An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

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Alex McFarlane
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Alex McFarlane » Sat Nov 26, 2011 12:46 pm

Adam,

Just to help you put together your support for me here are some figures.

A number of years ago I kept a diary of my chess involvement. In the course of the year it averaged 21½ hours per week. This included schools chess and arbiting, none of which I was paid anything other than expenses for and in most cases I was out of pocket. This level of involvement lasted for well in excess of 15 years. Certainly I do less now but it is still averaging double figures per week.

I recently did a rough count of the hours I have spent at the British since first coming onto the control team in a permanent capacity in 1988. At minimum wage I reckon that the figure I would have been paid was well in excess of £16,000 nearing £20,000. It would certainly have been in excess of that amount if I also included the hours I spent outwith the actual event.

I too have travelled the length and breadth of the country promoting chess events. I have attended events from Stornoway to Plymouth, in most cases at my own expense.

I could go on but I think I have given you enough information to do a nice little piece.

Alex McFarlane
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Alex McFarlane » Sat Nov 26, 2011 12:50 pm

[]There's a statement on the Streatham blog (linked above)from AF which says that the opening and closing of the British is the responsibility of the President and he issued the invite.

AF/ECF wrote:
The President has traditionally been the Board member in charge of the opening and closing ceremonies at the British. As far as I know, it has not been usual for the President to consult the Board regarding the individuals invited, so what happened this year was not outside the norm.[/quote]

I have previously informed Andrew of the inaccuracy of that statement. In recent years it has been the Manager who invited guests. David Welch was uncertain on the last time the President had invited someone. Certainly Stewart did the invitations at Liverpool, I was involved at Canterbury and was negotiating with the Mayor's office over 2012. David did the invites when he was Manager before Liverpool.
Last edited by Alex McFarlane on Sat Nov 26, 2011 9:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Nov 26, 2011 12:55 pm

Alex McFarlane wrote:I have previously informed Andrew of the inaccuracy of that statement. In recent years it has been the Manager who invited guests. David Welch was uncertain on the last time the President had invited someone. Certainly Stewart did the invitations at Liverpool, I was involved at Canterbury and was negotiating with the Mayor's office over 2012. David did the invites when he was Manager before Liverpool.
So was CJ then invited to open the 2011 event? It makes sense as he had a primary role in making the event happen in the form it did. Or was it a bit looser than that? CJ + whoever else he thought should attend, Darwin Strategic perhaps?

Thomas Rendle
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Thomas Rendle » Sat Nov 26, 2011 3:22 pm

Adam Raoof wrote:
Ernie Lazenby wrote:I sense a drift of support for CJ DE-Mooi so let me ask some relevant questions;

Remove the rose tinted glasses and forget hes on TV;

1. Please tell me exactly what he has done for the English Chess federation. Exclude private functions which are self promoting for himself and several others.
CJ has been tireless in promoting the game up and down the country. He has driven thousands of miles to attend hundreds of tournaments, clubs and events not with the aim of playing, but to award prizes and meet local organisers and players.
Ernie Lazenby wrote:2. How much effort has he put into helping Andrew and the others trying to rescue our Federation from the financial abbiss?
I am not sure that is the primary role of the President. However he has been very energetic in seeking sponsorship for the ECF and putting his own money on the line when necessary. His presence at some important Board meetings has made the difference.
Ernie Lazenby wrote:3. If he is just a figure head then should he not be doing all he can to give our federation a good image - if so then what he did falls short of what we expect.
I think most people would agree that CJ is not just a figurehead.
Ernie Lazenby wrote:4. Much has been made by him of how much of his own money he has put into chess, where is the record of that contribution ,is his sponsorship recorded or is it the money went into the private ventures. (He made a public statement saying he would not put in any more- where are the previous contributions?
I don't think that the President's role has ever been to put money into the game, and private ventures are well, private. As long as those events don't cost the ECF money or bring the ECF into disrepute, I don't really care.
Ernie Lazenby wrote:5. Have the private ventures done anything to improve the finances of the ECF, hard cash tangible assests?
See above, but yes. Sheffield would not have been the great success that it was without CJ.
Ernie Lazenby wrote:6. Have the private ventures attracted any new players into the game?
How can we measure this?
Ernie Lazenby wrote:7. Has any money by way of sponsorship been obtained for the 2012 British Championship?
Sponsorship for that event is in local hands, and good hands. Sponsorship for 2013 is already promised, and we have a great venue in Torquay for the 100th event.
Ernie Lazenby wrote:So perhaps we can get past perception through rose tinted glasses/friendships and get down to facts please. I am very willing to listen to proven benefits and thus modify my view..
I'd just like to say I agree with Adam. CJ has done a lot of work for English Chess, and I'm sure more goes on behind closed doors. It's the first time we've really had anyone who has had a degree of success obtaining sponsorship (well, that I can remember anyway)! Having said that I also support the arbiters who do a very important job as well, and am pleased Lara and AM will be managing the 2012 British. I just wish a line could be drawn under recent events as I think we need all concerned to stay involved for the good of English Chess (and I think this should be our primary concern).

