Our superstars, James Morris and Bobby Cheng had an amazing year. International Master title, Australian titles and finally a World Championship title.
For some this might be enough, time sit back and relax, congratulate each other on a job well done. That’s not Chess Kids’ style. Did Steve Jobs relax when the MacBook came out? What about after iPod or even iPhone? Thank Jobs he didn’t and shortly we’ll have the iPad too.
We have 2 superstars but we need more. We can see the day when there are 20 players at the same level as James and Bobby are now. I guess it is all about setting and achieving goals. We have achieved a goal (U12 World Champion) so now let’s set some new ones – a Grandmaster or five, a Top 10 ranked player, a medal at the Olympiad … and you can only achieve those if there is the player base to support them.
We applaud the individuals who have achieved greatness and without taking anything away from the amount of effort that they have put in to achieve, you must know that this has only become possible now because of the structure and processes in place (see the Player Pathway). It was never in doubt. Someone had to climb to the top of the pile — but that’s as high as you can ever get. You can only be the top of the pile. So we thank the 99,998 players (the pile) who didn’t become James and Bobby, for their love of chess.
Five years ago the top of the pile here in Australia wasn’t good enough to be a World Champion. We remember those Australian’s who came so close, but just missed out on World Championship titles – and there are lots. We’ve seen top 10, top 5, top 3 placings before (does anyone remember Denis Bourmistrov results in 2000 or Raymond Song’s from 2004?)… it was only a matter of time before a World Champion was created. And just think, how high will we reach in another five years?
We have to thank the grass-roots coaches, the schools, the RJ Shield events, the clubs, the Australian Junior and the whole process and structure. James and Bobby are not freaks or one-of-a-kind. They are the natural end result of years of planning, development and growth. They are the first of many to achieve this level of greatness, but we look forward to them being back in the middle of the pack in 3 or 4 years.
Chess Kids has been hugely successful in building the number of grass-roots and school chess players around the country. Over the last few years we’ve been focused on getting huge numbers of players to take a step past school chess and play tournament chess. This has pushed people like James (who started with us when he was 5 years old) to achieve.
This year and next our focus is on Elite players. Our Player Pathway clearly demonstrates the progression from one stage to the next and the strategic and considered approach we take ensures that the question of success is not an “if” but a “when”.
It’s similar to the 4 minute mile. Before Roger Bannister it was impossible. Then 46 days later John Landy broke the 4-minute mile as well. Before Bobby Cheng an Australian World Chess Champion was impossible — now we are looking for our second!
So we’re putting out the call; to get one superstar we need 100 Elite Players. This year we’re asking for just 20 to step forward and be part of the Chess Kids Elite program and dare to dream of being a superstar….
Are you the one who will leapfrog our current Superstars and achieve the next impossible goal?