Sunday, March 22, 2009

Doeberl Cup vs ACF

An embarassing stoush has developed between, in one corner, two big ACF heavy weights and, in the opposite corner, the new kid on the block, Charles Bishop - organiser of the Doeberl Cup. Mr Bishop's firm, O2C, is also the principal sponsor of the event.

The spat seems to be over the definition of just what is a "junior" for the purposes of tournament competition and specifically as it applies to the Doeberl Cup. In this post, in Australia's most popular chess bulletin board, Mr Bishop commits a critical blunder:

The Doeberl Cup has always based its Junior entry fee on the first day of the tournament. The prizes are aligned with this. Additionally our approach to allocation of the prizes is aligned with the Grand Prix approach. The Grand Prix runs for a full calendar year and requires Juniors to be under 18 on the first day they can start accruing points towards the Grand Prix prize which is the 1/1 of each year. In the case of the Doeberl cup this is the first day of the respective tournaments that prizes are allocated within.

It's a mistake that immediately drew a typically strident response from no less than Aussie chess mandarin and current deputy president of the ACF, Bill Gletsos.

Sorry but you do not know what you are talking about as this is not the ACF Grand Prix ACF or FIDE approach.

The ACF Grand Prix and the ACF follows the FIDE approach that is based on the juniors age as at the 1st Jan and can entry and win any event within that calendar year in which the competition is held

Thus if a junior is under 18 as of 1st Jan 2009 then they are eligle to enter and win any U18 FIDE event that is held in between 1st January 2009 and 31st December 2009.

That salvo was enough to ward off Mr Bishop from further dealing with questions directly on Chess Chat and opting, instead, to handle them via email. But not before another ACF big dog, Denis Jessop, piped in: "I find Charles' attitude here to be very odd. Apparently he just can't cope with criticism of any kind."

For more on this and other tidbits, click here.

Well, what to make of this? Two thoughts.

Firstly, I do wish that these ACF types can be more diplomatic. As far as I can tell, Mr Bishop was simply answering a question calmly and honestly. His response may not have been entirely "correct", but did he really deserve such a treatment? I don't think so. He is, after all, a sponsor of this country's premiere chess event!

Secondly, what's with these Doeberl Cup organisers making fancy changes to established "traditions"? I'm not particularly concerned about this latest fight, but I am still pissed off over the cancellation of the traditional blitz event. Instead, this year we have something called Chess960. It's random chess basically where one can begin a game with your knight located on e1! Ridiculous.

I know it may be pointless, but I hope these Doeberl Cup people can organise another event - for blitz. Let the players choose: those who want to play blitz can play in that, and those who prefer the inferior Chess960 can opt for that.


Shaun Press said...

TCG, you'll have to explain to me where the mistake is in Charles Bishop's response to the original question. I can't see it in the text you have quoted.

Anonymous said...

australian chess players and the federation bicker about the most ridiculously unimportant things.

i am ashamed that i bare this citizenship. it's in every walk of life here too -- not just chess.

Anonymous said...

I can't comment on the Junior age issue but I find it appalling that AFC officials would engage in such an abrasive and public stoush with an event sponsor.

Ryan said...

I have to agree about Chess960 - I've never seen the point of the game.

Also, thanks for introducing me to the word 'stoush'!

Anonymous said...

"But not before another ACF big dog, Denis Jessop, piped in: "I find Charles' attitude here to be very odd. Apparently he just can't cope with criticism of any kind."

Brian Jones said

"Dear Mr Jessop

It appears that the ACF has two speeds; namely SLOW and STOPPED.

Please confirm that this is true."

Mr Jessop said


I'll confirm one thing, namely that if you don't stop this childish behaviour I shan't bother talking to you again."

So who cannot accept or take criticism?

Kevin Bonham said...

AR, where you write "That salvo was enough to ward off Mr Bishop from further dealing with questions directly on Chess Chat and opting, instead, to handle them via email. But not before [..]" and then go on to quote Denis Jessop saying Charles can't cope with criticism, you have the events the wrong way round.

