Saturday, 22 November 2008

On becoming an arbiter

I do all of my arbiting in Australia (where I live), but the Australian Chess Federation does not have an arbiter accreditation system. Neither does the PNG Chess Federation (with whom I'm registered) so the only official arbiter accreditation can come via FIDE.
Despite having directed enough tournaments to meet the qualification criteria (an Australian Championship, 4 Australian Opens, large numbers of Doeberl Cup's, the SIO, and a IM Round Robin in the 90's) I hadn't applied for the International Arbiter title until now. In the meantime FIDE had introduced the FIDE Arbiter title, which I had to get first, so I began the process of application earlier this year.
As the application was to go through the PNGCF, the final stage would be pretty easy (as I am the PNGCF secretary). However there were obstacles in the way. Part of the application was to submit details of tournaments directed, along with signature of the chief arbiter (usually an IA) as well as a signature from the hosts federation (in this case the ACF). I organised the reports, and sent them off to the various arbiters to sign, and then waited for their return. I got one quick response from the always conscientious Cathy Rogers, but the rest of the paper work got lost in the system. For various reasons (and I was given a few), the chief arbiter of my other events and the ACF official responsible for signing, couldn't get organised to meet up and at the deadline for submission, my forms were still floating around Sydney somewhere. (As it turns out I wasn't the only one in this boat, as another application missed the deadline because it was not processed by the ACF, and had to be submitted as a last minute request by the ACF during the Olympiad).
Luckily for me, I was having lunch with Stewart Reuben on the second or third day of the Olympiad, and he remarked that he was holding a FIDE Arbiters seminar (and that I'd just missed the first session). However, if I sat the rest of the sessions, and passed the final exam, I would earn my FA title. So I spent the next two mornings attending the seminar.
Oddly enough the final section was on FIDE Swiss pairing rules. It was a small seminar (about 8 attendees), and at the start of the final section Stewart announces that he does not use the FIDE Pairing Rules when he pairs by hand (using the BCF system instead) and looking at me said "Shaun, you're more familiar with the rules than I am, why don't you teach this part". And I did. So I had the wonderful experience of teaching a topic which I was to sit an exam on the next day.
I sat the exam the next day, and was told that I had passed, meaning I have qualified for the FIDE Arbiter Title. As for the Swiss Pairings part of the exam, Stewart said to me "Oh, but you got that question wrong!"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

(Now I know why you lost the pawn
in round 9 ;-).