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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 9:55 pm 
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These Draft Minutes are subject to change and approval by the ECF Board.

Phil Ehr
ECF Chief Executive

DRAFT – SUBJECT TO CHANGE AND NOT APPROVED BY THE BOARD

Draft Minutes of the 81st meeting of the English Chess Federation Board
on Saturday 8th February, 2014, at 18.00
at Exmouth Arms, Starcross Street, London NW1 2HR

Present
Andrew Paulson (AP): President
Phil Ehr (PE): Chief Executive Chair
David Eustace (DE): Director of Finance Minutes from 18.30
Alex Holowczak (AH): Director of Home Chess
Lawrence Cooper (LC): Director of Junior Chess and Education
David Thomas (DT): Director of Membership
Sean Hewitt (SH): Non Executive Director

By teleconference
David Openshaw (DO): Director of International Chess
Julian Clissold (JC): Non-Executive Director

In attendance
Chris Majer (CEM) Chairman, Governance Committee Minutes from 18.20
to 18.30

Apologies
Nigel Short (NS)

1. It was agreed that PE would chair the meeting.

2. It was reported the Nigel Short declined an invitation to attend saying that he refused to attend any meeting where he had no vote.

3. PE noted that the Board Meeting was scheduled to last 1.5 hours, from 18:00 to 19:30. It was agreed that the start of the meeting would be delayed until 18.20 when DE was scheduled to arrive. In the event, CEM recorded the meeting from 18:20 until DE’s arrival at 18.30. PE noted that the agenda contained three items: a rather broad discussion point followed by two votes. PE announced that the structure of the meeting should be: opening statements from each Director with AP speaking last, discussion if time permitted and finally the votes. The Board agreed.

4. Prior to the meeting, AP requested that senior members of Council be invited to attend to witness this highly unusual Board meeting. This request was firmly rejected by the Board. AP also requested an audio recording be made of the meeting solely for the purpose of avoiding conflict while creating the Minutes. Although CEM advised that an audio recording could be made but kept in sole possession of the minutes secretary for the purpose of drafting minutes, Board members expressed discomfort with this request and it was therefore not actioned.

5. CEM made opening remarks:
• CEM asked the Board to consider their actions very carefully. During the history of the ECF, a Director had never been removed from Office.
• Council had known the controversial reputation of AP when they elected him and would pose difficult questions should the Board seek to remove him.
• This would also reflect badly on the reputation of the ECF.

6. PE gave an opening summary of the current situation:

“Notice of this meeting came from six of the Directors, without consultation of the President, Chief Executive or one of the two Non-Executive Directors. Two Directors explained this by claiming that I had lost objectivity regarding AP. The Agenda for this meeting calls for two votes ‘of confidence’, but it has the tone of a disciplinary hearing, and that is wrong.

At about the same time this meeting was being discussed, I proposed by email a compromise solution to diffuse the FIDE/ECU controversies whereby both parties would be restrained (see appendix). AP accepted the proposal, but Nigel Short did not. There have been many further conversations and other proposals seeking compromise but all have been dismissed.

I consider that AP has been doing a very good job. AP is absolutely dedicated to the work of the ECF and the advancement of English chess. When a Guardian reporter recently called me, I shared this assessment of AP with him and will continue to do so. Reporters will call again: the World’s chess press is watching what we do.

There is plenty of evidence of AP’s achievements: the charity project is an excellent example; progress has already been made on many of the projects in our strategic papers list.

A board of directors is meant to be an effective group of leaders. To varying extents, each of us is responsible for the failed communications and the Board’s poor climate, in which the pace of change may be a factor. AP and I are the Board’s leaders; therefore we bear the greater responsibility. Council and our members want a functioning Board with a constructive climate.

The leaked AGON memorandum’s description of a point in the negotiations where proposed arrangements would almost certainly have been illegal had they come into operation (which appears not to be the case) does create the appearance of impropriety; but this Board does not intend to nor is it competent to pass judgement on this.

For the good of English chess, particularly the untenable Board climate, I asked AP today to resign.

Nigel Short’s behaviour releasing the AGON memorandum to The Sunday Times resembles that of a whistle-blower, a role we must respect. I am disappointed, however, by the vituperative language he used in the press and in social media, persistently asserting that the AGON memo is proof of a criminal conflict of interest. The lack of circumspection is unbecoming the role of our FIDE Delegate and a Grandmaster.”

