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Chess Scotland Annual Report

August 2006

Download Annual Report (word doc)

Download Accounts 2005-2006 (Excel)

Download Auditors report (word doc)

Introduction and overview

Chess in Scotland is at a crossroads. We have had declining numbers in open congresses and most clubs for some years now. But the work being done in grass roots chess in schools could see that reverse over time. Here I would mention the work for Chess Scotland which Craig Pritchett has been doing, successfully engaging with local and national politicians.

Chess Scotland services to members – and non-members - especially through the website and grading are amongst the best in the world. Our magazine Scottish Chess looks revitalised under its new editorial team. Our membership data is firmly under control. Our junior competitions have been building, with significant numbers of schools registered with us. Our open championships have continued with some debate about how best to revitalise them.

We have had a hectic year in international competitions, including the highlight of the international chess calendar - the Olympiad in Turin . There are more details of these aspects and many more below, together with Mac McKenzie's usual succinct and reassuring financial summary.

Like most organised chess in Scotland , most of what Chess Scotland does only happens because of volunteers. The management board has therefore been considering a recognition scheme for volunteers who have worked for chess in Scotland for many years. More details will follow.

Finally, there are some changes in personnel this year. I am not standing as President and the Management Board is delighted to announce that Donald Wilson has agreed to be nominated. Donald is known to most active chessplayers in Scotland and is one of the most active organisers on the congress circuit. I have agreed to help with the transition by agreeing to be nominated as Executive Director for this year. However, since different views exist of how large a role the Executive Director is, it's worth saying that my view is that it's very small, providing secretarial support in arranging Council and other meetings for example!

Donna Officer has decided that pressure of professional work means she has to relinquish her role as Junior International Director, though she will stay involved with junior activity. Donna has nominated Jacob Aagaard in this role. Donna has worked tirelessly for CS in this area and we are very grateful to her for all her hard work.

Glynis Grant has decided to concentrate on the National League she organises so well for Chess Scotland and a replacement is being considered at present. Our thanks to Glynis for helping build our junior programme over the last couple of years.

Alex Bisset has also had to decide not to stand on work pressure grounds. They have already affected the amount of time he had available but not before suggesting that Management Board meetings might cost effectively be run using internet based phone conferencing! Thanks also to Alex.

John Glendinning



N Ayrshire / Chess Scotland schools chess development project:

1. The Project has included a mix this year of occasional seminars for teachers who went through last year's courses to "teach teachers to teach chess and organise school clubs" and periodic inter-schools individual and team events on Arran and on the mainland.

2. The accent in teaching has been on "survival" in the chess club, i,e, practical matters, including crucially how to build up inter-schools activity. All the inter-schools events have been a huge success with those who count, viz the children, who have supported the events in large numbers.

3. At the Council's request, we consciously restricted our activities to the 7 or 8 core schools, whose teachers went through the "teach teachers" programme last year. The aim was to ensure consolidation, to support those clubs and demonstrate that success, reflected in playing numbers and activity, could be achieved.

4. We hope to build wider N Ayrshire schools club contacts and inter-schools activity including a N Ayrshire schools association to run this. We are actively discussing the feasibility of appointing a part-time N Ayrshire schools chess coordinator (either a Council employee or freelance appointed on a sessional basis) to work with schools to deliver these objectives.

5. Thanks are due in particular to Sam Colllins, Richard Heathwood and Alex McFarlane, who have all helped in delivering Chess Scotland's core sessional workload.

Wider links with Councils

6. This year there has been much more (very welcome) evidence of individuals prepared to work in schools and education authorities and schools in Scotland prepared to appoint sessional chess teachers.

7. The schools development director's role is to encourage and promote (and lobby for) both sets of activity. Chess Scotland can't run projects "everywhere". Indeed, projects won't happen without mainly local people prepared to run them and local education authorities and schools prepared to fund them.

8. I have supported local initiatives this year principally in Edinburgh, East Dunbartonshire and Inverclyde. I have shared information on contracting, drawing up project plans and job specifications, pricing and directly assisted in writing letters and sitting down with key senior education officials, as requested or required.

