Thursday, February 28, 2008

Australian Junior Chess League

Is there a need for a new national body that is tasked with specifically governing junior chess affairs? How might such a body, if it were formed, be structured? Exactly what are its areas of responsibilities?

These, among many others, are just some of the questions currently being hotly discussed by some of Australia’s big wigs in junior chess. Dubbed as “AusJCL” (though the formal name is yet to be finalized), the body’s raison d'etre is one of the key points being addressed. In a spirited email, the now retired administrator and junior chess stalwart Jenni Oliver outlines her ideas:

I would see it being primarily responsible over time for the national tournaments, overseeing things like Ergas and overseas team management and most important of all being a repository for procedures and standards. At the moment we have such a vacuum. E.g. every year Charles [Zworestine] writes up some recommendations for improving the Aus Juniors and every year they disappear into a black hole. Another e.g - I spent 2 months in 2006 investigating world youth management and submitting a lengthy report with multiple recommendations to the ACF – it disappeared into the same black hole. I do not mean that an AusJCL would run national tournaments – the current system would continue. However it would develop much better information to be given to a prospective bidder on what were essential parts of the particular tournament and non-negotiable standards and conditions. It could then work with a prospective bidder in a timely fashion to resolve any problems and also make sure that things were on track – e.g. website up by an agreed date etc.

This is not to blame the ACF – it just doesn’t have the resources or expertise to cope with many of these issues.

Of course there are still many issues to overcome. The original proposal document, for instance, written by ex ACF head honcho and lawyer, Denis Jessop, outlines a number of matters from the naming of the new body, its structure and to its relationships with the ACF. Denis, a regular guest to this blog, ends his proposal with the words: “The actual structural relationship with the ACF is a difficult question,” and adding, “Much will depend on the attitude of the ACF to the proposal”.

So - there you have it: the whole thing could collapse at the whim of the ACF. Let’s hope their attitude is a positive one.

9 comments:

Denis Jessop said...

Actually the original proposal was Jenni's and the bit you quoted was some comments I made on the idea. I have to make that concession or Jenni will kill me :-). However, Jenni and I have been discussing the idea for some time and I strongly support it.

Some recent developments make things look a bit rosier as far as ACF agreement goes but only time (and not too much of it, I hope) will reveal its fate. No formal proposal has yet been put to the ACF but it is hoped to do that soon.

The experience in the ACT and NSW with a separate JCL has been very positive and I can see no valid reason for opposing it at the national level.

As Jenni has commented, the ACF does not have the resources - and that means not only does it not have the numbers necessary to look after Junior chess matters expeditiously but also many of its Council members do not have a close connection with junior chess. The strong point of the State JCLs is that they are run by a combination of chess-savvy people and enthusiastic parents often with much better organisational skills than the average chess player seems to have :-(.

Denis Jessop

DeNovoMeme said...

How dare the ACF even think that it can STOP a National JCL. How arrogant, how evil, how typical.

Anonymous said...

I think if an AusJCL does start it will be the work of many people, with Denis having been a major player.

Matt - this is such an important concept that it needs to have everyone being prepared to work together. A new start, where the new organisation can be unbiased, impartial and fair. Let's not carry any baggage or hard feelings from the past....

Jenni

DeNovoMeme said...

Jenni, I hear you, and I agree, except for Gletsos and Bonham. If the NJCL is to have any success, those two must be rejected absolutely and for life. They are obnoxious over bearing control freaks with the people skills of non-mammals.

Denis Jessop said...

Matt

I do wish you would show just a smidgin of intelligence in an occasional post. Your post in this case is just stupid. The ACF cannot stop the creation of an Australian Junior Chess League. But as it happens and as Jenni has pointed out I have been one of those supporting the concept.

Any junior body that wishes to represent Australian junior chess in all its aspects at the national level must have the support of, and work in association with, the ACF if only because only the ACF is recognised by FIDE as Australia's National Federation.

The junior body that has been mooted by the less-than-informed on Toolsie's BB ( the so-called National Junior Chess League) is a different thing and unlikely ever to see the light of day partly because you are associated with it and none of your projects ever gets beyond first base. Moreover none of the posts about it from its proponents has revealed any real concept of what Australian junior chess needs in the present times. Some of the posts are almost neanderthal in their views of junior chess development and coaching.

Jenni's project already has the support of more people than you are likely to drum up in the foreseeable future. After all Trevor Stanning assisted by Matthew Sweeney (the sum total of current support over there) is not what one would call a powerhouse of intellect and experience in junior chess administration.

Denis Jessop

Denis Jessop said...

My comment of 8.05pm on 29 Feb was made before I had seen Matt's of 5.05pm and so refers to his of 3.33pm on 28 Feb.

Having said that, I find nothing of merit in his change of tack in attacking personalities on the ACF Executive instead of the ACF as an institution, or else equating the ACF with two of its Executive (out of a Council of 13) which doesn't seem particularly perceptive.

As it happens, he picks on them not because of their ability, which is considerable, but because of his general dislike of them based on considerations irrelevant to the present issue.

Denis Jessop

Anonymous said...

I know there is a lot of hard feelings and angst on both sides, but this is really not about the ACF or personalities on the ACF. Some of the people on the ACF will support the new organisation, some won't. However their interest lies predominantly with adult chess and I see that continuing (and rightly so).

My hope is to see a junior organisation start, with support from all sides and people with passion to work for it.

Jenni

Kevin Bonham said...

If Matthew Sweeney was familiar with the position I took as Secretary (and briefly also Treasurer) of the TCA during the development of the TCA junior chess subcommittee and development fund he might have some inkling about what sort of administrative arrangements and what level of autonomy I support in junior chess generally - an approach I intend to carry over into any ACF decisions in this area.

Significant stakeholders in the area of junior chess are very welcome to contact me privately if they would like to know my views on the issue of an AJCL, or advance a view to me in this regard. It would be appreciated if those ignorant of my views on the matter, and who have made no attempt to discern them, would avoid attempting to anticipate what they might be, as they are only likely to embarrass themselves in the process.

The above represents my personal views only.

Denis Jessop said...

There is also one thing that needs to be made crystal clear here. The AusJCL as proposed by Jenni and the National JCL referred to by Matthew are two utterly different bodies with, as far as it is possible to discern any aims for the latter, quite different aims.

Denis Jessop