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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:53 pm 
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Mr French, you really are a very tiresome person indeed...
Before Andrew Paulson became ECF President, it was the custom to conduct most Board meetings by skype (and prior to that by telephone). This had the very significant advantage of saving time and the ECF's money. I may add that it also allowed those who were not in country to participate (in most cases just me, but sometimes others). After AP became President, the next few meetings took place physically in his flat. In my opinion, these changes were motivated primarily by convenience to AP, to the detriment of the ECF. Not coincidentally, it also removed a major opponent of his in the international sphere.

Andrew Paulson told me by Skype, in August 2013, that Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was the majority shareholder of Agon - long before I came across a copy of the secret, signed memorandum (something he alleges was "stolen" by a disgruntled former employee - although, of course, it has never once left his possession). He has denied my account of the Skype conversation subsequently (see below) but to my mind this conflict of interest rendered him totally unfit to be ECF President, which is why I warned Council about him.

In an e-mail of the 26th September AP wrote...

"That is both a non sequitur and not true. You misunderstood. It's true the Skype connection was atrocious, but I fear you are wilfully misunderstanding for political ends. I explained that the conversations were long and difficult. But in the end I succeeded in getting my way. I own the company and always will.

Your ECF note today was craven. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Don't bother communicating further with me."

You will note that Andrew refers to "getting his way" although, his e-mail is flatly contradicted by the wording of the SIGNED secret Agon Memorandum, which was clearly proposed by him.

The breakdown in relations, as you may note, pre-dates his election to the position of ECF President. When we both attended the meeting with Garry Kasparov in December, AP constantly cut me out from speaking, as well as referring to me openly as a "pain in the ass". You will understand that I have had no desire to be subjected to such verbal harassment. The one time I was available for a Board meeting - in London in December -I therefore chose not to attend.

This is just the tip of iceberg. Other ECF Board members have their own excellent reasons for not giving AP a vote of confidence. I may add not a single Board member believed Andrew's written pledge that he would step down if he lost the confidence of the Board - and they were right. Council will decide what is the right course for the federation. I have no doubt it will choose well.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 9:19 pm 
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Nigel Short wrote:
Before Andrew Paulson became ECF President, it was the custom to conduct most Board meetings by skype (and prior to that by telephone). This had the very significant advantage of saving time and the ECF's money. I may add that it also allowed those who were not in country to participate (in most cases just me, but sometimes others). After AP became President, the next few meetings took place physically in his flat. In my opinion, these changes were motivated primarily by convenience to AP, to the detriment of the ECF.

I would add that the first three meetings under the new arrangements took place during normal working hours. This made it difficult for some Board members to attend, Sean Hewitt in particular.

Nigel Short has explained why he did not wish to attend the meetings. If he had been motivated to fly in from Athens to do so, I have little doubt that there would have been vigorous complaints that his resultant expenses were not justified.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 9:57 pm 
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Mike Gunn wrote:
The original decision to take legal action was debated and agreed by the whole board (with one vote against).


And then hidden from the membership, the outcome of this being a great deal of rancour - but not, apparently, the learning of any lessons.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:01 pm 
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Nigel Short wrote:
Andrew Paulson told me by Skype, in August 2013, that Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was the majority shareholder of Agon


The problem with this claim is that Kirsan Ilyumzhinov does not appear to to be the majority shareholder of AGON. So why would Paulson claim that he was? I could understand him claiming Kirsan wasn't the majority shareholder if he were, but why the other way round?

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:16 pm 
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JustinHorton wrote:
Mike Gunn wrote:
The original decision to take legal action was debated and agreed by the whole board (with one vote against).


And then hidden from the membership, the outcome of this being a great deal of rancour - but not, apparently, the learning of any lessons.


No, that is not true. Obviously we should have informed the membership at the AGM, but the truth is that we forgot because we were completely preoccuped by T-shirt gate. There was no deliberate hiding of this decision, just incompetence on our part.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:27 pm 
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I'm just a pleb whose intentions are good.
Oh officers, please don't let me be misunderstood...

Nigel Short, Mike Gunn, Alex Holowczak and David Sedgwiick have given insiders views.
It is always good when any ECF official goes public on a crucial matter such as the one unfolding here.
I always bear in mind that they are volunteers and cannot be expected to manage to do all they do to the highest professional standards. Although, I have good reasons to believe that many have gone far above and beyond the call of duty in their very demanding roles at the ECF.
Having said that with, I hope, all due respect to all ECF officials... (plse. see my next post)

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Last edited by John McKenna on Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:30 pm 
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(Plse. see my previous post for the intro.)

Now let me give the view of one who is outside.

In these days of almost universal highspeed comms and whistleblowing it should not be possible for any high official of the ECF to exceed their authority without it being quickly uncovered and set right. For the ECF President - as in the case of CJ - to be given carte blanche (bordering on a royal perogative) and for the FIDE Delegate - as in the case of Nigel - to be given plenipotential powers (bordering on the droit du seigneur) is tantamount to a collective washing of hands before any carve up, so that trying to washout those impossible to remove traces after any bloodbath - a la Lady Macbeth - is mercifully avoided.

