Sunday, November 04, 2007

Antic Denied Aussie Residency

GM Ian Rogers today, in his column for Sydney's Sun Herald, has interesting news about Grandmaster Dejan Antic's quest to become an Australian. Antic, currently under the Serbian flag, was denied permanent residency by an Australian government bureaucrat. Here's Rogers:

Earlier in October Antic had heard that his application for permanent residency had been rejected on the grounds that his Grandmaster title "cannot be considered comparable to three years post secondary (Year 12) study."

The VetAssess bureaucrat who made this decision was clearly unaware or unconcerned that the Migration Review Tribunal had already ruled that the lesser International Master title was equivalent to at least five years tertiary study, and that the average time required for a player to go from International Master to Grandmaster - if indeed the GM level is ever reached - is an additional seven years of study, far more intensive study than that required for a basic tertiary degree.

That's not the first time I've read/heard that a chess master title is equivalent to tertiary study. But is it really?


Maxwell843 said...

Isn't the real problem for GM Dejan Antic that chess is not recognised as an offical sport in Australia and therefore he can't be acknowledged as a coach or even as a professional sportsman.

Shouldn't the chess community be trying to champion his cause for residence/ citizenship through petitions, etc. ?!

Simon said...

Becoming a GM is easily comparable to getting a masters degree. The average GM has committed at least 5,000 hours to get the title.

Its a pity he wasn't granted permanent residency,hopefully Antic will apply again and common sense will prevail.

Anonymous said...

these weak grandmasters and international masters think they can come into this country and request residency, just because their strength is slightly better than the average australian chess playing strength.

they cannot tramp in here and use chess as an excuse. it does not enrich australian society - they offer nothing and end up living on the dole that our tax dollars pay for.

i say, get a proper education or continue being a chess bum roaming around the world or in your own poor country where you came from.

Anonymous said...

Not so sure getting a GM is comparable to a masters degree, at least not in the sciences. Number of hours is a minor or maybe even an irrelevant factor. The focus of a GM is far too narrow compared to a Master of Science.

For example, to obtain an M.Sc. in zoology you need specific knowledge of the species you're studying and any species that directly interact with it, but also general knowledge of fields such as terrestrial and/or aquatic ecology, botany, statistics, population dynamics, soil science, climatology, and the list goes on.

Even an undergraduate degree in biology requires knowledge of these disciplines usually from actual courses taken. Other required courses are ones like chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, genetics, invertebrate and vertebrate zoology, and many other potential courses (e.g. embryology, tissue culture and preparation) depending on where you attend. You'd also learn quite a bit about the history of science, and depending on your elective (non-science courses you are supposed to take to 'round you out') you could tie that in to history of the arts, or romantic literature of the 18th century, WWII etc.

After obtaining your M.Sc. you can concentrate on your speciality or launch into something different like biology policy analyst with a government organization, or environmental assessment with some consulting company, both of which require knowledge of law and procedures as they are related to things like forestry, mining, agriculture, stream rehabilitation, construction, quarrying, and on it goes. You are quite qualified for a wide range of jobs from political appointments to hands-on field work to laboratory studies because your knowledge base is fairly wide.

Obtain a GM title and basically all you've learnt is how to play chess a bit better. Not saying we shouldn't have respect for an IM's or GM's accomplishments, but I think the titles are not comparable to even a university undergraduate degree much less a graduate degree. Having a formal education and having a chess title aren't the same at all and equating one to the other is equating apples and zebras---one is not necessarily better, just different.

--Daniel J. Andrews

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"Not so sure getting a GM is comparable to a masters degree, at least not in the sciences. Number of hours is a minor or maybe even an irrelevant factor. The focus of a GM is far too narrow compared to a Master of Science."

