Thursday, June 23, 2011


Thank you very much for interest you show on my below posting (If Chess Is Business). Agreed with some of your points and disagreed with some others.

Chess is an amazing tool to building future businessmen as well as a GM if we include competitor analysis.
Absolutely! Chess with its rich lesson on time management, decision making under stress, trading of pieces to your advantage, setting trap as well as well as avoiding trap, minimize losses, maximize limited resources (and like what you mentioned, competitor analysis too) is a good tool for future businessmen and GM.

Competitor Analysis (CA) is essential for business and chess.
From my experience, CA has been taught to business student, indirectly, via various methods/ studies. SWOT Analysis, Analysis of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War and even on the nasty Machiavelli’s works. OK, we basically have an agreement that CA is essential in both business and chess but I think we have a different view on the ‘weightage’ of CA (especially in chess)

In June 3rd, 2011 you posted an article with heading “CA is 60% of the game” (In this article you equate CA with ‘right opening line’as well as various postings also relate CA with opening preparation.)

In my opinion, CA should be more than just analysis on the opening line. It should also cover type of position (complex/simple), type of play (aggressive/gambit/positional), type of endgame (knight/rook/Queen/bishop etc) that competitor like/dislike). In good old days they even analysis the smoking behavior of opponent!

Since you mentioned that CA is 60% of the game, it just put other aspect of the game, the technical know-how of the game at mere 40% the most.

Well, in my opinion. CA is only 10% of the game. Technical is 80% and maybe10%, others (luck, good night sleep, state of opponents etc). Consider below 2 extreme examples.

100% CA vs 0% Technical knowledge.

Armed with all info about our competitors opening but zero technical knowledge of our own, we cannot win the game. We all know that normally to beat a decent, competitive player we need to beat our opponent 3 times. First, in the opening, second in the middlegame and third in the endgame. Most likely in this hypothesis those arms with CA will only ‘win’ in the opening but not the game.

0% CA vs 100% technical knowledge…aka Rybka4.
Say we played against someone/something that know nothing about us but possessed 100% technical skills (e.g Rybka) while we know all that we need to know about our opponent yet we possessed a low technical skill, guess who will win?

In simple word, technical skill will beat CA anytime, any day hence the importance of technical should be higher than CA.

Code of Conduct
Not really agree that we have Code of Conduct to ‘govern’ our chess activities. ‘So that rogue associations, organizers etc etc is given proper guidelines to code of conduct’ so you mentioned. The idea is no doubt noble, utopian even, but I personally feel that having Code of Conduct will just complicate matters. It will create red tape and confusion. Ownership (who owned this Code of Conduct book?), how to review it (yearly basis, committee, proposals ?), the definition ?, coverage? Dealing with grey areas/ dispute? etc. I think having one FIDE Handbook as a guideline is quite sufficient.

I do not think Code of Conduct is what we need. I think what we need is for everybody to plays their part and deliver what they promise (“My word is my bond”). Player who agreed to play really come up to play, organizer who agreed to organize chess tournament did not cancel the tournament last minute and office bearer who promised to issue letter or return call, really do so….I think this is what we need.

As a banker I worked in highly regulated environment. Bank Negara Guidelines, Securities Commission Guidelines, bank’s endless manuals, policies and Standard Procedures, several Malaysia’s Acts that we need to know, a few international Regulations that Malaysia has signed that we need to comply..and yes, Code of Ethics too. In banking sector we need all these since we are dealing with other people money and the action or inaction could affect economy/country but for chess, I do not want this in my beloved chess kingdom. I would rather have it less regulated. I want to enjoy chess and not legalese chess.

In General
Unlike this posting (which to me, is quite serious), below posting is generally my a tongue in cheek posting that should be read casually and if at the end the posting, it elicit a smile on the face of the reader, I am happy. If reader puts comment for immortality feedback, I am very happy and of course if reader shows the appreciation of the article by clicking on the colourful nuffnang advertisement, I will be very, very happy. :)

Anyway, thanks again Raymond for your feedback and additional input on my posting.


  1. My pleasure Ilham, I too enjoy your tongue in cheek articles. Anyway to very quickly cover some of your comments above, let me first say that the comment that opening is 60% of winning was quoted from GM Ziaur. I believe he is talking about real opponents of the same level or higher and not rybka. Against lower level opponents I find that almost all openings will work against them. :)

    Code of conduct is important if we want our chess to move to the next level. There is too much destructive behaviour in our chess community today. Even if it is just to enforce the FIDE handbook. We need to decide here. If we want our chess to remain at the hobby level then lets not pressurise the kids to perform for medals. If we want medals then lets do something to upgrade ourselves.

    Thank you for your response. All my best.

  2. Ilham (& Raymond),

    The clash of ideas against Tarrasch's dogmatism created the Hypermoden systems.

    Chess (and the rest of us) benefited from input of different ideas (my point).. :)

  3. Dear Raymond/Abdooss,
    Lets find strength in our diversity (of opinions/backgrounds/roles/ideas)

  4. Yes. Let it be a contest of ideas and systems in an open and healthy manner. Sabotage is not the way forward.