ECF Finance meeting 2018

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
Alex Holowczak
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Alex Holowczak » Wed May 02, 2018 7:11 pm

Hok Yin Stephen Chiu wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 2:51 pm
Naturally, one of these indicators is the performance of the international English teams. BUT, it is essentially a high level indicator (something to consider after all the other things mentioned earlier) - I don't believe is a helpful indicator of the health of English chess at the grassroots.
In other sports, international success tends to result in benefits at a grassroots level. For example, when England won the World Cup in 2003, rugby union clubs became very popular.

England teams seem to be created these days with limited involvement from clubs in cricket and football. There are England youth teams all the way through the age groups, until they hopefully arrive in the England team at the end of it. The FA in particular seemed to have given up on Premier League clubs developing English players with the idea of St. George's Park, and England are having excellent results at youth level. It remains to be seen if that translates into senior level success.

Those organisations appear to take the view that the England team is the best way to deliver improvements at grassroots level, as was experienced in the aftermath of the 2003 Rugby World Cup. If that's right, then coming back to the topic of the Finance Council Meeting, you can argue that it would be in the interest of the grassroots to support it.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Wed May 02, 2018 9:04 pm

"England teams seem to be created these days with limited involvement from clubs in cricket and football. There are England youth teams all the way through the age groups, until they hopefully arrive in the England team at the end of it."

I think in football, they tend not to, unless it's changed in recent years. But there isn't a lot of hope relying on Premiership teams, unless we can use Brexit to ban foreign players! Cricket has taken the approach of stopping players playing for their counties (especially Yorkshire), then looking puzzled when they have trouble getting out of a trough. It is useful to play...

I agree that if we had a world champion, probably more people would play.

(small edit to correct typo.)

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Chris Goodall
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Chris Goodall » Thu May 03, 2018 11:06 am

It's true that the paucity of Norwegians didn't stop Carlsen becoming World Champion, but that's a simple lottery paradox.

Drawing any individual winning ticket in a lottery is an extremely unlikely event, one that you could say with 95% confidence won't happen. And yet, at least one such extremely unlikely event is certain to happen! Similarly, one of the competitors for the World Chess Championship is certain to win it. It probably won't be a Norwegian, it also probably won't be a Crimean or a Yerevantsi or a native of Moscow's North-East administrative okrug.

Probabilities are bounded by 1. Therefore, the chances of anything ever happening can be made arbitrarily small if you find enough probabilities to multiply together. And yet, things happen!


The ECF doesn't exist to run the England national team. The ECF exists, at least at present, to raise funds for the national teams. It's not a raison d'être, it's a... raison de ne constituer pas les équipes nationales comme entreprises independentes. If the national teams became independent of the ECF, what would change is the way they were funded, not the way they were run.

That the ECF takes on the obligation of raising funds for the national teams and not for the 4NCL or UKCC is a historical accident. If the ECF vanished tomorrow and we had to start a new ECF, the national teams would be one possible project out of many competing for funding.
Chris Goodall, formerly known as Chris Wardle. ECF Grader for the ancient kingdom of Bernicia (or Northumberland and Durham, if you prefer).
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu May 03, 2018 11:21 am

Chris Goodall wrote:
Thu May 03, 2018 11:06 am
If the ECF vanished tomorrow and we had to start a new ECF, the national teams would be one possible project out of many competing for funding.
Running a national team is however a monopoly as FIDE only allow one Federation at a time. You could envisage competition to run a national chess league or nationwide junior/schools events. The BCF did once contemplate setting up a league parallel with and in competition to the 4NCL and the CCF runs or ran a lookalike to the UKCC.

Hok Yin Stephen Chiu
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Hok Yin Stephen Chiu » Thu May 03, 2018 1:06 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 7:11 pm
Hok Yin Stephen Chiu wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 2:51 pm
Naturally, one of these indicators is the performance of the international English teams. BUT, it is essentially a high level indicator (something to consider after all the other things mentioned earlier) - I don't believe is a helpful indicator of the health of English chess at the grassroots.
In other sports, international success tends to result in benefits at a grassroots level. For example, when England won the World Cup in 2003, rugby union clubs became very popular.

England teams seem to be created these days with limited involvement from clubs in cricket and football. There are England youth teams all the way through the age groups, until they hopefully arrive in the England team at the end of it. The FA in particular seemed to have given up on Premier League clubs developing English players with the idea of St. George's Park, and England are having excellent results at youth level. It remains to be seen if that translates into senior level success.

