PRESIDENT‘S COLUMN 


by Med  Samraoui

 

 

 

Dear Chessfriends !



After two months as ICCF President, it is time to make an assessment of progress,
by objectively analysing positive and negative aspects. What has been done this
year and what must still be accomplished.

In general, ICCF is going in the right direction, even if progress is
slower than might be expected with some tasks yet to be achieved.

Amongst the positive actions, we can enumerate:

1- the agreement made with John Knudsen for official ICCF gear.
ICCF earns 50% of everything sold and National Federations can support this
initiative, by encouraging players to purchase items from the excellent range of products,
which all bear the ICCF logo.

2- the appointment of Gino Figlio as our Help Desk Administrator,
which will improve service to users and reduce webserver costs.
I am impressed by Gino and his dedication and quality of work. We will continue
to be looking for more new officers. Capable persons are already on the list to
become involved in important roles (Mickey Blake and Franklin Campbell will
strengthen the Marketing Commission and Heinrich Lohmann the WTD team).

Of course ICCF welcomes any volunteer who wishes to help us in building
the basis for ICCF’s future, oriented to modernising and improving the quality
service which we offer to CC players.

Clive Murden, who was appointed by the Congress in Argentina as
Webserver Commissioner has now started his important tasks.

3- the excellent work done by Martin Bennedik (on a technical progamming
consultancy basis). Under the supervision of the WDSC, Phase 2 tasks have
almost been completed and speedy progress is now being made so that the
ICCF Webserver can be used for the administration and processing of results for
all kinds of tournaments (ie embracing those played by post, Email and Webserver).
The engine for the calculation of ratings and the related database transfer to be
within the webserver system, is currently being progressed well, under the careful
supervision and dedication of our Ratings Commissioner, Gerhard Binder.

Another very important feature, which will soon be linked to the Webserver, will be
provision of Direct Entry and Direct Payment facilities which are being progressed
by Martin, working closely with DE Administator and Finance Director, Michael Millstone.

Ongoing webserver development tasks are also progressing, to include
improved screen layouts, more consistency with tables and better indexing of
tournaments will be included in Phase 3, for which priorities are being established
by the WDSC. Any suggestions for further improvement, or enhancements,
of the Webserver should be sent to WDSC Chairman, Alan Borwell.

4- the ICCF Historical Research Committee, comprised of Ivan Bottlik,
as Chairman, Prof. Carlo Pagni and Tim Harding, in January 2006, produced the
first draft of the CC bibliography, which will include books, periodicals,
bulletins and magazines devoted to Correspondence Chess. I personally
support the idea to publish this draft on the ICCF Website www.iccf.com in
pdf format, so that it could be downloaded by CC players and could be
subject to completion, after any corrections found by readers.

5- according to the latest statistics, provided by the ICCF Finance
Director, more than 80% of the National Federations have opted
or (or have not rejected), the “enhanced” Direct Entry System.
After an initial period of evaluation, there seems little doubt that other
Federations will join the EDE programme, after they have seen the benefits
of the system. Then there would be no need to have the designations of
“standard” or “enhanced” Direct Entry.

ICCF is a family and our traditions must be respected, so that divergent opinions should be minimised, until we can reach a satisfactory consensus which is acceptable to all member NFs.

6- the start of the preliminaries of the XVII ICCF Olympiad and a very
strong Final of the XV ICCF Olympiad to be played on the webserver
(with the participation of 4 CC World Champions!). Another interesting news
item to be reported, was the start of the first Ladies African tournament ever
organised by ICCF. Thanks to Dr Ole Jacobsen, Deputy Zonal Director for
Africa/Asia, the SFAI ladies tournament began in February with 13 players
from 8 different countries including one FIDE IM and one FIDE FM.

After evocating the positive things, it is also logical to examine
those which need to be improved.

1- the first item concerns the ICCF website. Thanks to the ICCF
webmaster Evelin Radosticsz, the ICCF website has changed its looks
(new design) in January 2006. I am convinced the layout could be further
improved and the all web pages must be updated with much greater regularity,
perhaps not on a daily basis, but it must contain current news and reflect all of
ICCF’s activities. The utilisation of space is poor and the tournament tables are
no longer obvious or not easy to find – so access needs to be easier.

I am not being critical of anyone but, if we compare “iccf.com” with other
CC websites (eg BdF, ASIGC, AJEC, SCCA), I think that you would agree the
ICCF main site for the public, could be better. The ICCF website(s), and
communications, will receive our attention in the coming weeks, as they are very important.

