It's that time again when I pack my bags, get on a 747 and head off across to the other side of the globe. I'll be off to the UK for work then taking personal time off to see Belgium. Should be fun. I'm heading here first.
The same as last year, this means that I won't be able to update the blog on a regular basis for the next 2 weeks. I'm sure you'll miss me; and I'll miss you, too, dear readers.
My timing is a little bad. Today is actually the NSWCA annual general meeting. But I think it will be a less exciting affair than last year. In 2006, no serious challenger to one Bill Gletsos has emerged. So I think I won't miss out on anything juicy! Well, at least, I hope not.
The AGM scene is not likely to be as quiet in Queensland, slated for 2 December. This year, arbiter Garvin Gray and chess podcaster Dion Sampson have nominated for the president and veep positions respectively. They will go head-to-head against other nominees John Surridge and current state association PR officer, Bill Powell. It's pretty hard to pick a winner. There's been no policy statements from all sides. Mr Gray, for instance, appears to have learned an important lesson from his Mt Buller experience when, after every provocation, he just kept digging and digging an ever deeper hole. And Dion Sampson, a normally enthusiastic podcaster and dubbed by ex-CAQ boss Howard Duggan as "Debater Boy", has gone, well, compeletely cold! We don't know too much about Mr Surridge whereas Mr Powell appears to have baggages of his own.
All I can say is, good luck boys.
What about Victoria - the state with most highly politicised chess scene? As far as we can tell the "Unity" ticket is pretty much a shoo-in. There's plenty of noisy opposition but no alternative ticket. One such opposition is this guy.
Over the past week, we've been eyeing a story coming out of Tasmania. It involves a little club called the Burnie CC. I won't repeat the background but here's our first post followed by this response from Burnie CC's Phil Donnelly.
The matter is extensively debated here, in Australia's most popular chess forum, and as we can see, the informal poll is firmly against Burnie CC. Now you'd think that all that will be enough for the Burnie CC to reverse, or at least reconsider, their position. Nope! This morning, I woke up to this stubborn announcement by club spokesman, Phil Donnelly: "[T]he bottom line is the BCC will probably exercise the right to claim publicity rights for its future tournaments."
We sincerely hope that both the Tasmanian Chess Association and our ACF do something about this. It's a complete joke!
Time now to just quickly shift gears before I burst a blood vessel. Leading into the festive season it's only apt that we present to our readers some Christmas stories. I received an email from David Evans, of Rooty Hill CC (noted also for their strong Pinoy membership), who pointed me to their 2006 Christmas story. This year's edition is Die Götterdämmerung.
See also The Santa Gambit from 2005. Santa Claus was worried because the Wicked Witch of the West had cast a spell over the reindeer and they could no longer fly. The solution? A chess match. And a short fable from 2004.
Of course, the year-end also means it's time for the Australian Open. There's still time to enter the event. The two Aussie GMs will be in attendance as well as Dejan Antic and Canada's Mark Bluvshtein. We understand that negotiations are under way with two other grandmasters.
The juniors, on the other hand, better get a move on if you want to save $15 from your entry into the 2007 Australian Junior Championship. Early entry discounts will expire in 4 days! This event will be massive. So far there are 175 players who've signed up and the list is growing.
Well, that's about it. I'm now on my way to the airport. I may see you or I may not. If I don't, let me wish you guys a happy Christmas and a good year for 2007. Two thousand and six was, from a blogging perspective at least, a fun one. "Gormallygate" was definitely the highlight. That one incident put us on the map with traffic coming in from all directions. But 2006 was also important for one thing: we made a few new friends along the way - many from my beloved Philippines.