Oct elections - Candidate statements

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Thu Aug 19, 2010 2:05 am

Eoin Devane wrote:
Neill Cooper wrote:The secondary school league in Kent seems to have folded http://www.sccu.ndo.co.uk/kscl/.
I'm very sad to hear that, but I can't say that I'm all that surprised.
Like Eoin, the chess at my secondary school (Richard Bates may be able to say more about this) was run by a teacher who had to devote time to organising teams and driving them to matches. I think this is the problem all schools face, finding teachers dedicated enough to organise a sport. My abiding memory of the chess at my school was the problems we were given one year (from CHESS magazine, the Xmas Quiz, I think) and how much I enjoyed those. Probably didn't do much for my OTB chess! :lol:

Paul Bielby
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Paul Bielby » Thu Aug 19, 2010 10:21 am

I first started teaching chess in schools in 1959 and am still doing it 51 years later. I ran schools leagues for secondary schools in Huddersfield and in Sunderland up to 1979 ( I think) when the Thatcher government came in. At that point the then minister of education, Keith Joseph, set about antagonising the teachers to such an extent that Union members simply stopped running out-of-school activities. Secondary school chess competition disappeared and in order to get matches for the children my own school club in Sunderland had to enter one of the lower divisions of the Durham County League.

Nowadays, in the North of England at least, one day events with rapidplay chess, seem to have replaced school matches. My secondary school (RGS Newcastle) teams took part in three such events last year. They were at Yarm (organised by Andrew Killick and Sean Marsh), Carlisle (organised by Syd Cassidy) and Whitley Bay (organised by Tim and Abi Adams). Each of these events also had tournaments for primary schools too and all of them had very healthy numbers (100+) children taking part. In addition the junior children had the HMC (at Wakefield) and EPSCA (Newcastle and Prestatyn)team events, again with many children taking part. Then the Northumbria JCA organised 7 or 8 one-day individual tournaments. But still, in order for the youngsters to take part in 'proper, full length games of chess', they, and their parents, need to be willing for them to play in an adult league or an adult congress.

It is significant, that while in my school we have more than 50 children in the ECF rapidplay grading list, you can count the number with standard grades on the fingers of one hand. Chess, like everything else it seems these days, demands instant gratification! i must be getting old.

Daniel Young
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Daniel Young » Thu Aug 19, 2010 10:48 am

Given that my school has for the last few years gradually increased its influence in the Surrey schools league (up to 4 teams for the season just finished), we may be an interesting case study as the teacher who has spear-headed this growth has just left. Since we are now reliant on 6th-Form organisation, I wonder if we will be able to attract the number of players needed, especially as a large number of our players are just entering 6th Form (ie: their penultimate year at school.) I fear that when this year group leaves, we may struggle to replace them...

Richard James
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Richard James » Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:24 am

Firstly, I rather think this should be a separate thread. Carl?

Yes, Paul, I think it was 1979. Of course the other thing that happened was the transition, in most of the country, from selective to non-selective secondary education. While we could argue all day about the advantages and disadvantages of this, it's still possible, as Paul Bielby and Neill Cooper, for example, have proved, to get a chess culture going in selective secondary schools, but I guess it's very hard in non-selective secondary schools. The Surrey Schools League thrives because the London Boroughs of Kingston and Sutton (I believe) have a grammar school system and there are a lot of selective independent secondary schools elsewhere in Surrey.

Anecdotally:

I spent 32 years running Richmond Junior Chess Club: many of our former members (though not as many as I would have liked) are still active in chess, some, but by no means all, became GMs and IMs, and several of our former members are active on this forum. I spent 15 years running chess clubs in primary and prep schools across the Borough of Richmond. A very small number (1% or less) continued playing competively into secondary schools, but none, to my knowledge, became active in adult competitive chess. I also spent two short periods of time running small and superficially unsuccessful chess groups at a fairly small comprehensive school in Richmond. One player from the first group, now in his twenties, although he did not achieve much academic success, currently has a grade of 195. One player from the second group, now at university, has a grade of 188.

Go figure!

Matthew Turner
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Matthew Turner » Thu Aug 19, 2010 6:13 pm

Richard,
The ECF have published some figures on their homepage (not sure why?)
http://www.englishchess.org.uk/wp-conte ... niorsM.pdf

They seem to show England ranked 49th out of 54 for junior chess against other European nations.
Although, it is not entirely clear to me how the nations have been ranked, the raw figures suggest England is not doing very well compared to out European neighbours.

Richard Bates
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Richard Bates » Thu Aug 19, 2010 7:47 pm

I think the under eleven year old age group is very promising.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Aug 19, 2010 8:12 pm

Matthew Turner wrote:They seem to show England ranked 49th out of 54 for junior chess against other European nations.
Although, it is not entirely clear to me how the nations have been ranked, the raw figures suggest England is not doing very well compared to out European neighbours.
The figures are the number of active FIDE rated players per million of population. Given than much of our domestic chess is played at too fast a rate for international rating, it's not really a surprise that the UK federations show up badly in this sort of comparison.

It's an explanation of sorts why the ECF board is so keen on extending the number of internationally rated events although I don't think there's any sort of target to be met.

Richard James
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Richard James » Thu Aug 19, 2010 9:03 pm

The table is sorted on the last column, which is the number of FIDE rated juniors per million of the population. On this criterion we come 49th out of 54, ahead of Cyprus, Albania, Guernsey and San Marino. Wales, Ireland and Scotland fare little better, coming 48th, 47th and 46th.

