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  1. #1
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    From the Box Hill Chess Club Archives.

    On this thread, I intend to post selected excerpts from the publication issued with Box Hill Chess Club's 50th anniversary. (A similar, but much more historic publication is available for the Melbourne Chess Club, and I would encourage firegoat to share their rich history by re-printing parts on the BB).

    Here is the first, (written in 2002) >

    1. The Development of Junior Chess at Box Hill Chess Club

    From its inception in 1952 the Box Hill chess club has produced strong junior players, one of the foundation members Don Robson won the Australian junior championship in 1954. He was followed by the very talented Bill Kerr who won the tournament in 1964 and 1965 but left the club shortly after never to be seen again.
    Probably the best known player to get a start at Box Hill was IM Stephen Solomon whose first major success was a victory at the Australian Junior in 1980 although no longer a member at that stage.
    Many other well-known Victorian players such as FM Eddy Levi, Robin Hill, Greg Frean and very briefly Bill Jordan started their career at the club
    However the club always failed to hang on to these talented young players due to the lack of goals once they reached the top level at the club, and as that top level was only moderately high they needed to further their development some place else.
    This however all changed when an 8-year-old Denis Bourmistrov arrived and in his second year at the club gained selection for the under 10 world junior tournament; he brought a coach and a group of admirers including Ruperto Lugo, Ryan Carey, and James Papa. The club then decided that something needed to be done and appointed IM Michael Gluzman as club coach and a junior coaching program was started under his guidance.
    Almost overnight membership doubled and doubled again with the shift to new premises.
    Due to the pressure of large groups of beginners on the Friday night a Tuesday coaching program was started and Whitehorse Junior Chess Inc. was formed to take over the Tuesday night coaching and organise Sunday tournaments.
    The club coach IM Michael Gluzman remains ('starter' edit...written in 2002) heavily involved with the club and has been responsible for the introduction of many talented young players such as Michelle Lee and Sally-Ann Richter who now form the backbone of a talented and strong girls group at the club. Mindful however of the mistakes of the past, the committee continues to search for top players from the past and the present who provide the role models for our juniors and provide them with the incentive to reach the very top. This policy culminated this year (2002) in the Golden Jubilee Club championship when the participation of GM Darryl Johansen, IM Michael Gluzman, and Mirko Rujevic, FM Scott Wastney and top players Sam Low and Michael Woodhams was secured.
    It was very pleasing and exciting for us the BHCC committee that the player who came out on top of this distinguished field was the very same Denis Bourmistrov who started us on this journey.
    Now some statistics for 2002 Club members 172 of which 62 are juniors
    National titleholders in 2001
    Michelle Lee under 18 girls champion.
    Sam Chow under 14 open champion
    Sally-Ann Richter under 14 girls champion
    Rochelleh Ziffer under 10 girls champion
    World junior selections
    Sally Ann Richter [under 14 girls]
    Rochelleh Ziffer [under 10 girls]
    National titleholders in 2002
    Denis Bourmistrov under 14 open champion.
    Ruperto Lugo under 12 open champion
    Casey Hickman under 12 girls champion
    World junior selections
    Anjelija Zivanovic [under 18 girls]
    Ruperto Lugo [under 12 boys]
    Michelle Lee [under 12 girls]
    Last edited by ursogr8; 10-09-2004 at 09:05 AM.

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    3. Personal reflections from the early years
    from Brian Robson


    During 1951 I was a student at Melbourne High School where I was a member of the chess club. In 1951 the Victorian Government held a Victorian Schoolboys' Chess Championship as part of its Centenary Celebrations. This was held at the Melbourne Chess Club. I succeeded in winning the Championship, which entitled me (and also the second place getter, Miles Salter, also from Melbourne High School) to play in the Australian Junior Championship, held in January 1952 in Adelaide. This tournament was essentially the first of the Victorian Junior Championships. In the 1952 Australian Junior Championship, I finished in 6th place with 6pts (3pts behind the winner) out of 11pts while Miles finished in 10th place in a field of 12. We were the first official Victorian entries to participate in the Australian Junior Championships, which had commenced a few years earlier and were dominated by boys from NSW or South Australia.

