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Sophia Rohde on the 82nd FIDE Congress Print E-mail
By IA Sophia Rohde   
October 19, 2011
IA Sophia Rohde, IA Walter Browne, Zonal President Francisco Guadalupe, USCF President Ruth Haring, Executive Director Bill Hall & FIDE Delegate Michael Khodarkovsky

My first impression is that these commissions are getting a lot of work done! It is very fortunate that the US delegation is as big as it is, this time. Special mention should go to USCF president Ruth Haring that listened to everyone and made sure that all meetings was covered. Coordination before and debriefing after the meetings made sure we always had good positive communication.

The Qualification Commission (QC) had no less than two meetings today. The first was a thorough presentation by Michael Kaloumenos of the rating system called Glicko after the American developer of the system, Mark Glickman. The system gives you two numbers to look at. Doubles the fun! He suggested the US federation should implement this system, to demonstrate its value to FIDE. The Australian delegate reported that they are already using it, and is quite satisfied with the results.

In the second session, the chairman of QC, Mikko Markkula from Finland, who is the man to go to for historical (pre-Internet) information about chess, led the commission through a detailed evaluation of all the unclear player title applications.

Things heated up considerably when discussing tournaments with two schedules merging to become one. Normal in many parts of the US, this is quite foreign in other parts of the world. Commission members quoted the FIDE Handbook paragraph 1.11 about requirements for title norms; “The tournament system must be a fair one. Tournaments where the composition is changed (without FIDE approval) during the tournament or those where players have different conditions in terms of rounds and pairing are not valid.” It was good we had many US delegates attending, enabling us to thoroughly explain our system in details. Nigel Freeman, the treasurer from the Executive Board, was very helpful, suggesting that US could carry on running such events until we can come up with a compromise solution. July 2013 will be a crucial date, that’s when FIDE expects every federation to follow the same FIDE Laws of Chess. The voting was close, 4 to 4, with the chairman vote deciding the issue in favor of Freemans proposal.

US FIDE delegate Michael Khodarkovsky is kept very busy attending the Trainers Commission (TRG) that holds meetings twice a day, every day. One issue they are working on is licensing of trainers, and what such a license should involve. In this context, licensing really means certification. FIDE seems to be moving in the direction of getting Chess approved as a sport by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). They are using the FIFA (International Federation of Soccer) organization as a model, with emphasis on licensing. In 2005 FIDE made available a budget to the Training Commission for opening training academies in Berlin, New York and Singapore. Partial funding was also given for 24 lecturers to do training seminars all over the world.

The Womens Commission have had seminars for female trainers, and the CACDEC commission has been holding seminars in many countries. A pilot project of online training seminars for the Caribbean countries is now being planned. The Chess In the Schools Commission is involved as well, working on a textbook for training regular teachers to be chess instructors. All the commissions has been mandated by FIDE to work towards this goal where work areas overlap.

The Events Commission (EVE) agreed to submit all 89 IO title applications for approval by the EB, 6 of them from the US. They also divided the World Youth tournament into two renamed events: World Youth under 14, 16 and 18, and World Children under 8, 10, 12. This was found necessary because the event has grown to be too big. We mentioned our Super-Nationals with over 5000 participants, but FIDE don’t think most organizers currently are able to handle it. Also proposed was the expansion of the Caissa awards to include players, youth players, women players, trainers, arbiters, organizers, and more. These awards will be given out at the Olympiads. Further work is planned done on the organizers handbook.

The Technical Commission (TEC) discussed chess variations, one example was “aggressive chess” where you promote pawns on ranks 5 to 7, all of them declined. Age categories for the senior World Championship of 60 and 70 was agreed on. The US participants contributed a lot to the discussions of electronic score-sheet solutions, since we have significant experience with them. This commission worked long into the evening.

The commission most important to me, the Chess in Schools Commission, did not have a meeting today. I did talk with Ali Nihat Yazic, the passionate chairman of the commission, and he agreed to have further meetings with the US delegation. FIDE is eager to develop the CIS programme (pronounced “KISS”), even Mikhail Gorbachev agreed to be an Honorary Patron. 

I’m finishing this now, at 4 in the morning, to catch my plane back home. My overall experience is that a tremendous amount of work is getting done here, and I’m convinced it is important for us to be here in numbers to enable us to represent the US interest and viewpoint. I have to thank Bill, Franc, Michael, Ruth, Tony and Walter for their help and positive energy at my first FIDE congress ever.

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