26 March 2009

Chess in Africa - CACDEC in 2008

In Chess in Africa - What Is CACDEC?, I gave an introduction to CACDEC, FIDE's Committee for Assistance to Chess Developing Countries. In this post, I'll give excerpts from the CACDEC minutes of the most recent FIDE Congress. See 79th FIDE General Assembly Minutes and Annexes [Annex 58] for the full report.

79th FIDE Congress, 17-25 November, Congress Centre, Dresden, Germany
CACDEC MINUTES, 18 November 2008
Chairman: A. Herbert (BAR)


3. Continental President for Africa Report

FIDE Vice-President, Mr Lewis Ncube, delivered the report on behalf of Continental President Mr Buthali who was arriving after the day after the meeting.

The 2007 African Junior was successfully staged by the Malawi Association and was held at the Kamazu Academy. Mr Ncube indicated that for a recent member of FIDE Malawi had done an excellent job. The event was won by a 15 year old Egyptian with South Africa 2nd & 3rd. The Girls event saw South Africa take 1st & 2nd. Unfortunately the FIDE Arbiters Seminar that was to be run alongside the main event did not happen.

August saw the CACDEC Trainer’s Seminars take place in Gaborone, Botswana. It was led by Malaysia’s Peter Long.

Botswana expressed disappointment that the neighbours did not send participants as only 9 participants from Botswana and 1 person from Somalia attended. South Africa and Zambia cited the cost of the seminar for participants as a reason for not attending. South Africa indicated that they intended to have their own Seminar so instead of training one person they could train maybe 20.

Angola commented that they have language difficulties and would prefer a Portuguese speaking seminar.

Seychelles said it is cheaper to fly to Europe than to many parts of Africa and recommended that in the future it maybe be better to host such seminars centrally at a venue like Johannesburg.

Mozambique staged the Zone 4.3 Zonal in Maputo in July. Five 5 countries Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Mozambique & South Africa participated with SA taking 1st place.

Mr. Ncube also reported that he had made a number of successful trips which resulted in Cameroon, DR Congo, Gabon, Ghana and Sao Tome joining FIDE with Gabon and Ghana already participating in the Dresden Olympiad.

The representative from Ethiopia said that visas for African countries continue to be difficult. Also that the costs such as FIDE dues was crippling.

Mr Campomanes told the audience that we all started with nothing and that hard work is what is needed for a Federation to succeed. Mr Freeman reiterated this.


5. CACDEC Development Goals

A document was out-lining the CACDEC Development Goals for 2006-2010 was circulated.

The Chairman identified the need to update the list of CACDEC Members as there are a number of Federations who are currently not on the list that should be there as well as some who can be graduated.

This subject however is very sensitive as there can be significant financial benefits derived from being a CACDEC Federation like the 50% allocation of entry fees when staging FIDE events as opposed to 20% for Non-CACDEC Federations.

The main challenge to updating the list is the lack of a definition in the CACDEC Statutes as to what qualifies a Federation for CACDEC.

This has led to arguments where countries like Bermuda and the US Virgin Islands where deemed unworthy of being CACDEC because they were viewed as wealthy when in fact their Chess was very undeveloped.

The Chairman indicated that he would prefer to see the focus on development regardless of the economic standing of the country. CACDEC was not the FIDE Financial Assistance Commission.

The other challenge is the continuing belief that the investments in CACDEC have not had any returns and it is for this reason that the CACDEC Development Goals 2006-2010 were developed.

The Chairman called on Federations to look at the CACDEC goals and work towards achieving them.

It was disappointing that there were still some CACDEC Federations with no FIDE rated players and with the rating floor was dropping to 1200 there is really no reason why all Federations should not be able to build a pool of rated players.

Of the FIDE members in America Belize was the only one that did not have rated players. However in Africa there were quite a number. The Chairman also expressed concern that many CACDEC Federations did not rate their national championships.

Africa should as a priority look at a having a Continental Youth Festival as there were the only Continent without one.

