In the most recent Australian Chess Federation Newsletter, the ACF has called for bids for the 2007-08 Australian Championship. Of course this is not the first time the ACF has called for bids for this event, an technically the bids for this event closed 12 months ago (ie 30 June 2006).
But as of this moment no one has shown any real interest in hosting this event, and the ACF has offered to underwrite to event to the tune of $2,000 and allow the organisers too keep all the profit. This is a change from previous years where the ACF has insisted that organisers carry all the losses, but split the profit 50-50 with the ACF. Desperate times, desperate men I guess.
Of course the last Australian Open (2006-07) ran under the model of the ACF carry all the risk, but retain all the profit, which I think is the model the ACF should have always had.
For those thinking of putting in a bid (as well as those lying in wait to criticise whatever bid is accepted), here are some figures from the 2006-07 Australian Open. The initial bid based based on a total of 230 players entering. This was made up of 150 in the Open plus 40 players each in the Major and Minor. The Seniors event was not part of the bid and was therefore a self funded event (as was the Lightning event). In the end the event attracted less than 50% of that estimate, with only 104 players entering the 3 events. Consequently there was always going to be a shortfall, especially as the total budget came to $30,442
So how much was that loss. In the end it was only $4,719 which isn't bad considering the low entries. If we had had the budgeted numbers of players (ie an extra 126 players) then the tournament would have run at a considerable profit.
And that is what a poorly attend (but well run) national tournament cost the ACF. Although curiously the ACF themselves could have reduced the loss a lot further. At the Australian Schools Teams Championship in December 2006, incoming ACF President Gary Wastell asked me what the ACF could do to help make the tournament a success. "Simple" I replied. "Just get each member of the ACF Council to enter the tournament". In the end only 2 council members (IIRC) actually entered the event (ACTCA President Mos Ali and CAWA President John Fedec) meaning that at least 11 did not. This could have reduced the ACF's loss by $1,980. Gary Wastell didn't seem to take my suggestion seriously, and I assume it wasn't followed up.
But a word of caution to any prospective organisers. The ACF has very high standards you need to meet. During the Australian Open Gary Wastell called me "incompetent" not once but twice. So I guess the ACF won't be looking for my help in the future.