How The Italian Chess Federation is Funded

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
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Adam Raoof
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How The Italian Chess Federation is Funded

Post by Adam Raoof » Sun Apr 29, 2012 4:13 pm

At the time of writing I am acting as the Chief Arbiter at a small weekend tournament in Bratto, near Bergamo, on behalf of chessprojects.it. As usual most of the real work is being done by someone else - in this case my 20-year old deputy Federico Zermian, who is a student of computer science and also a YoYo champion. I have been picking his brains about the Italian Chess Federation.

Roughly five years ago the FSI decided to implement a compulsory membership scheme.

In Italy it is compulsory for all Italian players to join the Federation.

All players get a plastic ID card each year and have to show it at tournaments. It has a barcode and shows their membership category (colour coded), date of birth, club, region, city, title, and registration number which stays with them permanently, and a number which shows that the card is current. Arbiters get a similar card in addition.

Players can join at their first tournament or they can join through their chess club. In Italy you can only be a member of one club in one season, and registered with the National body through that club, unlike England where you can be a member of the ECF but play for multiple clubs in different leagues. If you don't belong to a club (almost unheard of) then you can register with the tournament organisation. If a player is totally new they get a 50 percent discount on membership in year one. If they are juniors (under 18) they pay just 10 Euros and get the same 50% discount. Membership is at least 25 Euros (ordinary) or 42 euros for adults. All tournaments have to give the Federation 9 Euros for each player who begins the tournament as well as enforce membership.

In Italy there are 13000 members of the Federation. Roughly 5000 international, 2000 ordinary and 6000 juniors.

There are 800 formally trained instructors. It is not obligatory for schools to take an FSI trained arbiter, but if there is a choice then they usually go with the one that has a recommendation from the Federation.

All tournaments have to be registered with the federation and all arbiters have three stage formal training before they can organise club, then weekend, then fide rated events. There are 341 registered Arbiters. Both arbiter and instructor qualifications are linked to rating, and require a period of some years to complete. However to become an arbiter you have to have practical experience and be observed. The main complaint from junior organisers is that the instructor courses are not linked to practical work, too cheap (!) and at least 50% of the course is focused on sports science, not directly linked to the teaching of chess. This results in a lot of qualified coaches with little experience of teaching chess. Nevertheless there is excess of demand over supply for coaches.

Membership raises money which pays for the administration of the office in Milan (4 staff) and which is also returned to junior chess, to international chess, to the national championships for individuals and for teams, and it also helps to subsidise training for arbiters.

There is a Federation website with a central register of tournaments where you can upload the results live, or after the conclusion of the tournament for rating. Italy uses their own Elo (30k factor forever is the only difference) but they are gradually moving to a situation where everyone has a FIDE rating, this may happen in five to ten years. All registered events are added to a calendar on the FSI site and a site run by the Association of Arbiters where they can put their names forward for selection as the arbiter.

David Sedgwick
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Re: How The Italian Chess Federation is Funded

Post by David Sedgwick » Sun Apr 29, 2012 5:35 pm

The Italian Arbiters' website is at http://www.arbitriscacchi.com/. (Use Google Translate as necessary.)

Their arbiter training is certainly very extensive compared with that which we do in England. In my experience, particularly from the Turin Olympiad 2006, Italian arbiters are generally of high calibre.

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Ben Purton
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Re: How The Italian Chess Federation is Funded

Post by Ben Purton » Sun Apr 29, 2012 5:48 pm

http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/images/20 ... usconi.jpg

Perhaps you can do one of these at the next council meeting to the members?
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Sean Hewitt
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Re: How The Italian Chess Federation is Funded

Post by Sean Hewitt » Sun Apr 29, 2012 6:36 pm

There is a an important point missing from Adam's post. The Italian Federation receives a government grant of something like €750,000 (or at least did in 2011).

