Saturday, 18 June 2011

Messy Minds

When organising the KL Open (and now the Raja Nazrin Shah Individual Masters & International Open 2011) each year, I am constantly amazed how so many chessplayers wishing to play just cannot do simple things like fill in the entry form.

I get players who can find me on Facebook and then messaging me that they will play. But not only do they not give me essential information to facilitate their entry such as their rating and title but they also have incredible difficulty getting out of Facebook and to the website I give them to get details of the event. (And of course they cannot understand why they need to send me an email let alone the entry form and let's not even pretend to get into making payment of the entry fee).

These chessplayers don't read very well either because they miss seeing the actual dates and the schedule and they even often ask about how to get to the website where they first saw the information about the event.

Of course there are also those who have done their homework but feel it is the organisers obligation to provide them with everything they want - be it an IM with a 2200+ rating or an FM with no standing, results or prospects. They demand or beg for conditions such as room, free entry, etc., and when they happen to be well funded professionals from India they even tell me I have to help as they will have no money because they would be coming by after campaigning in a number of events in Europe!

But there are those who take trouble to do all that is necessary. Emails are sent, forms are filled, and they are prompt and polite. And very often they are the top players and real professionals, basically the guys who win the event and if not, who always do well.

Contrast this to the messy minds of the nobodies (I am using this term in the best possible way) or even those "superstars" who get by somehow but somehow have not achieved all that they could and wonder why if you must.

I at least understand what the difference is!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

It's always complicated with FIDE

Of course FIDE constantly changes the rules so I may be mistaken but I have long understood that a rating and/or title tournament needs to be published on the FIDE calendar a month in advance and that has to be done by the National Chess Federation's rating administrator (who has been given access to the system).

With the Raja Nazrin Shah Invitational Masters and Raja Nazrin Shah International Open, as in the previous KL Opens and in the many events overseas where I was the Chief Arbiter, the information needed to facilitate this registration was provided early to the National Chess Federation which in this case is the Malaysian Chess Federation (MCF).

In fact I was informed that this had already been done by both the MCF Secretary and the MCF Ratings Officer but when I checked the FIDE website on Sunday morning, I saw, much to my surprise, that the various Malaysian Chess Festival events were indeed posted but not the Raja Nazrin Shah tournaments even though we certainly announced our events much earlier.

After speaking to the MCF Secretary, the MCF Ratings Officer has now responded with the above screenshot saying that he has done his part but it is the job of the MCF Secretary to inform FIDE so that this information is also posted to the FIDE Calendar.

My response to the MCF Ratings Officer, an International Arbiter no less, was of course to stop passing the buck and instead to work with his colleagues to get this done failing which it would not be a bad idea at all if he stepped aside and let someone else do this work as it is about service and not holding on to titles and positions!

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Raja Nazrin Shah Masters & International Open Chess Championship 2011

Looking back at how successful the KL Open has been over the last three years, I was talking to KLCA President Dato' Sri Edmund Santhara whose Masterskill Education Group has long sponsored the event and after having made the decision to rename the event after our patron Raja Nazrin Shah who has supported us year in year out, I thought that we should take a hard look at our local chess scene and see if indeed the current format made any sense.

Frankly, I had delayed the KL Open this year as along as possible to see if indeed there would be a Malaysian Open and with three months to go simply had to make an announcement but now it seems it is on again and that can only be good news for the local chess community and so I do want to congratulate the man I correctly called "an embarrassment and a real disgrace" over his antics leading up and during the FIDE election for successfully getting the old man to fork out once again.

So we have decided to step back as we are no longer needed to help fill in a vacuum as we were asked to, and with freedom from this so called responsibility as an affiliate of the MCF that has the financial means, the Raja Nazrin Shah Masters & International Open Chess Championship can now take shape in the form as we have always wanted it.

We will therefore have a Masters, a 10 player, 9 round GM event and hope one of our IMs/FMs will step forward and ask for the place I will reserve for a Malaysian (as long as I can) together with a somewhat "downgraded" Open - see - in the sense that while it is still an international titled and rated event with GMs and IMs playing, we will no longer restrict but encourage participation from lowly and even unrated players (except when they are juniors who come with trainers or parents who are known troublemakers!).