Saturday, February 11, 2006

Funny Business

Long before the first moves are played, the new tournament, Australian Internet Junior Chess Championships, has found itself in the bog of politics. Jason Lyons, ex-Olympiad captain, seasoned organiser of chess events and qualified IA, was hired, sacked, rehired and sacked again!

On 29 December, 2005 - event coordinator, Alex Saint announced:

The state coordinators for the 2006 Australian Internet Junior Chess Championships are as follows:

NSW - Jason Lyons
ACT - Libby Smith
VIC - Kerry Lyall
SA - Alan Goldsmith
TAS - Phil Donnelly
WA - Don Smith

Then as late as yesterday, 10 February, with no warning whatsoever, Jason Lyons was suddenly replaced by a certain Michael Lip. I immediately sent a message to Mr Saint asking for an explanation. Shortly after my note, this announcement followed: "Michael Lip and Jason Lyons will be joint NSW coordinators in 2006. Subsequent years will involve the junior leagues voting in a coordinator."

OK, so there's no problem then - just a little confusion. Yet later that night, this:

After discussions with Dennis Jessop [ACF president], NSWJCL president Charles Zworestine and Richard Gastineau-Hills [NSWJCL treasurer], I have had to do a double back flip.

Michael Lip is the sole NSW coordinator.

I have spoken to Jason who has accepted my position and the position of the NSWJCL. He has been offered another role on the committee.

Kind regards,

It was Friday night and these guys are doing nothing but plotting for Jason's removal. My first thought was, you lifeless #$%@! Amazing. I'm actually sitting there with Jason, in a pub having a few drinks, while he takes a call from Alex. But let's just put that aside.

For the job of state coordinator, Jason, who is also an ICC tournament manager, appears to be very overqualified. Thus we ask, what was the problem with his appointment (which, by the way, appears to be unchallenged and without controversy for over a month)? And why has the New South Wales Junior Chess League made a whole lot of fuss about it now?

While we do maintain our good wishes for this new tournament, we cannot be expected to retain our respect for its organisers. Their shabby treatment of Mr Lyons (who, as recently as last month, was an arbiter in the national championships), in such a public manner, deserves the utmost condemnation. Their actions were without honour.


Anonymous said...

The reason is obvious, and is the same as why Jason was spectacularly gazumped for the President's position at the NSWCA AGM. Jason Lyons is a Peter Parr yes man and good buddies with him, spending many hours in Parr's shop. Peter Parr made some nasty comments regarding last year's St George Club Championship, of which Dr Z is the big chief. Therefore, Jason pays the price for being too closely associated with Peter Parr. Its a shame, as chess has too few volunteers as it is, but that is Australian chess for you.

Anonymous said...

I agree that personal politics has played a role here, and there is merit to the comment made by "anonymous". However I reject the slur cast upon me as being a "yes man", to Peter Parr or anyone else.

This is a superficial and uninformed comment which would be contested by anyone familiar with my role in chess, including the Closet Grandmaster. I have my own opinions, which sometimes conflict with those of Peter Parr.

I respect Peter and his endeavours, and am a regular at his premises. I also have respect for his nemesis, Brian Jones, and many other fine contributors to Australian chess.

If you want to select a local administrator to align me with, I would nominate Graeme Gardiner as one whom I admire, and whose views are similar to mine.