ACF Bulletin No. 40 - October 24, 1999



The only correspondence regarding the proposed restructure I've received

this week is from GAIL YOUNG (Queensland):


'The restructure seems good but may be a financial disadvantage for those

who play many rated games per year and these players are quite often

juniors. Perhaps there could be a ceiling as to the annual amount paid per

player, dependant on status. Quite obviously, a senior should be able to

pay more than a junior or pensioner.


How would this structure affect players who are Life Members of CAQ? They

are currently exempted from paying for CAQ tournaments they enter.


I like that fact that it catches those players who do not or are reluctant

to support chess financially now.'


Gail adds ‘I would be happy to be membership secretary for ACF if needed'.




TIM REILLY will be representing Australia at this event. At this stage we

do not have any female nominees - any takers? STEWART REUBEN says that

Udaipur is a wonderful venue.




The only boy or girl we have going at present is TOMEK REJ. As advised

earlier, this is a great opportunity for someone to represent Australia

overseas who might not otherwise get the chance.




IAN ROGERS has sent this info re the Hamburg tournament.


Wichern Open scores -

Leading final scores (9 rounds, 300 players):

1. Yemelin (Rus) 7.5; 2eq. Rozentalis (Lit), Rogers (Aus), Eingorn (Ukr),

Georgadze (Geo), Jansa (Cze), Lerner (Ukr), Bauer (Fra), Shabalov (USA),

Odeev (Tkm) 7; also... Weeks (Aus) 5.5; Leskiewicz (Aus) 5; Klimenko

(Aus), Zhao Zong Yuan(Aus) 4.




JASON LYONS has put forward the following ideas regarding the 2000 Grand

Prix. We would like to finalise our plans for this important series during

November and would be grateful if tournament organisers around the nation

could forward to us their final ideas for 2000 within a week. I also appeal

to all state associations and clubs around Australia to finalise their 2000

calendars and special events during November.


JASON LYONS: Director, QVB Chess Festival, Email

The Grand Prix: 2000 and beyond

Accumulating points through a grand prix system is successful for sports

the world over. In the case of chess, linking events to a Grand Prix aims

to encourage greater participation, increase the profile of chess in the

community, and open up commercial opportunities (read sponsorship). Despite

initial successes with Mercantile Mutual sponsorship, the ACF Grand Prix is

now floundering. In 1998 few players were aware of which tournaments were a

part of the Grand Prix. This year I ran the Anzac Day weekender for the

NSWCA, a Grand Prix event. There were no promotional materials available to

market the Grand Prix at the venue, so players were unaware of ratings

divisions, tournament categories, point allocations, and prizes for this

year's Grand Prix. I tried to look up this information on the ACF web site

for this article and found minimal information. Here I would like to

propose a restructure of the Grand Prix.


In 1991 I ran the Wollongong Resort Open - a Category 1 GP event. As a GP

tournament I received a kit that included score sheets, posters with GP

information to be placed at the venue, and press releases were written

before and after the event. Such luxuries were easy to afford when

Mercantile Mutual were sponsors, and clearly the GP is unable to be

marketed as extensively without a sponsor. However we cannot ignore

marketing altogether. A kit that includes A3 posters, score sheets, and

other information regarding the GP could be prepared for about $20 per

tournament. Obviously more can be done, especially with a sponsor, but

these are not easy to find! We need to create an attractive product for

companies to be involved with.

Structuring GP categories & fees

Categories: Presently there are 5 GP categories, with tournaments being

categorised by the size of 1st prize. Chris (Depasquale) demonstrated the

inequity of this system - the many tournaments offering a 1st prize of at

least $500 are all eligible for the highest GP category. Chris offered a

formula for determining the category of a tournament:

C = T/1000 + U2/500 + U16/250 (rounded to nearest whole number)

(T = Total prizemoney, U2 = U/2000 prizemoney, U16 = U/1600 prizemoney)

Chris' formula seeks to place more emphasis on ratings prizes, which is an

excellent idea. However there are several areas where I think this formula

has shortcomings:

1. It replaces one distinct bias (1st prize) with another (rating prizes

for players U/1600)

2. It dictates how organisers should distribute prizes. Many tournaments

divide the field into equal numbers for ratings prizes. Since the ratings

cutoffs are not known in advance, the GP category can only be determined

after all entries have been taken.

