Thursday, May 11, 2017

Why no Malaysian Grandmaster yet?

Posted by GilaChess
Weekend tournaments aplenty but we Malaysians are not serious and lack the drive to push our chess to the next level.

For me personally I can see the vast difference in "drive" can be seen in how hard working Indian chess players are especially in the juniors. 

I saw 10 year old Gukesh pressure the first seed Selangor Open GM on first board and only his inexperience in the endgame saw him lose a forced drawn game. A very hard and long game.

He cried when the GM showed him the drawing moves post mortem. There is passion and great determination in the kid and I rarely see Malaysian kids in any strong match up (though amateur kids vs kids crying incidents are many)  except perhaps I did see Yeoh Li Tian cry once losing when he was Gukesh age. Perhaps that's why he is our best hope for a GM for the moment. The crying incident just show how invested they are in the game. Maybe that is why India now has 47 GMs!

Also, the emphasis on chess playing countries like India is different. Using Gukesh as an example again: I asked his father why is Gukesh here playing in our local Selangor Open ? The reason I was curious is because Gukesh is one of four players who qualified to represent India for the 2017 World Schools. To me it seemed a big sacrifice to forego the honor of representing the country. Any Malaysian parent would kill to have their kid represent the country. His answer was they wanted the international exposure. If Gukesh (also the current Commonwealth Under 10 champ) had gone to the World School,  he most likely will win his age group again that was less appealing and challenging compared to playing in the more serious Selangor Open. 

Malaysians on the other hand seem to favour international exposure a lot and go even as far as selling property just to fund their children's travel expense. I am not saying it is wrong..just that our emphasis is different.

Another example of this "different emphasis" is our non-interest to invest in improvement of the game. Take the recent Jacob Aagard lectures in Malaysia recently. Quoting Chessbase India's article : No titled Malaysian players attended the lecture! 

"While players like Adhiban, Ganguly, Diptayan Ghosh, Aravindh Chithambaram, Murali Karthikeyan etc. all around 2600 and more attended the lectures in India and learnt a lot from Jacob, it remains a question to me as to why the top guys of Malaysian chess didn't take this opportunity to learn and grow better. "

I am not saying Malaysians are indifferent to improving their game. Malaysian parents for example invest quite a lot in travelling and coaching expenses. It's just that the commitment to go as far as serious countries like India or China is not there.


Anonymous said...

Having GM Aagard here in KL was certainly a great opportunity to learn from the man himself however short his time in KL was. But it is hardly believable (as the article might have implied) to think that no titled Malaysian player was interested to attend. Normally if you think about it, if someone of GM Aagard's stature were to visit Malaysia, it should have been done through or at least with the auspices of the national chess body MCF or through a state association like CAS, KLCA etc. Only then would we get bigger publicity and proper arrangements etc, to fully benefit from an event such as this. From what I can see, this event looked like a whirlwind tour and he was just stopping by while on his way from India. And if you look at it proper, even his visit in HK was organised in a casual cafe and attended by a paltry 15 persons. It gave an impression that these were very much adhoc stops by him although I think his stopover at Singapore (attended by 70 persons) was definitely better organised.