Dear members of the chess fraternity in Singapore,
The past 3 months since the election of the new Executive Council (Exco) of the Singapore Chess Federation (SCF) on August 2, 2015 for the 2yr term from 2015-2017, have been eventful. A number of incidents both internally and externally, have transpired within this short span of time which the Exco has had to address.
Despite all of us being volunteers with full-time careers and families, the strong motivation for us taking up office as a duly elected member of the Exco is to do our part, no matter how small, to contribute towards the continual improvement of the chess community working collaboratively and actively engaging with all the stakeholders especially yourselves, whether you are a chess player, parent, service provider, or any related parties.
However, as you may be aware, all has not been plain sailing for the Exco since the very start, putting us under tremendous stress constantly. We are aware that various rumours and less than desired discussions that are divisive in nature have been circulating amongst the community. While not all of us may hold the same opinion and views on all issues, it is still necessary to ensure that perspectives are formed based not on hearsay, which can be misconstrued, misinterpreted, or simply lost in translation. Opinions should be formed based on information that is factual and defensible.
Therefore, we have prepared a chronology of events of the past few months that encapsulates the issues that the Exco has had to face including but not limited to:
Incident that happened during ASEAN+ Age Group Chess Championships held in Singapore this year which led to the sanctions that ASEAN Chess Confederation (ACC) imposed on the Exco recently.
Guilty verdict and subsequent sanctions imposed on Mr Ignatius Leong by world chess body, FIDE.
The chronology can be viewed at chronology-of-events.
We have tried to present the relevant events as factually as possible, and have ensured that the accounts below are, as far as possible, supported by documents such as emails, minutes of documented meetings, Facebook and website posts etc. We have also consulted with lawyers on this matter.
Specifically addressing the ACC ban imposed on Exco, fuller details can be found on http://aseanchess.org/asean-chess-confederation-sanctions-to-singapore-chess-federation/. Despite our previous response to the ACC stating that their unilateral actions were a violation of due process and rules of natural justice, and that their sanctions and bans are not in accordance with the Constitution of the ACC itself, they nonetheless proceeded on October 30, 2015 with sanctioning SCF, even increased the extent of their original sanctions (first imposed on October 10, 2015) as follows:
The sanctions now apply to current AND future Exco members, and not only Exco members who were in office when ACC first published its sanctions.
Exco members who were in office when ACC first published its sanctions but resigned on October 23, 2015 are absolved from the sanctions.
We are currently in consultation with legal counsel with a view to continuing to engage with ACC and are concurrently seeking the views and advice of relevant agencies with respect to the sanctions imposed. We are confident that justice will prevail.
There are serious implications that will affect our entire chess community if ACC’s sanctions are implemented. The sanctions may have the effect of paralyzing the operations of SCF and deterring members from running for office in the future. Hence, we view the sanctions seriously and will be utilizing all resources that we can to ensure we obtain proper redress. We will keep all of you updated as developments unfold and seek your kind patience and continued support.
In the meantime, the current remaining Exco members are putting in more effort, sacrificing time away from family and their careers following the resignation of a few Exco members, to ensure that chess events continue uninterrupted, unaffected and our chess community continues to progress.
We have been able to successfully organize events such as Serangoon Team Community Chess Championships 2015, Capital Piazzo Mid-Autumn Blitz Chess Challenge, Social-cum-Movie outing: Pawn Sacrifice. Planning continues to take place for the 5 upcoming chess events in November and finally our annual year end gala, Awards Nights on December 27, 2015 where we show our appreciation to members of the community for their contributions.
We are blessed to have received a strong outpouring of support from members of the chess fraternity who have come forward to assist us in the planning and organization of events. To all of you, we salute your dedication and efforts and we look forward to more of you coming forward to lend your much needed support for our chess players and the Exco in this time of need. I am sure we will get through this together.
In spite of everything that is going on, let us also not forget to let our hair down and enjoy the festive period with our loved ones, forget about battles fought and won on the chess boards and come together as one people and one Chess Singapore!
Yours very truly
Leonard Lau, SCF President