Announcement

Discussions regarding the 70,000 Free Chess Sets for Schools in England.
Matthew Turner
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Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 11:54 am

Re: Announcement

Postby Matthew Turner » Mon Nov 01, 2010 6:00 pm

Andrew,
I believe there is a lot of confusion about the Chess For Schools Project because the ECF statements on the matter are inherently contradictory

"It is with regret that the ECF announces that it is withdrawing from the Chess For Schools project as of 18th October. Following the reduction of the Department for Culture, Media & Sport grant this year and the expectation that the ECF will receive no further DCMS funding after March 2011, the Federation finds itself no longer in a position to provide the resources to support the significant logistical work required when distributing sets to schools."

That basically says the Project stopped because the ECF pulled out

"all of the sets that were produced were distributed. In the end, there weren't enough sets to bring any potential distribution problems to breaking point."

That basically says that the Project stopped because Holloid didn't produce many sets.

I appreciate that there are good business reason for making statements that are ambiguous (that might be a euphemism), but it is very frustrating for people who are trying to understand what is going when they are unable to take ECF statements at face value.

Andrew Farthing
Posts: 614
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2008 11:39 pm

Re: Announcement

Postby Andrew Farthing » Mon Nov 01, 2010 6:32 pm

I'm not trying to be obscure about this.

There are two distinct issues:

(1) The ECF's decision to withdraw from the project

Support for the ECF's continued involvement with the project, given the lack of sets produced, was growing. Unless something changed dramatically on the production front, I don't believe that there would have been the political will in Council or on the Board to continue as before.

That said, Holloid have consistently remained committed to the project and have stated that they would produce the sets in the large quantities first envisaged. The impact of the ECF's reduced capacity in its office staff, which was driven by the need to make cost reductions in anticipation of the DCMS grant disappearing, meant that we would not have had the resources to handle the workload of such a full-blown production run of sets (whether over a few months or a year).

Given that Holloid's stance was that the sets will be produced, it seemed right to stress the second factor rather than the first in explaining the ECF's withdrawal from the project. (We did, however, explain to Holloid the "political" aspects as well.)

(2) The history of what happened in the project prior to the ECF's withdrawal

In terms of what actually happened, my point is simply that the ECF did arrange distribution of the sets which were produced. My objection to recent comments is that they claim that the fate of the project was determined by the ECF's failure to manage the distribution, and this is untrue.

As I've said before, I don't deny that there might have been problems if sets had been produced in the thousands each week, but this never arose. What was produced was dealt with.


One issue concerns the truth about what happened in the past, the other is about the reasons for a decision affecting policy going forward. I don't see my statements as contradictory.

Matthew Turner
Posts: 2475
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 11:54 am

Re: Announcement

Postby Matthew Turner » Mon Nov 01, 2010 6:37 pm

Andrew,
I find it hard to accept that these statements are not contradictory

"Holloid have consistently remained committed to the project"

"given the lack of sets produced"

If Holloid were committed to the Project then they would have produced more sets.

Andrew Farthing
Posts: 614
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2008 11:39 pm

Re: Announcement

Postby Andrew Farthing » Mon Nov 01, 2010 6:48 pm

I should also have added that as far as Holloid are concerned, the project has not stopped. They still intend to produce the sets, and, in conjunction with a partner, distribute them. I hope that they succeed.

What stopped was the ECF's involvement.

When I said that Holloid have remained committed to the project, I am reflecting what they have said to us about wanting to continue and their intention to produce the promised sets. Of course, I accept that to date they have produced only a small fraction of the sets they hoped to produce.

People may well see the gap between Holloid's stated aspirations and the set production to date as contradictory. I'm not sure it's reasonable to extend that to argue that the statements about the ECF's actions and decisions are inherently contradictory. You seem to be arguing that the ECF should have accused Holloid of insincerity (or worse) in its statements, in which case I'm afraid we must agree to differ!

Matthew Turner
Posts: 2475
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 11:54 am

Re: Announcement

Postby Matthew Turner » Mon Nov 01, 2010 10:20 pm

Andrew,
I believe it would have been more accurate for the ECF to accuse Holloid of insincerity (or worse). However, I fully understand why it might not be in the ECF's interests to do this. It may well be that nobody in the ECF is 'to blame', but the upshot of it all is that the statements coming out of the ECF are misleading. Reading between the lines I think we agree on the vast majority of this. However, what is certain is that we do have to move on and I am grateful for what you and CJ in particular are doing to restore the ECF's repoutation at a grassroots level.

Alex Holowczak
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Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 5:18 pm
Location: Oldbury, Worcestershire
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Re: Announcement

Postby Alex Holowczak » Mon Nov 01, 2010 11:05 pm

Matthew Turner wrote:Andrew,
I believe it would have been more accurate for the ECF to accuse Holloid of insincerity (or worse). However, I fully understand why it might not be in the ECF's interests to do this. It may well be that nobody in the ECF is 'to blame', but the upshot of it all is that the statements coming out of the ECF are misleading. Reading between the lines I think we agree on the vast majority of this. However, what is certain is that we do have to move on and I am grateful for what you and CJ in particular are doing to restore the ECF's repoutation at a grassroots level.


I doubt Holloid would allow the ECF to have made a statement that made it sound as though Holloid were at fault. So instead they sought a neutral ground.


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