    So in late 1951 I was thrilled to learn, through an advertisement in the local paper, that it was planned to form a chess club in Box Hill, where I lived. I was 17 and I also persuaded both my younger brothers, Derek (aged 16) and Donald (aged 14) to attend the foundation meeting, which was held on December 6th in the Box Hill library, then situated in the middle of Whitehorse Road near the Town Hall. I believe we were the only juniors at that meeting. At that meeting Ern Saul was elected chairman and Alex Hall Acting Secretary/Treasurer. Of the 17 people who attended the meeting, held 12 days later, the newly-formed club accepted the Box Hill City Council's offer of a fine room (the Auxiliary Room in the Town Hall) for its meetings which started early in 1952.

    In 1954 the Club moved to the Irving Avenue Tennis Pavilion.
    I am not sure what the reasons were for moving. Possibilities are that the Box Hill Council wanted the Chess Club to move, that the players wished to smoke(!), or both. I believe that smoking was not allowed in the meetings room of the Town Hall.

    My brother Derek served as Hon. Secretary, a position that he held for a number of years. Derek was not a strong player but had a keen interest in books, history and keeping records. He eventually gave up chess as he became more interested in history and education. He retired in 1989 as Principal of Broadmeadows High School and the author of several history text books. Sadly he died in 1998 at the age of 62.

    My younger brother, Donald, was a strong chess player even at 14 years of age but showed little desire to be a chess administrator. In 1952 he came second in the Victorian Junior Championship and qualified to play in the 1953 Australian Junior Championship held in January 1953 in Sydney. In that event he finished 4th ahead of the Victorian Junior Champion, Miles Salter. The following two years, as Victorian Junior Champion, he won the 1954 Australian Junior Championship in Toowoomba and came second in the 1955 Australian Junior Championship in Melbourne. In the 1950s Don played for the Box Hill A-grade team when he could but spent less and less time on chess as he developed other interests and continued his studies at Melbourne University, where he obtained a PhD in 1963. During his lunch times at Melbourne University he played many rapid chess games with Doug
    Hamilton and won the majority of these games. He went to Florida State University on a Fulbright Fellowship in 1963 and unfortunately for Australian chess never returned permanently to Australia. He is still a Professor of Physics at Florida State University in Tallahassee.

    I also studied physics at Melbourne University, obtaining a PhD in 1960. In 1952 I played for the B-grade team of the University since Box Hill had not yet entered the Interclub Competition. It did this in 1953. I became the Box Hill Club Captain (I think) in 1953 and held this position for most years of the 1950s. I was elected President in 1959 until the AGM held 1 April 1960, when I was made a Life Member in view of my past contributions
    to chess, especially Box Hill C.C. and my imminent departure to Canberra to take up a research position at The Australian National University.

    I played most of my chess at Box Hill C.C. winning the Club Championship five times and coming second on other occasions during 1952-60. Box Hill C.C. joined the Victorian Chess Association in March 1953 and competed in both B and C grade interclub competitions. In 1954 Box Hill entered teams in all three grades A, B and C of the Interclub Competition. In 1954 there were only three teams in the A-grade: Melbourne, Venta (a very strong Latvian club, which had won all three grades in 1953) and Box Hill. This continued in 1955. Needless to say, Box Hill finished 3rd in the A-grade in both years but the team obtained strong competition in the double round events. Don and I usually played on boards 1 and 2, respectively. In 1955 Box Hill was the only club with teams in A, B and C grades. In 1956 there were 8 teams in the A-grade competition, including two teams from Venta. Box Hill finished 4th. Thus even in the 1950s Box Hill was one of the stronger clubs in Melbourne.