2- the second item is related to ICCF participation to the FIDE Olympiad in Turin.
Selecting only 6 players, when you have a spectrum of dozens of very strong players,
is never an easy task and, unfortunately, you make a lot of unhappy players/officials!
I recognize it is not a perfect team which will represent ICCF in Turin, but our main
goal (and our budget for the event) was not to compete for a top place, but to show
to the chess community that ICCF exists as an important chess organisation.
Our aim is to promote CC around the World, attract more OTB players and invite
NFs to join our organisation, if not yet affiliated to ICCF.

I regret that previous World CC Champion, Mikhael Umanskij and Ivar Bern the
new World CC Champion declined invitations and I regret too that strong
players like Ulf Andersson, Wolfram Schoen or Roman Chytilek were not among
the invited players. Indeed, players like V. Grabliauskas or Marius Ceteras,
could be very good representatives of ICCF, but with this reasoning, we could
present two or three teams of practically the same level, so the choice was extremely
difficult one for the Executive Board. However, I am confident that the selected
players and their team captain will do their best to be ICCF ambassadors in Turin,
from 20th May to 4th June. We wish them good luck and success!


3- the 2004 Statements of Account were issued to NFs in late February, after a two
 months delay (which could be expected). Ruth Ann Fay has spent five months
sorting out the documents left by Grayling Hill and certainly merits to be thanked
for the hard work done since she was appointed to this temporary task.
However, the ICCF finances need more constant attention and I am waiting for a
report from our Auditor, before expressing my total satisfaction.
Some detail will need to be corrected and new Finance Director, Michael Millstone (USA)
is ready to take over his duties fully and I look forward to working closely with him.

As Michael is developing his knowledge of the required tasks of ICCF
Finance Director and new Direct Entry administrator role, one of my intentions will
be to ask for the assistance of previous Treasurer, Carlos Flores. His abilities re
ICCF financial matters are very considerable and he would be of great help to
Michael, in ensuring ICCF finances/accounts are restored to good health!

4- in order to improve ICCF finances, I will submit to Congress a proposal regarding new tournaments under the name “Money Prize Tournaments”, to be played on the Webserver.

The MPT concept would offer something new and attractive to CC players
who would like the possibility to win money prizes.

These events would be :
- to make our DE facility more effective.
- to generate money for ICCF and cover our running costs.
- to further promote the ICCF webserver
- to provide entry at any time (progressive tournaments)
- to augment the marketing fund to support developments

Outline details of the concept would be on the following basis:- Each section with
11 players (10 games/player and no more than 4 players from the same country),
with 3 groupings of levels viz. Under 2000 ratings: ratings 2000- 2300 and players
with ICCF rating over 2300), with an entry fee of 25 CHF (via the National Federation)
or 35 CHF via Direct Entry.

Prizes: 1st CHF100, 2nd CHF 60, 3rd Free entry to a MPT Prize money payable
on completion of all games in a group.
(ICCF would guarantee that all monies are paid to winners.)

Probable Rate of Play: 10moves in 50 days, with ICCF rules.

National Federations through their respective Delegates will be asked in Dresden,
 to give their opinions on the project, but CC players could express their opinions
through the TCCMB forum. It would be very useful to collect a wide range of views,
before final decision are taken on MPTs in October 2006, in Dresden.


5- Another disappointing piece of news to report is a reduction of
ICCF contributions for Chess Base Magazine. Due to a lack of helpers,
we have been obliged to return to the publication of 3 issues, instead of 6 issues,
per year. I highly recommend that Delegates and CC players send articles and
annotated games to: Mr Pierre Ruiz Vidal, Email: [email protected]
Of course a similar request is made for ICCF AMICI articles.

6- Due to organisational problems, the new appointments of World
Tournament Director and Finance Director and long discussions re Financial matters,
webserver developments, DE scheme detail and ICCF’s participation to the
FIDE Olympiad in Turin, it was not possible for me to start with Presidents
Commission activity. Some matters (Statutes, structural aspects, participation
and/or use by other organisations of the ICCF Webserver, installation of an
“Adviser Council”, MPTs etc.) need to be reviewed prior to their submission
to Delegates before the Congress in Dresden.

Now dear ICCF AMICI readers, you have an idea of what has
been done during the last 2 months, and about our future plans.

 

AMICI SUMUS.


 

    

 
 

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