ACF Bulletin No. 74 - 16 July 2000 (Webpage www.auschess.org.au)
Wendy and I are just back from a four day hike on Hinchinbrook Island. What
a magnificent national park! We found it tough going, even in perfect
weather conditions. The thought of trying to traverse the island during a
cyclone (as did one chess player a couple of years ago) is mind-boggling . .
AUSTRALIAN OPEN RAPID PLAY
This will be held on 5/6 August at Deakin University, Melbourne. Organiser
DAVID CORDOVER <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Total Prize Fund $8,000; 1st
Prize $2,000; Fischer Rapid 20 minutes a side plus 10 seconds per move;
Entry Fees: Adult $60; Concession $50; Junior $40.
July 22-23 ANU Open, Canberra, Cat 3, ANDREW GREENWOOD 02 6291 0385
August 5-6 Australian Rapid Play, Cat 3, DAVID CORDOVER 03 9578 6203
August 5-6 Mackay Open, Mercy College, Penn Street, Mackay, Cat 1, STAN
LONG HONG 07 4953 4573
August 12-13 North Queensland Open, Centra Hotel, Townsville, Cat 1, KEITH
MACLEOD 07 4728 2060
August 12-13 Adelaide Checkmate Weekender, South Australian Chess Centre,
10 Ranelagh Street, Adelaide, Cat 3, EVELYN KOSHNITSKY 08 8271 8009
August 19-20 NSWCA Open, Rockdale, Sydney (To be confirmed), Cat 1, MICHAEL
WALSH 0407 068550
August 26-27 Hervey Bay Whale Open, Hervey Bay Resort, Cat 2, DEREK
ELKINGTON 07 4126 0201
Just a reminder to tournament organisers that it is imperative to get full
results with juniors and females clearly marked to INGRID THOMPSON
<email@example.com> immediately after each event.
AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OPEN
Saturday/Sunday 22-23 July, Fenner Hall, 210 Northbourne Ave, Canberra.
Prize List (guaranteed): 1st...$1000, 2nd...$500, 3rd...$250, Under
2000...$250, 2nd Under 2000...$150, Under 1600...$200, 2nd Under 1600...
$100, Under 1200...$150, 2nd Under 1200...$50, 1st Junior..$100, 2nd Junior
$50, Best ACT Player...$100, Best ANU Player...$100.
Confirmed entries: GM IAN ROGERS, IM GARY LANE, IM STEPHEN SOLOMON, IM BEN
Late entries close 9:45am on Saturday, 22nd of July. Adults $50, Concession
$40, Juniors $30. Entry free for IMs/GMs. There is a late fee for entries
taken after 14th July.
Entries to: ANU Chess Festival, Public Affairs Division, I Block (Bldg
#31), McDonald Pl, ANU ACT 0200
Credit card entry payments can be made by phoning 02-6249-2229. Ask for
More information and entry forms available at:
ANDREW GREENWOOD, Director, ANU Chess Festival, Tel. 0403-191777
COAL CITY OPEN - GEORGE LITHGOW
The "Newcastle Chess Association" voted this week to change the weekend
that the "Coal City Open" would take place.
We decided to move the event from the 14/15th of October. It will now take
place on the 21st and 22nd of October. This decision was not taken lightly.
The Event will no longer incorporate the NSW Country Individual
Championship. We have ceded this privilege to the Illawarra Yacht Chess
Club Chess Club. (MATT SWEENEY President)
The above club will be the recipient of a substantial grant from their
The date of the Individual NSW Country Championship will be advised later
by their President, but will probably be in November.
OLYMPIAD TEAM CAPTAIN AND WOMEN'S OLYMPIAD TEAM CAPTAIN
If you wish to be considered for the position of Olympiad Team Captain or
Women's Olympiad Team Captain please email ROBERT JAMIESON
<firstname.lastname@example.org> by 31 July 2000.
FUTURE AUSTRALIAN CHAMPIONSHIPS, AUSTRALIAN OPEN AND AUSTRALIAN JUNIOR
The ACF have received a bid from the WA Junior Chess Council to host the
Australian Junior Championships in January 2004.
The fact that the ACF have not received bids for the Jan 2002 Australian
Championships or the Jan 2002 Australian Junior Championships is a matter
of some concern and one that I will be keen to discuss with states during
my around Australia trip next month.
