ACF Bulletin No. 18 - 23
[Please address any responses to Graeme at firstname.lastname@example.org]
NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN
I have made arrangements with State Presidents for meetings in each state
on the following dates to discuss the National Development Plan:
Friday 2 July Canberra
Saturday 3 July Sydney
Sunday 4 July & Monday 5 July Melbourne
Tuesday 6 July Hobart
Wednesday 7 July Adelaide
Thursday 8 July Perth
Tuesday 13 July Brisbane
If you are very interested in the future of Australian chess and would like
a say in the formation of the plan, may I suggest that you contact your
State President and ask to attend the relevant meeting. Most meetings will
be held in the late afternoon or evening. The main reason for staying two
days in Melbourne is that the Australian Masters is on at that time.
NATIONAL CHESS ACADEMY
I had a meeting with my local Federal MP, Margaret May, on Friday. We are
both finding it frustrating that we have not been able to find out about
funding for the Academy in the budget. Apparently Jacky Kelly, like all
ministers, has been virtually off the planet in the last week or so.
Naturally we are a little nervous that we haven't heard any good news.
However, if it's bad news, I'm very encouraged by Margaret's attitude. "We
WILL get the academy" said Margaret on Friday. Precisely my sentiments. I
must say, though, that I would much rather be putting my energies into
setting up the academy than having to do all this lobbying.
Upcoming events in the Grand Prix are the Gold Coast Open 19/20 June, Noosa
Open 26/27 June and Taree Open 26/27 June.
Speaking for my own club, the Gold Coast Open promises to be one of our
best yet. Confirmed entrants include Ian Rogers, Darryl Johansen, Laszlo
Hazai and Gary Lane. Other likely entrants are Zong-Yuan Zhao, Laura
Moylan, Manuel Weeks and locals David Smerdon, Aleks Wohl, Stephen Solomon,
Andrew Allen and Craig Duxbury (Craig has just moved into the Gold Coast
region and has commenced coaching in the schools). Several other players
rated over 2000 are possible entrants. I have no doubt that most of these
will play in Robert Hochstadt's Noosa Open also. Gold Coast Chess Week will
be a boon for Gold Coast chess students as they will get a week of coaching
from Rogers, Hazai and Lane on top of their normal coaching from our
regular coaches Andrew Allen, Kerry Corker, Craig Duxbury, Evan Jones and
Last week Andrew Allen appealed for someone to assist with the recording of
the 1999 Grand Prix results. I'm pleased to say that a Gold Coast member
has stepped forward. Ingrid Thompson will be doing this and is also
volunteering a day a week of her time in my office. Many thanks Ingrid!
More correspondence this week on the zonal and the Swiss Pairings issue is
still very much alive. My thanks to all correspondents for their
constructive contributions to various issues. Next week I hope to wrap up
the zonal debate with correspondence from Michael Freeman (New Zealand Vice
President of the region), myself and anyone else who would like to have
GARY BEKKER, ACF Deputy President and Oceanic Zonal Championship Arbiter,
Response to P. Parr's comments in ACF Bulletin No 16
I generally agree with Peter Parr's assertion that it is of dubious value
to Australian chess to give away "easy" FIDE titles. I also agree that it
may have been preferable to run the Zonal tournament as a round robin
tournament, if sufficient cash sponsorship had been available. However, I
believe that there are several factual errors in the article, which he
published in ACF Bulletin No 16. I would like to correct them and address
other points which were made.
(1) Mr Parr stated that this is the world's first open Zonal tournament and
that "English players rated 2550 are not allowed in the Zonal".
The 1999 Oceanic Zonal Championships was not the first or only Zonal
tournament to be held as an open Swiss event. Other Zonal tournaments have
used an open Swiss format, one recent example being the 1993 Dublin Zonal
for zone 1.1a (England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and Guernsey). Anybody
who could raise the 150 pounds entry fee was allowed to play. In that
event, there were 56 participants, 16 were unrated, and the average FIDE
rating was 2301. Of the 17 players who scored 6.5 points or more, to finish
in the top places, four were below 2300. In fact a total of 11 players
under 2300 gained the FM title, one of whom was an unrated player.
While it may be the case that English players now have to be over 2550 to
compete in their Zonal tournament, that was not always the case. I am
confident that as chess in our zone develops, our minimum entry standards
will also rise accordingly.
(2) Mr Parr stated "It was not possible for any Australian to score an IM
norm in the zonal."
Of the three players who scored sufficient points to earn the IM title, V.
Feldman and D. Smerdon performed above 2450, sufficient to score an IM-norm
had they played the required number of foreign participants. With one GM
and four IMs, together with three foreigners from different countries,
competing at the Zonal tournament, it is untrue to say that it was not
possible to earn IM-norms in the tournament.
(3) Mr Parr suggested that the 26 move draw played in Saw - Weeks was
plagiarised from the "original" Khalifman - Savchenko.
