I attended the Emergency General Assembly of 1977 in place of Brian Reilly (who was unable to attend) and was officially appointed Permanent Delegate by the ICU in 1978.
The duties of Ireland's FIDE delegate are as follows. Officially 1 and 2, but unofficially and more practically 3, 4 and 5.
- 1. Represent Ireland in the General Assembly of FIDE
- The General Assembly, being the highest authority of FIDE, exercises the legislative and - with certain exceptions - also the executive power. It supervises the activities of the Executive Board, the Presidential Board, the President and also the other FIDE officials and organizations. It approves the FIDE budget, elects the Presidential Board, Ethics Committee, Verification and Constitutional Committees and determines the schedule of FIDE activities. Technically it meets once every year but has now reverted to every other year (during Olympiads), with Presidential Board meetings taking place in the other years.
- 2. Act as intermediary between ICU and FIDE
- FIDE send standard communications (tournament invites etc.) to the ICU Secretary (copied to the Delegate) but "non-standard" things go via the Delegate.
- 3. Support the title applications from Irish players and organizers
- About half of the few applications made during my 30 years as Deleagte have needed some argued support above and beyond the paper application.
- 4. Elicit an invitation (individual or team) for an event where otherwise Ireland would not be invited
- This happens very rarely. An example would be the Snow Cup team event in Aosta, Italy in the early 1980s.
- 5. Correct misapprehensions about the status of Ireland
- Even some Europeans are in need of education regarding the status of the Republic of Ireland (for example, that it is is an independent country and not a part of the UK). The Irish delegate to FIDE also still represents the six counties of Northern Ireland because the Ulster Chess Union, though it has parted company from the ICU, is not entitled to FIDE membership.
Time and Expenses
Turin provided accommodation for delegates (that was the first time ever) and Dresden promised to do so (but that seems to have got lost somewhere along the line). Many of the biggest and more affluent federations pay the delegate's costs while others don't and rely upon either a self-funding delegate or a member of the delegation (i.e. player or captain) to double up. By tradition the Irish FIDE delegate pays their own way at FIDE Congresses. Typical average annual expenditure (assuming attendance at GA only during Olympiad years) is something in the order of 1000-1500.
The amount of time devoted to duties is variable. The FIDE General Assembly is only 4 days or so but if one gets involved with titles then it tends to be about 10 days because the Titles meetings are at the beginning of the Congress and the GA at the end. Other than that, it is the odd hour here and there.
I gave up being President of Zone 1 in 1994, after 16 years, because I thought 20 years of that would be too much. However, I have been Irish Delegate for 30 years which I believe is a record within FIDE.