Those organisations appear to take the view that the England team is the best way to deliver improvements at grassroots level, as was experienced in the aftermath of the 2003 Rugby World Cup. If that's right, then coming back to the topic of the Finance Council Meeting, you can argue that it would be in the interest of the grassroots to support it.
An interest point - I think I would agree that international success can be a boost to grassroots chess, but oftentimes, luck and various factors of convenience may be more salient than whether producing a super-GM reflects that the underlying structures/local chess is booming. I would maintain that getting the process right will lead to the right outcomes over time. E.g. I don't know how Warwick will do in BUCA next year, but judging the number of teams and players playing would be a better judge of the health and success of the society than whether it keeps the Div.1 title; and more likely than not, the more teams fielded, more individual/team prizes are likely to be won (correlation but not necessarily causation)
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Brian Towers
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Brian Towers » Thu May 03, 2018 1:30 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 3:27 pm
Statistics at Richard Hadrell's old site.
http://www.sccu-chess.com/archive/1516/grad.htm
http://www.sccu-chess.com/archive/1011/grad.htm
http://www.sccu-chess.com/archive/0203/grad.htm

If you read old Congress reports from the 1970s and 1980s the numbers participating were much higher than today.
Thank you, Roger. That makes fascinating reading.

My eye was drawn to these statistics for standard chess for 2016 -
League - 108k
Congress - 66k
Club internal - 25.5k
Miscellaneous - 12.6k
DM foreign - 0.5k
Total - 213k

It looks as if about 1/3 of games played require silver or above. Of course nearly all of the players playing congress chess are also playing a lot of "bronze" chess.

In the context of the silver/bronze debate one highly subversive suggestion I heard from a supporter of the NCCU proposal was that where a club runs a congress or an organizer with a strong connection to a club, perhaps using club premises and facilities, there could be an additional entry charge for non-club members of say £1 which would give them membership for the competition which would turn the competition into a club internal one.
Ah, but I was so much older then. I'm younger than that now.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu May 03, 2018 1:38 pm

Brian Towers wrote:
Thu May 03, 2018 1:30 pm
In the context of the silver/bronze debate one highly subversive suggestion I heard from a supporter of the NCCU proposal was that where a club runs a congress or an organizer with a strong connection to a club, perhaps using club premises and facilities, there could be an additional entry charge for non-club members of say £1 which would give them membership for the competition which would turn the competition into a club internal one.
That's always possible. In the context of attracting new players, it's just a barrier as the ECF stepped away from the notion of imposing compulsory membership requirements on Congresses.

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Michael Farthing
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Michael Farthing » Thu May 03, 2018 2:04 pm

The main issue with the proposal as I saw it was not the principal at stake - about which I do not think there is any great concern. The real point was the extra charge being imposed on bronze members for the opportunity to play in congresses: an opportunity they have signalled their lack of interest in by being bronze members.

There is a strong argument to say that the current design of membership classes is poor: personally I would prefer a 'standard' and 'casual' class based simply on games played, but that, I have been firmly told, is out of the question since it goes against the whole point of the membership reforms of my namesake. There is also a feeling by many - including at least one Board member - that a single membership class (ignoring the fundamentally altruistic platinum level) is desirable.

The real question that then arises is whether a single membership fee level can be found that will cover the ECF's desired expenditure without putting at risk the number of new and less committed players who would join. Many doubt that such a level can be found - but evidence is limited and probably can only be obtained by the risky strategy of trying it and seeing :-(

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Chris Goodall
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Chris Goodall » Thu May 03, 2018 2:21 pm

Hok Yin Stephen Chiu wrote:
Thu May 03, 2018 1:06 pm
An interest point - I think I would agree that international success can be a boost to grassroots chess, but oftentimes, luck and various factors of convenience may be more salient than whether producing a super-GM reflects that the underlying structures/local chess is booming. I would maintain that getting the process right will lead to the right outcomes over time.
Sports psychologists hate outcome-related goals. Any time you can replace an outcome-related goal with a performance-related goal, you've made an improvement. Running the 100m in 9.9 seconds is a better goal than winning a gold medal, because the gold medal depends on the performance of your rivals, which you can't control. 9.9 might be good enough for a gold medal, or it might not. It doesn't become a bad time because someone else happens to beat it.

Alas, the media, fans and executives love outcome-related goals as much as psychologists hate them. Bill James sheds a single tear every time he hears that Barcelona's manager has been set a pre-season target of reaching the Champions League semi-final. If a team's good enough to knock you out in the semi-finals, then it's good enough to knock you out in the round of 16 if that's who you happen to be drawn against!
Chris Goodall, formerly known as Chris Wardle. ECF Grader for the ancient kingdom of Bernicia (or Northumberland and Durham, if you prefer).
Newcastle is not in Scotland!

Hok Yin Stephen Chiu
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Hok Yin Stephen Chiu » Thu May 03, 2018 4:30 pm

Brian Towers wrote:
Thu May 03, 2018 1:30 pm
Roger de Coverly wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 3:27 pm
Statistics at Richard Hadrell's old site.
http://www.sccu-chess.com/archive/1516/grad.htm
http://www.sccu-chess.com/archive/1011/grad.htm
http://www.sccu-chess.com/archive/0203/grad.htm

If you read old Congress reports from the 1970s and 1980s the numbers participating were much higher than today.
Thank you, Roger. That makes fascinating reading.

