This week’s Chess In Canada! (no.3)
Every Monday evening a weekly column on the state of chess in Canada is posted , called CHESS IN CANADA! ( or CIC!, pronounced sic) where I discuss those topics that have most interested chess players in Canada during the past week…This is ISSUE no.3
ITEM 1: OF THINGS COMING AND GOING
A: THE NEWSLETTER
First we have to congratulate Tony Ficzere for his successful debut as editor of the CFC newsletter! A fine effort, filled with interesting articles and useful information, this bodes well for the future! The plan is to produce one newsletter each month. We should also congratulate CFC Prez Van Dusen for delivering on his campaign promise of creating a newsletter!
However, we should not forget that an electronic newsletter is NOT a magazine and never will replace the magazine that the CFC used to produce for decades in the past! There is something about being able to hold a magazine in your hands and carry with you where ever you go…not to mention the additional awkwardness of playing over the games in the newsletter.
Ofcourse, we could always just print out the newsletter, but then we notice the first glaring difference between our old magazine and the newsletter: it looks like a bland photo copy of what the magazine used to look like! Which may not be so bad, some may want to argue, but when you are paying the same price (membership fees) you should get the same quality product…it is little comfort to know that the CFC is reaping the benefit here!
The CFC has not had a good track record in recent years with regards to its obligations to its members vis a vis a magazine. The members who sign up or renew each year expect to get a magazine, but the often schizophrenic management style of CFC leadership has not lived up to its end of the bargain.
Unilateral decisions, with no prior consultation, and poorly implemented and grandiose schemes of being able to produce a webzine for a fraction of real costs have left the membership exasperated with CFC leadership. As an amusing consequence of the inadequate efforts in the past year or so, with members getting neither magazine nor functional webzine, the CFC politicos have tried to spin the money saved ( by not delivering anything to the members) into giving themselves a slap on the back for having reduced the deficit!Be that as it may, it was not too long ago ( under the regrettable leadership of Mallon) that we witnessed an even more comical show: the budget for the magazine was increased 50% (also without any prior consultation) with the accompanying argument that the CFC was going to increase the quality of the CFC flagship!
But what did this mean in reality? It meant that no one involved with the magazine was fired or let go; no new editor was hired; instead, everyone was given a 50% raise and just told to work harder! I mean, Mallon’s personal friends were given a pay increase while the CFC was bleeding…
Soon the 6-issues a year magazine became a 4-issues a year magazine (again without any prior consultation) and by the time Lavin charmed his way into the presidency the magazine went the same route as the condo, the book and equipment franchise and the proverbial kitchen sink…
B: THE WEBSITE AND THE PREZ
Was it not just last week that everyone was buzzing about the website? About it being sliced, diced and hacked? About it being offline and of the need for a serious repair job? And then it coming back online… only to be hacked again?
There were IT experts giving their opinions. There was talk of replacing the website with an entirely new site, and argument about just how much it would cost and whether the CFC could actually afford it…
Prez Van Dusen and VP Stijn gave their opinions on the matter, and undoubtedly did not appreciate being shown to be ineffective and IT illiterate. But that comes with the job…
This past week there has been absolute silence in stark contrast to the week before! Deafening! Even the IT experts have moved on…and not one word from either Van Dusen or Stijn. The CFC website still has problems and accessing the rating database is at times very difficult. There is a large warning on the principal pages that is really ugly.What happened?
The real story of the past week has been the CFC returning to its old way of doing things: of being incommunicative. Selectivus Incommunicatium Fungitus, as the Romans used to call it: of leaving the members in the lurk, having to wonder and guess what solutions , if any, the Executive is going to do.
This has to be contrasted to the enthusiastic energy of Van Dusen’s campaign for election this past summer. Do you remember his platform (it is somewhere in my blog)? He talked of improving communication:
”Decision-making needs to be done more on a consensus basis to encourage volunteers to take ownership of decisions and to carry out the mandate of the CFC to promote chess… All decisions that are urgent by made by a vote of the CFC Executive committee. Any significant decisions affecting the CFC that are not urgent be discussed and decided by the twenty-five CFC governors.”
Do any of you know where Van Dusen has gone this past week? Perhaps Van Dusen has been inspired by the disappearing tactics of Peter Stockhausen! In any case, the problem has not been solved….E.T. call home.
ITEM 2: CMA’S CHESSTALK RETURNS TO ITS OLD WAYS….
Today we readily recognize this kind of behaviour for what it is: cyber-bullying; cyber-stalking. A clique prevails on chesstalk that has chased away all those whose opinions differ from those of Larry Bevand. Or is directed towards those considered hostile to Larry Bevand or critical of his predatory behaviour in Canadian chess these past 10 years or so since he publically declared war on organized chess.