Sunday, 30 December 2007

Australian Open Report

One of the requirements for organising an event on behalf of the Australian Chess Federation is to provide a report to the ACF Council at the end of the event. The ACF by-laws specify what is to be included in the report, eg financial statement, results, and any disciplinary recommendations. The organisers of the 2006-07 Australian Open dutifully submitted the report to the ACF (recommendations and all) but up until now we haven't had a response. No follow up questions, no queries, and most sadly, no apparent actions on the things we highlighted in the report. I can only assume that the ACF decided the detail we provided them was perfect, while the observations we made required no action. And given 6 months has past since the report submission, I'm also assuming that it is safe to release it in the public domain (after all, Stephen and I did write it). So if you click on the link http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=drvkdd2_1d66qmnzw you can read the report yourself. (NB This is the first time I've published something in Google Docs, so fingers crossed).
To be honest there isn't anything dramatic in the report. Just the usual run of the mill reporting, although Stephen's observation on the number of players entering the event should be read by any prospective tournament organiser.

29 comments:

Kevin Bonham said...

Could have commented on this earlier but there must have been bigger fish to fry at the time I first read Shaun's report.

I am the Secretary of the TCA, and was so at the time, and so far as can be determined based on the records available to me, no request to comment on the approval or otherwise of Tasmanian players entered in the event was ever sent to us. It is a little rich to accuse us of failing to respond (and to hence use the supposedly unapproved status of players as a pretext(/excuse/vague attempt at plausible deniability) for admitting someone whose state association was clearly not going to approve his entry) if there was not anything to respond to in the first place.

In many past national events the onus on entrants to obtain state approval has been made clear by placing a space on their entry form for them to do so, and following up those who do not.

The above does not necessarily represent the views of the TCA or the ACF.

Shaun Press said...

The initial request for approvals were sent out to State Associations which had players who had entered the event. At that time no players from Tasmania had entered. Nonetheless the issue was discussed at ACF Council meetings leading up to the Championship, so I assume all state associations were aware of the requirement.
The point we were making in the report is that we, the organisers, found the approval process petty and bureaucratic, and an unnecessary extra labour for us to perform. On the other hand, IF the state associations thought otherwise then they should have been more proactive in making sure the approval process was carried out, rather than expect someone else (ie us or the players) to do their job for them.
The fact that the TCA (and most other State Associations) did not, simply supports our point that while we didn't care for it, it is the State Associations who don't want it.

DeNovoMeme said...

The ACF is more or less a defunct body. Letters go in nothing comes out. The body has no head but the ratings heart keeps mindlessly pumping away. Kevin, you are part of the problem. Get out and let someone else cast the Tasmanian vote and report on the continuing lack of brain activity in the ACF.

Kevin Bonham said...

Matthew Sweeney (denovo meme), please pay attention and get your facts right for once in your life - someone else *is* casting the Tasmanian vote! On 14/1/07, shortly after my election as ACF Vice-President, I resigned the TCA delegate position, which is now held by Graham Richards, who therefore holds the TCA vote on ACF Council. I have a vote because I am on the Executive. Indeed as soon as I was elected VP, I advised the TCA Exec that for the obvious conflict of interest reasons (it is not a good idea for one person to hold one vote which they exercise on behalf of two different sets of responsibilities) I would pass on the TCA delegate role as soon as a suitable person was willing to fill it.

Anyway, what "letters" did you have in mind?

Shaun, my particular state association certainly does want the ability to veto entries from our state, though we would most likely only ever use it to veto a player who had entered a tournament for which they were far too weak to be competitive (eg a very inexperienced junior entered by their parents into a very strong event against their own best interests).

However, expecting state associations to have someone watching the list of entries to fire off emails of approval or otherwise as soon as each new name appears on the list is rather unrealistic, especially if "natural justice" is then used as an excuse to accept late entries against the previously stated intentions of that state association. The way it was done in the past was to place the onus on the entrant to obtain approval by the starting time, and if that was not obtained then to ask the state if they approved that particular entrant. This can create hitches with last-minute entries but that is their problem for entering a major event where state association approval is required at the last minute. If necessary, a late and unapproved entry could be permitted to play on the proviso that they would be removed from the event should their state association advise that their entry is not approved.