Jonathan Bryant
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Sat Nov 26, 2011 4:22 pm

Thomas Rendle wrote:It's the first time we've really had anyone who has had a degree of success obtaining sponsorship (well, that I can remember anyway)!
Your evidence for the idea that CJ has "had a degree of success obtaining sponsorship" is ...?
(I'm not saying you're wrong, I just don't know if you're right - which is rather odd, when you think about it).

I agree it would be best if we could draw a line under all this - but simply saying 'let's forget all this' won't make the issues go away.

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Gareth Harley-Yeo
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Gareth Harley-Yeo » Sat Nov 26, 2011 4:58 pm

Jonathan Bryant wrote:
Thomas Rendle wrote:It's the first time we've really had anyone who has had a degree of success obtaining sponsorship (well, that I can remember anyway)!
Your evidence for the idea that CJ has "had a degree of success obtaining sponsorship" is ...?
(I'm not saying you're wrong, I just don't know if you're right - which is rather odd, when you think about it).

I agree it would be best if we could draw a line under all this - but simply saying 'let's forget all this' won't make the issues go away.
Sepp Blatter would suggest a handshake right about now :|

Jonathan Rogers
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Sat Nov 26, 2011 5:10 pm

Well, as I read the letter, Alex seems to have made his own suggestion as to how we might draw the line, and move on, with CJ still unchallenged as President. That would be if CJ were to apologise publicly to Alex and Lara for what he seems to have said to Ray Keene and to condemn the Time article or at least Keene's subsequent Twitter remarks which were made a at time when the truth was clear to everyone else. In lieu of damnages to CJ from defamation, he would accept such a belated apology as being nonetheless sincere if it were accompanied by a substantial donation to the 2012 British.

Does anyone have any problem with that suggestion? And what will the CJ supporters say in his defence if he cannot even bring himself to do that? Tom, what would you say - would you accept that the President himself would be the one preventing us from moving on?

Thomas Rendle
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Thomas Rendle » Sat Nov 26, 2011 5:22 pm

It's not for me to say what CJ should do - one thing I would say is that this forum has become very strange of late (I'm not referring to this thread in particular) and it's perhaps not the best place for a serious conversation to take place. I'm not sure I would want to post here as an ECF official!

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Sat Nov 26, 2011 5:37 pm

Alex, could you fix the misquoting here?

http://www.ecforum.org.uk/viewtopic.php ... =30#p77739

What you quoted was said by someone else, not me. Thanks.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Sat Nov 26, 2011 5:41 pm

Ernie Lazenby wrote:Christopher; Thats a fair point I accept.. I may start it in another thread. When I see someone write CJ has attended hundreds of tournaments,clubs and events I get a sense of spin
Good point. I get annoyed too when people say "hundreds". How many chess tournaments have actually taken place in England since CJ became president? Even if you include clubs and events at a rate of one a week, that's still only about 100 over 2 years. Of course, if it is hundreds, that is very impressive, but more impressive would be an actual list so someone could do a proper count.

