ACF Bulletin No. 41 - October 31, 1999
The amount of debate on this very important issue in this bulletin over the
last three weeks has been very disappointing although there is a little
more in this issue. We are trying to be transparent in everything we do.
Many people have said that we need change and this is a serious attempt to
address the issues. It is very difficult to try and move towards a
consensus of what would be best for Australian chess if people won't tell
us what they think is right and wrong with our proposal. It is good that WA
have formed a sub committee to look at the issues and the ACT have had
approximately 20 contributions to their listserve debate this week alone.
However, this bulletin now goes to over 500 in the Australian chess
community and has proved an ideal forum to discuss any issues affecting
AUSTRALIAN CHAMPIONSHIPS, MINGARA, NSW CENTRAL COAST, 28 DEC 1999 TO 9 JAN
Entry forms and accommodation details have now been well and truly
circularised around the Australian chess community. If you have been unable
to get your hands on an entry form or need any other info please go to the
Mingara webpage http://www.mingara.com.au/chessman.htm or email the
organiser, MAL MURRELL at firstname.lastname@example.org It promises to be a great
event. I'll include an agenda for the National Conference to be held on
Thursday 6 January in next week's bulletin.
NATIONAL COACHING PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION / ACCREDITATION SCHEME
NIK STAWSKI has sent out a draft of papers regarding this scheme to coaches
around Australia. He needs feedback urgently on email@example.com.
BRETT TINDALL is compiling a database of all full time, part time and
amateur chess coaches around the nation. He would really appreciate people
sending contact details of anyone involved in chess coaching in Australia
2000 GRAND PRIX
JASON LYONS has kindly offered to organise the early promotion of the 2000
Grand Prix. Jason has established an excellent reputation as a chess
organiser. Here are his comments:
Notice to all chess clubs and organisers! During November I will be
finalising details for the 2000 Grand Prix. The category structures have
been streamlined and the Grand Prix will receive far better publicity next
year. A kit will be sent to all tournaments in the Grand Prix, and I will
be contacting chess magazines and journalists to obtain more coverage. This
year there were 24 tournaments; with an improved structure and better
promotion, I am aiming for a minimum of 40 tournaments on the Grand Prix
calendar. Tournament organisers can help by contacting me with feedback on
the proposed new structure before its implementation. I would like to speak
with all organisers as soon as possible, and will make all the calls myself
if necessary, however a bit of initiative by someone other than myself
wouldn't go astray. My contact details are: 9773-3145 (home telephone);
0412 90 76 86 (mobile), email <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Jason's model for the 2000 Grand Prix was shown in Bulletin # 40 (last week).
WORLD JUNIORS, OROPESA DEL MAR, SPAIN
Latest Australian scores in this important event after six rounds are:
Ruperto Lugo 2.0, Michelle Lee 3.5, Peter Jovanovic 2.0, Richard Machet
1.5, Jade Lauer-Smith 3.0, Zong Yuan Zhao 4.0, Richard Tan 4.0, Catherine
Lip 3.5, David Smerdon 3.5, Laura Moylan 3.5, Sasha Soloveychik 3.0,
Jasmine Lauer-Smith 2.0.
Daily results at http://126.96.36.199/oropesa99/html/index.html
GARY BEKKER, Tournament Director, <email@example.com>:
The results from the first round of the Victorian Championship events, held
on Tuesday 26 October, were as follows:
N. Stirling 1 - 0 T. Kalisch
E. Levi 0 - 1 N. Speck
M. Baron 1 - 0 M. Woodhams
A. Nissen 1 - 0 J. Beckman
S. Sharman 1 - 0 P. Hyland
D. Partsi 1 - 0 J. Alamanos
Championship Qualifying Tournament:
T. Chong 1 - 0 W. Heyward
E. Lindberg 0 - 1 D. Lindberg
Please note that full crosstables are available from the web site
http://www.eagles.bbs.net.au/~gbekker/events.htm and will soon also be
posted to the official VCA website.
Good luck to all competitors!
I read with interest Bulletin 38A. Just a few points (regarding ratings)
that I think people should keep in mind.