Whether you found the approval process petty and bureaucratic is beside the point. While there is some support for just abolishing it, others think is there for a number of good reasons, and while it is at least in need of reform to streamline and clarify the process, other organisers have been able to implement it.

You agreed to run the tournament and the ACF By-Laws stated how the tournament was to be run. If you wanted the by-law in question to be set aside because you thought it might be impractical you could have requested this in your bid; you did not. It is my opinion that the organisers made mountains out of this particular molehill primarily because of personal opinions largely unrelated to the actual difficulty of implementing the requirement successfully - prominently including, but not necessarily limited to, personal views of the Sweeney situation.

Once again, this post and indeed any others I may make to this thread do not necessarily represent the views of the TCA or ACF.

Denis Jessop said...

As Shaun says, there was nothing really dramatic in the report though the statistics about the drop in player numbers over the years were helpful and enlightening especially for those who want to criticise organisers for particular events.

The recommended disciplinary action is a matter outside my role on the ACF so I won't comment on it. But the player approvals issue is one on which I have done quite a lot of preliminary work as Convenor of the ACF Constitutional Subcommittee. It is clear that the present provision quoted in the report is unsatisfactory and, indeed unworkable in cases of late entries. The provision could be simply done away with though whether the ACF Council would accept it is a moot point. trying to draft an alternative that would work is not easy so that the work I have done is not yet good enough to put to anyone else though it is not far away. I have found that the task, in my view, only highlights the questionable nature of the current provision though the policy behind it is pretty clear.

It's a bit rich of denovomeme (Matthew Sweeney) to call the ACF more or less a defunct body when his own track record in chess administration comprises a failed tournament (Common Man), a period on the NSWCA Council when he did nothing and promises of two papers to the ACF (one on Trainer Accreditation and the other a Directory of Australian Chess Clubs)neither of which was ever completed.

Denis Jessop

Shaun Press said...

You agreed to run the tournament and the ACF By-Laws stated how the tournament was to be run.

And that is why we informed the State Associations (of the players already entered by October 2006) what we as organisers required of them to fulfill the obligations of the ACF By-laws in this regard. To this end we sent a list of players from each state as well as form to be filled out and returned to the organisers confirming the approval of each player.

Instead Ian Murray from the CAQ gave us a "no way am I doing this" response, while the Gary Wastall (VCA) just told us to look at their website. So if you want to accuse people of choosing to ignore/interpret ACF By-laws however it suits them, the next ACF Council Meeting would be a good forum to do so.

DeNovoMeme said...

Jessop says: It's a bit rich of denovomeme (Matthew Sweeney) to call the ACF more or less a defunct body when his own track record in chess administration comprises
1. a failed tournament (Common Man),
2. a period on the NSWCA Council when he did nothing and
3. promises of two papers to the ACF (one on Trainer Accreditation
4. and the other a Directory of Australian Chess Clubs)neither of which was ever completed.

DNM:
1. Was run 3 times. Two successfully, and the last time not so, because the NSWCA put it on their calendar without consulting me and I did not promote it.
2. President Bill Gletsos engineered my removal before I was finished doing a feasibility study of a Sydney Chess Centre which he did not want.
3. It was done. The ACF rejected an A grade document because it was not all things to to people. The NCCAS is still a goer and sits awaiting leadership to turn it on.
4. The FABULOUS directory was completed and given to the ACF, but the ACF did not like it being electronically searchable. So, it was passed around person to person. The Second edition Stalled last year when YOU could not put me in contact with YOUR disappearing man in South Australia, who had/has the draft

So, when you want to stab me with your pen remember I have amour. It is my known habits of:
Doing the "right thing."
Not wasting time with people who don't want help.
Calling a spade a spade.

On the other hand, the ACF is a stinking corpse that does the wrong thing, does not want help, and will never get its constitution in order. The sooner the ACF dissolves itself the better for Australian chess.

Denis jessop said...

Matthew

You live in a strange cocoon of self delusion and I am happy to leave you there where I imagine your greatest "amour" is of your own opinions.

DJ

Anonymous said...

Hi,


Could not get the link to load on my computer. But they may be at my end and nothing to do with google. Would love to see it reproduced on Ozchess.com.au.

