ACF Bulletin No 31 - August 22, 1999

We now have most of the details for the Australian Juniors which will be
held on the Gippsland Campus of Monash University, Corner of Northways Road
and McDonald Way, Churchill, Victoria 3842.
The playing area and analysis area are air conditioned.
Dates: Under 18, 16, 14 from Tuesday Jan 11 to Sunday January 23, 11 rounds
with rest days on Thursday Jan 13 (Rapid Play Championship) and Thursday
January 20 (Lightning Championship). Under 12, 10 from Friday January 14 to
Sunday January 23, 9 rounds with the same rest days. Play will start at 2pm
in all age groups on each playing day.
Entry fees: Unlikely to be more than $60 for the Under 18, 16, 14 age
groups and not more than $50 for Under 12, 10 age groups.
Time controls: Under 18, 16, 14 - 40/120 then 60 to complete. Under 12, 10
- 40/90 then 30 to complete.
Accommodation: $18 per day at the tournament site in detached,
single-storey buildings normally used for resident university staff and
students. Each building comprises six separate single bedrooms connected by
a single corridor to a communal kitchen and lounge-dining room. There are
local hotels/motels available and the possibility of a very limited number
of billets.
Prizes: Personal trophies and/or medallions plus cash prizes at least
consistent with those presented at recent national junior championships
will be provided for first, second and third placegetters in each of the
following groups: Under 18, Under 18 Girls, Under 16, Under 16 Girls, Under
14, Under 14 Girls, Under 12, Under 12 Girls, Under 10, Under 10 Girls.
Enquiries: Chairman of the organising committee, Gerrit Hartland The other members of the organising committee are
Trevor Stanning, Cecilia Lugo, Mona Lee, Michael Gluzman, David Cordover,
Gary Wastell and Don Machell.
Entry forms will be distributed very shortly.
There has been concern and debate about the reasons for the decline in
numbers attending chess clubs. The most common reason given is the internet
and another is that people simply lead busier lives. Personally I think
there is room for all forms of chess and to simply blame other factors is a
bit of a cop out. I think we perhaps need to get back to basics and have a
really good think about what our members (or potential members) want out of
a chess club.
I've been motivated by the USCF publication "Guide to a Successful Chess
Club" to write a checklist for a successful chess club and Andrew Allen has
put this up on our webpage. I'd appreciate ideas for additions/improvement
to this checklist and hopefully this will become a list that really will be
something chess club organisers can refer to in order to give themselves
the best chance of doing things right.
The Sports Minister, Jackie Kelly, has written to me. The gist of it is
that she has asked the Head of the Australian Sports Commission, Jim
Ferguson, to have another look at chess as a sport. She has also given me
the opportunity to make a submission to the Sport 2000 Task Force. If
anyone has information relevant to chess as a sport, please forward to me
in the next couple of days because I've only got until the end of the month.
I've pointed out to Jackie Kelly that the Australian Sports Commission have
already told me that they will not recognise chess as a sport unless the
definition is changed. Once again I've asked her to intervene personally.
I've also written to Tim Fischer, Senator Ian MacDonald and Margaret May
asking them to intervene. Incidentally, Jackie Kelly did not mention in her
letter what she told me at our meeting on 31 March - that was she was going
to try and fund the academy from the Community Recreation budget. I'm now
led to believe that there is no such thing as a Community Recreation budget.
Just a reminder that a class five event will be held at the Hervey Bay
Resort Hotel next weekend, 28/29 August. This is the Whale Open and I can
certainly recommend the whale watching which is spectacular at this time of
the year.

