by Josef Mrkvička, ICCF President
That's me in India!
Dear readers, dear ICCF friends,
Welcome to my next column in ICCF AMICI!
In this column, I inform you regularly about
the work which has been done in the ICCF Executive Board in
the period since the last ICCF AMICI issue.
Obviously, this column will be dedicated to the most
important results of the
Congress 2004 in Mumbai, India.
Congress, in conjunction with meetings of the ICCF Executive
Board and the Management Committee, took place in the
Retreat Hotel, Mumbai, India from
31st October to 6th
Congress was arranged and hosted by the All India
Correspondence Chess Federation (AICCF) and the hotel
facilities and hospitality offered by AICCF, were excellent.
Participants of the Congress, and accompanying families and
friends, were offered an extensive programme of events,
including an excursion to the fascinating City of Mumbai and
a visit to the ancient sculptured rock caves on Elephanta
There was also a programme for ladies and families provided
by the hosts.
There was the
traditional ICCF Blitz Tournament, a Simultaneous exhibition
by GM Pravin Thipsay (IND) and an OTB chess match against
players from the
Mumbai Chess Club and AICCF.
post Congress excursion was also arranged by AICCF to the
“golden triangle” cities of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, which
was greatly appreciated.
In my opening speech, I emphasised that for
the first time in the ICCF history, the ICCF Congress was
hosted in India and in the Asian continent, and expressed
heartiest thanks to the AICCF for inviting ICCF to their
country, also in the Hindi language.
I remembered the late Mr. Haresh J. Samtani,
the past President of AICCF, who attended to the ICCF
Congress at Rimini 2001, Italy and was the spiritual father
of the idea to organise the ICCF Congress in India, and
expressed sadness that,
because of his unexpected death two years ago, he could not
see how his ideas had been realised.
I paid tribute to the
memories of all CC friends who had died since the Ostrava
2003 Congress, including the CC Grandmasters Csaba
Melegyeghi (HUN) and Alexey Tsvetkov (RUS), long-year ICCF
Tournament Director Poul Rasmussen (DEN), CC International
Masters Dr. Simon Fitzpatrick (AUS) and Michael Valvo (USA),
ICCF International Arbiter and Captain of the winning
Czechoslovak Olympiad team, Stanislav Foglar (CZE), national
TD and chess publisher Gerd Giebel (BRA), chess journalist
and Honorary Member of
LADAC Luciano Camara (ARG), Jose Fumero Sánchez (ESP). He
also remembered the
hundreds of people who had died in Spain and
Russia as a result of merciless
and cold-blooded terrorist
I recalled the big changes which had come to
pass in the overall correspondence chess environment in the
past five years. Most of Nol van’t Riet’s visions as
presented to the 1999 Congress in Switzerland about the
future of correspondence chess in 2010, had already come
true. The implementation of email and webserver transmission
of moves had greatly speeded up CC games and tournaments.
What had taken many years in the past, was nowadays
completed in months or even weeks. Internet connection was
no longer a privilege of those in highly developed
countries, but was now available literally in all countries.
I emphasised that the ICCF Statutes should reflect such
ICCF was facing strong competition from
dozens of various email and Webserver chess clubs which
cannot offer international CC titles but they do facilitate
free chess games and tournaments worldwide. I stressed that,
although ICCF is the only international correspondence chess
organisation whose titles are universally recognised, and
also are acknowledged by FIDE, it must not underestimate
this competition and it needed to be ready to accept this
challenge. ICCF must permanently monitor overall
developments, be flexible and react quickly.
ICCF and National Federations must provide good service to
all CC players, otherwise they would lose them to
I declared that in the year 2004, ICCF had
entered a new era of its history – the era of Webserver
chess. Since the ICCF 2003 Congress in Ostrava, it had taken
only 8 months of a very hard work until the first test
tournament was started on the ICCF webserver in July, 2004.
