Reply to Graeme Gardiner <>

ACF Bulletin No. 16 - 9 May, 1999

For some time now many of us have been debating the way forward for
Australian chess. I have now prepared a draft plan and hope to travel
around to all States between 2 and 9 July to discuss with State Presidents
and interested parties the contents of the plan and invite input from
States. This will also give me the chance to drop in on the Australian
Masters in Melbourne which is being held from 28 June to 10 July and once
again sponsored, I believe, by that gregarious philanthropist/casino goer,
Eddy Levi. We look forward to hearing more details from Chris Depasquale
The next ACF Council phone hook up is likely to be on Monday 21 June.
Craig Rose advises that Allinta Rose is on 3.5/7 and Rhys Rakauskas 2.5/7.
It sounds like a great experience for them both.
Andrew Allen and myself on the Gold Coast have always used Swiss Sys but
are now trailing Swiss Perfect. We are finding it very good and would
appreciate as much feedback from users of both systems as soon as possible.
We are keen to purchase a bulk licence as we believe that it will be very
much in the best interests of Australian chess to encourage everyone to use
the same system. Apart from the obvious benefits associated with common
files, transfer of information and ratings etc, computerised pairings
programmes facilitate the easy administration of large junior (and adult)
tournaments and we believe that this is one of the objectives that we
should be striving for.
Mark McKenzie advises that this club has now closed and Internet links are
closed down. If anyone else in Sale is thinking of getting things moving
again, we'd like to hear from you.
The main item of correspondence this week is from Peter Parr and is quite
likely to generate debate. Your input would be appreciated.
Zonal Pre-Amble
By Peter Parr

Many years ago I was fortunate to meet Sir George Thomas who was not only
one of England's greatest players but he was a fine gentleman from a bygone
era having made his first appearance at the Hastings 1895 tournament 104
years ago.

The second gentleman I met was Australia's best player Lajos Steiner. Once
a week for 2 years I visited Steiner's North Shore residence for tea, cakes
and chess analysis.

In the 1920s he was one of the world's leading players defeating
Nimzovitch, Spielman etc and drawing with Capablanca. Steiner had to accept
2nd place at Bradley Beach 1929, however losing only to the genius
Alekhine. By the time he played in the World Championship Interzonal in
Salts Jobaden 1948 he was easily the best Australian but no longer in the
world top 20.

Zonal History

Australia has sent representatives to the world championship qualifying
tournaments regularly since they were introduced in 1948.

The Purdy-Aaron sub zonal playoff match in India and the Berger-Bachtiar
zonal playoff match created enormous publicity between the finest players
of the zonal. IM Berger who still visits my shop regularly played in the
interzonal in Amsterdam 1964. For half a century Australia has sent its
finest players to each of the world championship zonal tournaments.

Sometimes Australia held zonal qualification tournaments or a selection
process was  held. A place in the world title zonal was always regarded as
a great honor and it has always been a great incentive for our strongest
players to raise their standard of play to an ever increasing degree of

The world is divided geographically by the world Chess Federation (FIDE)
into zones and players qualify from the zonals to the next stage of the
world championship.

The FIDE handbook explains in great detail and very precisely over a number
of pages how nations should calculate how many of its best players are
allowed in the zonal.

This is based on number of players over 2600, over 2450 and performance in
the last zonal etc.

Australia's allocation is 3 in the men's zonal and 2 in the women's zonal.

Australia was in the South East Asian zone for 50 years until 1998.

A 67% score in a zonal tournament held in accordance with FIDE regulations
is sufficient for an IM tile and a 50% score sufficient for a FIDE master
title due to the high prestige attached to World Championship zonal
tournaments by FIDE and its affiliated federations.

Due to the high standard of play it is a simple fact that none of
Australia's 3 best players in the entire 50 year period of South East Asian
World Championships zonal tournaments rated below 2450 FIDE has ever become
an international master by scoring 67% in a zonal tournament. It has been
simply too difficult.

Titled Players

Australia (men) has 2 grandmasters, 9 international maters and 17 FIDE
masters. Only one of our international masters was below 2400 FIDE rating
when the title was awarded (automatic title Asian Junior Champion) and
every one of our 17 FIDE masters were at least 2300 as required by FIDE at
the time the titles were awarded.

All our internationally titled players are able to hold their master titles
with pride having completed a large number of games at master level and
fully deserving their international titles awarded by FIDE.

Zone Split

At the Elista 1998 Olympiad FIDE split our 18 nation zone in two - 15 in
one zone and a new sub zone of Australia, New Zealand and FIJI.

While some officials in these 3 Federations have welcomed the creation of a
new sub zone I think it is very bad for Australia.

It is very sad but not surprising that some of our prominent neighboring
federations have supported the idea of creating this new sub zone which
unfortunately is their way of resolving problems that have arisen in a
number of recent zonal tournaments in which Australia participated.

Although their problems become solved it makes it difficult for the new sub

Australia should in my view campaign strongly for FIDE to put us back in a
zone with a reasonable number of neighbouring countries.