1. ACF Income via rating of games.
If "ratings cost money" unfortunately I think some clubs (players) will
elect not to ACF rate their tournaments; to the detriment of players, clubs
and the rating system.
2. Three separate rating systems/lists
If rapid games are important enough to have their own rating system then
why not include them in the existing ACF Rating System (e.g. using a lower
"K factor")! The real issue with a separate rapid list would be its
usefulness compared with the workload to actually produce it. In order for
most ratings to be "accurate" it would need a huge number of rapid
tournaments to be included; may I suggest a similar number to that
processed currently for the whole existing ACFRS. Previous attempts at
such a list in Queensland have failed for such reasons. Why not simply
include rapid tournaments in the current system?
Separate junior lists have provided much needed encouragement for our young
players. Any expansion on the current State Junior Lists (NSW, Vic, WA,
Qld, ?others) would be welcomed.
The ACF Membership be set at a base figure of $50 per annum. This amount
consists of a fixed component of $20 for ACF administration and programs.
The additional amount of $30 is a) reduced depending on how late in the
year you join and b) able to be directed to a specific area.
The membership form would contain the following section:
I do not wish to receive the National Magazine as part of my membership and
instead would like the money to be spent on:
[ ] The Olympiad Appeal
[ ] The Grand Prix
[ ] Junior Development Program
[ ] Returned to my State Association
[ ] General ACF Administration
The membership year should be a calendar year (1 January to 31 December)
and therefore people who join later in the year pay less. Of course they
also receive less issues of the magazine. So someone who joins in January
pays $50 while someone who joins in July pays $35. At current costings the
amount should be reduced by $2.50 per month.
Apart from the magazine the following benefits should be offered:
Free ratings (Tournaments/State Associations should pay a levy of $5 per
non-member per tournament submitted for ratings)
Grand Prix Participation (Again a $5 levy applies)
The right to participate on National Championships (Should only be open to
The levy will be billed to the tournament organisers and it is their
responsibility to pass it on to the ACF. If a player subsequently decides
to join the ACF then their membership fee is reduced by the amount of levy
they have already paid. So a player could play 10
tournaments as a non-member and join the ACF for nothing.
These amounts should be reduced for concessions/family memberships noting that
the costs of magazine production fix the magazine cost at a minimum of $2.50
per issue (plus GST).
Restructuring Australian Chess:-
For the sake of the debate, I'll put the cat among the pigeons. While I
like the draft idea for the ACF, and most of the ideas in it, some items
should be debated.
The Restructuring Australian Chess draft (RACD), will kill the importance
of State Associations and Clubs. As both will have no vote, no say and will
have no future respect. The RACD fails to offer Clubs affiliation,
recognition or incentive.
The RACD offers clubs affiliation free, with Club listing on the ACF Web
site free, then encourages clubs to have all club tournaments ACF rated at
a $1 per game, this would than be a win-win situation for both Clubs and
(RACD - "The commission could be elected directly by the members" )
I believe that RACD, Individual Members should elect State Association
Office Bearers, State Association should elect the ACF Board. The only
State Association that I know of that has direct voting has been NSWCA, It
has been said that in the past at a NSWCA AGM one member came along with a
pile of proxy votes and was able to dictate who was elected, I would hate
to think that that could happen to a future ACF Board Election.
As quoted by the RACD, "It is proposed to change the way Australian Chess
is administered and organized along the lines of successful sporting
organizations such as the Australian Football League". As far as I
understand, the individual members of the Australian Football League (AFL)
have no vote. The 16 Club Presidents meet and
elect the Board. So I rest my case, the States should elect the Future ACF
National CEO Office:-
Has to be funded and the administrator be put on a short term contract,
with the understanding, no productivity, no future Job. An Administrator
(Non Chess Player) and office was set up in Qld about 9 years ago, two
years later the CAQCA was bankrupted. I would not like to see that happen
to the ACF.
The draft may in some circles be seen as all for Junior Development and the
elite, stuff the rest. This is why Clubs and State Associations should not
be discarded in the RACD.
