In an outflanking maneuver, not seen since the days of the Great Battles of the Hellenes, the NSWCA ancien regime today beautifully executed a play that forced the would-be challengers, Jason Lyons and Peter Parr, to spit the dummy and walk out of today's annual general meeting.
"They've really got all the bases covered", was about all Mr Lyons could say.
The trouble began when Mr Bill Gletsos, incumbent president, suddenly announced that he was, in fact, standing for re-election. This came after an apparent agreement from weeks earlier that he would not stand in order to assure Mr Lyons a likely victory.
According to Bill, he made no assurances whatsoever that he wouldn't stand for re-election. But when I spoke to Mr Peter Parr earlier in the afternoon, his take on the so called agreement was the exact opposite.
The details are sketchy and, no doubt, these will be a hot topic of debate between both camps in weeks to come. All this makes me wonder if the agreement was crystallised over verbal exchanges or emails. If the latter, then perhaps Mr Lyons and Mr Parr can be persuaded to share so that we, the chess public, can decide for ourselves.
Mr Gletsos' 2-step cha-cha was finished off nicely when he apparently declined Mr Lyons' application for membership into the NSWCA. To stand for office or to partake in discussions (including to vote) in the AGM, one needs to be a member of the NSWCA. Fair enough. But since Mr Lyons already had his application form with him, and his intention was clear, what grounds did Mr Gletsos have to decline the application? Was there supposed to be a cut-off time?
On the flipside, here's a question for Jason: why, oh why, did you only think to submit an application form today? Sorry mate, but that strikes me as piss-poor planning.
In other news from today's AGM, Bill Gletsos did make some positive announcements. Next year's City of Sydney tournament will be played at the Bridge Centre. This is a dramatic move and one which truly deserves congratulations. And if this trial venue turns out to be a success, Bill informed his audience that it is also likely that the State Championships later next year will be held at the same location. We can only cross our fingers and pray.
Moreover, in an announcement that got me nodding in heartfelt agreement, there will be now two, that's right - two, Teams Challenge events in 2006. This is based on the massive success of this year's edition and which drew much positive feedback. Again, well done!
And after strained relations this year, over the Grade Matches stuff-up, there are signs of a thaw between the NSWCA and the Sydney Academy of Chess. Three SAC representatives managed to get themselves into the 2006 NSWCA Council that is mostly comprised of the old guard. Andrew Bird will hold the VP post, Brett Tindall is the new tournament officer while ex-junior powerhouse, Laura Moylan, will replace Lloyd Fell as communications officer.
Finally, I should make mention that the 2005 NSW Lightning Champion is international master Zhong Yuan Zhao. He routed the opposition finishing on 11/11 points.