7. Each Director was asked to present the charges against AP and NS which were the cause for this meeting to be convened:

SH:
i. He had been approached by two executive directors concerning AP's chairing of board meetings. It would be better if PE chaired the Board as per the rules of the federation.
ii. Issues over the interaction of AP in the international arena (ECU / FIDE), particularly where it was contrary to ECF policy.
iii. AP’s approach with respect to the Board; overriding the responsible executive Director and ignoring the stated will of the Board.
iv. 29th January meeting did not go well; agenda not finished and many arguments as a result of AP's actions. AP thought it had gone well, others thought not.
v. Spoken to AP on a number of occasions about his approach in an attempt to resolve these issues; his entrepreneurial background and approach were not helpful for an organisation which required consensus. AP failed to acknowledge that this needed to change.

LC:
i. At the first December meeting LC raised a point of order about being undermined as Junior Director in dealings with UKCC/UKCA.
ii. A number of meetings took place without my involvement, arranged at times LC couldn't make,
iii. LC wasn’t informed of, or told too late to have chance to participate.
iv. LC was told on the phone by the President that he wasn't the person to negotiate on behalf of the ECF and was better suited to working in the background. He subsequently refused to recognise in an e-mail thread that the Board had decided that LC was to take an active/lead role in negotiations.
v. The only updates LC received on this issue are when Sainbayar Tserendorj contacts me on Facebook to ask if LC knew what's going on.
vi. Despite AP's assertion that the board were being kept fully informed they only found out the latest information when LC asked him in a board thread if ST’s Facebook update was accurate.
vii. LC was glad to have raised the point of order when he did as despite claims at the time that was being ridiculous etc he asserted his point had sadly been proven correct.

AH:
i. Concerns over a statement made by third parties to AP that there were problems with the British Championships at Aberystwyth. AH not informed at all by AP. He should have been told about this.
ii. Issue where a Northern organiser (an individual) had apparently been promised by AP the right to organise ECF events without AH being aware.

DO:
i. DO had proposed AP as President at the October Council meeting and was very positive about his anticipated contribution to the ECF and keen to make it work. DO had a number of meetings with AP to discuss issue starting in mid November in Warsaw.
ii. However now some Board members and various Council members including Malcolm Pein have a different view
iii. DO now believes that matters are getting worse and worse and that Council will take a different view of AP’s presidency from the October position.
iv. DO unhappy about AP’s treatment of NS in various emails and correspondence, particularly about the threat to take NS to FIDE’s Ethics Committee and the deliberate attack on NS in AP’s paper on Zurab Azmaiparashvili. NS should be seen as a whistleblower and should be protected. These were not the sort of comments someone in the role of President should make.
v. The Kirsan Ilyumzhino/AGON relationship is a disturbing and very unsatisfactory one; this is not a suitable association for a presidential role.
vi. Council voted in Oct 2012 to support NS as FIDE Delegate and to support Kasparov for FIDE president. This is therefore current ECF policy as it has not been changed. But, despite a number of conversations, AP would not accept that this was current policy. This is one of the reasons for his disputes with NS.
vii. AP acted effectively as a CEO and therefore responsible for the lack of minutes of Boaard meetings.
viii. AP said he wanted to have ECF play a bigger role yet totally ignored our role in G15 Group.
ix. AP’s support of Zurab Azmaiparashvili is damaging to the ECF.
x. DO felt undermined by AP even though various discussions were held. DO was particularly disturbed by the proposed creation of the Anglophone Group and AP’s dealings with Rupert Jones.
xi. Stewart Reuben was appointed as Manager of Senior Chess without any prior involvement of DO to whom the manager reports.
xii. AP puts in a lot of hours on chess but sponsorship of English chess did not appear to be one of AP’s priorities; yet that was expected off him.
xiii. Board had not had the opportunity to discuss sponsorship nor generally failed to consult with Board members and no agreed strategic plan had been put in place.

DT:
i. Not aware of anything in his area not functioning properly, but felt that the Board as a whole was not functioning properly.

DE:
i. Concerned about the very unsatisfactory way that Board minutes have failed to materialise. The previous individuals responsible for the minutes were not asked about the cause of any problems; the appointment of a professional minutes secretary was unnecessary as two people attending the Board were prepared to provide temporary cover. The top team just did not make basic enquires to solve the problem and this lead to much discontent.
ii. On creating the Charitable Trust DE considered he was undermined by AP in conversations with the legal adviser and those conversations were not revealed to DE at a two hour meeting to discuss the way forward on this subject.
iii. AP’s chairmanship of the Board was not conducive to team building and getting the best out of all members present.