9. East Dunbartonshire launched a locally-run "teach the teachers" project earlier this year. Inverclyde has appointed a sessionally paid chess teacher to work (mainly in curriculum time) in some 8 or so of its primary schools. Edinburgh Council, following a fact-finding visit to the Aberdeen schools project has now voted to appoint a full-time schools chess development officer on a middle manager's salary scale from 2007-08.

Fund raising

10. I have just signed an application for an Awards for All Lottery grant on behalf of Chess Scotland. If we are successful in obtaining the grant, we will appoint a professional fund-raiser to help us define a clear business plan and programme for the future development of schools / junior chess in Scotland .

11. I view this as an important step forward not just for junior chess but for Chess Scotland and chess as a whole. Certainly on the junior organisation side, we are operating at the limit of what can possibly be delivered by "volunteers" and an essentially voluntary ethic alone.

12. We need to tap into more resources (human and financial) and to organise ourselves more professionally. Our professional fund raiser will help us develop practical options and a specific timed and budgeted programme of priorities, including means to achieve these.

13. If successful our internal review project will start in October. We have been most fortunate to obtain the warm support of Robin Harper MSP, leader of the Green Party, as a referee.

Wider promotion of the game

14. I strongly believe that we must market chess better and that if we don't take PR and lobbying activities with business and political decision-makers and the media seriously, the profile of the game (and financial sponsorship) will wither away.

15. I was therefore pleased to obtain an invitation from the Greens (Robin Harper again) to host this year's Cherie Booth QC Award for the Best Scottish Girl Chess Player of the Year in the Scottish Parliament and on the occasion of a match between the four short-listed candidates and MSPs.

16. This event got substantial newspaper, radio and internet coverage and was great fun for all involved.

17. I also continue to field questions form "anyone" (including round the world) who wishes to write to Our free Beginners and schools organisational CDROM is still requested frequently both in Scotland and abroad. I must emphasise how much we owe to Alex McFarlane for putting this substantial piece of work together some three or four years ago.

One "failed" objective

18. Sadly this year's planned European Conference on Schools chess fell through. There simply weren't enough EU federations keen enough to participate and (I think partly as a result of that) an application for part EU funding by the host Dutch Chess Federation failed.

19. I understand that FIDE may hold a schools chess conference next year in Greece . This was a key commitment in Bessel Kok's plans for FIDE in his failed bid for the recent FIDE presidency.

20. Such a conference is long overdue and the detailed Kok plans for it included very sensible invitations to national governments. In our case, I am virtually certain that such an invitation would result in attendance by a senior educational official from the Executive. I believe that the winning FIDE team plans to send such invitations too.

Craig Pritchett

Schools Development Director


Financial Review

•  A number of things happened during the last financial year that affected the accounts for the year but the end result happily is that there is no large deficit similar to last year.

•  Although the Scottish Congress at Oban did show a deficit it did not require any funding from the General Account. This was due to the organisational costs being kept to a minimum and with the help of donations and £1000 of sponsorship. It also benefited from the sales from the canteen. However, the entry was again down which does, I think, indicate that the Championships and Congress, which should be one of the most important events in the Scottish Chess calendar, are very much in need of financial support to encourage more players, and particularly top players to take part in the Scottish Championships. The deficit of over £160 means that the reserves now stand at just under £400.

•  One item that had a significant impact on the accounts was the reduced number of issues of the Scottish Chess magazine that were produced during the past year which means that expenditure for Publications is much lower than anticipated. Costs for the two late issues will be included in the following year's accounts. A side effect of the erratic appearance of the magazine is that income from subscriptions and magazine sales are possibly a bit lower than they would have been.

•  Because the Olympiad took place early in the year arrangements had to be made somewhat earlier than originally anticipated and so some of the costs are included in this year's accounts, the balance of the expenditure will be included in the next accounts.

•  Overall numbers playing league chess still seem to be declining and although a number of adult clubs have not re-affiliated during the past season they have been more than replaced by other clubs deciding to affiliate. It is somewhat disappointing that only three junior clubs have affiliated.

•  Many members, both adult and junior, benefited from training seminars and Internet training sessions that were funded through the Aagaard Training Fund. The Walter Munn fund also gave financial support to the Junior Grand Prix. Because of the closure of Chess Suppliers premises in Glasgow some costs that were previously included under Membership Services are now shown under General Services.

