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 Post subject: Re: Update on Project?
PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2009 8:15 pm 
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I received an email at school today comprising the press release. I assume that all subscribed schools have been contacted. Lets hope the sets come out in May/June.


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 Post subject: Re: Update on Project?
PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2009 12:33 am 
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I now feel quite confident that sets will now appear in May/June - sounds like they probably anticipate having at least twenty sets available by that date.


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 Post subject: Re: Update on Project?
PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2009 7:01 am 
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Neill Cooper wrote:
I received an email at school today comprising the press release. I assume that all subscribed schools have been contacted. Lets hope the sets come out in May/June.

The May/June looks more like yet another publicity drive rather than anything of real substance

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 Post subject: Re: Update on Project?
PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2009 10:35 am 
Carl Hibbard wrote:
Neill Cooper wrote:
I received an email at school today comprising the press release. I assume that all subscribed schools have been contacted. Lets hope the sets come out in May/June.

The May/June looks more like yet another publicity drive rather than anything of real substance


To be fair, they have not said all the sets are coming out in May / June. They have said that they are going to do 3 or 4 preliminary events in May or June, with the main roll out not happening until September 2009.

This seems perfectly sensible from an operational point of view. Test what you plan to do on a small scale, evaluate the good and the bad from that test and then tweak the process for the real thing in September.

I was one of the many doubters of this project but I have no doubt now that it will be happen. This is for two reasons. Firstly Messrs Walsh and Wilson, who I wouldn't have in charge of the proverbial drinking session in a brewery have been sidelined, with Chris Majer and David Anderton taking over. And secondly because the Holloid Plastics that the ECF originally got involved is no more, with the company now having new owners, new management and a large injection of cash. The new owners could have walked away - after all there was no contract and they had made no committment. But they didn't, they stated publically that they wanted to deliver the project, they appointed project co-ordinators and a PR firm. They even took ownership of the delivery of the sets.


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 Post subject: Re: Update on Project?
PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2009 1:09 pm 
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Infact I agree with Sean, I think the project will now happen.


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 Post subject: Re: Update on Project?
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 9:18 am 
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Hi all

As an interested bystander (with a few contacts still in post!) it is pleasing to see that the new money injected into Holloid is having an effect (net worth went from £17k(!!!) to £280k since christmas according to http://www.creditsafe.co.uk) with the security of further finance available.

I've never met Henning von Spreckelsen myself but I know people who have, and whose opinion I respect, and they all have stated that he has committed to the this project.

Although I can't claim to understand his previous business models (Bapco Closures etc) he certainly seems to have access to the funds to deliver this project and I'm sure any delays are more a result of trying to cram 30 hours of work into 24 hours of day.

This forum has been accused of taking "the glass is half empty approach" and I appreciate the earlier fanfares and subsequent failure to produce results hasn't exactly marked this program for glory - however Holloid entered into this with a desire to see it through and only economic circumstances (the company nearly sank!?!) brought about the near termination of the project.

Suffice to say I for one believe this will happen THIS year and although no longer directly involved in the CFS project I am happy to have been there at its inception and wish Holloid all good luck in bringing the sets to the schools

So grit your teeth if you must but let's hear some support

regards

Fergus


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 Post subject: Re: Update on Project?
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 11:09 am 
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Fergus,

Good to hear from you, however I have to take issue with your post.

Quote:
This forum has been accused of taking "the glass is half empty approach" and I appreciate the earlier fanfares and subsequent failure to produce results hasn't exactly marked this program for glory - however Holloid entered into this with a desire to see it through and only economic circumstances (the company nearly sank!?!) brought about the near termination of the project.


Gloves off time I'm afraid.

I am sure I speak for all chess players who would have happily accepted a statement from Holloid along the lines above. The initial fanfare was regrettable and has had a damaging impact on the ECF's credibility. But let's be honest if we haven't been directly lied to its been pretty close, we had a number of statements over the last year. For instance the appointment of the media agency and the push to market this - (nothing). The notion that this project was a massive marketing campaign for Holloid - (Holloid website devoid of publicity).
Tool breaking and then taking 3 months to arrive from China - (could be true but given track record doesn't look good).

Take all that with the fact that a year ago we were so close to production we were ready for the first 5,000 sets etc. There is currently no Chess for Schools Manager, there has been little further statements from the ECF or Holloid that back up any evidence of real progress on the project.