JC:
i. JC had made most of his points in a pre-meeting paper. This should be part of the Board’s record of the meeting.
ii. There are two acid tests:
- What has the Board done to rectify the above disagreements?
- Have DO and LC brought their issues formally to the Board for resolution?
iii. The Board has no prior history of Board discussions about the issues raised in the vote.
iv. Board had not tried hard enough to seek an improved relationship before a vote of confidence was called.
v. The Board has given no consideration to what happens after the Board agrees a vote of no confidence? It cannot go forward with a poor President/Board relationship and has no alternative plan.
vi. The Board has not thought about the consequences; Council will think that the Board has not addressed this failure and that directors who are otherwise competent and professional, have not considered how a new scenario would be handled.
vii. Not heard that the Board has sought solutions.
viii. For NS the Board also needs a solution; it was not clever on his part to go the Sunday Times and risked reputational damage to the ECF; however, this is a side issue and is not well handled with a confidence motion; the main issue is about the Board itself and how it can function if the vote is agreed.

AP:
“I will be very careful to answer your complaints in two parts: first, to show that in their specifics they are largely inaccurate; and second, to acknowledge the existence of a very real sense of unfocused anxiety among the Board members and propose ways of assuaging it:

1. The specific charges of the Directors are erroneous:
i. Regarding SH: “I had two lengthy dinners and several phone conversations discussing all the issues SH cites; these discussions were always productive and satisfactory to both of us. Sean attended the first Board meeting, missed the next two and tried to get the fourth one cancelled saying there was nothing to discuss. He advocated that Board meetings be conducted by Skype. He has yet to present an example of my action ‘contrary to ECF policy’.”
ii. Regarding NS: “Let us not mangle the English language. A whistle-blower is an employee who at great risk to himself exposes a crime for the public good. In this case, for purely political reasons, Nigel Short leaked a stolen document to The Sunday Times that had been bought by Garry Kasparov. This is called ‘dirty tricks.’ Nigel Short has once again put his personal ambitions above the interests of English chess, or any chess for that matter.”
iii. Regarding DE: “David Eustace felt undermined when he discovered that I had consulted David Anderton on a technical legal matter. I spoke to DA prior to a preliminary meeting where we were to consider several possible solutions to the ECF Charitable Status issue, so as to confirm that one of the options to be discussed was indeed a satisfactory solution under English law. This seemed to me to be a reasonable approach so as not to waste people’s time on something that wouldn’t work.”
iv. Regarding AH: “Alex has disingenuously repeated his imagined hurts. I discussed both of these issues with him earlier today. He confirmed to me that in both cases he had been misinformed and misled and was satisfied with my explanation. There is nothing here.”
v. Regarding LC: “Loz felt insulted and hurt by being marginalised and excluded from negotiations … which weren’t taking place. In my presidential election platform, I advocated the general principal that the ECF should welcome back under its wings all elements of English chess that had been alienated from it over the years. I identified UKCA and UKSCC, representing 55,000 chess-playing children, as a priority and asked the Chief Executive to produce a Term Sheet which would be acceptable both to the ECF Council and to Michael Basman and his team; subsequently, other groups (such as EPSCA) were to be encouraged to work with us under the same terms. The Chief Executive is compiling a chronology of this process for the Board, which is forthcoming: we held one introductory meeting, we invited Basman to a Board meeting to present his case, and I had one meeting after we decided not to proceed with the UKCA negotiations, on a different subject (lining up trainers for a Pushkin House chess club). No other meetings were held and I had no private conversations with anyone on Basman’s team. Aware of his anxiety (initially he had been categorically against such a relationship), I formally reassured LC by phone that no terms would be proposed to UKCA which he had not signed off on.”
vi. Regarding DO: “I have enthusiastically backed David Openshaw and his plans for development of top level English chess, including personally guaranteeing a certain level of fundraising for the Olympiad team and supporting developing a £3m plan for long-term elite development. Our only point of divergence is over his rather extreme position that I don’t have the right to stand for Deputy President of the European Chess Union (or any other position, for that matter) without the ECF Board’s permission. This question was resolved in my favour at the last Board Meeting.”
vii. Regarding the Agenda of today’s meeting: “It should be noted that the Agenda for this meeting claims that Items 23 and 24 on the Agenda for the last meeting (Minutes for which are forthcoming) were not addressed. This is false. These questions were resolved by votes: (a) it was agreed that I could stand for ECU Deputy President without the permission of the ECF Board, and (b) it was agreed that as President of the ECF I could lobby for the appointment of additional competent members to FIDE Commissions at the next AGM in Tromo in August.”

