Wilson's School Launch

Discussions regarding the 70,000 Free Chess Sets for Schools in England.
Neill Cooper
Posts: 1187
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Croydon
Contact:

Re: Wilson's School Launch

Post by Neill Cooper » Thu Jun 25, 2009 11:33 pm

ps Wilson's is less than 10 minutes drive from the Big Slick club where various forum participants will be, if you want to drop by (and default round 3).

Kevin Thurlow
Posts: 2319
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:28 pm

Re: Wilson's School Launch

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Fri Jun 26, 2009 1:41 pm

"As a member of the media (and I guess this applies also to Tim, Leonard, John, James, Justin and others) what encouragement do you envisage providing on behalf of Holloid Plastics?

I assume that the ECF Director of Marketing has been running the ECF side of things?"

John

An accurate report of the proceedings, I guess! However, I do not think I can attend at Wilson's due to the aforementioned short notice.

From what I have seen of any "marketing", Chris Majer is the only ECF person named and I would assume Peter Wilson (no relation) would have his name on any information if he were involved.

Neill - And other roads nearby are named Horsa, Hadrian, Hinkler, Kingsford, Brabazon, Lindbergh, Sopwith, Westland, Swift, Farman, Alcock, Brown, De Havilland (and lots more...) Link Lane may be named after the Link trainer, an early simulator. Contact me privately if you want more info!)

Kevin
"Kevin was the arbiter and was very patient. " Nick Grey

Neill Cooper
Posts: 1187
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Croydon
Contact:

Re: Wilson's School Launch

Post by Neill Cooper » Fri Jun 26, 2009 6:01 pm

The 200 sets and boards are now at Wilson's ready to be given out tomorrow.

David Sedgwick
Posts: 2957
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 5:56 pm
Location: Croydon

Re: Wilson's School Launch

Post by David Sedgwick » Sat Jun 27, 2009 1:13 pm

I was the catalyst for establishing the contact between Wilson's School (Neill Cooper) and Holloid.

I hope everything goes well this afternoon. Unfortunately I can't be there myself, as I'm the arbiter for the GM tournament at the Big Slick International. Play in this has just commenced.

I'd like to thank Neill Cooper and his colleagues at Wilson's for their help. I'd also like to thank Graeme Buckley. The SCCA Board appointed Graeme as the Surrey contact when the project was announced back in February 2008. This is the first time that he's had the chance to make any meaningful contribution.

By coincidence the SCCA AGM is tomorrow and a report will be given to the meeting. I understand that Holloid will be issuing a press release in the near future.

I imagine that the reason that Kevin Thurlow received the invitation and others didn't is that it was sent only to journalists in the immediate locality.

Regarding the choice of schools, I believe that those closest were invited first. As Kevin said, there are a lot not very far way and one or two may have been disappointed that they couldn't be accommodated. I know that Holloid were keen that as many as possible would be there and I understand from Neill's comments that the final 20 are schools which have accepted the invitation.

Obviously when the large events take place in the autumn not everyone will be able to come on the day. Wilson's have kindly offered to store uncollected sets for a period of time (thanks again, Neill) and I'm hoping that for this and other reasons Wilson's will also be a suitable host venue for one of the big events. To my mind the success or failure of the project doesn't depend on how many schools collect their sets on any given day. After an interval of 16 months, it wouldn't be surprising if some of the schools that originally registered no longer want their sets for one reason or another. However, I wouldn't have thought that there would be any difficulty in finding good homes for any spare sets that may be available as a result.

In my opinion the critical issues are whether Holloid are able to produce and make available the 100,000 sets they're now promising and whether the ECF are able to produce and make available a meaningful support package. I look forward to continuing progress on both matters in the coming months, and I hope that the SCCA will be able to help again in the future.

