Arbiting Workshop Report

One month back, September 19-20, the NSWCA ran a weekend workshop to train candidates for FIDE’s National Arbiter (NA) position. Held at the Sydney Academy of Chess, Burwood, it was an intense affair, run by the very affable International Arbiter (IA) Peter Tsai, and assisted by Ryde-Eastwood’s Bob Watson (IA) and the ACF’s National Ratings Officer, Bill Gletsos (NA).  St George had three participants, Clive Ng, Anthony Karnaout, and myself, among an overall total of twenty-two.

The content covered a wide range of topics including: the laws of chess, tournament types; tournament conditions; types of tie-breaks; the theory and practice of pairings; the conduct of players and arbiters; ensuring fair play; clock handling; and the submission of results. For most attendees, even the introductory section, an exposition of the rules of chess and tournament play, held many surprises. As Anthony says:

The seminar was a great experience, as I was able to learn some of the finer points of the Laws of Chess. Not only did I learn about arbiting, but it also added to my knowledge as a chess player.

If you want to test your own knowledge of the rules, I’ve created an anonymous 10 question quiz based on the workshop content, and my reading of two official FIDE documents: The Laws of Chess and the FIDE Arbiters Manual.

I’ve set the ‘pass mark’ for the quiz at 50%, but at the end of the workshop itself, we all had to sit a two-hour exam, and to get our NA accreditation, we had to score at least 80%. Like the workshop, the exam was exacting, and even included an exercise in pairing players manually,  based on ‘first principles’. The idea was that even though all FIDE-rated Swiss tournaments in Australia use the Vega application to determine pairings automatically (and we practised that too), an arbiter should be able to explain to players what is going on in Vega, under the hood, as it were.

All three St George participants passed the exam comfortably, and we are now listed on FIDE list of National Arbiters.  The National Arbiter accreditation even shows up on one’s individual FIDE page.  Anthony has already gone on to act as an arbiter for our recent Allegro tournament. My first gig will be at the upcoming Ryde-Eastwood Open (see upcoming events below) where I will assist Rob Watson.

The workshop was such a success, that the NSWCA has already announced a second NA Workshop, to be run by Bill Gletsos and Rob Watson at the Sydney Academy of Chess, on the weekend of October 7-9.