ACF Bulletin No. 44 - 20 November, 1999


Every state and territory apart from WA and NT are well and truly

represented at the important national schools finals weekend. There are

"open" and "all girls" sections in primary and secondary. Schools who have

not yet advised EVELYN FITZPATRICK of the names of their players, and the

other information required by Evelyn, are requested to do so please as a

matter of urgency. Evelyn's email address is



TIM REILLY has pulled out of the Asian Men's and is now trying to put

together a team for the Asian Cities. Please contact Tim if interested on Any men interested in representing Australia at the

Asian Men's in Udaipur please contact the ACF International Secretary,




The deadline for entries is 3 December. This is an absolute deadline

because selections based upon the guidelines in the ACF Handbook have to be

made immediately afterwards. MIKE PARTIS and his committee are standing by

ready to carry out their very important task immediately the deadline

expires and hope to publish their selections within three or four days of

that deadline. Please don't miss the deadline because you will be



I notice that several chess players in Italy were recently drug tested and

one player proved positive. I don't as yet have any information from FIDE

regarding the rules relating to drugs. The Australian Sports Commission do

not yet recognise chess as a sport. I am concerned that we have not yet

been able to give our players any guidelines. The worst thing that could

happen is that an Australian chess player takes a positive drug test

through sheer ignorance of the rules. Whilst I am endeavouring to find out

more, I'd appreciate any reliable information that anyone can give me on

this matter.


If you would like to follow this event in which IAN ROGERS is participating

you can go to



In recent times, while researching articles for the Forum, I have been

struck by the lack of games in electronic form of famous Australian

players. I know that John Van Manen is the archivist for the ACF. He has

collected results of events very diligently, but has he tried to archive

the game scores? I was collecting Lajos Steiner games for a proposed

article on him and was able to find about 240 of them. Ian Rogers was able

to supply another 160 (approx) from his database. There are still many of

his gameS in Purdy's magazines which I haven't yet entered into my

database. Does anyone know who has Steiner's notebooks? (if there were any).

When Koshnitsky died I had less than 50 of his games on my database. I

only have about 200 of Purdy's games. We should try and collect these

before they are lost forever and publish them, say on the ACF website.

There may be many games held by their opponents who are still alive (eg

John Hanks, Lloyd Fell, Karlis Ozols, John Purdy, Phil Viner etc.)

Games from previous Australian or State championships are not readily


I would like to help in this work and anything I have already collected I

would be happy to supply to the effort. What do you think?

If you can help Paul please contact him on <>


Many thanks to all those who have commented on the proposed restructure. In


PARR have gone to great lengths to put forward their particular point of view.


Some of the comments make it clear that I have not articulated our proposal

very well in some areas and I'd like to use this bulletin to expand upon

some of these ideas and address points made by the correspondents.


Perhaps one of the most important points was made by Denis Jessop who

basically said (in one part of his comments although this wasn't the

overall message from him) that Australian chess has been going along very

well and doesn't need change. Perhaps the Australian chess community would

like to maintain the status quo. Personally, I cannot subscribe to the 'if

it ain't broke, don't fix it' theory. My feeling is that there is a general

feeling that if we are to move forward and develop chess significant change

is required.


Another important point to make in this regard is do we really want to see

consecutive ACF executives burn themselves out through the massive workload

required to try and do the job properly on a completely amateur basis? I'm

not suggesting that the executive should get paid but we do need a full

time CEO if we want to move chess forward on a professional basis.


Some correspondents made the point that they don't think the 'membership

through ratings' system will work as it is too expensive and they would

prefer a traditional membership scheme. I believe that the traditional

schemes have only worked up to a point but will never produce a steady,

reliable income stream sufficient to move Australian chess forward.


Peter Parr makes the point that the USCF have built up their membership

scheme from 8,000 to 80,000 - but on a per capita basis this would still

only give Australian chess 6,000 members. Membership schemes in each state

rely on the veracity of the membership secretary of the day for numbers.

The administration required to record members and match up members with

rated games is very significant. In contrast, the 'membership through

ratings' system will be relatively easy to administer. Tournament

organisers will capture names, addresses etc through the Swiss Perfect

pairings programme and this will automatically build the state/national

membership register. States will have an incentive to run as many rated

tournaments as possible because 50% of all rating fees will go back to the



The issue of the 'membership through ratings' scheme being too expensive

needs to be addressed. Firstly some correspondents forget that the existing

state/national membership fee is eliminated. Some have said that the rating

fee will hit hardest those that play most chess. Isn't that what a 'user

pays' system is all about?