If everything is going to plan, then please ECF and Hollloid lets see some evidence, how about some photos of materials, packaging, work in progress even. Please no more brash statements, words are cheap.

I hope it happens, but on current evidence I am not convinced.


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 Post subject: Re: Update on Project?
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 4:32 pm 
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I confess I've never understood this project. All the ballyhoo about schools getting fifty quids' worth of plastic equipment (which they could easily have afforded to buy anyway had they wanted it). But the plastic is no use without the people. People to go into each and every school and evangelise on behalf of chess. Who is going to organise and do it? The delivery of the plastic should be the relatively simple part of the operation (though you'd never believe it with all the carry-on over the past couple of years). So far I've read nothing coherent about how the important and difficult post-plastic part of the operation is to be organised and delivered.

I'm reminded of what I read in football programmes. "The match ball has been sponsored by Joe Bloggs Ltd." Well, that's great as far as it goes - and sincere thanks to Joe Bloggs - but who is going to organise provision of match officials, etc, etc? And is anybody going to turn up to play?

The concern is that most of the plastic will go to schools which already have a chess culture - which is simply preaching to the converted. Good luck to them and I hope they all enjoy their free gift, but it doesn't deliver what's needed - more kids playing chess. Without that, it just seems like the longest and most pointless publicity stunt in chess history.

I'm suddenly beginning to hear myself sounding like Sir Alan Sugar on 'The Apprentice'... "you mean, you got a company to send all this bleedin' gear to every school in the country without bothering to find out whether they wanted to play chess in the first place?! ... 'ow many new players did it bring in? ... what, none??... right, I've 'eard enough... you're a complete shambles!... three of you are gonna come back in 'ere in a minute and one of you's gonna get fired...", etc, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Update on Project?
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 4:46 pm 
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What John said. We don't have a lack of children playing chess in schools - when I was last living in Yeovil, there were six schools in or around Yeovil who had enough players to form teams to play each other. What we have is a lack of children playing chess anywhere else. It seems to be a situation where we don't have enough millers, bakers, or bakeries, and yet we're responding to a bread shortage by planting more wheat.

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 Post subject: Re: Update on Project?
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 9:33 pm 
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Now if they were giving out chess clocks, that would be good.

This is my first post, I am a teacher in a secondary in Swindon and am trying to re-start inter-school games. Most schools do seem to have sets already, and sets are relatively cheap - maybe even cheaper than the £50 for 10 quoted in the previous (very sensible) post. What schools need is the children who want to play beyond year 7 (I have a year 8 but he's asked me not to use his name in any newsletters etc), and there's no formula for this as far as I can see, though hopefully enthusiasm will go some of the way!

I'll put another post asking for advice and weblinks, to avoid a threadjack :D

Mike


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 Post subject: Re: Update on Project?
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 10:27 pm 
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Johyn wrote

Quote:
I confess I've never understood this project. All the ballyhoo about schools getting fifty quids' worth of plastic equipment (which they could easily have afforded to buy anyway had they wanted it). But the plastic is no use without the people. People to go into each and every school and evangelise on behalf of chess. Who is going to organise and do it? The delivery of the plastic should be the relatively simple part of the operation (though you'd never believe it with all the carry-on over the past couple of years). So far I've read nothing coherent about how the important and difficult post-plastic part of the operation is to be organised and delivered.

I'm reminded of what I read in football programmes. "The match ball has been sponsored by Joe Bloggs Ltd." Well, that's great as far as it goes - and sincere thanks to Joe Bloggs - but who is going to organise provision of match officials, etc, etc? And is anybody going to turn up to play?

The concern is that most of the plastic will go to schools which already have a chess culture - which is simply preaching to the converted. Good luck to them and I hope they all enjoy their free gift, but it doesn't deliver what's needed - more kids playing chess. Without that, it just seems like the longest and most pointless publicity stunt in chess history.

