There is a definite sense of excitement in the Malaysian chess community over the final round match in the 2014 Tromso Olympiad today. All Malaysian chess fans will be supporting the team. No matter what the final round result, these boys are already heroes in our eyes.
The younger members are representing Malaysia for the first time and had to work to overcome their initial jitters. They did not let snide remarks from certain Malaysian quarters over their smallest mistakes affect their morale, waiting for them to fail. Negative remarks were made when the team needed words of encouragement and support.
The whole team fought and fought for each other and for the country. They fought until they achieved the fantastic results that has now pulled the whole Malaysian chess community behind them. This team of young Malaysian players have brought back the hope that Malaysian chess had lost for so many years.
For so many years, Malaysian Olympiad representatives were hand-picked by powers-that-be and 'outsiders' were not given a reasonable chance to get into the team. For 20 years, more or less the same favoured players were hand-picked to go to the Olympiads. There was no proper selection process for other players to prove their qualifications.
The improper situation of the past finally changed when selecting the 2014 team. The MCF situation was such that no one person was in control, there was no supremo who was able to select only their favourites. Instead, an objective selection process was implemented and the results are now there for all to see.
The young team members of the 2014 squad had to work hard to get through the small window of opportunity to represent the country. An opportunity that was denied many young talented Malaysian players in previous years. A situation that had caused Malaysian chess to stagnate for so many years. The young players in the 2014 Olympiad team had to go through a grueling selection process to finally earn their indisputable right to represent Malaysia.
The future for Malaysian chess looks bright again with a new generation of young and talented players to represent the country.
The cry of Malaysia Boleh!!! rings loud again in Malaysia chess. It is shouted with real belief, it is no longer just a slogan that rings hollow.
The Malaysian chess community must make sure we do not lose the gains that this remarkable team has made for Malaysian chess.