Monday, February 4, 2013

The End of My FIDE Playing Days?

In the February FIDE rating list, my name didn't appear, and there seems to be no trace of me. Actually, this didn't come as too much of a surprise to me, as I'd been waiting for it to happen. You see, I'm a player who doesn't really fit into the new levels of professionalism that the international chess body seems to want to impose upon the chess world. But let's start at the beginning, because I'm not totally blameless and a Kafkaesque victim here.

A long time ago, I was a member of the British Chess Federation. This organisation changed to the English Chess Federation (ECF) which I have never been a member of. The main reason for me not becoming a member is that I emigrated to Australia and I felt the ECF no longer represented my interests (there are some other issues, but I'm not going to go into them here). FIDE require that all players be members of their federation, and I am not, and do not intend to pay the ECF for that privilege. So that is why I've been delisted in the FIDE rating lists.

Of course, I could change my federation to Australia, where I live and am now a citizen. In fact I inquired about this of the then International Ratings Officer Greg Canfell, who was pretty helpful and sent me all that I needed to provide to him for the switch. However, a stumbling block for me was the transfer fee that FIDE required for a player of my strength (2100-2200). To change federations would cost me 250 euros, which seems to me to act as a deterrent for players rather than an investment. I'm a player in my mid 40's who isn't likely to improve, but could be an active member of the chess community for many years to come, and a typical stepping stone type player for improving juniors. However, that is not going to happen, as I have no intention of paying 250 euros to change federation, and I have no intention of paying the ECF a membership.

So where does that leave me? I'm an amateur who enjoys long play games, not a professional or a master strength player. Firstly, I can still play chess games not rated under the FIDE system, which might turn into the majority of tournaments if FIDE continue with their new plans regarding player registrations. Also, if I want to change federation without incurring the 250 euro cost, then I have to play no FIDE rated games for 6 years, and prove residency within the country I wish to adopt. To me this is the preferable course of events, because I'm thoroughly sick of the amount of money the international chess federation wants to bleed from the players of its member constituents. I have toyed in the past with attempting to achieve FIDE and International Arbiters titles, and with gaining the FIDE Trainer qualification. But at the end of the day, it's all just a massive money making process for FIDE and doesn't really help member states or players at all. I think GM Kevin Spraggett sums it all up perfectly.

My immediate future will consist of writing this blog and other articles, coaching chess (without a FIDE Trainers qualification!), playing online at ICC, and playing some local tournaments when I can find the time. I'll continue to support my chess club, the Melbourne Chess Club, though I don't think I'll be able to play in many of the events there. I might go back to blogging live some of the rounds! Maybe after 6 years, I'll come back to the FIDE rated scene as an Australian. The way things are going though, I highly doubt it.


  1. Carl, there are a couple of errors in this post. FIDE don't require players to be members of their Federations. If so, almost no one from Australia would be on the FIDE list, as you cannot be a member of the ACF unless you are a delegate at the National Congress or ACF Council meeting. However the ECF may have taken steps to remove you from the list as part of their own internal rules, although I would find such a step surprising. You might want to check with them to confirm they have done so.
    Secondly in what constitutes a FIDE event is clearly defined. FIDE rated events are not the same as FIDE events. So unless you have represented England in a World Championship qualfier, Olympiad etc within the last 5 years, you should be OK to transfer you registration at no cost.

  2. Hi Shaun, I understand the direct membership requirements are not 100% for every country, but the ECF do require direct membership. They have been telling the membership/players that without ECF membership, they will be deliting players, and this has benn happening for about 6 months.

    As for the second part, this is news to me, so thanks Shaun, this is something I will look into. Hopefully I'll get this sorted and see you at Doeberl

  3. I believe you have to be a member of a club that is affiliated with the ACF in Australia to fulfill the requirement.

  4. Shaun writes: "Secondly in what constitutes a FIDE event is clearly defined. FIDE rated events are not the same as FIDE events. So unless you have represented England in a World Championship qualfier, Olympiad etc within the last 5 years, you should be OK to transfer you registration at no cost."

