NCCU and the MCF

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Paul Bielby
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Re: NCCU and the MCF

Post by Paul Bielby » Fri Oct 04, 2013 8:52 am

Martin asks was county chess viable before then? Well, things were different. In the late fifties (my university days) the only congresses for me were the British Championships in the summer, Hastings just after Christmas and the Yorkshire Easter Congress, which wandered around the county as clubs took it in turn to hold it (I ran it in Huddersfield in '67). Other areas no doubt had other congresses too. The Northumberland congress has just passed its 50th birthday. But congresses were very few and far between.

Yorkshire (I became Yorkshire secretary about '63 and President a couple of years later). played county matches of different sizes and strengths against different opposition. Yorkshire-Lancashire matches were played over 50 boards or more in two halves, at Manchster (where the Yorkshire team came from the West Riding Clubs) and Leeds (Yorkshire team from Leeds, York and Hull) . When Yorkshire played Cheshire (note: no N.Wales then) or Westmorland and Cumberland (One team from the combined counties) it would be over 20 boards and with a W.Riding team. Against Durham or Northumberland similarly with a Yorkshire team largely from York and Leeds.

Some years later I moved North and captained the Durham team and played matches over 20-24 boards. Sure we didn't beat Yorkshire or Lancashire very often but we had closer matches against the other counties - we travelled everywhere by coach which helped lead to a great team spirit (Pub stops on our way home from further venues) Perhaps there was less concern for results in those days and more emphasis on enjoying your chess and cameraderie.

When the grading bands for county matches came in, Durham only had 4 or 5 players in the Open bracket. It then became a matter of debate as to what band we should enter. We dropped out of the Open section and since then Durham have played only occasionally in one of the lower bands. Other counties likewise. Hence my contention that the introduction of grading bands was largely what killed off county chess. It is dead as far as I am concerned.

David Pardoe
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Re: NCCU and the MCF

Post by David Pardoe » Fri Oct 04, 2013 10:11 am

There is indeed an abundance of great chess playing opportunities in this country, catering for all tastes, and for players of all abilities, from beginner to expert. We should celebrate these...and encourage participation from all quarters.
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MartinCarpenter
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Re: NCCU and the MCF

Post by MartinCarpenter » Fri Oct 04, 2013 11:14 am

Thanks. That explains a lot. I guess I was presuming some sort of competition like the SCCU one with full strength teams each time, a regular format etc and wondering how that began to make sense given the huge disparities in population/travel convenience in the NCCU.

What you've described there makes vastly more sense :) I can see how that would be worthwhile in absence of congresses, and also how the introduction of more formal rigor like grading bands might have killed it off. The sundry congresses, 4NCL etc probably do that sort of thing better nowadays anyway.

David Pardoe
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Re: NCCU and the MCF

Post by David Pardoe » Fri Oct 04, 2013 12:06 pm

The NCCU faces no more difficulties than other Unions, like MCCU, who have continued to succesfully organise good healthy county chess for many years, to this day, catering for a full range of players.
Yes, there are definately areas where improvements could be made. Yes, the NCCU could restructure and put there house in order, as might others.
Yes, they have been beset by various issues over the years...including those pioneering moves to create `new counties` at the time of the Fischer boom...
And yes, the counties competitions could certainly benefit from some changes and improvements, many will feel.
And yes, we have the talents in abundance, within our chess bodies, to bring about improvements for our British chess scene.
Can these bodies be encouraged to make there contributions, in a positive and constructive manner, for the benefit of our chess community....without upsetting the apple cart.
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Mick Norris
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Re: NCCU and the MCF

Post by Mick Norris » Fri Oct 04, 2013 2:07 pm

There have been 11 posts since I last posted, none of which really belong on this particular thread, and all of which I would like moved elsewhere

It does neatly encapsulate the desire, on here and in chess generally, to avoid hard questions and discuss distractions in the hope that the real issues won't be addressed and will be forgotten about
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

Andrew Wainwright
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Re: NCCU and the MCF

Post by Andrew Wainwright » Fri Oct 04, 2013 2:39 pm

I can not help but agree with Mick.

As interesting as this history lesson is, this thread is about NCCU chess now, and particularly the NCCU's position on the MCF.

It is because certain elements of northern chess are so stuck in the past that we are facing these problems today.

MartinCarpenter
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Re: NCCU and the MCF

Post by MartinCarpenter » Fri Oct 04, 2013 2:48 pm

You could certainly move it, but it is worth trying to understand the context in which this sort of thing arose. It can help. I'd also never understood how the NCCU worked historically so plain interesting.

Is there that much to discuss on the formally relevant matter? It sounded like it got delayed for a year to try and make sure there was as little room left for insane court challenges as possible but was still ongoing. That's regrettable of course, but maybe prudent in context and still much more positive than is has been for an awfully long time.

