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Chess Scotland Annual Report

August 2005



The last 12 months have seen valuable steps forward in our key strategic aim of developing grass roots chess through wider recognition of the educational value of chess in schools. These are set out in the first report below by Schools Development Director Craig Pritchett, and reinforced in the second report by our Director with principal interest political engagement Peter Macnab.

But our regular services have also fared well. The quality of the website is recognised well beyond Scotland, our grading system contains features which are really appreciated by players throughout Scotland, our membership processing runs ultra-smoothly with membership information available on line, our calendar of events has a rolling 12 month cycle, with options for downloading, and Scottish Chess is once again full of interesting material and bang up to date. There is such a lot done for chess on a voluntary basis that it is easy – but wrong - to take it for granted and come to expect even more. I would like to pay tribute to all the volunteers who help run chess in Scotland in general and, more particularly, those who run Chess Scotland's various services and competitions.

A disappointing feature of the year was outcome of the extensive discussions with SJC. A considerable commitment of time by several people in trying to resolve outstanding issues could not deliver agreement. At the CS Council meeting on 14 August, Council agreed the following statement:

Council supports the efforts of the President and others (including, most recently, Stephen O'Donnell and Andy Howie) to reach agreement with SJC, a process which had assisted in some productive developments. At our meeting on 14 August, however, we concluded that further progress was not possible at present.

Council noted that, despite input to the new constitution, SJC has not proposed any candidates for CS positions. Council reminds SJC and others that there remains a process for informal indications of interest in vacant positions.

John Glendinning, President


Schools Chess Development




The Schools Chess Development Director post aims to promote more chess in schools. This means primarily more chess clubs, more chess teachers and improved inter-schools links and organisational structures.


The post brings with it a need for PR and lobbying for greater recognition and support for chess, particularly on the part of local education authorities and the Scottish Executive, but also more widely.


The post can only function well in partnership with local schools and organisers, whom it seeks to support practically. It cannot replace local resources and does not set out to do so.


The post in 2004-05


Most of my work in the post this year has been spent managing the N Ayrshire Schools Project in partnership with N Ayrshire Council. I have also sought to improve our contacts and standing with other local authorities and the Scottish Executive. And I have committed CS to a managing partnership role in a proposed first European schools chess conference, which will be held with the support of the European Chess Union in February 2006 in Holland .


The N Ayrshire Schools Project began two years ago and early in 2005 entered its second substantive phase. N Ayrshire Council has invested significant amounts in support of chess and asked CS to provide technical management. There is already considerable detail on the CS website about this Project, which will continue to be updated.


In brief, N Ayrshire Council asked us to deliver a scheme, funded from the Council's budget for the continuing professional development of teachers, to teach teachers to play chess and organise / teach chess in school chess clubs. Earlier this year, we ran two sets of five weekly workshops for teachers in N Ayrshire. These were very well received by the participants. Currently I am discussing with N Ayrshire how we might best take the Project forward. This includes in particular issues of “support” in their school chess clubs for participants.


2004-05 has also been a good year to seek to improve our contacts and standing with other local authorities and the Scottish Executive. We have been able to build on the publicity and goodwill generated by the Scottish Youth versus MSP / MP matches in the Edinburgh and Westminster Parliaments (in 2002 and 2003) and last year's Glorney and Faber Cup events in Aberdeen, as well as on the highly favourable comments about the benefits of chess contained in the Scottish Executive sponsored research report on the successful, wholly local authority-run Aberdeen Schools Chess Project.


In brief, the Education Minister, Peter Peacock, has taken a personal interest in the potential benefits of chess in schools and his office has advised on how this might be taken forward with key public agencies. A number of other local authorities (including Edinburgh and East Dunbartonshire ) have shown an interest in promoting Chess in Schools Projects. I am directly supporting some current discussions and am happy to support any other local developments, wherever I can.


In this context, our commitment to a managing partnership role in the proposed first European chess in schools conference to be held in Holland next year is in my view important, underlining our commitment to improvement. I am very pleased to report that Aberdeen Council, through its own chess in schools project, has also agreed to play a managing partnership role in this conference.


Where to in 2005-06?


I hope we can get more explicit chess in schools projects off the ground, carry out our managing partner role in the European chess in schools conference successfully and build on our educational and public agency contacts constructively.


