Saturday, 19 February 2011

Rant featuring Celebrity Guest Ranter Arianne Caoili


AUSTRALASIAN CHESS CRISIS

It is even worse than I thought. I just went to the ACF website to collect some information on previous Australian title events and noticed that it has not been updated for years! Under the "Records" tab the last Australian Champion is given as Steven Solomon, 2007-2008, the last Open Champion as Zong-Yuan Zhao 2007, the last Junior Champion as Junta Ikeda 2008 and ,get this, the last Womens Champ Slavica Sarai 2003! For laughs one can then click on the “Titles” tab and see that our two leading players Zong and Smerdon are still listed as IM's.
We are now in the information age and the first port of call for people wanting to find out about Chess in Australia would undoubtedly be the official website of our national federation. Well, they will at least get an accurate impression of Chess in our Country.

But who needs accurate information to rant? I have spent the last decade travelling the World playing in different events and otherwise participating in Chess events and get homesick often especially during the winter in the northern hemisphere. Last year was no exception. I was planning to come back home about November and wanted to spend a few weeks preparing for the Australian Open on the beach in Byron Bay, and then fly to New Zealand to play in the Oceanic Zonal and explore our beautiful neighbour by Bicycle.
I then noticed how incredibly weak the Australian Open was once again. I lay high personal value on defending titles but not at any price. The prize-fund was frozen in time. If I won the event I might have just about covered my living expenses in Sydney. The Zonal in Rotorua was not much better. A very weak field comprised mainly of Australians with double rounds and morning rounds. Also the accommodation costs were high compared to the prizes.
We tried to follow the results from Gibraltar but could not even find a link on the official website. We (Australasians+ Gawain Jones) had to go via Graeme Gardiners excellent website to find them.

Finally I decided to stay in Europe and instead played the London Classic, Hastings and Gibraltar. I remember well the days when not only most of Australia's titled players competed in our national title events but also many players from overseas participated. We now have more talented young players than ever before. This may be because of the efforts of the many Chess coaching companies in Melbourne, Sydney, Gold coast and perhaps other places I am not aware of. But how do these talented youngsters progress to the next level?

I do not want to be too harsh on the NZ federation because they do organise some events, and despite having far less resources and far fewer players put us to shame. To mention a few, the Wanganui tournaments and the Occasional George Trundle IM tournaments, the Smerdon- Puchen match and lots of week-enders. Most notable is Australasia's only decent proper tournament, the Queenstown Classic which will be held again in 2012 and I intend to participate for the third time.
They also have a reasonable web presence. It could be more user-friendly but at least one can see that some effort was made. Just the Zonals were not up to their (NZ) usual standard.

The ACF on it's website (sic) claims that it's aim is to promote Chess Down Under. From the state of the website and National title events they are not excelling in that regard. Our ratings system is worthy of a whole rant all in itself but since I couldn't care less what my Australian rating is I will leave it to someone else. Now neglect and inaction to the point of embarrassment are bad enough but occasionally the ACF does do something and most often it is obstructionist to put it politely. With that I pass you over to my Celebrity Guest ranter, former student and friend. 

 Arianne Caoili.

First of all I’d like to thank Alex, one of my longest-standing friends, for inviting me to guest rant. The subject of my rant is women’s chess in the Oceania zone, and how the media and other individuals acting as groups support, sustain and cement the already disadvantaged situation of women’s chess in Oceania. If we can consider tournaments available to women in Oceania as a market then it might be helpful to express my sentiment in terms of the inefficiencies created and supported by the ACF and other stakeholders. Please note that this is a RANT. If you’re offended, too bad. And a rant is in and of itself audience-independent, so this also means that I don’t in general care if you are interested in my topic or agree with me, or whether you think my argument is coherent or not. At least Alex does – and it’s his blog.

I started playing chess when I was 6 and loved the game with all my heart from the very beginning. Since chess is inherently competitive, I always chose the strongest possible opponent to increase the rush. Being a ‘cute’ little girl and then a photogenic teenager was of superficial benefit but a less obvious curse. It helped with so-called attention but the interest was never in my chess so-much as it was in my publicity value. Photo ops were more important than my preparation and pressure was put on me to win girls events ‘looking pretty’ rather than garnering real chess achievements. Although women’s chess in general (especially if you’re under 2400) has been relegated as boring, shallow and ‘inferior’ (who indeed would be interested in that?), subjective enjoyment of the game cannot be questioned – so when I sit there at the start of my game, however inferior and unimportant it may be, I do not appreciate a photographer coyly hiding behind my opponent, gesturing to his camera and mouthing the command ‘smile’ while refusing to get out of my frame of reference until I do so. [This is just to state a recurring example which I experience in nearly every game, an experience that I’m sure many women in chess have frustratingly had to endure – actually, maybe some chicks like it – but I can tell you it’s thoroughly annoying]. Looking back on it now, the obsession with my so-called ‘looks’ bordered on public pedophilia, and fused with certain publicly-constructed scandals culminated into a pathetic orgasm between certain attention-starved (bored?) chess media outlets and individuals with nothing better to talk about. So back to the subject: the dilemma posed above is not new, many girls experience it. This dilemma is a premise to argue for the reasons why the women’s chess tournament market, so to speak, is like it is and why it keeps on being so. It should also be noted that this dilemma is sustained by the chess media (Chessbase gets 5 stars for this and kudos to Chess Vibes for so far, from my observations, refraining to do so).

If the media and chess sponsors focus on these trivial physical things rather than their chess, it is logical to assume that this is the case because there is nothing more interesting in women’s chess to focus on. Fair enough. But I argue that this is because the women’s tournament market conditions, so to speak, are found wanting and so the product (women’s chess itself) is inferior, and therefore lacking in appeal. For example: if we get rid of women’s prizes and having separate women’s events alongside men’s events, then we remove inefficiencies altogether! It will force the women to compete, and if they can’t, then over time, the weak get eliminated. This will produce, OVER TIME, a superior women’s chess-playing populace.  The weak-minded chess players will lose interest, but I would argue that they never really were interested in chess if they can’t stand the competition or at least try to overcome the competition (isn’t this what chess is about?). I agree that we should have ‘beginner’s protection’, since chess is not elitist but for everyone. That is fine: just don’t divide the beginners section by gender. Simple high school economics, no?

The elimination of gender ‘barriers’ altogether, by simply ignoring the distinction and eliminating tournament rules and conditions that support these barriers, will over time create stronger women chess players – and thus obliterate the very notion of women’s chess, because they will be just as interesting and maybe even just as strong as men (their attraction will no longer be based on physical looks but their actual chess). I think that Judit Polgar is an excellent champion of this theory. For a more recent, less legendary example, look at the performances of the ladies in the last Wijk aan Zee section C. Tania and Katherina faced the competition and put in formidable performances (to say the least).

So back to me again (it’s my rant, remember). Since you never forget your first love, after many years of absence I started playing chess again sporadically and am enjoying the challenge as much as ever. However people still try to spoil my fun. Just a few months ago I wanted to play in the Oceanic Zonal. After easily winning the last Women’s Zonal I did not feel like playing against the same opponents that one might possibly, without much exaggeration, get a high plus score against in a simul. What’s the point of playing in an event that offers little competition, negligible rating points and 9 games in openings such as 1.e4 c6 2. d4 g6 or some other off beat line? – although I think one must play all chess positions (a natural right and enjoyment of chess players in general) it’s also nice to encounter a main line in the Gruenfeld or Slav (it has been to my experience that most women chess players in Australia and New Zealand simply don’t know or haven’t had to know main lines, or they deviate via some devilishly annoying gambit, so the result is some off-beat position). [Just a note on that point – Levon has always told me that we, players like our dear Alex (!) and myself, on ‘our’ level, shouldn’t obsess about the openings, but I think that even on ‘our’ level with all of our miscalculations and Rybka-ignorant ideas, that main lines can be fun too].

