Congress Report #4
Mason, Michigan, October 2, 2000.
ICCF Congress in session
Wednesday September 20,
A great deal was packed into the final meeting of Congress before closing. My Report #3 covered much of this meeting. Here are the final topics covered.
Gerhard Radosztics (OST) has been acting for many years as the ICCF Liaison Officer to FIDE. To do his job in the past required attending FIDE meetings and rubbing elbows with FIDE officials. Now, with the improvements in communications through email, this is no longer necessary. Therefore, Mr. Radosztics recommended that ICCF eliminate this position. The Congress accepted his recommendation, with thanks for the excellent service he has provided in this post. In future, relations with FIDE will be a Presidential responsibility.
Marijonas Rocius, delegate of Lithuania, briefly presented his recommendation that ICCF consider joining GAISF (General Association of International Sports Federations). This proposal, and the possibility of membership of other external international sports organizations, will be further considered by the Presidium prior to next years Congress in Rimini.
Gianni Mastrojeni (ITA) then provided some background about cc in Italy. Participation in ICCF events is usually quite high, 2nd or 3rd highest among all countries. Mr. Mastrojeni then extended his invitation for us to join him next year in Rimini, Italy for the next ICCF Congress.
Mr. Mastrojeni is to be thanked for providing a comprehensive package of information on the city and the hotel (Hotel Continental E dei Congressi). For more information on the hotel (in Italian) you can check out their web site at: http://www.millennium.it/hc/. Rimini has an international airport, but many are expected to arrive in other cities and enjoy a trip through beautiful Italy by car or train.
President Alan Borwell then pointed out that future ICCF Congresses will be one day longer, starting with the Rimini Congress. This will allow more flexibility in scheduling Congress events so those attending may take greater advantage of local attractions. The closing banquet in Rimini will be on Friday evening.
The schedule of future ICCF Congresses planned so far follows:
2002 -- Belgium was previously approved but had to withdraw their invitation. General Secretary Alan Rawlings informed Congress that Portugal has stepped forward to offer to host that Congress in October 2002 and Congress accepted their invitation.
It will be held in Seixal, Portugal 5-11 October 2002. The hotel rates are said to be excellent.
2003 -- The Czech Republic will be hosting this Congress 4-10 October 2003. The probable location will be in Karvina, near the Slovak and Polish borders. The Slovakian cc organization is assisting with the arrangements.
2004 -- This Congress will be hosted by Brazil, probably at the end of September, 2004.
2005 onwards -- No invitations have yet been received.
This finished the business of the 2000 Congress in Daytona Beach. President Borwell thanked Ruth Ann Fay and Max Zavanelli for their excellent organization of this years Congress. Those attending gave them a standing ovation to recognize their efforts and successes.
At this time Alan Borwell formally closed the meeting of the ICCF Congress for the year 2000.
Ruth Ann then made a few announcements concerning transportation and the planned trip to the Kennedy Space Center on Thursday. We had to be on the chartered bus by 8:00am, a challenge for those many attendees who have habitually stayed up till at least 3am. Through great effort I was able to retire early, at about 2am.
Though Congress as a whole was closed, the hard-working Presidium members met for 2-3 hours in the afternoon to discuss items requiring action. I salute those fine gentlemen for their hard work in behalf of correspondence chess.
Evening Blitz Tournament
One of the traditions of Congress is the annual blitz tournament, open to all participants in the Congress. There was some tough competition with 28 people competing, including three of our cc world champions. Of course, blitz isnt cc, so upsets should be expected. In fact, none of our world champions made it to the finals. Nol van 't Riet is to be congratulated for the excellent organization and smooth running of this exciting event.
The competitors were divided into two preliminary groups of 14 players each. The top three scores from each group made the finals. Following are the scores for each player.