In particular, I would like to see us develop a role and practical job description for a paid schools (or junior) chess development officer. If we can do this, we must now have a real chance of obtaining additional grant funding.


The Schools Chess Development Director also remains available for queries of any sort in connection with schools chess s at . He is also the contact for parties interested in the currently free informational CS Schools Chess Club CDROM.


Craig Pritchett, Schools Chess development Director


Activity Report from Peter Macnab


In last year's annual report I said that in July 2004 we arranged a forum to discuss how best to improve the communication between CS and the Scottish Executive during our successful Glorney Faber week.


Participants were CS Directors and MSP Lewis Macdonald, Deputy Minister for Environment and Rural Affairs with whom I had built a good relationship over the past 3 years. He has been most supportive in encouraging our Holyrood and Westminster forays and has been of great help in introducing us to other politicians over junior chess matters.


The object of the above discussion was to explore ideas as to how best to strengthen political recognition for chess and junior chess in particular perhaps through a National Chess Director and through improved funding.

This Spring we continued the political momentum by using the opportunity of Louise's winning the 2004 Cherie Booth QC Award to obtain the active support of Louise's school in hosting the Award ceremony and with the help of Lewis Macdonald we ensured that the Award was made by the Minister for Education and Young People with Peter Peacock.

Aberdeen 's LP also came along.


I also arranged for the school, Governors and most importantly for chess playing girls from some other local schools to be invited to the ceremony. Unfortunately no girls from David Leslie's chess pupils were represented.

However, I am not sure if CS has yet found the equivalent “policy “ person within the Executive with whom a more specific dialogue can start.. Craig Pritchett and Steve Mannion have worked on this problem I know but I am not aware of the latest situation. If this problem has not been fully resolved yet I suggest we should ensure that we keep plugging at it.

Finally, I strongly believe we should ensure that the Cherie Booth QC Award ceremony continues as a high profile event


1. for maintaining the visibility of girl and junior chess and

2. to ensure that suitable local MPs ,school teachers , local dignitaries and the media are invited to attend.. This valuable Award (which I hope is insured) is a great encouragement for our girls and continues to be given the importance it deserves as was hoped by its donors.


Peter Macnab, Director


Financial Review


The last financial year was a period that saw a numbers of “ups” and “downs”. On the up side there has been a substantial increase in the income from the membership via subscriptions and grading fees due to increases in those seeking membership and in the number of events. On the down side, our commercial income from sponsorship and service fees was much reduced and our reserve funds have fallen.


The main financial concern for the year was the sudden and unexpected loss of our sponsor for last year's Scottish Championships in Hamilton . This resulted in the event making a loss of nearly £3,500 instead of breaking even or possibly making a small surplus. This meant that not only were all the congress reserve funds taken up but also funding was required from the General Account. The required funding was transferred from the General Account to the Congress Account and is shown under the Tournaments expenditure.


One of the problems nowadays for not only Chess Scotland but all chess event organisers is the cost of hiring premises. This, coupled with the difficulties of obtaining sponsorship, is proving quite a challenge and we can't always depend on reserve funds to be available to bail us out.


Whilst Chess Scotland continues to support the Scottish Junior Chess Association Educational Trust with the annual donation we had this year to call on the Trust to assist with the costs of hosting the Glorney Cup in Aberdeen . Without the support from the Trust our funds would certainly have been further greatly reduced.

During the year Chess Scotland gratefully received a donation from Margaret Munn in memory of Walter, her husband, who was, for 16 years, the President of the Association. This money is to provide financial support to assist and encourage juniors in chess. None of the money was used during the fiscal period but is being held under allocated funds to be available when required for this specific purpose.


Our funding grant for the year from the Scottish Executive was increased by £220, a 2.2% rise, however, although we are assured of the grant for next year we have been advised there will be no further increases. We also benefited from fees for services provided by Craig Pritchett, Alex McFarlane, Dick Heathwood and other helpers in connection with the North Ayrshire training courses.


We did manage to renegotiate a reduction in the insurance premium for public liability and equipment cover due to the drop in take-up by many clubs and congresses and this reduced our expenditure by nearly £500.


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


L.R. McKenzie, Finance Director


Membership Report 2005


Individual Membership


I feel that the most important information that the Membership Director can give is the membership numbers as they vary year to year. Last year I explained that we could only look back in time to get to get an accurate picture of membership numbers and for the AGM it makes sense to report the membership numbers at the 30 April (end of the accounting year) calculated in August. This means that we have given up hope of anyone due to renew in April or earlier in this year is not likely to renew now.


