Thursday, March 29, 2012

How fare our juniors?

In year 2010 I mentioned our most promising juniors that impressed me were  Yeoh Li Tian, Mohd Nabil , Sumant Subramaniam, Tan Jun Feng , Low Jun Jian and Fong Yit San and Mark Siew. Now in 2012 I can  review their progress since I made that statement.

Yeoh Li Tian has progressed the most having broken the 2200 FIDE rating barrier in the latest rating list. He is now in the top 10 in Malaysia by rating. The next best is Sumant who is rated 2074 and represented Malaysia in the 2011 SEA Games. Mohd Nabil is ELO 2054  and won the last National Junior while Mark Siew only came in fifth.

Li Tian, Sumant and Nabil can be considered to have achieved something since 2010 while the rest have not lived up to (my) expectations although both Tan Jun Feng and Fong Yit San did qualify for the SEA Games selection event.

Li Tian's target for this year should be to qualify for the Olympiad Team. It is not going to be easy with IM Lim Yee Weng getting an automatic place and IM Mas the hot favourite to grab another. This leaves only three more places.

Incidentally, Li Tian is entered for the Brunei Campomanes Open in April. This will be a real testing ground for the boy with many grandmasters and international masters taking part. Both Fong brothers , Yit Ho and Yit San are also taking part. Hopefully they can make some impact too.

I have been following another junior , Aron Teh Eu Wen, since the 2011 National Championship. I met this boy over the board in the very first round. He handled the white side of a Benko Gambit very well and I had to offer a draw as I was a pawn down and with less time. I thought he is talented, I had a chat with his mother. They are based in China (not sure if he receives training from the Chinese coaches).

Since then he has been collecting rating points from every tournament he played. In the last National Junior he placed third defeating Mark Siew in the last round.

This year he has played in the Aeroflot Open (gained 46.8 points), 2nd HD Bank Open (gained 25.35 points) in Vietnam, defeating  WIM Nguyen Thi Mai Hung (Vietnam's representative in 2011 SEA Games) in the last round. The lastest rating list has him at 1900. This is another boy to watch.

Actually I had wrote this post yesterday and scheduled it to be published tonight, so I was kind of beaten to the finish line by Peter Long who also wrote something about our juniors here. Synchronicity at work?

8 comments:

edfong said...

Now I am tempted to write a post on this topic.

Peter Long said...

Eddy,
Maybe not! Jimmy and I are former top national players (Oops, Jimmy still is!) and we don't have kids playing chess. With due respect, what you say will carry less weight for those reasons...
On the other hand, why not? You have the right to your opinions and your readers would be interested?

Peter Long said...

Hi Jimmy,
I am glad you threw some light on the Olympaid selection - good that Yee Weng is being rewarded for his excellence SEA Games performance and he has always been a good team player.
Mas should also get a place.
Will you be trying? There is also the Asian Team Championship (now renamed Asian Nations) this year which is much the stronger although less glamorous event and I would love it if Malaysian could also put up a team.
If the working seniors are saving their leave for Istanbul, perhaps we can expose some of our young talent and I would be more than happy to join on or more 'other seniors' to fill up the places and help coach the youngsters.

stonemasterfadli said...

sm leh jadi firestonemaster juga ke?hehe

edfong said...

Peter, you are definitely right about the top national players part. As a matter of personal policy, I have never ever publicly commented on the progress of junior Malaysian players (except on occasions, praising the obviously excellent achievements of others' children) for the precise reason that you mentioned, i.e. I have kids who are in the same junior ranks. So I would probably take your advice and not break this policy.

On the other hand, my credentials are that I have followed the progress and games of every single one of the current crop of top junior players since each first came into national prominence at the age-group levels, many of them since before they were 12 years old. I have seen these players when they were playing on just natural talent (before the impact of coaching took over) and seen how some talents were developed, and others obscured, by coaching. So I would have a better idea than most of the potential of these juniors if the adverse impact of coaching were to be reversed and foundations are rebuilt.