May I ask tournament organisers in all clubs in all states to make plans
for a really good Grand Prix event for next year. Two Northern NSW clubs
are aiming to put together substantial tournaments. The Tweed Heads club is
working towards one. Also, Aleks Wohl has moved to Byron Bay, where I
understand he is very happy, and he's encouraging the local club to put on
a big event.
In a further attempt to improve communication in Australian chess, may I
suggest to all tournament organisers that they include provision for email
addresses on all entry forms with immediate effect. The email addresses
compiled could be used to help advertise future tournaments - these names
could be forwarded to me for inclusion in my email list, which now
comprises over 500.
There is the possibility of a seven week chess festival in Australian chess
next year. Details are still very much to be finalised. However, the first
draft looks something like this:
May 29-Jun 10 IM Swiss Tournament at the Surfers Parkroyal
June 12-16 Gold Coast Chess Week
June 17/18 Gold Coast Open
June 24/25 Noosa Open
June 28-Jul 10 QVB GM Tournament (Sydney)
July 13-July 22 Australian Masters (Melbourne)
Any comments welcomed. Obviously we are hoping that cooperation between
Jason Lyons, Eddi Levi, Robert Hochstadt and myself will mean that we can
do more with the limited money available to bring strong overseas players
to Australia.


This event, which is coming together well and which is being organised by
Evelyn Fitzpatrick, Debbie Poulton and Jeff Suptut, will be held at
Canberra Grammar School on the weekend of 11/12 December this year. I'm
hoping that each state will be able to send primary and secondary teams to
both the open and all girls sections. Many thanks to Robert Colquhoun,
Brian Jones and Russell Mowles who have sponsored perpetual trophies.


Regarding chess played electronically. The mistake is in our perception
that this is a threat to the game. One of our objectives must be to
encourage chess in all its forms. If the future lies primarily in the
internet, so be it. That won't be to my personal taste, but I am not the
average consumer, being a wrinklie.

In Britain it is most decidedly a threat to our traditional source of
income for the Federation. This is mainly game fee, paying per game of
rated chess. We, too are suffering a falling off in over the board chess,
both in clubs and congresses. Australia has a much bigger problem. The
distances are so vast, internet chess is even more attractive.

Fancy a match over 2000 games next year? The Americans are being a bit slow
in replying. Speed chess the numbers are not so daunting.

How about a properly internationally rated title norm tournament played
electronically? Of course an international arbiter would be needed
everywhere the games were played. A Scheveningen Australia v London or some
such would be a new venture.

We might even be able to raise lottery money for such a venture.


Just in response to your question about playing Kasparov in a simul for
$1000 - I wouldn't pay that much money for this but I would be inclined to
pay $100 or $200 to attend a lecture by Garry.  Perhaps this could be
combined with a formal dinner?  I think it would be a wonderful boost for
chess if the World Champion were to visit Australia.


With regards to Shaun Press's article in the August issue of ACF titled
"Could we all be FIDE Masters", I wish to make a couple of comments.         

Firstly the two formula he gives in the article don't match the tables that
he provides.

Eg, formula 1 says FIDE = ACF*0.56 + 1074 but an ACF of 1648.097 = 1996.93
FIDE according to that formula and a ACF of 2538.008 = 2495.28 FIDE.

Using the second formula of
FIDE = (ACF-2229)/113*172 + 2056 a ACF rating of 1706.173 is FIDE =
(1706.173 - 2229)/113*172 + 2056
FIDE = (-522.827)/113*172 + 2056
FIDE = (-4.6267876)*172 + 2056
FIDE = (-795.807469) + 2056
giving a FIDE of 1260.

This makes no sense at all.

Irrespective of this there is a more fundamental flaw in using a sliding
scale to relate ACF ratings to FIDE ratings. It is of the utmost importance
to realise that the ACF and FIDE rating systems use the same rating scale.
Therefore a difference of 200 points on the ACF scale equals a difference
of 200 points on the FIDE scale. If 4 players on the ACF scale are rated
1600, 1800, 2000 and 2200 then whatever calculation formula is used to
change ACF ratings into FIDE ratings must maintain this difference
otherwise it will lead to a total distortion of the newly calculated
ratings. One last point to remember is that FIDE only publish and consider
ratings above 2000 and this can lead to problems in the FIDE list.