In reporting last years numbers my method of calculation-included members who had joined after the 30 April 2004. I have therefore corrected last year's numbers in the table below so a correct comparison can be made with this year's numbers.



Membership Type








Famly A Basic




Family A Full




Family J Basic




Family J Full
















U/14 Basic




U/14 Full




U/17 Basic




U/17 Full










A less than 2% decrease is probably not very significant.


To give some appreciation of why we can only go back in time to calculate membership numbers we can consider the question how many Full Members we have today that are not behind in renewing their membership. The answer is 147 and this includes four new Full Members since the 30 April. This means that 17 Full Members due to renew in the period May to July have not yet renewed. It is an estimate to say how many of these will renew in the coming weeks.


At the Council meeting in April this year, frustrated by suggestions and talk of ring fenced accounts, which I didn't understand, I proposed that we consider doing away with membership as is, and consider anyone who plays a graded game a member. The thinking being that there would be less money to ring fence. However on studying next years proposed budget I came to the conclusion that if we had no membership we would have more money to ring fence. The reason for arguing thus is that the budget shows subscription income as approximately £4500 and Membership Services Expenditure as £7320. Our new Management Group when elected may like to consider the logic of this when considering a business plan as it does seem to make the benefit that we claim of being a member of CS, that Membership is supporting Chess in Scotland , rather suspect. Grading seems to be our only way of generating income the magazine breaking even.


Club Membership


Currently we give details of 78 Clubs in Scotland on our Web Site and 38 of these clubs affiliated in the last financial year. 13 of these clubs take the benefit of CS insurance scheme but the main advantage of being affiliated seems to be that Club matches can be graded.


Last year Club Affiliation forms were sent out to club secretaries by email where email addresses were known. It is intended to do the same again this year.




The Calendar has worked reasonably well during the year but not everyone is happy with a Calendar that only covers the future. To accommodate those that like history there will be a historical Calendar that covers the previous year July to June and a full calendar for the current year (being dependent on what is currently known) and the calendar as is. Douglas Bryson and I have agreed that we need to be slicker with the way we tie up adverts and event details. All information going to the one person so that the event organiser only needs to contact one person regarding the promotion of their event on the Web Site.


Player of the Year


Jonathan Rowson won the Player of the Year Award. We have still to arrange the presentation. There were suggestions on the notice board that the award should be decided by a committee as is done in the case of the Girls Award. I was very impressed by the report on this years Girls Award but saw it as a great deal of hard work for the committee members and decided to stay with the current method and let the members of CS decide. Over 40 votes were received.


George Anderson



Grading and Website


Grading :


The Windows grading program developed by Alex Bisset of Aberdeen completed a third season of successful operation. Over 50 tournament organisers, league officials and club secretaries from around Scotland submitted grading data. Most users manage to install and operate the program without too many difficulties. Many thanks to the “area graders” and to Alex for his continuing development and support of the program.

In addition to the primary objective of inputting grading data the program now offers additional features to tournament organisers. The program can already print pairing cards and wallcharts and went live in April 2005 with an early version of a pairing facility.

The Area Info page on ChessScotland links to Alex's windows grading program website which contains an “Updates” section which gives full details of all amendments to the program since its creation and a “To Do” list of future projects.

Grand Prix

The junior Grand Prix system was computerised earlier this season with the leaderboards generated automatically via the grading program. The only difficulty is in identifying which tournaments are eligible for inclusion. The GP status of many junior events is not always clear to the grader and it is hoped that the Junior Home Chess board will appoint someone with responsibility for Junior GP issues. Most difficulties with the status of events and eligibility for Grand Prix inclusion would be minimised if all tournaments, junior or adult, made sure they are included in the continually updated online CS Calendar.

One minor grading problem concerns the large number of juniors included in the grading system as J?? – ie we don't know the junior's age. J?? players are not included in the Grand Prix since we don't know to which age section they are eligible. A graded J?? also means we also don't know what is the correct bonus point addition to allocate to their opponents ie J?? is worth 40 bonus points but the correct addition could be many more depending on the actual age. Solution: if a junior event is to be graded and contains newcomers it is helpful if the organiser could get age or date of birth data when taking entries for the event.


Website :

The website continues to be the primary source of news and information about chess in Scotland .