It was a fun evening playing a game of chess about as far from correspondence chess as is possible. Many amusing moves were made. I performed the politically incorrect action of defeating both the President and the Marketing Director, under whom I work (what assignments might he dream up for me now?). Perhaps my biggest mistake, though, was in the heat of the action. I was playing quickly, punching the clock on my right. Suddenly, I made a slip and punched the clock on my left. This caused President Borwells clock to start running on his opponents move. I dont think either player noticed it till I pointed out my error to them. Alan Borwell missed the finals by half a point.
The winners received some very nice bottles of Kentucky booze (excuse my lack of knowledge concerning the proper names for this powerful liquid). Wes Green also received a nice bottle of Florida Orange juice, in absentia.
Thursday September 21, 2000
Today the attendees enjoyed a marvelous trip to the impressive Kennedy Space Center, where the Space Shuttles are launched. Many of us crowded into the provided bus and enjoyed some raucous company. Others went by car.
Thanks to Ruth Ann for providing this enjoyable and informative day at the Space Center. For many of us this was our only chance to pick up souvenirs to take home (otherwise either being in meetings or huddled over laptop computers). It was practically my only chance to enjoy the Florida weather, which was rather hot and humid.
I spent the day in the company of NAPZ Director Ralph Marconi and Chess Mail editor and publisher Tim Harding. The Space Center covers a rather large area and contains, among other things, a wildlife refuge, so we saw many different types of birds and even glimpsed an alligator once. During our travels about the grounds we would pass other chess people from time to time. It was an excellent day trip, enjoyed by all.
Once again, thanks Ruth Ann for planning such a special day for us!
Another traditional affair is the closing banquet, hosted by ICCF. This was the third occasion for me to put on my tie and look decent, something I seldom do (hint: when you attend Congress be sure to pack suitable clothing for a few formal affairs normal Congress attire was rather informal). Dinner was served in the rooftop restaurant of our hotel, the Daytona Beach Hilton. Music was provided by pianist Earle H. Palmer, a good friend of the owners of Clarks Trading Post in New Hampshire, where I had worked as a college student almost 40 years ago. It was fun catching up on the latest news about old friends Its amazing how common experiences are shared by those who on the surface appear to be complete strangers.
During this final evening together we experience the last tradition of ICCF Congresses as President Alan Borwell offered toasts. Following the appetizer came the first toast to new Presidium members Pedro Hegoburu (Marketing Director), Ralph Marconi (NAPZ Director) and Alan Rawlings (General Secretary). The last two Congresses had closing banquets where the traditional toasts could not be made, and President Borwell was determined not to skip those who had previously missed their toasts. A further toast was offered to all the new delegates from around the world. Bravo to these gentlemen who have assumed so much responsibility in working for the betterment of international correspondence chess!
Toast number two was for our new Honorary Members. Deputy President (Rules) Ragnar Wikman (FIN) was given this honor last year. Roald Berthelsen (NOR), the Olympiads Tournament Director, and Carlos German Dieta of Argentina received that singular recognition this year. The toast was also offered to the new title holders and the recipients of the Bertl von Massow medal. The Gold Medal was presented to Raúl Ramirez while Dr. Fritz Baumbach, Joseph Deidun Snr., Ernst Kotzem, Georg Walker and Ralph Marconi were presented with Silver Medals. Alan Rawlings also offered a toast to absent friends and absent families.
The third round of toasts later in the evening started off with a toast for the successful Congress just experienced. The toast was to the many new USA friends and to the hotel management and staff which made our stay so comfortable. Also receiving special mention were the USA hosts Max Zavanelli and Ruth Ann Fay, who received a standing ovation for their superb organization of this Congress.
In a humorous moment, a presentation was made to the hosts. Alan Borwell said that the first one to the podium would get it. Ruth Ann won the race and received the presentation. She said, Some time wed like you all back, but one at a time, please.
The last round of toasts were to our next Congress in Rimini and to the Italian organization. Anticipation is high for another great Congress in Rimini.
That ends my report on the Congress except for a few personal comments and some loose ends.