I somewhat agree BUT the facts don't support this argument

A quick internet search tells me there are about 900 GM's in the world (I'm lucky that I've actually met and spoken to 3 - One still is currebtly in the top 10!). Yet I know a large number of people with Masters Degrees from Autralia alone (pretty sure we have 3 where I work). I even know many Doctors ( I think I have pescriptions from 5 ) and two professors. Interestingly the higher the qualification the more focussed and narrow their (paying) work.

Back to GM's.
Remember this is a title for life so with only about 900 awarded in 50(odd)years this is a very (I think VERY is mor apt) select group of individuals.

I look forward to meeting Antic in the future and am I am sure he will be successful with his immigration application. (in the long run)

Immigration are simply doing their job to (try and) safeguard this wonderful country.


Anonymous said...

There is no comparison in terms of difficulty between getting a gm title and getting even a PhD degree. Being an academic, I have met so many idiots finishing PhD degrees that the comparison sounds just plain stupid. On the other hand, as an economist I would suggest to ask who is more useful for the society. I believe the answer is also obvious.


Anonymous said...

"I even know many Doctors ( I think I have pescriptions from 5 ) and two professors. Interestingly the higher the qualification the more focussed and narrow their (paying) work."

Quite true, Bob. In general, the more education the more you have to specialize in a narrow field. I believe some have educated themselves to the level of idiot savants (know a whole lot about one thing but not much about anything else). :-)

I was thinking, though, of the potential of a masters or PhD degree. I may work on one narrow speciality but I have the background to learn enough to specialize in a different area altogether. E.g. go from working on meadow vole relationships with other meadow voles, to working on the nervous and endocrine systems of mammals as they relate to stress hormones, and how these hormones affect the aging process, and from there on to gerentology in humans, or dietary and exercise work in the elderly.

So when a M.Sc or Ph.D (sciences) becomes tired of what they are doing they can switch and specialize in some other area, often an area not even related to what they've done before. By contrast, if a GM gets tired of chess his options are rather limited.

Again, I want to emphasize this is not looking down on GMs. I just think an educational degree versus a GM title are so different they really can't be thought of as equivalent. Perhaps someone with a masters or PhD in the arts (literature, history etc) might see a closer relationship between their degrees and a GM's title, and would completely disagree with me. (?)


Anonymous said...

Drug said
"On the other hand, as an economist I would suggest to ask who is more useful for the society. I believe the answer is also obvious."
(Who was the US president that suggested we should have two handed econmists?)

I think we are all equal in society - some just earn more. But I concede you may have a point.

It is good that our society (Australia) has the time for the "nice" things in life (ie chess). We all eat and drink (I mean water here) each day - many societies struggle with even these basic necessities.
Inviting one of a select few to achieve a GM in chess to join this society seems reasonable to me.

Our Immigration system is always in a difficult situation - so many applicants - not many places.

Let us hope they make the best choices possible. (I have enough problems in my job without doing theirs). In the (few - 4) dealings with Immigration that I have had real experience I have found them pretty good (I am up 3.5 - 0.5 today)


Anonymous said...

I thought this was a rather interesting topic, so I asked Gareth his opinion. He has an IM norm and is half way through a degree - Maths, Physics and IT, so seemed to have knowledge on both sides of the arguement. :)

His opinion was that an IM was probably equal to an undergraduate degree and GM easily equivalent to Masters. He felt you could get an IM title with a bit of work and talent, and the same applied to an undergraduate degree.

However a GM title was going to take a large amount of work to acquire the depth of knowledge that GMs have - both in the opening theory and the real knowledge of where the game is going and ideas and plans.

He said he is always amazed at the amount Darryl and Ian know about every opening.


Anonymous said...

thx for that insight. (I also thought it a good topic)

I think the "on the job experience" is the real killer to the GM achievement (or ambition). You have to be there, live it and want it time and time again to get there - BUT - all with the maximum pressure that only comes from 1 on 1 competition.
Chess is probably a little different from a lot of other sports in that a "draw" spoils the traditional equation. (ie you don't get draws in tennis)

I personally take offence to the term "weak Grandmaster" earlier in this thread - however it did make me respond (first time ever!)