•  There was no increase in our grant from the Scottish Executive last season and despite a slight fall in our overall income it has been more than balanced by a reduction in expenditure.

•  We are once again indebted to all those who contributed to the funds and to many who gave their time and effort voluntarily without making any claim for the expenses they incurred and, on behalf of Chess Scotland, I thank them all

L.R. McKenzie

Finance Director


Home Director (Open) Report

•  The main event organised by Chess Scotland is the Scottish Championships. In 2005 these were held in Oban and were dedicated to the memory of Alan Murphy. Sponsorship has proved to be difficult to come by and as a result the national championship was weaker than usual with no incentives being available to titled players. Despite this there were still 3 IMs in the field. Craig Pritchett won the title and the trophy was presented by the local MP and chess player Alan Reid.

•  The format of this event is being reviewed. Comments are welcome.

•  Another event which will undergo some changes in format for next season is the Club Team events, organised for the association by Ken Stewart. Dropping numbers of teams mean that the current format needs to be tweaked.

•  This year Polytechnic won the Richardson, Glenrothes the Spens and Dumfries and District the Jack Campbell Rosebowl.

•  The Individual events run by Donald Wilson continue. Special mention here must be made of Stephen Hilton who has now won the Nancy Elder tournament for a third time.

•  The Grand Prix has established itself as the most popular event and CS is grateful to Hugh Flockhart for his efforts in organising this.

•  The National League under Glynis Grant continues to grow in strength and indeed its success may have been a factor in the decline of the Richardson and Spens tournaments.

•  Other Chess Scotland events are the East and West of Scotland Championships.

Alex McFarlane

Home Director (Open)


Home Director (Junior) Report

•  This has been a year focussed on rebuilding our junior programme and I would like to thank all those who jumped into the fray and enthusiastically supported our cause. Although this report cannot possible mention everyone, I would like to highlight a few.

•  Amy Officer took on the challenge of setting up a junior website. Not only has she successfully completed the site but she has been able to encourage other juniors to send in reports of their participation in events this session. The site is welcoming and fun for juniors, successfully reflecting the material that they wish to see. I wish Amy continued success with this endeavour and encourage everyone, young and old, to send her material for the site.

•  Stephen O' Donnell, my right hand man. Big thanks!! He has been able to set up free registration for all schools and regularly updates information about events directly to these schools. As a parent of an active junior, Stephen has been visible at the majority of events and has been able to build up a valuable rapport with both parents and juniors. He has been able to keep our mobile noticeboard updated thus encouraging interest and discussion with newer participants. Stephen also took on organising the Secondary School Team Tournament, ensuring a smooth transition from the retiring Stephen Taylor – who I thank for his many years' service in this post.

•  Jeremy Hughes has been able to spearhead our bid for funding including ensuring that we have professional experts to assist us. Under his supervision we are now in a position to move forward and hopefully will be able to reap financial success soon. This will be discussed in detail at both Junior Board and National Council level.

•  Christine MacGregor had a very successful year as organiser for the Primary team event – the final being staged at Grangemouth Community Centre. There were about 100 pupils who took part in the final and again the welcoming, fun atmosphere has encouraged the children to become enthusiastic about chess competitions. It was amusing to hear several stating that they were planning to become professional players and make ‘lotsa money!!!'

•  Finally thanks to all of you who organised junior events at congresses, ferried children to matches, organised weekend residential events, encouraged friendly games between clubs and schools and most importantly, gave up your valuable free time to ensure that youngsters of all abilities were given the opportunity to come together and share their love of chess.

•  It has been an honour to work with all of you ----- thank you.

Glynis Grant

Home Director (Junior)


Membership Report

Individual Membership

The table below gives the Membership numbers for this year and last at the 30 April.

Membership Type

30 Apr 06







Famly A Basic




Family A Full




Family J Basic




Family J Full
















U/14 Basic




U/14 Full




U/17 Basic




U/17 Full








Our membership is down this year by 3.5%. Over the last two years we have lost 30 members in all. However the position is worse than this in terms of members not renewing. This year we have had 53 new members meaning that the number of members who did not renew is 72. It is also disappointing that junior numbers have fallen given the investment in School Chess.

