A thank you to Ray Keene for the Staunton and other events

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John Moore
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Re: A thank you to Ray Keene for the Staunton and other events

Post by John Moore » Wed Aug 19, 2009 7:53 pm

Nigel, if a potential sponsor looked at the ECF website, he wouldn't last long, I'd have thought. If he looked at the Forum, he would find lively debate on many topics - he might think Justin was a loon, he might not. But if he based his sponsorship decision on that - well sorry, I just don't understand.

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Nigel_Davies
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Re: A thank you to Ray Keene for the Staunton and other events

Post by Nigel_Davies » Wed Aug 19, 2009 8:08 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote: Okay then... snooker. It has a classy image. Formal wear, they call fouls on themselves etc. However, most snooker forums will generally oppose Sir Rodney Walker, the (whatever his official title is) of World Snooker. They'll also generally say how boring Peter Ebdon is, and there will be a massive O'Sullivan v Hendry debate going on. Clive Everton has publicly opposed the WPBSA and Sir Rodney Walker for much of the last 50 years, even when it was the BA&CC. Indeed, Ronnie O'Sullivan has publicly held similar comments. But during that period, snooker has become popular in the UK. Its main tournaments are all sponsored. They have prize money at most tournaments of > £30,000 for the winner. The sponsors don't seem to have been put off by fans being against the organisation, or the apparent disliking some of the players. Despite this, the sport retains its classy image, and the sponsors support it. This is more to do with the popularity of snooker, and the coverage it gets both on TV and in the newspapers.
I think chess sponsorship is very different to snooker too. With snooker the huge thing is television in which a bit of scandal is arguably a very positive thing. With chess sponsors know they'll probably get little more than newspaper coverage though usually at a much lower cost than with snooker. What they won't want is to have their name drawn into any kind of scandal.

Let's also consider the precise remarks made on this thread, ie that sponsors are being 'turned over' and can't wait to get to the exit. This is very clearly offputting to potential sponsors as well as being inaccurate (Foreign and Colonial, Watson, Farley & Williams etc). So whilst we don't won't any kind of censorship or a gagging order, how about a bit of hard evidence rather than rumour and innuendo?

John Moore
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Re: A thank you to Ray Keene for the Staunton and other events

Post by John Moore » Wed Aug 19, 2009 8:20 pm

What's the hard evidence that any sponsor has deciced not to sponsor because of this forum. There is none - it's nonsense. Nigel - if you are a business with 100k to invest in a sponsored event, obviously you look at any related forums (fora!) - but do you seriously think that you make the investment decision on the basis of that.

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Re: A thank you to Ray Keene for the Staunton and other events

Post by Laurie Roberts » Wed Aug 19, 2009 8:29 pm

Nigel_Davies wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote: I'm not so sure. If you go on a football forum, you'll find various people slagging off rival clubs and players. You'll even find fans of a club questioning their own players or management. Indeed, football phone-ins on the radio frequently have grumpy fans complaining about this, that and the other. Yet, I don't see any football clubs struggling to get sponsors. The reason that chess doesn't get sponsorship is because it doesn't really appear in the media. The reason it doesn't appear in the media is because it isn't a popular enough game.
Sponsors look for different images with which to be associated and in this chess and football are totally different. A potential chess sponsor will almost certainly like the classy image that chess represents; with football the main objective is to appeal to the fans so they'll buy various merchandise and season tickets etc.
Sponsors look for images that match their product. So a company that appeals to cerebral, well educated and refined people (whatever that means) might sponosr a well refined chess player. A company that epitomises "raw talent" "agression" and "taking on the establishment" might go for a "bad boy" of chess (does one exist!?)

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Nigel_Davies
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Re: A thank you to Ray Keene for the Staunton and other events

Post by Nigel_Davies » Wed Aug 19, 2009 8:30 pm

John Moore wrote:What's the hard evidence that any sponsor has deciced not to sponsor because of this forum. There is none - it's nonsense. Nigel - if you are a business with 100k to invest in a sponsored event, obviously you look at any related forums (fora!) - but do you seriously think that you make the investment decision on the basis of that.
I really don't know how to answer you if the issue isn't glaringly obvious. When the most prolific finder of sponsorship in British chess is being badmouthed in this particular way, it's clearly not an encouraging sign for a sponsor. My own experience with the Owens Corning events in Wrexham taught me just how important a sponsor's sensitivities can be; the best way to learn is to try and stage your own event.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: A thank you to Ray Keene for the Staunton and other events

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Aug 19, 2009 8:32 pm

John Moore wrote:What's the hard evidence that any sponsor has deciced not to sponsor because of this forum.
I think it's possible to infer that the ECF board felt that the spats between Wood and Martin and between Wood and Robertson were unhelpful to its ongoing relationship with Holloid.

