Sunday, May 27, 2012

COMMENTS FROM CHESS PARENTS

Rather than conduct a survey, I invite all chess parents reading the blog to air their opinions on the current state of chess training here in Singapore.

You are most welcome to state what's right, or wrong, or what can be improved upon. I am sure this feedback will go a long way for chess trainers to improve themselves.

Anonymous comments are welcomed. Please stick to the topic, thank you.

32 comments:

  1. "I think it is only fair that one should stand by one own's opinion and be identified with it too. My blog is a platform for healthy exchange of ideas, not bickering. So once you know who you are, it becomes easy to note your views and difference of opinion. I do not expect everyone to be converted to the views of others, we can always agree to disagree."- John Wong.

    "Anonymous comments are welcomed." - John Wong

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  2. Dear John,

    Is it true that only children training with Intchess get selected to play for our country? We don't see any other children trained by other chess coaches or schools getting selected. Mr Watson complained bitterly about this to some of us before, naming many talented youungsters that went through his training.

    Thank you for hosting a brave chess blog.

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    1. I do not think that is accurate. Children from other training schools such as Chesskidz and Powerchess are selected to represent Singapore. I think Mr. Wong wants comments about chess training. I believe chess training in Singapore suffers from lack of proper information about what chess training is about and what is expected of chess trainers whether based in a chess school/academy or individuals. Parents also do not have enough information to determine if a chess trainer is properly qualified to coach chess players. What is the basis for someone to be called a chess trainer? If you look around at the various Singapore chess trainers they come with such a variety of biodata, that a parent has no idea if that person would be a capable chess coach. You have IMs, GMs including WIMs in their 20s as well as non-titled persons all claiming to be chess trainers. If it is by years of coaching is how a chess trainer is judged, then parents really have no idea but to try their luck and hope a particular chess trainer is competent, which in a sense is unfair to the trainee and the parents.

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    2. i agree with anon 10:01. Very difficult for me to find out about the different chess trainers and how good they are. some more it is not cheap for chess training. somebody should make the list of trainers for parents to see.

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    3. A directory of chess trainers is of course beneficial, but I believe the SCF only lists FIDE accredited trainers in their website. For those who do not possess that, I guess we can only resort to Google to get a feel for who's doing chess training.

      The best gauge of a trainer I guess is to look at the results of his students.

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    4. I remember 2 school teachers in the 80's, Mr Khoo Geak Chong and Mr Chiam Hock Poh, who were not titled players but they brought up a bunch of 2000 rated juniors such as Kek Wei Chuan,Goh Wei Ming,Lau Keng Boon, Chua Han Wei plus Ong Yew Chiang,Chua Choon Seng. They were passionate in the game and motivated their charges to excel. As for myself, my earlier posts mark my involvement with RI in the early 80s which produced National Champions like Derek Heng and Terry Toh.

      I have not believed that you'd need to be a titled player to teach chess well. Knowledge of chess is important but more importantly, the chemistry between a student and teacher counts more.

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  3. It's NOT true that only Intchess children get selected to represent Singapore. But it is true that only children from the National Junior Squad (NJS) get selected to represent Singapore. These NJS children can be trained privately under other chess schools like Intchess, Power Chess or Chesskidz.

    Not sure if it's a tactic by SCF to get more children to enrol into NJS (NJS is not funded by the SCF, and need to pay SCF to attend NJS). Also, not sure why SCF would insist on children in NJS to use their recommended opening, not sure what good will it do for our children to have the SAME standard opening across the entire squad. Can some chess trainers or chess experts shed some light on this practice of SCF, please?

    Further, I find that the NJS is not sufficient training for the chess children alone. To be efffective, SCF recommends that the NJS children go for private 1-1 lessons with their SCF trainers or attend the holiday lessons or weekly group lessons conducted by SCF....Roughly how much time should a kid spend on chess to be improving?

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    1. As for the coming Singapore Youth International in August, all players are invited. Non NJS participants get to pay more.

      As for the practice of the SCF on adopting the Sicilian Defence, my views are expressed in my March 2010 post below

      http://www.chessfood4thought.blogspot.com/2010_03_01_archive.html

      I find it strange that the NJS training of 4 hrs a week is in your view not sufficient. My students spend 1.5 hrs max a lesson weekly, go online to play 2 games of 15min a day. I would think children in Singapore do not have the luxury of spending more than 6 hrs a week on any 1 activity, given the demands of schoolwork and tuition.