David Sedgwick
Deputy President
Surrey County Chess Association

Neill Cooper
Posts: 1187
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Croydon
Contact:

Re: Wilson's School Launch

Post by Neill Cooper » Sat Jun 27, 2009 5:20 pm

21 local schools said they were coming
9 of these schools were represented.
5 other local schools were also represented in the junior simultaneous and took away sets
Also the local MP, TomBrake, came along
David Sedgwick wrote:In my opinion the critical issues are whether Holloid are able to produce and make available the 100,000 sets they're now promising and whether the ECF are able to produce and make available a meaningful support package. I look forward to continuing progress on both matters in the coming months, and I hope that the SCCA will be able to help again in the future.
I think the question is not about the production of sets and support materials - those are all in place and being distributed.
It is the ECF's ability to reliably contact schools that is questionable.

Matthew Turner
Posts: 2649
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 11:54 am

Re: Wilson's School Launch

Post by Matthew Turner » Sat Jun 27, 2009 5:34 pm

Neill,
Probably the ECF invited 50 Schools and 9 turned up, this is not remotely surprising (to me). Schools applied for sets because they were expecting the postman to turn up with free stuff. Most Schools don't have the time and some sadly don't have the inclination to attend events like the one at Wilson School. I don't think the ECF can be blamed for this. However, if the ECF wants to distribute 100,000 sets it will have to think of a smarter way of doing it (the costs of finding venues, organising simuls to distribute 90, or even 140 sets at a time would be prohibitive anyway). If we are serious about distributing 100,000 set it is time to get in touch with Mr. Michael Basman.

David Sedgwick
Posts: 2957
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 5:56 pm
Location: Croydon

Re: Wilson's School Launch

Post by David Sedgwick » Sat Jun 27, 2009 7:04 pm

I've spoken to one of the people who was at the event. He thought that it was very successful and is delighted with the sets which he now has for his school.
Neill Cooper wrote:I think the question is not about the production of sets and support materials - those are all in place and being distributed.
That's teriffic.

Matthew Turner wrote:However, if the ECF wants to distribute 100,000 sets it will have to think of a smarter way of doing it (the costs of finding venues, organising simuls to distribute 90, or even 140 sets at a time would be prohibitive anyway).
Indeed. That's why the plan is to hold a number of large regional events with 600 to 1000 schools invited to each. It's Holloid rather than the ECF who have opted for this approach. It does sound as though the ECF will need to communicate rather more effectively with the prospective invitees on a future occasion.
Matthew Turner wrote:If we are serious about distributing 100,000 sets it is time to get in touch with Mr. Michael Basman.
I found it hard to see how functions of the size which I've described could be combined with a Basman Megafinal or any other event. If there are a large number of sets left over at the end, then Mike Basman could indeed be in a position to find good homes for them. There are other possibilities, for instance they could be offered for sale to clubs. We're still a long way off needing to take decisions of this kind.

Matthew Turner
Posts: 2649
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 11:54 am

Re: Wilson's School Launch

Post by Matthew Turner » Sat Jun 27, 2009 7:28 pm

David wrote
"Indeed. That's why the plan is to hold a number of large regional events with 600 to 1000 schools invited to each."

I just don't believe that is realistic

Neill Cooper
Posts: 1187
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Croydon
Contact:

Re: Wilson's School Launch

Post by Neill Cooper » Sat Jun 27, 2009 10:06 pm

Matthew Turner wrote:Probably the ECF invited 50 Schools and 9 turned up, this is not remotely surprising (to me).
But of the 50 or so schools, 21 told the ECF they would turn up. That was why the ECF passed the names of those schools on to Holloid.
Matthew Turner wrote:Schools applied for sets because they were expecting the postman to turn up with free stuff. Most Schools don't have the time and some sadly don't have the inclination to attend events like the one at Wilson School.
I think that the 'cost' of attending an event is a good way of checking how committed schools are to using the sets. Obviously in the Autumn more notice will be given so that it is easier for schools to arrange for someone to attend.
Matthew Turner wrote:The costs of finding venues, organising simuls to distribute 90, or even 140 sets at a time would be prohibitive anyway
One would expect to distribute many more at a single event. And there was no cost for today's event.
Matthew Turner wrote:I don't think the ECF can be blamed for this
Whilst I repeatedly offered to Holloid (my only contact) to help find schools to attend, and some I suggested did attend, I was never told which schools the ECF were trying to contact. I did point out that as a chess organiser and maths teacher I have lots of local contacts. Very little of this was used. One would have thought the ECF would have used local resources to help in this (I am also the SCCU Junior Organiser and the Surrey U18 team manager).

