For Malaysian chess players to progress and raise the general standard of play, it was my view that our serious players should have:
- Regular competition with peers or stronger players with ‘long time control’;
- One or more platforms for exchanges of ideas; and
- A FIDE rating.
The above was what I conveyed to the then MCF Honorary Secretary back in 1994 when I first met him at his home. (Note: This list was later expanded as I learnt more about the subject). Since then, thing have moved forward albeit not as fast as it could have been.
I play in my mind a fantasy game where I see events happening that move Malaysian chess forward. In real-life however, I try to communicate at every opportunity, my ideas to the ‘powers-that-be’ or ‘movers and shakers’ of each era, hoping they would take up my ideas. A few ideas were taken up, fully, partly or in modified form, and others not at all due to various reasons.
At times, boosted by motivation and enthusiasm from an unknown source, I would take on myself projects nobody else wants to do. Over the years, these had included:
- Setting up the Perak International Chess Association in 1996;
- Setting up the Perak rating list in 1996 and organizing chess tournaments/events almost every month for something like 2 years;
- Establishing a Perak Junior squad in 1997 and coaching them to becoming the top Malaysian U18 state team (Merdeka U18 inter-state team event in 1998);
- Organising the 'Perak FIDE Rating Tournament' in 2002; and
- Organising the 'MCF Feb 07' FIDE-Rated Tournament in 2007.
The ‘Perak FIDE Rating Tournament’ in 2002 kicked off what I privately (in my fantasy) called the 'Malaysian FIDE Rating Project’.
Onwards to the ‘1st Malaysia GM’ Project’
Four years later (in 2006), the ‘Malaysian FIDE Rating Project’ had evolved into the ‘1st Malaysia GM’ Project (in my mind only lah!) with the higher objective of working towards seeing the first Malaysian Chess Grandmaster, hence the title of a blog I set up in 2006.
Things however, got serious in 2007 (April) when I had the opprtunity to mention my ideas in a meeting with Dato’ Tan (with Hamid and Greg in attendance). Dato’ immediately offered serious money, and Dato’ expanded on what I presented with his own ideas. The only problem was at that time, I was in the process of returning to Perak (after 5 years in the Klang Valley) and I was not in a position to undertake the project.
(Note: I was visiting Dato' to discuss another matter and the 1st Malaysia GM project only cropped up when Dato' ask for my views on taking Malaysian chess forward. It was a shock when he got excited over my fanciful ideas and suddenly started to offer resources. I didn't know how to respond at that time).
I was told, much later, that somehow the ideas I mentioned to Dato’ was transmuted (and the funds channeled) into the ‘Tiger Project’ (and one other well-known chess development project). The ‘Tiger Project’ had been extensively discussed elsewhere so I won’t say anything more about it here.
Onward to ‘New Nagas’
For the few years since my meeting with Dato’, Greg has been pestering me about two elements of my ‘1st Malaysia GM’ Project, i.e. ‘regular long time control events' and a 'rating list for longer time control events'. After putting these things off for so long, I am re-starting the project with the New Nagas Tournament announced a few days ago.
The new initiative also comes with a change of name and the ‘1st Malaysia GM’ project will now have a new name, the ‘New Nagas Project’.
I shall write more on the concept underlying the New Nagas Tournament in the coming days.