Anyway, I asked the organizers if I could play in the open (men’s section). Although the New Zealanders had no objections the ACF were downright hostile to my request. Not only would I lose my accommodation spot but would have to pay a $250 entry fee. I wrote an email addressed to both the organizers and the ACF to try to discuss my concerns but got not even so much as an acknowledgement of receipt. Given, my accommodation spot was for a woman’s slot in the women’s open – but firstly, do you know how many of these ‘spots’ in both the men’s and women’s were forgone (many of them didn’t show up or chose alternative accommodation); and secondly, if they can’t give accommodation, why charge $250 for Australia’s number 1 female to play in the men’s section? This zonal open represented a rare opportunity for women players like me to actually engage in competitive battles and garner experience – but yet again, there is evidence of barriers to entry into ‘the men's market’. In the end, I decided to play in a Wijk aan Zee open section round robin and got a bit of an a$$-kicking. So it gave me some experience and (I hope) I am better off for it.

Let me sum up my argument by giving an example of a piece of oration Levon once gave me over some gambas a la plancha: ‘Arianne, you’re playing men here. You can’t rely on tricks, yoyo emotions and crappy openings. These guys know their theory, and they fight. You can’t possibly compare a 2400 female and a 2400 guy – just have a look at the source of their rating points’.

If we get rid of gender related divisions/prizes/conditions altogether, then the ‘market’ for women to garner their rating points and experience will be larger and more competitive, and thus over time Oceania women chess players in general will not only be stronger but also more interesting to talk about in chess terms.

Chess isn’t for wannabe beauty queens or weak minded people. The whole fun and allure of chess lies in competition, and it is this that has been systematically eliminated from women’s chess. It is women’s physical qualities, not mental faculties, which are being appreciated (or abused) due to the lack of their ability, in purely chess terms, to offer a critical mass of interesting games. This dilemma of ill-ability is caused by the fact that women’s chess tournaments, as a market, is inferior, in terms of competitive value and playing quality (because the market is protected). By virtue of this inferiority, the sad conditions of the market are sustained by the stakeholders (the chess media, organizers etc). Therefore, if women’s chess is ever to be competitive and women chess players are to be respected for their chess, then it is time to remove the protective barriers. I think it’s time that women manned up or at least be given the chance to man up – because if women want profits from their tits they can call Hugh Hefner (if they’re hot enough).

Arianne Caoili

Thank you Arianne. For the sake of completeness I will add Arianne's letter to the organisers.



Dear Kevin and Paul,

I regret to inform you that I am playing in Wijk Aan Zee and thus will forgo my participation in the womens Zonals.

Just a note of observation, take it or leave it: It is very disappointing to me, that such an important event could not grant me a place vacated by slotted players who either chose other accommodation/will not play, in addition to charging Australia's highest rated female player (who is titled, okay no big deal for the world - but we are in Oceania) $250 to enter the Open. No wonder womens chess is so weak here, when there is an insistence to make it difficult for women players in this region to face any real competition. So I am flying to play in a closed tournament half way around the world to play 2200-2400 players - when this very well could have been done in New Zealand more conveniently; not saying you should pay anything like European organisers can do (we can't do that, there's no budget for chess), but I'm quite sure that with the amount of players forgoing their accommodation slots, you could of given me one to play the open since I would give up my women's slot. it's just about providing an environment for people with little time, who love chess, to be able to enjoy some nice games. so it's a matter of principle that i am not playing in the women's or the open - and it's disappointing; our region is already very weak in terms of women players - it would be nice for players like me, Irina and Emma to man up and play some people who will crush us, so that eventually, the womens section may be interesting enough to play in. given, this tournament is about being a zonal and a qualifier, but I think that this shouldn't mean that there should be significant barriers against women who wish to play in the Open.

Kind regards
Arianne

And finally a game by a "chick" against one of the best players in the World. I can think of no better recent example of what Arianne said. This is just a pure pleasure to watch.









63 comments:

  1. Seriously unimpressed with Arianne's RANT so far as it deals with the Zonal (although it may be that something in it was inadvertently written the wrong way around). Have responded at http://chesschat.org/showpost.php?p=301824&postcount=8.

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  2. Kevin: it is a RANT, not what you call a "campaign for reform" against the conditions of the zonals (notice, this rant has been written quite a few weeks after the tournament - so relax).

    Also, my rant is purely musings on the the structure and characteristics of womens chess in oceania in general, so please do not criticize this article on the short-sighted assumption that I am directing my attack to you, the ACF, the zonals or anyone in particular directly. You guys are not that important for me to write 1500 words on.

    However, I do hope that my point of view on womens chess is at least voiced and possibly taken in consideration for future events. I'm sorry if you are offended by my rant (actually I'm not, it's a rant, it might pay you to look this word up in the dictionary before writing an exegesis on it).

    Cheers :)

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  3. These are very important issues being raised on this blog. I have therefore added Doubleroo to the OzChess homepage in the Australian Chess Blogs section, which also contains other notable blogs like The Closet Grandmaster and Chessexpress by Shaun Press.

    Arianne in particular raises many valid points.

    Best Regards

    Alex
    www.ozchess.com.au

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  4. There is also a thread on OzChess regarding this story to ensure that Australian chess players not familiar with this blog have their chance to view the issues at hand:

    http://www.ozchess.com.au/general-chess-discussion/2044-doubleroo-issues-raised.html#post35706

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  5. Proud of you Alex for inviting Arianne to express herself,as she did admirably. As someone who in not involved at chess at either of your levels but certainly involved in justice,equality and pure rational thinking, it is an tragic tale she tells. It reminded me of how many things women have been prevented from doing "for their own good". To protect them from the possible pain of and hurt of life. Oh dear,what century are we in?
    Great game you posted. Go Nana, Go Arianne,fight for your right to compete as an equal and not simply as a camera op..........

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  6. Arianne, a little consistency would be nice. You can't at the one point say that "the ACF were downright hostile to my request", and accuse us of ignoring correspondence, then at another point say that you are not directing an attack at the ACF. Of course you are having a go at us, anyone can see that, so why pretend you're not? Apparently simply reading your words as they are written makes me guilty of a "short-sighted assumption".

    And yes I have been on the internet long enough to know what a RANT is (I have written the odd one myself now and then) but the act of RANTING does not excuse you from some degree of basic responsibility for getting the facts right and avoiding unreasonable accusations. It would also be nice to see some degree of perspective about the way that not content with stuffing people around with your late attempt to get conditions for the Open division, you're now attacking people other than FIDE over the perceived defects of a FIDE system.

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  7. Without talking about specific people, I have a few points to make about the scene:

    (1) The simplest way to increase the strength of the female players in chess is to abolish women's tournaments and titles. Some people might think that is chauvinistic, but the reality is that currently we are classing male and female as two different types of levels in tournaments. If you want equal opportunity for both genders, then having a level playing field is surely quite a simple solution.
    I have noticed that some female players do not play the game purely to increase their skill levels... they play for the holiday, the perks, the gatherings with their friends, the allocated funds for their gender to enter events, etc.
    Perhaps another solution to the issue of strength is to make the women's titles qualification, entry fees, and priviledges equal to the mens. But then why have separate titles you may ask? The main reason in this case would be to keep the young females interested in the game - they can still have their holidays, gatherings etc.