3. It is open to manipulation. The weightings in the formula are arbitrary

and allow organisers to manipulate prize distributions so as to maximise

category (e.g. a total of $130 in prizes for U/1600 players earns the same

category points as $350).

4. It is complicated, requiring 20 or more categories. What incentive is

there to play for 10 GP points at a small weekender, when 200 are on offer

at Doeberl?

We need a broadly based GP structure, rather than tied only to 1st place.

However it must be efficient, fair, and easy to grasp. Presently GP points

accumulated in a Category 1 tournament are useless as they are swamped by

results in higher category events. Organisers realise this - note how

Category 5 events make up over half of all GP events this year. Organisers

of many smaller events are unable to afford to enter as a high category

event, so don't bother entering at all. Increasing the number of categories

will only exacerbate this problem, providing no extra incentive to

participate in smaller events. We need to reduce the number of categories

so that, whilst the bigger tournaments still receive the biggest allocation

of points, achievements at smaller tournaments gain more recognition, thus

encouraging participation in such events.

Three categories are quite sufficient to provide the recognition and

incentive to all tournaments. The formula I arrived at is beautifully

simple and incorporates both open and ratings prizes.

C = T/1000 (Where T = total prizes. Rounded to the nearest category number

- 1, 2 or 3)

This formula is simple and efficient, and aligns with a point made to me by

Gary Bekker that "a combination of common sense and market forces" will

best determine prize money distribution in tournaments, rather than having

a formula dictate this to organisers.

Fees: Chris proposed a fee structure based on participants, to replace the

current flat fee system. This has merit, although it penalises larger

tournaments like Doeberl for their success, and could result in fees of up

to $1,000. Such tournaments may have to cut prizes or increase entry fees.

A combination of set fee with Chris' idea of a fee per participant produces

a more equitable fee structure. I propose a fee structure as follows:

(Class 1: $50; Class 2: $100; Class 3: $150) + $2 per player

Regional tournaments deservedly receive a discount, but the present 50% is

extraordinarily generous - city tournaments are effectively subsidising

these events. I think that discounting only the set fee by 50% is a fair


Examples: (Taken from two successful tournaments I have organised.)

1. Wollongong Resort Open, 58 participants. Open $350/$150/$100, u/2000

$100/$50, u/1600 $100/50, ladies $100/50, brilliancy $50, best game $50,

juniors book prizes.

GP Category. C = 1150/1000 = 1.15, therefore a Category 1 tournament

GP Fee. $25 (regional discount) + 58 x $2 = $141

2. QVB Weekender, 112 participants. 1st $500, 2nd $300, 3rd $200, u/1900

$200/$125/$100, u/1600 $200/$125/$100, u/1300 $200/$125/$100.

GP Category. C = 2275/1000 = 2.275, therefore a Category 2 tournament

GP Category. $100 + 112 x $2 = $324

I estimate that the above fee structure will produce GP fees in the

$150-$350 range, which is affordable enough for many more tournaments to be

involved - and with much of the fee determined by participation, it's

win-win for organisers and the GP.

GP points

The GP points structure could also benefit from being streamlined to

encourage greater

participation, particularly in smaller events. The gap between top and

bottom needs to be closed

so that points earned in a Category 1 tournament are significant. Suggested

points allocations:

Category 1 Category 2 Category 3

1st 12 16 20

2nd 8 12 15

3rd 6 9 12

4th 4 7 10

5th 3 5 8

Thus in terms of category and points allocation, I have sought to give all

tournaments a weighting significant enough to encourage participation,

whilst still rewarding those that attract bigger entries and therefore

higher prize pools. Under the above formula only tournaments with a prize

pool of at least $2,500 are eligible for Class 3 status.