AP described a number of compromises he had proposed to the Board to resolve the current impasse:
i. Drafting a better description of the role of the President in the Statutes.
ii. Allowing the CEO to chair all meetings pending a resolution of the issue by the Governance Committee.
iii. Pre-approval by the Board of all initiatives undertaken by the President.
iv. Against the charge that AP has his own agenda, he commented: “My only agenda is to do a good job for English chess, promote inclusiveness from as many parts of the English chess community as possible, well-represent the interests of the ECF to FIDE and the ECU.”
v. AP recognises that the pace of change he sought may have been too fast, but noted that he hoped to produce concrete achievements to bring to the Council meeting in April.
vi. AP regretted the ECF Board’s real consternation over his decision to stand for a position on the ECU Board, but noted that the Board has no jurisdiction over his ability to stand for such a role. He also noted that he would be bringing the headquarters of the ECU to London, advocating the interests and values of English chess in the ECU and that although the presidential candidate on his ticket was a controversial figure, each of the nine members of the ECU Board had an equal vote.
vii. AP apologised for allowing the most recent letter to the Board (discussing Nigel Short’s ethical violations vis-à-vis leaking a stolen Memorandum to the press) to be made public. He felt that after a certain point he had to defend himself against personal attacks and noted that the Board had not made any moves to protect him by censuring Nigel Short’s egregious behaviour.
viii. AP regretted the impression of inappropriate behaviour (vis-à-vis Kirsan Ilyumzhinov) in the stolen Memorandum, but reminded the Board that it was an impression not the reality. AP reminded the Board that at its first Board meeting he offered to answer any questions at any time the Board might have about his relationship with AGON/FIDE.

8. CEM advised the Chair to call for the vote. PE called for the votes, noting there was no time for a discussion.

9. Motion of confidence in Andrew Paulson as President of the English Chess Federation.

In favour: 2 (AP, JC)
Against: 5 (SH, DO, AH, LC, DE)
Abstain: 1 (DT)
The Chairman (PE) did not vote.

10. Vote of confidence in Nigel Short as the FIDE Delegate of the English Chess Federation

In favour: 2 (DO, LC)
Against: 0
Abstain: 5 (JC, AP, DE, DT, AH, SH)
The chairman (PE) did not vote.

11. Closure of the meeting

The Chairman closed the meeting at 19.30.


P Ehr ........Not Signed..
Date ..........TBD...........


Appendix – Additions to the minutes for clarification purposes

1. Reason for the meeting and agenda:

At the Board meeting of 19th January 2014, the Board failed to deal with two important items on the agenda with their relevant motions:
23. FIDE Commissions
24. ECU presidential Election
Given recent events, a majority of the Board now believe that these two subjects and related issues need to be urgently discussed and resolutions sought. This view is further exacerbated by the recent Sunday Times article, correspondence between Andrew Paulson, Nigel Short and Malcolm Pein, the referral of the ECF’s FIDE Delegate to the FIDE Ethics Commission and references to further action at the ECF at the April Council meeting.
Therefore, this letter is to request that you convene an urgent, additional Board meeting at 6.00pm on Saturday 8th February 2014 at The Exmouth Arms, 1 Starcross St, London NW1 2HR to deal solely with the following:
1. A discussion about the issues raised in the recent print and web articles, various claims involving the recent activities of Andrew Paulson and Nigel Short concerning the imminent ECU and FIDE elections, and various threats to refer ECF members to the FIDE Ethics Committee.
2. Motion: A vote of confidence in Andrew Paulson as President of the English Chess Federation
3. Motion: A vote of confidence in Nigel Short as the FIDE Delegate of the English Chess Federation


2. Letter from Chief Executive:

From: Phil Ehr
Date: 31 January 2014 18:19:11 GMT
To: ECF Board
Cc: David Anderton
Subject: Diffuse Controversy

Dear Board,

Emotive public displays from Nigel Short and Andrew Paulson are calmer today than a couple days ago. I feel that now is the time when Board action can effectively disengage the parties and diffuse the controversy.

We need to act on both form and substance. Although the dispute over the AGON-FIDE relationship deals with a small area of routine ECF activity, it is producing a range of negative effects on our ambitions: undermining conversations with potential sponsors, commercial directors, commercial and media partners; as well as other leading actors in English chess.

1. In the first instance, we need to act on form, i.e., without passing judgment on their respective positions. I suggest that the Board adopt the following motion:

For the good of English chess, the Board requests Andrew Paulson and Nigel Short to demonstrate their good faith by:
• re-affirming their primary allegiance to the English Chess Federation while serving in their respective ECF roles, the authority of the ECF Board to moderate the public display of their disputes, and their respect of normal conventions of confidentiality in Board proceedings
• renouncing recourse to legal action against one another at any time for torts presumed prior to today's date
• renouncing any action to refer the other to the FIDE Ethics Commission in the absence of ECF Board action
• without restricting prerogatives of ECF Council members, renounce any motion to the ECF Board or Council seeking to remove the other from his ECF position
• confirm that they will not comment on or allude to each other regarding the AGON-FIDE Memorandum and Contract, as well as their relationships with FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and the FIDE Presidential Candidate Garry Kasparov in the media or any public forum, including Twitter and Facebook
• seeking to moderate the tone of public debate that their respective representatives and colleagues are likely to continue
If one party subscribes to this Board resolution but the other does not, or if either party violates the Board resolution, the Board retains the right to warn either or both parties, withdraw our confidence in their suitability to serve and refer them to the FIDE Ethics Commission.