    (2) It seems that chess administrations all across the globe have lost touch with the reality of what the players want. In most cases this seems to be because positions of high importance have been taken by people that no longer play the game, or want to feel important, or are simply downright abusing the system for their own special needs (cf Arkadij Naiditsch's letter about German Federation). In Australia we also seem to have this issue. The main problem in this case is the lack of systems in place that hold people accountable for performance. This is partly due to the lack of professionalism of the chess world. How many federations officers are purely volunteers? If these officers are pro-chess you don't have an issue. However if they slip into being pro self-agenda then you do have an issue.
    Perhaps one solution could be to have a committee drafted of the top PLAYERS (say 2300+ and titled only) to put forward a body to address this issue (e.g. like the PCA and Grandmasters association do with FIDE). This body could be in charge of putting accountability in place of such governing agencies like the ACF.
    This initial meeting would need to be done of these players free time but of course, professionalism means that people should be paid for their efforts. With a better allocation of sponsors and use of current funds, this could well be achievable. Even if you had just 5-10 people employed fulltime for the Chess Federation, and these people were accountable for performance, you would find that the landscape of opportunity vastly improves.
    Why are a lot of chess businesses springing up lately? Because there are people out there that wish to improve the landscape, but feel that there is no central system, and so they do it on their own. Take Graeme Gardiner for example. He would have to be the best ACF president that I have known. He was proactive, professional, informative, positive and punctual. But perhaps when he realised that the ACF's policies are not geared in the same way, he left to start his own centre. Chess does not need to lose these sorts of people!

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  8. Currently we have a range of people involved in organisation of chess: volunteers, professional business people, teachers, parents, and it is a tangled web out there with chaotic order reigning. It seems that the chess system currently is based on short-term gain for those who offer their services. If you want long term expansion with no problems, then you need a professional body.

    3) About the chess player psyche...

    Chess players and those associated are notorious skeptics, which can be a good and a bad thing. There are many chess people that just like to maintain the status quo, because they think that others might be getting something that they are not.
    There are also the types that like to dot the i's and cross the t's at every opportunity.
    And there are the chess adventurers, that like to organise and provide opportunities and ventures, even sometimes at the cost of professionalism.
    And there are the opportunists, that like to rub shoulders with people in high places, to enable short term gains for themselves (this being financial or priviledges or a position of power), but do relatively little to promote the game.
    For chess players to move forward, they need to think about chess as a whole, NOT JUST ABOUT THEMSELVES. Changing policies to suit themselves, or to suit a short term gain for themselves, will not produce a long term effect for everyone. If we had a top chess players (2300+ and titled) committee (the reason for this is that they seem to be the most objective people on the scene!) gathering able to sit down and discuss all the issues frankly, and to work on improving the local scene, many good things could be possible.

    P.S. This article has been posted here, because I dislike the very picky arguments of some of the people on chesschat (these arguments take real issues off on tangents), and also the many trolls that do nothing to debate the real issues. You do not need to know who I am, for I am just a chess player. That is all that matters.

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  9. Dear Kevin,

    It is good that an ACF representative has responded quickly and openly to the issues raised. Also credit must be given for acknowledging that the website "needs some work".

    I feel partly responsible for Arianne's predicament, her boyfriend Lev must accept some as well. When Arianne asked our opinion we treated the question with contempt. What was she thinking? It did not occur to any of us that that would mean she would not only have to forgo her accommodation privileges but also pay a $250 entry fee. We did not have copies of all the relevant by-laws that govern this particular Issue. Is there a by-law which specifically states that the Womens representative may not port her privileges to the Open?
    The Womens Zonal http://www.newzealandchess.co.nz/Zonal2011/entries.html
    (oh please check the link) was a Turkey shoot as you can see.

    Kevin, you seem to feel personally insulted by Arianne as if her whole rant was directed purely at you. Also her questioning of this decision was but the fart in the hurricane. The main direction of her rant was roadblocks put up in front of girls that may slow their development as chess players and take some of the fun out of it for them.

    There are far fewer girls than boys playing chess and very few get any good. There must be reasons for that and it is worth speculating on what those reasons may be and what to do about it.

    I speculate that at least a contributing reason is the gender separation at an early age. As a former chess teacher I know firsthand that there is no difference in speed of uptake or development the first few years.

    Anyway the young girls playing top level chess are getting better and better now and soon our conversation here will seem antiquated. In the next few years when Ho Yifan and her contemporaries rip the arms and legs off their male colleagues, girls will be inspired to do the same.

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  10. Okay, this is my last comment, which I have also pasted on TCG. I am going to comment briefly because I’ve had enough of the criticisms that have come out of some simple rant. It’s pathetic and a waste of time.

    Firstly, this rant that Alex asked for IS NOT directed at anyone in particular (although sure, I've taken a jibe at a few people, it's a rant on the blogosphere, get over yourselves).

    I don’t understand why people like The Closet Grandmaster have tried to pitch it as me versus the ACF. This is a total mis-representation.

    I’ve just come back from a bike ride around the lake to discover something called ‘Chess Chat’ and the pathetic narrow-minded arguments put forth there. People like Kevin Bonham should realize that it’s Sunday and it’s sunny (a rare occasion in Canberra) – why waste it behind the key board defending/attacking molecular details in my rant?

    My musings are on the big picture, on the entire system of women’s chess tournaments as a market and analyzing its characteristics. It seems that nobody has even attempted to offer commentary or criticisms of this have they? Just shows that people are more interested in self-defense rather than seeing the point of the argument and trying to understand the theory put forth. I welcome criticism and it is essential for progress – but I am not interested in people zoning in on sections that suit them (i.e. the zonals – who cares? It’s over, and I am not concerned about it, and I am not that important to go into frivolous discussions over it).

    So stick to the subject, try to comprehend my argument and feel free to critique the theory (not me or my beef with the zonals – it gets boring fast – and it’s not the point of this article).

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  11. Alex, I don't feel personally insulted as such by Arianne's comments (especially since the sprays at the ACF didn't mention me by name and I was only mentioned incidentally.) But I'm disappointed that she has made criticisms of the ACF that just don't seem to have much to do with the facts. This is compounded because I personally did have to go to extra efforts to secure a reserve at short notice, and because I know the organisers were inconvenienced by the uncertainty about who would represent us. It would be nice not to have to deal with groundless criticism on top of that.

    Many issues raised by Arianne in the rest of her RANT are very valid, but since when does "inefficiencies created and supported by the ACF and other stakeholders" have anything to do with pervy media? As for women's-only events, the ACF certainly doesn't go out of its way to encourage these at adult level. (Girls titles are encouraged throught the AusJCL but strong girls can always play with the boys if they wish.)

    The decline of the Australian Women's Championship is a case in point. There is so little interest in it that the ACF stopped running a separate tournament. Female players in the Australian Open can win it but the conditions for doing so are rarely even met. I'd be happy to just put the thing out of its misery since there now seems no prospect of having a regularly awarded Womens Champion title that will be won by the strongest female players in the country.

    I'm struggling to see how Arianne's complaint about the Zonal connects with the rest of her RANT. It seems more to just contradict it, since she's complaining that she wasn't able to "port" conditions that she doesn't think should have existed in the first place. She's saying that we should not have women's-only events and special conditions for women. Fine. Then female players can play in the Zonal, but if they're not strong enough to get selected then they will have to pay the fees based on rating and title, and pay their own accommodation just like male players of the same status. A male of Arianne's rating playing in the Open would also have had to pay the $250 entry fee. So why didn't she just play in the Zonal and pay the fees a la Helen Milligan? Is the issue the size of the Zonal entry fee irrespective of gender? If so there are valid reasons for that.

    On the proposed porting, the event is actually a FIDE event so the place to look for the rules on how many official representatives a country can have is in the FIDE handbook. Unfortunately the FIDE handbook is notoriously hard to find things in. The relevant rule is actually contained in a formula that is buried in item 1.3.2 under the heading "World Championship General Provision" (see http://tinyurl.com/4rja84g)

    The Zonal website at

    www.newzealandchess.co.nz/Zonal2011/fees.html

    clearly stated (someone having doubtless done the math) that Australia was entitled to just two "seeded" players in the Open and two in the Women's. It was also clearly stated that "Other players from the FIDE Oceania zone may enter the tournament, upon payment of the entry fees, based on their FIDE rating at 1st May 2010."