It is now possible to pay subscriptions on line. The motivation for doing this came from the closure of Chess Suppliers and therefore the facility for Sam taking credit card payments being no longer available. Dave Bogle did the web design and in the period 1 April to 31 July 17% of the total membership fees collected were paid using PayPal.

Club Membership

Currently we give details of 75 (down 3 on last year) Clubs in Scotland on our Web Site and 37 of these clubs paid CS membership fees in the last financial year. 9 (down 4 on last year) of these clubs take the benefit of the CS insurance scheme but the main advantage of being members seems to be that Club matches can be graded. For clubs with small numbers it is sometimes more sensible to pay the grading fees for their club games rather than the membership fees.

Again this year Club membership forms were sent out to club secretaries by email where email addresses were known. 59 out of the 75 clubs have secretaries with email addresses. A reasonable saving in postage.


There are now three types of Calendars on the web. There is one historical for the year 2005/6. There is one for the next 12 months and one for the year 2006/7. The Calendar year runs from the 1 July to 30 June. We still do not have a slick way of handling Entry Forms update.

Player of the Year

John Shaw was voted Player of the Year and the trophy and prize money presented at the Scottish Championships.

There was much discussion about the criteria of who could be considered for Player of the Year. The criteria are now available on the web site for members to interpret and nominate who they feel qualifies. I only reject nominees when they are not members of CS.

Use of Membership Database

The Arbiters and Coaches lists on the web are now generated from the database.

George Anderson

Membership Secretary


Chief Grader's report


•  The Windows grading program developed by Alex Bisset of Aberdeen should shortly complete a fourth season of successful operation with publication of the 2006 list in early August. Time commitments have meant that Alex has not been able to make cosmetic enhancements to the program this season but continues to support the few serious problems which arise.

•  One problem that Alex and two other programmers were unable to solve this season was a display issue in the online grading system. Allegro results are incorrectly appearing in the Main List result section of some online records. This is just a display problem and the results are not being used in calculation. Any suggestions from those with knowledge in this area would be appreciated.

•  The key reason why grading operates successfully on such a minuscule budget is thanks to the army of area graders, tournament organisers and club officials who compile data around the country. In my period as grader my main task has been to facilitate the ease with which data could be compiled remotely and then collated centrally – it's the only practical way the system can work.

FIDE Rating:

•  The workload of data for FIDE events has been progressively increasing over the past few years. As well as the Scottish championship several weekend events are now submitting data for FIDE rating. Events should check that they are using the correct time controls for FIDE rating. I have had to exclude some data in recent seasons since the event has not been played at an appropriate time control.

•  It seems that FIDE have changed the arithmetic of how FIDE grading data is to be compiled. This will involve some amendments to the program before data can be submitted in their new desired format.

•  FIDE have also changed the way that they charge fees for rating. This will be displayed on the website FIDE registration page shortly once we work out what FIDE mean.

Grading Statistics:

•  As at June 18, 2006 there were 2895 players in the CS database who had played (or carried forward if ungraded) at least one gradeable game. Of these 2895 players, 1198 were adults. 590 of these adults played 10 games or more.

•  Here are the corresponding figures from 10 years ago in the 1996 grading list. 3230 players had played (or carried forward if ungraded) at least one gradeable game. Of these 3230 players, 2024 were adults. 1027 of these adults played 10 games or more.

•  Although the numbers in the database have only declined by about 10% in a decade the composition of the database has altered radically. The number of active adult players has declined by over 40%.

•  Some notes on these figures: 1996 is a biased list since the number of players was still basking in the afterglow of the Short v Kasparov match from 1993. Low level junior chess was not rated in 1996 to the same extent it is now.

Douglas Bryson

Chief Grader


Webmaster's report

•  The website continues to be the primary source of news and information about chess in Scotland . It compares well with many better funded national associations.

•  As mentioned every year the vast range of information at the CS website make this a job far beyond the remit of one individual. If you are responsible for some area of CS work but have not yet graduated to taking web control for that area please at least make sure that the information sitting on the website is correct by regularly checking pages relevant to you.

•  Over the last few years password protected directories have been given to several website contributors who can then amend or upload their work at a time of their choosing and crucially without any intervention from the chief webmaster.