I think your points made in comments are valuable Shaun. There are no UNIVERSAL standards in operation at the State association level. The ACF does not intend to police its own standards for its OWN events. COMMUNICATION 'between' institutions in the Australian chess community is at an all time low.

cheers,
FG7

Kevin Bonham said...

Ah yes Shaun, thanks for triggering my memory of that especially farcical part of that episode. For some strange reason the organisers, despite supposedly being opposed to needless bureaucracy, created it by requiring "form to be filled out and returned to the organisers confirming the approval of each player." Not one paper form for all the players from each state, but one form for each player. (I have a copy of it which was sent to me, albeit not by the organisers!) Any state that reacted angrily to this needless addition to the process could hardly be blamed for doing so, so I won't be giving anyone the ticking off you request about that at all.

Shaun Press said...

Kevin, I don't expect you to give anyone a ticking off, as I was simply highlighting that we as organisers did indeed attempt to follow the by-laws (and I assume you will withdraw the implication that we did not).
But it still stands that almost all state associations failed to meet the provisions of the by-law which I'll now quote

"27. The entry of players residing in Australia into official ACF tournaments or
matches shall only be accepted if approved by the State Association of the state
where the player resides or the State Association of another State which has a
border 50km or less from the player's place of residence. Should such approval
not be given, the player shall have the right of appeal to the ACF Council,
which is empowered to grant entry on a single event or general basis."

Now the wording is quite clear in that entries "can only be accepted if approved by the State Association of the state where the player resides". It does not state that the player or organisers are responsible for the approval of players, only the State Association. So the question remains, if this by-law is important to State Associations (including the TCA) why were no approvals given by almost all states (including the TCA)? At the least it is a failure of duty on the part of the state association towards its players, in that they could have been turned away on the morning of the tournament. At the most it is an admission that the by-law does put extra work onto somebody, just as long it isn't the state association officials themselves.

(BTW The discussion of the approval process, and it's implementation, had no connection with Matthew Sweeney, or any other player. In fact in the early stages of planning Dennis Jessop asked me if we the organisers would accept Sweneys entry to the Open, and I replied, as this is an ACF Tournament (in a real sense, not a glued on GP event), and his ACF ban does not expire until the 31st December 2006, we would not)

Kevin Bonham said...

I'm not going to withdraw any "implication" that wasn't actually present in what I said. What I said about the By-Law was that if you didn't like it you should have asked us to set it aside in advance.

I've already explained that the TCA didn't give any approvals because we were not asked to. The organisers didn't even email us to say "we realise there are no Tasmanian entries now, but please keep an eye on the list of entries and email us to let us know if those from your state are approved as they appear".

In the past, as I mentioned above, the process has often been that the organisers include a space on the entry form for the entrant to obtain state association approval. The entrant gets their form signed off and then submits it - simple, unless you live somewhere very remote. I have personally signed several such entry forms and have had no problem with doing so.

The current by-laws don't actually place any obligation on the states to do anything. What they do is create a situation where the organisers should be satisfied that a player is approved, before admitting them. That obligation is clearly on the organisers, not anyone else, because the by-law states that the entry shall only be accepted if approved, and accepting an entry is something that the organisers do. So if the organisers get an unapproved entry, they should contact the state association and say "do you approve this entry?"

When a player has not obtained approval themselves and that approval is still pending, the organisers cannot consider the entry as approved. They can only provisionally approve it subject to receipt of state association confirmation, or if a state is being too slow, go to the ACF to request a ruling on a particular player.

Denis Jessop said...

I confirm Shaun's comment about the approval process question not being related to Matthew Sweeney and the conversation that I had with him to which he refers.

There is probably not much to be gained now by a discussion of what the organisers of the 2007 Open may have done apart from what they did. But it does highlight the need for some change to be made to the by-law either to do away with it, clarify it, or substitute another procedure. There is certainly an argument that by-law 27 as it now stands means that an entry is not to be submitted unless it has prior approval of the relevant State Association but that is not entirely clear. For example the entry process can be viewed as two steps - submission of entry and acceptance by the organisers with the State Association approval coming between the two. That second interpretation was apparently the view that the organisers took and it was quite reasonable for them to do so on the wording of by-law 27 as it stands.