It *was* before Denis responded - Charles' post containing his decision to only answer questions by email (and also some unsubstantiated nonsense about people putting up "smoke screens") was at 10:56AM on 21/03, and Denis's comment that you refer to was at 5:53PM the same day. Denis Jessop had made no comment on the matter prior to Charles' considerable overreaction to the few posts that had been made on the matter.

Shaun, as I pointed out in a post to that thread, the approach of taking the age from the first day when points can be scored is not the basis of the GP system for dealing with juniors at all, and hence the claim that the Doeberl system is aligned with the GP one is incorrect. If it was correct, then GP age categories could be taken from the first day of the first actual GP tournament, which is generally more like 24/1 than 1/1.

Rather the "horse's birthday" approach (as Ian Rout called it) is used for simplicity and consistency with definitions used by many other national and international bodies.

As for this supposedly vicious flamewar (actually about 1/10 on the asbestometer so far), apart from "Sorry but you do not know what you are talking about" I really don't see what anyone even might have considered strident in Bill's response ... how is his comment a "salvo"?

Second anonymous (who should get a name) it is one thing to be reluctant to accept criticism of any kind and a rather different thing to be reluctant to accept Brian Jones' incessant application of his hobbyhorses to situations concerning which he does not know relevant facts.

Anonymous said...

disgraceful behaviour by the acf to treat a sponsor this way .
i'm disgusted

Anonymous said...

"It is one thing to be reluctant to accept criticism of any kind and a rather different thing to be reluctant to accept Brian Jones' incessant application of his hobbyhorses to situations concerning which he does not know relevant facts."

Dear Mr Bonham

I am not sure what you are talking about with your defensive non-constructive comment above but it is almost the end of March 2009 and we appear to have a clash (at least an overlap) between the dates of the 2010 Australian Championships in Sydney and 2010 Australian Junior Championships in Hobart. Perhaps, the ACF could resolve this quickly - I would suggest a matter of days would be an appropriate timescale!

Kevin Bonham said...


That is, of course, exactly what I was talking about and I have also explained why you were out of order in a lengthy post in reply to your original comment on the "Aussie Champs Go North" thread. Of course you have no leg to stand on in complaining about a supposedly non-constructive comment given that your original was uninformed and unconstructive carping.

PS: Dr Bonham to you. :)

Anonymous said...

No wonder aussie chess isnt going anywhere, everybody seems to be interested in pumping up thier own egos at the cost of the game.

Anonymous said...

Dr Bonham

I do not understand what you are saying.

Is this some sort of secret (political) intrigue? Are we talking about chess?

I bet you don't have a Phd in plain English!?

Anonymous said...

I agree with Brian Jones! The attitude of ACF brass towards Charles on the bulletin board was totally disgusting! That Australian chess is now in the gutter courtesy of Denis Jessop and Bill Gletsos is truly sad.

Anonymous said...

i agree with anonymous and frank. aussie chess is going nowhere because of all this meaningless bickering.

focus on the chess for godsake!

Kevin Bonham said...

Brian, it shouldn't take any more than highschool English for you to get my point here. My point is that on the other thread, you made a silly comment about the ACF being slow to make a decision. You assumed that the ACF was just sitting around for several weeks twiddling its thumbs when it could have made a decision much much faster. You were wrong in this particular case, and your comment was therefore unconstructive and uninformed. The reason I bring it up on this thread is that an anonymous poster used it to have a go at Denis in post 5. I disagreed with their attack and explained why.

All the anonymous posters on this thread should put their names to their comments, or at least get a consistent alias. There is a long history on this board of insincere trolls posting anonymously, and I will assume any anon poster to be one of those unless they demonstrate otherwise (eg by actually making sense instead of taking cliched potshots).

Anonymous said...