RESTRUCTURING - SUMMARY
New system costs individuals more $'s;
New system takes autonomy from states - costs us administrators;
Big Plans don't draw more people into chess, nor make things better for the
average player who is paying for the system to be implemented.
Read on if you want to know more of my thoughts.... :)
Proposed new membership system:
The proposal to bring in direct membership in effect removes the necessity
to have state associations (or likelihood of state associations existing).
The apparent ACF premise is that State/Territory Associations are
cumbersome, so move to a centralization of power. Let me explain why this
is so, and why I believe this to be a bad move:
At present the State Association(s) (eg VCA) receives its income from 3
1. Club affiliation
2. Player registrations
3. Tournament entry fees
Clubs affiliate in order to have the privilege of having their games rated.
Players pay registrations, again to have games rated. These both have a tax
component in order to provide VCA with funds for the following:
Dissemination of information
Taxes in turn to Australian Chess Federation
People pay these willingly as they see value in having a strong State
Championships, and they wish to have an opportunity to play interclub matches.
Psychologically it will be extremely difficult (not to mention the increase
in real cost) for Fred Nurk (your average club player) to continue to want
to be a member of the VCA when the entire amount payable in membership will
be used on things that don't effect him at all. His contribution will be
exactly that, a contribution. In this day and age of "user pays" Fred Nurk
is going to only want to pay for something that he can use, something
tangible (a rating). If he plays in a Championships, or Interclub comp then
he will pay an entry fee, but it will be impossible to charge enough to
compensate for the loss of income from normal taxation income. Additional
money will be provided to state associations from the ACF, but how much?
And being at the discretion of the ACF leaves the state associations with
no control over their own destiny.
Should the ACF make the VCA into a State Branch of the ACF then who will
show up at each tournament and remind everyone to pay their ACF
registration fees? With no autonomy the positions on a ACF Victorian Branch
will be even harder to fill than those on an independent VCA.
Loss of autonomy - problems with downsizing/rationalisation.
The greatest resource that Australian Chess has, and will ever have, is its
people. The hundreds of people who spend time and energy improving chess
for the rest of us. We must make sure that in any proposal to make the ACF
more "professional" or "efficient" we do not at any time disenfranchise the
many volunteers that ultimately make things happen. So ask, why do people
like helping? And what can we do to make MORE people want to help?
Australian Chess would be 100x better off if 1000 people offered assistance
than if we received $100,000 increased funding.
The reason someone puts in time and effort on a voluntary basis is that
they get some personal satisfaction for what they are doing. The feeling
they are helping a greater cause and of being useful, or needed. Because
they get a feeling of importance, often linked to the power they enjoy,
being in charge of an organisation and directing it to where they feel it
should go. If there is all of a sudden a super-executive (8 man commission
(man used generically)) who is going to be making decisions on behalf of
"Australian Chess" then the people who spent their time on chess will find
they have less autonomy and consequently less enthusiasm or desire to
assist with the unpaid day to day running of chess in their area. Agreed,
it would be nice to be like the AFL or the Swimming Association, then
everyone would be happy to do what they were told, because they would be
paid for it. But they are multi-million dollar sporting associations and at
this stage the ACF isn't. The ACF has to decide if it should be a well-run
amateur organisation (relying mainly on volunteer work) or if it is going
to become a fully-fledged professional organisation (ie. is able to
dispense with volunteers). I don't believe that the ACF can both act as a
"professional" sports federation while still attracting minimal
sponsorships and expecting to rely on volunteers to get the day to day
running of Australian Chess done. The ACF should be fostering state
associations as they in turn foster the clubs, who ultimately draw people
into playing competitive chess. If the link is broken and the clubs (and
shell state organisations) have to answer directly to a National body soon
they will feel that they are being unjustly treated (in the interests of
Australian Chess) and will cease to provide their services. If the people
who do all the work go then where will we be?? You can get told what to do
in a job, why spend your spare time being told what to do as well.