I'm suddenly beginning to hear myself sounding like Sir Alan Sugar on 'The Apprentice'... "you mean, you got a company to send all this bleedin' gear to every school in the country without bothering to find out whether they wanted to play chess in the first place?! ... 'ow many new players did it bring in? ... what, none??... right, I've 'eard enough... you're a complete shambles!... three of you are gonna come back in 'ere in a minute and one of you's gonna get fired...", etc, etc.
I confess I've never understood this project. All the ballyhoo about schools getting fifty quids' worth of plastic equipment (which they could easily have afforded to buy anyway had they wanted it). But the plastic is no use without the people. People to go into each and every school and evangelise on behalf of chess. Who is going to organise and do it? The delivery of the plastic should be the relatively simple part of the operation (though you'd never believe it with all the carry-on over the past couple of years). So far I've read nothing coherent about how the important and difficult post-plastic part of the operation is to be organised and delivered.

I'm reminded of what I read in football programmes. "The match ball has been sponsored by Joe Bloggs Ltd." Well, that's great as far as it goes - and sincere thanks to Joe Bloggs - but who is going to organise provision of match officials, etc, etc? And is anybody going to turn up to play?

The concern is that most of the plastic will go to schools which already have a chess culture - which is simply preaching to the converted. Good luck to them and I hope they all enjoy their free gift, but it doesn't deliver what's needed - more kids playing chess. Without that, it just seems like the longest and most pointless publicity stunt in chess history.

I'm suddenly beginning to hear myself sounding like Sir Alan Sugar on 'The Apprentice'... "you mean, you got a company to send all this bleedin' gear to every school in the country without bothering to find out whether they wanted to play chess in the first place?! ... 'ow many new players did it bring in? ... what, none??... right, I've 'eard enough... you're a complete shambles!... three of you are gonna come back in 'ere in a minute and one of you's gonna get fired...", etc, etc.


Sets are being delivered to schools that have registered, so yes they do want them.
When we succeed in delivering 100,000 sets in Year One that will be 40% of all schools in England.
The strategy is not merely to deliver the sets; it involves follow-up to try to make sure that they are used. There is a declared vacancy for the person that will be recruited to make this happen.

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 Post subject: Re: Update on Project?
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2009 1:32 am 
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Chris Majer wrote:
Sets are being delivered to schools that have registered, so yes they do want them.
When we succeed in delivering 100,000 sets in Year One that will be 40% of all schools in England.
The strategy is not merely to deliver the sets; it involves follow-up to try to make sure that they are used. There is a declared vacancy for the person that will be recruited to make this happen.


I'm with you until that last sentence. The really tough bit of the project is yet to come but, as yet, there is nobody in place to manage it. Does this not dent the ECF's confidence in the overall project somewhat? It is desperately late in the day to be without a project manager if the plastic delivery phase of of the project is as far advanced as is being stated. I had a look at the vacancy notice (http://www.englishchess.org.uk/vacancies) and was struck by the range of the tasks that the ECF wants carried out by the successful candidate and the qualities they are looking for, in return for an "honorarium" (which sounds like it means 'a modest fee that is not commensurate with the amount of work expected to be done'). It looks like an unrealistic wish list, and a daunting and unrewarding prospect for any potential candidate. "Poisoned chalice for sale - one previous owner".

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 Post subject: Re: Update on Project?
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2009 9:56 pm 
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There have been some sensible posts on this topic recently.

If this is to succeed it depends on the quality of the person recruited to run it. To establish chess clubs in dozens (hundreds) of schools requires an incredible amount of time, skill and determination. I don't believe that there are untold millions of people available with these skills (especially who are willing to do it for free (freeish)). If the ECF are serious I would tentatively suggest that they consider employing (at a reasonable rate) a quality person who will need to make it work so that his/her mortgage is paid. I would be interested in Chris Majer's (who's opinion I respect) opinion on this.


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 Post subject: Re: Update on Project?
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2009 10:45 pm 
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Nick Thomas wrote:
There have been some sensible posts on this topic recently.

If this is to succeed it depends on the quality of the person recruited to run it. To establish chess clubs in dozens (hundreds) of schools requires an incredible amount of time, skill and determination. I don't believe that there are untold millions of people available with these skills (especially who are willing to do it for free (freeish)). If the ECF are serious I would tentatively suggest that they consider employing (at a reasonable rate) a quality person who will need to make it work so that his/her mortgage is paid. I would be interested in Chris Majer's (who's opinion I respect) opinion on this.

It appears Nick (from the description...) that this cannot even be considered as a "part" time job?

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 Post subject: Re: Update on Project?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 11:05 am 
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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

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