My eye was drawn to these statistics for standard chess for 2016 -
League - 108k
Congress - 66k
Club internal - 25.5k
Miscellaneous - 12.6k
DM foreign - 0.5k
Total - 213k

It looks as if about 1/3 of games played require silver or above. Of course nearly all of the players playing congress chess are also playing a lot of "bronze" chess.

In the context of the silver/bronze debate one highly subversive suggestion I heard from a supporter of the NCCU proposal was that where a club runs a congress or an organizer with a strong connection to a club, perhaps using club premises and facilities, there could be an additional entry charge for non-club members of say £1 which would give them membership for the competition which would turn the competition into a club internal one.
I think I was following all this until the bit about the £1 charge for non members, does this ever happen?
Michael Farthing wrote:
Thu May 03, 2018 2:04 pm
The main issue with the proposal as I saw it was not the principal at stake - about which I do not think there is any great concern. The real point was the extra charge being imposed on bronze members for the opportunity to play in congresses: an opportunity they have signalled their lack of interest in by being bronze members.

There is a strong argument to say that the current design of membership classes is poor: personally I would prefer a 'standard' and 'casual' class based simply on games played, but that, I have been firmly told, is out of the question since it goes against the whole point of the membership reforms of my namesake. There is also a feeling by many - including at least one Board member - that a single membership class (ignoring the fundamentally altruistic platinum level) is desirable.

The real question that then arises is whether a single membership fee level can be found that will cover the ECF's desired expenditure without putting at risk the number of new and less committed players who would join. Many doubt that such a level can be found - but evidence is limited and probably can only be obtained by the risky strategy of trying it and seeing :-(
A £22.52 Adult Standard membership merging gold, silver and bronze, would break even.
Take this year:
Currently income for Bronze + Silver + Gold = (3,834*£16)+(2,136*£23.50)+(1,994*34) = £179,336.00
Income of Single Standard Membership = (3834+2136+1994) * 22.52 = £179,349.28

This is would obviously be a big jump for Bronze Members like myself - but I am certainly in favour of it [£22.50ish to play in any tournament/league that I want without having to fiddle about upgrading membership will encourage me and lazy university students to enter in more events], perhaps it may be worth making a proposal and taking a look at the card vote to gauge how unpopular it would be at the next meeting! (haha!!)

In continuous improvement terms that vision is simply the future state, sometimes step changes are good, but a step change to a single standard membership (with a GSB merger) would give a sizeable number of people heart attacks - which is not one of my priorities! For me, an improvement away from the current state, no matter how small in the right direction is a good thing. Therefore, in line with the principle of removing artificial barriers and hassle for people who could otherwise be playing more chess, the Silver/Bronze merger set at £20 was a good step forward, which sadly fell through...

I would disagree that people who buy membership are signalling that they only want to play congress chess. I think a sizable number of people (in my experience, especially the kind of 80-140 level University player) buy bronze because it looks cheapest and minimum to play for the University teams, not necessarily because they've decided to only play league chess
All views are my own/represent chess organisations that I'm part of/or neither!
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Steven DuCharme
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Steven DuCharme » Sat May 26, 2018 10:09 pm

How about using FIDE rating/100 = membership cost?
I float like a pawn island and sting like an ignored knight :mrgreen:

NickFaulks
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by NickFaulks » Sat May 26, 2018 10:16 pm

Steven DuCharme wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 10:09 pm
How about using FIDE rating/100 = membership cost?
Zero for people who haven't got one?

Steven DuCharme
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Steven DuCharme » Sat May 26, 2018 11:24 pm

UPDATE TIME! Forget my previous post. After your first year in BCF your subsequent yearly cost would be reduced by a percentage equal to FIDE rating/100 rounded up or down to a whole number. Cost reduction could also include games played or be based on games played alone.
I float like a pawn island and sting like an ignored knight :mrgreen:

Mark Ashley
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Mark Ashley » Sun May 27, 2018 11:33 am

Steven DuCharme wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 11:24 pm
UPDATE TIME! Forget my previous post. After your first year in BCF your subsequent yearly cost would be reduced by a percentage equal to FIDE rating/100 rounded up or down to a whole number. Cost reduction could also include games played or be based on games played alone.
Sounds complicated.

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Michael Farthing
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Michael Farthing » Sun May 27, 2018 11:43 am

Steven DuCharme wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 11:24 pm
UPDATE TIME! Forget my previous post. After your first year in BCF your subsequent yearly cost would be reduced by a percentage equal to FIDE rating/100 rounded up or down to a whole number. Cost reduction could also include games played or be based on games played alone.
So the beginner will pay the full fee each year and the grandmaster will get the biggest reduction. :shock:

====>>>> Drawing Board, Steven! :)

[Steven is clearly also unaware that the majority of members have no FIDE rating anyway!]

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