Charles definitely overreacted, but people on the forum also went on for ages. Sure, posters went on for ages *because* Charles overreacted. At the same time, just because Charles was being a little childish doesn't give posters the permission to keep beating a dead horse.

On a much more interesting note, I completely agree with TCG. Bring back the lightning!!! I don't have a problem with introducing Chess960, but do that parallel to lightning. (That way you can also see which one is more popular.) That makes me wonder... can people actually organise a lightning tournament at the same time of Chess960, if it wasn't organised by Charles and his 02C? Sure, there's a question of location, equipments, etc. But, is it possible?

Anonymous said...

This will probably be the last time Mr Bishop sponsors and organise the chess tournament. Pity that a sponsor has been "spoken down to" on a public internet blog for the world to see.

Kevin Bonham said...

*sigh* More anons. Or the same anon(s) posting over and over - who knows? Anonymous commenting on this blog should be disabled.

The discussion started by the issue on CC really wasn't at all long by forum standards, only a few dozen posts. Some of it was useful anyway (to see the range of approaches to the issue of defining junior ages) and there was also some meta-debate which was mainly inspired by others overreacting (some of them far more so than Charles).

One never knows, but I think if Charles was as easily scared off by a few firmly-worded comments on bulletin boards then the flak over the Doeberl's anti-draw rules last year (which was hundreds of times more intense than this little storm in a teacup) would have already had that effect.

Anonymous said...

Hi all,

Just to be clear. Chess Chat doesnt scare me - its just not worth the energy I was putting into trying to answer questions in an open forum and I thought it was hurting the Doeberl and chess in general.

Others will disagree with my assessment and thats why we have a democracy. I was however, concious that others had told me that they viewed the chess char thread for information and I did not want them to think we were not available for suggestions, hence I posted our email address so they could contact us.

In my view it is also not Doeberl vs ACF although it makes a catchy title for the blog : 0. While I post as the organiser the point has been made to me previously that all comments are made by ACF members in their private capacity unless they stipulate otherwise. Therefore there is no dispute with the ACF that I am aware of.

We have received plenty of feedback (have a look at our fighting fund as a suggestion to work on decreasing draws) and have put in place many of the suggestions from last year. There will be more this year and we will consider them in the post activity review.

And for all of you out there I was actually laughing when I wrote "this site makes me laugh cause it does" but that may be my sense of humour!

I have sat with my son when he had a 57% chance of dying of a C2 dislocation (god knows where they get these stats) - anything else is a cakewalk to that. He loves chess I will support chess for him.

Kevins right - the criticism over the Doeberl position on no draws was far more strident.

The process I described for suggestions will work better for supporting the Doeberl. There are heap of good suggestions out there and people can send them in and we can discuss them. Access to the GM games on the stage as per IM Goldenberg suggestion will be there this year as another suggestion put into play.

And yes Amiel :) if Chess 960 is an absolute flop lightning will be back eternally. Our suggestion is only that it will be every second year even if it is successful so its back for 2010 no matter what. If it flops I expect you to give me a big told you so smile on Saturday night.


Charles laughing because the world is a beautiful place!

Charles Bishop
Organiser Doeberl Cup

Anonymous said...

Age of a Junior

Quite a few Events have wacky ideas on what age is a Junior
- under 18 ? - school pupil ? under 21 ? under 16 ?

The simple and best answer is the age limit for juniors set by FIDE - "under 20 on 1 jan of the given year" !

Quite simple - but sadly many events have wacky ideas on this and fail to conform to the international standard or any standard in fact. Creating much confusion all over the place. Clearly the International Standard is the one to follow, and allow Juniors to progress from local to national to international events in a normal fashion.

Clearly its long overdue for National Fedrations to step up and impose this international standard on all there national events.

Anonymous said...

