Head of Delegation?
Today I officially agreed to be the Head of Delegation (HoD) for the Malaysian team of 15 players + 17 accompanying going to the World Youth Chess Championships.
Frankly this is a responsibility I have no interest in - especially since my first and foremost obligation is to work with our young National Champion whose parents are paying for me to go - but as always, once I accept, I will do my best (and professionally too!) and I think all saw that at the Istanbul World Chess Olympiad.
The Malaysian Chess Federation (MCF) of course understands that I am only agreeing to this in the absence of options available to them as this point due to various circumstances and I hope those going will also understand that I while I am experienced in these matters, on the details and in this very short time, I too am going to be learning!
My role as I see it will be primarily to be the first point of contact between the Malaysian delegation and the organisers while we are in Slovenia, with my first task certainly being to facilitate a smooth check in at the hotel and getting us all the necessary accreditations.
I will also be representing us at the technical meeting (probably my main qualification to be HoD!) and then will be calling a meeting to advise on the rules and regulations, tournament schedule, the do's and don'ts arising, and to inform of any pertinent matters impacting our participation.
Although the Malaysian group are a mixture of official and guest players (and accompanying persons) with various levels of experience and exposure to such an event, there is a minimum level of obligation I will be expecting from all players since we are there under the MCF/Malaysia flag and so I will be communicating in no uncertain terms the standards of attire, matters of tardiness, of proper conduct, and the requirement for compulsory attendance at official functions.
What I will not be doing is babysitting any players, as they, if not with parents, should have already designated guardians from the adults within the group, and I am definitely not going to be the coach of the 15 players!
I am also certainly not responsible, let alone interested in addressing whatever might have transpired leading up to our arrival other than to ensure what has already been committed to by MCF and the group that goes there is fully respected by the organisers and that we will properly reciprocating their kindnesses.
Finally I understand (but will be confirming there) that many going have plans to stay on or to visit other countries after the event but for those returning as scheduled I will certainly get them on to the plane home.
MCF has told me that two of the parents going have kindly agreed to assist with day to day affairs of the group and of course when Mr Lee Ewe Ghee, a MCF Vice President arrives after a few days, he will be able to provide valuable and much needed support.
Once final thing I wish to put on record is that all our roles at the World Youth Chess Championships, be it as player, parent, official or trainer, should be clear and so on my part that certainly does not including posting on my blog any reports, let alone commentary about the performance of the young players there especially while they are in competition.
I take the view that unless you are a member of the press or have been engaged by official media to do this work you are not independent of what you are supposed to be doing there and it is almost certain that nothing good can come of a need to put your opinions about the play of others online.