2. Secondly, the Board needs to act on substance. At our next scheduled Board meeting in five weeks’ time, we should assess both men’s conduct against the resolution. At that meeting, or the following meeting prior to Council, we should decide our position on:
• the substantive charges of unethical conduct
• the FIDE and ECU presidential elections

This email is confidential to the Board distribution list, as customary, as well as the legal advisor. Both Andrew and Nigel should comment. Eight directors (Dave E, Dave T, Alex, David O, Lawrence, Sean, Julian, me), the Governance Committee Chairman and the Legal Advisor are invited to discuss the Board’s course of action using individual email address. For those able (and not all are), I will host a Skype discussion tomorrow (Saturday) at 3:30. An email discussion can continue and a vote taken among all nine directors (including Andrew) will follow.

Kind regards,
Phil


Phil Ehr
Chief Executive
English Chess Federation

Office 01424 775222 | http://www.englishchess.org.uk
The English Chess Federation is a limited company registered in England and Wales (5293039) and affiliated with the Fédération Internationale des Échecs.


3. Pre-meeting Statement by Julian Clissold:

Statement from Julian Clissold
ECF Board Meeting
London 8th February 2014
Apologies that I cannot be there in person, however I am running an EPSCA Chess tournament in Manchester 9-5p.m. and I cannot reasonably find a substitute for this activity.
In lieu of being able to comment at the meeting I want to make a number of points about the substantive issues and about how this matter is being conducted.
The letter requesting the meeting states:
At the Board meeting of 19th January 2014, the Board failed to deal with two important items on the agenda with their relevant motions:
23. FIDE Commissions
24. ECU presidential Election
Given recent events, a majority of the Board now believe that these two subjects and related issues need to be urgently discussed and resolutions sought. This view is further exacerbated by the recent Sunday Times article, correspondence between Andrew Paulson, Nigel Short and Malcolm Pein, the referral of the ECF’s FIDE Delegate to the FIDE Ethics Commission and references to further action at the ECF at the April Council meeting.
Therefore, this letter is to request that you convene an urgent, additional Board meeting at 6.00pm on Saturday 8th February 2014 at The Exmouth Arms, 1 Starcross St, London NW1 2HR to deal solely with the following:
1. A discussion about the issues raised in the recent print and web articles, various claims involving the recent activities of Andrew Paulson and Nigel Short concerning the imminent ECU and FIDE elections, and various threats to refer ECF members to the FIDE Ethics Committee.
2. Motion: A vote of confidence in Andrew Paulson as President of the English Chess Federation
3. Motion: A vote of confidence in Nigel Short as the FIDE Delegate of the English Chess Federation

Substantive issues

How does the ECF handle the matter of the ECU elections?
I have had a lengthy conversation with both Nigel Short and Andrew Paulsen about the matter of the elections to the European Chess Union. I have also followed the various twitter and other information that have been circulated. I am concerned that the tone of some of this has been frenetic and claims and counter claims have been presented and remain largely conjecture. ECF Board should reaffirm its strong belief that it wants the ECF to punch its weight in national and international circles, but then seek an appropriate process through which the Board can be confident that it is taking an appropriate path in relation to the specific moves over the ECU elections and the FIDE elections later in the year. Nothing the ECF undertakes should detract from the ECF’s reputation for being serious, committed and ethical. Inaction would be better than an action that compromised English Chess.
I believe Andrew Paulsen’s suggestion that we identify a small subset of the Board to meet all the candidates is a proper way forward. It may not answer all the questions and may not dispel all the doubts but it would provide some platform of independent assessment of the probity of those involved. The meeting of colleagues with Zurab Asmaiparashvili is the first step in this process and is to be welcomed. The preparation of questions for that meeting and for a subsequent meeting with Denailov, would also be helpful.

Dispute between ECF’s FIDE Delegate and ECF President
This very public dispute has been a reputational disaster for the ECF. It should not have happened; ECF should not learn from national newspapers about the involvement of its FIDE delegate. The English Chess world must have thought we had returned to the chaotic days when plot and counter plot embroiled the BCF. The Board now needs to insist that bridges are built. The Chief Executive’s proposed way forward (Diffuse Controversy email 31/01/2014) does exactly that and has my full support. Both parties need to subscribe to that approach without any reservation or ambiguity. Failure to do so can be discussed at a future Board meeting. The ECF Board collectively and individually must take seriously the need to build a reputation for a serious and ethical organisation that operates with transparency and consultation. This episode shows a disunited Board in which members are not at ease with each other. As a Board we have to take steps to ensure we do not have this situation recurring.