At present, ICCF was introducing all ICCF class tournaments
to the server, including Grand Master and Master Norm
tournaments and ICCF was able to host individual and team
tournaments organised either by
ICCF or National Federations, and some federations had
already begun to use this possibility.
I cordially thanked all ICCF volunteers who
had contributed to this excellent achievement, especially
the first Project Manager Iain Mackintosh, and reminded all
National Delegates that they should feel committed to
support “their” webserver system and to promote it
enthusiastically within their federations and to their
pointed out that ICCF finances was another
hot topic of the Congress, and emphasised that current
revenue and expense methodology was acceptable only when the
majority of ICCF games were played by post. With the
changeover to email play and the coming changeover to
Webserver play, the timing of transactions is no longer
logical or acceptable. ICCF incurs and must pay many of its
expenses on a quarterly or monthly basis. Therefore, like
for any other business, the timing of ICCF revenue inflow
must be adjusted to match its expense outflow.
proposed that Congress should focus on the overall ICCF
“volunteer culture”. So far, all ICCF Officials had been
volunteers, including the President and all other Executive
Board members, but they all had only a limited number of
hours available for ICCF work. Consequently, it was not
correct to “shout” at active volunteers to work harder, if
they have not enough time to dedicate to all ICCF tasks.
With the ICCF Webserver system implemented, it had become
obvious that the present ICCF volunteer culture and web
chess could be in conflict.
particular, the administration and support of the Webserver
needed to work “around the clock”. ICCF had recruited many
new volunteers for this work but, despite all efforts, it
had not succeeded to cover key roles like Webserver
Commissioner or Marketing Commissioner.
Even if ICCF could recruit volunteers into these roles, ICCF
could not insist that they
work fixed hours or contracted periods, and there will
always be times where other
parts of their lives would take priority.
Therefore, I recommended Congress to consider whether some
key jobs in the marketing and webserver area, might require
some degree of professional and remunerated day-to-day work.
New ICCF members
Indonesia and Tunisia
were accepted as new ICCF member federations.
Bertl von Massow
Medals and other awards
16th World Champion, Mr Tunc Hamarat (AUT), received
his World Champion Trophy – the traditional engraved metal
plate with the final crosstable of the tournament.
Hamarat (right) receives his Word Champion trophy from the
(photo by Per Söderberg)
trophy for the winner of the World Cup X, Frank Schröder
(GER) was given to the German delegate.
(AUT) was unanimously appointed as a new ICCF Honorary
(photo by Per Söderberg)
Bertl von Massow medals are awarded for 15 years meritorious
service (in gold) and 10 years (in silver) to international
correspondence chess and ICCF. They are based on criteria
proposed by Hans-Werner von Massow in 1983, in memory of his
wife Bertl, who herself was a great ICCF worker and
Gold Medals for 15 years meritorious service were awarded
Silver Medal Awards for 10 years meritorious service were
Carlos Flores Gutiérrez
ICCF Financial plan
and other financial matters
It was emphasised that an
increase in tournament and rating fees would be necessary to
secure ICCF’s financial well being in the years 2005-2007
and, in particular, to cover the operating expenses incurred
for the ICCF Webserver.
methodology was acceptable when the majority of ICCF games
were played by post. With the changeover to email play and
the emergence of Webserver play, the timing of transactions
was no longer logical or acceptable. ICCF now incurred and
must pay many of its expenses on a quarterly and a monthly
basis, and therefore, the timing of ICCF revenue inflow must
begin to match its expense outflow.
discussions, Congress approved by a substantial majority
effective from 1.1.2005:
all invoices from the ICCF to
member federations must be payable within 30 days,
ICCF would start billing member
federations half-yearly (at 30th June and 31st December,
respectively), with invoices payable within 30 days,
the current year’s membership
fee should be paid with the first invoice issued for that
year (i.e. at 30th June of the current year) and should be
with all necessary details required by the ICCF Finance
not later than 31st July of the current year.
I emphasised that National Federations would be expected to
comply with this new schedule of payments. Any fees which
were not paid within 30 days from the data of invoice would
be considered to be "overdue" and a levy would be charged
(in lieu of lost revenue), becoming payable immediately.
