An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

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Andrew Zigmond
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Mon Nov 28, 2011 7:25 pm

Can I state one very simple fact, which has not been been contradicted or disputed by anybody in this thread.

FACT - Lara Barnes had NO homophobic intentions when speaking to CJ about the T shirt.

Put yourself in Lara's shoes. As the result of a misunderstanding she has had her name and reputation tarnished in the national press, has been subject to abusive emails and her partner (Alex) has stated that this has taken its toll on her health. Why should Lara be expected to quietly accept this portrayal of her and carry on as before?

Another fact. CJ at least issued a partial apology and offered his resignation. A few days later, just when everybody thought a line could be drawn under a rather embarrassing incident Raymond Keene (a prominent chess author and journalist), for reasons still unexplained printed SLANDERS on his twitter page and refused to retract them. The capitols are used for deliberate emphasis. I have repeatedly described Keene's comments as SLANDERS throughout this thread and nobody has contradicted this word. Andrew Farthing even quoted it in one of his posts.

All Alex and Lara have asked for in two seperate threads are for the board to support them in refuting Keene's comments and for CJ's help in doing so. In response we have a carefully worded message of support from the board and silence from CJ.

I have repeatedly asked the board to condemn the Keene slanders. I have repeatedly made a distinction between Raymond Keene and uninformed idiots in cyberspace. This point remains unanswered and I repeat it again.

Another fact. Lara Barnes and Alex McFarlane are not well known figures in the way that CJ de Mooi, Raymond Keene and Grandmaster Short (since he has entered this debate). They are volunteers who have worked behind the scenes for years in return for little financial gain. They inspire a lot of support from grassroots players, particularly in the North and if they continue to be wronged many people will not take that lightly.
Controller - Yorkshire League
Chairman - Harrogate Chess Club
All views expressed entirely my own

Paul Dargan
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Paul Dargan » Mon Nov 28, 2011 7:40 pm

Nigel Short wrote:The Press Complaints Commision has dismissed the complaint of Alex McFarlane. The Board of the ECF has unanimously dismissed his complaint. ... SNIP...
If the gentleman wants to sue someone, let him get on with it. Otherwise he should shut up and stop wasting everyone's time.
So the PCC rejected Alex's complaint - but on the basis that the comments made were reasonable given the information they had. Alex has so far been unable to see this information - which is alleged to be a recording of an interview between CJ and a Times journalist.

When CJ issued his apology he made it clear that he hadn't used the "h-word", or "discrimination" - IF it turns out that what he said to the journalist might as well have been just those accusations (albeit with a more politically correct vocabulary) then how much was that apology worth? ... and at the time the apology was accepted Alex and Lara could know what CJ might have alleged, and what was journalistic licence - only CJ knew.

I can well understand the Board's reluctance to criticse the Times, especially if they were aware of the taped interview - any criticism of The Times would simply come back to 'but our source was your President!'

It seems to me that Alex is trying very hard to extract a meaningful apology, so that he doesn't have to go to court over this. As others have said the chances of winning v's The Times don't look good - they will use the same defence they did at the PCC - reasonably held views, based on the facts and source they had .... it won't be cheap but it should get the tape/transcript.

Alex may (or may not) then have a better shot at CJ for defamation -it does rather depend what he said - and the only people who know that are CJ and The Times journalist.

It seems clear that CJ isn't about to issue any further apology even if he found some way to do so without prejudice (cynics might think that CJ/the Board hoped that Nigel's intervention might close things down instead) - so reluctantly I'm forced to agree with Nigel's overall conculsion that it's time for the lawyers unless Alex and Lara want to walk away from this one, or don't want the gamble/legal costs.

If it does end-up in court I sincerely hope that the ECF wouldn't be funding CJ's costs? Just out of interest does the ECF/Board have liability insurance that covers defamation?


Paul

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

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Nov 28, 2011 7:43 pm

Alex McFarlane wrote: We cannot get closure until we know why the papers reacted the way they did.
The forum itself has a blow by blow account of how the news unfolded. RDK comes in almost immediately, in fact the first post is by a reader of the Times_Chess twitter account. Some of the earlier postings must have been coincident with the tail end of the prize giving, certainly with the play off.
First Post wrote:Posted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 9:42 am
http://www.ecforum.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=3343

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Mon Nov 28, 2011 8:04 pm

I have noticed that very little attention has been paid in this debate to the emotional and physical impact of this whole saga on Lara (she and Alex have been quite open about this). You don't have to be pro CJ or anti CJ or a member of the board trying to draw a diplomatic line to acknowledge and appreciate that. If the truth be told this is the reason I'm posting in such strong terms. Someone's life and reputation is under attack.
Controller - Yorkshire League
Chairman - Harrogate Chess Club
All views expressed entirely my own

Krishna Shiatis
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Krishna Shiatis » Mon Nov 28, 2011 8:07 pm

Alex McFarlane wrote:
I have asked another Director to discuss the situation with me at the Classic. Hopefully that shows good will on my part.

