Update on Project?

Discussions regarding the 70,000 Free Chess Sets for Schools in England.
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Carl Hibbard
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Re: Update on Project?

Postby Carl Hibbard » Fri Aug 21, 2009 4:55 pm

John Upham wrote:There will be a CsfS Progress meeting on Monday, August 24th, 2009.

In attendance will be :

Representatives from Holloid Plastics
Caroline Morris (from the PR agency employed by HP)
Andrew Farthing (ECF Strategic Planning Officer)
David Anderton, OBE (ECF Honorary Life Vice-President)

Logically, the ECF Director of the Chess for Schools Project should be present but no-one is currently in post.

I am not aware of the agenda of the meeting

Will Andrew Farthing be reporting on this or is this another secret meeting with no information do you think?
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John Upham
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Re: Update on Project?

Postby John Upham » Fri Aug 21, 2009 5:11 pm

Carl,

Andrew is a member of this forum. Hopefully he will be delighted to report progress from the meeting.

(Andrew is acting CEO and I learnt today that the ECF Board approved of AF becoming the Deputy CEO : maybe this is an AGM portent?)

I suspect that the main item of news will be the commencement of production of the free sets.

The boards are being imported from China (eventually all the worlds goods will be made in China) and the pieces and the boxes to put the pieces in will be manufactured in Basingstoke which is not currently in China.

I suspect that the original tranche of 500 sets made during the days of Fergus Christie has more or less come to an end. We know that a total of 35 schools have now collected their 10 free sets from the various launches. This means that there are 7,900 - 35 = 7,865 schools to go before October 2010. Perhaps a BetFair market on this outcome might attract favourable odds?

In many years to come collectors will value HP sets in a similar way to Jacques sets as they will command a high price on eBay.

Have a good weekend!

Andrew Farthing
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Re: Update on Project?

Postby Andrew Farthing » Fri Aug 21, 2009 8:15 pm

John Upham wrote:(Andrew is acting CEO and I learnt today that the ECF Board approved of AF becoming the Deputy CEO : maybe this is an AGM portent?)


I'm not sure if it's semantically significant, but strictly speaking I was appointed as "alternate" CEO. The effect is that I get to cover for Chris Majer when he is, for example, on holiday (as he is now).

Not quite sure what John has in mind about an "AGM portent". I'm happy supporting the ECF in my current role and have no plans to stand for any elected post at the October Council. Covering for Chris for barely a week has shown me how much e-mail traffic and other activity it generates, and I'm left somewhat amazed at (and in admiration of) Chris's ability to do the excellent job he does AND pursue a full-time career. I doubt that I could match his time commitment indefinitely!

John Upham wrote:Andrew is a member of this forum. Hopefully he will be delighted to report progress from the meeting.


Let's be realistic. I'm all in favour of open communication whenever possible, but it would hardly be professional of me to report on Monday's meeting without (a) briefing Chris Majer and (b) complying with whatever coordinated communications plans may be agreed with the project team. I hope people will understand why this has to be so.

Andrew

Matthew Turner
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Re: Update on Project?

Postby Matthew Turner » Fri Aug 21, 2009 9:30 pm

Andrew,
I am not aware of Alternate Directors being appointed in the past. However, it seems to me to be a jolly good idea. Now that Stewart Reuben has decided to step down as International Director, it seems natural that Lawrence Cooper would make an excellent replacement (I certainly hope he takes over the role).
I was unaware that you were an Alternate for Chris Majer. Chris has recently said that he is undecided whether to stand again as CEO and he has already pledged not to seek re-election if the Chess For Schools Project is not a success. In these circumstances, there must be a fair chance that Chris will not stand again and being his Alternate would seem to give you some unofficial 'stamp of approval'. This is just an observation, I have no particular view on this.

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: Update on Project?

Postby Carl Hibbard » Fri Aug 21, 2009 11:13 pm

Andrew Farthing wrote:Let's be realistic. I'm all in favour of open communication whenever possible, but it would hardly be professional of me to report on Monday's meeting without (a) briefing Chris Majer and (b) complying with whatever coordinated communications plans may be agreed with the project team. I hope people will understand why this has to be so.

Fair enough Andrew thanks - the problem is if the lid is clamped down (on communication...) then even that is not reportable :roll:

Expect to be silenced, sorry...
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Carl Hibbard

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: Update on Project?

Postby Carl Hibbard » Fri Aug 21, 2009 11:17 pm

Matthew Turner wrote:I am not aware of Alternate Directors being appointed in the past. However, it seems to me to be a jolly good idea. Now that Stewart Reuben has decided to step down as International Director, it seems natural that Lawrence Cooper would make an excellent replacement (I certainly hope he takes over the role).

That step was clearly taken to nudge certain "other" people (no names...) being reluctant to even stand wasn't it :wink:

Lawrence is clearly the right person for the job :!:
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Carl Hibbard

Andrew Farthing
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Re: Update on Project?

Postby Andrew Farthing » Sat Aug 22, 2009 7:30 am

Matthew Turner wrote:I am not aware of Alternate Directors being appointed in the past. However, it seems to me to be a jolly good idea. Now that Stewart Reuben has decided to step down as International Director, it seems natural that Lawrence Cooper would make an excellent replacement (I certainly hope he takes over the role).
I was unaware that you were an Alternate for Chris Majer. Chris has recently said that he is undecided whether to stand again as CEO and he has already pledged not to seek re-election if the Chess For Schools Project is not a success. In these circumstances, there must be a fair chance that Chris will not stand again and being his Alternate would seem to give you some unofficial 'stamp of approval'. This is just an observation, I have no particular view on this.