    This all only sets the numbers who can be guaranteed free conditions - it doesn't mean that the organisers can't give them to others. If the organisers wanted to they could have decided to give conditions to more players by waiving entry charges and covering accommodation for others, but naturally in an event where it is extremely difficult to make ends meet they elected not to do this.

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  12. Arianne, there's an extremely obvious double standard here. You say your comments are only a RANT on a blog and therefore those criticising should get over it, but you've "had enough" of the criticisms in response, and we should "get over ourselves". But surely our counter-criticisms are themselves only comments (RANTs or otherwise) on blogs, and if you don't like the counter-criticism then by your own logic you should get over it too instead of complaining about the response.

    It's up to you how you spend your time and whether you choose to respond now or not. If the sun being out in Canberra is a reason for not responding today, just don't respond. Save it for a rainy day or just don't bother. You're not obliged to respond to counter-criticisms of your RANT. They're only comments on a blog, after all. Anyway, lucky for some. I intended going out in the field today but every time the sun came out and I threatened to do so another layer of Gloop accompanied by very strong winds swept down off Mt Wellington and told me that if I would be some risk of having a tree fall on me should I persist with such a dubious plan.

    Big-picture musings are fine, and I actually agree with a fair bit of what you said about the way female players are treated by the media including parts of the chess media. But on my reading your incorporation of complaints about the Zonal and the ACF's performance relevant to it just completely contradicts the big picture you're putting forward.

    If the zonals are a who-cares matter that is over, then why on earth did you still complain about them in the first place? And if the counter-criticisms about your comments about the Zonal are bugging you then why not just acknowledge that your attacks on the ACF and others concerning the Zonal were just incorrect in the first place?

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  13. Regarding "Real Deal"'s comments (clearly this is not the same Real Deal as the CC member by the username TheRealDeal), there are actually zero trolls on Chesschat at the moment. antichrist is on an involuntary two-month holiday and the remaining trolls all either got themselves permanently banned or left with their tails between their legs. There are a few posters who can be fairly described as persistently grumpy and negative, and a few others who can be a bit excitable when confronting an argument that is clearly stupid or hypocritical, but that's all. And with the strident nature of some of your criticisms, I'm not sure you should have too much problem with that. As for picky arguments creating tangents, anyone who wants to discuss what they see as the overlooked big picture on a thread is always free to do so, and threads clearly heading in multiple directions are split.

    I agree with your praise of Graeme Gardiner as an excellent ACF President. But I don't believe he left for quite the same reasons you suggest and in my experience the ACF was generally supportive of the big-picture goals he was trying to achieve. It just turns out that many things in chess, particularly junior development and local level junior chess, seem to run most effectively through for-profit business models rather than through non-profit associations. Coordination is easier when it's just a single person running the show. Unlike voluntary organisations which can only provide so much by way of resources of time, the private sector can provide as much time as the market is willing to pay for.

    I actually think the ACF might run more efficiently if much of its workload could be performed by a single paid CEO. The difficulty is in obtaining an income stream large enough to fund such a position.

    As for accountability for performance, ACF officebearers are elected by state association delegates, and the state associations are in turn answerable to their membership. To use my own case as an example, I was elected as Vice-President unopposed in 2007, 2009 and 2011. During both my completed terms in the position I had trolls telling me that there were huge numbers of people out there ready to bring me down, but in each case it turns out that these mysterious hordes never showed up at their state AGMs to ask their delegates to boot me out, and so it never happened. The same sort of thing is true for all the other officebearers; the ACF hasn't had a seriously contested officebearer election since before Graeme was there. So although the mechanisms for holding people accountable are there, they're not being used. Either the number of people thinking we're doing lots wrong is small, or else those thinking we're doing lots wrong are not motivated to do anything about it. Probably because then they would have to do the work and face the flak themselves, and they know they'd be completely hopeless at it.

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  14. Kevin, thanks for your reply. There is a troll on chesschat (even on the thread about this subject), so I prefer to post further comments here. And there is also someone taking the thread off on a tangent (Biking in Canberra??).

    But to the issue...how about member sleepless's ideas? Don't they merit some sort of attention? Can we afford to set aside a portion of ratings fees? In the chesschat thread it seems that people are more interested in taking a defensive stance for what they have written instead of addressing the issue here.

    I would agree with the ACF starting out with a single paid CEO. People would be more likely to do some work for chess if they were being paid for their efforts. And yes, sponsorship is the key. Perhaps this CEO would be addressing that issue firstly, and covering their cost at the same time!?
    But back to Arianne's issue. What would be the method to change the protocol of the zonal? To abolish the womens event, and have the females all playing in the open event? The highest ranked female in the open section could then challenge at the world championship.
    You see, for the common chess player, ACF policies seem daunting. Perhaps a few other office bearers were also elected unopposed. It would be nice to have some clarification of the processes involved displayed on say, the ACF website. In addition, there are other questions like: Where do we see the ACF financial statements?
    Where do we see the ACF ratings formula and who is checking to see it is being properly applied?

    Someone mentioned Jason Lyons previously. He certainly is a great loss for chess, having previously organised the sponsorship of an entire Olympiad team, plus organised the QVB open over a decade previously, and is an international arbiter to boot. I have had my fair share of arguments with Jason over the years, but this is constructive argumentation... we endeavour to find solutions. Don't you see why we are losing these types of people? The current atmosphere and bureaucracy is driving them away, making them feel unappreciated.
    You are right about chess players being unmotivated. There are plenty of barriers in their path. Let's try and REDUCE those barriers by starting with the ACF website.

    Some other points:

    1) change the chesschat contact email to one of the actual administrators... we don't get replies from Karthick. He is probably much too busy and would prefer to leave it up to another administrator.

    2) Hold an amnesty once in a while for banned posters. You may be right in that their actions needed punishment, but alongside justice and fairness also stand charity and understanding.

    3) One of my foreign friends tried to register at chesschat but was banned very quickly. Is this the right impression we should be giving to new people joining the game? I think it was because he was using a proxy. But why so judgemental? Give new members time to establish themselves before judging them. Of course, my friend emailed Karthick for no reply. P.S. You might like to know that he is fairly famous in his country and has recently started playing the game.

    4) A really good idea for chesschat is to make it so that when you block someone, their name does not show up anywhere (except perhaps the shoutbox). At the moment it notifies you of their name and then blocks their post, but why even be notified that they made the post? This could make the place more user friendly.

    I trust that all of this is useful to you.

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  15. It is natural for anyone reading a rant to take it with a pinch of salt (I personally expect exaggeration regularly) but it is also plain to see Arianne raises some very important points.

    For this reason, in my opinion the response from the ACF on these comments, by first jumping to be defensive and then attacking Arianne rather than discussing the underlying problems that both sides can agree exist, shows me enough about the ACF that even if given the opportunity I would likely not choose to play. While Arienne may not have said everyhing in a peachy fashion, it is not her whose attitude needs to change.

    For the record I am an Australian citizen who plays for an adopted country, and this simply makes me significantly more likely to continue doing so.

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  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  17. To the Real Deal, I think you make many valid points. I have reproduced your post on OzChess:

    http://www.ozchess.com.au/35738-post6.html

    I understand your reasons for not wanting to reproduce your excellent post on Chess Chat where senior ranking ACF council members also serve as staff members on that website.

    In fact, the heart of Arianne's post seems to be that the ACF is simply not listening to her very valid and genuine criticism. I applaud Arianne for trying to take the bull by the horns and get the ACF to listen.

    We can only hope.

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  18. Alex, good rant. I wish you all the best getting the ACF to listen to you... it's a culture of stagnation and of petty power plays.

    I'm hoping one day to have some progress made on ACF Ratings -- see AusChess.Tornelo.com -- which is my automated ratings site and pairings software. Free to use if the ACF chooses to do so.

    I'm just using the ELO formula now because Mr Ratings doesn't share the method used to calculate Aus Ratings (perhaps he doesn't want anyone checking his work?). So this is a close as it gets...