While it is understandable that things can go that way, in order to prevent such untoward excesses of power and abdications of responsibility I had hoped that, at the last election, Angus French would be elected as a non-exec director and be able to get in amongst the spinners and speed merchants with a "straight bat", on behalf of the crowd on the terraces not just the members in the stand.
I am sure he would have taken no holidays and would have knocked any wayward 'bowling' right out of the ground - just as (no Sir, I'm Republican) Garfield Sobers once famously did.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:36 pm 
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JustinHorton wrote:
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov does not appear to to be the majority shareholder of AGON. So why would Paulson claim that he was? I could understand him claiming Kirsan wasn't the majority shareholder if he were, but why the other way round?

How would anyone here know? How could they, absent a forensic psychiatric examination of Andrew Paulson?

The best we can do is look for symptomatic evidence of his state of mind. For example, do we have any evidence that Andrew Paulson engages in outrageous and implausible claims? Or that he fantasises about anything? Or that he says one thing one minute; something different, the next? Or that he exaggerates his powers? Or that he denies his commercial dealings even when faced with the evidence? Or that he lies, brazenly and wantonly, saying whatever gets him through the night? Has he ever admitted he exaggerates or invents statements purporting to be the truth? Has he ever engaged in delusional flights of fancy? Or made claims so preposterous and offensive that any right-minded person would think him ridiculous - at best?

How would I know? These matters need evidence. Best bring in the investigative experts, those with experience of uncovering the hidden truth behind the malicious enemies of English chess. Step forward the destroyers of Andrew Farthing and his ilk. Step forward the Bonehead Bloggers of Brixton.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:38 pm 
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Brevity is the soul of wit, Professor.

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"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:43 pm 
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Ex Horton. Ad tedium


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:55 pm 
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David R said all those things before the election and yet AP still got elected.
Perhaps David would care to extend his psychoanalytical powers to all those on Council?
He can start the group therapy session with - "hands up all those who did not vote for the madman!
Right you're all in the clear and can leave now."
I wonder how many would be left to face the full interrogation - anyone?

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To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:07 am 
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Nigel Short wrote:
Are Nigel & Andrew so at loggerheads that they cannot see the damage being done?


Would you rather not know about the true nature of Andrew Paulson's relationship with Kirsan? Would you rather not know how this American interloper who, up until a couple of years ago, had no prior interest in or connection with chess in England, is using the ECF as a vehicle for his own (and indeed Kirsan's) international ambitions? If blissful ignorance is what you want, I am deeply sorry for having disturbed your peace. If, however, the hijacking of English chess for political ends by a foreigner is a matter of some importance to you, then I trust you will forgive me for the temporary turbulence.[/quote]

The use of the words American interloper and foreigner are unfortunate as to me they imply shades of British national front etc on the other hand Paulsons digs at others implying they are whinging brits does him no favours at all. I have read quite a bit up now in the last few days as I like reading a bit of scandal and conclude that it would be in the best interests of English chess if AP were to resign now rather than prolong the inevitable.
Just out of curiousity I tried to locate AP's rating and could find no record of him in the ECF grading database or the FIDE rating list. Does anyone know if he can even play chess? Is he merely a good businessman and politician? If that is the case I find it amusing that the ECF council (thanks Angus for that correction) would elect a non chess player as their president.
Whatever ones views about Short, Pein and actually most of the others on the ECF board one cannot deny that they are well established chess players and/or have a long history of involvement with UK chess. AP'S involvement with the ECF looks to have been a brief but eventful one!
I am sure that he still has plenty to contribute to the chess world if that is his wish and if he now lives in the UK I am sure that he can find another niche in the chess community? perhaps sponsor a 4NCL team? there are other outlets and he is obviously a very talented individual IMHO.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:16 am 
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Andrew Paulson is not the real problem just a blip on the radar.

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To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:21 pm 
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Simon Spivack wrote:
Andrew Paulson wrote:
Malcolm Pein wrote:
REF Andrew Paulson wrote:
Note: Malcolm Pein, Sean Hewitt and Alex Holowczak, among others, were eager to be put on Commissions under this initiative.

It is also demonstrably false in my case. It's just more nonsense from AP, I have copied below relevant extracts from an email of 30th Jan. 2014 from AP to me and me to AP.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: Some Business
Date: Thu, 30 Jan 2014 15:57:38 +0000
From: Malcolm Pein <>
To: Andrew Paulson <>, Phil Ehr <>, Malcolm Pein <>

2) I have met with the main Chess in Schools organisations in Western Europe recently. The general consensus is that the FIDE Chess in Schools Commission is damaged beyond repair.
We are probably forming an umbrella organisation for Europe to coordinate research and fund raising. FIDE is toxic from that viewpoint. In the unlikely event of a complete clear out many people might come forward. I think the FIDE brand might remain toxic for some time to come but so I would be unlikely to put my name forward.