    In March 1955 at the AGM of the Victorian Chess Association I was elected Hon. Secretary, a position I held for two years. This was an interesting time since the Australian Championship was to be held in Melbourne in 1956 at a time close to the Olympic Games. In this tournament it was hoped for the first time to attract several overseas participants. In fact four overseas players did participate: Sarapu (NZ) and Campomanes, Cardoso, and Pascual from the Phillipines. Campomanes, who did so much for chess in the Phillipines, later became President of FIDE. It was very interesting to meet these people in addition to the leading Australian players.

    On moving to Canberra I joined the Canberra C.C. and later also the Woden C.C. In the 1960s and 1970s I had some tournament successes, including both the Canberra Chess Club and Woden Club Championships. In Melbourne I had enjoyed the interclub competitions so much that I was keen to have such a competition in Canberra. I initiated the formation of the Canberra Chess Association (now the ACT Chess Association) and among other activities both an interclub competition and interschool chess were started. In particular the Doeberl Cup held at Easter was begun in 1963 and has continued to this day. I was the D. of P. on three occasions 1963, 1965 and 1972. On the last occasion I had the pleasure of meeting Max Euwe then President of FIDE who opened the 1972 tournament. From 1960-1979 I was much involved in ACT chess and held several administrative positions: President Canberra
    C.C., President Canberra (ACT) Chess Association, Captain Canberra C.C., Director of Inter-Schools' Competition, etc. About 1980 I essentially 'retired' from chess preferring to devote my leisure times to pursuits requiring less mental activity than that required in my profession as a theoretical physicist. However, I still retain a strong interest in chess and it gives me great pleasure to see how Box Hill C.C. has progressed in recent years.

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    4. Relationship between Box Hill Chess Club and the Local Council
    When the Box Hill Chess Club was first conceived the then Box Hill Council showed quite a bit of interest in the project and provided free accommodation for some time. However, this interest soon faded and user pay systems were introduced to all council properties and for all Box Hill sporting and community organisations, and so it was for the Box Hill Chess Club, doomed to stay in the cheap and inadequate Irving Avenue Tennis pavilion being unable to afford better accommodation. Then with the amalgamation between Box Hill and Nunawading Councils into the City of Whitehorse the attitude changed. Was it the increase in recognition of chess as a valuable educational tool? Or the increased awareness by the club of its need to project itself as a community organisation? Or perhaps the chess symbol of the white horse on the council's logo? No one knows, but over the last few years the value of council contribution in both money and kind has grown in parallel with the growth of the club.
    1997 The rent at the Carrington centre is subsidised.
    1998 The council provides a free venue and contributes towards the prize fund for a chess tournament during the Whitehorse festival.
    1999 The Council makes a small travel grant for selected junior chess players travelling overseas.
    2000 The council has provided a start-up grant towards our junior development scheme.
    2001 The council joined in a bid to secure the Australian Junior Championships for Box Hill by offering a free venue [with a commercial value of $7000] for the tournament.
    The times they are indeed a-changing

  4. #4
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    Thanks

    Hey starter,

    Thanks for posting this stuff. Its very helpful to know about this sort of thing (e.g. should help me in my discussions with my council in turn).

    Cheers,

    Frosty
    “As you perhaps know, I haven't always been a Christian. I didn't go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don't recommend Christianity.” -- C.S.Lewis

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frosty
    Hey starter,

    Thanks for posting this stuff. Its very helpful to know about this sort of thing (e.g. should help me in my discussions with my council in turn).

    Cheers,

    Frosty

    Steve
    All of this is in a bound publication.........and has lots of more useful stuff (in particular for you) I have not posted here yet. Drop in again and I will give you a copy.
    Btw are you an entrant for the OPEN next Friday?

    starter

  6. #6
    CC Grandmaster Spiny Norman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by starter
    Steve
    All of this is in a bound publication.........and has lots of more useful stuff (in particular for you) I have not posted here yet. Drop in again and I will give you a copy.
    Btw are you an entrant for the OPEN next Friday?

    starter

    I'd love to get a copy, so yes, I'll stop by the club one evening as soon as I can manage it. I've got sick kids at the moment, so my time is limited. But I'll join up @ Box Hill in due course.