    Keep making noise!

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  19. Regarding the shambolic state of the ACF website .
    Exactly who is directly responsible for its upkeep ?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Deep CHLOE - I am not responding officially on behalf of the ACF. If I was I would sign my messages with the position in which I was responding. So please don't take my messages as necessarily being official or typical ACF positions or demeanours. I wouldn't be recommending the ACF officially respond to Arianne's RANT since nothing in it actually has very much to do with the ACF, except for the bits that are wrong.

    Real Deal - I'll respond to the post by sleepless on CC. Thanks for alerting me to it, I had actually missed it.

    There is no troll on the thread in question. You may have issues with a particular individual (and I think I can guess who) who you have therefore misclassified as a troll, but that classification is erroneous for the reasons I mentioned before.

    The Zonal system would need to be changed by FIDE. Abolishing the Womens Zonal and having all females play in the Open event with the top scorer qualifying for the World Championship slot may seem like a good idea, and perhaps is. But you then have the question of whether you continue to provide concessions for female players. If you don't, maybe very few of them will play and the top-scoring female might not be anywhere near the strongest female in the region. If you do, you weaken the Open field substantially and have players getting already soft FIDE titles from near the bottom of the field. Could well be still worth doing despite those problems but a lot of the issues involved go deep into the heart of the way FIDE runs world championships and awards titles and I'm not pretending to know that political environment well enough to know what we can actually do about all that.

    *All* the ACF officebearers were elected unopposed and have been for over a decade, except for one election for President where one of the two candidates got no votes. (And I think in that case the purpose of the contest was to find out who was really running, or else get the position unopposed if nobody was.)

    I haven't noticed that we are losing any particular broad *types* of administrators, apart from those who start running chess for a living, and those prone to burnout when subject to unreasonable attacks. Jason Lyons indeed did excellent work on that one-off Olympiad sponsorship in 2002 (among other things) but that was tied to his position as Womens Team captain, a position he lost after the next Women's Olympiad team preferred to recommend a much stronger player as captain.

    Ratings checking - full details are not released (you can find papers online detailing Glicko-2 but those will not tell you all the modifications the ACF has made). However Barry Cox's Glicko-1 calculator can be used to approximately monitor expected ratings changes.
    The ACF financial statements aren't made readily public online, and I don't see a need for them to be so.

    (cont'd)

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  21. (cont'd)

    As for the ideas re Chesschat:

    1) If we could change this we already would have; I have raised it before and it appears for unknown reasons to be stuck the way it is.

    2) Unnecessary. The posters who are permanently banned (all five of them) all had more than enough chances, more than enough mercy, too much charity and attempts at understanding for behaviour that was often just completely off the show. Yet for each permanently banned poster there is still some way they could get back onto the board if they were willing to show that they are going to behave. For instance, Matthew Sweeney will be readmitted if he simply agrees to abide by the site rules.

    3) Chesschat gets quite a lot of spam and has at times had a very large volume of attacks from banned members trying to sign up new accounts. There is the occasional genuine "false positive", for which we apologise, either because a user is using a proxy and appears to be a spammer/hydra, or simply by ticking the wrong box during the mass pruning of spammer accounts. We have recently found new ways of banning spammers that greatly reduces the risk of the latter happening. Anyway, if someone does get banned incorrectly they can contact me at k_bonham@tassie.net.au and I will look into it and unban them. However, there is absolutely no reason for members to use proxy servers on our site.

    If you can provide me with more information on this case (account name etc) I will look into it.

    4) This option isn't available in the software to my knowledge. It would be useful, but really no big deal. A poster you put on ignore is probably going to keep on responding to you anyway; you're not learning anything you didn't already suspect.

    By the way in part 1 I failed to sufficiently highlight this:

    "But back to Arianne's issue. What would be the method to change the protocol of the zonal? To abolish the womens event, and have the females all playing in the open event? The highest ranked female in the open section could then challenge at the world championship.
    You see, for the common chess player, ACF policies seem daunting. "

    Again, these are *not* ACF policies, they are FIDE policies. So no, based on that example, I don't "see". Got any better ones? Is it really the ACF's role to explain FIDE policies that in this case were well outlined on the event website anyway? The real problem here is with someone wanting to do something that's irregular under the current system, and exploring their options much too late in the day.

    Buck Stops - the ACF webmaster is Russell Murray, but he is in a caretaker role having intended to resign, and continuing in the position until somebody else can be found to take over. In my view we need someone willing to put a major effort into a similar overhaul to that achieved by Ian Rout with the newsletter.

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  22. 3) Chesschat gets quite a lot of spam and has at times had a very large volume of attacks from banned members trying to sign up new accounts. There is the occasional genuine "false positive", for which we apologise, either because a user is using a proxy and appears to be a spammer/hydra, or simply by ticking the wrong box during the mass pruning of spammer accounts. We have recently found new ways of banning spammers that greatly reduces the risk of the latter happening.
    ------

    This argument is hogwash Kevin.

    OzChess gets next to no spam, so the draconian approach used by Chess Chat of banning foreign accounts to prevent spam is simply unjustifiable.

    There are numerous anti-spam modifications that can be made to vBulletin which could be installed on Chess Chat.

    But this issue is not about spam or about Chess Chat vs OzChess.

    Please re-read Arianne's first post as it seems to me there is a disconnect on your part in understanding what it is that she is saying.

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  23. KevinB , You sound as though this was all NEW News to you !

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  24. Quite right ozchess .
    After all Kevin Bonham is the famous author of that emblematic tome - " Lost In The Minutae " .

    Maybe his next book could be titled - " Lost in a Dreamworld of Factual Errors"

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  25. Good to see some trolls on the thread so that Real Deal can improve his identification skills.

    I have extremely strong reasons to believe the person trolling me as "Buck Stops" is in fact the banned former Chesschat member who used to use the alias Axiom (and about a thousand others).

    OzChess.com is another of the banned former Chesschat trolls. He provides no evidence whatsoever to support his claim that there is a "disconnect on [my] part in understanding what it is that she is saying."

    He also misrepresents CC spammer banning methods. We don't ban "foreign accounts" for being such and we have many international members. We generally recognise and ban spammers on the basis of clearly gibberish usernames or email addresses, known spammer methods of filling user profiles, presence of blatant spam links, or matching to the Stop Forum Spam database.

    Furthermore Ozchess's spam control (if you can call it such when they don't even reliably delete spam when it gets posted) rests in part on putting new posters' posts on moderation until seen to be (supposedly) genuine and then fiddling their post counts.

    I've seen that that approach causes confusion to many new users and it would cause even more if implemented on CC because of our method of discouraging abuse of the PM facility by spammers and other lowlife. In any case, Alex T knows well that we haven't yet chosen to upgrade vBulletin to the most recent versions because this is dependent on the site owner having enough time to ensure upgrades are compatible with our game viewer.

    (Past experience suggests that mention of this will cause Alex T to go on with nonsense about his own site's game viewer. Apologies for the tedium if that is so.)

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  26. How about "Issue Avoidance via Sophistic Deflection" by K.Bonham ?

    ReplyDelete
  27. Although the procedures of banning trolls (whatever they are) from Australian chess talk sites may be interesting to a limited audience...oh sorry, I fell asleep writing that last sentence.
    The vast majority of reactions to Arianne's rant especially internationally (Facebook)was favorable. The strident opposition to her rant was focused on an example of a side issue. It has been claimed that their decision was predetermined by the rules of Fide , that Arianne was greedily reaching for privileges that she was not entitled to and the cleverest of all, that if she is advocating equality why does she want any at all? Is that not a contradiction? Haha!

