Mr Sweeney emailed me this statement overnight. It is his response to that recently passed motion, first proposed by the NSWCA, that effectively banned him from playing chess across the nation.
The new ACF by-law was a hastily cobbled together farce that:
1. Has no mechanism for appeal.
2. Does not distinguish between bans for activities such as violence or theft, and for misdemeanors such as not paying a joining fee.
3. Provides for heavy penalties for officials and bodies that allow a banned player to play.
4. Ensures that none of the other players’ games in the whole tournament will be rated.
I registered to play at the Doeberl and was welcomed to play by the entire committee. However, the Doeberl carries a National status as an ACF Grand Prix (GP) event. If I play, none of the other 240 players would have their games rated by the ACF. Therefore, the Doeberl committee felt compelled to withdrew the event from the GP list. This effectively meant that all games would be rated, but no GP points would be awarded to any player.
The Doeberl committee recognised that the ACF was behaving in an unconscionable manner by passing the ban extension by-law. The Doeberl were prepared to take a principled stand against it by allowing me to play.
I attempted to alleviate this problem by appealing to the ACF for, a temporary stay of the automatic extension of my ban to the National level, while a full appeal could be conducted. The ACF totally ignored it and did not so much as acknowledge receipt of my appeal.
The ACF under Denis Jessop, was in fact, extremely happy that the Doeberl was pulled out of the GP, because it meant that the ACF would not have to take action against the ACTCA and the Doeberl committee. The ACF did not care one iota that 240 Australian chess players would be deprived of an opportunity to win GP points. It could not see its way clear to stay my ban because, it is being manipulated by the NSWCA to conduct a punitive course against its strongest critic, me.
The situation now is, that there is a stand-off between the Doeberl committee and the ACF The Doeberl wishes to conduct itself in a moral and reasonable way. The ACF insists on imposing immoral and unreasonable rules upon the Doeberl - and every other GP and National event. The only people hurt by this struggle between decent ACT administrators and abysmal ACF ones, are the ordinary players of Australia. I personally cannot allow this to happen. Therefore, I am withdrawing my entry to the Doeberl so that it can re-enter the GP, and the most important people, the players, can win GP points.
This completely shameful power play began with a NSWCA vendetta. It continued with the hijacked the ACF to peruse it. The ACF was forced into a no-win position with a stain of underhanded incompetence indelibly stamped upon it.
So Matt has done the honourable thing and fallen on his sword. He should actually enjoy his ban by reading up on some chess books and returning with a vengeance to the chess board. I hope he never has anything to do with NSW or Australian chess administration again; it just isn't worth it. It was interesting though how ALL sections of the Doeberl were being "threatened" with the loss of GP points and possible unrateability. I would have thought the minor, major and premier existed as technically separate events so were Matt to have entered in minor the major and premier would have escaped unharmed. Matt, once you return, don't even offer to help set up a chess clock at any NSW or Australian chess venue ... EVER ... You owe Australian Chess NOTHING!!!
Matt Sweeney has done the honourable and correct thing. Unlike the NSWCA and ACF on this issue, Matthew has put the consideration of other chess players ahead of his own self-interest.
I know that a major reason for some chess players to play in Doeberl is to get GP points, particulaly this year due to Brian Jones good efforts in resurrecting the GP after the disasters of Gray and Cordover running it. So, I hope that in light of Matthew's withdrawal the Doeberl committee reverse their recent decision and decided to have the 2006 tournament part of the GP - otherwise the only winners will be the likes of Peter Hanna and Bill Powell.
Matthew will be sorely missed at this year's Doeberl. His presence ensured a good social life at the Doeberl, as would organise social activities. He was fun to be with and a great guy - I for one will miss his presence at the Doeberl.
Bill Gletsos should feel ashamed of his actions on this issue, which as Matthew says are a vendetta.
Gletsos has gone too far.
Sweeney has triumphed in adversity.
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