DJ

Kevin Bonham said...

Actually in making my above comments I was under the impression that there must have been some Tasmanian entry regarding whose approval/otherwise the TCA did not communicate with the organisers sufficiently for their liking.

I now, on checking (which should have been done by the organisers before casting aspersions at TAS in their report), find that there were actually no Tasmanian entrants in last year's Open and supporting events mentioned in the report!

So, as it stands, the organisers have seen fit to cast the TCA in a negative light for supposedly not responding to a request to endorse entries, when (i) there was no request from them to the TCA to do so, and (ii) there were actually no Tasmanian entries to endorse.

I hope the organisers will now duly correct this error everywhere where their report has been made public.

It's quite ironic that a few posts back I was being asked to withdraw some implication that actually didn't exist. I feel this places me in a strong position to request the same re one that most definitely does! :)

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, the discussion seems to be about the application of some arcane by-law rather then the more important issue of the dropping off of attendances at the Australian Open.

Now why doesn't everyone get back in their respective sandpit (after making sure your dignity is in total tatters) and solve the major issue.

Shaun, is there a similar chart relating to the attendances at the Australian Championships over the same period?

Shaun Press said...

I apologise unreservedly for any imputation on the actions or character of the TCA. For some reason I had in my head that members of the Horton family had played in Canberra, when it was in fact the Dalton family from Victoria.

Kevin Bonham said...

Thanks very much Shaun.

No thanks to anonymous; I don't take dignity lessons from anyone who criticises others on a blog without putting their own name to their comments in the process.

That applies especially when the nature of their post is just another useless melodramatic pox-on-all-your-houses affair that asserts that certain people are not working on a particular problem when (i) the author provides no useful input to that problem themselves in the same post (ii) the author probably has very little actual idea what those involved in the debate are or are not doing elsewhere about that issue.

By the way, I believe that the pattern for recent attendance at the Aus Champs (plus supporting events) is very different to that for the Open, although I don't have the data to hand. Certainly there is no comparable perception of an attendance crisis. Even this year's event is not too badly supported given how late in the day the bid was assembled and approved.

DeNovoMeme said...

"shall only be accepted if approved by the State Association of the state "

SHALL !!!

Pretty definite, and it shows that most of the players were in fact playing while being specifically UNPROVED.

That the ACF and Kevin Must-Debate Bonham seek to bury the fact with confusion, and pretend that the ACF and its rules are working, shows how idiotic the whole system is.

Kill the ACF. It is beyond help.

DeNovoMeme said...

KB ACF VP:I don't take dignity lessons from anyone who criticises others on a blog without putting their own name to their comments in the process.

Here I am with my known identity to tell you that you have the dignity of a ... ummm ... errr ... actually there is nothing with less dignity than you. You are beyond the range of acceptable, and no amount of "lessons" can cure your ills. so, FO.

Kevin Bonham said...

Matthew, I was actually content to let the debate rest there now that the incorrect aspersions at my state association have been rectified (and the first useless internet-hippy-style post of 2008, arriving only nine minutes in, has been duly disposed of).

But since you insist on stereotyping me as someone who will continue to debunk gibberish as long as it is posted, I shall live up to your stereotype by debunking your latest effort.

If the players were really playing while being "UNPROVED" [sic] (as may well be the case) then what that shows is that the organisers did not ensure they were approved before accepting their entries, although the organisers had many reasonable and simple ways of doing so, as many other organisers have done in the past.

Far from being unwilling to face the fact that the majority of entrants admitted by the organisers may have actually not been explicitly approved, I have no problems with stating that this could very well have been the case. I also do not see it as a reason for concern in the case of those players where there was no reason (and remains no reason) to believe their states did not approve their entry. The only person who played who should definitely not have been allowed to play was you.

I also don't take dignity lessons from people who get themselves banned from bulletin boards for vulgar abuse, or who tell people to FO. You aren't even in a position to have the first clue what dignity is, so your opinion on the subject is irrelevant.

DeNovoMeme said...

ACFVPKB:If the players were really playing while being unapproved [the arsehole's typo dig removed] (as may [was!] well be the case) then what that shows is that the organisers did not ensure ...