Returning to the top national players point, my interest in this subject lies primarily in trying to solve the riddle of how to transmute our top talents into grandmasters. And in this respect, I take my cue from highly qualified persons, as in the extensive writings of many of the top coaches and thinkers in the world of the last 50 years, as in Botvinnik, Dvorestky, Marovic, Yusupov, Aagaard, Pachman, Nunn, etc. who I have studied for more than 30 years. And, with due respect, I do not think any of our 'top national players’, past or present, are qualified on this matter, thus their views would carry very little weight in comparison.

Said in another way, my views are much more often than not, the views of the above top coaches I mentioned but distilled through my mind, level of understanding and my ability to express my understanding in words.

Anyway, a top player (which Malaysia certainly does not have any, past or present) does not necessarily make a good coach. I certainly do not know of any Malaysian chess coach, 'top national player' or otherwise, with any ‘achievement’ to really shout about or which interests me, within the scope of my afore-mentioned area of interest.

Peter Long said...

Hi Eddy,
I trust you understand that in no way I am saying your opinions don't matter and I would even go further to say that there are valid and as legitimate as any student of the game.
We may not agree on everything but that is exactly how it is and no more than that - for sure I am not saying being a top player means anything special but that for sure it is seen as more credible, rightly or wrongly.
I do agree that a top player does not necessarily equal a good coach but I also think it is impossible to translate readings of legends of the game into the local experience.
But from my few conversations with you I think we have no major disagreements as to what is wrong and what is needed but perhaps that is a very important discussion by itself!

edfong said...

Peter, I agree that our thoughts are aligned on most issues, though there are obviously spots of disagreement.

I am a dreamer and this state of nature does not sit well with phrases like 'impossible to translate readings of legends of the game into the local experience'. The essence of the legends' experience is formulated into principles, and these are generally applicable in almost all situations, it must be so by definition. And it is these that I use as the guiding light as I search for the path towards that elusive Malaysian grandmaster.

I have not at any time question the credibility of top players. All the names I mentioned with much respect are top players (and successful coaches at the highest level). You seem to miss my point, which is that Malaysia does not have a top player, and thus there is no Malaysian that has the credibility of a top player.

As regards the topic of developing (coaching) a player to GM standard, which is my stated area of interest, your credibility is no higher than mine as neither of us has any achievement worth talking about, whether in coaching ourselves or our students.

The objective must be the GM title. However, a GM norm would the first checkpoint and a sign of progress. Real credibility and credential would be established on substantial achievements as in achieving that GM norm. Until then or anything less, whatever so-called credibility or credential is limited to relatively low-level chess, or just hot air.

For now, let’s agree to disagree on the matters we disagree and just move on.

edfong said...

Peter, I agree that our thoughts are aligned on most issues, though there are obviously spots of disagreement.

I am a dreamer and this state of nature does not sit well with phrases like 'impossible to translate readings of legends of the game into the local experience'. The essence of the legends' experience is formulated into principles, and these are generally applicable in almost all situations, it must be so by definition. And it is these that I use as the guiding light as I search for the path towards that elusive Malaysian grandmaster.

I have not at any time question the credibility of top players. All the names I mentioned with much respect are top players (and successful coaches at the highest level). You seem to miss my point, which is that Malaysia does not have a top player, and thus there is no Malaysian that has the credibility of a top player.

As regards the topic of developing (coaching) a player to GM standard, which is my stated area of interest, your credibility is no higher than mine as neither of us has any achievement worth talking about, whether in coaching ourselves or our students.

The objective must be the GM title. However, a GM norm would the first checkpoint and a sign of progress. Real credibility and credential would be established on substantial achievements as in achieving that GM norm. Until then or anything less, whatever so-called credibility or credential is limited to relatively low-level chess, or just hot air.

For now, let’s agree to disagree on the matters we disagree and just move on.

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