I repeat myself - about 900 titles in 50 odd years - 5 billion people alive today - probably 10 billion in the 50 years.
I think I am conservative in saying "it ain't easy".

Why don't we ask a GM? (there may even be one with a masters degree)


Tony Dowden said...

I am most sympathetic to the plight of GM Dejan Antic.

As an academic and a chess player I'm confident that a GM title is at least equivalent to 3 years of (successful) tertiary study - presumably resulting in a typical bachelor's degree.

I have five tertiary level qualifications, including two at the post-graduate level. I also have a national (NZ) master title. And, trust me, the chess title which took 15 years to obtain(points accrued between 1989 and 2003) was at least as tough as gaining a postgraduate qualification.

(Dr) Tony Dowden
Lecturer of Education (Univ of Tasmania) and FIDE 2170.

Planner said...

i think people are neglecting to see that more people are serious with professional careers in other fields rather than a professional career in chess. hence education tends to concentrate on getting university qualifications as opposed to a chess title of any sort.

though i would love to be an IM or GM, i know i wouldnt do much with it at all. only those with true talent and worthy to be amongts the worlds elite should really have it ... just to brag or make money or be famous, everyone else barely makes a living. it just hardly seems the effort to pursue something with little benefit and a paltry probability of something good occurring.

if people were more concerned with chess maybe the pursuit of titles would be more wide spread and more would be attained. people just dont seem to care or think it is all that important to be a chess master. even amongst us avid chess fans to tell you the truth.

thats my theory as to why there are so few titled players anyway. people just dont care and have other informed priorities.

not saying that it isnt hard though. being a top notch university student myself as well as being in classes with postgraduate students, getting a bachelors and masters degree in my opinion doesn't amount to a lot of work. quite a few of us undergraduates feel postgraduates should return to high school.

so gaining an IM or GM title could in fact be of a higher standard in terms of applied effort than a uni degree. but when trying to compare with a uni degree, acknowledging that a lot of uni degrees also are useless. one must think of practicality and how it would benefit man kind. and frankly chess titles do not contribute much at all in my humble opinion.

so though a chess title may be hard to get, its equivalance to a uni title just isnt justified in terms of usefulness. but what do i know, i havent applied myself at all to chess theory, maybe it can just be as easy getting a chess title as a uni degree.

Anonymous said...

A Chess title is the biggest waste of someones time and effort.

It has no real value in society.

Anonymous said...

a chess title does have value for an individual and society.

incidentally, the book on genius (in general not just chess) by levitt is interesting. he believe anyone can be taught to be a master after 10 years of training. those who are considered a genius (eg high iq) do it in less.

Anonymous said...

Chess is by far a tougher pursuit than obtaining a degree. I purchased a puzzle from a games store the other day and the objective of the game was to get this red car out of a maze. It took me while to understand the concept but once I did the puzzles were easy- even the advanced puzzles. The objective is static and once I mastered how to solve the puzzles it was all downhill. This is very similar to a degree. You learn the stuff and rehash in an exam. Chess, like any other sport is dynamic. You are up against an opponent who wants to take all that you have learnt and turn it on its head. Your opponent challenges all you know and continually changes the goal posts. Chess requires something more than just learning, Chess brings the human condition into the fray. Only the chosen few succeed at chess and hard work can only get you so far. I coasted through my degree in that I put the hard work in and was rewarded at exam time. There was apprehension about failing, but I knew what to expect. In chess when I am at the board doing battle all the hard work in the world is not going to get me through. The whole substance of who I am is what gets me through. Grandmaster Antic is 1 in 5,000,000, whereas a PHD is about 1 in 100,000.

Anonymous said...

Look around you and you may find numerous examples of people who were allowed into your country but are average or worse in every way.

A Chess Grandmaster, such as Antic, is in no way inferior to the typical immigrant to Australia. He does, in my opinion, have something to contribute to your society.