Paul Bielby
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Re: NCCU and the MCF

Post by Paul Bielby » Fri Oct 04, 2013 3:40 pm

But the history lesson is important and relevant now. The whole impasse stems from the actions of Greater Manchester. The NCCU refused to be blackmailed into accepting GM in 1975 when faced with the option - take us against Lancshire's wishes or we join the Midlands. Exactly the same seems to be happening now - GM still have the option to make it up with Lancashire and get Lancashire's approval to join the NCCU.

Andrew W. The Northumberland Juniors very much enjoyed your Pennine Cup competition down in Bradford last year. We were quite happy that you invited GM to field their teams and indeed the tournament was IMHO the best Pennine Cup ever. I hope you will run it again this year. If you don't, we will offer to hold it in Newcastle again as we have done 6 times in the last ten years. but please don't introduce the juniors into the NCCU-MCF affair - that is irrelevant.

Most Northern Counties seem to ,have settled down to enjoying the present status quo. As I have said County chess is dead - but nobody mourns it now. Once again the only people to worry about it are those from Manchester - and possibly the Midlands. Can it be that the MCCU is beginning to regret taking in Greater Manchester in the first place?
Last edited by Paul Bielby on Sun Oct 06, 2013 11:51 am, edited 2 times in total.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: NCCU and the MCF

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Oct 04, 2013 3:46 pm

Paul Bielby wrote:GM still have the option to make it up with Lancashire and get Lancashire's approval to join the NCCU. But the NCCU executive is not prepared to be bullied into accepting GM against Lancashire's wishes.
That rather leaves an impasse with a Lancashire veto holding out against the other counties. As far as I've always understood it, GMCCA just wanted to have the same rights as the other new counties such as Merseyside and Cleveland and some old man in Lancashire wants to block it for reasons never really made public, either now or in 1975.

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: NCCU and the MCF

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Fri Oct 04, 2013 4:16 pm

Where to start with this one?
Paul Bielby wrote:But the history lesson is important and relevant now. The whole impasse stems from the actions of Greater Manchester. The NCCU refused to be blackmailed into accepting GM in 1975 when faced with the option - take us against Lancshire's wishes or we join the Midlands. Exactly the same seems to be happening now - GM still have the option to make it up with Lancashire and get Lancashire's approval to join the NCCU. But the NCCU executive is not prepared to be bullied into accepting GM against Lancashire's wishes.
I've said it at least twice and this time I will use capitols. THIS IS NOT 1975. THIS IS 2013. IT IS NOT ABOUT WHAT MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE BEEN RIGHT FORTY YEARS AGO. IT IS ABOUT WHAT IS CLEARLY RIGHT IN 2013 AND A VERY DIFFERENT CHESS CLIMATE.

The NCCU executive is not being bullied into anything. The executive seem to be in favour. Bill Metcalfe, the current President is supportive of the MCF bid, the YCA representatives have a clear mandate from the YCA AGM to support the bid in anyway possible. It is a few fossils in Lancashire who are opposed - no-one else.
Andrew W. The Northumberland Juniors very much enjoyed your Pennine Cup competition down in Bradford last year. We were quite happy that you invited GM to field their teams and indeed the tournament was IMHO the best Pennine Cup ever. I hope you will run it again this year. If you don't, we will offer to hold it in Newcastle again as we have done 6 times in the last ten years. but please don't introduce the juniors into the NCCU-MCF affair - that is irrelevant.
Andy has already made it clear why he is passionate about this issue and why it is important for him to progress the work he has done. It is the officials of tomorrow we need to listen to.
Most Northern Counties seem to ,have settled down to enjoying the present status quo. As I have said County chess is dead - but nobody mourns it now. Once again the only people to worry about it are those from Manchester - and possibly the Midlands. Can it be that the MCCU is beginning to regret taking in Greater Manchester in the first place?
Choosing my words quite carefully; you may feel County chess is dead and you are entitled to your opinion. You may be right, you may be wrong. However there are some who think county chess still has life in it, surely those people have the right to try and revive it in anyway they see fit. If an event provokes opinions and debate then it is not dead in my view.
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David Pardoe
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Re: NCCU and the MCF

Post by David Pardoe » Fri Oct 04, 2013 4:30 pm

Some call for posts to be moved...which seem quite relevent, except perhaps to some who dont want to hear alternative views.
And, if the NCCU county competitions really are stone dead, what is the point of the MCF moving from very good, well organised, competitive and social county events in the MCCU, which have served us perfectly well for many years.
This leaves Lancs & Yorks to play minimal matches from which they automatically qualify for the Finals, whilst others simply sit and watch. If thats what they want (which I`m not sure is really true)...meanwhile others can engage in the chess interests in northern quarters as they see fit, despite the NCCU`s difficulties.
The real key I think is for those who do want to co-operate in various chess initiatives to get together, irrespective of Union /county politics, and ensure that positive deeds triumph. Much can be achieved in this country by a little initiative and self help, and less whinging.
And NO...Lancs and MCF are not at war...there are tiny pockets of black sheep in the foothills, who have threatened to disrupt the general harmony.