Regards

Malcolm

2. I had discussions in Lausanne about the Chess in Schools Commission, as said I would when we last met. If there were a new Chairman whom you had confidence in, it might be very valuable for all concerned for you to be a core member of this Commission, regardless of who is the President of FIDE after the elections. Do you still agree with this and should I include you in the list of potential candidates for senior commission roles?

Andrew


Malcolm is forgetting a conversation we had a month or so ago in my flat (January 3rd at 12:30 p.m.) where we discussed the Anglophone Committee and he said that he would be interested in sitting on the FIDE Chess in Schools Commission.

Andrew,

Malcolm has provided documentary evidence to support his case, you have come up with your recollection. They are not of equal value. I, for one, do not always accurately recall conversations; furthermore, there is the added difficulty that what one party imagines he has said is not necessarily the same as what his interlocutor believes he has heard.

A perfectly plausible sequence of events is that you broached to Malcolm the possibility of occupying a FIDE post and that he replied in a non-committal manner. That is how I would usually reply should someone bounce something unexpected off me. Having investigated the matter, Malcolm's reply was negative.


In the interests of disclosure, I should mention that I have known Malcolm since we were children. I have even stayed at his parents' home when it was in Liverpool. In the world of UK chess, there are many such links.

Simon,

Malcolm's documentary evidence (an email exchange with me from January 30) that you cite does not contradict my recollections of our January 3rd meeting in my flat, it simply updates his position. Between January 3rd and 30th, Kasparov began to execute his UK strategy.

Malcolm came to my flat and we discussed many things in a very relaxed and friendly manner as we always had. We discussed my standing with Zurab on the ECU ticket, which he was outraged by; however, we agreed to disagree on this issue. We discussed the usefulness of creating the Anglophone Committee as a lobbying force within FIDE and independent from the current candidates. We shared our strong reservations about Kasparov as a potential President of FIDE and compared a Kasparov future to a Kirsan future; Malcolm acknowledged that Kasparov would lose, but that he had to support him on ethical grounds, which I fully accepted. We discussed the ECF initiative to bring UKCA and Michael Basman back into the ECF, which he supported. We discussed space for an English Chess Heritage library. We discussed the proposal for Charity Status of the ECF and the makeup of the Board of Trustees. And, I asked if he would be willing as part of the Anglophone Committee initiative to be a member of the Chess in Schools Commission. He answered, "yes". There was no hesitation or reservation. I have no problem with my memory on this.

Andrew


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:57 pm 
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JustinHorton wrote:
Nigel Short wrote:
Andrew Paulson told me by Skype, in August 2013, that Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was the majority shareholder of Agon


The problem with this claim is that Kirsan Ilyumzhinov does not appear to to be the majority shareholder of AGON. So why would Paulson claim that he was? I could understand him claiming Kirsan wasn't the majority shareholder if he were, but why the other way round?


You bring up a good question that for some odd reason no one had before thought of asking: why in God’s name did Paulson tell Malcolm Pein and Nigel Short on various occasions that Ilyumzhinov was the majority shareholder of AGON?! And, if he did, how can he now maintain that it’s not the case? Such simple questions, but I guess no one is really interested in 'getting to the bottom' of this, the surface is so much easier. But, as usual, the truth is more interesting!

The fact is that I told them about the Memorandum early on, in confidence, long before it was stolen (Nigel is being pedantic: a scan was copied) from my office. (One might even suspect that someone specifically ordered its theft, rather than it being offered to Kasparov out of the blue by poor Fontaine!) I told them of its existence for two very human reasons: (a) because they were my friends and colleagues, had heard rumours from Ray Keene (according to Nigel Short; he often sleeps on Ray's couch when he's in London) about conflict of interest and asked me about it, and I wanted them to have the precise story from me in context, and (b) to give them that context and get their sympathy by sharing with them the grisly process I was going through trying to do business with FIDE and get started with AGON. I was quite new and alone in the chess world, I was looking for guidance. They had/have a very black and white view of FIDE from the outside; I had managed to get inside this fascinating organisation and I was trying to give them detail that would help them 'understand.’ And in the process I was trying to understand it better, myself.

What they don’t tell, conveniently, is that I discussed lots of other things with them (always separately, by the by) as well that would make their current narrative less black and white. Perhaps I’ll write a book about this some day. But other than describing the context of that Memorandum, how it came about, I never told them the Kirsan actually had 51% of AGON. Within a week or so the purloined Memorandum had been superseded by another understanding and subsequently by another and another as I extracted myself delicately from Kirsan's grasp. They know perfectly well that Ilyumzhinov is not now and never was a shareholder in AGON; that’s why they never go into much detail and don’t ask your question. They were my friends who have thrown me under the bus at the behest of Kasparov who they already know with certainty is going to lose the upcoming election. Go figure that one out.

I'm always happy to answer questions.


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