Preparing for the World Youth Championship 2012
It is no secret that I have been working for almost two years now with current national champion Roshan Ajeet Singh and in the last few days have spent time with him preparing for the World Youth Championships to be held in Maribor, Slovenia from 7-19 November 2012.
Roshan has just come off his exams - the reason why he had to opt out of playing at the World Chess Olympiad in Istanbul - and is clearly very rusty but is starting to pick up a little.
I will also be going along as was my promise to him should he qualify and also become National Champion, and in the last two years he has been first U-14 champion and then, this year, even if only having turned 15, become both the U-16 and the senior champion.
The preliminary participants list is out - see official website at www.wycc2012.com where they have a nice tool with the participants list viewer that allows you to group players by category and by country.
Besides being a bit out of practice Roshan will have his work cut out for him as at his 2016 rating he at the low end of players 2000 and in fact with 20 other 2000+ ahead of him is only ranked 79th with 7 players 2400+, 13 players 2300+, 22 players 2200+ and another 16 players 2100+.
U-16 is not U-14 as the talents would now have matured so assuming he plays to his strengths and at 2100 level he can at best be looking for a top 50 finish and that would in itself be quite an achievement!
Malaysia has 16 representatives in all and I have also been working with two other young players going, both very young, and the training for one particularly talented boy has gone rather well and so although like Roshan, he is at the entry side of his age group category, a surprise is entirely possible.
I do not have too much information about most of our representatives but most are very young and are going for the first time to such an event even if they are not at all unknown to the local chess community.
But I do know from the horses's mouth that Nigel Short will be there for Amier Hamzah as well as Tibor Karolyi for the three Lee siblings and that Mas Hafizulhelmi will be coming along with Camilia Johari so at least half a dozen of our representatives will have their trainers there with them!
No doubt too many of the others will have been preparing well with their usual local coaches and in the case of Azman Hisham's daughters Nabila and Najiha, I understand they even have Indonesian help.
I see this event for many of our young players to be an opportunity to confirm their talent while also seeing where the stand in relation to their peers and for those young for their category it is a chance to get valuable experience before looking to target a good finish in next year's event.
With few exceptions I am sure all Malaysians in chess, be they players, organisers or parents, would wish every of our representatives every success and be quick to praise rather than condemn.
They are after all children playing the game they love and doing the very best they can with as much support as those around them can provide so whether they win or lose, become champion or finish last, it really does not matter in the bigger picture.