However, closure requires details.
It certainly does Alex. Maybe if you are talking with a Director at the Classic, maybe you could meet with CJ and talk as well? If you seek closure, then surely the best person to speak to, is CJ himself.

Obviously, CJ, if you would like to see this resolved as amicably as can be, given the circumstances, then again, please get in touch. If not with me, then perhaps the director that Alex is meeting with next week.

I do not think that it will be an easy conversation for either of you. However, if you are seeking compromise, resolution and closure, then talking may be the best way forward.

I repeat my earlier offer, if you would like to talk one morning next week, then I will be happy to mediate.

Paul Dargan
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Paul Dargan » Mon Nov 28, 2011 8:18 pm

On a lighter note - and stealing from a facebook thread...

....I was tempted to try and put the sequence of events into one of those intro sequences from SOAP - I thought better of it, but sadly now I have the theme tune stuck in my head..


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSaNWYHmUvI


Confused... you won't be!


Paul.

Alex McFarlane
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Alex McFarlane » Mon Nov 28, 2011 8:33 pm

Scenario 1 on tweets but which to the papers

Dan O'Dowd
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Dan O'Dowd » Tue Nov 29, 2011 12:10 am

Tell you what, if this thread is gonna run to seventeen frigging pages, and detract from the rest of the site, if this thread is gonna have people arguing against chess servants the popular and reputable like of Mr McFarlane and Ms Barnes, and if this thread is gonna drag English chess into civil war because some people won't act honourably and close the wounds that have so clearly been suffered by others, I'm not gonna come here anymore. This forum should be about chess discussion, but here English chess shoots itself in the foot once again. It also shoots its arbiters/managers in both feet, ties them up by the haunches, and laughs on in ignorance.

So sod it, because by keeping all this argument in public display the forum simply acts as a beacon to the chaos the federation now finds itself in at the highest levels. Alex; Lara - I will be at the Championships next year regardless of what happens. I sincerely recommend and hope that those who would boycott the event if the result of any action goes against Alex/Lara reconsider, since that does the flagship tournament and its servants no favours.

It's been a pleasure to talk with you all on this forum, particularly Jack for your always answering my technical questions directly and openly.

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

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Nov 29, 2011 12:45 am

Ernie Lazenby wrote:
The one thing I will say in leaving this thread is I remember a time when chess was run by gentlemen for gentlemen but that's showing my age.
Whilst being marginally younger than Ernie, I don't think the 50s and 60s were exactly free of controversy. For example BH Wood and Ritson Morry were both serial feud-mongers and even had a court case on the strength of it. Elsewhere there was a dispute in the National Club where it was insisted that with only 3 hours to play, the players should play 30 moves in 90 minutes followed by adjudication and that any faster move rate was totally not acceptable.

Moving on to the 1970s, there were those who objected to standards of dress, one correspondent to a magazine even described a female player as dressed like a harlot. The BCF managed to get one of its major events, the Counties Final, determined by default one year. The European Team Championships were being held in England and the BCF scheduled the County Finals to clash. One of the participating counties pointed out that not only were they supplying two or three players to the England team, a number of their players wanted to spend the weekend as spectators at this major event.

Perhaps standards had slipped in the 1970s but it saw the start of a dispute which runs to this day. I've never really understood it but I suspect it will only be resolved by the death of one or perhaps both of the principals.

Justin Hadi

Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Justin Hadi » Tue Nov 29, 2011 5:37 am

Dan O'Dowd wrote:Tell you what, if this thread is gonna run to seventeen frigging pages, and detract from the rest of the site, if this thread is gonna have people arguing against chess servants the popular and reputable like of Mr McFarlane and Ms Barnes, and if this thread is gonna drag English chess into civil war because some people won't act honourably and close the wounds that have so clearly been suffered by others, I'm not gonna come here anymore. This forum should be about chess discussion, but here English chess shoots itself in the foot once again. It also shoots its arbiters/managers in both feet, ties them up by the haunches, and laughs on in ignorance.
Agreed. It's particularly frustrating to see this happen when the best British championships have just been held for years and there's chess programmes on tv, radio and in film. It's not even about the ECF, it's about getting things done. As an occasional player it's easy for me to see both CJ and Alex and Lara have done that in spades. Moderation seems the best bet now, but some idiotic posters on this forum are making things worse, so adios.