Jonathan Rogers
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Sat Nov 26, 2011 5:54 pm

Thomas Rendle wrote:It's not for me to say what CJ should do
But my question was not what should he do. The question, to those who say that it would be nice if we could draw a line and move on, was "surely it is obvious that the President himself is stopping us from moving on?"
Thomas Rendle wrote: one thing I would say is that this forum has become very strange of late (I'm not referring to this thread in particular) and it's perhaps not the best place for a serious conversation to take place. I'm not sure I would want to post here as an ECF official!
Well, it has probably always been strange - it is an internet forum! It is best used as a means of learning facts from those sources which are reliable (Loz's international news updates, for example - though that example also shows why it is good for ECF officials to post).

Paul Cooksey

Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Paul Cooksey » Sat Nov 26, 2011 6:44 pm

Jonathan Rogers wrote:The question, to those who say that it would be nice if we could draw a line and move on, was "surely it is obvious that the President himself is stopping us from moving on?"
We could move on if Alex accepted there were faults on both sides and that CJ has already apologised for overreacting. I thought that was the point of the mutual apologies months ago.

I am sorry to go back to the beginning, but:
Lara Barnes wrote:I've every sympathy with his cause, but I didn't think it was appropriate to have the sentiment on the T-shirt in every photograph with junior chess players – under-10s, under-12s and under-14s – promoting a particular sexuality.
The PCC report does not say CJ told The Times or Mr Keene to write what they did. It says that they were not unreasonable to treat the allegation as they did, based on what he told them. It was the phrase "promoting a particular sexuality" which caused allegations of homophobia in the gay media, not CJs call to The Times. I'm happy to accept that Lara did not intend to give offense and is not a homophobe. But asking CJ to apologise to Lara for how this remark was reported seems unreasonable. He was the injured party.

By analogy, if I ran over your cat and the local paper called me a dangerous driver, would you be prepared to defend me? I doubt it. I don't think my good character or excellent past driving record would make any difference to you.

I find myself in an unwelcome position criticising Alex. A number of people I respect have approached me to tell me he is a good person who does a good job. But if you believe:
- Mr Keene's faults cannot be overlooked because does a lot to promote chess in Britain, and
- CJ faults cannot be overlooked because he has worked hard as ECF President
then surely you must believe
- Alex and Lara's good character and work for British chess do not mean they are always in the right.

I hope Alex can find a way to accept that CJ cannot issue an unconditional apology, and remain involved in chess. For my part, I do not seek to support CJ, but rather the ECF objective:
3.11 To make the Company’s services available without discrimination on grounds of colour, creed, disability, impairment, occupation, race, religious or political affiliation, or sexual orientation and to promote equal opportunities in a positive manner.

I think this is more important than the involvement of any individual.

Paul Cooksey

Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Paul Cooksey » Sat Nov 26, 2011 7:02 pm

Ernie Lazenby wrote:Paul said But asking CJ to apologise to Lara for how this remark was reported seems unreasonable. He was the injured party.

That is ridiculous. If he was the injured party it is because he jumped to conclusions and made himself so.
If Lara had said "you are not sufficiently smartly dressed to present the prizes", I would agree entirely. Or "that's a great message but it would distract from the event", also fine. But she didn't. A gay rights campaigner was told that a mainstream charity's anti-bullying message was unsuitable for children.

Ernie may not find that offensive. But I did. CJ seems to have too. The gay media certainly did. The prejudice that homosexual men are unsafe around children remains in our society. It is a red light topic.

PaulTalbot
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by PaulTalbot » Sat Nov 26, 2011 7:15 pm

IMO: C J de Mooi's number one priority is promoting C J de Mooi.

C J's number two priority is promoting his gay rights issues.

Third, and a long long way behind comes chess.

I think that Alex, and Lara, and all the other arbiters and officials are the real unsung heroes of chess and, notwithstanding the fact that I think he's right, I also support Alex because of that.

Paul Cooksey

Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Paul Cooksey » Sat Nov 26, 2011 7:18 pm

To answer an added point:
Ernie Lazenby wrote:BTW whats that ECF objective got to do with this. The board has accepted there never was any homophobic intent by Lara/Alex so why raise it.
intent. It does seem to be a genuine misunderstanding. It seems Lara unintentionally said something very offensive and CJ overreacted. As I said before, fault on both sides.

CJ cannot issue an apology saying it was not offensive, even if it was not intended as such. He overreacted, but he did not react to nothing at all.

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