The ECF Board, the Emergency Board Meeting and managing internal conflict
This is not the first or the only matter that has raised differences within the Board, although it has been the most public and the most far reaching. My paper at the last Board Meeting suggested that we must find other ways to act as a Board; these conflicts underline the extent to which my concerns about our internal dynamics were apposite. Such differences will continue, they are what being a Board is about. But there are better ways of handling them than the current approach.
The decision to call for an emergency board meeting seems to me to fall into the category of a poorly managed response to internal conflict. It immediately puts in place crisis management when it should have first put in place attempts to build bridges.
David Eustace helpfully suggested at the last Board meeting that we should insist that the President and the FIDE Delegate sit down and do not get up until they have settled their differences and can agree on advice to the Board as to the way forward. I think that this advice still stands and should be pursued. If they cannot settle their differences they can articulate the basis for their continued disagreements.
In a conversation with David (Monday 3rd February) he also advises me that Board members are concerned with the way in which the Board Meetings have been run and how individual Directors have been undermined. It is my belief that these issues are also better handled outside the context of an Emergency Meeting.
The Emergency Board Meeting
The Board Meeting is in danger of becoming a platform for both parties (AP and NS) to air their differences in an unconstructive way. What is still needed is mediation and a strong reminder to both parties of the need to find a compromise. Failure to engage in such a process would tell the Board much about the engagement of either party. Unfortunately we may have passed the point where we might have sought mediation between the parties. The Board meeting has been called and will proceed. I have tried to suggest some protocols for running the meeting to allow it to be productive (email to Board Members 2/2/2014). However it remains the case that if the Board wants a positive outcome and not just to ascribe blame, then the President and the FIDE delegate still have to meet to settle their differences.

Motions of No Confidence
I am not in favour of motions of no confidence. They suggest that the Board has failed to find a solution to its internal differences. They are a matter of last resort and where they are passed they should really lead to resignation. The Board cannot reasonably go forward with such an internal expression of dissatisfaction.

I look to Andrew to re-establish the vision he presented at his election; to distance himself from the FIDE ECU disputes and to commit to an appropriate process, before the Board decides how it goes forward internationally; and to indicate his support for the various Directorships, notably the Junior Directorate; this should include an acknowledgement that Directors can expect the autonomy to pursue their agreed objectives. If this is forthcoming then I would not support the vote. If it is not forthcoming, then I would want to know what he brings to the table to offset these issues.
I look to Nigel to undertake not to conduct Chess business through the pages of the national media; to work harder to bring the issues and understandings relating to International Chess to the attention of the Board; and to ensure that he has the support of the Board as and when he acts on behalf of English Chess. If those are forthcoming I would not support the motion. If they are not then again I would want to know what else he brings to the table to offset these serious issues.
My support for these motions would only come forward where there was evidence of a complete and irrevocable break down in trust between the parties. I would expect that in this case the Board, the President, and the Fide Delegate would all be “reconsidering their position”.
I would urge the Board not to support either motion of no confidence. They are admissions of failure, and that is a collective failure as well as the individual failures. Andrew’s handling of the directorships happens in part because we have not grasped the nettle and said – we want Directors to enjoy control and independence in the context of ECF Policy, we want meeting chaired in a different way, we want your approach to international chess to be ethical and unimpeachable.
Similarly Nigel’s foray into the national media is because we have failed to identify for him how the Board feels, what it wants advice on and how we expect the ECF to be viewed externally. These are not personal failures any more or less than they are Board failures for which we must all bear responsibility (one of the thrusts of my paper).
I hope Board members use the emergency meeting to plainly state their concerns and decide how to build from them. That building will be about Nigel and Andrew but it will also be about us, how we behave and how we move forward.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:18 pm 
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Good minutes. Very revealing. Very helpful. Plenty to digest. Thanks.

A number of Board members emerge with enhanced reputations; at least one does not. Provided ECF builds around the good, and excises the garbage, there could yet be a future.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:33 pm 
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David Robertson wrote:
Good minutes. Very revealing. Very helpful. Plenty to digest.


Agreed. Kirsan can run FIDE as President for Life with a private fiefdom because he has a mostly compliant Board at his disposal along with historically a built in majority of compliant Delegates to guarantee his re-election.

I don't think you can run the ECF the same way, even though Gerry Walsh tried.

