Monday, December 17, 2007
(The pic above is taken at the Malay Village at Singapore, hours before Malaysian Team went back home on 16th dec 2007)
We heard talks about our huge losses on the recent Mas - Sin match 2007, just ended last sunday in Singapore. Why do we lost? Are we that bad in chess? Is it really becoz no rated tourney often held in Malaysia for Juniors? Or becoz we are not that competitive in chess when playing with other countries......
This is what my view is:
We have lots of chess trainer who offers different way of coaching, but lead to the same goal - play the best and win! We may not have the army of chess to wipe off ships of enemies, but we have few talents that can take on the enemy's general at any time! But, can these talents commits to the fact that he / she must contribute to the nation with more success? I notice that we malaysians have problems with dicipline! How many chess players here really study chess constantly? Even the top players in Malaysia, does it on and off. Only really concentrate when the tourney just around the corner.
We have this envy that we want to be the best among ourselves, battling big to be the best locally in local tourney. Correct me if I am wrong, when we play locally, even when we are one pawn down, we never surrender, hoping that our opponent makes blunder. But when we play with opponent from other nations, did we ever think of them making blunder? Instead we resigned at early stage. Why can't we just be ourselves and fight till the end... maybe the position can still be saved? (you know what I mean, not in a position where you are completely have no hope at all!). Can't we have the same attitude playing locally and internationally?
For me it is ok to lose to Singapore, but it is not ok to lose talented players!!! We saw players as young as 5 years old interested in chess, playing without fear, and having fun at the same time, and cry when losing a game of chess. But where do these youngsters stand in few years to come? Will they chart the map in Malaysian scene? Or maybe one day they decide to play another game? Then, what part can we play to encourage and groom these talented kids to be the next GMs?
All of us should take a role to give these kids a chance to shine. Parents should now take the same interest to take their kids to the next level (better coaching), coaches should train them different perspective of the game, and chess players and fans, can help these talents in giving a tip or two on analysing the game to show them what they did wrong...
We used to have names like, Audrey Wong, Seto Wai Ling, Ong Hwa Lu, Geraldine, Nurul Huda, Eliza Hanum, or players like Mohd Kamal Abdullah, Mohd Nor Yahya, Jimmy Liew, etc.... these are the players that no longer took chess competitively, due to family or working commitments..
Now we have Siti Zulaika, syazwani, Anas (to name a few), but how long long will they sit in the map? It will the happiest moments for all to have a new talents taking their places in the chess scene. So, those kids are the future that lies all the hope of all of us!!
Don't let these chess talents be the forgotten names like Rosazman Rosley or Yusjefri Anwar who used to impress the chess fans in Malaysia when they were just 9 years old in the 80s..
Our best bet to become the first GM, IM Mas Hafizulhilmi... Can he make it to the title by next year? I know he has been really hardworking in realising his dream, and our dreams in becoming a GM! a title that has yet to be ours for years now... Ever since he took his sabatical leave, he has been playing abroad, since Oct 2007 - Macau Asian Indoor Games, then to Australia training with GM Ian Rogers and took part in a small competition there (he is the champ there), then flew to India for the Commenwealth Game, then Mas - Sin Match, and currently playing at Singapore Masters.. We all hope he get his first GM norm there.. He has been battling for the title all alone abroad, without any manager accompanying him, or any coaches watching his game, or any written messages from us Malaysians giving him the moral support for his fight!
A lot of people maybe doesn't realise this, but since Mas has made his journey for the GM title, all chess fans in Malaysia has been watching his game closely and commenting in every step that he take. The joy shared by all when he won against another GM, and the upset feelings also shared by all fans when he lost terribly to lower rated or younger players.. We never realise this, but we are actually supporting him in our own way, together!