It's best that the forum is clearly distinct from the ECF - it removes the temptation from ECF directors and officials to think they can control the views expressed here.

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Re: A thank you to Ray Keene for the Staunton and other events

Post by Ola Winfridsson » Wed Aug 19, 2009 9:01 pm

Nigel_Davies wrote:
John Moore wrote:I know Justin does go on a bit - but really Nigel, forums such as this are worthless and destructive, are they. So far as this Forum is concerned, that is more nonsensical than anything Justin has yet uttered - and forgive me, Justin - he has had a go.
Has it occurred to you that sponsors can also read forums? How will it look to them when a major figure and organiser such as GM Ray Keene, OBE, is variously lambasted and compared to Hitler and Pol Pot? Will they want to venture into chess on seeing this kind of thing?

So with the Justins of the World mouthing off as they have it can endanger British chess sponsorship. And it is not nonsensical to consider this potentially destructive.
Since I wrote the post where Hitler's name cropped up, I'd like to point out that I did not compare Ray Keene to Hitler, as I'm sure you well know. I was only making the point (illustrated by a clear-cut example) that a person's track record - warts and all - ought to be taken into account and that there are certain dangers inherent in the "Oh well, never mind that, he's organizing a wonderful event" attitude.

To return to the issue at hand, didn't Yasser Seirawan write a rather stinging indictment of the sponsorship situation in the chess world, based on his own experiences (or did he construct a fictitious example)? If I remember correctly, the sponsor(s) he had lined up quickly got cold feet when they got wind of the negative press coverage of certain of the less attractive activities supposedly conducted by the current Fide president. It's of course hard to judge, but as far as I can see any negative press coverage of Ray Keene (his profile must be reasonably high in order to end up in Private Eye) - all rumour and innuendo? - has not affected his ability to attract sponsorship for the events he organizes.
Last edited by Ola Winfridsson on Wed Aug 19, 2009 10:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: A thank you to Ray Keene for the Staunton and other events

Post by Carl Hibbard » Wed Aug 19, 2009 10:02 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
John Moore wrote:What's the hard evidence that any sponsor has deciced not to sponsor because of this forum.
I think it's possible to infer that the ECF board felt that the spats between Wood and Martin and between Wood and Robertson were unhelpful to its ongoing relationship with Holloid.

It's best that the forum is clearly distinct from the ECF - it removes the temptation from ECF directors and officials to think they can control the views expressed here.
To be honest no, the clear view from the ECF was the sponsors where actually lost because of this forum - however despite my best efforts no real information was ever forthcoming despite a direct appeal
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Mick Norris
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Re: A thank you to Ray Keene for the Staunton and other events

Post by Mick Norris » Wed Aug 19, 2009 10:25 pm

Nigel_Davies wrote:
Mick Norris wrote: ... professionals like Nigel and Keith
Again, for the record, I'm no longer a professional player (actually I've only ever been a semi-pro at most) and have not played in a weekend tournament since last year. You may describe me as a 'gentleman Grandmaster' if you wish!

I don't wish to be a party pooper but it would be really great if we could all make an effort to be accurate rather than rely on second hand information, guesses and innuendo. These are basically the factors that make forums such as these so utterly worthless, and indeed destructive.

Thanks, Nigel
Indeed, who knows who you might upset with a casual remark?

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Re: A thank you to Ray Keene for the Staunton and other events

Post by John Upham » Wed Aug 19, 2009 11:29 pm

Stewart Reuben wrote:The people who have raised most money by way of money outside the government, game fee or membership fees are in order: Ray Keene; Leonard Barden; David Anderton, Gerry Walsh and myself
Stewart,

Should Michael Basman, Jim Slater, Peter & Matthew Turner, David Norwood, George Goodwin and others (I have hitherto forgotten to mention) also feature in your list?
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Stewart Reuben
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Re: A thank you to Ray Keene for the Staunton and other events

Post by Stewart Reuben » Thu Aug 20, 2009 1:58 am

Apart from Michael Basman (who might count in the list) the names John Upham mentions have not raised large sums.
Jim Slater was a donor as was David Norwood. Leonard Barden is the person who raised money from Slater. David Norwood raised it from himself. John Robinson bequeathed a very large sum. Did George Goodwin raised any money at all outside entry fees?
Other people have of course raised worthy amounts. The Sunday Times sponsorship of the National Schools Championship was a large sum over many years. I have no idea who instigated that. The Times sponsored that event latterly (I think Harry Golombek persuaded them to do that) and Ray Keene 'serviced' that sponsorship. By the way Ray also found the sponsorship of Foreign & Colonial of Hastings which ran for 6 years, but it was Annette Keene who made the original contact.
Harry started off the Duncan Lawrie sponsorship and David Anderton 'serviced' it in later years.