I don't know quite why the ECF Board are frightened of the ECF Council. The admission of a deeper business relationship with Kirsan than divulged at the election should be sufficient for the voting membership to lose confidence in the President.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:21 pm 
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Colleagues,

The Agenda of this Emergency Board Meeting for some confused pedantic reason chose to call a vote of Confidence rather than to call for a vote of No Confidence against me. The Minutes of the meeting reveal that in fact it was a vote of Whinging (Brit. variant of to bitch, whine, complain): (a) he was doing too much, too fast, (b) he wanted to stand for the Board of the European Chess Union and we weren't sure, (c) he had a strong personality, and (d) two years ago he did something that appeared inappropriate, though in fact it wasn't.

The ECF Chief Executive, one of the ECF Non-Executive Directors and a former Chief Executive (now Chairman of the Governance Committee) of the ECF all supported me; the ECF Membership Director abstained admitting that he had no grounds for complaint. The remaining Board members all had close connections with either Malcolm Pein or Nigel Short (thence to Garry Kasparov) and I have demonstrated that their complaints are spurious (see Minutes).

Members of the Board attempted a coup d'état last Saturday, but failed. The Board has not (could not have) removed me. Several may try to call an Emergency Council Meeting to remove me, but the grounds laid out in the Minutes will provoke ridicule of them rather than outrage at me. In an attempt to solve this impasse, I will propose a new harmonious Board (replacing several of its current members) to Council at its regularly scheduled meeting in April, as the current one has been rendered dysfunctional. This will allow us to proceed constructively in the renewal of the ECF and its communications and marketing development that we promised at our election.

But, what actually happened and how did we arrive at this point in less than four months? It's election time in FIDE! Kasparov needed to distract attention from his agreement to pay $1.5m from his charity in the U.S. to a private company in Singapore, 100% owned by Ignatius Leong. Bad enough to have Leong on his ticket, people were saying, but to have bought him away from Ilyumzhinov at such a high cost to deliver a mere 11 (of 158) votes . . . And, Kasparov was unhappy that my presence lent credibility to Zurab Azmaiparashvili's ECU ticket and, supposedly, by association to Ilyumzhinov (even though I have openly declared that I do not support Ilyumzhinov and am considering standing for FIDE President myself).

Once again (let me count the times) Nigel Short has acted in his own best interest and not in the best interest of English chess ... or any chess, for that matter: if Ignatius Leong is getting $1.5m to deliver S.E. Asia, one might ask how much Nigel is getting for the U.K. to topple me. He has teamed up with the otherwise splendid and admirable Malcolm Pein whose shop, charity and tournament benefit from association with Kasparov. Kasparov put direct and relentless pressure on both of them as his agents in the UK to get rid of me. They in turn browbeat their pocket members on the Board (several of whom are employees of Malcolm Pein) to lead this failed coup d'état.

Sincerely,
Andrew Paulson
ECF President


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:32 pm 
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Andrew, this is delusional drivel.

You no longer command ECF. You now command ridicule.

Spare yourself pain. Resign with what dignity you retain.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:47 pm 
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Amen, David.

And when you do resign, Andrew Paulson, I do fervently hope that the ECF invites someone other than Roger Edwards to take the reins.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 12:05 am 
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I'd just like to thank the saints - David & Paul - before I go (into monastic retreat).

Oh, and please, don't panic we are all doomed - sooner or later - anyway.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 12:15 am 
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Andrew Paulson wrote:
The remaining Board members all had close connections with either Malcolm Pein or Nigel Short (thence to Garry Kasparov) and I have demonstrated that their complaints are spurious (see Minutes).


Tough. You were told when you first stood that association with and support of Kirsan was toxic. You can blame thirty years of propaganda from biased Western media if you wish, but unlike FIDE Delegates, I doubt that ECF voting Delegates are for sale.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 12:32 am 
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Roger de Coverly wrote:
Andrew Paulson wrote:
The remaining Board members all had close connections with either Malcolm Pein or Nigel Short (thence to Garry Kasparov) and I have demonstrated that their complaints are spurious (see Minutes).


Tough. You were told when you first stood that association with and support of Kirsan was toxic. You can blame thirty years of propaganda from biased Western media if you wish, but unlike FIDE Delegates, I doubt that ECF voting Delegates are for sale.


I have repeatedly said that I am personally in favour of abstention on the FIDE Presidential vote because both candidates are wrong; that is not 'support of Kirsan.' The FIDE Delegate is instructed by the Board. I am but one vote on the Board. This is a non-issue.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 12:49 am 
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Andrew Paulson wrote:
I have repeatedly said that I am personally in favour of abstention on the FIDE Presidential vote because both candidates are wrong; that is not 'support of Kirsan.'


