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'.
ASIAN MEN'S AND WOMEN'S, UDAIPUR, INDIA 1-12 DECEMBER
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.
ASIAN UNDER 10, 12, 14 BOYS & GIRLS - AHMEDABAD, INDIA 15-25 DECEMBER
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.
AUSTRALIANS IN HAMBURG
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.
2000 GRAND PRIX
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 email@example.com
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
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
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.
The GP points structure could also benefit from being streamlined to
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
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.
UPCOMING GRAND PRIX EVENTS in 1999 are:
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
GARRY KOSHNITSKY OBITUARY
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).
2000 TWEED HEADS GRAND PRIX TOURNAMENT
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!
NATIONAL SCHOOLS TEAMS FINALS WEEKEND, CANBERRA GRAMMAR SCHOOL, 11/12
EVELYN FITZPATRICK, DEBBIE POULTON, JEFF SUPTUT and their team are doing a
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.
AUSTRALIAN JUNIOR CHESS CHAMPIONSHIPS, CHURCHILL, GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA 11-23
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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.
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
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)
Email: email@example.com http://www.somerset.qld.edu.au/chess/
Chess - the clever sport!