Congress delegated authority to deal with
ICCF investments to the Finance Director and the Executive
Board. Congress did not accept the proposal to establish a
business relationship with Access Bankcards to handle its
international credit card transactions and asked the Finance
Director / Executive Board to consider other options and to
choose a credit card broker whose conditions would fully
meet ICCF requirements. It was stressed that a new contract
would be absolutely necessary for a successful
implementation of an enhanced Direct Entry Scheme.
After a short discussion, Congress decided
not to accept the Finance Director’s proposals of new ICCF
tournament fees, which were considered to be too high. It
established a special working group, which was entrusted to
elaborate a new proposal and present it to Congress.
After considering the reasoning and recommendation for each
fee level, Congress approved the new structure of ICCF
tournament and rating fees, valid from 1.1.2005:
Preliminaries (per player)
Champions League (per
team and cycle)
Candidates (as first stage entry)
Grand Master Norm
(Champions League) – credit
(Individuals) 7-player – credit
(Individuals) 11-player – credit
Tournaments Category I-III (per game)
Tournaments Category IV-VI (per game)
Tournaments Category VII-XIII (per game)
Tournaments Category XIV+ (per game)
Tournaments (per player)
Tournaments (per entry)
Invitational and open tournaments which had been applied for
and authorised before or at the ICCF Congress in Mumbai
would be subject to fees at current rates valid until
Congress took into consideration the Financial Plan for the
years 2004-2007, but asked the Executive Board to revise the
budgeted amounts for the years 2005-2007, in line with the
new level of the ICCF tournament and rating fees valid from
1.1.2005, and taking into account the scheduled ICCF
tournaments and the operating costs which would be needed
for maintenance of the ICCF Webserver.
ICCF Webserver Project
ICCF now has a
fully functional webserver, which is at the very least was
equal to any correspondence chess webserver and superior to
most of those which were available. This had been achieved
in only 8 months since the approval of the Webserver Project
by the ICCF Congress 2003 in Ostrava, within the planned
timescale for Phase 1 of the Project and within the budgeted
amount approved by the Ostrava Congress.
appreciated the results achieved by the Webserver Steering
Group and in particular, the excellent work of Project
Manager Iain Mackintosh (SCO) who resigned at 31.8.2004 from
his position, for work reasons.
Steering Group recommended Congress to move forward with
Phase 2 of the Project and it envisaged that the ICCF
Webserver system would eventually provide for:
Every conceivable type of correspondence
Comprehensive direct entry process and player
database with national delegate interface
Rating list, norm qualifications, Eloquery,
Switching modes of play
Administration of non-Webserver events on
Globalisation – multiple languages
additional functions in the Webserver would create a fully
integrated tournament management and reporting system for
ICCF, thus reducing the current amount of manual work,
automate most of the tournament management functions, speed
up the response time between results and their reporting to
players, and increase the
potential for growth within ICCF and for its member
The Webserver Steering
Group presented proposals and recommendations on the
necessary organisational measures and financial resources it
envisaged for Phase 2 of the Project.
Congress decided that:
- Further development of
the ICCF Webserver should be continued, after ongoing
priorities had been established, with the work spread over
several years, depending on development funding available
for system enhancement.
- Phase 1 progress should
be reviewed and priorities agreed and specified
for Phase 2 and thereafter.
- The Development Fund
allocation for Phase 2 would be CHF 15'000 for year 2005 and
resourcing would be discussed again at the Congress in 2005,
for the year 2006 etc..
the existing Webserver Steering Group to complete Phase 1 of
the Project and to settle all ICCF financial commitments
relating to existing contracts, with the external suppliers.
The administration and maintenance of the existing
Webserver will be delegated to the Executive Board.