Roger de Coverly
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Re: How The Italian Chess Federation is Funded

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Apr 29, 2012 7:47 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:There is a an important point missing from Adam's post. The Italian Federation receives a government grant of something like €750,000 (or at least did in 2011).
That is really an enormous amount of money to spend on active chess players numbering no more than in England. What do they spend it on? They seem to have a lot of committees, so even if they don't have many paid staff, expense accounts may be generous. If you had to have a well fed arbiter for every club match, that could work out expensive.

Leonard Barden
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Re: How The Italian Chess Federation is Funded

Post by Leonard Barden » Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:06 pm

From a 2009 Chessdom interview....

Fabiano Caruana: Italian Chess Federation annually pays me a salary.

Krishna Shiatis
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Re: How The Italian Chess Federation is Funded

Post by Krishna Shiatis » Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:57 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:There is a an important point missing from Adam's post. The Italian Federation receives a government grant of something like €750,000 (or at least did in 2011).
How are they affording this? I thought that the Italian Government was bankrupt.

Sabrina Chevannes
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Re: How The Italian Chess Federation is Funded

Post by Sabrina Chevannes » Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:59 pm

This is probably why they're bankrupt Krishna :p

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Adam Raoof
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Re: How The Italian Chess Federation is Funded

Post by Adam Raoof » Sun Apr 29, 2012 10:26 pm

It's because the Olympic (sport) committee values chess, properly funds junior development and supports professional players. Nevertheless they have had thirty percent cuts in their funding. Despite all this Italian chess players do not demure when expected to join the Federation.

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Re: How The Italian Chess Federation is Funded

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Sun Apr 29, 2012 10:28 pm

what happens to the elo rating of anyone who doesn't join?

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Adam Raoof
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Re: How The Italian Chess Federation is Funded

Post by Adam Raoof » Sun Apr 29, 2012 10:38 pm

Jonathan Rogers wrote:what happens to the elo rating of anyone who doesn't join?
That situation is extremely rare, I think. Where a player does not join my colleagues tell me they approach the matter in the same way the ECF does, but I will check. They would not be permitted to play any rated chess in Italy.

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Re: How The Italian Chess Federation is Funded

Post by Alex Holowczak » Sun Apr 29, 2012 10:40 pm

What's the chess scene like in Italy? I'm assuming there's no such thing as local evening leagues, and that all you're left with are weekend congresses and something like the 4NCL?

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Re: How The Italian Chess Federation is Funded

Post by Ian Thompson » Sun Apr 29, 2012 10:44 pm

Adam Raoof wrote:Where a player does not join my colleagues tell me they approach the matter in the same way the ECF does, but I will check. They would not be permitted to play any rated chess in Italy.
That's not the way the ECF works. The ECF attempts to make it difficult for a non-member to play FIDE rated chess anywhere in the world, not just in England.

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Re: How The Italian Chess Federation is Funded

Post by Graham Borrowdale » Sun Apr 29, 2012 10:52 pm

...do not demure when expected to join the Federation...
That's all very well, but the English are not the Italians... In general I am happy to support the ECF, as are very many chess players, but it is not terribly helpful to voice this kind of veiled insult against the whole membership.

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Adam Raoof
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Re: How The Italian Chess Federation is Funded

Post by Adam Raoof » Sun Apr 29, 2012 11:02 pm

Ian Thompson wrote:
Adam Raoof wrote:Where a player does not join my colleagues tell me they approach the matter in the same way the ECF does, but I will check. They would not be permitted to play any rated chess in Italy.
That's not the way the ECF works. The ECF attempts to make it difficult for a non-member to play FIDE rated chess anywhere in the world, not just in England.
What I mean to say is that they are as tough as the ECF but extend that to the equivalent of domestic graded games.

Chess in Italy is organised in a similar way to the UK but not identical. For instance leagues are smaller and there are fewer clubs, and larger with 200 to 400 members. You can only play for one club in a season. There are very many more tournaments at the weekend and rated events all coordinated by regional committee so it is possible to play rated chess every weekend.

I don't think Italian chess suffers for having membership, and I think it could be argued that they have membership for organisational efficiency rather than just to raise money.

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