ECF Membership

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
Andrew Farthing
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Re: ECF Membership

Post by Andrew Farthing » Wed Dec 01, 2010 7:18 pm

Mick Norris wrote:When are the proposals likely to be aired to a) the ECF Board and b) ECF Council members?
I'm sorry, but I don't know yet. All I can say is that I'll do my utmost to give plenty of time for Council members to consider and consult.

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Joey Stewart
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Re: ECF Membership

Post by Joey Stewart » Wed Dec 01, 2010 8:48 pm

I was thinking to myself recently - I play quite a few rapid tournaments over the course of the year and have NEVER been to one which offered a discount for my being an ECF member. Generally they are quite cheap, so it is not a big issue, but I still feel a bit like those longplay lot are getting a bonus at my expense - could the ECF attempt some sort of crackdown on tournaments not offering the discount. It would be nice to use it at least once.
Lose one queen and it is a disaster, Lose 1000 queens and it is just a statistic.

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: ECF Membership

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Wed Dec 01, 2010 8:58 pm

Joey Stewart wrote:I was thinking to myself recently - I play quite a few rapid tournaments over the course of the year and have NEVER been to one which offered a discount for my being an ECF member. Generally they are quite cheap, so it is not a big issue, but I still feel a bit like those longplay lot are getting a bonus at my expense - could the ECF attempt some sort of crackdown on tournaments not offering the discount. It would be nice to use it at least once.
No, we couldn't. The ECF has no authority over tournament entry fees, except for those tournaments it organizes itself.

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Re: ECF Membership

Post by Alex Holowczak » Wed Dec 01, 2010 11:43 pm

The Warwickshire Junior Championship had graded sections, and offered membership discounts, even though it was rapidplay. No one claimed them back! The Birmingham Rapidplay and Leamington Rapidplay both offered membership discounts.

Mick Norris
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Re: ECF Membership

Post by Mick Norris » Thu Dec 02, 2010 9:39 am

I think most of the Greater Manchester Rapidplays offer a discount (Bolton, Bury, Stockport, City of Manchester), but I would have to check
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

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Joey Stewart
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Re: ECF Membership

Post by Joey Stewart » Thu Dec 02, 2010 7:49 pm

Yeah but I cant get to any of those - they are all on sunday when the trains are rubbish.
Lose one queen and it is a disaster, Lose 1000 queens and it is just a statistic.

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Chris Goodall
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Re: ECF Membership

Post by Chris Goodall » Mon Dec 20, 2010 2:51 pm

What are the ECF's priorities:
Increase membership?
Increase the number of active players, however we define activity?
Increase the number of games played?
Increase revenue?
Improve popular opinion of the ECF?

Sean talks about the experience of MO's, but the more I hear of his own experiences in Leicestershire, the less it seems to match what I experience in Northumberland. ECF membership has obviously increased under the Northumberland MO, from about 10 to about 200. Entries for the team league and KO competitions have dropped off noticeably (30 to 23, 23 to 16). I'm not blaming the MO for that, but neither can I credit the MO with driving an increase. Entries for the Open section (but not the U160 or U130) of the individual championships are slightly up - having said that, I think we've got one player in this year's Open who wasn't already playing regular league chess. So maybe we could run another parallel Open tournament, but who are we really promoting chess to? At the other end of the scale, I've asked around to see who would be interested in a beginners' rapidplay league, and there wasn't a lot of interest. But say I put a bit more effort in and drummed up the interest: how would the MO "framework" make that competition easier to deliver, when the bulk of prospective players are not MO members? I'd want to run an ungraded tournament to avoid the stress.

To me, the crucial question is: are we trying to a) encourage non-players to become occasional players, or b) encourage occasional players to become frequent players? If a), which would be my instinctive preference, game fee is the way to go. If b), compulsory membership makes sense in principle, but less sense in practice. Occasional players don't become regular players for purely financial reasons. Many a 10-games-a-year player would happily become a 30-games-a-year player, except that they work odd shifts, or they're in London on business three nights a week, or their father's in a bad way, or the missus needs the car half the time, or there's not a club handy for them since Wallsend folded, or they're in the Gilbert and Sullivan society, the pub quiz team and the badminton club, or they don't like the new time control, or they've got a big project on, or they think they just need a break from chess, but maybe we could ask them again after Christmas. Does any of that sound familiar? It's not a "communication and marketing" issue - players are perfectly capable of seeing that it would benefit them financially to play more games, but other factors carry more weight. Money is already more of a barrier to the non-player wanting to play occasionally than to the occasional player wanting to play frequently; compulsory membership only makes that barrier higher for the non-player while not really squeezing any more chess out of the occasional player.