    Re: the Open ... I'm practising away here at home, but still very rusty and somewhat lacking confidence ... maybe next time? The thing I've noticed is that my combinational vision is pretty weak. I stopped by down @ Chess World on Saturday afternoon and picked up some 2nd hand books which should help:

    - The Modern Chess Sacrifice (Leonid Shamkovich)
    - Marshall's Best Games Of Chess
    - My Best Games Of Chess 1908-1923 (Alexander Alekhine)

    Hopefully they'll sharpen me up a bit.

    See you soon,

    Frosty
    “As you perhaps know, I haven't always been a Christian. I didn't go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don't recommend Christianity.” -- C.S.Lewis

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    Box Hill Chess Club and Dandenong Chess Club

    Box Hill and Dandenong have always have common interests as Chess Clubs and have quite a few members in common. Many times over the years there have been visits from on club to the other for a 20 board challenge.
    A variation on this theme occurred in 2000 when a sort of correspondence voting match was conducted.
    The game and report is reproduced below. (Sorry it does not use K's zippy viewer...it is not something I have tried...perhaps jeffrei can construct for me).

    Challenge 2000
    Those of you who visit the web page may have noticed, in the archives, a game between Dandenong Chess Club and Box Hill Chess Club in the year 2000. This game arose from a challenge by the Box Hill club for a game to be played at a rate of at least one move per week. On each of the respective club nights, the latest move was placed on the notice board for consideration by all those present at the club. Following discussion of potential responses, the club selected the most popular move, by ballot, of the members present on the night.
    Box Hill won this game, which is shown here.
    1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6 3.Bb5+ Bd7 4.Bc4 c6 5.dxc6 Nxc6 6.Nf3 e5 7.Ng5 Bc5 8.Nxf7 Bxf2+ 9.Kf1 Qb6 10.Nxh8 Bg4 11.Be2 Bh4 12.g3 Ne4 13.d4 Bh3+ 14.Ke1 Nxg3 15.Bg5 Nxe2+ 16.Bxh4 Ncxd4 17.c3 Qc6 18.cxd4 Qxh1+ 19.Kd2 Qxd1+ 20.Kxd1 Nxd4 21.Nc3 Bg4+ 22.Kc1 Rc8 23.Bg3 Nf3 24.Bf2 a6 25.Kc2 Bf5+ 26.Kd1 Ke7 27.Ke2 Nd4+ 28.Kf1 Bh3+ 29.Kg1 Rxh8 0-1



    starter
    ps (adapted from article written by BB member booboo).
    Last edited by ursogr8; 14-09-2004 at 08:49 AM.

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    Event: Challenge 2000
    Date: 2000
    White: Dandenong Chess Club
    Black: Box Hill Chess Club
    Result: 0-1
    ECO: B01
    PlyCount: 58

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    Life Member …John Butler

    This next excerpt from the archives is a story about John Butler. BB readers will remember a few days back that FROSTY recalled playing John back in the 80's (at Ringwood or Croydon). Well, John is still playing well into his (personal) 80's. He is at Box Hill two evenings per week.