To 'Junior Chess Standard'
I'm not sure what you're referring to as the 'normal fashion' that people progress from local, to national, to international events.
The Doeberl Cup is an independent tournament, does not award any state or national titles, and is not a qualifier for any age-related events.
Of course, events that award yearly titles (eg Australian Junior, World Junior) must have a strictly set age cut-off. But, in independent events, it makes no sense to do this.
I really liked Ian Rout's comment on chess chat, about how it would be ridiculous to refuse someone entry to the seniors tournament if they were 50, but turned 50 after January 1. It makes a nice comparison I think :)
It is standard in independent tournaments to go by your age on the first day of the event. The reason most tournaments do this is because it is the most fair and logical way.
But, the most important point is, organisers and sponsors can award prize money in whatever way they want, as long as they advertise the conditions in advance. Even if the rules were unfair (which they aren't) I would still say well done for giving another incentive for our young chess players to improve!

With regards to the comments on chess chat, this is my view of what happened:
-Charles posted the conditions of the prize, nice and clearly.
-Someone asked a reasonable question, nice and politely.
-Charles answered politely. In doing so, he probably didn't quite interpret the Grand Prix rules exactly right.
-Some ACF 'bigwigs' replied extremely aggressively to the comment, and included personal attacks, and really were just being rude.
-Charles replied a little cryptically, but was basically saying he wasn't going to bother responding to all the ridiculous comments. (Some people really DO have a life!)
-The ACF guys continued with the aggressive comments.
-Amiel put this on his blog :)
My feeling is, the regulars on chess chat haven't had something to complain about for a while, so having nothing else to do, they decided to pick on Charles. How lovely of them!

Anonymous said...

I'm not going to get into a debate about who is or who is not a junior. Way too confusing for me. Is a 15 yo rated at 2150 a junior, age certainly but in ability? Or is a junior one who is 70 yo rated at 1200 but has seen, and probably played, every swindle in the unwritten bible of chess? Leave it to youse [sic] lot to decide.

But what I have noticed is that since the Bedi Cup was announced on Chesschat on 11/2/2009 by Mr Bishop only one poster(Justaknight) has expressed appreciation for Mr Bedi's generosity.

Following Mr Bishop's announcement on Chesschat on 13/3/2009 the further donation of the Pooja Cup and the conditions applicable to both awards, not one individual including Mr Jessop, Dr Bonham or Mr Gletsos have bothered to thank openly Mr Bedi for his contribution.

Rather poor form there, so thank you Mr Bedi for your generosity and your contribution to the encouragement of junior chess players in Australia.

Anonymous said...

The issue seems to have been sorted out on CC.

Kevin Bonham said...

Anonymous 11:34 March 25 writes:

"-Some ACF 'bigwigs' replied extremely aggressively to the comment, and included personal attacks, and really were just being rude."

Actually there were only two responses from posters who happen to be ACF officials up to that point.

Bill's response has already largely been quoted. Sure one phrase in it was pretty forthright, but anyone who really considers Bill's post "extremely aggressive" is the sort of person who is probably scared of butterflies and fluffy bunny rabbits. And saying someone doesn't know what they are talking about on an issue on which it turns out that they indeed don't, is hardly a "personal attack".

My own comment ( was even milder - it just expressed surprise at the standard being used and disagreed with Charles' claim about the Grand Prix. Again, anyone who thinks my comment was "extremely aggressive" or a "personal attack" is not just a shrinking violet but also a delusional one.

There were some harsher comments later but that was only after Charles had told us "This site makes me laugh." and complained about "smoke screens" when there were actually none there.

Clearly Anonymous 11:34 March 25 has a distorted view of the thread that bears very little similarity to the facts and this is probably said anon hides behind anonymity rather than having the guts to put his/her name to his/her hotheaded and biased drivel.

I commend Charles on his post to this thread above. Actually although I was not willing to move some of the earlier short draws discussion to a different thread, I would be happy to split the junior ages stuff to a new thread if Charles would like me to.

Anonymous said...

Kevin, you really seem to miss the point. The reason all normal people get so annoyed at people like you on chess chat is because you fail to see the big picture.