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    2. I agree with Anon 11:01 that it is strange children in NJS must use a fixed opening. I do not play chess but when talking to trainers or even reading Mr Wong blog different players have different openings because of their playing style. So why have 1 type of opening? I think a list of trainers is good but who to do it. SCF cannot as they will only recognize FIDE trainers.

      Mr Wong says google, but that is very difficult as how many Singapore trainers tell you who are their trainees and how good they are. Mr Wong is experienced to know, but what about parents who never play chess? Maybe trainers should take some recognized certificate? I saw on a Singapore website where a trainer has a diploma in chess. So maybe no need title or being champion but must have some recognized certificate?

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  4. The junior squad system of only allowing the trainee's to play the Sicilian defence has its pro's and cons. For example, it helps to build a fighting pirit and a never-say-die attitude, due to the sharp nature of the positions arising from these openings. On the other hand, if trainees who do not have a private coach encounter a non-sicilian defence to their e4 or some obscure sicilan sideline in international tournaments, they will not be able to counter it effectively.

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  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. I am editing this comment to remove the attack on Watson. Will the author (you know who you are) please do not make personal attacks on any chess coach or official from this point on. If you have a grouse please do not air it here, as it can be defamatory and I do not wish to be responsible for it.

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    2. Hello....Hello.... First I want to say is " DON'T TALK ABOUT THE PASS "or " HOW GOOD YOU ARE LAST TIME " We talk "NOW"
      ... how to improve chess in Singapore. I believe all parents wants their kids to put on the Singapore Flag T-shirt or Jacket with Singapore Flag..
      Well, very simple.. you all should know how and where to let you kid able to wear the Singapore Flag T-shirt. Just go and submit your child name, pay the fees and enroll him into the squad, Whether only one opening, so what... Think what you want first .... the Singapore Flag T-shirt..... then continue your own private training... is a win win case...

      Just like other sport coaches... the minimum requirement... a recognized related qualification, certificate is a must.. I strong feel that the SCF too flexible, never check their qualification.

      As for chess should be title and rating, which now world recognized FIDE.. Can a good, experience talker, without a qualification or certificate to teach in school ?? if can ps let me know...

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    3. If the formation of the National Junior Squad promotes the mentality that one can "buy" into it by just paying the fees, that would be a sad day for meritocracy in chess. I wonder if this happens in other sports?

      I do not blame the author for exploiting the system to add whatever accolades to the child's report book (if it really helps in getting a better secondary school) by paying. It is the system that should be questioned in this case. As Anon May 28, 2012 11:01 PM questioned the rationale of having a huge NJS (kind of like a super huge member football team) when the focus should be on the elite few.

      As to the emphasis on academic chess qualifications before one becomes a trainer, I shall answer it in a full post.

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  6. I agree with the point that there should be chemistry between the trainer and student. Just like in any sport or coordinated efforts, the interaction between the 2 parties resulting in a catalyst for better play can be truly enjoyable and beneficial. However, this might be a case of trial and error with each trainer.

    I've heard/seen of trainers going above and beyond to coach a student, and also those that take it as a job within the time allocated. The chinese saying "ying cai si jiao"..teaching based on the student's talents might be useful. If the student has an interest, is willing and has time to put in the training efforts, or is talented, then the trainer might consider adapting the teaching methods accordingly. Just my 2 cents.

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  8. Don't badmouth good Watson.
    He cares about his students, and even his student's mothers when they travel together.
    Watson's better students can beat many of the national players but were never selected to pray for Suungapore.
    Just ask the defeated.

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  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. Sorry, profanities are not tolerated in my blog.

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  11. As all comments are anonymous, I don't think it is fair to take a potshot at naming owners of the above comments to someone you know if you choose not to identify yourself as well. Hence insinuating comments with names mentioned without any identity cannot be published.

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  12. I wrote on Jun 3, 12:32pm. I'm Peter Lim, actually I'm not a chess player or parents or trainer.



    My sister ask me to bring her son for few competition in some CC. So I came to heard something about SCF, Junior Squad and some others trainers, some so aggressive and "kia soo" parents how they want their kids to be..