Neill Cooper
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Neill Cooper » Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:03 pm

Matthew Turner wrote:Richard,
The ECF have published some figures on their homepage (not sure why?)
http://www.englishchess.org.uk/wp-conte ... niorsM.pdf

They seem to show England ranked 49th out of 54 for junior chess against other European nations.
Although, it is not entirely clear to me how the nations have been ranked, the raw figures suggest England is not doing very well compared to out European neighbours.
We are even lower down for U2000 players (last but one). The tables therefore only show we don't use FIDE ratings!

Neill Cooper
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Neill Cooper » Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:07 pm

Daniel Young wrote:Given that my school has for the last few years gradually increased its influence in the Surrey schools league (up to 4 teams for the season just finished), we may be an interesting case study as the teacher who has spear-headed this growth has just left. Since we are now reliant on 6th-Form organisation, I wonder if we will be able to attract the number of players needed, especially as a large number of our players are just entering 6th Form (ie: their penultimate year at school.) I fear that when this year group leaves, we may struggle to replace them...
You will also have strong support from your headmaster who has supported chess, and transported teams, for over 20 years. He was there when Sutton were second in the national school finals in 1991 http://www.sccu.ndo.co.uk/schoolshist.htm. Even so with four teams you 6th formers will be vital - the same as I rely on captains (and our head master) for help at Wilson's.

Neill Cooper
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Neill Cooper » Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:13 pm

Richard James wrote:The Surrey Schools League thrives because the London Boroughs of Kingston and Sutton (I believe) have a grammar school system and there are a lot of selective independent secondary schools elsewhere in Surrey.
Indeed, of the 15 schools playing in 2010/11, ten are independent, three selective state (all in Sutton), one a church school and one a successful comprehensive with an active FIDE rated teacher.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Fri Aug 20, 2010 7:41 am

Richard James wrote: The Surrey Schools League thrives because the London Boroughs of Kingston and Sutton (I believe) have a grammar school system and there are a lot of selective independent secondary schools elsewhere in Surrey.
My secondary school (where I played chess) is in the London Borough of Kingston, and it was a selective school (11+) and became or was grant-maintained during my time there (1988-1995), so it had a degree of independence. Not sure what the status is now. The school in question is Tiffin Boys School and I don't know if they still have chess teams or not. The school opposite (Kingston Grammar School) was a grammar school, but I don't know how much difference that made in terms of chess. But certainly Tiffins would fall in the "selective" and "independent" criteria Richard used.

I'm also one of the former members of Richmond Junior Chess Club that Richard refers to, though sadly my grade is not as high as the two examples he gives. :) I am now trying to remember whether I started chess at school before I first went to RJCC or not. I suspect I was aware of the chess club at school, and went to it a few times (some memories starting to come back here!), but didn't play for the team until after being at RJCC for a few months. I do still remember some of those school chess matches, so clearly I must have enjoyed it at the time! Richard, can you remember which year I joined RJCC? I could check all the dates from my old games, but they are in a box somewhere at the moment.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Sat Aug 21, 2010 4:33 pm

Getting back on topic, would it be possible to get the views of candidates on this topic?

http://www.ecforum.org.uk/viewtopic.php ... 67&start=0

That concerns the archives of the ECF website, and the BCF before it. From my experience with volunteer organisations, it is important to aim for continuity and smooth handovers, and to have backup plans in place if handovers don't happen smoothly.

John Philpott

Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by John Philpott » Sat Aug 21, 2010 6:33 pm

Christopher Kreuzer wrote
Getting back on topic, would it be possible to get the views of candidates on this topic?
At the risk of being accused of being provocative, I am not certain that this would be an appropriate question to ask of all candidates. One of my particular concerns at the moment is the need to get matters addressed within the ECF at the appropriate level, which may depending upon the circumstances be:

(a) Council

(b) The Board as a whole

(c) An individual Director

(d) An Officer

My perception is that the Board ought to be concentrating on strategic issues, but in practice has matters of detail referred to it that really should fall under (c) or (d). Conversely there have been instances of decisions being taken by an Officer or a document being issued in circumstances where I cannot help feeling that clearance should have been obtained from the relevant Director.

Questions about website archives would be entirely appropriate for a candidate for Marketing Director (since the website is now explicitly this Director's responsibility under the revised Responsibilities Regulations) and perhaps the Chief Executive, but it is not a matter in which I would necessarily expect a candidate for (say) International Director to have an interest. Or do others think that this is a sufficiently important issue that it ought to fall under (b)?

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Sat Aug 21, 2010 7:09 pm

John Philpott makes some excellent points. I certainly hope that discussion surrounding this election will focus more on strategic issues that the Board needs to deal with.

Having said that, I'm not entirely sure what discussion here is meant to achieve, given the voting structure and the degree to which the elections are contested (or not). I suppose you could presume that many of those posting here are people that can vote (I have no idea who those people actually are - though someone did explain to me earlier which entities had the vote, I don't know if any of those posting here are the delegates in question). It is also possible to presume that those voting may read these forums. It might be simpler to conclude that open discussion is good anyway, but as John said it needs to be focused discussion, with topics and respondents depending on the responsibilities of the people/committees in question.

Which reminds me - I've been meaning to ask what the ECF Governance Committee does and what its history is. I must confess that the first time I heard about this committee was when I started reading these forums a week or so ago! :) The only thing I found on the ECF website when I searched it was "Report by the Chairman of the Governance Committee" from the ECF Council AGM October 2009. If the ECF Governance Committee is too off-topic for this thread, a PM (personal message) would be fine.

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