Laws of Chess Revision
Thanks indeed to Dennis Jessop for bringing this up. I have made a
submission to IA Gijssen, mainly to argue that the 'mating potential' rule
is too obscure and difficult to apply for most players and arbiters. I'd be
happy to forward this to anyone interested.
Bulletin Editorial Policy
After reading Chris Depasquale's concerns on this issue, and carefully
re-reading many back issues of the Bulletin, I think he makes a very valid
point and the answer I would give to his first question is "Yes, I am
somewhat concerned that a financial risk exists". I am not a lawyer, but I
do have substantial experience of defamation issues, mainly as a so-called
'student journalist'. It is remarkably easy to get sued for defamation for
things which seem harmless, and all chess editors (even if only for a
little club newsletter or a meeting report) should be aware of this. I'm
told that one Australian chess club was once successfully sued just because
it was incorrectly reported at a meeting that a member had not paid his
annual subscriptions. Some points we need to be aware of are:
* Although a claim may not damage someone's reputation greatly, the court
costs can be extremely severe even if the payout is very low.
* Laws on defamation vary considerably by state and country.
* An email sent to just a few people may be sufficient to cause a
* If you are accused of defaming someone, you generally have to prove that
what you said is true (or at least presented within certain stringent
standards of due care in some jurisdictions).
* You can defame someone even without naming them so long as some of the
readers would know who you are talking about.
* You can defame someone without making your accusations explicit, if the
reader would be likely to read between the lines.
* In most jurisdictions, you cannot escape a defamation claim simply by
apologising or retracting the claim - although that might reduce the damage.
* Even offering a right of reply to the person concerned does not always
prevent defamation action if the comments replied to are false and are
* In some jurisdictions, a completely true claim can be defamatory if it is
not in the public interest to know about it.
* The body circulating material can be sued even if they did not know the
material was false and did not write it.
* Only a tiny proportion of defamatory comments ever result in legal action.
* Simply disagreeing politely with a person's ideas (or chess moves!) is
not automatically defamatory in itself. Trouble may start when you attack
their character, motive or professional competence, or ridicule or insult
The line can be easy to cross (eg by accusing someone of having sexist
There are not all that many 'respectable publishers' (as defined by Mr
Depasquale) around, but every chess editor should stick by the following
1. A person who is personally criticised in a way which might reflect badly
on them gets to reply in as much detail as they need in the same issue
(even if they were not actually named).
2. Any criticism which is known to be factually incorrect is simply not
circulated and efforts are made to check in cases where there is any doubt.
I do believe it would benefit the ACF to have a formal policy on this.
ACF Email Bulletin Policy 2001 Zonal Format
This is in response to Chris Depasquale's thread in the last bulletin (No.
Incidentally, I did not wait the suggested 48 hours for this response (more
like 48 seconds), not because of the adrenaline pumping, but because the
medium does not lend itself to a 48 hour wait. I'll just have to take my
chances with that lawsuit! Seriously though, on the issue of vetting
contributions for legal ramifications, I have to say I think it would kill
this bulletin for good! It would simply be too unwieldy - not to mention
unnecessary effort - to get the message out every week. Whether by design
or accident, most people (including the Courts) seem to accept that the
online world has come to enjoy a wider licence for everything (including
factual content) than is normally seen in "respectable" print publications.
Indeed the online world would be a lawyer's nirvana if this were not the
case (just go to any Newsgroup, read any number of online bulletins such as
this one, etc etc). A well established practice online is for a moderator
to simply vet things from the perspective of a reasonable lay person, and
exercise his/her judgement about what is fair game and what not. This
bulletin itself is an example of that, and anything more would be overkill.
I really don't see the kind of risk exposure for ACF that Chris is alluding
to in his post.
On the issue of the Zonal format, I do rather think Chris is jumping the
gun a bit, as he himself said he might be. The post I read about the
organisation of the 2001 Zonal, simply asked for potential organisers to
come forward, more of a call to put their thinking caps on etc, nothing
about the format. Experience has shown these things do not get organised on
the spot (or sometimes even with a couple of years' notice!), so to suggest
that it was implicit that the format would be unchanged, and that maybe
local sponsors could be found between last week and this week, only to be
potentially turned away because of an uncertain format, is a little far
fetched. I do think Chris your direct criticisms are harsh and unwarranted.