•  In October 2005 Amy Officer started a more informal part of the site dedicated to junior news . Other sub-webmasters of particular pages are Crawford MacNab who controls the Game Download page; Alex McFarlane who has provided Scottish Championship coverage, and John Glendinning who runs the Schools page. Alan McGowan has also started work on the “History” directory.

•  George Anderson has managed to integrate a number of the database services he operates as membership secretary with linked pages on the website. If you need to check your own or someone else's membership status you just view the name and expiry date on the website. Similarly the database of Clubs is another list generated by George's club database, same with the Calendar of Events – much better than the previous system of the webmaster maintaining one list and the membership secretary maintaining a different version of the same thing. In a tiny organisation efficient working methods may sound trivial but it's the only way to get the vast range of tasks done.

•  No doubt George will refer to it in his membership report but we moved up a notch in quality of service with online processing of membership – you can now enter the modern age and use your credit/debit card to join CS securely via Paypal.

•  The website highlight for many people has been the robust debate of the CS Noticeboard moderated with wit by Dave Gillespie. Unfortunately Dave has been ill recently which meant a reduced contribution on the site – we wish Dave better health in future.

Douglas Bryson

Chief Grader

Annual Report from International Director (Open)

•  We sent four players to Cappelle le Grande on invitation. Contrary to last year when only three wanted to go, a few players had to be turned away this year.

•  The main event is the Olympiad. In writing we have yet to go there, but the signs are good.

•  The budget for the team this year was £3750. The reason for the increased budget from previous years is that a minor fee was given to the players in the men's team. As four out of the six players in the team are professionals they have bills to pay. The fee given from Chess Scotland is not anywhere near what they would usually expect to earn playing 16 days worth of tournaments, and can be seen as symbolic.

•  In return CS organised an obligatory four-day training camp with Mark Dvoretsky in Milngavie, paid for by the players themselves. Players outside the national team were invited and the training camp gave a plus helping to keep the costs of sending a team under budget.

•  After everything has been calculated the IMs have a profit of £25…

•  With the women's team a training camp was organised in Milngavie in the first weekend of May. Team Captain Stephen Mannion was the principal trainer, and the ID his unpaid host and assistant. There were expressed unfounded fears that we did not intend to send a women's team. Unfortunately most of our highest rated players did not wish to go, but this opened for Amy Officer and Rhian Hughes to play 3 rd and 4 th board. At age 14 and 12 they will be going to many Olympiads in the future, if they keep their interest in the game. So we are thinking ahead here.

•  We have managed to prepare the teams better than ever before, to send an IM as coach for the women's team, and get all the best players for the men's team to go. Everybody is happy. Our ability to search for every possible cut in costs means that we will be able to send 12 people for the same costs as the Danish Federation is sending their amateur women's team.

•  After a lot of calculation I can say that about £ 5-700 could be discussed. If we were sending an amateur team they would have been saved. Now we are sending a heavily discounted semi-professional team instead. This was the decision made and we feel it can be defended. It accounts for a cost of averagely £ 8 pr. day pr. player in the men's team. We can compare this with the £60 my wife will receive a day as an allowance on top of her salary when she is going abroad for work.

Training sessions for Amateurs

•  After a successful four-day training event in Glasgow in August, I took this private activity into the realm of CS. Neil Berry and I organised another training event in Edinburgh in March, again attended by +20 people. All together the events have given a plus of close to £ 2000. These funds are sort of ring-fenced in the CS accounting, to be used to financially guarantee more chess training in Scotland. So far people have been very happy with the activities, and we are looking to continue with more events in the coming season.

•  One little spin-off event has already started. We have collaborated with the Youth Squad to have Internet based training with the regular youth squad trainers. We do this on ChessBase has given us some reasonable prices and the kids and parents been positive towards the project. Though it has not been running without technical difficulties, the experience is overall positive. Again it looks as if this will be run with a plus and will therefore continue after the initial 12 sessions will finish in October.

Turin Olympiad 2006

•  We participated with two teams in the Turin Olympiad.

•  In the open tournament we participated with close to our top 6, where only Paul Motwani was missing, when he withdrew before the events with minor medical problems. Only John Shaw had a really good result with 7/10, while the team overall maybe scored ½ a point over expected score, or something like that.