Okay, so a sponsor would be nice! Companies sponsor good products, so

Australian chess needs to be able to demonstrate that the Grand Prix is a

good product. Even without a sponsor in the short term, the GP is still

worthwhile. Until a couple of years ago there used to be about 50

tournaments in the GP each year. Applying either the current fee structure,

or that proposed above, to these tournaments, will produce a GP prize fund

approximating $10,000. Even this year, with only 25 tournaments and no

sponsor, the GP has a prize pool of $7,000. Under this proposal, I estimate

that the average GP fee would be $200-$250. This may be lower than present,

because of the heavy weighting of Category 5 events. However this structure

should see many more events become involved - I estimate double should be

very achievable in 2000. That produces $10,000 in GP prizemoney, not

including sponsorship. If chess players and organisers work together to

make a good Grand Prix next year, it gives the ACF something to pitch to

sponsors in 2001.




Oct 31/Nov 1 Tasmanian Open

Nov 6/7 Suncoast Maroochydore Open

Dec 11/12 Tuggeranong Vikings, ACT


I understand from NORM GREENWOOD that the NSWCA event set down for 27/28

November has been cancelled and there will be no NSWCA Grand Prix event in





JOHN HANKS has asked me to make corrections to Garry's obituary. I've

checked some details with ROBERT JAMIESON and have ascertained the following:


In June 1932 Garry started the Metropolitan Chess Club at Anthony Horden's

store. The exact year that it closed is not clear - perhaps someone could

help out on this. He ran the Chess Academy from 1947 to 1960 (presumably at

the Phoenecian Club). He was Australian Olympiad captain five times (not

three as previously stated).




AUDIE PENNEFATHER has received a $2,500 grant from Tweed Shire Council to

run an event on 26/27 August 2000. This will add another substantial

tournament to the Gold Coast calendar. Good work Audie!






very conscientious job on organising this flagship event. Many thanks to

BRIAN JONES (Australian Chess Enterprises), Russell Mowles (Gold Coast

Trophies) and ROBERT COLQUHOUN (Immediate Past ACF President) for donating

the perpetual trophies.





GARY WASTELL advises that entry forms will be mailed within the next week

to all the state associations, clubs and individuals listed on his original

flyer. You should be able to obtain an entry form from any of these within

a fortnight at the latest. If you are still having trouble at that stage

please email Gary Wastell on





Prize money

Running tournaments without prize money is a retrograde step which will

harm the development of chess in Australia.

The message from such tournaments isn't that people love playing chess for

its own sake, but that they'd rather not tackle players much stronger than


That may not be the intent, but it will certainly be the result. If we

deliberately wanted to sabotage our chess culture we couldn't do better.

As a player who is sliding serenely down the rating list I have had no

personal interest in the distribution of prize money since the early

eighties, so my opinion is not tainted by self interest.


The NSW Chess Association has advertised their 13-14th November 1999

weekend tournament in the ACF newsletter as a cash prize-free tournament.

The NSWCA council advertises the cash prize - free event as an INNOVATIVE

change in tournaments run by the NSWCA.

The NSWCA entered the event in the ACF Grand Prix 1999 and it is listed by

the ACF as an ACF Grand Prix event.

The ACF Grand prix 1999 rules very clearly state the minimum 1st prize in

every class of grand prix event and they are binding on all organisers of

GP events.

I would suggest that the NSWCA must comply with the rules and regulations

of the ACF Grand Prix 1999.

If the NSWCA does not agree to comply with the ACF regulations the event

should, in my view, be expelled from the ACF GP circuit.


Rating Variability

A few years ago I worked out a way to add a new dimension to ratings, which

would involve printing an extra column in the ratings list.

Each player could have a variability rating, low meaning stable while high

would indicate unpredictability. Neither is better than the other, but it

does indicate something about the players.

Let's say Player A and Player B have the same rating. A always wins against

players below and loses against players above, while B wins or loses

equally in each category. Statistically, the players are quite different.

Programatically, it's very easy to implement (1 or 2 lines of code) and

would make the ratings more interesting.

What do others feel about it?

Also does ACF have or will they put up a forum page, to make it easy for

people to reply to other input?

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)


Chess - the clever sport!