    I'm not going personal against Mr. Watson. Reason being that I do not know him at all. But I heard a lot of parents talking about him, of course good and bad.. that's why I throw a question, who is he.. why he was not helping the country to grow the players unless he from others country...

    Sorry if I use the wrong words in my last comment....

    By the way.. will the local chess trainer register themselves in SCF ? and actually how many chess trainer in Singapore ? ( Qualify by the world or just only Singapore )

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    1. Congrats Peter for being the first one to own up to your comments!

      There is no need for harsh tones to be used on someone that you do not know. I understand your intent but it can be put in a more polite way.

      You ask why did Watson not step into National Training, especially when he's Singaporean? Should we not promote our local training talents when they can do the job?

      I cannot answer of course, but if Watson has read your comments, I welcome him to come forward to express his views. What I am more curious is, why did SCF not initiate getting Watson to help or at least accredit him as a good trainer (even if he has never attended the FIDE trainer's course)?

      As I have mentioned in earlier comments, not everyone blogs about chess training like I do. SCF is only interested in FIDE trainers or those who have attended the official FIDE training course. So others like myself are not invited. Therefore we have no choice but to promote ourselves through our own means.

      Watson is well known as his students have won prizes in competitions local and abroad. Hence I maintain that the best way to select a trainer is to view the results of his students and talk to him/her personally to understand his/her training philosophy. May be tedious, but I guess a good trainer is almost like a good doctor..the benefit is priceless.

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  13. If only one declares at the start his/her real identity,there wouldn't be imposters passing off comments as his/her own. This is really sad.

    I have decided to moderate all comments from now on before your comments are published. Please include your name if you wish to see your comments publish or I will have no choice to delete them.

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  14. I agreed what you mention that a good trainer just as good as a doctor. But doctor... need qualification and recognized by government department.

    Now, Property agent, Insurance Agent, previously no need to have licensed or taking any examination to certify them, but how, even to bring customer to view house only, need to certify by some department before you can bring them to view house, otherwise you will be punish. ( Check reason newspaper regarding a gent without licensed to bring customer to view property).

    Well in Singapore, when some jobs started to attract by the people (in chess maybe foreigner), I hope the government department will first protect our local trainer first..And again, you still need to submit all related documents to get a license to coach chess in Singapore.

    By the way, any where to obtain a name list of the Chess trainer in Singapore ?whether local or foreigner.


    From Peter Lim

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  15. Hi, I need help her. My 6 year old has been with SCF and completed intermediate. However, I am still not seeing much improvement and I feel other than the national junior squad, there is nothing great about SCF, especially so with the trainers as they do not seem to produce "quality students". Also, the trainer said my boy has no talent when he compared my boy with the older kids in the class, making me quite upset with the remark and I am thinking if I should stop my boy from learning chess. However, my boy said he loves playing and want to continue the lesson. I am not sure if I should let my child continue the lesson with SCF (next level is development 1) or consider another school. The only thing good about SCF is its location. Should I consider personal trainer for my boy? Appreciate your kind feedback.

    Thanks in advance!!


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    1. Please call me at 97985479 and we take this matter offline, thanks.

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  16. Hi, I came across this blog while trying to find another chess centre for my 6 years old son to continue his passion in chess.
    My son started to learn chess more than 1 year ago with a chess centre located in the eastern region of singapore. Initially, he had a very good filipino lady as his instructor. Unfortunately, he was then taught by a young singaporean guy (doing part time) for his subsequent courses.That was then we realised he made no improvement at all and we are simply wasting our time and money. Therefore, we had withdrawn him from that school and have been looking around for another. so far, it has been a few months but we couldn't find another sch which is nearby. it's a pity but I find that that school was simply making money out of us rather than really putting effort in training my son.

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  17. Hi,
    My son is 6yrs old and very much interested to learn chess.Can you kindly suggest from where to start?We live in west coast area.

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  18. Hi,
    I have a 5yo son. We play chess once in a while at home and we noticed that he seems to catch on the rules of the games real fast and can even beat adult novice/ beginner at times. We thought he may have flair for chess and maybe better to send him for training rather than learning it from his parents.

    Any advice where we can send him to from chess training/lessons? We don't mind the travelling.

    Thank you :)

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. You can consider SCF classes?

      http://www.singaporechess.org.sg/training-courses/scf-chess-courses

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