One of the other advantages of the MCF remaining where they are is that it could enable 3 strong counties from our region to do battle in the Finals stages...now thats a much more interesting prospect.
But I say to the sleeping giants of the northern areas...you`ve got to be in it to win it...and if you dont win it, all is not lost...there is much fun and adventure to be had in these county clashes. Its time to rediscover lost joys.
Last edited by David Pardoe on Fri Oct 04, 2013 4:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Andrew Wainwright
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Re: NCCU and the MCF

Post by Andrew Wainwright » Fri Oct 04, 2013 4:40 pm

Paul - many thanks for your kind word in relation to the Pennine Cup this year. It was an enjoyable event and I would love to run it again and build upon what we started this year. In yourself and the other northern junior organisers I found a great group of people to work with who all care greatly about chess and want to promote tournaments which benefit northern chess. Would it not be great if the institution in who's name we ran the event had the same mind set in all areas of chess and not just junior chess?

I appreciate the importance of history, truely I do. However, I am with Andrew Z on this one in as far as we need to put the past behind us. That is not to say we approve of what happened 38 years ago. It is is simply to acknowledge what is best for chess now. Having spoken with Mick, Julian and a number of other MCF officials on a number of times over the last couple of years I firmly believe that they are a good group of people who will work well with the NCCU and that by bringing them back into the fold we will benefit the NCCU both now and in the future.

What we want is for the Lancashire and MCF officials running these institutions today to say "forget what happened 38yrs ago what is best for northern chess now"?

If Lancashire honestly believe that preventing the MCF from joining the NCCU is best for chess now then I would like to know their reasons.

I will not run tournaments in the name of organisations that harm chess. That is not to say that I will not run the Pennine Cup in 2014 if the NCCU comes to its senses in December, or if they can present me with valid reasons why the MCF's application has not been approved.

Regards

Andy

MartinCarpenter
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Re: NCCU and the MCF

Post by MartinCarpenter » Fri Oct 04, 2013 4:43 pm

The Lancashire and Yorkshire matches aren't either minimal or token :) They're still very strong affairs as would matches with either team vs a fullish strength Manchester team be. The SCCU is of course very much alive.

You don't really get 16 board matches averaging 195+ over 16 boards anywhere else. And yes, this is basically now just a matter of basic common sense/justice.

I hadn't actually realised how badly this was hurting Manchester's teams until I checked just now. A minor county? Yikes.

Mick Norris
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Re: NCCU and the MCF

Post by Mick Norris » Fri Oct 04, 2013 10:08 pm

Paul Bielby wrote:Can it be that the MCCU is beginning to regret taking in Greater Manchester in the first place?
The MCCU AGM of 2012 was very supportive when I told them about promising negotiations with the NCCU President and David Anderton kindly provided some legal advice to explain why we have no problem if we receive threats of legal action, and indeed confirmed to the NCCU President to his satisfaction that the NCCU had no worries if they received threats of legal action either

The MCCU made a point of adding that we could leave with their best wishes, but that even if we joined the NCCU, we could choose to remain members of the MCCU as well

I think you'll find that the MCCU likes us, although not being geographically challenged like some, they recognise that we belong in the NCCU
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

MartinCarpenter
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Re: NCCU and the MCF

Post by MartinCarpenter » Sat Oct 05, 2013 9:07 pm

Clever people :) I was thinking about this on a walk today, and while the admin issue just invites ridicule of county chess and does very much need sorting out, it might well be possible to bypass it to a fair extent.

There's a natural tendency to assume that any county matches should be linked to the task of qualifying for the K/O stages but, for many competitions, that's already broken down pretty much totally in both the N and MCCU. All those Lancs - Yorks matches with both teams qualifying, Staffordshire qualifying uncontested in the open and U180 in the MCCU etc. They're being played in order to play chess. Really there are few enough fully viable teams that qualifying, except in the SCCU, just seems to happen automatically.

Once you realise that, then you start to wonder about things like: what on earth is stopping us arranging Manchester - Yorkshire matches right now? Seriously. You could even imagine Manchester - Lancashire matches, at which point even the refusniks might find their position absurd enough to concede.

Slightly more ambitiously, is there any reason we shouldn't also be considering playing friendlies against Staffordshire? They do belong in the MCCU of course, but their open/U180 teams look rather stranded right now and it looks like an incredibly logical idea to give them/the corresponding NCCU teams some more good matches.

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