Let's look at an adult who plays (say) 200 rated games a year - that would

have to be just about the maximum - that would be $200 per year. Compare

that with almost any respectable sport like hockey, netball, cricket,

tennis, rugby etc and the minimum would be $120 per year plus levies, fees,

sporting uniforms etc etc. That is for every player, not just the most

active - and for only six months, most sports being seasonal. A sport like

golf would be a lot more expensive. Under our scheme, most players would

pay a lot less than $120 - and for twelve months.


Take the juniors. Let's look at a junior who plays (say) 200 junior rated

games and 100 adult rated games per year - that would be close to the

maximum - that would be $100 per year. Compare that with most of the other

sports where every kid pays around $100 for six months plus levies, fees

and uniforms etc. I don't think that we should have a cringe about having a

fees structure that compares favourably with all the other sports.


On the other hand, for those that complain it is not fair that an

individual can have membership of the ACF for the cost of only one rated

game or only $5 per year, I say that we want as many members as possible on

our books (in particular for government funding credibility) and this

system is basically user pays.


The issue of value/benefits for membership dollars is an important one. At

the moment, the ACF provides the ratings system and organises Australian

representative teams, Australian Championships etc and carries out duties

largely determined by the council which is a federation of the states. I

believe it should take on more of a leadership role.


The ACF represents the 'serious' Australian chess community where chess is

regarded as a sport, not so much the nearly three million recreational

players. I think it is reasonable to assume that the serious chess

community would like to be part of an efficient, well run, forward looking

chess system in Australia. Above all else I think that most people would

like to be involved in a successful system. This in itself is a benefit

which is not currently provided. More benefits need to be developed.


In practical terms it is proposed to spend the reliable income stream on

such things as a permanent Chief Executive Officer/Office and development

programmes including national schools, universities, clubs and coaching.

Personally I think it is a bit unrealistic for the ACF to be expected to do

very much with an annual budget of $12,000 which is less than that of some

clubs around the nation. Whilst the ACF will continue to endeavour to

obtain national corporate sponsorship, I think it is a bit glib to simply

say 'don't ask me for any money - just go out and get some sponsorship'.

Even if we are successful in obtaining sponsorship this could not be

regarded as a reliable, sustainable income stream.


Some have said that the states will lose relevance and that we will lose

volunteers because they will lose ownership. It is envisaged that the

states will continue to run all chess in their particular state. It is only

envisaged that the states will no longer have to administer and market

membership schemes or provide annual returns. The idea is to reduce the

administrative burden for states so that everyone can concentrate on the

development of chess. The last thing intended is to take away incentive

from volunteers.


One of the correspondents was worried that $30 per team in the national

schools competition would go to the ACF. What is proposed is that each team

is charged $30 of which 10% ($3) goes to the ACF and the balance to the

state. Again, I don't think we should have a cringe about charging the

children this kind of money. They are given a fantastic service by a huge

range of adult volunteers and it is very hard to achieve things without the

availability of funds. Besides, several states are already successfully

charging $30 per team of four. On one occasion this year Brisbane charged

$50 per team of four for a one day event and increased numbers (previously

$30 for a two day event).


Another question was why do we need national rapid and junior ratings

systems? FIDE have already introduced a rapid ratings system which

Australia needs to be a part of. Regarding the juniors, some states have

systems and some don't. Occasionally the junior systems drop out due to

lack of a state coordinator. In my experience the junior ratings systems

are the greatest motivators for juniors. It seems sensible to bring all the

junior systems into one Australian system similar to the adults. States

will receive 50% of all monies received from rating games played in the

particular state and so have a financial incentive to run as many junior

tournaments as possible.


The question of the national chess magazine has been addressed in our

proposal. We do not believe it should be compulsory for all members but

believe it should be available free on the internet and in hard copy format

by subscription. Shaun Press and Paul Dunn, the current owners and editors

of Australian Chess Forum deserve every support and the proposal envisages

the ACF taking financial responsibility for the magazine.


On the question of how the national board or commission is elected I have

an open mind. One model has the clubs electing the state

executives/committees and the state committees electing the national board.

The model has been proposed to ensure that the ACF have a leadership role.




* Traditional membership schemes have not worked particularly well and are

unlikely to ever provide a strong, reliable, sustainable income stream.

They require a great deal of marketing/ administration work.


* We need substantial funds in Australian chess to be able to develop the



* The proposed rating fee system is efficient to operate, works as a 'user

pays' scheme and has the potential to bring a strong, reliable, sustainable

income stream into Australian chess.


* The ACF needs to take up a leadership role.




With respect I would like to make a brief comment on this subject. I

suggest the proposed scheme is far too complicated. My suggestion is a fee

of $40 p.a. for adults and $20 p.a. for Pensioners and students. I think

the levy of $1 per game for rating would in practice be unworkable.


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!