Friday, April 07, 2006

ACF Bans Matthew Sweeney

Mr Brian Jones, director of the Myer Tan Australian Chess Grand Prix and publisher of the Australian Chess Magazine, calls the Australian Chess Federation a "secret society". Under this constant charge from Mr Jones and others, the Australian Chess Federation frantically released an official announcement overnight on the matter relating to an highly controversial motion proposed by the NSWCA.

The final motion voted upon and passed:

That, effective 4 April 2006 ­

1. A person who is banned as a player by his or her State or Territory Association or by the Australian Chess Federation ("ACF") is not permitted to play in an ACF event.

2. If a tournament organiser or tournament arbiter knowingly permits a banned player to play in an ACF event, the event­ (a) will not be ACF or FIDE rated; and (b) if it is a Grand Prix event, will not count towards Grand Prix points.

3. The ACF Secretary shall ensure that a list of banned players, to the best of his knowledge, is maintained on the ACF Website, stating the name of each banned player and the expiry date of the ban and each Council delegate shall keep the Secretary informed of those matters in respect of players banned by his State or Territory.

4. Despite paragraphs 1 and 2, the ACF Council may, if it thinks fit, permit a banned player to play in an ACF event or decide that paragraph 2 does not apply to an ACF event.

5. In this motion ­
(a) "ACF event" means any event held by or on behalf of the ACF and includes an ACF Grand Prix event;
(b) "banned player" means a person referred to in paragraph 1;
(c) a reference to playing in an event includes entering, playing in, or continuing to play in, the event.

As a result, that equally controversial figure in Australian chess, Matthew Sweeney, can no longer play in the next big event - the Doeberl Cup. In response, Mr Sweeney made the following announcement.

This new motion has been expedited through the ACF machinery, because of efforts by two NSWCA councilors. Therefore, I feel no compunction to spare them or the people who have supported them, any relief from the opprobrium that will be generated by public exposure of their vendetta. Naturally, I will be appealing my national ban. The outcome of the appeal will be either:

1. The appeal upheld. Thus the NSWCA will be humiliated.
2. The appeal denigned (sic). Thus the ACF will be exposed as a privileged secret society whose first consideration is its own survival.

I will be posting all correspondance by me to the ACF. I will also be posting all official NSWCA and ACF communications to me, on this bulletin board, as they are sent or recieved by me. Private correspondence will not be posted.

One would hope that the Doeberl Cup organisers will do the right and brave thing anyway and allow Mr Sweeney to play in their event. However, we believe that Denis Jessop's standing in ACT chess is sufficient pressure to prevent that from happening.


Anonymous said...

I will not be wasting my time playing in any ACF rated event under the implied threat my games might not be rated if it is found in hindsight that a renegade has slipped under the security radar?

Anonymous said...

Any suggestion Brian's "secret society" comments had anything to do with when this was released is spurious - see

Anonymous said...

I have attempted to find out as much about the practicalities of this motion as possible. I have spoken to both the ACF President and ACF Secretary over the last few days and these are how they interpret the motion
1) There is no right of appeal by the player concerned to the ACF (Both the ACF President and Secretary told me this)
2) The right of appeal is restricted to event organisers who may request a banned player be allowed to take part in an event (ACF President)
3) The ACF will not be examining Matts case at all (ACF Secretary)

So unless something changes between now and Good Friday, the Doeberl Cup will be withdrawing from the ACF Grand Prix series, meaning that the ACF motion does not apply either to Matthew Sweeney or the Doeberl Cup itself.

Shaun Press

Anonymous said...

Nice work "Closet"!
Apparently, Doeberl Cup has had a great start in regards to quantity as well as quality.
As a Victorian, I wish all the best to our boys and girls from Melbourne CC, Box Hill CC, Dandenong CC, Hobson's Bay CC and Elwood CC!
To all participants good luck and may the best player(s) win!

Elliott Renzies (early morning Saturday)

Anonymous said...

Dear TGM

Just to let you know that I forwarded to Mr Press the e-mail containing the original motion.

The e-mail proposing the motion (the wording of which seemed to prepared by the NSWCA) was couched in terms expressing concern that a player, banned by the NSWCA, had played in the Begonia. The obvious urgency was the request to pass the motion by 1 April. Whether the relevance of that date actually cross the minds of other recipients of the e-mail is not for me to say but it was evident that PR capabilities were in short supply by proposing such a date.

I was aware that (a) Mr Sweeney had played in the Begonia and (b) was mooted to play in the Doeberl. While his name was not mentioned in the e-mail, the thought which crossed my mind was how darn coincidental and why was there a need to impose a retrospective penalty. It needed a person with more grunt in the chess scene than me to kick heads, so I flicked the matter to Shaun.

By the bye, at that time I had not met Mr Sweeney and only knew about him by (bad) reputation, i.e. sometimes a twit but a nice guy in person. In other words, pretty normal.

Anyway it doesn’t matter whether the motion was or was not about Mr Sweeney. Apart from the matters I mentioned above, what was also apparent to me as I watched the subsequent flow of e-mail traffic on the proposal was at no stage could I see any thought being given as to how to sell the packet of poo-tickets to the average punter? It was evident to me a spin was going to be required on the motion if any resemblance or pretence of transparency in decision-making was to be upheld.

However, it seemingly did not happen. As a result, all the vibes I heard from ACT people, and some interstate visitors, before and during the Deoberl were along the lines of “How stupid can the ACF be?” Not generally directed at any one person but at the body itself.

Keep up the blogging. It is probably better than reading the trash on chesschat and just as believable.

Anonymous said...

Mr Sweeney is no longer a banned player so I am not quite sure why TCG is featuring this old issue in prime position on the BLOG.
I expect that Mr Sweeney can freely play in the 2007 Doeberl, and the 2007 Begonia, and the 2007 Elwood, because he is not banned. Apart from the 2007 Victorian Open, I can think of no other 5th event he would want to enter. Should round out his year nicely methinks.