What should happen if a mythical PCA comes along and offers the service of
rated games at a far lower cost (as it could because it doesn't need the
tax element which is used to promote Chess). Consumers would choose to pay
this smaller amount and have a PCA rating. Makes no difference to Fred Nurk
what his rating is called, as long as he can brag to Jim Pew that he is the
better player, or so he can compare his own results (sure, that's what
ratings are for). How then will the ACF bring in money? How will Australian
Chess develop then, when there is no income stream. By having healthy,
vibrant state associations to draw upon for a number of services people
would rather support their state association in order to get all the other
things provided as well. What other (than ratings) tangible services will
the ACF be able to provide consumers?
Ideas such as National CEO, Accreditation schemes, Scholastic chess etc are
great ideas. But are they things that require such a radical change in our
structure? What happens if we DON'T get the $100,000's that is needed to
implement these ideas....will we still have our volunteers?
Secondly WHO should pay for them? Does the average chess player want to
bear the burden of these grand schemes?
I don't believe that in any sport the grass roots players are providing
money to support the elite to the extent proposed. In Football does every
kid playing at a club pay money to the AFL to spend on training great
players? Or does the AFL get money from other areas? Maybe from the clubs
or from sponsors?
Chess players are happy to pay to play chess, they are happy to pay a
certain amount as a tax in order to support the administrative structure
and to support various elite prizes and rewards (travel grants, coaching
academy's etc). However this tax must be reasonable. When the situation
gets to unfair proportions and most of the money that people are paying to
play in local club chess is diverted away to a distant Australian Chess
Federation and used to set up endowment funds or develop National Schools'
Comps the Fred Nurk in question will stop playing. He just doesn't get
value for money.
At present the VCA charges $5 per person per tournament for registration /
membership fees. This $5 not only pays for ratings, but also for everything
else the VCA does. The new fee structure increases this to $8 per
tournament, and that is ONLY for the rating...other functions of the VCA
will have to draw money from other places.
About $3 of the $5 fee is passed onto the ACF as rating fee....the increase
to $8 is more than double!! Are people ready to pay this?
Juniors don't pay anything to have their games rated at present...not to
the ACF in any case. Is it worth even $2 per tournament for them to have a
National Rating system??? A rating is only a valid comparison against the
same "pool" of players. 99% of junior players don't compete against people
from other states so consequently they couldn't viably compare their
ratings. Again a good money spinner, but do people get VALUE FOR MONEY.
Similarly with Rapid Ratings...how many Rapid tournaments would there be
with a statistically useful number of interstate players? I don't think
that there were any interstate players at the last Victorian Rapid
National Schools Competition:
Nobody is more in favour of getting a competition like this going than me,
but the idea of each team paying $30 to be a part of it is ludicrous. Why
would a member of the 4 child team who finishes last in the state comp want
to pay $7.50 to have been a part of the National Comp?? Remember he still
needs to pay the normal Entry Fee ON TOP of this to provide for local
tournament running costs and state junior development. If there needs to be
a levy on players to run a successful National Comp then it must be a much
more reasonable amount. Perhaps $5 per team. Even this will provide
substantial funds to the ACF (200+ teams in each state = $6000 at least).
What will this money go to? Again...is the money being used for what the
people paying it are going to want ?
I think that Alvin Chipmunk (a junior bunny) wouldn't like a chunk of his
entry fee to be filtered through to Ian Rogers going to the Olympiad (poor
Alvin has never heard of Ian, and probably never will as he is only trying
chess this year because his mum made him). You could probably justify some
of his money being used to develop junior chess in his state, or even as a
national project, but not more. Even if he IS willing to pay ... should you
charge on the basis of the maximum amount people are willing to pay? Or
should it be fair?
Without state associations who will it be that votes for the ACF
Commission?? If we have 600 players in Australia who have played rated
games (ie are members of the ACF) what percentage do you think will vote??
I can't imagine (knowing the lethargy of many chessplayers) that it will be
a high proportion. It is however a result that can be easily altered by a
high-profile troublemaker who engenders some short-term (or localized)
public support. Admittedly it is possible that a good campaigner win any
election. However as the responsibility for Australian Chess is shared
across state associations and the ACF there is less chance for a radical to
implement hair-brained schemes should they get a following. Elections at a
national conference mean the same thing...it isn't representative at all.
