Saturday, April 17, 2010


A month ago when there is a poll being conducted on whether is it ok to organize a tournament only for Malay, suddenly there is an outcry in local chess community that tournament that did not allowed certain group of people to take part due to reasons beyond their control, in this case, race (hence, discrimination) is a no no.

This is nothing new actually. I first discovered discrimination (for lack of better word) exist in chess when Cikgu Suhairy organized one chess tournament (open to all races) during Chinese New Year last year. Suddenly there is buzz on the shoutbox that this tournament is ‘racist’ and discriminate certain races (because it is organized during CNY)

Maybe. So I come up with this equation.

Chess tournament during major festival = racial discrimination

The fact that above equation did not bring out the same expected result/outcry when Jax Tham organized Thaipusam and Christmas chess tournament last year puzzled me. There is no strong protest,(if any) on the shoutbox about it. Strange!

Seems to me like a case of discrimination for one, not discrimination for others.

I decided to dig further to determine whether there exist any other form of ‘discrimination’ (…and its exception) in chess.

To my howl of surprise I discovered that in chess tournaments there are lots. Among it:
Gender Discrimination.
Simple. If you are boys you are not allowed to take part in girls tournament (But don’t worry girls, you are not only allowed to take part in boys tournament, you are encouraged to do so!)
State Discrimination
Also simple. E.g. If you are not born or working in say Pahang then you cannot play in Pahang Closed or represent Pahang. (Of course, we all have witnessed last year when a Philippine player allowed to play for one state team)
Age Discrimination.
If you are 19 you are not allowed to take part in under 18 tournament (read: age discrimination). But if you are 10 years old you are allowed/encouraged to take part in under 18 even though there exist under 10 categories.
Past Tournament Discrimination
My God! There is even this tournament being organized that do not allowed any member of last Malaysian Olympiad team to take part!
Chess Intelligence (rating) Discrimination.
Suppose to be simple. If your rating is 1977 you are not allowed to take part in under 1600 tournament.(read: Intelligence Discrimination) Exception is when your rating is 2000 but you still allowed to ‘play first’ or if somehow you have a ‘link’ to the organizer.

There is other form of ‘discrimination’. I bet my Fritz will shout “DISCRIMINATION!” in its metallic voice should it realized that they cannot take part in any of the chess tournament, even though it is so called ‘Open’ tournament.

Well, frankly speaking, to me ‘discrimination’ for lack of better words, do exist. We all need to accept that there is a tournament that we can enter and there is tournament that we cannot enter. Just because we cannot entered certain tournaments (due to conditions set up by the organizer), we should not start to shout that D word.

We, chess players sometimes just want to compete among our fellow country man, fellow state player, fellow gender, fellow age, fellow race, fellow district or fellow...whatever! What is wrong with that?

In Beatles words, we should just let it be.

Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
There will be an answer, let it be.
Let it be, let it be,
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be
BUT, we should not let it be if in future, there exist such conditions... like 2 seats in Olympiad Team is reserved to say certain race or certain race can enter chess tournament by paying less entrance fee.
That's my friend, should not be allowed to happen!


  1. Hi again,
    Quite spot on with your comments! That cheeky part about Fritz was funny.

    Its not discrimimation to organize tournaments on specific holidays. Everyone can still take part. But specifically excluding (ok I'll change that to including in line with current political spin) certain race is discrimination as is excluding certain people.
    As for age and rating exclusion, I really do not know.

  2. Hi Jimmy,
    Thank you for yr fair comment. This subject is never easy to discuss.