The existing Webserver
Steering Group should elaborate a final report on the Phase
1, including an updated project specification which shows
what has been done, what remains unfinished and contains all
updates. It was envisaged that this "transition" period
would finish by 31.12.2004. Thereafter the existing
Webserver Group would be dissolved, with a new Webserver
Development Steering Committee to be appointed to begin
work for Phase 2 and beyond.
empowered the Executive Board to hire professional
assistance (individual or a company) to perform system
administration of the Webserver, should this be necessary
and appropriate. Operating costs for the system
administration should be covered by increased tournament and
appointed Clive Murden (AUS)
as the new Webserver Project Manager.
delegated the development work for Phase 2 to a new
Webserver Development Steering Committee (WDSC) and
unanimously appointed Alan Borwell (SCO) as Chairman of the
Committee. The first members of the Committee to include
Gerhard Binder (GER), Ambar Chatterjee (IND), Clive Murden
(AUS) and Nol van't Riet (NED). Members of the Committee
should work on a voluntary basis.
proposals for a National Federation Patron scheme, the
Congress did not accept the suggestion from the Webserver
Steering Group, to implement one-off Member Federation
financial contributions, as was presented in its written
report. The concept of a National Federation Patron Scheme
was referred back to the Finance Director for further
consideration and recommendation.
national tournaments being played on the ICCF Webserver,
approved by the World Tournament Director in the period
prior to Congress, and started before 1.2.2005 will be free
for national tournaments approved after Congress and played
on the ICCF Webserver, starting after 1.2.2005, a fee CHF 1
per game played, will be charged.
For approved international invitational/open
tournaments organised by national federations and played
using the ICCF webserver, the normal scale fee will be
deemed to be inclusive of this special webserver fee.
each National Federation would be entitled to use the ICCF
Webserver for a national tournament of their own choice of
not more than 15 players, with a start date in 2005, without
and approved a proposal from Alan Borwell (SCO) to initiate
inter country schools tournaments on the ICCF Webserver, for
nominated teams from a maximum number of schools per
country, perhaps at both primary and secondary (senior)
schools and perhaps universities/colleges.
unanimously approved the new ICCF Statutes and decided
that they would come into effect from 1.1.2005.
The full text of the Statutes was published on
new Statutes, ICCF will be able to discuss partnership
agreements with other international CC organizations,
subject to Congress approval.
The seat of ICCF
remained the residence of the ICCF President, but further
investigations will be made regarding the possibility of
establishing a permanent
seat/office in one particular country.
Entry facilities did not become a part of the Statutes and
mandatory for all National Federations, but they were
offered to National Federations on a voluntary basis, from
1.4.2005. All National Federations were encouraged to join
the enhanced Direct Entry Scheme for tournaments. The full
text of the Congress Document was published on
on 17.11.2004. Short after Congress, England and Ireland
declared their accession to the scheme.
eligibility provisions were added to the ICCF Tournament
Rules, as a separate chapter.
In future, every
National Federation will have only one vote in the Congress,
regardless of the number of their members.
on matters which do not fall within the jurisdiction of any
of the ICCF Appeals Commissions will be decided by an
Arbitration Tribunal, comprised of the Chairmen of the three
ICCF Appeals Commissions.
It was decided that the
decisions of all ICCF Appeals Commission will be final.
Future Congress arrangements
experiences show that every year, it becomes more and more
difficult to find a member country to host an ICCF Congress.
It has already
become obvious that ICCF could no longer keep to the
established ICCF “3 to 1” schedule i.e. one Congress outside
3 successive European Congresses. ICCF could soon also face
situation where no hosting country would be available for a
The main reasons for the above problem are:
the decreasing numbers of CC players in almost all
countries, with national federations suffering from lack of
it is difficult to find sufficient volunteers to participate
in organisational tasks,
potential Congress hosts see/hear what has been provided by
other federations and think that they need to provide
similar facilities and programmes. If they realise that
their organisational or financial resources are not
sufficient, then they abandon the idea.
It was felt
that it would be appropriate to reduce the organisational
and in particular,
financial commitments of the hosting federation to the
leaving all of the other arrangements as “optional”.
