Thun, Switzerland, September
This is the second "personal", sort-of report that I, the ICCF Press Officer, puts up on this Website. I hope you have already read the first one we published yesterday! In the (most unlikely) event you have *not* yet read it... then please do so! It is somewhere around...
One word of advise, though: I am writing this from a neutral embassy, because I am being chased by a former World Champion (more on this later!).
I´ll start this report with the enjoyful Opening Banquet we had last night, hosted by the organising Federation, Switzerland. We had an excellent time, the meal was simply exquisite, and we had the opportunity to listen to typical Swiss tunes and songs from all over this country! (And yes, we heard that "yoddle-oioioileiii" song!). Those attending had the chance to play some instruments, for example the Swiss horn (yes, the long one!) at which the Zonal Director for Latin America, Carlos Cranbourne (a.k.a. The Lord, or the Viceroy) excelled himself with a mixture of horn-blowing and incontrollable laughter! We not only played some instruments, but we also danced around the hall! To sum everything up: an unforgettable evening! The USA delegation (i.e. Max Zavanelli and his wife Ruth Ann, GM Vytas Palciauskas and wife Aurelia) plus Marijonas Rocius from Lithuania (home country of the Palciauskas couple) and yours truly from Argentina wanted to keep on partying at a local bar, but -being a Sunday night- nothing was open so late! So we had to call it a day and head for our rooms.
As I am writing this report (1:00 AM of Tuesday morning!) I am doing my best to recall Monday´s discussions and events. And what a day it was! To give you some idea: we dealt with the Tournament Office reports, and that (in simple "english"!) means a LOT of reports, figures, data, reccomendations, and discussions. One after the other we listened to and debated on the reports from the 4 Zonal Directors, the Thematic Office, the E-Mail Office, the European Tournament Office, the World Tournament Office, plus the Ratings Commissioner´s report and the Tournament Qualification´s report. And of course, the report given by the Deputy President (Tournaments), Eckhard Lueers!
I will not go into detail, but in general the news are great: entry fees for some tournaments will be lower, and waiting periods for tournaments will be shorter. What more could you ask for? (No, that free GM title you are wishing to get based on your impressive record against your little two-year old brother is *out of the question*, my dear reader!).
What you have just read is a very short enumeration of reports, but believe me that the debates were insightful and constructive! There is no use in coming to the ICCF Congress in order to collect some reports and sit quietly behind a fortress of papers, we only meet once a year and therefore are morally obliged to make good use of every second we are together!
As most of you have already tried the ELOQUERY program developed by Gerhard Binder, you will notice how much hard work has been put into it! Many thousand games have been rated, and even surname spellings have been corrected! And please remember we now have more than one ELO list per year! Soon we will implement better services still, just give us time to do so! What would your reaction be toward on-line rating calculations you can do with a couple of clicks...
This year we have had an unusual surge of International Titles. A record of 24 GM Titles, more than 120 SIM Titles, the usual impressive list of IM Titles, and a good number of International Arbiter Titles! Poor George Pyrich (Qualifications Commissioner), this year he had to work even harder to prepare the encyclopedic report he usually delivers!!
Sadly, these reports took all day (I told you it was not an easy job!) and we only finished at 18 hours. This means we are behind schedule, and on Wednesday morning we will have to meet in order to cover all the Agenda: we usually finish before this date and we can enjoy ourselves with some sight-seeing, but this year we are not going to make it and so more meetings are needed... :-(
Once discussions were over, I was approched by a former World Champion, who claimed he had received an e-mail from a tournament organiser back home, stating I was carrying his money prize! This came as a surprise to me, I even had a friend of mine translating for me so that no mistake was made. I was very disappointed because I cannot help him solve this misunderstanding, I am sure his money prize will be paid but sadly I am not the messenger he expected. Of course the joke I made at the beginning of this report is only that, a joke, and I am not avoiding him in the safety of a neutral embassy!
After this problem was solved, I attended yet another meeting with three impressive guys (Tim Harding, Pietro Cimmino and John Knudsen of TCCMB fame) in order to discuss issues related to the ICCF 2000 Publication. And we broke it off just in time for us to take part in the traditional "ICCF Blitz" tournament! (Crosstables can be seen here).
Let me finish this report with a set of extraordinary comments:
a) Alberto Mascarenhas of Brazil beat former World Champion Mikhail Umansky in the Preliminary round of the blitz tournament. We were expecting an excellent result from "O Tetracampeao de Futebol" in the final round, but a sentence from the Latin American Zonal Director (who also took part in the Blitz Final) sums everything up: "Mr. President, the Zone 2 representation sank like the Titanic!".
b) "What did I break?" was my remark when I received the bill for my lunch. Switzwerland is a little bit expensive (to be honest, not as much as I previously thought it would be!).
c) "I thought I had given ICCF all I could during the last few years, but now I realise that my greatest contribution was 20 years ago, when I had my child Christopher!!" (DP Tournaments Eckhard Luers, on the election of his son as E-Mail TO Controller!).
d) "Yesterday, Pedro Hegoburu joked when he said his election as ICCF Marketing Director had been mistake. But my election as E-mail Tournament Office Controller is the best thing my father could have done!" (Chris Lueers, after finishing his impressive E-Mail report. This qualifies him as "Mr. Ego"!!).
e) "I looked for a replacement in the World, then in Europe, then in Germany, but no-one was to be found. I had never expected to find the replacement at home!" (again Eckhard Lueers, on how he managed to find a suitable man for the E-Mail Office).