DNM: When a system breaks down, it is rarely due to a single fault. You, always always always attempt to blame anyone and anything that is not under your jurisdiction. You Deflect blame, you hide behind pedantics. You are as unable to accept your part in faults as anyone I have ever known.

The ACF is a disaster area an you are more responsible for that than most. Take your medicine and FO.

ACFVPKB: The only person who played who should definitely not have been allowed to play was you.

DNM: Oh, you say that now. So, what did you do to ensure the rules were followed. We know how closely you like to follow the rules at Chess Chat - ie, closely when it suits you. You truly are a spectacularly awful person with the morals and ethics of a snake.

Kevin Bonham said...

Hmmm, a few posts back Matthew Sweeney was attempting to lecture me on dignity, and now his usual vulgar abuse is on show, again, for all to see.

Matt effectively accuses me of blaming the breakdown of the approval system (actually there was no significant breakdown except that he was allowed to play when he should not have been) on a single fault.

This is wrong, as I stated clearly in post 4 that the existing process has some problems and is in need of reform, and of course these could theoretically have been anticipated and disposed of earlier. Had I accused the organisers of making mountains out of nothing instead of out of molehills, Matt's charge might be valid, but it isn't - it's just another weak aggressive attempt to stereotype.

Matthew's claim that I "always always always [he seems unaware that one cubed is still one] attempt to blame anyone and anything that is not under your jurisdiction" is another generalisation that could be disproved by many counterexamples, but I won't bother providing any, since Matt does not substantiate his claim in the first place. It's true that I am frequently pointing out that I am not responsible for things people say I am responsible for, but that is for the simple reason that some people (mostly trolls) often try to hang blame on me for things that really aren't my fault, and are quite often theirs!

As has been pointed out above, at the time of the controversy, I genuinely had no TCA role in ensuring the rules were followed, since there were no Tasmanian entries. As an ACF councillor, however, far from doing nothing, I supported extensive attempts to ensure the by-laws were upheld in the one case where there was actually a problem. Alas, these were unsuccessful, as a result of some unexpected and in my view peculiar decisions taken by the organisers in that case, but I have since put work into a proposal that I hope eliminates many of the existing problems with the approvals by-law (most of them unrelated to that scenario), and have in fact just sent same to the ACF Constitutional Subcommittee.

"You truly are a spectacularly awful person with the morals and ethics of a snake." - that's hilarious Matthew, I will treasure such a compliment forever. :)

DeNovoMeme said...

ACFVPKB: "I supported extensive attempts to ensure the by-laws were upheld in the one case where there was actually a problem. Alas, these were unsuccessful, as a result of some unexpected and in my view peculiar decisions taken by the organisers in that case..."

DNM Yes you failed abysmally in your attempt to get even with me for lancing your boil of an ego, and you again blame someone else.

In case "FO" is too vulgar for you, try this. Leave the ACF, but preferably, drop dead.

Garvin said...

I wonder if Shaun will moderate some of DM's comments as been abusive and unproductive to the debate at hand.

Hope so.

Kevin Bonham said...

Garvin, my experience of Shaun's approaches to free speech is that he's very unlikely to moderate anything just for being hotheaded and probably defamatory bile. Shaun has strongly-held views about "free speech", which in my experience he sticks to very consistently.

Matt, quite aside from your ridiculous attacks having obviously done nothing to address my doubtless galling (to you) lack of an ego crisis, you are wrong yet again. Nothing new under the sun there, of course.

If my motive was to get even with you for your online behaviour, then this could already have been accomplished (and then some) via the implementation of the national extension of your NSWCA ban, which was a far more significant matter than your entry into a supporting event for one tournament.

In fact I had already got more than even with you (not that I was ever behind in the first place!) by repeatedly pointing out your many flaws and running rings around you in debates like this, often causing you to go off the rails (as you have acknowledged) and start spouting all kinds of vindictive and poorly-formed bile and making a fool of yourself. And hey, it's happening again. You don't have to get sucked into the spiral, you know! :)

DeNovoMeme said...

ACF Vice President Kevin Bonham says:
In fact I had already got more than even with you (not that I was ever behind in the first place!) by ...