The variation played in this game is a well known theoretical line which
can end in one of several draws published in ECO, MCO, BCO, NCO and other
opening monographs on the Sicilian Dragon. It has been played by GM Kudrin
on many occasions over a number of years. The variation played in Saw -
Weeks has also been played in the games Gobet - Kudrin 1988 and Bryson -
Manor 1989. Very similar variations were played in the games DeFirmian -
Kudrin 1988, Reyes - Kudrin 1989 and Longson - Konakanchi 1998. Is Mr Parr
suggesting that all of these players have in some way also cheated? Perhaps
Mr Parr would also like to discredit the players who drew, after playing
the first five moves of the Giuoco Piano, because they were copying from
the 17th century player Gioachino Greco?
During the tournament I spent considerable time observing the players, both
during their games and away from the board, and I was given no reason to
suspect the sort of collusion between G. Saw and M. Weeks which Mr Parr
suggests took place. Manuel Weeks is a regular Dragon player and both
players know each other's opening repertoire quite well. It would therefore
not surprise me, at all, to learn that both players had independently
reviewed the lines of the Dragon prior to the game.
(4) Mr Parr pointed out that competitors were given the opportunity to gain
"soft" FM titles by playing in the Zonal.
This problem was discussed, at length, with FIDE officials and the chairman
of the FIDE Titles Commission before the event. These people were aware of
that likelihood and accepted it as part and parcel of creating the new
Mr Parr stated that some chess officials in NSW incorrectly explained that
FIDE has a deliberate policy of giving away "easy" FM titles to
"developing" countries like Australia. I personally have never suggested
this and don't know of anybody else who has.
(5) Mr Parr stated "I understand the SwissPerfect pairing program ... was
used for pairings in the Zonal ..". He also raised concerns about the
pairing Wallace - Solomon in round 7.
Pairings at the Zonal were performed manually, not by SwissPerfect as Mr
Parr suggests. The arbiters did have access to SwissPerfect, and other
pairing programs, during the tournament and made use of these to assist in
the production of tournament reports.
IM Solomon, the top seed on 3/6 and due Black, had played all other players
due White in the same score group, apart from IM Wallace. That is why these
players were paired together. It would also have been possible to pair
players in the top half of the score group against only those from the
bottom half, at the expense of creating colour imbalances. This becomes a
matter of interpretation of the pairing rules and Mr Parr is welcome to
discuss these further at the appropriate forums.
I would like to thank Peter Parr for his feedback regarding the Zonal
tournament and have been delighted by the level of interest his comments
have generated. I would also like to thank the others who have sent written
responses for publication in the ACF bulletins. Through the use of forums
such as this, I can only hope that Australian chess will improve as both
players and organisers, alike, share their ideas and opinions.
JACOB EDWARDS <email@example.com>
As usual, I'm speaking from a relatively uninformed position, but a few
The titles awarded at the Zonal may or may not be 'soft', but they are
nevertheless LEGITIMATE. By my understanding, FIDE approved the format
before the Zonal, and confirmed this approval afterwards. Certain people
may not agree with what happened, but there is no use complaining AFTER THE
(2) THOSE WHO HAVE COME BEFORE
Yes, some people have been trying for many years without success to earn
titles the 'hard way'. One has to wonder, then, why these people did not
attend the Zonal. Was it the expense? The time involved? I should imagine
that the Zonal was neither more expensive nor more time-consuming than
traveling overseas to compete. (Perhaps we should ask Max Leskiewicz for
his thoughts when he returns?)
(3) DEVALUING THE TITLES
If devaluing FM and IM titles is a crime, then there are quite a few titled
players with some answering to do. Should Solomon and Wallace be STRIPPED
OF THEIR IM TITLES for under-achievement in this supposedly weak event?
Should titled players earn a DE-NORM for every time they lose to a club
hacker? I would suggest that the only people devaluing titles are those who
are complaining publicly about the Zonal.
TIMOTHY REILLY <firstname.lastname@example.org>
As everyone else is putting in their two cents worth on the zonal, I
suppose I might as well do the same.
As to those who qualified for the IM titles, I do not think there is any
sensible argument against them receiving them. They are all good players
who played exceptionally good tournaments, including in the case of Irena
Feldman and Smerdon winning last round games against other players playing
for the titles (myself and Laird respectively). It is quite unfair to
suggest that they should not be entitled to the fruits of victory, which in
another context might have been substantial prize money, but in this one
was the title.
I am less sanguine about those who qualified for the FM title, but again it
seems unfair to blame these players for claiming what they are entitled to.
I completely agree with Chris Depasquale that the so-called "Feeble Master"
title is not worth having, and the only aspect of the matter that really
annoys me is that some Australian tournaments eg Doeberl this year have
offered a reduced entry fee for FMs. This is simply playing along with
FIDE and giving the FM title a reward it does not deserve; and it creates a
financial incentive for those (like me) who have long been eligible for the
title to pay FIDE the money for it just so as to get reduced entry fees,
even though the club of FMs is not one I wish to join. I hope the results
of the zonal causes a rethink among those tournament organisers who
mistakenly think the FM title is worth a discounted entry fee - if they
wish to offer a discount of this nature then it should be something like
players with a FIDE rating over 2300, and just ignore the title completely.
