Feb 062016
 

I was having a discussion today with a fellow chessplayer about IM Moulthun Ly’s stellar performance at the 2016 Gibraltar Masters. I remarked that Ly is now very close to the GM title (1 norm and few rating points away), and that would mean that Australia would have 6 GM’s (including the retired Ian Rogers), and good chances for a few more (ie George Xie comes out of retirement, and the next wave of young IM’s comes through).
It is entirely feasible than in the next few years Australia will have 10 GM’s, and it was this thought that made me remember something from around 25 years ago. In the early 1990’s the Australian Chess Federation (ACF) was presented with a draft strategic plan (authored by Brian Jones I think) and part of the plan was a number of goals. One of these goals was the number of titled players, specifically 10 GM’s and 20 IM’s within the life of the plan. Of course to achieve this goal, the ACF would need to commit resources and energy, both through the organisation of activities to help players (tournaments and training), and by increasing the funding levels in Australia (through increased income sources).
Unfortunately when it was presented, it was shot down on the spot, with comments like “10 grandmasters. That will never happen”. It was explained that falling short by a few GM’s is still not a bad outcome, but I do recall that even this was rejected, with another comment about whether the number of GM’s in Australia really meant that much.
So 25 years later, some of the goals of the plan have happened anyway, although not through any co-ordinated decision making. It is true that the ACF is more willing to fund development in the country (eg GM tournaments), although it is still on a case by case basis, rather than as part of a specific policy. But I do wonder if the plan had been accepted at the time, how much further along Australian chess would be.
Who needs 10 GM’s?
Source: Chessexpress