All players representing their countries should in future abide by the FIDE
code of ethics (1996).

Zonal 1999

The format of the zonal tournament was vastly different from previous
years. The zonal was open to any players from the 3 federations Australia,
New Zealand and FIJI upon payment of a substantial entry fee in addition to
the six players selected by their federations.

A round robin zonal was in my view the only choice to maintain a reasonable
average rating.

The zone could have disallowed at least 8 of the weakest Australians to
maintain a minimum average rating of 2300 as suggested by a FIDE official.

The World Women's sub-zonal tournament was easily won by the top seed close
to 1800 rated on the Australian list. The winner scored 7.5 out of 10
against her five Australian opponents with an average Australian rating of
1459. Two other players scored 50% and WFM and titles are being claimed.

The winner was the only player of the top 10 women on the Australian rating
list who competed in the event.

Australia is claiming 14 new international titles for Australian players
from the zonals, which attracted 29 players from Australia and three from
overseas. Only three of the 26 Australians rated above 1400 ACF rating
would be untitled if the 14 titles are approved.

Whilst the organisers were happy with the family atmosphere of the zonal
where 14 international titles have been claimed many leading players are
justifiably unhappy.

One of our best and most active players may give up the game. What is the
point of trying to gain an IM title by performing at a 2450 minimum in 3
international events and maintain a FIDE rating of at least 2400 or trying
to gain an FM title from 24 games with a minimum of 2300 he asks?

Another player over 2200 ACF has taken about 8 years to gradually push his
FIDE rating above 2300 with improving results. It was very tough. He was
justly rewarded as a FIDE master for attaining the required standard.

If the FM title is available for club players who beat 2 players below 1400
and score 2.5/7 against players over 1400 and who are all need to share the
points with each other surely this is an absurdity and greatly devalues the
FIDE international title.

None of the 3 Australians claiming IM titles have yet scored any of the 3
IM norms usually required for the IM title or achieved a 2400 rating.

It was not possible for any Australian to score an IM norm in the zonal.

Yesterday a Soviet Master rated over 2400 by FIDE and ACF told me that he
now never wants a FIDE title. In his final norm for Soviet Master he
finished third in a field of 67 Soviet Masters and cherishes his title
gained from his high level of play. No low rated player has ever been a
Soviet Master.

Vlamdimir Feldman won the event a clear point ahead of the field with 7 out
of 9 performing above 2450 and qualifying for the world championship in Las

FIDE on this result and performance rating should in my view confirm the IM
title at the FIDE meeting in QATAR in 2 months.

The following complicated game was played quickly by 2 players with an
average rating of under 2000 Aus in the last round of the 1999 zonal.

[Event "Gold Coast Men's zt"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 O-O 8.
Qd2 Nc6 9. Bc4 Bd7 10. O-O-O Rc8 11. Bb3 Ne5 12. h4 h5 13. Bh6 Bxh6 14.
Qxh6 Rxc3 15. bxc3 Qc7 16. Kb1 Rc8 17. g4 a5 18. gxh5 a4 19. Bd5 Nxd5 20.
exd5 Qxc3 21. hxg6 fxg6 22. Rhg1 Bf5 23. Nxf5 Qxc2+ 24. Ka1 Qc3+ 25. Kb1
Qc2+ 26. Ka1 1/2-1/2

Here is the original:-

[Event "URS-FL56"]
[Site "Simferopol"]
[Date "1988.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Khalifman, Alexander"]
[Black "Savchenko, Stanislav"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B78"]
[WhiteElo "2530"]
[BlackElo "2480"]
[PlyCount "46"]
[EventDate "1988.??.??"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 Nc6 8.
Qd2 O-O 9. Bc4 Bd7 10. h4 Ne5 11. Bb3 h5 12. O-O-O Rc8 13. Bh6 Bxh6 14.
Qxh6 Rxc3 15. bxc3 Qc7 16. Kb1 Rc8 17. g4 a5 18. gxh5 a4 19. Bd5 Nxd5 20.
exd5 Qxc3 21.hxg6 fxg6 22. Rhg1 Bf5 23. Nxf5 Qxc2+ 1/2-1/2

GM Ian Rogers wrote in the Canberra Times on 28th February 1999.

"At present only ten Australians hold the IM title and four the WIM title,
the women's equivalent. Yet if enough amateurs can find the funds to enter
the Oceania Zonal, that number could increase considerably by the end of
April and our population of FIDE Masters explode.

Of course it is very satisfying for a modest tournament player to pick up a
FIDE title, but whether it is a healthy situation for  Australia to join
Burma as the country with the weakest FIDE Masters in the world is quite
another question."

There is a lot of public interest in the zonal.

My phone has been ringing continuously for the last 7 days from chess
players of all standards.

