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Friday, February 18, 2011

FIDE Rated Events in Malaysia

Based on in 2010 (from the records that I have – let me know if I am wrong), there were 10 major FIDE rated events organized in Malaysia and they were:
  1. KLCA Open
  2. Selangor Open
  3. National Championship (Open)
  4. National Championship (Women)
  5. Malaysia Open
  6. Ambank Challenge
  7. Penang Open
  8. Penang Challenge
  9. GACC (Open)
  10. GACC (Women)

There were 3 other FIDE rated events organized but not included in the equation and they are the DATCC Team League, the DATCC FIDE Rated Weekend and the Ng6 FIDE Rated Individual League.

8 events out of the 10 listed were organized concurrently (or has gender limitation) as such, it would be impossible for players to play in both events simultaneously. These events are Malaysia Open and Ambank Challenge, Penang Open and Penang Challenge, National Open and National Women, and GACC Open and GACC Women. Only Selangor Open and KLCA Open were the 2 stand alone events which do not offer any side events.

Based on the 10 events, the following figures were arrived:

111 20 18%
71 70 99%
94 94 100%
44 44 100%
133 26 20%
52 42 81%
71 42 59%
109 103 94%
110 69 63%
50 28 56%

845 538 64%

If we were to take out the Malaysian only events (National Events), challenger events (Ambank and Penang) and the GACC events (due to entry limitation), we arrive at the following figures:

71 70 99%
111 20 18%
133 26 20%
71 42 59%

386 158 41%

The above indicated that the number of local players playing in a true International event organized in our own home soil counts for only 41% - less than half the number of foreigners playing. Interesting to note that the events with the higher prize money attract more foreigners where as the events with lower prize money attracts the local players. Perhaps our players do not have the confidence to compete with the “big boys” or is the entry fees being the main deterrent factor?

Looking at the same 10 events, the total number of Malaysians playing in these events is 394 players as some of them get around to playing in more than 1 event. But, out of the 394 players, only 92 players (or 23% which is less than a quarter of the pool) played in more than 1 event. The breakdown is as follows:

Players playing in 5 events
3 1%
Players playing in 4 events
9 2%
Players playing in 3 events
25 6%
Players playing in 2 events
55 14%
Players playing in only 1 event
302 77%

As we can see, the really active players in the local FIDE circuit only accounts for less than 1% of the total number of Malaysian players playing. If active participation is one of the criteria to select players to represent the country, we would only have a handful of candidates to choose from. If the minimum requirement is to participate in at least 3 events, then we would only have 37 players to be considered for the National squad but, are any of these players worthy to don our National color? Just because they are active in the local FIDE circuit does not mean that they are good but, if we were to flip the coin, at least these players are dedicated to the game. And their active participation indicated their passion for the game so another question arises – do passion and dedication make up for lack of strength?

We also have to consider players who are actively playing in FIDE events abroad but somehow, does not play actively in the country so, do we shortlist them for the selection process as well? I am sure most of us are aware that there are a few players who, on their own accord, participated in international FIDE events elsewhere such as students and working Malaysians abroad. There are also players, whom by virtue of being chosen to play for Malaysia for a particular year, therefore their participation in FIDE events are definitely inflated (automatically) compared to those who were not selected to play abroad.

With only a handful of FIDE rated events for Malaysian players to play locally, it seems that the players who have the opportunity to play abroad (either they were chosen to play, or they pay to play) have the upper hand to improve their FIDE rating and subsequently their own Malaysian ranking – creating a more realistic chance to get to the top of Malaysia FIDE rating list. So, what about those who are not fortunate enough to travel, or is talented but due to lack of FIDE rated events in the country, are not able to improve their FIDE rating?

For the junior squad, certain junior players seem to monopolize the international event by representing the country in various events in the span of one year – the same names seem to make the regional, continental and international events. Perhaps they really deserve to play in these events as such, so be it. But what about those who want to play in FIDE rated events without having to travel, or having to be selected to play in a FIDE Rated event? But, even the 4 FIDE rated events that we have, we seem to have trouble getting the players to play so…. do we create more FIDE rated events so that the players can play? Or do we wait until a lot of Malaysian players playing in FIDE Rated event and then we create more events? This seems to be a mind boggling case between the chicken and the egg – which should be the first one?

As an association, in order to create progress and to ensure a reasonable pool of players is always available to represent the country, opportunities must also be created at home (as the first step) for further improvement. As a player, in order to promote progress, the player has to support the FIDE rated events – it take two to tango, and two hands to clap. If our own players are not playing in our own FIDE rated events, and organizes fail to create FIDE rated events, how are we to progress in our game, and to raise the bar of our players?

What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. Well argued Najib. I think having selection will be an added incentive for players to play in local events and so that is a very positive step to redressing the issue. This National Close will be an eye opener. A good postmortem after the event will help us see how we can improve further. Btw, congrats on this new blog.