where is. He who has time to commit to a selection trial is deemed to be the best in Chess?!

Incidentally, he can tell others not to interfere with selection criteria, but then, happily fired-off a few pieces of open advice on how it should be done to further his own interest.

He claims to be a “mind expert” that knows all except in Li Tian case, he expect Li Tian to be in peak condition 365 days in a year. Make that 365 days every year! He will use cases when Li Tian falters as his canon folders to marshal up his opinions without offering the truth. Of course, the truth will damage his arguments! If the truth is to surface, his “mind expertise” will have to offer the most “unwelcoming advice”, that is, at Li Tian’s level of play, he should be encouraged to be selective on which Tournament his father decide Li Tian should play in and be in peak condition at the right time. After all, Li Tian has 24 hours a day just like us and his precious time resources must only be used to prepare against highly rated opponents.

To round it off, he speaks of chess in Malaysia as though it is institutionalised. This is far from the truth. To institutionalise chess in Malaysia, we needed the government’s will and would probably cost RM387M a year for the next twenty years. During the cold war, the Russian would have spent a lot more. They have committed it as a national passion to show supremacy of the mind (but the nation was lost in an expensive Arm Race that the American had set them up to lose). In our case, we only have MCF with whatever resources available on hand to further the game of chess; to keep the game alive for the benefit of the chess community.

Amazingly, I had once thrived on the goodwill of MCF and equally, had endured their disappointing inaction. But then, my heart is still with them. They are the only volunteers whom are willing to bear the burden of standing up to the challenges of keeping chess relevant until today. Retrospectively, he who had not commit time and effort to the daily chores of keeping MCF alive should have no say on the well-being of chess in Malaysia.


Anonymous said...

Are you saying that if the 1st GM website is no more and its owner retires from chess, Malaysia will have more chance to get a 1st GM? If this is the case, let's agree. How many certified chess blogs should Malaysia have, why waste so much time reading so many, waste life.

siew fai said...

Range it as mischievous at best, malaise at the worst. One cannot loosely and liberally said “30 years of effort to get a first GM is a failure”. Firstly, he was not around to experience the “30 years” passed. Secondly, he is not aware of the difficulties faced in those “30 years” to get chess onto the Malaysian Map. Certainly, brushing it as “over 30 years” does make him stand out better than all others and misled gullible people into him. The truth is we never have had enough resources to build the platform to seriously go onto a GM quest leave alone setting the ambitious goal!

Besides, setting lofty goal (his so call the Corporate way) was political suicide! During the cold war, do you align with the centrally driven initiative of the Russians and trumpeting their methods when we were having a communist threat at home? Very unpalatable! Or simply celebrate the romantics of a rare genius in Bobby Fisher? Perhaps, that was the way we had safely navigated chess in Malaysia and dreamt of a rare genius to surface somewhere within Malaysian soil!

You would have noticed that chess is celebrated as chess in our national psychic. Anyone with the money to bank roll chess activities will still have to tread on invisible lines of not celebrating chess into the arms of communistic successes of the Russians lest they get painted as communist sympathisers! Of course, we do have Russian GMs visited our shore. But they are always celebrated as chess.

Yes, time has changed. We can set lofty goals now. But then, do you have to go down the path of making other people looks bad to make yourself appears saintly? And set the worse of examples to the next generations of youngsters! Even if we are to get the first GM, what makes us think that chess remains relevant after that? We are assuming all will go well and more GMs come on-stream. Sorry darlings, it does not work out that way! Biggest challenge for MCF remains the same. Continue to make chess relevant is the biggest challenge, first GM or no GM. Just don’t be misguided by all the sweet flowery talk...

Coming back to the subject of celebrating chess, Thematic Chess is universally used for the celebration of chess. It was never intended for chess training program. If one throw a thematic competition and don’t get the “good response”, just don’t blame it on conspiracies! The basics of chess has always been (=) (?) (-) (!) (+). Just get it right and you don’t have to blame anyone for one’s failure!

Anonymous said...

Whoever said if FGM blog is no more there is more chance of a first GM ? What SF and Jimmy said is that he is hijacking chess for a personal agenda. To promote him and son. The rest are collateral damage.

He doesn't have a clue how to get to GM.

Anonymous said...

I think the step to FGM is too high to scale. Let's go all out for many IM's. At our current level of chess, this is also not easily achievable. Over the last 40 years, we couldn't even get an IM in an average of 5 years/IM with Mok being the latest. No Malaysian has ever crossed Fide 2500, the threshold of a weak GM but there are even untitled players over 2600 in other countries.

Anonymous said...

What is FGM?
Fake grandmother menses?

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