    Life Member …John Butler
    In the next paragraph John Butler reveals one of the great secrets to becoming a very good chess player. But first we should recognise John as our oldest member and perhaps with one of the best memories of a chess-playing career. John arrived from Britain when he was 10 years old and lived in the Western District with his brothers who taught him the chess moves. The two country newspapers (one with a green front page, and the other with an orange front page) carried chess columns and bulletins. John enthusiastically cycled for miles to a family who purchased the papers; John’s sole purpose of the trip was to read the chess column. Andrew Dall wrote one column for many years. A prize was offered by the newspaper for the best-annotated game by a reader, and John won the contest. His prize was a year’s subscription to the correspondence chess magazine. John played chess against one of the school-teachers and games meandered at a leisurely pace as moves were left on a piece of paper in the ‘cream cans’.
    John’s first book was Masters of the ChessBoard by R Reti and this probably accounts for John’s chess excellence.
    Through correspondence play John had met C. Deane of the Malvern Chess Circle and when John moved to Melbourne for employment Deane invited him to play Board 1 Interclub at the Railways Buildings venue. As John’s opponent was a Mr Lamparter, Victorian Champion, and John had no prior experience with clocks or spectators, he was instructed to ‘just try his best’. John won in 33 moves.
    John played a lot of chess with the Melbourne Chess Club, then meeting at the Athenaeum. His best result was a 2nd in a championship to Max Green.
    Geography started to play a part in John’s chess opportunities and he joined the Ringwood Chess Club for a few years. A chance meeting with our Gerrit Hartland saw him invited to join the Box Hill Chess Club. John has always enjoyed the camaraderie side to Box Hill, and served on Committee on occasions. He is a Life member of the Club.
    John’s favourite chess memory is clearly his win, as a 17-year-old, in a Telegraphic Interstate match. He featured on the front page of the Herald newspaper for his triumph

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    5. The COMPUTER…a tool to handle growth
    As the growth in membership became evident in 1999 the Committee was faced with the problem common to all volunteer organisations…how to manage the extra work that comes with extra membership.
    A deliberate decision was taken to slightly increase the annual subscriptions so as to create funding for any computer-related activities that would ease the workload.

    The initiatives that have emerged include a Club web-site (at http://www.BoxHillChess.org.au), and a Club computer on-site for Friday and Tuesday night pairings for tournaments. We are fortunate that most of these facilities have been developed professionally by Club member Phillip O’Connor. The computer facilities have progressed to being the main method that players enter tournaments (although post, phone, and personal approaches are still welcomed).

    A small community of individuals takes the score-sheets of games played in tournaments and records these into a database of games; this database can be used by all players to prepare for the next opponent. Who is their next opponent? This can also be accessed on the web-site, usually by the Tuesday preceding a Friday round of games. Thank you to that small band of Club individuals who allocate time to typing in the games of all players. Perhaps you would like to volunteer to help, and in doing so you can learn from other stronger players.

    The web-site itself is an entry point to the wonderland of the INTERNET. Click on our web-site and one more click and you are able to move to the Australian Chess Federation web-site; another click and you can link to the ACF Bulletin. Another click and you can move to the web-site of any current major chess event in any part of the world. Just now (edit...written in 2002)many of us are following the 8 game match between World Champion Vladimir Kramnik and the best computer Deep Fritz. Alternatively you can click within our web-site and see if you won a prize in a previous tournament, or who is your opponent for the next round. Really neat.
    Even if you do not have a home computer (with Internet access) it is possible to access our web-site information from a friend’s computer, or the local library, such is the power of the Internet.

    The Club computer has achieved all the objectives we had for handling growth and is the prime reason that we can run a 9 round lightning tournament involving 100 players, with minimum delay between rounds. The use of e-mail between members of the Club has enabled us to share the workload on organisation of tournaments and managing the affairs of the Club. We have ‘survived’ the growth to 180 members, but we must not presume that the computer is a substitute for people volunteering their time for tasks that benefit all members. There will always be a need for human hands on the (computer) tool.

