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2018 Presidents Report

posted 3 Feb 2019, 00:23 by simon dale

2018 was a successful year for Melbourne Chess Club, with strong membership numbers and tournament entries, participation in the wider chess community, healthy financial accounts, growth in volunteers and a dedicated and enthusiastic committee.

The club is going from strength to strength based on the hard work of the committee members over many years. This year's committee is mostly comprised of new members, Hans Gao, Tony Tosevski, Chris Kolak and Aleksei Khamatgaleev, supported by long term members Elizabeth Warren, Thai Ly and myself, Simon Dale. I have really enjoyed working on this team who all take a professional and generous attitude to their volunteer work and a willingness to collaborate for the good of the club. It has been a real pleasure working with them last year.

As a president I am really privileged having the previous president Elizabeth Warren remaining active in the committee. Her willingness to share her knowledge and experience has made my job a lot easier.

This year we had 230 members including 35 life members. This is a record membership since I have been associated with the club, and demonstrates the effectiveness of the committee's long term strategy in the chess community.

In 2018 the club had 456 entries into our 8 club long play events, up 9% from last year. The community has responded to some committee initiatives with an significant increase in strength in our two main events the MCC Championship and MCC Open. It has been very pleasing for me to to see a permanent arbiter Aleksei Khamatgaleev who has done a wonderful job arbiting during the year. Without his contribution we would not be able to keep these tournaments FIDE rated.

Two years ago we decided to stop running the Christmas Swiss as a FIDE tournament. I am pleased to report that Elizabeth Warren has introduced a replacement MCC Fast Play Championship which looks like it will become a regular event in the calendar.

The club continued its contribution to the wider chess community, contributing to the Olympiad appeal, running 2018 Vic Open, providing the venue as sponsorship for the GM and IM norm tournaments, and the Vic Blitz championship. This year’s GM norm tournament saw two club members, Bobby Cheng and Karl Zelesco, achieve their GM and IM titles respectively.

Saturday afternoon Allegro has maintained itself as one of the main activities for club members during the year. Chris Kolak has done a fantastic job at running this event so smoothly during the year.

Increased numbers for the MCC Blitz on Tuesday evening means that this weekly calendar event now seems secure.

There has been increased activity in non-tournament initiatives. Saturday morning coaching for juniors was well attended. This year we continued the coaching through the holidays and many of the juniors came through to Saturday afternoon Allegro.

Wednesday night Novice Night has been rebranded as Wednesday Night Social night under Hartley Shawcross with help from other volunteers. Many of the Wednesday night players are also now playing the Monday night competition and Allegro.

Thursday evening group coaching with WGM Julia Ryjanova has continue throughout most of the year. It was great for the club to be able to offer coaching for both juniors and adults, so we are really excited to see this initiative continuing.

Despite all this activity and success we have been unable to open any extra days during 2018. We would love there to be events on every night, but this requires more volunteers. Please be aware that for every event the club opens there are at least two or three committed volunteers required to make it work.

We also need more volunteers to help with the online presence for the club including updating the website, and promoting events on social media. There are still plenty of opportunities to get involved with the club and make a real difference.

With sadness I have attended the funeral of two members of the club during the year. Alec Knox, who has been a member of the club for more than 25 years and Anthony De Fazio who has been running the sausage sizzles at Allegro and long play tournaments for the last 5 years.

In summary I want to make sure the all members are aware of the huge amount of volunteer work that has gone on and continues to go on to make MCC the vibrant community that it is.

Simon Dale, Melbourne Chess Club President 2018