Sub Zonal Summary

Usual number of Australians in Zonal (as per FIDE handbook) - Men 3, Women 2
1999 Zonal - Men  23, Women 6

Standard of play - usual top 3 players available (all 2435+). 1999 open
entry FIDE 2300 or above (FIDE master level or above) 7. Other Aus players
ranked in the top 50 on ACF list = 3 Aus players rated 2012 - 2059 on ACF
list (2077 is N0.50) on the active player list = 5 Aus players ranked below
the top 200 players from the Australian  players on the ACF master file
rating list rated between 1357 and 1975 = 8 Total = 23

6 of the FIDE Master claims are from players ranked outside Australia's top
200 players on the master file and the other 2 of the FM claims are from
players below No.50 on the active players list. Until now all 26 FIDE
titled Australian players were at least 2300 FIDE based on a minimum of 24

According to the zonal 1999 report none of the 8 applicants for FM
performed at 2300 FIDE in the event and none of the 8 applicants have ever
had a 2300 rating.

If the titles are approved by FIDE we will have 6 men's FIDE titled players
ranked outside the top 200 Australians.

All Australians have worked hard for their coveted FIDE titles and many
have been close but failed to earn titles.

Is it reasonable that some of our club players can gain international
titles by winning a few (or only 1) games against players under 1400 and
drawing against others who also need draws to finish on 50%.

If the 8 FIDE masters were approved they would still not be allowed in the
32 player Australian Championship. All 8 are below the lowest ACF limit of
2100. 6 of the new FMs are over 100 points too low to complete in our
national event.

14 year old Smerdon and 12 year old Zhao both scored very well and  with
their talent and hard work have the ability to reach 2600 or beyond. None
of the other 7 FM title applicants could win a single game against any of
the 11 players above 50%.

Some chess officials in NSW have explained that FIDE supports granting FIDE
titles to encourage developing countries. This is not correct. FIDE has no
such policy and Australia has never been in the FIDE CACDEC program for
developing countries. Over 100 countries are ranked below Australia.


I understand the SwissPerfect pairing program not approved by FIDE and
developed in Australia was used for pairings in the Zonal with the arbiter
over-riding the program in extreme cases.

If the program was used in round 7 it is my opinion it should not be used
again. 8 players were on 3 out of 6.

By far the two highest rated players were IMs Solomon and Wallace who
usually would play 2 lower rated players.

In the event Solomon and Wallace were paired and the 5 players on 3/6 who
were aiming for 50% all achieved their target.


I would like to thank the ACF President for the opportunity to express my
views. I understand that the 1999 Zonals were difficult to organise with
only 3 countries. I have been privileged to captain Australia at 6
Olympiads, served 4 years on the FIDE Rules Commission, 4 years on the FIDE
Arbiters commission and have directed many events before and after becoming
a International arbiter in 1978.

I have witnessed on numerous occasions the difficult battles that the
nation's finest players have fought to achieve high FIDE ratings, norms and
titles. A number of players are over 2200 but are not quite strong enough
to gain the FM title.

During the last few years a number of lowly ACF rated players have achieved
COMPARITIVELY high ELO ratings due to Scheveningen type tournaments.

The Australian ratings compiled for every Australian game over a long
period of time updated 3 times a year gives a very accurate indication of
playing strength.

Since my arrival in Australia over 30 years ago my rating has always been
below 2200 but always well above 2000 and I am currently 2077 on the active
players list.

I am not a FIDE master (2300) nor should I be - over 100 points too low.

Not only are the 8 applying for FM titles all rated below me but 6 are more
than 100 below me. (below 1977)

If the club players are awarded lifetime titles usually awarded for chess
masters they will over time regret being a master for life when other club
players inevitably will ridicule their "master" colleague.

How will other countries view our zonal tournament (only England's top 5
super grandmasters are allowed to compete in the zonal)?

English players rated 2550 are not allowed in the zonal yet our zonal was
made open to club players.

Although we were unable to field any of the world's top 560 players it is
amazing that 16 of the 26 players are not even ranked amongst the top
10,000 players on the current world rating list.

How will history judge our sub-zonal?
I have met 7 World Champions from Euwe to Kasparov what would they say? My
old friend Prof Elo would not have been pleased nor should Sir George
Thomas or Lajos Steiner.

In my opinion it will do a lot more harm than good if Australian players
below the top 200 achieve FM titles by scoring 50% against other club
players in this world first sub zonal open to anyone who pays an entry fee
regardless of strength.

Yours sincerely
Peter Parr (OAM)
FIDE International Chess Arbiter (21 years)
Former member of the FIDE Rules Commission (4 years)
Former member of the FIDE Arbiter Commission (4 years)


Keith Farrell (Gosford Chess Club (CCLCCC) - also Ettalong Chess Club):
Swiss Perfect looks good - and thank Gary & Ian for their efforts, I have
been asking around on the net myself with the only result that Swiss
Perfect & Swiss-Sys and a program called TD were all pretty good and used
successfully by various US states - no real answer at all so thanks to your
chaps for trailing them (Protos is a new one to me). I hope also it helps
automate the Ratings Officer's job since if we can get more tournaments
rated, use the 'net & all that sort of palaver then it could be a great
boon to chess organisers at club level, state level and nationally.
Have a good week!

Remember to visit the ACF webpage   and also
forward Andrew the results of your competitions.


Graeme Gardiner
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)