    The computer and the inventiveness of Club officials have combined to allow a major improvement in the method we use to run SWISS tournaments. A past problem with a large SWISS field of 100+ players is that games for about the first 7 rounds generally see rating differences between 150-300 points. The participation of highly rated players tends to be very selective as a consequence of many uneven games, with predictable results. Victoria’s best players seemed to ‘appear’ only for national championships and A Grade InterClub where they are guaranteed competitive pairings. This problem is now solved by Box Hill’s use of ‘acceleration’ in the computer pairings. In essence, the top 50% of the field is given a 2-point bonus for the duration of the tournament. This has the effect of running an A Division SWISS and a B Division SWISS and allowing those with the best results after a few rounds in B to be paired with those with poor results in A. That is, the B Division players still get to play A Division players, but only those that they have a reasonable chance of defeating. The Club now achieves dozens of challenging pairings for players at all rating levels, each and every round. There are no more SWISS ‘junk’ pairings that have been seen in the past. Since the introduction of this strategy in early 2002 I have lost count of the number of players who have remarked to me how “..hard it is to win games at Box Hill..”. We are all noticing that games in SWISS tournaments are now finely balanced between players of comparable ratings, and hence hard to win. (This is not applicable to Tuesday tournaments that are more in the tradition of small fields).
    Last edited by ursogr8; 15-09-2004 at 08:32 AM.

  11. #11
    CC Grandmaster Spiny Norman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by starter
    This next excerpt from the archives is a story about John Butler. BB readers will remember a few days back that FROSTY recalled playing John back in the 80's (at Ringwood or Croydon). Well, John is still playing well into his (personal) 80's. He is at Box Hill two evenings per week.

    John’s favourite chess memory is clearly his win, as a 17-year-old, in a Telegraphic Interstate match. He featured on the front page of the Herald newspaper for his triumph

    I'd post a copy of my one-and-only draw with John, but I haven't yet worked out the FEN/PGN things. When I do I'll post it and you can all have a laugh at me struggling to keep my position afloat.

    Cheers,

    Frosty
    “As you perhaps know, I haven't always been a Christian. I didn't go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don't recommend Christianity.” -- C.S.Lewis

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    My one-and-only draw with John Butler

    Quote Originally Posted by Frosty
    I'd post a copy of my one-and-only draw with John, but I haven't yet worked out the FEN/PGN things. When I do I'll post it and you can all have a laugh at me struggling to keep my position afloat.
    OK ... here we go ... lets see if this works:

    Event: Informal game
    Site: Ringwood Chess Club
    Date: 1982
    White: Frost, Stephen (1390)
    Black: Butler, John (1780)
    Result: 1/2-1/2
    ECO: C93

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    “As you perhaps know, I haven't always been a Christian. I didn't go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don't recommend Christianity.” -- C.S.Lewis

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    Here's another game where John beat me fairly comfortably ... the game is only notable in my memory because it started:

    1. d4 Nc6

    and turned into a sort of mirror image Alekhine defense. I thought things were working out OK up until I went astray on move 13.

    Event: Informal game
    Site: Ringwood Chess Club
    Date: 3/6/1982
    White: Butler, John (1780)
    Black: Frost, Stephen (1390)
    Result: 1-0
    ECO: A40

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    “As you perhaps know, I haven't always been a Christian. I didn't go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don't recommend Christianity.” -- C.S.Lewis