There are 135 Australians on the FIDE July 1999 list and they have an
average rating of 2215.5. The corresponding ratings for them on the ACF
August 1999 list have an average of 2034.4. However only 70 on the FIDE
list are considered active by FIDE (average rating 2218.5) and only 94 on
the ACF list are active (average rating 2041.1). There are only 66 players
who are active on both lists. The FIDE rating average of these players is
2215.06 and the ACF average is 2038.7. Only Ian Rogers has a higher ACF
rating than his corresponding FIDE rating, but then again Ian is a special
case. Of all the Australian players on the FIDE list Ian has probably
played more FIDE games than any of the the players. Also due to the
previously used method of using average ratings and the 336 cutoff in ACF
ratings calculations Ian's rating was and possibly still is inflated in
comparison to others on the ACF list.

As can been seen from the above the differences between the average FIDE
and average ACF rating varies between 181 and 176 rating points. However if
we look at these 66 players and then consider only those players whose ACF
rating is over 2000 on the ACF scale, we find there are only 36 players who
meet this criteria and the difference between the averages of the ACF and
FIDE ratings for these players is only 122.
Given all the above information one could argue a case that the formula for
converting ACF to FIDE ratings should be something like the following for
all players with the exception of Ian Rogers and those marked as Overseas

where X is between 122 and 181. If Ian Rogers is left out of the above
calculations this changes to 128 to 180.

I would welcome any comments my fellow chessplayers might have regarding this.


National Grand Prix

You asked for my thoughts about this topic.  Apologies for the delay;
things have been a bit hectic lately.

I think the structure of the Grand Prix can be improved in a couple of ways.

The underlying assumptions in all this is that the GP is trying to do two

1. Increase participation in organised tournament chess; and
2. Bring cash and other benefits from outside the chess community into the
chess community.

I will deal with this second point first.

If there is no commercial sponsor of the GP, there is not much point to it.
If the GP prize-money is funded by the tournament organisers (which means,
in turn, by the players who pay entry fees) then all up it is is a horribly
complicated, time-consuming and expensive way of redistributing "wealth"
from your average club players to your top performers. It would be far less
complicated, more honest and less expensive to send tin-rattlers to every
tournament saying, "we are collecting money for those in the community
fortunate enough to be talented at chess, and short-sighted enough to allow
that talent to prevent them from earning a living in the way that most
members of our society do". That way people in the tournament would have a
choice about whether to contribute towards Ian's next overseas trip or
Darryl's next car. Here in Victoria, you would certainly collect more money
that way than by requiring tournament organisers to commit themselves
up-front and hope to recover it through entry fees.

Why are there so few GP events in Victoria?

Firstly, nearly every weekender run here runs at a loss. To be in the GP
you have to guarantee prizes up front, and commit to paying a GP fee. This
system effectively devastated Geelong Chess Club last year. They probably
made some mistakes regarding scheduling of rounds, and they underestimated
the impact of the clash their traditional weekend had with the World Cup
Soccer final. For these reasons their participation rate halved from 1997
to 1998, and the club will be in debt for a decade as a result. Worse
still, the apportioning of blame within the club led to a split which saw
many long-term members and committee people leave the club, and it will
take decades for the club to fully recover. The GP fee didn't help the

Clubs in Victoria are extremely dubious about the value of having their
event in the GP now, in view of the situation that many of the major
traditional category 5 events, such as Geelong and Albury have opted out.
The GP can only be of value to tournament organisers if there is a critical
mass of GP events within that state. Maybe the way to get that happening is
to offer a 25% discount on GP fees to the first five events in each state
which commit to the GP.

GP Fees

The first suggestion is that the GP fee should be calculated as a flat
amount for every participant (say, $5 per paying entrant). That way
organisers can factor the fee into the entry fee, without any risk of going
broke as a result of the tournament. (In Victoria, the fees paid for rating
events is scheduled in the same way.) It also avoids the unsatisfactory
situation that the Ballarat Begonia Open, with $X,000 commercial
sponsorship and 100 entrants can get away with a GP fee of $250 for a
category V event whereas Elwood chess club, which holds its winter
weekender over two days in June, could not even offer Category III points
for the same price.

