You may have heard a lot of talk in the past few months about young players such as David Smerdon (Qld), Geoff Saw (Vic) and Zong-Yuan Zhao (NSW). The rumor was that they were becoming very good players, not just on a junior level, but competing at an adult level.

Junior over the years have made
attempts to break into the top 4 or 5
rankings in Australia, however usually
unsuccessfully. The Olympiad team
today is very similar to that of the
1970’s! There has been a general feeling
that this is on the brink of change, that a
new generation of players is emerging.
We are not talking about 7 or 8 year
olds who know how to play chess, their
time is still far away, and much can
happen in that time. We are talking
about the teenagers who are now
regularly defeating the top players in the
country.
There is a report later in this magazine
about the Zonal Championships, but I
would like to congratulate David
Smerdon for finishing in second place
(with 6/9) and earning himself the title
of International Master! Also to Geoff
Saw (scoring 5/9) and Zong-Yuan Zhao
(4.5/9) who both received the title of
FIDE Master for their outstanding play.
As I have said time and again it should
be our aim to produce world class chess
players, not when they are 10 years old,
but when they are 16 or 18. Only a very
small percentage of players continue to
play chess regularly once they enter
high-school, and an even smaller percentage once they reach VCE or
tertiary studies. Our primary aim is to
keep the kids playing chess once they
are teenagers, only then will we achieve
our goal of producing some world class
players.
My hope is that with one outstanding
example in each state (Smerdon, Saw &
Zhao) others will be inspired to continue
chess. It is interesting to see that none of
the 3 talents I have been talking about
ever received regular coaching. They
became good because they love the
game. Perhaps as coaches we should be
encouraging kids to love chess rather
than to work hard at their chess?

I would like to have more input in this
magazine from children, parents,
coaches, anyone. In order to assist with
this I will be offering $10 to the author
of each published article. Annotated
games published will earn you $5.
After your next tournament go home
and write an interesting report. Things
which are funny, or have an interesting
angle will be more likely to be
published. Write an article about chess
clubs, coaching, or even just a letter to
the editor discussing a particular issue.
-David Cordover

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