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    2. The Search for New Premises
    1. Background.
    In 1992 Box Hill Chess Club celebrated its 40th anniversary. By then, the number of active Club members was down to 35. Most members had been attending the club for over twenty years and were 50 years old or older. In club competitions one not only played the same opponents again and again but could also predict with reasonable certainty which round they would meet. The general picture was of stability but also of stagnation.
    In the next few years it had become apparent that the number of active members was slowly but steadily decreasing. Some members left because of lack of interest or moved away upon retirement. The club was not able to attract younger members to offset the loss of the older players. The few younger players who came to the club did not stay for long.
    Over the years, many chess clubs in Melbourne have disappeared. The experience has been that a minimum number of active members needed to keep a chess club going is about twenty, and when this critical mass is reached a club is well on its way to oblivion. Already in the Committee minutes of 11.12.1992 it was stated: “We are concerned about membership”.
    In the mid-nineties the number of players in Box Hill Chess Club competitions regularly dipped below 30 and the Club Committee started to look into ways of stopping the decline in membership. To achieve this, advertising, improving the clubrooms at the Tennis Pavilion at Irving Avenue and attracting younger players were considered.
    In 1993 John Lavery and Arie Meydan started to look for new premises in Doncaster. The idea was that by moving to the adjacent suburb, not only would modern premises become available, but also this would make the club more accessible to the pool of chess players who lived in the northern suburbs. A motion to approve on principle the relocation to Doncaster and to empower the Club Committee to negotiate for new premises was put to the 1993 AGM. After a lengthy discussion on how to arrest the decline in membership the motion was lost.
    In the next two years various initiatives to attract members were tried. Publicity in the local paper and the community radio was sought. The club arranged promotional stalls in the ANZAC Day activities run by the Whitehorse Council and at the Warrandyte Festival. A visitor’s book was started to facilitate keeping in touch with visitors. A motion was passed to allow visitors to play in clubs tournaments, and visitors fees were waived for chess players younger than 21. A mentor scheme for new members was introduced and a kit for new members was updated and reprinted.
    These initiatives were moderately successful and a few new players, most of them young, joined the club. Another, unexpected source of new players was the discontinued Croydon Chess Club, which was absorbed into the Box Hill Chess Club on 04.02.1996.
    In the 1995-96 annual report, the then President, Arie Meydan, said: “There is no doubt that the absorption of new members has dispersed, I hope for ever, the clouds of stagnation which have recently hovered above our club. ….. However, the increase in membership and the poor conditions of the current clubrooms might put us under pressure to find alternative accommodation much earlier. Even though there is no urgency, the Committee will be on the lookout for new premises.”
    To assist with the development of the newly acquired junior members and the rejuvenation of the Club, on 21.04.1996 the Committee decided to set up a Coaching Scheme for juniors and to apply to the City of Whitehorse Council for an establishment grant. The submission to the City of Whitehorse was prepared by the Treasurer, Trevor Stanning and was successful. The $1000 grant allowed the club to get a paid coach and to create the Coaching Scheme for juniors. Initially, the program was to be run on Tuesdays. This turned out to be highly unsatisfactory, because the participants either had to be brought to the Club by their parents twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays, or to miss the regular Friday competition. The coaching of juniors was transferred to Friday to be run before the regular chess program for seniors. This caused administrative problems, including a clash with late tennis players during summer. It became obvious that the limitations of the Tennis Pavilion were adversely affecting the Coaching Scheme for juniors.
    By 1996 the danger to the club future was over, but the increase in membership, the establishment of the Coaching Scheme for juniors and the gradual deterioration of the premises’ condition made the search for alternative clubrooms imperative.
    2. Irving Avenue Tennis Pavilion.
    The Box Hill Chess Club had used the Tennis Pavilion since 1959. It could accommodate a maximum of 44 players, had no air-conditioning and the overall playing conditions there were poor. The landlord, the St Peters Anglican Church Tennis Club, had neither the money nor the motivation to upgrade the premises and the place was poorly maintained. In the 04.21.1996 meeting the Committee asked the Secretary to write to the landlord, requesting the repair of the dangerously damaged floorboards, the removal of the unserviceable refrigerator and the replacement of light globes. This was in addition to previous problems the club had experienced with a faulty urn and unhygienic toilets, occasionally with no toilet paper.