DNM: I am sure that the Australian chess community is disgusted with having one of their top officials, publicly taking pride in his self professed ability to 'get even' with people he does not like. That is one of the behaviors that make you unfit for office.


ACF VP KB: ... causing you to go off the rails ... And hey, it's happening again. You don't have to get sucked into the spiral, you know! :)

DNM: Your recently aquirred habit of plonking a smiley on the end of posts in a desperate attempt to present as the jovial jester makes you look like the village idiot attempting to placate someone who is wiping the floor with you. The spiral you see is actually the one that is sucking your Excellency down the drain.

And Garvin, stop crying and mind your own business. http://www.forumspile.com/STFU-Baby.jpg

Kevin Bonham said...

Matthew, you say that "I am sure that the Australian chess community is disgusted with having one of their top officials, publicly taking pride in his self professed ability to 'get even' with people he does not like."

Quite aside from the innacuracy above (merely "getting even" with a clod like Sweeney in debate, or being behind in the first place, would be a poor performance) I am sure that Matthew is not sure of the above at all, and I am equally sure that most of the Australian chess community has no interest in these exchanges, and that many of those who do care approve of my behaviour towards all silly trolls.

Furthermore I am not writing in an official capacity so if anyone is foolish enough to disapprove of what I do in an official capacity on the basis of how I conduct myself in an unofficial one, more fool them, they are irrelevant. I won't be quaking in my boots in fear of being rolled at the next National Conference over this issue!

Matt, the purpose of using the smiley is not to make me look like the jovial jester, but to rub into you that you are taking things all too seriously and getting yourself deranged and agitated in the process. Your latest bluster just further confirms this, as you make unsubstantiated claims of victory that you don't believe and nobody else does either, although a few may pretend. Hope that helps, and here's another bunch of smileys for ya! :) :) :)

DeNovoMeme said...

ACF VP KB said: Furthermore I am not writing in an official capacity so if anyone is foolish enough to disapprove of what I do in an official capacity on the basis of how I conduct myself in an unofficial one, more fool them, they are irrelevant.

DNM: If you think that you have ANY room to be KB: Private Citizen, when you are posting on a chess site, you are supremely deluded. You are a big noise in both state and national bodies. You have NO, read it again, NO, private opinion when posting on chess sites about chess related matters.

That you think that those who would hold you to account for what you post on chess matters are "irrelevant," is horrifying. The contempt you show for the chess playing public shows you to be absolutely unfit for office.

(BTW, smiling at adversaries is a sign of fear. I have your measure and you know it. I will not cease my calls for you to either get off the chess net sites, or resign from your official positions preferably both.)

Kevin Bonham said...

Matthew, you can repeat your nonsense all you like but that does not make it true. I can say what I like in a personal capacity whenever I want to, and anyone who thinks I am speaking in an official capacity when I have expressly stated otherwise is irrelevant and astonishingly stupid.

I don't hold any contempt for the chessplaying public because I know from experience that most of them are not at all likely to change their opinion of my official performance on account of me spending some of my spare time flaming an abusive pariah and troll. Indeed I have been doing this sort of thing for a long time now and have continued to be re-elected, so clearly I do have room to express private opinions.

Furthermore the opinions of Matthew Sweeney are completely irrelevant as concerns my official positions, as he cannot even find it in himself to admit that he was out of line in his behaviour many times, apologise to the NSWCA, and hence once again become a voting member of it, so that he can participate in the appointment of NSWCA delegates to the National Conference and ACF Council, and hence in what positions I hold on a national basis.

Smiling at an adversary is not at all necessarily a sign of fear (indeed the idea of me being afraid of an incompetent frother and plaything like Sweeney is ridiculous). It is rather more often a sign of pitying their hopelessness and not taking them seriously; it rubs their predicament in and ius quite effective at provoking them into further stupidity (as in this case). You can make whatever calls you like (including that you have my measure when in reality you couldn't measure your way out of a wet paper bag) but they are a waste of time and effort. Indeed you have no track record of sticking at things anyway so any promise you make about future action will probably collapse within months.

And if you had any clue at all you would realise that any call for my resignation you might make only strengthens my resolve to continue and encourages others to think that I must be doing a good job! ;)