Having said that, I also agree that the Zonal format should be debated and
be made less open to external criticism. I think that debate COULD
realistically occur hand in hand with organisers talking to sponsors.
Sponsors don't much care whether an event is 10 player or 24 player - they
want prestige. True, you do eventually need to talk small detail with
interested sponsors - you can't just waffle on about an uncertain format -
and if that's how much progress people have already made with their
prospective sponsors for the next Zonal, then maybe the criticism is fair.
>From my own minimal time spent as a chess administrator, I know the problem
with most chess fundraising is much more fundamental than that, and you
have to go through many many hoops before things like a modified format
ruin a sponsorship deal.
Lastly, I think there's much merit in Chris' proposal for the format he is
suggesting for next year. Though even there, logically one might argue
whether a Fijian player should be seeded directly into the event at all (we
would've made it into most of the previous soccer World Cups if geography
alone was that important)? Maybe a qualifying event for the Zonal just
before the "main event" for the unseeded players might be an idea? Oh, but
who would organise that one??
Regarding open Zonals for the World Championship.
I am a great believer in the use of these to go forward as a means of
qualifying for the World Championship. If I ruled the world, there would
just be four zonals, one on each continent with an appropriate number of
qualifiers from each and the possibility of playing in more than one if one
failed to qualify from the first - but with ever-escalating entry fees. The
zonals have very little value in Western Europe. However they can be of
great value in less chess densely populated areas.
However the title regulations for the closed zonals are totally
inappropriate for open zonals. I shall have a simple proposal before FIDE
in Istanbul to overcome this particular problem.
1.34 A score of 50% or better in a closed Zonal, or 66.67% in an open Zonal
tournament of at least nine games. When such a tournament is played with
preliminaries and finals, the results shall be pooled.
I don't think that is very painful.
I look forward to meeting Graeme Gardiner there, if my health permits.
Have Australia examined the proposals from FIDE Commerce and formed views
on their impact on Australian chess? There is a meeting in Germany on the
weekend of 14-16 July concerning the proposed lowering of the FIDE entry
point to 1501. Views of the impact would be valuable for the meeting. No
Asian representative has been nominated. The agenda and papers can be
obtained from FIDE. I would attach my own quite densely written 6 page
document here, but it would bore most readers to tears.
I recently received my copy of ACE News and read with disquiet the
editorial, exhorting selectors to assign the last 3 spots on the Open
Olympiad team to young players partly because of their age.
The people named are obviously good players, but I don't agree with the
thrust of Brian Jones' comments and I also have reservations about using
editorial clout for the lobbying of selectors. First let me say that I am a
41 year old candidate for Olympiad selection and may be considered
unobjective. Nevertheless, I hope the points I make will be considered on
I have in the past been closely involved in ACF administration and its
selection process and there are (or certainly were) guidelines for
selectors in picking the Olympiad teams, due to previous controversies. It
was decided the number 1 criterion was to finish as high as possible and
this implies selecting the strongest applicants, not the best looking,
funniest, most articulate, youngest or most lobbied for. It can be argued
that this is as it should be and that extraneous factors should as far as
possible be removed from the selection process. (I seem to recall some sort
of reasonable activity guidelines were also laid down to prevent dormant or
semi-retired players from getting selected.)
Some teams like the USA have selected their Olympiad team purely on rating,
to eliminate subjectivity, but in Australia this has historically not been
found to be satisfactory, largely because in the past not all Olympiad
contenders were getting enough overseas exposure to get an accurate FIDE
rating. Australian national ratings deflated, favouring less active players
and there was the problem on both systems of junior contenders being
Whatever set of criteria the ACF currently gives to selectors, it is not
appropriate for one individual to arbitrarily push a new set of criteria
just before a selection, without it being given due consideration by the
chess community as a whole.
There are many counter arguments against an ageist policy.
Most obviously, it is unfair. There are players in their thirties and
forties in Australia who have devoted an enormous amount of energy to chess
over the years and in several cases scored many more than the 3 IM norms
(2450 performances) required to get the title, in days when FIDE cared more
about standards. If the selectors feel that a junior is the next strongest
player then of course they should select them, but to introduce bias
against very strong players simply because they're not young any more would
be very misguided.