In my pre-Congress reports I mentioned that I was a bit of an outsider, the new guy on the block, and that there were things Id like to know more about. I wondered how ICCF spent money, for one thing. In Daytona Beach I learned about a few significant expenses that I believe are highly appropriate for a first-class organization. The awards presented to people for special achievements are extremely nice, beautifully printed documents and very handsome medals and pins. My roommate Ralph Marconi showed me the Bertl von Massow silver medal he received for ten years of service, and I got a look at the medals presented to the IMs and SIMs. Like medals awarded at the Olympics, these are really nice medals to be treasured for a lifetime and beyond (by family). There are also cash prizes for the big tournaments and travel expenses for some of the important meetings. Congresses and a few select between-Congress meetings are essential for the proper conduct of the business of international correspondence chess. Expenses of the officers and tournament directors are covered. Those who contribute so much of their time and energy are not also asked to donate significant money for their expenses. This makes good business sense and is only fair. ICCF is starting their 50th year now. Without sensible approaches to expenses this certainly would not have happened.
One more thing about being the new guy on the block I felt this way when I went to the Congress, but I was received in such an friendly atmosphere of acceptance that I no longer feel like an outsider but rather as part of this excellent organization. I was quite impressed by the attitude of almost every officer, delegate and other involved person I met. There is also a professionalism within the organization that inspires confidence.
I complimented ICCF in Report #2 for the way they dealt with a fairness issue. Joe Shipman brought to my attention that I never addressed this issue later in the report. This led to my discovery of a second Page 2 of my notes for Tuesday September 19.
George D. Pyrich, ICCF Qualifications Commissioner and member of the Rating Rules and Tournament Commissions, brought our attention to an unfortunate situation in the World Championship 24 Semi-Finals. The assignments were made just days before a new rating list was issued. Ratings are used to balance the sections and to determine title norms. If the new ratings were used there would be significant differences. Therefore, he proposed that the categories and norms be changed to match the newly available ratings. Many players were assigned starting ratings of 2200 but now have much higher published ICCF ratings. A summary of the sections most affected:
Old ave. rating: 2416 (cat. 7)
New ave. rating: 2435 (cat. 8)
New GM norm: 7.5 points
New IM norm: 5.5 points
The norms shown above are ½ point or more less than previously listed. One additional change was proposed for section 5, which moved up two categories. One additional qualifying spot was added for the ¾ finals due to the strength of the section.
It was proposed that similar adjustments should NOT be made to the recently started Email Olympiad. Though the tournament start date was a few days before a new rating list was published, games were allowed to start much earlier than this date. Congress did agree to set realistic norms on all boards, however, including those with too few rated players to qualify under normal circumstances.
The proposal to make these changes to the Championship 24 Semi-Finals was accepted without exception.
There was also a proposal to create a new position of Commissioner of Title Tournaments from January 1, 2001. Josef Mrkvicka of the Czech Republic (currently Central Tournament Leader for World Cup XII) was proposed for the position and is willing to accept it. This proposal also passed without exception.
The STARS Project. This is a tournament reporting computer system to prepare start lists and crosstables for the web site, for example. Executive Officer John Knudsen found volunteers to start this project but they slowly dropped out of the project. One of the original volunteers Harold Bearce is now carrying forward the project under the general direction of John Knudsen. The project is now at the stage of preparing the draft of requirements.
End of Addendum
This wraps it up for my Congress reports. I hope you found them interesting. I found the Congress a wonderful experience which exposed me to the rich and complex workings of a truly international and democratic organization. I think its going to be quite an experience to work with this organization and try to contribute in my own small ways to improve service to the world-wide cc community. Keep an eye out for my photo album, but it may take a couple weeks to get it together. Till Rimini if I can find a way to get there
J. Franklin Campbell
ICCF vs. USA Match
Grigory Sanakoev (RUS) vs. Hans Berliner (USA)