Matthew Turner
Posts: 2649
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 11:54 am

Re: Wilson's School Launch

Post by Matthew Turner » Sat Jun 27, 2009 10:16 pm

Neill,
I would just like to thank you for comment here. I think your last posting is very illuminating and I hope the ECF take heed of some of the advice you are giving. I now look forward to seeing the official publicity.

John Upham
Posts: 4093
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 10:29 am
Location: Cove, Hampshire, England.
Contact:

Re: Wilson's School Launch

Post by John Upham » Sat Jun 27, 2009 11:55 pm

David Sedgwick wrote:
By coincidence the SCCA AGM is tomorrow and a report will be given to the meeting. I understand that Holloid will be issuing a press release in the near future.
I shall be attending the SCCA AGM along with Ken Coates. We will attempt to answer any questions about CoM should anyone wish to ask any.

Kevin Thurlow
Posts: 2319
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:28 pm

Re: Wilson's School Launch

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Mon Jun 29, 2009 8:44 am

"Whilst I repeatedly offered to Holloid (my only contact) to help find schools to attend, and some I suggested did attend, I was never told which schools the ECF were trying to contact. I did point out that as a chess organiser and maths teacher I have lots of local contacts. Very little of this was used. One would have thought the ECF would have used local resources to help in this (I am also the SCCU Junior Organiser and the Surrey U18 team manager)."

As I hinted above, It appears that Holloid are trying to do it all themselves! ECF has no involvement. I understand that the ECF Marketing Director was not invited and only attended as he asked if he could and was told he could if he liked... Peter Wilson is the Marketing Director, and it is absolutely ridiculous if he is excluded from events like this. Why wasn't this event advertised properly before it happened? Why did Holloid not want media coverage? Were they waiting to see what happened so they could amend any press release to reflect what happened? I suppose a press release saying "Fifty schools invited to launch", would look a bit silly if only a dozen turned up. But surely you want press coverage for something like this - why all the secrecy?

Obviously, it is good if the sets are now getting to the schools, but it could and should have been handled much better than this.
"Kevin was the arbiter and was very patient. " Nick Grey

Matthew Turner
Posts: 2649
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 11:54 am

Re: Wilson's School Launch

Post by Matthew Turner » Mon Jun 29, 2009 10:35 am

Neill,
I would be interested to know who turned up on Saturday from Holloid and the ECF and who gave the Simul.
This is my my guess as to what is happening. Holloid is taken over and the new owners find 500 chess sets and a Chess for Schools 'idea'. It looks to me like they have appointed their own people and marginalised the ECF.
"It’s a stunning new initiative being organised by Holloid Plastics with the backing of the English Chess Federation"
notice the emphasis
Then two or perhaps three event are held in June/July where the 500 sets are distributed. Hopefully this will generate some publicity. Nothing will be able to happen during the Summer, this will give time for sponsors to come forward and take the project forward.
This seems like a perfectly sensible approach from Holloid (and probably from the ECF too), but I suspect we will not see 90,000 sets distributed (in phase one)

Mick Norris
Posts: 6729
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 10:12 am
Location: Bolton, Greater Manchester
Contact:

Re: Wilson's School Launch

Post by Mick Norris » Mon Jun 29, 2009 11:43 am

I have a pdf of the Chess for Schools Report handed out at yesterday's MCCU AGM which I can email to anyone who wants it

Simul by Anand Krishnan - event was successful etc
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

Neill Cooper
Posts: 1187
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Croydon
Contact:

Re: Wilson's School Launch

Post by Neill Cooper » Mon Jun 29, 2009 5:36 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:It appears that Holloid are trying to do it all themselves! ECF has no involvement.
My understanding is that the ECF office was responsible for inviting all the schools

Locked