The process of trying to overtake the established players by genuine merit
is the best form of motivation for strong young players. To artificially
promote them at the expense of established players would actually be
counterproductive. The current crop of leading players cut their teeth
trying to dislodge the previous set of powerful established players such as
Jamieson, Fuller, Shaw and Hamilton, and are stronger for it.
There is a tendency to create bandwagons and put too much pressure on young
players in Australia. When a really talented young player comes along they
are immediately feted as Grandmasters in waiting. People breathlessly
compare their results to those of Ian Rogers at the same age. This is
understandable, but not sensible. Historically, none of them have got close
to his standard and some even fell by the wayside. Alex Wohl, already a
'veteran' when some of these juniors were being touted as future GMs, has
in fact turned out to be perhaps the best immediate prospect for a home
grown third GM.
It's far harder than most chessplayers realise to become a player of the
calibre of Rogers in an environment like Australia. It takes a lot more
than just talent. Rogers had to relocate to Europe for much of his career
and totally devote his life to chess. Johansen also made big sacrifices for
his chess. It becomes exponentially more difficult to improve as you get
stronger, whatever your age. It is great that Australia is producing
exciting young players, but we should give them a chance to develop the
required psychological mettle and long term dedication to the game before
lumping the weight of expectations onto their shoulders.
Rogers was a child prodigy, but many of Australia's current leading players
weren't. Wohl, Johansen and myself were relative patzers at age 15. You
cannot read too much into a player's beginnings because factors like a
strong will to succeed, perseverance, capacity for hard work, environment,
psychological capacity for overcoming setbacks and various other factors are
all contributors. Some of these characteristics become evident early on, as
with Wallace, Zhao and Smerdon, but others cannot be judged until the
player matures and, very importantly, is exposed to other pressures and
When Jones glibly writes, "forget the golden oldies", he is saying,
even consider higher rated, tough competitors with tremendous experience,
cunning, psychological strength and a proven ability to win major events".
This would be a pretty poor way to treat people who make a big contribution
to Australian chess. The "golden oldies" should have the same right to be
judged on their merits as anyone. I'm certainly not saying that the young
players promoted in Jones' editorial are not worthy candidates for
selection, I'm saying that established strong players in their thirties and
forties should not be prematurely consigned to the scrap heap.
I also don't agree with Jones that picking a squad from which the team will
be chosen represents indecisiveness on the part of the ACF. It may be a bad
idea (as distinct from indecisiveness) because of cutting down the options
for eventual selection, but I understood this to be a way of motivating
potential candidates and encouraging training regimes, so it did have some
logic behind it. Being named in the squad certainly inspired me to start
playing and studying regularly again. It is actually quite sensible to
leave the final selection until the latest practical moment, to have as
much information on form as possible. This does not constitute
A number of leading players over the years have expressed disquiet over the
excessive weight placed on the Australian Championship in Olympiad
selections. Unlike Jones, I think the squad selectors were right to reflect
these concerns. A number of times the "weak link" in the Australian team
has proven to be the person who "had" to be selected because of a high
the Championship, against conventional wisdom about relative strengths.
This should not be surprising, as one swallow does not make a summer.
It used to be argued that the Australian Championship was the one
tournament where all the 'contenders' were brought together, thus its
special significance. This is no longer the case. There are now other
strong tournaments in Australia played at one round a day, similar to the
Events like the QVB tournament, this year's Gold Coast tournament and the
Australian Masters, will provide much more recent form for selectors than
the already distant Australian Championship. Leading players do not
automatically contest the Australian Championship any more, as there are
other forums for strong competition and the post-Christmas period is not
convenient for everyone. It can be argued that it was an oversight not to
include Championship equal runner-up Chris Depasquale in the original
Olympiad squad and perhaps this was what Jones was getting at, but this has
since been rectified.
One of the great attractions of chess is that it is a meritocracy. Age,
race and religion do not matter. Karpov was not pushed from his pedestal
for being a boring, middle-aged communist, Kasparov had to beat him. What
counts in chess is how well you play and this is determined by carefully
considering results over a number of significant events, not by whether you
have a fresh face. Let's hope it stays that way.
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.auschess.org.au
Chess - the clever sport!
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