If I only ever played league matches, and I could see that I was subsidising the more active players, and the official line from the ECF was "play more games!" it would annoy me. That's the bottom line. It wouldn't stop me playing the exact same amount of chess as I would have done anyway, but it wouldn't improve my opinion of the ECF either.
Chris Goodall, formerly known as Chris Wardle. Northumbria League hand-cranker; ECF Grader for Bernicia and the NCCU.
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Stewart Reuben
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Re: ECF Membership

Post by Stewart Reuben » Tue Dec 28, 2010 12:27 am

Above somewhere the personally reasonable question has been asked, 'What are the objectives of the ECF?' This is expressed in the mission statement, but for me it boils down to: 'To encourage chessplay and other aspects in all their manifestations and seek that the players reach the highest standard possible for them.' Thus
chess online: 'Fine, but the ECF can do little about this and the income stream is non-existent.
problm solving: 'Fine, but the ECF inpout is small.'
congress chess: 'Fine, the ECF can have a substantial effect in various ways. Even so it is substantially umbrella activity.'
Team chess. 'Fine, but the ECF mainly has only the umbrella effect.'
Junior chess 'Fine, and clearly the ECF can have an effect here. Even so, much is done by others (excellent) and again we come to the umbrella.
International chess. 'Now the ECF really is necessary'.
Grading. 'It would be pretty silly to be the only person with a grade, you want a national and international system.'
ETC.

To misquote John Kennedy. 'Ask not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for chess.' To quote David Norwood, 'Why doesn't the ECF (BCF at the time) buy me a red sports car?'

If all you want out of chess is to play chess at and for your local club, don't concern yourself with grades and don't care about England doing well internationally - Then the ECF HAS VERY LITTLE TO OFFER YOU.
This is little different from the UK taxation system. Why should you pay towards children's education; for good roads; policing; international relationships etc.?
If people who can afford it choose to pay nothing towards developing chess, then eventually it will wither and die and they won't have a chess 'society'. It is very short-sighted to think otherwise.
Stewart Reuben

Michele Clack
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Re: ECF Membership

Post by Michele Clack » Tue Dec 28, 2010 2:10 pm

I entirely agree with you Stewart. If we don't all support chess then we may run out of places to play. Club chess is already under strain. It would be a shame if it died out as this is where people can find a game even if they don't have transport and can't afford to go to congresses. One of the lovely things about club chess is to see youngsters happily playing 80 or even 90 year olds and both enjoying the game. Everyone is welcome.

I think the ECF would gain a lot of support if it was seen to be helping club chess a bit more. This would help to change the perception that many people have that the ECf is only for the elite players. Take our club as an example. We are running 6 teams spread over 3 different leagues and so generating a fair amount of money in board fees. In exchange we get a grading system which is valued by a lot of members but not all. We also get the opportunity to play in the County Championships run by the ECF. Lastly there is help with recruitment in the form of the ECF listing of clubs. What would be really helpful would be advice and information on how to set up and run a good quality website at a minimal price. There are a lot of people playing online who might be encouraged to join chess clubs and a lot of clubs without the expertise to take full advantage of that.

John Upham
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Re: ECF Membership

Post by John Upham » Sat Apr 23, 2011 8:54 pm

Today an ECF member published this comment on his FB profile :
Can't help but notice some weird pricing anomalies on the ECF renewal form. For example I don't see why anyone would want to become a 'full' member for £52 when they can get 'standard' membership for £25 and then spend £2.50 on the diary plus £13.50 on the Yearbook. According to my calculations that comes to a £41 total, assuming someone requires these extras.

My response was :
I have pointed this out to the powers at be some time ago. Apparently the difference is an involuntary contribution to ECF funds.
Was I correct to make this response?
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William Metcalfe
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Re: ECF Membership

Post by William Metcalfe » Sat Apr 23, 2011 9:00 pm

Yes you were correct in your response basically full membership is a donation to the ECF
I am speaking here for myself and not the NCCU which i am now president of

David Pardoe
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Re: ECF Membership