As has been mentioned in several previous reports the webmaster task is too wide to be allocated to one individual and further delegation is the way to maximise the potential of the site. A password protected directory can be given to website contributors who can then amend or upload their work at a time of their choosing.

Currently the Membership and Calendar is controlled by George Anderson, Crawford MacNab controls the Game Download page, Alex McFarlane has provided Scottish Championship coverage for the last two years, Junior and Schools information is provided by John Glendinning and the Noticeboard is controlled by Dave Gillespie. In addition to webspace owned by Chess Scotland many individuals who run their own club and league sites are linked from the Chess Scotland site. If anyone is interested in assisting with the website in general, or taking control of a specific area of the site, or wants to add a link to a site they control please contact


Douglas Bryson


Scottish Chess

I am pleased to say that Scottish Chess is back on track. Recent copies have been published on their due date. Thanks must go to all those who contributed their artricles and news, but a special mention must go to David Gillespie & John Dempsey for their invaluable help.

The 200 issue of Scottish Chess is now upon us and it would be a shame to let it pass without some recognition of passed issues and editors so I hope to make it a bumper anniversary issue. Would ask everyone to keep the articles coming.


Sam Collins


Home Director's Report

The 2005 Scottish in Hamilton was a huge success with a very strong field and a GM norm achieved. It was also the first to give daily coverage of the games, results and next round pairings on the Internet. Arrangements for the 2006 suffered due to the death of Alan Murphy, but the event did go ahead in Oban and was dedicated to Alan's memory. Unfortunately sponsorship was at a premium so the entry was down. However all the tournaments ran smoothly and after a slight hiccup Internet coverage of this event was also available. This certainly seems now to be expected and Ayrshire is already looking into what can be provided. If sufficient funds can be found, it may even be possible to organise the live broadcast of the top games.

The team events continue with the National League going from strength to strength. However the Richardson and Spens are less healthy. The coming season may well be the last in which the Spens is contested. Suggestions for an alternative format are welcomed.


Alex McFarlane


A full range of junior competitions was also run and reported on the website.



The main event overall was Jonathan Rowson winning the British – think people will be familiar with the details already! Joe Redpath's win of the Major Open capped a terrific Championships for Scotland . Another notable individual achievement was Eddie Dearing gaining the IM title with his 3= place in the Budapest ‘First Saturday' event of September 2004.

Scotland performed creditably at the Olympiad in Mallorca in October, spending a good deal of time on the top boards in the first half of the tournament. The final finish was disappointing, however – 52 place. The team was Rowson, Motwani, McNab, Shaw, Dearing and Mannion. Paul played a limited role in the event because of illness.

Chess Scotland was represented at Cappelle la Grande in February 2005 by John Shaw, Ian Gourlay and Neil Berry. Jacob Aagard also participated.

The main event of this year is the European Team-championship. The team selection and captaincy has now been finalised: Shaw, McNab, Muir, Grant, Upton with Aagard captain.

Steve Hilton is currently playing in the UK team in the Blind Chess World Cup in Greece .


Scotland was also represented in a wide variety of junior international competitions.


Details of results etc are published on the website.


Douglas Griffin


Technical Director


A course for the training of prospective arbiters was held in the early part of the year. Seven candidates took part and all were successful in passing the examination for arbiters. They all appear to be actively pursuing the practical part of the qualification by officiating at chess events.

The Arbiters' Committee met in March. As usual, they reviewed the list of qualified arbiters in the light of "activity questionnaires" completed by arbiters. One arbiter (Keith Emery) who had completed the qualification process was awarded the Arbiter title. It was agreed that two BCF Arbiters (Lara Barnes and Phil Thomas) who are now active in Scotland should be appointed as CS Arbiters. Other items discussed were the Swiss pairing section of the CS grading software and the implications of changes to the Laws. The Guide for Arbiters will require revision and new examinations will have to be prepared to reflect the revised Laws.

The revised FIDE Laws came into effect in July 2005. A revised Rules Book is being prepared to include these and other rule changes. Finalisation of this has been delayed in the attempt to include revisions to rules for junior tournaments but it is planned that publication will take place soon.

Anyone interested in a course for the training of prospective arbiters should contact me. Since undergoing a disclosure check is now a condition of the CS Arbiter qualification, agreement to do this will be a condition of participating in the course.


Ken Stewart





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