Having taken this post just a few months ago not a great deal has actually got started which is noticeable, however a lot of seed work has been carried out in many areas.
I have initially become involved in MFL Moves For Life and have created a basic website for this which will need further work before this is complete. MFL is the Irish program for the FIDE Chess in Schools initiative to encourage more schools to play chess. Kevin OConnell will I believe report more on this project.
Once this website is complete then I will be moving on to the Reach Out program which is aimed predominantly at adult chess and hopefully reducing the drop off rate of chess playing after leaving school. The Reach Out program is to encourage Pubs, Hotels, cafes etc. to hold chess sets for anyone to play anytime.
I would also like to encourage more FIDE rated tournaments in Ireland with realistic norm opportunities for Irish players. I would like these types of tournaments to take place at least 4 times per year so that the norm chances are maximised for anyone interested in competing at this level. The Bunratty tournament will hopefully be the first to run just such a tournament alongside the regular weekender next February subject to finance. Hopefully other weekenders can organise the same such tournament.
The last few weeks have been very busy with preparing the Womens team for Istanbul and the Olympiad itself which was a relative success for the ladies. More of which can be found on the ICU website.
I plan also to seek a corporate partner for the ICU who can really support the growth of chess over the coming years. With the MFL program planned to attract thousands of children in to chess this represents a great opportunity for a partner to create excellent brand awareness. I will be putting together a proposition which will be circulated to a number of companies with the view to obtain one, at least, as a major partner for a five year period.
Many Irish players travel to tournaments abroad and with funding being reduced for Irish tournaments I feel the ICU should at least fund a leaflet advertising all the main Irish tournaments which can be taken by players visiting other tournaments abroad. More international players are needed to attend Irish tournaments due to falling domestic figures.
Garry Kasparov: I have had many discussions with Garry's manager and can confirm that Garry will be visiting Ireland in 2013. I have been tasked along with Jonathan OConnor to put together his program whilst in Ireland.
Andrew Paulson (Agon Limited) is the new rights holder for the FIDE World Championship cycle and is responsible for organising these matches. Along with the World Championship cycle he is also organising the FIDE Grand Prix as well as other events. I have met with Andrew Paulson and his team in London on a couple of occasions and discussed the possibility of future Candidate and/or future Grand Prix events to be held in Ireland. He is currently of the opinion that it wouldn't be viewed positively by sponsors but I will be pushing this idea in further meetings.
Goals for 2012/13:
- MFL Website up and running
- Reach Out program having at least 60 locations
- 3 tournaments offering real norm chances in Ireland
- Preliminary talks with potential corporate partners
- Irish tournament leaflet Produced
- Continue cultivating International contacts
- Play more Irish tournaments personally and increase my rating!