Message from the ICCF President

Sunday, July 5, 2020: Update to the ICCF 2020 Congress and State of ICCF Message

Dear ICCF Delegates, Officials, and Chess Friends,

For the first time since 1990, no ICCF Congress will be organized this year.  Whereas three decades ago the Congress was only organized every other year, we had planned to meet in Scotland this summer. The pandemic situation due to the COVID-19 combined with the lockdown imposed in many countries and the disruption of the airline traffic made no other choice than to cancel the ICCF 2020 Congress planned to be held near Glasgow. My sincere thanks go to the Scottish Federation and especially to Gordon Anderson who has spent a lot of time preparing this Congress.  I hope that all these efforts will not be wasted and that ICCF will meet in Scotland in the near future. Our annual meeting was not only the week during which th​​e Delegates voted new proposals and discussed the future of ICCF but the occasion to meet friends, to play chess, to collect titles and medals ― all activities that the social distancing will prohibit this year.
Let’s hope that the pandemic will be behind us next year and that we will be able to meet face to face during the 2021 Congress.
In honor of all chess players who have been affected by the COVID-19 disease, ICCF has announced a unique one-off event, the “ICCF Lockdown Open”.  This event has welcomed players who are currently unable to play OTB chess because of national lockdown as well as well-established correspondence chess players.  For this first time, a large open played on the server will use the Silli system and the Triple Block time control, which is sure to be seen much more in the future ICCF opens. I would like to thank all correspondence chess players who have entered this event (more than 650 entries have been registered) as their entry fees will be donated to the COVID-19 Solidarity Fund for the World Health Organisation (​3.750€ will be donated by the Member Federations and the ICCF).
In 2021, ICCF will celebrate his 70th anniversary and several tournaments will be organized to celebrate this platinum Jubilee! World champions, elite players, officials, and correspondence chess players from all over the world will have a unique opportunity to play in traditional chess as well as in Chess960. I am convinced that every player will find the right tournament to celebrate our anniversary.
In 2019, ICCF will benefit from a positive financial year with a surplus of about 7.000€ resulting from lower expenses than budgeted while maintaining our efforts in the development of the server and the distribution of cash prizes to the players. As you know, Jan Vosselman (NED) has decided to resign and I would like to thank him for serving ICCF as Finance Director (FD) after the sudden passing of George Pyrich (SCO). The Executive Board has been considering nominees for the position.  Please expect further information and a request for mid-term voting by this Tuesday.
In 2020, ICCF will surely benefit from another positive financial year with a budgeted surplus of about 15.000€ due to the savings resulting from the cancellation of the Congress in Scotland.
On a more positive side and based on the financial health of ICCF I have agreed with Jan to propose to the Delegates to reduce the fees of the ICCF tournament (see proposal 2020-13) which, if adopted will impact the financial result of ICCF by about 5.000€ (assuming that the lowering of the fees will not result in an increase in the number of entries, which is a cautious assumption). This reduction will benefit the Member Federations and the players, especially to those who cannot afford the current level of our tournament fees.
I consider this proposal as a first step, and if adopted this year by the Delegates, I intend in coordination with the FD elect to propose further entry fees reduction in the coming years, probably up to 10.000€ yearly.
This may result in some financial losses if not totally covered by the increase of incomes but ICCF can afford it.  The accumulated funds in the ICCF savings account and in the investments will probably reach 200.000€ by the end of the year and I do not see any reason to maintain it at this peak level.
During the last 4-5 years, the yearly budget of 20.000€ for the server development has proved to be sufficient to pay the necessary implementation of the congress decisions as well as a number of priority tasks (it should be noted by the Delegates that we are also limited in our development efforts by the available time of the Officials who are all only working on a voluntary basis).
I ask the Delegates to vote the next year budget of 20.000€ for the server development.
Austin Lockwood (WLS), ICCF Services Director, and I will now focus more specifically on player-oriented development to enhance the customer experience.
A few years ago, ICCF introduced the online voting system to help those Delegates unable to travel to the congress venue to express their views and voting rights. This system will prove its usefulness, allowing us to follow the ICCF democratic process even without organizing a face-to-face meeting and with as few perturbations as possible on our future developments.
Although all proposals are important, some of them will have a major impact on the future of ICCF. The possibility to use the Triple Block time control system as an official option for our standard tournaments will be a major step in ICCF modernization, as our current time control system has not changed in nature since the golden ages of the postal era and we need to prepare the future of ICCF.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” Benjamin Franklin.
Delegates, please remember that online voting with start on July 8 and end 2-weeks later at the end of July 28.  Fingers crossed, we should have the results soon after and we can get started on implemented Delegate approved changes and enhancements.
I sincerely hope that the current pandemic crisis will be over next year and I expect to see you all during the ICCF Congress in 2021.
Eric Ruch
ICCF President

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