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Thread: 2. Opening Comments of Chair

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    Default 2. Opening Comments of Chair

    This thread is reserved for our chair CFC President Vladimir Drkulec's Opening Comments

  2. #2
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    Ladies and gentlemen,
    Distinguished voting members of the Chess Federation of Canada,

    Good morning and welcome to this online gathering of the voting members. Today, we are gathered here as the driving force behind the future of chess in Canada, entrusted with the responsibility to shape the path ahead for our beloved sport. It is a privilege to stand before you as we embark on this important meeting, fueled by a shared passion for chess and a collective commitment to its growth and development.

    I must say that this edition of the CFC board or executive has been a wonderful experience for me as president. Everyone is working diligently from our vice-president Olga Mushtaler who has raised the profile of chess in launching a petition for recognition and funding from the government or her handling of issues that arose with our chess.com club and facebook page, Oksana Golubeva who worked with FIDE, the CFC, the OCA and Hart House to hold a high profile event for women and girls this past month. Christina Tao has worked tirelessly on the youth portfolio and has been sending a dizzying number of kids to tournaments around the world. Patricia Gamliel has provided wise counsel on numerous occasions and has been able to rein in your president when he has been about to advocate for an ill-advised or overly exuberant action. Victor Plotkin has been a very solid performer on the FIDE stage and has developed good relationships with many in the world chess community and has contributed to the outstanding relationship that we now have with FIDE. Lyle Craver as secretary sweats all the intricacies of these meetings and the esoteric details of the voting member calculations ahead of the upcoming AGM in late August/ early September. He does this tirelessly and without fail. Mark Dutton continues to contribute and offer his long perspective as a player, organizer and experienced arbiter. Fred McKim in addition to being our long standing treasurer, an experienced organizer continues to provide excellent leadership on everything put on his plate which tends to be a lot. I feel that everyone is rowing the boat in the same direction and it is a pleasure to be associated with this outstanding group of people.

    In the last year the membership of the Chess Federation of Canada has grown from 2500 to over 4000 and tournaments seem to be selling out with not enough space for all the prospective players. We have not seen these membership levels in recent memory going back some 30 years and more. In 1997 we had a peak of 3268 members but the current number is almost 25% higher than that. This surge in numbers is a testament to the enduring appeal of our beloved sport and the relentless efforts of everyone involved in promoting chess across our great nation. As we reflect upon this surge in membership, it is important to acknowledge the tremendous success we have experienced is rooted in the efforts of many of you and many organizers who are not part of this meeting who are dedicated to organizing chess tournaments and which give players a reason to join the Chess Federation of Canada. It is an exhilarating testament to the popularity of our sport that our tournaments are consistently selling out, with an overwhelming number of prospective players eager to participate. The enthusiasm and demand we are witnessing are a clear indication that chess is capturing the imagination and passion of Canadians from all walks of life.

    However, with this exponential growth comes a set of challenges that we must address proactively. One significant challenge we currently face is the limited availability of suitable venues to accommodate the increasing number of players eager to compete in our tournaments. The surge in demand has stretched our existing infrastructure to its limits, leaving us with insufficient space to accommodate all the prospective players who wish to participate. This issue warrants our immediate attention and collaborative effort to ensure that no player is left behind, and every chess enthusiast has the opportunity to engage in competitive play.

    It is crucial that we invest in the development and enhancement of chess infrastructure across Canada. By identifying potential venues and encouraging the establishment of new chess clubs and facilities, we can ensure that our sport has the necessary resources to grow and thrive. Securing sponsorship and funding opportunities will play a pivotal role in supporting these initiatives, and it is incumbent upon us to actively seek out and engage potential partners who share our passion for chess.

    To address this challenge, it is essential that we explore innovative solutions and work closely with tournament organizers, venues, and stakeholders to find suitable alternatives. We must seek out larger venues or consider hosting multiple parallel events to accommodate the growing number of participants. Collaborating with local chess clubs and organizations can also help in securing additional playing spaces. By expanding our network and forging new partnerships, we can create a sustainable framework that caters to the rising demand while upholding the integrity and quality of our tournaments.

    In addition to expanding physical infrastructure, we must also embrace the power of technology to cater to the needs of our growing membership. Online platforms and digital solutions can offer a convenient and accessible avenue for players to compete and engage in chess activities. We should explore the possibility of hosting online tournaments, hybrid tournaments, training sessions, and interactive events that can accommodate a larger number of participants and provide opportunities for players across vast geographical distances to connect and compete.

    Before we delve into the agenda of today's meeting, let us take a moment to reflect upon the remarkable achievements that have brought us to this point. Over the years, the Chess Federation of Canada has nurtured an environment that fosters excellence, inclusivity, and a spirit of sportsmanship. Through the collaborative efforts of our dedicated members, organizers, coaches, and players, we have witnessed chess flourish across our nation. From local tournaments to international competitions, our players have demonstrated exceptional talent, bringing honor and recognition to Canada on the global chess stage.

    As we convene today, let us remember that we are bound by a common goal—to further elevate the game of chess in Canada and ensure its accessibility to all who wish to participate. This meeting serves as a platform for us to engage in open dialogue, exchange ideas, and collectively address the challenges that lie ahead. Together, we possess a wealth of knowledge and experience, and it is through our unity and collaboration that we can propel Canadian chess to new heights.

    Throughout the course of today's meeting, we have an extensive agenda that covers crucial topics relevant to the chess community. We will deliberate on strategies to expand participation at all levels, discuss ways to enhance training programs and coaching initiatives, and explore opportunities to bolster the competitive landscape within Canada. Moreover, we will tackle pressing matters concerning governance, finance, and outreach, as we strive to make the Chess Federation of Canada a beacon of excellence in the global chess community. We can add to that agenda if you would like.

    In an era marked by rapid technological advancements, it is imperative that we embrace innovation and leverage new tools and platforms to promote chess. By harnessing the power of technology, we can broaden our reach, engage younger generations, and create a dynamic ecosystem that encourages learning, collaboration, and friendly competition. Together, we have the potential to revolutionize the way chess is experienced and enjoyed across Canada.

    In conclusion, the remarkable growth of our membership and the overwhelming demand for our tournaments is a testament to the vibrancy and potential of chess in Canada. While we celebrate this achievement, we must remain steadfast in our commitment to overcome the challenges that accompany such growth. By collaborating, seeking innovative solutions, and investing in infrastructure, we can ensure that every aspiring player finds their place within our chess community. I would like to express my gratitude to each and every one of you for your unwavering dedication to the sport of chess. Your presence here today is a testament to your commitment and your belief in the transformative power of chess. Let us approach this meeting with an open mind, respectful discourse, and a shared vision for the future of chess in Canada.

    May our deliberations be fruitful, our decisions be wise, and our actions be driven by the best interests of Canadian chess. Together, we can shape a future where chess thrives, where young minds are inspired, and where the chessboard becomes a canvas for strategic brilliance. Let us embrace this opportunity as a call to action—a call to expand, adapt, and evolve. Together, let us forge a future where chess in Canada knows no boundaries, where every chess enthusiast can unleash their potential, and where our tournaments become not just a showcase of skill, but a celebration of unity and camaraderie.
    Thank you, and let us proceed with the deliberations of this vital meeting of the Chess Federation of Canada voting members.

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