    First the "Rules" argument. Federations and Organisers use or ignore whatever rules suits their aims. I have played in only a few tournaments that respect the "zero tolerance" rule. This is not even necessary in this case unless there is a rule that specifically states that the Women's rep must not play in the Open lest she forfeits her privileges. Obviously the decision makers had a totally free hand in this matter.
    As far as being greedy, Arianne had free entry and Accommodation already, she was giving up a highly probably first place to play a much stronger event with a much lower expectancy of financial reward.
    The last argument is like stating that if you speak out against air-pollution you should stop breathing to prove your conviction.
    Arianne and I are not the ones suffering because we play our chess mainly overseas. It is the generation of Girls AND Boys coming up now who will just abandon the game because they do not feel encouraged to play.
    David, that sounds like an introduction to a bloody good rant :-) The Glicko system was introduced after I left but nevertheless my rating skyrocketed to 2582. Meanwhile Darryl's rating took a temporary dive . I don't remember to what but a friend at an intoxicated blitz session worked out that I would now need to score 90% against Darryl to keep my rating. We were all in tears laughing. Some subjects, like Creationism or the Glicko system require more patience to argue that I have got. But like I said, I love reading good rants.
    Have a nice day everybody, I have a 4 year old here who is insisting on access to my Laptop.

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  28. Thanks for getting this thread back on topic Alex. I cannot fatham why Arianne would choose to play stronger opposition at the risk of a lower financial pay off. That makes little sense.

    Perhaps the free accommodation would not have been available if she had decided to play the weaker event?

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  29. My two cents worth, having experienced the whole thing too.

    (1) I now consider, having observed the development of chess over the last thirty years, during which time girls have started playing a lot more, that they perpetuate all the issues that Caoili complains about. I don't mean to be rude, but a lot of what you've done in life is about how you look. Eg that TV show, which you never would have been able to do otherwise. Ie you are part of the system you object to.

    (2) It's a free world, isn't it? Caoili doesn't have to play women's chess, nobody does. So don't. I think women's chess quite clearly is bad for the chess of those who play in it, but you don't have to play in it and it is clearly absurd to do so.

    (3) Caoili plays a lot of women's chess. She is also a great disappointment to me, I don't know about others. I watched her play the Australian Masters years ago where as a school kid she did brillantly. I rather expected she might become a real chess player. I'd say in the ten years or so (I'm guessing how long) she has scarcely improved at all.

    I wonder if Caoili would be interested in discussing this as it seems really important to me. Do they go together? Is it because she has decided to play so much women's chess that her chess career is probably effectively over since she is presumably too old now to make up for those lost years.

    She talks like a real player here, but it is hard to see from anything she has actually done, that she is. Sorry!!! I am willing to stand corrected.

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  30. She really plays chess. I have played her twice in rated games, and lost both times.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Kevin Bonham just doesn't get it. When it is clearly a case of administrative incompetence on behalf of the ACF he prefers to blame the players. In his post on 19 February he wrote:
    "The decline of the Australian Women's Championship is a case in point. There is so little interest in it that the ACF stopped running a separate tournament. Female players in the Australian Open can win it but the conditions for doing so are rarely even met. I'd be happy to just put the thing out of its misery since there now seems no prospect of having a regularly awarded Womens Champion title that will be won by the strongest female players in the country."

    OK, so put up $1 million/year guaranteed prize-money for 10 years and they will be jumping out of trees to participate, and there will be EVERY prospect of "having a regularly awarded Womens Champion title that will be won by the strongest female players in the country". Once you acknowledge that, then you instantly understand that the demise of the Australian Women's championship is simply because the ACF has not put together the conditions required for the tournament to flourish.

    OK, you might argue that a $10 million 10-year deal is out of the question, but consider these two points:
    1. It is the old issue of "we have already established what you are, we are simply negotiating on the price" scenario. Obviously something substantially less would get a field that meets the requirements.
    2. But has anybody in the ACF really tried (to get a $10 million ten year backing)? Just for example, I believe that a consortium of businesses in the sex-change industry would consider it a great investment...

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  32. OzChess.com said...

    She really plays chess. I have played her twice in rated games, and lost both times.
    21 February 2011 22:54

    Ummmm. That is NOT what I meant when I said that she talks like a real chess player but hasn't produced. Unless, OzChess, you mean you are some amazing scalp to have under one's belt. I know she actually exists in the real world.

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  33. In fact, if it comes to that, even the title of this post is revealing, isn't it? Why on earth should a chess player of Caoili's rating be a 'celebrity'!!!! It is most unfortunate.

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  34. I agree with Deep CHLOE's remarks that the ACF's attitude needs to change.

    Tornelo Rating Software:
    ========================

    Despite the perceived future exploitation of the Tornelo software (this is speculation, by the way)

    by certain people critical of David Cordover, it is logical to have "live" software in these modern

    times of the internet.

    See the benefits claimed here: http://www.chesschat.org/showpost.php?p=301700&postcount=2
    and here: http://www.chesschat.org/showpost.php?p=301700&postcount=3

    It seems to be a very good idea that actually would reduce the workload of the ACF ratings officer

    considerably, and one that the ACF could actually pay a small fee to obtain the rights to, OR

    alternatively hire a programmer to make a similar program. The arguments that the ACF will be held

    to ransom are plainly a case of seeing ghosts. There would be no problems with trialling the

    software and also producing ratings in the current way as a backup, to ensure reliability. I agree

    with David that we currently have a culture of stagnation and of petty power plays. Currently I

    noticed that the ratings officer appears to have quite a negative attitude overall. Quoting from

    chesschat:

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  35. And the benefits of this is that people who like to protect their identity (such as famous people) can also be members without having to deal with unwanted attention. Unfortunately my friend does not want to waste any more time with chesschat and moved on to a more international site.

    Kevin, your post here dated 21 February 2011 05:27 makes it sound like you enjoy the war on spam. I think with doubleroo's reply he is indicating that these trivial internal matters or interwars on chat sites are not important.

    What doubleroo, Arianne, and the majority of chess players want is common sense. It is a pity if that the cause for stopping her competing in the open event without receiving her entitlements that she would receive by playing in the female event were only regulations. Changing these regulations should be given serious attention, and since they are in part FIDE regulations, we will need an ACF official to start the process, for they are Australia's responsible chess body.

    To Ozchess.com.au:
    ==================

    Thanks for bringing the game to more people on your site. Arianne was clearly not aiming for financial gain, but to improve her chess skills, and also as a by-product, gain respect for the female players by showing that they should be competing on an even keel with the males, and not be treated differently.

    Thanks to all, I've had my say. Cheers.

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  36. It seems that a post between 23:44 and 23:47 was not submitted, so here it is again:

    "So now he has changed his mind and although his system was going to be a commercial system, now it will be free and free for evermore. What is to stop him changing his mind in another couple of years after people are hooked on it and start charging. Why would anyone trust anything he says. His past record shows that instead of directly supporting the ACF's Australian Schools Teams Championship he setup and runs his own National InterSchool Championship in direct competition to the ACF. Many would simply see this is an attempt by him to get control of the ACF rating system."

    This is terrible attitude to have; one that make me very angry. For a start David is throwing ideas around, and it is his software. He is entited to change his mind for what he does or doesn't charge for it. If the ACF signs some sort of commercial contract with David, that is when things would be legally bound. Who cares about trusting what he says? Having a signed deal gets around these ridiculous fears. It seems that this is a case of the "status quo" psyche type chess player, afraid of someone getting something that they are not. For a moment let's picture the imaginary scenario that David makes a million dollars on the deal, while the ACF and chess players get what they want at no other costs or disadvantages, then WHO CARES? I would call that a good deal and a win-win situation.

    As for him running his own interschool tournament... this is irrelevant to the current discussion. But as a matter of interest, anyone is entitled to create chess competitions of their own. The ACF do not hold power over people! David would have had his reasons to run his own competition. Do not second guess the man. Just deal with the facts at hand.

