Chess Club Management

Initially, I was thinking of just the ratings of Australian chessplayers. There are some who don't trust the current measurements of players ratings simply because the process is not documented. The Australian Chess Federation managest the ratings system, and this is all the documentation publicly available"

One of the key points is this:
Adjustment of ratings
5. Without limiting the generality of by-law 4 (2), the Ratings Officers may
adjust the ACF ratings as they see fit to try to bring the ACF ratings more in
line with FIDE ratings, such an adjustment to be made, when determined
necessary, before, or at the same time as, the publication of the first ACF
rating list for each calendar year.

No wonder people say that the current ratings officer can change peoples' ratings whenever he likes, it's just about the truth!

And there is this:
Rating system - implementation
4. (1) Subject to this by-law, the ACF rating lists are to be prepared generally
in accordance with the Glicko 2 system, described at Professor Glickman's web
site at

(2) The Ratings Officers may implement the Glicko 2 system in the manner they
deem most appropriate.

So there are two key problems people raise on the chesschat and ozchess and forums.

  1. They cannot chess that their ratings are calculated correctly
  2. Their ratings are subject to changes at the whim of the National Ratings Office

I'm prepared to support the notion that a review should be conducted. Participation should be wide, anyone with an interest in the ratings of Australian chess payers should be able to participate.

Note that a review does not mean that anything will change, but it is reasonable to suppose that the review will provide understanding about the current system and the problems it solves. It might be, that with an open discussion and the participation of players and clubs across Australia, that better solutions might be found.

It might even be that a better implementation of the current rules might be found!

Beyond that, I have also heard concerns about the pairings software that is currently in use. It makes good sense that, whatever the software that is used, that its reports can be fed into th ratings software, and that is done now. However, let''s talk about that too. It might be that, whatever the imperfections might be, that the can be ironed out Iven if the software does, in fact, produce pairings perfectly in line with FIDE rules (as adopted for use in Australia), that there is in these times a better way to do it.

Now, I have not used or seen the software, so I don't have an informed opinion about it, but I do have some ideas for improved procedures. Maybe.

Working back, clubs need membership records. They need a list of their players, how to contact them, and when their membership expires.

It makes good sense to me if Australian chess clubs have an integrated system, one that maintains their membership records, that can feed this data into their tournaments to facilitate tournaments entry, looking up ratings etc. It should also have immediate access to the records of all Australian players, enough to identify that they're properly affiliated and to enter them into tournaments with the correct ratings.

These days, it is reasonable to suppose that every club of any size has access to a computer. I bought an HP Mini the other day, for under $400. It has Windows 7 Starter, a Gbyte RAM, 160 Gbyte of disk and will run for absolutely hours on barely a sniff of a power point. If a clubs records and the relevant ACF data files were held on such a computer, it could be used for recording tournament entrants (including new member data) at the start of a tournament, for pairings an producing crosstables and such for posting on club noticeboards, even for lighting tournaments.

Today, not only are new portable computers extremely affordable, but a lot of people also have wireless Internet access, so one can imagine a club might have a summary of a tournament''s round posted to its website before its more distant members get home after the round.

How good would that be?

Let's talk about what might be. Let us dream the future for Chess in Australia.


Update Feb 28 2010

Since I wrote the above, I have
1. Had published a letter to the Editor on CAWA's website
2. Been elected Junior Vice President of CAWA
3. Create this website to use while I get organised
4. As JVP, visited Metropolitan and Perth chess clubs.
5. Introduced myself to Don Smith, Primary School Coordinator. Don works at Swan Christian College, not far from Corridors Secondary College where I work.