I was a bit surprised to hear that Chess Victoria had their AGM last week. I mean, I know that my new club, Glen Eira Chess Club, is only provisionally affiliated to Chess Victoria, and with no voting rights, but I'd have thought that we'd have heard something about an AGM, and possibly even have been invited along to it. But hey ho, it doesn't really bother me too much, and we're a club that doesn't really have any intention of getting into state chess politics at the moment. The members of our club are interested in the playing and social side of belonging to a chess club, and we've joined Chess Victoria to add extra legitimacy to the club, and so that we can officially rate our games in the Australian ratings list.
To be honest, I usually loathe AGM's and go only when I have to. Personally I am totally opposed to the voting procedure that takes place during a Chess Victoria election. Chess Victoria is made up of a number of clubs which are allocated votes depending on how many members they have, the more members, the more votes, up to a maximum of 5 votes. This is all well and good except that each member of the Chess Victoria committee also gets a vote. As there are 6 Chess Victoria committee places, this makes up quite a big block which can make it difficult to unseat an incumbent committee. Add to this that unelected life members also get a vote and clubs can begin to feel that their votes aren't worth that much.
Now these aren't new arguments that I'm spouting here, and they have caused some contentious debates in the recent past. However, the most recent AGM saw a very sad set of actions where stalwart chess administrator Trevor Stanning was nominated for an honorary life membership position but this nomination was rejected. The reason for this was apparently because of the voting process of Chess Victoria and Trevor's nomination was voted against by a block from Melbourne And Noble Park Chess Clubs. You can read about it in the latest issue of Box Hill Chess Club's newsletter, Box Hill being Trevor's club.
It is sad for Trevor as I'm sure that if there was a reasonable voting process in Chess Victoria, where all clubs felt they had a fair chance at getting a say or a go, then Trevor would have been made a life member without any qualms. His service to both Box Hill Chess Club and Chess Victoria are both to be highly commended. Maybe the committee of Chess Victoria need to look at the way that the organisation is conducted if we're going to honour any more long servers with life membership. And if Chess Victoria is interested in attracting more clubs to move from provisional status to full membership, like Glen Eira or Hobson's Bay, and to stop clubs like Frankston from leaving the organisation, then maybe these are issues that need to be addressed. Then perhaps when somebody renominates Trevor for a life membership, the AGM will give a resounding yes.