    The final comment about him getting control of the rating system is very laughable. Again with a signed contract, both parties get what they want. I think the real issue here is that a certain ratings officer is afraid that he is no longer going to be needed and cannot maintain his level of power over everyone.
    Have a look at ACF Ratings By-Law:

    "Division 2 - Transitional
    Ratings officers - preservation of appointments
    9. The Ratings Officers holding appointment at the commencement of this By-law
    shall continue to hold office as if appointed under this by-law."

    What a ridiculous by-law (instituted on 8th April 2004), obviously used to keep someone on council. Preservations are not needed, no ratings officer is indispensible, we need a system capable of self maintenance, with a ratings officer there to overview proceedings.

    Considering the ACF stance that Kevin mentions, "full details are not released", perhaps this officer thinks that if the ratings formula is released and checks are put in place, then they would lose their indispensible status. AND SO BE IT. The ACF should not be a body that suppresses the chess community, at any individual's fingertip control. Changes of ACF constitution need to be made to stop this business.

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  37. doubleroo, could you please fix this? My posts were too long and when i reposted, some disappeared and they are now in the wrong order.
    The correct order of reading is:

    post made at 23:44
    post made at 23:49
    post made at 23:58
    post made at 23:48

    Thanks.

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  38. Real Deal said: Arianne was clearly not aiming for financial gain, but to improve her chess skills, and also as a by-product, gain respect for the female players by showing that they should be competing on an even keel with the males, and not be treated differently. End.

    Give me a break. That is exactly what wasn't happening. She thought she should get something especially different by being a girl and being able to cry 'girl' and that this makes her exceptional.

    Sorry, I can't see for the life of me how this gets respect for girls. If that was her cause she wouldn't play in the many girls events she plays in....and THEN changes her mind about following through!!

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  39. cathyc, what do you think Arianne was getting differently then?

    Harder competition with less chance of financial gain in the open event? She was making a stand against the poor competition in the women's event, and even though she left her irregular idea late, it merits serious attention. Read more about my ideas on the zonals above.

    It is easy to criticize her based on things in her past. But try to see the full picture. Perhaps she has had enough of 'girls' events because she sees that they do not give her a serious challenge anymore. I see the effect Levon has had on her, and can only but applaud.

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  40. A rather slow effect, I would suggest so far.

    Why didn't she turn up for the World Women's championship last year, forfeiting the first round? I appreciate there may be some terrific reason for that, though I am unaware of it, but it doesn't look good, does it? I wouldn't be bending over backwards to cater to her newfound interest in bettering her chess....

    I'm not trying to be rude. What was she getting differently? Nothing. But she was trying to get something different. Why, for example, should she, based on the her being a female, get some special easy entry into the Open Zonal compared with far more deserving male players who just follow the rules and don't get a chance?

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  41. Re doubleroo's post - I suspect the sample of those reacting to Arianne's RANT on Facebook would be those who knew it was there and may not have been too familiar with the counter-argument. On the contrary, I don't use Facebook but it's quite obvious to me that its culture gears more to me-tooing than to typical debate.

    Yes, the Zonal business was a side-issue to the main points Arianne attempted to make, but she chose to make ACF-bashing a prominent theme by declaring the RANT as a whole to be about "the inefficiencies created and supported by the ACF and other stakeholders" - then provided no evidence at any stage that the ACF had anything to do with it. If it really was always a side issue, then now that the facts are out it is time for the false attacks on the ACF to be retracted, and it is time for those agreeing with the rest of what Arianne is saying to agree that sidetracks into random false attacks on the ACF do not enhance the quality of her argument.

    That the host federation did have a free hand in choosing to offer conditions to Arianne if they wanted to is not contested, and indeed was the whole idea of my original one-line response: she was welcome to try but they would probably say no. But, as I have pointed out, it would not have been a free hand but an expensive one for them as they then would have been up for the additional accommodation costs of the Australian women's replacement. The Zonal is a very difficult event to make ends meet in, and not one where the initial response of the organisers to one federation rep cancelling (a part of Arianne's arguments) is to go around offering that free spot to people from other federations who might want it and might have some rather weak argument as to why they should get it. More likely it's a big sigh of secret relief that that's one less entrant they have to carry and accommodate from the entry fees of the others. (As for this view that all tournaments use the rules they want and ignore the others, can't say I've noticed that generalisation applying in this part of the world. Maybe we're unrepresentative sticklers for doing it properly!)

    The air pollution analogy is inaccurate, as almost all analogies are. Campaigners against air pollution aren't saying there should be absolutely no CO2 released under, and therefore they aren't contradicting themselves by exhaling it. Rather, they're opposing what they see as excessive or unnecessary releases of pollution. Quite different to calling for all conditions favouring women to be dropped, and then trying to use some anyway. There are some opponents of reverse discrimination who accept it because they think this evens out existing discrimination, but since by your argument Arianne is "not [one of] the ones suffering" this apparently doesn't apply to her. And as for all this stuff about how "the generation of Girls AND Boys coming up now who will just abandon the game" Australian strong junior and young adult chess is in better shape right now than it has been for ages, so I think this is just scaremongering.

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  42. Real Deal - your friend may well have moved on, but I would still appreciate knowing the username they signed up with so I can find out what really happened and see what the issue really was.

    The presence of "common sense" as an arguing point is generally a very bad sign. I have observed before when an argument is claimed to be "common sense" on the net, that is usually because it is actually neither commonly held nor sensible, and the person using it lacks any stronger case.

    You also miss the point where you suggest that the cause for not letting her transfer her entitlements was regulations. I have been clear on this all along: the regulations just meant the organisers weren't obliged to transfer her entitlements, but the main reason they did not actually transfer them was the cost of providing conditions for her replacement as selected Australian rep in the Women's Zonal.

    You have grossly misunderstood the purpose of the clause in the Ratings By-Law that you quote. It was simply to clarify that when the Ratings By-Law commenced, it did not affect the tenures of the ratings officers at the time. That is why it is headed "Transitional". As with every other ACF-appointed position, the ratings officer appointment is reviewed on at least an annual basis. I'd suggest you get some basic understanding of the common legislative concept of a transitional clause before claiming things to be obvious when they are in fact false.

    That's all I want to say about that part of the ratings discussion as I tend not to comment about matters involving David Cordover's businesses much, since I have a conflict of interest because I direct tournaments for him. I hope anyone else on this thread who may have a commercial conflict of interest (if there is anyone like that) will declare it.

    ReplyDelete
  43. cathyc - the Byron Echo column written by Ian Rogers stated that Arianne missed the WWC because of a job offer in Luxembourg. If so, fair enough, but to my knowledge the ACF was never notified in advance that she could not participate.

    Alex Toolsie writes "Perhaps the free accommodation would not have been available if she had decided to play the weaker event?" Complete rubbish. If it wasn't there would have been an outcry by now from those eligible for it who did go (which in Australia's case was IM Irina Berezina and WIM Biljana Dekic).

    The Anonymous poster (get a name, gutless!) accuses me of blaming the players for the decline of the Aus Women's. That's rubbish; I don't blame the players at all - I think they are well within their rights to be apathetic about that title, which is why I don't think the ACF should be in any hurry to put a huge effort into restoring it.

    Unrealistic scenarios about what would happen if the ACF had a million dollars a year to splurge on such a title are pointless. If you think it is the ACF's fault for failing to put together the conditions for the tournament to flourish, then you tell us what conditions we can and should realistically put together for that end.