At least now the delegates are instructed by their state associations as to
how to vote and the state associations are in turn appointed by clubs, who
should be representing the views of the majority of individuals.
Taking away the decision making power from the "cumbersome council
meetings" and handing it to a board of "experts" is dangerous. Many people
ENJOY the cumbersome committee meetings, much as Phil Viner enjoys writing
letters, John Kable enjoys the meeting procedure. Taking away these avenues
of personal satisfaction from invaluable people like this could just mean
their involvement dies out. Give them their boring, cumbersome meetings and
they will do the mundane work that surely the "experts" aren't going to
want to do. All it needs is a leader, a visionary who can guide the humble
(but enthusiastic) workers.
Politically speaking it is dangerous to have so much power rest in the
hands of so few.
Council need not be composed of people from only 1 state. In this age of
communication it is easy to have council members from each state, thus
removing the possibility of an ACF being biased towards its home state.
Experienced administrators NEED the "chess players" to do the work for
them. By removing any power from the chessplayers they feel like they are
being used (which they are) and get no personal satisfaction from what they
do, consequently they stop doing it.
Changing to a structure used by an AFL type organisation fails to recognise
that we are very different. We cannot pay the people who run the show and
so we need something else to give them so they keep working for chess.
Relieving a State of minor financial responsibilities (such as insurance,
workers comp etc) are insignificant by comparison to the damage done to the
cumbersome administrators ego when they no longer have a say in what goes on.
Great idea to use this across the board. Easy to use and standardisation
will mean easier ratings calculations as well.
Our major asset! But I don't think that a National Junior, or Rapid, system
would be able to be used as a valid comparison because of the small number
of games played between people in different pools. More money for the ACF,
but not worth the money for the players. Much better would be for states to
implement this themselves....then they are statistically valid and can use
the funds to promote chess in their state. Automation of the ratings system
via Swiss Perfect should save a lot of time in the near future.
Again another good idea. But again an idea that isn't necessarily linked to
a change in the ACF structure.
National Team's Events
Sounds like a lot of good ideas going on here...it is important to
recognise National Winners because it DOES create added interest at a state
level. Perhaps Melbourne can host the 1st Finals Weekend in all those
different categories next year?
Benchmarks, Accreditation Schemes, Misc. etc.
Plenty of good ideas, however none are dependant on the ACF organisational
Benefits (or otherwise) of changing the system:
While there are no annual fees the $ amount that most people will be paying
will be more than double what it is now in order to support the various
plans (as yet undetailed WHERE the money will go) of the ACF.
Rating system change and improvement can be implemented in either case.
Publication of Official Magazine. Why isn't this accessible now via the net
and as a hard copy?? It is easy to endorse the Chess Forum as the official
Swipe Cards - credit card. This to me seems a long way off. And there is no
reason that the ACF's current system can't count every player as a "member"
and get someone to provide (sponsor) such a card.
B. State Associations
Swiss Perfect provided to everyone (as it is now)
Admin problems connected w/ memberships removed. Well, I could save a lot
of people the hassle of going to the bank by just taking all their money.
But is this a saving?? Remove the members...sure, then the state
associations' jobs will be really easy!!
Reduction in cost of equip by bulk purchase? Minimal savings as far as I
can see...if any.
Without increasing participation you are proposing to increase total INCOME
from $46,700 to $69,496. This extra $22,000+ has to come from the CURRENT
MEMBERSHIP. Does everyone really want to pay an extra $35 or $40 per year
for this system? How does the value of ACF service to the individual
increase by that amount?
I think that before I vote to give the ACF a more substantial funding base
at the cost of the current players I would like to see EXACTLY where the
money will go to make things better for the people who put up the money.
Most of the ideas unveiled to date seem to require outside sponsorship (ie.
CEO, National Academy) or suck MORE money from the poor (patzer players) to
give to the rich (elite going overseas, talented kids, winners of
championships, players in National Finals).
I am very surprised that there has been no talk on this Restructure yet, it
is a massive change and people seem to be scared to talk about it.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.somerset.qld.edu.au/chess/
Chess - the clever sport!