It seems the bureaucrat who rejected him was not aware of some of the admission rules in regard to the perceived value of the GM title.

Reminds me of a case in Canada years ago when GM Leonid Shamkovich was denied a permit to stay in Canada by the Immigration Minister at the time. He said he could not grant a permanent status to a person with no occupation!

Anonymous said...

After reading some of the posts in the comment section it occurs to me that we'd have to define what we mean by "equivalent" when we say a "A chess master title is equivalent to a university degree." (quoted from TCG's poll).

For example, simon says "becoming a GM is easily comparable to getting a masters degree", and his criteria for the statement is number of hours required. Similarly Jenni (quoting Gareth) feels they're equivalent in that both require a similar amount of talent and hard work. Dr. Dowden also feels the amount of work is quite similar.

Bob feels they are equivalent because both a masters and a GM title are narrow and focused.

Drug feels that it is the degree of difficulty of obtaining a GM title is what makes it equivalent.

On the other side Planner feels they are not equivalent because a GM title is not useful to society, or as others state that it won't help you obtain a job whereas a masters degree in almost anything will.

All valid arguments and all probably right given the posters' understanding/definition of "equivalent".

So when "the Migration Review Tribunal had already ruled that the lesser International Master title was equivalent to at least five years tertiary study (from TCG post of Nov 4, quoting Rogers), it seems the Migration Review Tribunal's definition of "equivalent" was based on amount of time required to obtain the degree. It would be interesting to see what other criteria they had in mind because by itself the amount of time needed is close to meaningless.

For example, an M.Sc. with field work can take 18 months to 36 months. A masters in some of the arts (english literature, religious studies) can be completed in a year as there is no field work, so amount of time alone means nothing regarding equivalence. It is just silly to use amount of time required as a means of comparing two completely different things.

I still don't think we can compare GM title and graduate degrees. They are just far too different to be comparable in any meaningful sense. We'll only be able to compare small parts of each (e.g. amount of time, discipline needed etc), and thus end up reducing the complexities of GM titles and graduate degrees to overly-simplified points which render any comparisons to the actual complex titles meaningless.

--Daniel J. Andrews

Anonymous said...

Maybe the tribunal is not just looking at a GM title, however taking into consideration the applicants mastery of the english language both written and oral skills. If the applicants basic skills were not up to scratch wouldnt the GM title be irrelevant?

A GM title proves that the applicant is a good chess player, but in Australia you cannot support yourself as a player. So it would be safe to assume that he is applying as a chess coach. Does being a GM make you a good coach?

Also does he have a family he wishes to bring here? All these factors are considered by the tribunal before they make their decision.

Anonymous said...

This is a good topic - probably has far wider audience than just us chess nuts. More people have won Lotto in Australia than there are Chess GM's worldwide.
It ain't easy being good at something - in the case of chess - it is bloody hard (to be a GM).
Many of us think we could have done it if we didn't put all the other life obstacles in front of us - reality tells us that 900 (odd - some very odd) were able to achieve the result.
Antic should be judged as a person as well as a GM for residency in Australia.
What does it say in his CV about BBQ skills (and btw it's his shout at the bar)

ps thx for your comments - I've enjoyed this so far

Anonymous said...

Assuming Mr Antic wants to come here to be a coach surely if his english skills are not up to scratch then the GM title means sqwat.

Anonymous said...

quote "Assuming Mr Antic wants to come here to be a coach surely if his english skills are not up to scratch then the GM title means sqwat."

I'll track him own and let you know what I think of his English skills.

Better yet I'll have a few beers with him and tell you what I think of him as a person.

I already know he is a better chess player than all of us!

Anonymous said...

Wasnt Antic working for Graeme Gardner at one stage?

If that was the case you would think he's english was up to scatch.

Anonymous said...

Mr Antic worked in QLD for approx two weeks didnt he? Then he moved to Sydney...