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  44. I can't work out how to get a name on here, so I will have to stay anonymous. But basically, you limit the entry to 1000 players and have a $1,000 entry fee. Prizes 1st $100,000 2nd $80,000 3rd $60,000 4th $50,000 5th $40,000; 6th-10th $30,000 each; 11th-20th $20,000 each; 21st-30th $10,000 each; 31st-40th $8,000 each; 41st-50th $4,000 each; 51st-100th $2,000 each. You would easily fill the tournament from Eastern Europe, China and India even if no Aussies wanted to play. Administrative costs would come from government grants (no doubt the Sydney and Melbourne major projects departments would attempt to outbid each other to hold it) and you make a profit by selling the photo rights to the grand opening to whichever of the women's glossy magazines bids the most. Of course you still need a "sponsor" to underwrite the event, and if you don't like the plastic surgeons doing it (even though most of them keep $1 million in the petty cash draw) get the Migration Institute of Australia to do it. Theirs is another multi-million dollar industry that would benefit enormously from underwriting such an event, enabling them to publicise their businesses in corners of the globe they would like to reach but do not know how to. Don't forget, "underwriting" an event to the tune of $10 million (over 10 years) does not mean writing a cheque for $10 million. Firstly they could insure against major losses but most such events make profits anyway. Even chess events. When Adsteam-Lidums "sponsored" the Australian Open in the 1980s the event ran at a profit and they didn't have to shell out a bean to get their names in the paper every day. So the MIA gets enormous positive publicity from its "$10 million sponsorship" of women's chess and never actually has to write a cheque. Then see if you can find me one woman player in the world rated 2300+ who wouldn't participate. Job done. Players are happy, Immigration Agents are happy and the ACF could award the Australian Women's title to the highest-scoring Australian, even if she finishes 999th. (Of course, if the Immigration Agents are right on the ball, it may be hard to tell who actually IS an Aussie by the end of the tournament...)

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  45. Anonymous, is your day job doing spin for pollies? They should be paying you a lot!

    But my sympathies for not having a name, it can be very frustrating to registered to comment on blogs.

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  46. I agree with all this and womens chess has been devalued quite a bit...but let's be fair here....or at least balanced. I agree that womens titles and competition retard or at least dumb down womens chess, but If she hates the sexualization and such....why does she pose in so many pics that depict exactly that?! I know of no men players that pose half naked with chess pieces. Talk about calling the kettle black!

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  47. @ Real deal: Can't comply, don't know how and have no time. I am looking after my daughter during the school holidays and have limited access to both the internet and my laptop.

    My attention was drawn to an excellent post by Peter Parr over on ChessChat

    http://chesschat.org/showthread.php?p=302051#post302051

    Peter is an excellent Ranter and puts me to shame. He uses facts! Not fair ;-(

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  48. Facts are facts Doubleroom...she poses half naked in front of chess pieces all the time..so I honestly don't know what she's complaining about..she's just as much part of the problem...at least Judit Susan and even Sofia never (among others) did that...I agree with the above..she has a point but she continues to use her feminine wiles...bleh...shut up and play in mens tourneys if it concerns her so much...I think the Polgars have established the blueprint...and stop posing with pieces in your underwear...jeez..guess I'm venting too now..PLAY!! In Mens events then and shut up...and as your daddy might wanna say...Put your damn pants on and button up your shirt!

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  49. As a one-time chess player (male) without title, I sympathize with nearly everything Arianne says. Women would get better faster if they were not hived off into their own category. It is rude to stick a camera in someone's face, especially after the round has started. (Organizers should prohibit this where it is a problem. Photographers can be unobtrusive if they try.) Fair enough.

    As an erstwhile chess organizer in North America, let me try to explain what Arianne seems to be missing. Chess organizers are always looking for something, anything, that will increase the profile of their events in the media - to increase the participation of players by drawing attention to as-yet non-players, and to attract future sponsors and maintain current sponsors. Young children, and relatively weak female players, especially "cute" ones, attract the media precisely because they are unusual. (A chess-playing dog would garner even more media attention - and it would have nothing to do with their breed.) The media pander to non-players in the general population, who don't understand the "chess qualities" of the participants as much as they "get" the more superficial age and gender divisions. As an organizer, it often pays to promote junior and women prizes or sections, due to these spin-offs. Ranting against this reality will not change it.

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  50. I wonder how many "stars" Arianne gives Doubleroo for sexist representations of women's chess.... (See the blog entry for February 3, 2011, for an example of what I'm referring to.) It is such a drag to be clinically gender neutral in a sexually-reproducing world....

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  51. arianne is obviously very pretty and presents herself well (although it is not true what mike and cacthyc say that she poses in underwear i've never seen it). i think she is talking about prioritization, for example i'm sure she supports kosteniuk who can be quite raunchy but is a very good cehss player. notice,she points out "If the media and chess sponsors focus on these trivial physical things rather than their chess, it is logical to assume that this is the case because there is nothing more interesting in women’s chess to focus on. Fair enough." this meanse that the media should priotize their chess play first and of course use looks for marketing purposes (which somebody pointed out is important)

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  52. Only one person so far has mentioned Nana and that was Cristina, a friend from the US who does not consider herself a chessplayer. I know (assume) that she also played over the game and enjoyed it.
    All the other matters discussed here will eventually be forgotten about but her masterpiece will be enjoyed forever. If you have not even bothered playing through it yet you should not bother commenting because your opinion on matters of chess is meaningless.

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  53. Who the f..k's nana ?

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  54. Personally......I think all womens titles should be abolished. It's sort of a little pat on the head...and a "there there.." sort of mysonginistic over reaction to Political Correctness. I agree with her...that women should earn their spurs just like anyone else, otherwise..its a side show....nothing more. Begining with Menchik...there have been a lot of great women players...and they need to fight the same comditions as everyone else. Posing for Glamour shots though...(sexy)...just is not helpful. The Polgars did it right..Menchick did it right..Just Abolish womens titles. Polgar has an excellent program geared to kids and focusing on girls developement. It might be a sociological issue more than anything else. I know that I've played two or three women in tourneys and felt very uncomfortable...(I thought they were cute) ...says it all eh? Men are wired differently than women...it's really that simple. Women will never get equality in chess unless they 1: Compete at the same level as men. 2: Stop using their sexuality by posing like that. (Not that I mind) and 3:PLAY and PROVE IT!I realize women had to put up with a lot of sociological barriers to even get in there and compete....(Get the vote!...etc) but I think we're past that now. Get down..and play.
    Women deserve more respect, and that respect should come as treating them as equals....not some subsidized titles. I've seen plenty of brilliant games played by women....nothing is stopping them.
    For my next rant....RELIGION!"

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  55. Having Read that Rant why would any females want to play chess in Australia. Take up Beach Volleyball. Higher profile, lots of TV exposure, Sponsorship opportunities, and you get to enjoy Australias beautiful weather.

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  56. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  57. I wrote about this on my blog (just been sent this page by a friend): Chicks 'n' Chess

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  58. Well said mike magnan. Women treated as equals on a level playing field.

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  59. I got a response from Kosteniuk about my previous post, I replied to her here (she declined any further dialogue): http://patzerseescheck.blogspot.com/2011/03/never-let-hand-you-hold-hold-you-down.html

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  60. Good blog: You should start many more. I love all the info provided. I will stay tuned:)

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  61. In response to 'RealDeal', the chesschat moderators don't change that 'contact us' email address, which takes a couple of seconds from the admin control panel. One can only suspect that they don't because they don't wish to be held responsible for the users that actually have problems logging in to post and are not part of their silly 'spam killing' games. I ran a Vbulletin board for a couple of years and with devices implemented had absolutely no spammers.
    It's a shambles!

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  62. Have just found the above post while recapping contents of the thread after it was mentioned in passing elsewhere.

    The post by "BusinessMan" suggests they did not read the full thread since if they had they would have seen that I noted there was an unknown technical problem with changing the administrator email address.

    However I just checked again and found that the problem was no longer occurring and that I was able to change it immediately.

    Of course we want to hear from and help legitimate users who have problems logging in or signing up and to suggest otherwise is just ludicrous. Not surprisingly, such a stupid suggestion comes from another gutless anonymous poster, willing to throw insults but unwilling to be accountable for them.

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  63. willing to throw insults but unwilling to be accountable for them.

    คาสิโน

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