Post by David Pardoe » Sun Apr 24, 2011 12:07 am

I think that Stewart is broadly correct in his comments about the ECF. Some of us believe that a well directed & fully supported BCF organisation, working in harmony with our other UK national associations might be our best option..
I say this because I reckon a `United Kingdom` must be a more potant and viable force for chess than our `little england` approach.
With some strategic changes (and improvements to competitions..) we might be able to take significant costs out of `International` team chess, and maybe in the long run develop a more sustainable framework within our budgetting confines.
But yes, a strong National body, whatever we call it, could be worth its weight in gold to our country`s chess at all levels, given the right support. Remember this is essentially an amateur body run by volunteers/groups who, by an large give up there time freely in the interests of chess.
It is for this reason that a national membership scheme ought to be the preferred model, if it can be structured correctly.
One `tweek` to membership rates might be to offer `Introductory rates` to new players, and to those graded below say, ECF 75 who play perhaps no more than 8 graded games in a season. I`d work the latter by giving `differred discounts`. ie, the reduction would be applied the following season.
Remember, chess is essentially a fairly cheap `sport`/hobby, or whatever, when compared to many other of our National persuites. And more importantly, chess offers many hours of entertainment/challenge/development and is open to all. It is indeed a game for the common man....and we need Joe public to appreciate that chess at club level would be delighted to see new faces...players of all standards, from beginner upwards....and yes....chess is indeed a game for all ages. So whether you be aged 9 or 90...you can potentially still partake of this great pastime....and many players do actually improve with age...if `improvement ` is your thing. And I know of many club players who simply enjoy there weekly outing to there local chess club, doing battle with whoever is present....along with the many `regulars` who enjoy mainstream league club matches...and soforth. Novice players should note that there is no shortage of willing advice & coaching to encourage you along the path to that elusive GM norm..
We are fortunate to offer such a variety of chess events, and having a strong national body is a key component of this equation.
I mentioned `giving`....this needs to come at all levels, and players should think beyond just turning up at the club for a match....what can they give to chess to help keep the wheels turning. At all levels we need willing volunteers to help keep things moving. So, particularly at this time of year, as we approach club, league...AGMs, I`d urge players to look out to see what posts need filling, and be prepared to offer some of your time. Many of the posts dont require great expertese..just a willing pair of hands....
BRING BACK THE BCF

Chris J Greatorix
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Re: ECF Membership

Post by Chris J Greatorix » Sun Apr 24, 2011 12:52 am

I agree with David Pardoe, as we have found in all walks of life it is important in these difficult economic times for people to share their resources in order to be sustainable. Maybe a United Kingdom association is the way forward to cut costs, but maybe this is now not feasible given that a the British Chess Federation no longer actively exists to Joe public. Being divided in Chess doesn't help.
But maybe this can happen on a smaller scale - for instance in the counties why do we have a Greater Manchester-given most of my friends/cousins from Bolton and Bury say they're county is Lancashire. Lancashire Cricket ground, Old Trafford, is in the city of Manchester.

We do need to explicitly identify the aims of the ECF, which in my mind should be to provide top quality chess tournments throughout along with grading and facilitate a team internationally. We are luckly to have some dedicated volunteers. Improvements could be to have an improved grading system- maybe live updates of a persons performance for the season with all the pie charts etc online- this could then be used so that they could advice the player on how to improve i.e "well done you're grade for this season is 40, to get to 100 level you could look at so and sos book on tactics
Also there needs to be alot more publicity on chess itself, which once recognised can be used to attract large fundraising events. If fishing can get itself on TV then so should chess!! Snooker has a good following on the TV, why can't chess=they are similar sports after all.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF Membership

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Apr 24, 2011 1:06 am

Chris J Greatorix wrote:
We do need to explicitly identify the aims of the ECF, which in my mind should be to provide top quality chess tournments throughout along with grading and facilitate a team internationally.
The ECF needs to raise about £ 160,000 annually in support of this. The biggest expenditure in this by far is the cost of maintaining an employed Office.

Top quality chess tournaments happen or otherwise without much direct involvement from the ECF. Grading is an expense , but smaller than you think because of the involvement of unpaid or minimally paid volunteers.

Setting aside the Office, support of junior training and junior International participation is another cost drain. In fairness, it should be noted that the John Robinson Trust (JRT) and parents themselves are also major contributors.

Laurie Roberts
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Re: ECF Membership

Post by Laurie Roberts » Sun Apr 24, 2011 7:41 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
...Setting aside the Office, support of junior training and junior International participation is another cost drain. In fairness, it should be noted that the John Robinson Trust (JRT) and parents themselves are also major contributors.
[/quote]

emphasis added

Roger

It is very easy to selectively misquote someone and misportray their intentions. So if I have misunderstood you, I apologise. But supporting juniors is not - in my view - a cost drain. It is in fact an investment in the future of English chess.

Aside from the fact supporting juniors is something that I think the ECF should do from a social perspective (i.e. not all parents have the funds to assist their children as much as they'd like), it actually makes economic sense to support juniors, encourage them to play so that if they carry on playing, we increase the take from membership fee/game fee later in life.

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