Matthew,

I think you're right that the appointment of Alternate Directors is a relatively recent development, but I'm definitely not the first such appointment. Chris Majer has been encouraging all of the directors to nominate alternates (although I don't think this process has been completed yet). As you say, it makes good sense, principally for contingency reasons (long-term illness, etc.). There may also be a byproduct in terms of a degree of succession planning, but of course this has to work within the framework of elected roles. If nothing else, it may help to add to the pool of prospective qualified candidates.

That said, in my own case, I've had no sign that there is any notion on anyone's part to consider me as CEO if Chris were not to stand. I can only repeat that I don't believe that I could give the time needed to do justice to the role, so I don't see how I could stand even if asked.

Andrew

Neill Cooper
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Re: Update on Project?

Postby Neill Cooper » Sat Aug 22, 2009 9:47 am

Andrew Farthing wrote:Let's be realistic. I'm all in favour of open communication whenever possible, but it would hardly be professional of me to report on Monday's meeting without (a) briefing Chris Majer and (b) complying with whatever coordinated communications plans may be agreed with the project team. I hope people will understand why this has to be so.

Andrew
It would be nice for me to know whether the large (up to 1000 schools) Surrey launch at Wilson's School, which I was told would be taking place in the early Autumn, will be happening or not.

I could respond quickly and helpfully for the June launch as life was quiet (most of my students were on exam leave, there were no school chess matches), but come the Autumn I will have a full teaching load and 4 school chess teams to run, as well as writing UCAS references etc.

For your reference I assume that it is not going to take place (because I have heard nothing about it), but I could organise the school end if I was told before the start of term (Tuesday 1st September).

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: Update on Project?

Postby Carl Hibbard » Mon Aug 24, 2009 9:30 am

Nothing that new but the Holloid site has a further new press release indicating a sort of timescale:

http://www.holloid-plastics.co.uk/desktop/main.aspx?pid=12&sc=230

July 2009: Holloid Plastics, the injection moulding specialist, is working with the English Chess Federation to increase awareness of chess in schools by sponsoring a major new nationwide initiative.

Already with 9,000 schools on board, Chess for Schools aims to provide ten free chess sets to every one of Englands 25,000 schools, enabling them to each create a chess club.

"The idea is to boost strategic thinking among our nations youth by re-vitalising chess and fostering a newfound love of this age-old brain game," says Holloid Plastics Executive Chairman, Henning von Spreckelsen.

To mark the beginning of this epic program, four local launches were held in Surrey, Hampshire and Oxfordshire in May, June and July. 50 schools attended the events and each received their free chess sets and a Resource Pack of information.

Holloid is now moving ahead with production and organising the roll-out of the project across England. Due to the scale of the project, it will take several years to complete and Holloid has put together a specialist team devoted to working on the initiative.

Holloid estimates that the 9,000 schools signed up to the first phase of the program will receive their chess sets by the end of July 2010. The second phase will begin in September later that year.

Adds Henning von Spreckelsen: "Working with the English Chess Federation and our sponsors, we are committed to making the Chess for Schools project a resounding success. On a personal level, this project is the ideal opportunity to give something back for the support I have received from others in the past."
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Carl Hibbard

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: Update on Project?

Postby Carl Hibbard » Mon Aug 24, 2009 9:37 am

It does look rather like the last press release of course :roll:
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Neill Cooper
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Re: Update on Project?

Postby Neill Cooper » Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:11 am

Carl Hibbard wrote:It does look rather like the last press release of course :roll:

But is it only just released? The website has been updated recently and did not previously have that press release on it.

"Holloid estimates that the 9,000 schools signed up to the first phase of the program will receive their chess sets by the end of July 2010".
So they are still being very ambitious.

A few stats for comparison:
This year 2005 schools entered UK Chess Challenge (See http://www.ukchesschallenge.com/county_league_uk.shtml), which is by far the widest coverage by any chess activity. Even so there are probably a few hundred chess playing schools who don't take part for one reason or another.

There are a total of 25,000 schools in the England (not whole UK), (17,360 primary, 3340 secondary, 2340 Independent and about 2000 others - Nursery, special etc).

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: Update on Project?

Postby Carl Hibbard » Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:28 am

Neill Cooper wrote:But is it only just released? The website has been updated recently and did not previously have that press release on it.

"Holloid estimates that the 9,000 schools signed up to the first phase of the program will receive their chess sets by the end of July 2010".

It was there before but I don't "think" a date for phase one was even suggested?
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Carl Hibbard

John Upham
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Re: Update on Project?

Postby John Upham » Mon Aug 24, 2009 2:50 pm

A few corrections to the HP press release :

1. 7,900 (not 9,000) schools are currently expressing an interest in receiving free sets.
2. The ECF office have closed applications (for the time being) although the HP web site is encouraging further applications.
3. 35 (not 50) have received free sets directly from the launches.
Last edited by John Upham on Tue Aug 25, 2009 12:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

Nick Thomas
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Re: Update on Project?

Postby Nick Thomas » Mon Aug 24, 2009 10:41 pm

John Upham wrote:A few corrections to the HP press release :

1. 7,900 (9,000) schools are currently expressing an interest in receiving free sets.
2. The ECF office have closed applications (for the time being) although the HP web site is encouraging further applications.
3. 35 (not 50) have received free sets directly from the launches.


Do you know how many of these 35 attended the events?

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: Update on Project?

Postby Carl Hibbard » Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:31 pm

I have asked Andrew (via PM...) if he can give some feedback on the meeting today :?:
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Carl Hibbard


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