    Our understanding of the same text is that 3.2 refers to a notification fee payable to all transfers, by saying "A notification fee of €250 is payable for all transfers."

    Then further down (4,5) it refers to a transfer fee which is payable in some cases but not others, and further down still (6) to a compensation fee. So being exempt from the transfer fee and compensation fee does not exempt a player who wishes to transfer from paying the Notification Fee. And that's the issue Carl is raising, and a few others who would like to switch are affected by it too.

    The distinction is again spelled out at the bottom: " the relevant notification and compensation fees, and any transfer fee (if applicable)."

  5. Anonymous (4 Feb 2013 4:25 PM), that belief is incorrect. Quite aside from the fact that clubs do not directly affiliate with the ACF (only indirectly through states, and then not always) it is simply not required that one be a member of anything to be registered under a federation by FIDE. If the ACF sends a tournament off for FIDE rating with a new player in it then that player will be listed under AUS even if they are not a member of any club or state association at all.

  6. Ok, I want to spell it out here again that I am not blameless in this situation so not looking for sympathy. It was my choice all along not to register with my national federation and I knew this day would arrive at some time. I think the transfer issue, as well as other FIDE money making schemes, are unfair, though I can understand the need for the top professional players to have some sort of licensing. Unfortunately, I'm not a top player, so I won't be paying out what to me seems a large amount of money just to get my games FIDE rated.

  7. As Bill and Kevin have pointed out, I've almost certainly given you some incorrect information here. However I have put in a question to QC concerning whether you can be removed from the FIDE list altogether. Of course if this is the case, then you might be able to register as a *new* player for Australia, thereby avoiding the transfer fee after all!

  8. Thanks Shaun, I just thought the same thing and posted exactly the same type of question on chesschat :D

  9. Well my understanding always was that you had to be a member of a club in good standing with your state federation which in turn had to part of the national one (I never realised this was an issue). That is why when we had fide rated events (this is about 10-15 years ago) at MCC some people would have to run around and join or prove that they belonged to a club in order to enter the tournament.

  10. "In the February FIDE rating list, my name didn't appear, and there seems to be no trace of me."

    Actually, there's no trace of you on the Jan 2013 list as well, so I deduce you were taken off the FIDE list some time in December (you are on the Dec 1 official list).

    As has been pointed out, the major fee obstruction to you becoming Australian in FIDE's eyes is the dreaded "Notification Fee". Since you are very obviously a valuable resource for Australian chess in terms of coaching and blogging ability, I would like to see what we can do in terms of making you 'Australian' in terms that are acceptable to you and FIDE...

    Kind Regards,
    Greg Canfell

  11. No joy from FIDE, I'm afraid. Despite you not appearing on the published lists, you do still have an ID and Rating (which still makes you ENG for the purposes of registration). You are considered a normal player, but coming from a 'no-service' federation (even though you don't actually belong to one). If you (or organisers) do need your rating and ID you can request it from the FIDE Office in Elista (or just look up the last published one).
    However, I can't find anything in the FIDE Rating regulations that penalizes you for playing FIDE rated chess, at least until the license system comes into effect.

  12. Anonymous 4 Feb 2013 7:14 PM - I would guess that that sort of restriction might have been imposed by the state association as a condition for submitting the event to the ACF for ACF and FIDE ratings. It is not a restriction coming from either FIDE or the ACF, although there are some ACF events that require state association approval for entry (and the state association might then require the player to be a member of itself or a club.) Victoria is a special case because it has a different structure to most other states.

    Shaun, thanks for contacting FIDE and reporting back.

  13. "FIDE don't require players to be members of their Federations."

    "13.1 To be included in the FRL or FIDE Rapidplay Rating list, a player must be a member of a national chess Federation which is a member of FIDE. That is, the Federation must not be temporarily or permanently excluded from membership."