As for the structure of the zonal, well it's not our fault that the Asian
countries wanted to hold zonals that could exclude Ian Rogers! I
personally think that the zonal should continue to stay open, both because
it is invidious to exclude players from tournaments in general, and because
if weaker players wish to pay a substantial entry fee to play then this is
a useful means of financing the tournament. I recognise that the precise
circumstances of the zonal this year led to some easy pairings near the end
for certain players who were playing for the FM title, but since everyone
knows that the FM title is worthless then there's no real harm done. No-one
playing for the IM title got an easy ride.
As a final comment, I believe Andrew Allen played a quick draw against a
weaker player in the last round to finish half a point below the score that
got the FM title. I must say this is a symbolic protest I quite admire.
The following exchange between myself and Andrew took place after the last
round (where I would have got the IM title if I'd beaten Irena): "Andrew, I
thought you said you were going to give up chess if Smerdon got the IM
title" "Yeah, but I changed my mind: I was going to give up chess if YOU
got the IM title" It was only later that I realised the best response:
"Funnily enough, I was going to give up chess if you got the FM title!"
HILTON BENNETT <email@example.com> re: NZ North
Is. Chess Championship
I had the pleasure of travelling from NZ in January and playing in the
Australian Open, and the QVB Qantas Challenge, and thoroughly enjoyed the
hospitality of the Australian chess scene. As the organiser of this year's
North Island Chess Championship in NZ I am now in a position to offer some
NZ chess hospitality to Australian players in return.
The North Island Ch. is generally the strongest tournament in NZ each year
after the NZ Championship, and the profile of the tournament is being
increased further this year by running it as a FIDE Rated event. This
year's tournament will be played in two grades. The Championship Grade
will be an 8 Round FIDE Rated tournament for players rated NZCF 1900 or
over, or FIDE 2000 or over. The Reserve Grade will be an 8 Round tournament
run concurrently open to players rated below NZCF 1900. Time controls are
40 moves in 1 hour 45 mins. and 30 minutes guillotine.
The event will be run over five days from 5th to 9th of July in Hamilton
(120km south of Auckland), and will be preceded by a 6 round North Is.
Rapid Championship (30/30) on Sunday 4th July. The various events will
have a total prize fund of NZ$3,500. Discounted accommodation packages are
available at the tournament venue, the Hillcrest Lodge Motor Inn.
Australian players wishing to play have various airline options to fly to
Auckland , or can fly direct to Hamilton from Sydney or Brisbane with the
Air NZ charter airline Freedom Air. Hamilton is also within easy travel
distance of a range of interesting tourist destinations.
I am happy to provide further information and entry details to anyone who
contacts me at my email address: firstname.lastname@example.org or my postal
address: Hilton Bennett, P.O. Box 604, Hamilton, New Zealand
I would be most grateful for any publicity that you are able to give this
event through your ACF Newsletter or any other means, and would welcome the
participation of Australian players.
LARRY ERMACORA <email@example.com> re:
Hope you don't mind my meddling in this, but I have had a long-standing
interest in computerised pairings. Protos was the first one tried in the
1989-90 Australian Championship in Sydney at my initiative. I was then Sec
or Deputy Pres of ACF.
On the ACF Committee of Robert Colquhuon I was in fact given the job of
looking at computer pairing programs (at my instigation) but no progress
was made, Council being burdened with too many other problems.
I am now only marginally interested in this.
I have now sent your comments and Thad Suits' to Christian Krause who as
you know is the chairman of the FIDE Swiss pairings committee (as well as
the author of Protos).
In past years I have spoken on the phone and written to both Suits and
Krause. I have also had some contact with Robert Rozycki, though I have
never used Swiss Perfect. Robert made some critical remarks in the
Australian Chess Magazine about the fact that I appeared to promote SwisSys
(after I switched from Protos).
I have tended to favour the US system as it is backed by better
documentation (the USCF manual and internet updates) and more extensive
practice than is the case with FIDE. The FIDE international experts seem to
come and go and rules have been rather volatile. I also liked the importing
of the players data base in SwisSys (it even allows for swiping players'
cards as you know), an important consideration in speeding up on-site entries.
I have virtually donated my lap-top computer, printer, SwisSys and
documentation to the NSWJCL who have been using it for over two and a half
years now and appear satisfied it does a good job.
I commend the ACF for trying to standardise computer pairings in Australia
and it will be very good if the rating system can be linked in as they do
I thought that one ought to give the authors of the programs a chance to
have a say before the final selection is made.
Have a great week.
President, Australian Chess Federation
C/- Somerset College, Somerset Drive, Mudgeeraba Q 4213
Phone 07 5530 3777 (w) 07 5530 5794 (h) Fax 07 5525 2676 (w)