•  The women's team were not our strongest possible team, but still four people highly committed to the game. It was especially interesting to see how Amy Officer and Rhian Hughes enjoyed their first action for Scotland . Amy made 6/9 on board 3, which immediately qualified her to the women's Fide Master title, and as far as I can guess, makes her the youngest Scottish titled player ever?

•  Though we cannot be overall impressed with the results, disappointment is also not on the table. We were never going to win this event, but we did take some good results home with us.

Jacob Aagaard

International Director (Open)

Junior International Report – Donna Officer

•  The 2005/06 season was particularly busy for the junior players and coaches.

•  The World Youth Chess Championships for the season 2005/06 were held in Belfort , France and Scotland entered fourteen players. Although the event was very poorly organised, the Scottish squad had a very enjoyable experience and performed well, with Rhian Hughes scoring 6.5 points in the U/12 age group. Ali Roy gave a good performance in her debut, finishing on 6 points in the U/10 age group. Steven Tweedie also had a good score with 6. I went along as chaperone and Graeme Kafka and Esben Lund attended as coaches. Chess Scotland submitted a formal complaint to FIDE regarding the poor organisation on the part of the French organisers.

•  In September Scotland participated in the Trination tournament held in Swansea University . The squad comprised of six U/16, eight U/14 and eight U/12 players and they flew to Cardiff chaperoned by Norrie and Maureen Mathie and myself. The teams fared very well, winning the U/16 and U/12 sections and ending in second place in the U/14 section.

•  In December Scotland sent a squad to the Quadrangular Tournament held in Liverpool . This event is for an U/14 and U/12 team each of twelve players and is attended by Wales , England Northern Counties and Midlands . Scotland won both sections. The event gave opportunities to the less prominent members of the Youth Squad and has subsequently motivated and encouraged these players to improve their game to be considered for re-selection next year. Once again the squad was chaperoned by Norrie and Maureen Mathie and myself. We were also fortunate to have Stephen Mannion travel with the party as coach. We will be attending this event again in December 2006.

•  In May, two junior members, Amy Officer and Rhian Hughes represented Scotland as members of the senior team in the World Olympiad held in Turin . Amy scored 6 points out of nine games which qualified her to a Women's FIDE master title.

•  In July the Scottish Juniors are sending a squad to the European Youth Team Championships in Hungary . We have four players in the boys team and two players in the girls team. I am chaperone and Jacob Aagaard will attend as coach and team captain.

•  The International Board decided not to send teams to the Glorney and Faber, which is being hosted by Wales this year.

•  Selections have been made for the European Youth Championships which will be held in Serbia in September and the World Youth Chess Championships which will be held in Georgia in October. Players have been informed but coaches have yet to be finalised.

•  There is also a small group of players attending the European Community Youth Championships to be held in Mureck in August.

•  Steven Tweedie is to attend the World U/20 Championships to be held in October in Armenia .

•  Scotland is to host the Trinations tournament in September and organisation details are well underway. The event will be held at Craig Tara Holiday Resort in Ayrshire and selections have been made for the Scottish Squad and the filler teams.

•  The National Youth Squad has participated in two training days, one in November and one in June. These events have been very well attended and contain a varied range of experience and ability. At least four coaches attend these events and activities are differentiated to cater for the wide range of abilities and ages.

•  Following the success and interest shown in Youth squad coaching, the coaches decided to embark upon a new venture involving coaching via the internet. This has proved to be popular and successful and sixteen players signed up for the first set of 12 sessions run by coaches Jacob Aagaard, Stephen Mannion, Neil Berry, Graeme Kafka and Esben Lund.

•  A junior website was launched in October to give voice to the junior chess players in Scotland . The designer and webmaster is Amy Officer and the site has proven to be very popular with both adults and juniors. It contains reports and photographs of all international events attended by the Youth Squad and many home congresses as well. Thanks to Amy for the time and effort taken to produce and maintain such a useful and informative resource.

•  The Junior International Director's job is full and time consuming but is also very rewarding. Thanks must go to the numerous parents, coaches and helpers who support and assist me in my many duties – particularly the national selectors and coaches and fellow chaperones, Norrie and Maureen Mathie. Lastly, thanks must go to the members of the Youth Squad for all the hard work they have put in over the past year. Without their enthusiasm, dedication and sense of humour, managing the group would be much less enjoyable!

Donna Officer

International Director (Junior)





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