Of course it is a complex subject. Take Gibraltar. I clearly started off the event. Next year it will be approximately £150,000. But the money has throughout been raised by Brian Callaghan. Leonard Barden raised the money from Lloyds Bank. But I provided the template for the event.

Stewart Reuben

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Nigel_Davies
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Re: A thank you to Ray Keene for the Staunton and other events

Post by Nigel_Davies » Thu Aug 20, 2009 6:50 am

Mick Norris wrote: Indeed, who knows who you might upset with a casual remark?

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As you seem to know Mr. Amin then perhaps you'd like to get word to him that he appears to be some two decades overdue with a retraction and public apology to Ray. This would certainly do more good for chess than the minor networking you claim he's done. Thanks, Nigel

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Re: A thank you to Ray Keene for the Staunton and other events

Post by John Upham » Thu Aug 20, 2009 9:17 am

Stewart Reuben wrote:Apart from Michael Basman (who might count in the list)
Stewart Reuben
Is there a grudging acceptance of MJBs contributions? I find it hard to believe that he "might count". The sums obtained from British Land are substantial surely?

Also, the sums raised for Junior chess by Peter and Matthew Turner are significant (AFAIK).

Stewart, can you list the largest actual donors rather than those who have persuaded donors to donate?
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Re: A thank you to Ray Keene for the Staunton and other events

Post by Stewart Reuben » Thu Aug 20, 2009 2:11 pm

There is nothing grudging in my admiration for Michael's work on the UK Chess Challenge and other activities. But the British Land support is relatively recent and I am not sure whether Michael was the person who actually found the sponsorship. He is certainly the person who administers it. Do we really want to do arithmetic to determine these matters.

The contribution made to junior chess by Mr & Mrs and Matthew Turner have been very substantial. But, pardon my ignorance, I have no idea what money they have raised outside the normal sources of revenue, which is what I was referring to. I should have mentioned parental contributions to their own children participtating as being 'normal' just as is an adult player paying for his own accommodation and entry fees.

I very much doubt I could list the largest donors. But I assume that made by John Robinson was the largest in the history of British chess, even taking into account inflation. In my time, the second largest must surely be Jim Slater, followed by David Norwood. Similarly Iljumzhinov's contribution to World Chess must dwarf all others.
The three British ones were purely altruistic as far as I am concerned. If I have forgotten any, please excuse me. But the effect globally and nationally of Slater's contribution is breath-taking. Leonard of course had a great deal to do with that.

That is a suitable point at which to wish Leonard Barden 'Happy 80th Birthday'.

But the contributions are dwarfed by the 'white economy' (a term I made some effort to get into the English language). By that I mean the immense amount of work done in the voluntary sector with no pay, indeed often subsidised by the very people who do the work. I include club captains, secretaries and treasurers; people who run school chess clubs; tournament organisers; grading officers and so on. The value is staggering. Translate that into general society and one realises this is a major economic force rarely, if ever, discussed.

Stewart Reuben

David Sedgwick
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Re: A thank you to Ray Keene for the Staunton and other events

Post by David Sedgwick » Thu Aug 20, 2009 2:37 pm

Stewart Reuben wrote:I very much doubt I could list the largest donors. But I assume that made by John Robinson was the largest in the history of British chess, even taking into account inflation. In my time, the second largest must surely be Jim Slater, followed by David Norwood. Similarly Iljumzhinov's contribution to World Chess must dwarf all others.
The three British ones were purely altruistic as far as I am concerned. If I have forgotten any, please excuse me.
I should like to mention the late Patrick Taylor, who lived on the Isle of Man for the last twenty years of his life. During that time he put c.£500,000 into supporting the 16 Monarch Assurance International Tournaments and other chess activities. He donated a further c.£500,000 to supporting other cultural and charitable activities on the island.

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