This blogger is on the morning shift today with kids at the regular Insofar meet in KL. The system is cool in that it pits players across all ages whilst awarding prizes by age and other groups. It also has a scheme to encourage kids to continue tournament play with a 'scholarship' that pays for playing beyond a first few tourneys.
But what moved me to blog on today wasn't the program but my joy at seeing my kids joining the vibrant community of Chess players in the country. Whilst still very much centred around their school, they have progressively become tournament regulars around KL, such that even my standard 2 boy was familiarly greeted by an adult upon registration.
The space for growth of Chess has transcended beyond the schools system and the formal Youth & Sports Ministry setup, with enthusiasts and players finding interested sponsors for significant events. Nevertheless, a common thread of quality and merit unites the community, as games translate to where one sits in the national ranking.
It is amazing how much can go wrong with a sport in Malaysia. Our underperforming football team, such that recent regional successes were inordinately celebrated, and now troublingly shallow pool of successors to Datuk LCW are the more obvious examples. However, with Chess, I at least see value in the community keeping the game as it should be in Malaysia.