I am most heartened when 11 out of my 13 students who took part in 3 or more competitions last year achieved more than 30 pts increase in their ratings (one of my 2011 resolutions). What's even more heartening is that 5 of them had over 100 pts increase in their ratings for the year, excluding the one who had received his rating only in 2012.
Royce Tan (at left) is my player of the year for 2012. Starting with me in Jan 2012, he has persevered having to relearn a new opening repertoire which took months to ingest and finally the results piled in towards the last quarter, with great performance ratings for the Penang Open where he finished 1st in the U10 category, the National Age Group 2012 where he was 4th and the recently concluded New Generation tournament where he was also 4th in the Pearl Section. A 265 rating haul in a single year is also a phenomenon for me in my career as a chess coach and I am most proud of him. He has matured a lot in his play, though more work on positional play is required to rein in the necessary wins from equal positions. Tactically he has no fears and is often able to spot winning moves when one least expects. We are going to higher sights as he is now ranked only behind Alfred Chua in his age-group.
Mitchell Han has done well again this year, even more so as I have stopped lessons with him about 8 months ago knowing full well that he is motivated and equipped to help himself. His 286 point gain comes amidst a change of opening repertoire and re-orientation of the usual positions that he plays. Though he started with a more aggressive White opening repertoire, I have advised him to switch to a more positional one as he now appreciates the positional finesses after modelling himself to the games of Karpov and Capablanca. Changes and tweaks are often necessary when a player's preference for positions are no longer applicable and here lies the biggest challenge to any chess coach - How not to make carbon copies of yourself amongst your students.For that, deep analysis of the style of your student to spot and rectify any weaknesses is necessary.
Adrian's rating reached a high of 1502 before dropping back to the present due to his lackedaisal performance in the NAG. Potentially he is capable of better results but poor preparation and poor discipline robbed him of better results. We will have to work on that for 2013 should he see significant progress in overcoming his self-doubt.
Shi Hao (who did his PSLE this year and only made a comeback in November) were impressive in the NAG having drawn his nemesis Ashvin Sivakumar though from a losing position. He would need to work harder in understanding his new repertoire by more personal analysis of his games. I am also stopping lessons with him as he has officially graduated with top honours in chess apart from his excellent PSLE score.
Though I do not train Jonah individually, this boy has managed to fuel his passion in chess on his own and truly deserved his rating gain. I do wish that more of my students were like him in his hunger for success. He has beaten Eugene Wee, Tin JingYao in rapid games but did not do so well at the Cairnhill tournament
THE YEAR AHEAD
The following rankings show where my students currently stand amongst the top players in their age group:
Thus their goals for 2013 is to aim towards improving their rankings over their peers. Parents can now gauge for themselves what it will take to make the necessary adjustments in schedule and also in managing their children to strive for better results in 2013. I am ready to work even harder this year to see that they get their wishes fulfilled. But that is only my part. I need every student willing to make sacrifices in terms of less TV, less computer games and doing more for their chess before any measurable success can be achieved. Discipline, consistent hard work and practice can yield results if you believe in it , believe in yourself that you can do it.