    Due to its location next to a park the Tennis Pavilion also suffered from security problems. On one occasion the club was broken into and on a few other occasions, there were attempts to break into or steal members’ cars parked on Irving Avenue. In the 1995-96 annual report the following instructions to members were included: “If you are one of the last to leave on Friday night, please stick around for a few minutes to make sure that: a. All cars will start. b. The person locking the gate is not mugged by undesirables lurking in the park nearby.”
    However, it was a heat wave in December 1996, which made it clear that a permanent move to an air-conditioned venue was not only desirable but essential. On one memorable Friday the heat was so unbearable that some players were rushing outside as soon as they pressed the clock, others agreed on a draw so they could go home.
    3. The search for new premises.
    On 29.09.1996 the Committee gave the President the task to search for alternative premises. Bill Collins was the only Committee member who opposed such a move, arguing that better premises would be much more expensive and thus the cost of such a lease might require raising membership fees to unacceptable levels.
    Following this meeting, Gerrit Hartland, John Kable and Arie Meydan formed a sub-committee to search for and to evaluate prospective venues. A list of search criteria was prepared, the most important one being the cost of leasing. In 1995 Box Hill Chess Club paid to the landlord of the Tennis Pavilion $760/year or about $12 a night. The sub-committee agreed that it would be too difficult for the club to pay more than double this sum. This ruled out any commercially owned premises and limited the sub-committee to considering only those premises under the control of a community organization.
    The list of criteria included the following: long term lease, sufficient space, sufficient lighting, air-conditioning, access to male and female toilets, adequate parking, availability of tables and chairs, equipment storage and general security.
    Eventually, after several weeks of looking at prospective venues, two locations were short-listed: The Senior Citizens Club at 79 Carrington Road Box Hill and a Baptist Church at the corner of Ellingworth Parade and Station Street. The Senior Citizens Club was chosen. The sub-committee thought that because the Senior Citizens Club belonged to the City of Whitehorse it would provide a better long-term lease security than the Church Hall. Also, because in the previous years the Club had developed an amicable relationship with the City of Whitehorse Council administration, the sub-committee thought that this would make the negotiation process easier.
    4. The move to the Box Hill Senior Citizens Club.
    The subcommittee reported on its activities to the full Committee on 02.03.1997 and recommended leasing the dining hall at the Box Hill Senior Citizens Club. The Committee then empowered the President to complete the tenancy negotiations with the City of Whitehorse. These were successfully concluded in March 97. The tenancy agreement and the practical details of moving to and occupying the premises were sorted out by direct negotiation between our Captain Gerrit Hartland and Mrs. Helen Trotter, the manager of the Box Hill Senior Citizens Club.
    Initially, the plan was to shift to the Senior Citizens Club during Easter, so that the forthcoming AGM on the 04.04.1997 would take place at the new premises. Because of a scheduled treatment of the floor, the move was postponed until the first weekend in May. Eventually, the move to the new premises took place on 05.05.1997. Coordinated by Gerrit Hartland, who was the Action Officer, and with the help of many enthusiastic volunteers, the shift to the new premises went smoothly.
    The Club agreed to lease the dining hall on Fridays for $1045 a year. The following year, 1997/98, due to our need to also use the adjacent hall for coaching of juniors, our annual lease increased to $1485, still below the maximum limit imposed by the sub-committee.
    Now, five years later, celebrating the 50 years of the Box Hill Chess Club, it may be safely concluded that the move to the Box Hill Senior Citizens Club has been remarkably successful. The move to the new premises and the establishment of the Juniors Coaching program have been the major factors in transforming a small and stagnant club into the largest and probably the most active chess club in Australia.

  15. #15
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    6. Life Members
    Life Member … Gordon Wilby

    Gordon first joined the Club during the 1980’s and found it difficult for many months, perhaps even years, to win a serious tournament game. It became clear that Gordon was reading books and making a concerted effort to get ‘off the bottom’ of the rating table. Many of us took great pleasure when he won his first game because he had displayed unfailing good humour during his struggle to improve.
    In fact Gordon’s humour came to be a calling card as his first item of business each night on arrival at the Club was to relate a joke of the week. In this endeavour a good mate Tom Kenney joined him as they shared good humour and sought to improve their rating position.
    Gordon was first to arrive at the Club each evening and became instrumental in setting up tables and sets. He made himself available to make useful wooden items for the Club. These included a Box Hill Chess Club sign, various honour boards, and finally the handsome Autumn Cup trophy.
    The Committee recognised Gordon’s contribution to Club harmony, and various wooden artefacts and his Life membership was proposed to and accepted at the AGM. Sadly Gordon was diagnosed with a serious illness and we watched in regret as the effect on his constitution became evident. Never, however, did it dilute his pleasant outlook on life.

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