With respect to the goal that all CACDEC Federations aim to participate in the 2008 and 2010 Chess Olympiad, excellent progress has been made. For CACDEC Level 1 Federations 31 out of 36 are participating in Dresden while all 12 Federations in Level 2 were participating and 17 out of the 20 in level 3. This is a big achievement when the costs of bringing a team to the Olympiad must represent a huge percentage of a CACDEC Federation’s budget.

In concluding Mr Herbert said that the statistics for every CACDEC Federation indicating their progress with each of the goals will be compiled in January and circulated.



When we say that the objective of CACDEC is to ensure that one day we have no member Federations in CACDEC, how do we define the finish line, that point at which one is no longer qualified for CACDEC?

To answer this we must consider how such Federations will look in the future compared to their reality today.

Our challenge therefore is to agree on common objective measures which clearly distinguish CACDEC from non-CACDEC, what this paper will term as developmental goals.

It is hard to believe that anyone will disagree that a Federation which has no FIDE rated or Titled players, no FIDE certified Arbiters, has never had any of its National Championships FIDE rated, no indigenous certified FIDE Instructors or Trainers, no Chess-in-Schools programme, no developmental programme for its best juniors, has never participated in an Olympiad or its Continental events in the last 10 years, that such a Federation is the extreme example of a CACDEC Federation.

Similarly, we would all agree that if in 10 years none of the above was true for the same Federation, that that Federation would have graduated form CACDEC.

By describing what a non-CACDEC Federation should be, we have in fact established objective developmental goals by which we can measure the effectiveness of our work.

And let us not lose sight of the true benefit to the chess community of such a Federation.

While the FIDE Treasurer will welcome this as one less Federation to pour CACDEC funds into, the real value is a functioning Federation which rather than being a drain on FIDE is a contributor to FIDE and its Continents. And this, through FIDE’s Accounts, can be measured as objectively as we currently measure our players each day with our ratings system.

So CACDEC must be seen as an investment in FIDE’s future to grow the market for Chess organizers, trainers and equipment producers and ultimately FIDE. An like any investment we must have an expectation on the return of that investment.

In my term as CACDEC Chairman for 2006-2010, I see development in a different light, one that has specific business goals that lead to a wider market for the sport and FIDE.

I therefore propose that the following become the CACDEC Developmental Goals 2006-2010 and that each CACDEC initiative, whether initiated at the Continental level or FIDE, be directly tied to one of them.

Failure to demonstrate how a particular project fulfils one of these goals in my opinion disqualifies it for consideration. This may put an end to some of the activities we have held dear in the past but is necessary if our efforts are not be an exercise in futility.


1. All CACDEC Federations have at least 5 FIDE Rated Players by 2007 and newly affiliated Federations within two years of achieving FIDE Membership.

2. The National Championships of each CACDEC Federation is registered and FIDE Rated by the end of 2008 and each year there after.

3. All CACDEC Federations have at least one (1) active FIDE Arbiter or International Arbiter by the end of 2009.

4. All CACDEC Federations have at least one (1) indigenous FIDE certified Trainer by the end of 2010.

5. All CACDEC Federations have a chess-in-schools programme by the end of 2009.

6. All CACDEC Federations have a Junior Squad Development Programme to accelerate the development of its best juniors by the end of 2007.

7. All CACDEC Federations participate in their Continental Youth Championships for 2008, 2009 and 2010.

8. All CACDEC Federations participate in the 2008 and 2010 World Chess Olympiad.

9. Those CACDEC Federations with more than 10 active rated players and no FIDE Titled players as at July 1, 2006, produce at least 1 FIDE Titled player by 2010.

It is recognized that on the surface these goals may seem ambitious, but remember the goals are not an end in themselves, it is the process of trying to achieve them that is ultimately more valuable.

Each is measurable with a definite time frame and today, through our ratings and titles systems, we have the tools to measure them.

Allan Herbert
Chairman, CACDEC

Of particular interest are the nine development goals at the end of the report. How well are the African federations progressing to meet these goals?

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