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Carl Hibbard » Tue Nov 29, 2011 7:08 am

We do seem to have gained very little by running this thread onwards past me raising my initial concerns?
Cheers
Carl Hibbard

chrisobee
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by chrisobee » Tue Nov 29, 2011 7:59 am

Summed up for me at least as "thread closed due to lack of integrity ".
"Men who for truth and honour's sake
Stand fast and suffer long.
Brave men who work while others sleep,
Who dare while others fly...
They build a nation's pillars deep
And lift them to the sky. " Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Judy Brown
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Judy Brown » Tue Nov 29, 2011 9:11 am

Just like to say well done to Ernie for his posts.

Adding three points :-

1) It’s pretty depressing to realise that, (given the pre-presentation tweet, and the huge over-reaction), wearing ‘the t-shirt’ was more important to our ECF President than presenting the British Chess Champions with prizes.
It was clearly more important than letting down any hard-working, talented junior champions who were (deservedly) looking forward to being presented by an (appropriately-dressed) ECF President.

2) Lara’s actions might well have saved further embarrassment caused by objections from parents.
Parents who had (or were responsible for) juniors who were due to be presented that day might well have simply requested that they were presented by someone wearing something more appropriate. It’s the British Championships – not the Blitz Tourney at the Local Pub !!

3) I am full of admiration for Lara’s actions on the day of the presentation.
Her actions reminded me of the words of Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone :-

“It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends.”

In my opinion, it has now become apparent that neither our President or the ECF board can match Lara’s courage in this respect !!


In summary :-
I agree with Alex’s letter, and feel that we can not continue with two top arbiters at loggerheads with the President.
Our President should stand up for the people who have earned the respect of our players, and commit to prioritising Chess Players at Chess events, or step aside.

Judy

Bill Porter
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Bill Porter » Tue Nov 29, 2011 10:22 am

Carl Hibbard wrote:We do seem to have gained very little by running this thread onwards past me raising my initial concerns?
Your statement of concerns was a self fulfilling prophecy.
chrisobee wrote:Summed up for me at least as "thread closed due to lack of integrity ".
Those people who take the view that anyone who has a problem with CJ should stay publicly silent while the ECF resolves everything ( by doing nothing? ) would like nothing better than the termination of this and similar threads.

Repetitive and off topic posts are a good way to achieve the above......

A warning to individuals is appropriate if needed, but not terminating the thread.
This is
Carl Hibbard wrote:Yet again repeating points already made
but who guards the guardians?

PaulTalbot
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by PaulTalbot » Tue Nov 29, 2011 11:11 am

Judy Brown wrote:Just like to say well done to Ernie for his posts.

Adding three points :-

1) It’s pretty depressing to realise that, (given the pre-presentation tweet, and the huge over-reaction), wearing ‘the t-shirt’ was more important to our ECF President than presenting the British Chess Champions with prizes.
It was clearly more important than letting down any hard-working, talented junior champions who were (deservedly) looking forward to being presented by an (appropriately-dressed) ECF President.

2) Lara’s actions might well have saved further embarrassment caused by objections from parents.
Parents who had (or were responsible for) juniors who were due to be presented that day might well have simply requested that they were presented by someone wearing something more appropriate. It’s the British Championships – not the Blitz Tourney at the Local Pub !!

3) I am full of admiration for Lara’s actions on the day of the presentation.
Her actions reminded me of the words of Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone :-

“It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends.”

In my opinion, it has now become apparent that neither our President or the ECF board can match Lara’s courage in this respect !!


In summary :-
I agree with Alex’s letter, and feel that we can not continue with two top arbiters at loggerheads with the President.
Our President should stand up for the people who have earned the respect of our players, and commit to prioritising Chess Players at Chess events, or step aside.

Judy
I totally agree with the above.

As I've said before; CJ's number 1 priority is CJ

CJ's number 2 priority is gay rights/stonewall

Chess, along with everything else will always come a long way behind 1 & 2. That is why he should be asked to step down as president, because he will always use chess and bring chess into dispute in order to further priorities 1 & 2. The proof of this was his blatant attempt to use the presentation of prizes at the British Championships to promote gay rights. The whole thing was a set up and I suspect he's loved all the controversy and publicity provided since.

Ask CJ to resign.

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