You think that you can justify being completely rude, by picking one tiny little thing like whether or not the worst personal attack was before or after Charles' comment. It makes no difference. Maybe you should read Miranda's comments on this thread on chess chat - and then remind yourself that you are supposed to be the adult.

You have obviously been blessed with a great ability to find tiny little flaws, which I personally think is a great quality in a person - if you actually use it to do something helpful, instead of just being rude without even saying anything constructive.

And by the way, I have actually spoken to 6 other chess players about this - in REAL LIFE! I was actually standing talking to a real person! Every single one of them couldn't believe how rude the ACF guys were being. And not one of them is scared of a butterfly. 3 of them said they were going to respond on chess chat, but 'couldn't be bothered replying to those idiots' - probably due to the sort of thing I've described in paragraph 2.

Kevin Bonham said...

Ah, here's another (or the same) anonymous clown (11:35am) claiming I have missed some point that hasn't been made and isn't sound anyway, and spouting unsubstantiated guff about the "big picture" without showing any signs of being able to comprehend any part of it.

This one even presumes to lecture me (without evidence) about the reactions of "normal people", as if someone who takes anonymous potshots at others on blogs would have the slightest clue what normality is, or as if it matters anyway.

The claim "You think that you can justify being completely rude, by picking one tiny little thing like whether or not the worst personal attack was before or after Charles' comment" is a strawman. I *do* think there is such a thing as overkill in response to provocation but the thread does not demonstrate it and was actually very mild.

I have given such attention to the timing of the different comments because it has been the subject of false claims (starting with the false claim about the timing of Denis's comments in the original post). It is relevant because some have sought to portray the comments before Charles' #152 as unreasonably rude, and have failed abysmally to do so. If they want to switch to portraying the comments after #152 as unreasonably rude, they will have to consider the problems with the claims made in #152, which they are clearly reluctant to do, because by their standards the claims in #152 were themselves quite clearly rude.

Basically, this is just the sort of thing that goes on on BBs all the time. Questions were asked, Charles got his facts wrong, people pointed this out in a direct manner, Charles spat the dummy, people pointed out that he had spat the dummy and criticised him for doing so. File under "natural escalation", not that it ever went far.

If you think Miranda's comments (which were basically along the lines of "this really doesn't matter") are so relevant, then why are *you* still banging on about it all? Of course, the debate on this thread on this blog is mostly not about the junior ages thing anyway. It is mostly meta-debate, ie it is mostly about the debate about the junior ages thing. I think that meta-debate is well worth winning because it demonstrates yet again that anonymous posters who go over the top about their view that Bill, Denis, KB etc are unreasonably rude, actually cannot argue that case coherently, probably because they are wrong. Ironically, these anonymous posters are much ruder than those whose rudeness they seek to complain about, and with far less grasp on the facts.

Furthermore, I believe that refuting the melodramatic sky-is-falling drivel that perpetually emenates from such knockers is indeed a constructive thing to do, since that nonsense perpetuates a false and negative view of both ACF personnel and the condition of Australian chess.

As for the maturity slur (which was a non sequitur anyway), since it comes from an anonymous unknown posting personal attacks on a blog it can very safely be ignored.

You say you have talked to six other players "in real life" (with capital letters, oooh!) Since you are anonymous your comment cannot be verified and could well be fictional trolling, and therefore can be safely disregarded for that reason alone.

But even if you had, so what? These players may not have followed or considered the whole thread in enough detail to comment. They may be a biased sample. They may be friends of yours who are likely to me-too whatever you say to your face, but may form a different view if they examine the issue independently with consideration. And if they were going to respond but couldn't, I suggest the reason is not that cited in your spurious paragraph 2. I suspect the reason is that they knew their views were not coherent or informed enough to defend in such a situation and that the flaws in them would be far too readily exposed, correctly making their views on the situation look silly!

But if they were too gutless to actually try defending their views using a CC account instead of just whinging about us to each other or hiding behind unaccountable anonymity (like you!), I guess we'll never know! :)