Congress approved a new document which acknowledged the
unanimously the invitation of LADAC to organise the ICCF
Congress 2005 in Villa La Angostura, Argentina (in
were being held with Spain regarding the ICCF Congress 2006.
Sweden had withdrawn its option for 2006, because of a lack
by the Swedish CC Federation SSKK for the project. Spain was
carefully the possibility of organising the 2006 ICCF
Congress, if no offer was received
from any other Federation before the 2005 Congress in
President asked all National Federations to present their
bids for the
ICCF Congress 2006, as a final decision probably could not
be made until the
Congress next year. He reminded delegates that ICCF would
have two successive
congresses in non-European countries, and therefore, it
would be essential to have at
least two, or still better three, subsequent congresses in
location for 2007 is still unclear as the AJEC Board has not
yet made any decision with regard to the possibility of it
being in France. There are no bids yet for the year 2008.
ICCF Delegate for England, Alan Rawlings, asked Congress for
a first option for England to host the ICCF Congress in
2012, which would coincide with the 50th
anniversary of its federation and he informed that Oxford
was a possible venue. Moreover, he did not exclude the
alternative possibility of arranging the ICCF Congress for
2007 to be in England, if this was to become necessary and
substantial review of the ICCF tournaments structure was
postponed to the 2005 Congress in Argentina. It was
recommended to consider extension of the existing cycle of
World Championship stages by the fourth stage as:
Preliminaries – Semifinals – Candidates – Final.
The organisation of the
World Championship Semifinal and Candidates stages implies
the accomplishment of two requirements: to have a 13 players
groups and that the group’s average rating be above a given
value, so the tournaments have the required minimum
category. Consequently, sometimes these requirements can
generate certain delays in the beginning of the tournaments,
which causes a negative effect on players’ anxiety.
As an improvement on this
status quo, it was decided to establish fixed dates
throughout the calendar year. This will facilitate the
submissions of entries, allow the players a better planning
of their tournaments and a more functional organisation.
These dates are: 15th February, 15th
May, 15th August and 15th
November of every year.
The proposal to introduce a new type of
tournaments – Senior International Master Tournaments – was
not approved by Congress.
the invitational tournaments organised by the National
Federations, it was decided that the number of invitations
sent out by an organising National Federation would always
have to be in line with the number of offered free places in
a tournament. A deadline with a minimum of 1 month shall be
given to any contacted federation until which any given
invitation must be uphold and remains valid.
Riga 1998 Congress decided to have 13-player World
Championship Finals. Back then, we hardly knew the number of
email games a player could reasonably well play, and the
reflection time was 10 moves in 40 days. In the pre-Congress
discussions, many top players supported a higher number of
players in a World Championship Final. The Congress decided
that the future Finals only would
be played with 15 players.
the results of the pre-Congress investigations, it was
decided to start the 16th Olympiad as a postal
tournament, with 4-player teams. The start date will be 1st
Live coverage of games
Congress delegates were of the opinion that ICCF must have a
valid ruling covering the live coverage of running games,
immediately. However, it was stressed that the ruling should
be part of Tournament Rules, as it contained
penalties/sanctions, and not Code of Conduct Guidelines.
substantial majority voting, Congress approved the wording
which had been decided and promulgated by the Executive
Board earlier this year. Simultaneously, Congress decided
to remove the guideline from the Article 2 of the Code of
Conduct Guidelines, and to move it to the ICCF Tournament
Rules, as a new chapter therein.
change was made to the withdrawal rule: games will be
adjudicated when an accepted withdrawal is approved, and
when at least one game has been finished or on average all
games have reached 25 moves.
eligibility and live coverage of games were added to
Tournament Rules, as new chapters.
approved a new, complete set of ICCF Playing Rules,
the Playing Rules for a Webserver play.
Individual and team rules were merged into one document.
For email play,
the “phoney day” was eliminated. If a player receives a move
after 8pm his local time, he can consider having arrived the
play, the conditional moves were eliminated.