It is though. Whether influenced by media or otherwise, there is a long standing opposition to the concept of a Life Presidency for Kirsan or Campomanes for that matter. It might be possible to move the ECF to a principle of not actively campaigning in Kasparov's favour, but no further. In 2010 the ECF President was active in the Karpov campaign. There are suspicions that the FIDE establishment don't want to see a repeat of that in 2014. Being neutral might not be difficult given Kasparov's associates, but a compromise that Nigel makes it clear that he is speaking in his own name and not that of the ECF would be needed. The Presidency of the ECU isn't that big an issue, but Zurab has a bad reputation as does Danailov, so what's the tie-break?

The concept of the evil Pein with his minions determining ECF policy as Directors is an interesting one, but given said evil Pein actually lost to "none of the above" in an ECF election, in practice those who work with or for Chess in Schools or the London Classic can or should be regarded as independent.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 6:37 am 
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Roger de Coverly wrote:
Tough. You were told when you first stood that association with and support of Kirsan was toxic.


Right, but that didn't stop people, including a number of the people ivnolved with this particular farce, from voting for Paulson in thr first place, did it? And don't tell me they didn't know Paulson had a connection with Kirsan when the election occurred..

This sort of coup, revolving arounf FIDE politics, is not what the ECF is supposed to be about.

As for enhanced reputations, don't make me laugh. The only reputation that is enhanced as a result of this circus is the reputation of ECF politics for having nothing whatsoever to do with either transparency or the benefit of its members.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 6:43 am 
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Andrew Paulson wrote:
I have repeatedly said that I am personally in favour of abstention on the FIDE Presidential vote


I stand to be corrected on this but personally I'm sure I can remember an interview in which Paulson said that the one thing that wouldn't happen was abstention. Does anybody else recall this?

As far as I am concerned everybody involved with this, Paulson included, deserves censure. I wrote strongly against Paulson when he was standing. I have repeatedly written against absence of transparency in ECF affairs and against the use of ECF to serve outside interests. This is what happens when external politicking dominates ECF affairs.

If I wen't obliged to be an ECF member in order to play competitive chess in my home country, I am quite certain I would resign.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 8:03 am 
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JustinHorton wrote:
Andrew Paulson wrote:
I have repeatedly said that I am personally in favour of abstention on the FIDE Presidential vote


I stand to be corrected on this but personally I'm sure I can remember an interview in which Paulson said that the one thing that wouldn't happen was abstention. Does anybody else recall this?


http://www.chessdom.com/interview-with- ... ederation/

Quote:
Chessdom: The former world champion Garry Kasparov is challenging Kirsan Ilyumzhinov for the post of FIDE President. What is your opinion about the elections in FIDE?

Andrew Paulson: When I was standing for the Presidency of the ECF, I was surprised by the extent to which certain issues polarised vocal members of the community: it was clear that there were some litmus tests that I would have to pass, some might say that there was even an ‘enemies list’ I would have to eschew if not deny. Certainly Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was at the top of their list, closely followed by Ray Keene, CJ de Mooi, Ali Yazici, FIDE itself. Evil personified. The stuff of tales (chess-playing) parents tell their children in the dark of night to scare them onto the straight and narrow.

As an example, my friend Nigel Short who knows me rather well first averred that he would support my candidacy on the condition that I didn’t interfere with his voting for Kasparov. I confirmed this (his vote is determined by the Board, not the President). Then, he upped the requirement that I would not support Ilyumzhinov in the election. I confirmed this in writing saying that I would advocate abstention as neither candidate impressed me. Then Nigel upped his requirement even further, insisting that I attack Ilyumzhinov and support Kasparov. I refused (this is not appropriate behaviour for the President of the ECF). He denounced me.

However, Nigel made a very good (though arguable) point: in a democracy, you don’t vote for the good, you vote for the best you’ve got. For Nigel, even if Garry was highly problematic, he was not the diabolical Kirsan! When Garry Kasparov announced his candidacy for the Presidency of FIDE, most people questioned his competence for this position, but rather than thinking about this very seriously, quickly jumped to the conclusion that as bad as Kasparov might be, Kirsan was worse. Maybe.

This is the situation we have to study over the coming 9 months. Both sides are going to make their cases. Both sides have bullet point position papers and talking points defending their candidate and attacking their opponent. I will remain clear-eyed, consider the consequences of our vote, and try to lead the ECF to make the right decision as to how to vote. Nigel has convinced me: we will not abstain!


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 8:08 am 
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And so the predictable Paulsen Politiking begins. His above statement released straight to the press: http://susanpolgar.blogspot.co.uk/2014/ ... chaos.html


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 8:33 am 
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Nick Burrows wrote:
His above statement released straight to the press: http://susanpolgar.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/political-chaos.html

It is actually a statement from a little further up this thread.

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