Saturday, March 17, 2012


Let me add a bit what IM Jimmy has wrote here about GM Anand's now famous quote

"Nowadays, when you are not a GM at 14 you can forget about it"

In life there are 2 major lines of thinking. The first is the one who followed everything to the letter, "you drove above speed limit, here! RM300 fine because law said so, your IC and driving license...." and the second one, those who used judgment, see the bigger picture, used discretion to evaluate things before deciding on the next course of action "you drove above speed limit to send your about-to-deliver wife to hospital...ok, no fine, quick! i will escort and clear the road for you..."

Ok maybe there is 3rd line of thinking...never mind, maybe next time...

My point is we should not take Anand's quoatation word by word, should be seen together with the reasons why Anand say that, which unfortunately we did not know. However, I believe it is Anand's response to question like "At what age we can determine whether a chess player is World Champ's material?" or something like that...definitely i think the question is not "Mr Anand, what is your advice to Malaysian chess junior?"

We should not be the extremist and takes this quotation verbatim. After all many other GMs said "worst" such as Nigel Short who has once said "Chess is ruthless: you've got to be prepared to kill people". Is it fair it we bandied around Short's short (sorry, could not resist that!) quote above by saying only killer makes a good chess player because Short said so? We understand what Short mean with his quotation the way we should understand Anand's quotation is not meant to discourage young chess player.

Anand's quoatation is more to reflect the changes in time (Super GM are getting younger and younger...), the more competitive nature of chess now and his realistic view of quest for a World Champ's title etc.

It is sad when GM Anand's (arguably the most well mannered sportsman in chess) quotation is towed around to show as an example of how Malaysian chess society tried to dampen the spirit of its youngsters.

It is totally not the case.


  1. and I still think we don't have a GM because we are afraid to take the plunge, to focus on the quest.. that's why I fully support IM Mas's decision to quit his daily job (though only he has to bear the consequences).. he may or may not be successful, but at least he tried and showed the way.. and does not waste his time arguing in the www (No offence, Ilham). You go Mas!

  2. On the other hand, Anand's quote makes sense to me.

    In a time when information about chess is plenty, there are really no more secrets left in terms of chess knowledge. Chessbase and an engine are about the 2 main tools one needs plus the time required to analyse all the important games to know what to do in critical conditions. Nerves and stamina can be worked on, but then again not everyone can be blessed with strong nerves and good health.
    Finally there is the x-factor - eccentricity which one finds in almost all the GMs in that they can forsake many things just to pursue their goals. But that's still secondary to the fact that you can gather all the chess knowledge needed by 14 today and work towards playing enough games to develop your nerves and stamina. So if one doesn't see good results during his/her young years, it is perhaps wise not to pursue the GM title and be content being a strong player. My humble opinion of course..