Two Veterans & The Future of Malaysian Chess
In many recent years Jimmy Liew has become very active in chess and with his recent retirement he seems to be ramping it up even further.
Jimmy is particularly interested in still being a part of the national team set-up when others of his generation would have long given way to younger players and choosing to make a contribution to the game in other ways or simply enjoying playing for fun.
He is so far our only applicant to play in the Asia Continental Championships and told me that he is also intending to attend the FIDE Trainer Seminar.
Why not? Not everyone might know that Jimmy is married to a Filipina and both these events are in Manila so it could be a combination of business and pleasure! But I should know Jimmy well enough that when he does chess it is a very serious matter indeed!
I have always understood him to be a player. He will become a FIDE Trainer and is already a National Arbiter but ultimately he is a player, good and bad, and I wish him all the success in competition.
Mok Tze Meng is currently ranked No.1 in our active rating list and while not as young as he thinks, is a generation younger than Jimmy even if all of us had chess playing careers that overlapped, mine earlier but Jimmy for sure in two different periods of time!
But he seems to be going in the opposite direction from Jimmy even if I understand they have an intention to work together to offer chess lessons.
Mok is a rich man, having done well for himself, and known for having an "austere" life (those who know him will understand exactly what I mean by that!) so when with his famous single mindedness he has gone about acquiring FIDE certificates and paying licence fees and seeks position in MCF and KLCA, something is up!
I was not surprised he opted out of the Malaysian Masters which effectively ends his international career for at least the next year although if he plays the National Closed Championship he will prove me wrong.
Will Mok live up to all those titles he has? It is possible but there is a need to switch from self to service and that is always the most difficult thing for a chessplayer and even more difficult when you have lived this way all your life. Good luck to you, the former Mighty Mok!
Jimmy or Mok?
As a former No. 1 and long time national player I understand well, perhaps even better than most, the many challenges and I have also experienced the the life of organiser! I was also an investor in a serious chess business and continue to be associated with a relatively successful local chess academy.
Obviously Jimmy still believes he can contribute while Mok still can but perhaps knows that it is time to move on? I think that is a question all our "senior" players have asked or should be asking themselves given the pressures of career and/or family.
Beyond Jimmy & Mok!
The future however is certainly with our young players - at least with those having both talent and the determination to succeed - and I can only say that unfortunately with very few exceptions, very clearly their parent's really don't actually know better!
Which parent can be objective over their child? This is where everyone needs to get real over what it takes and not be satisfied with being 'Juara Kampung' or to 'Shiok Sendiri'. Jimmy and Mok in this respect, if not looking at solely becoming your child's coach, are among those who can certainly tell you the truth!
Over the years I have seen several batches essentially miss the boat. Today a large group U-11 (and some U-13) show great promise. Unfortunately there are big talents U-17 soon to be lost and although some will not differ and be angry, those above that age should better be looking to college.
Argue about ratings all you like but remember everyone suffers alike from the system. Not even 2000? Grow up. If there, then get to 2100. Then look to break 2200. Make all the excuses you like but around you in Malaysia some have managed to do it.