GP Categories

At the moment, GP category is tied to the first prize only. This has led,
in the past, to events which guarantee prizes of 1st $500, 2nd 50% of
somebody else's entry fee, 3rd a "thanks for coming" card. In terms of GP
points, that event qualifies as highly as the Doeberl Cup! I think you can
see that doesn't make sense.

Bumping up first prize does not increase participation levels. When the 1st
prize for the Vic Open went up from $500 one year to $5,000 the next (a
900% increase) participation in the event went up about 20%.

In particular, if you look at the spread of players who participate in
organised chess, by far the majority are rated below 1600. If you are
looking to increase participation you want to (a) discourage the mercenary
types rated above 2200, and (b) encourage the 1600 and below players. (The
reason for (a) is that every time a Johansen or Rogers plays in a weekender
here in Victoria, a dozen players rated between 1900 and 2200 who might
have otherwise played decide not to. For the tournament organiser this is a
double jeopardy: they have to give free entry to the GM and miss out on
$500-600 in entry fees they would otherwise have got.)

The formula for working out a GP category should be:

C = T/1000 + U2/500 + U16/250 (where T = Total prize-money; U2 =
prize-money for players rated 1600 -1999 and U16 = prize-money for players
rated 1599 and below, including unrated players, and each quotient is
rounded to the nearest whole number.)


1st = $500, 2nd = $200, 3rd = $100; Under 1800 = $100; Under 1600 = $100;
Under 1400 = $100 would convert to Category 1+0+0 = 1.

1st = $1,000 2nd = $500, 3rd = $300, 4th = $200; Under 1800 1st $200, 2nd
$100; Under 1600 1st $200 2nd $100; Under 1400 1st = $200, 2nd = $100;
Unrated = $100.

This would convert to Category 3+1+2 = 6.

1st = $500 2nd = $300, 3rd = $200; Under 1800 1st $400, 2nd $250, 3rd =
$100; Under 1600 1st $300 2nd $200, 3rd = $100; Under 1400 1st = $250, 2nd
= $150, 3rd = 100; Unrated = $150.

This would convert to Category 3+2+5 = 10.

Both examples 2 & 3 have total of $3000 prize-money yet example 3 is a
category 10, whereas example 2 is a category 6. This is completely
justified in my view, because, all other things being equal, Example 3 will
attract twice as many competitors as Example 2, so GP points will be harder
to obtain, and so there should be more GP points made available.

The existing 5 categories will, of course, have to be extended, perhaps as
high as category 20. (Probably you can work out the top category from
Doeberl Cup figures and work backwards. I think all those who regularly
participate in Doeberl would rank it as at least 20 times the value as,
say, the Vic Open, which has a prize distribution similar to example 1
above.) That would be a good thing; as pointed out previously, it is crazy
that an event with 12 players, $500 first and (virtually) nothing else can
rank as highly in the GP as a Doeberl Cup with umpteen thousand in
prize-money and 200 participants.

Tournament organisers can then budget on their expected entry. The Elwood
Winter weekender historically attracts 40 participants with only about 5
rated above 1800, and three quarters of the field rated below 1600. If
costs for venue/arbiter are, say, $400, then entry fee can be set at $60
full, $40 concession, including the $5/head rating fee and the $5/head GP
fee. With 20 full and 20 concession entries $1200 prize-money can be
guaranteed. With a prize-money distribution like 1st = $300, 2nd = $200,
3rd = $100; Under 1600 1st = $200; 2nd = $100; Under 1200 1st = $100 Best
Female, Junior, Unrated $75 each; the Category would be 3 (1+0+2).

In summary:

1. The number of categories must be extended considerably, up from the
present 5 to, say, 20.

2. The category of the event is determined not by first prize, but by
total prize-money and prize-money in the GP rating groups (in the examples
given above these are assumed to be Under 2000 and Under 1600; I hope that
is correct).

3. The GP fee for any given event is $5 per fee-paying participant.

4. You might have to offer some discount/cash incentives to get Victorians
to nominate their events for the GP.

Hope some of this makes sense.

Best wishes to all
Graeme Gardiner


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)