Resignation Rumours

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
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John Upham
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Re: Resignation Rumours

Post by John Upham » Thu May 01, 2008 10:59 am

Roger,

How are the perils of these very difficult to overcome logistics dealt with in lands with compulsory membership such as USCF, France and others?

Do their tournaments always start late whilst organisers check membership IDs or have they possibly dealt with this non-issue?

Maybe they show their ID smart card on entry or it is scanned? Maybe they pre-register on-line using their ID?

I doubt if this is beyond even the wit of an English organiser to cope with. If John E. Foreigner can cope then surely we can?

Maybe we should send an ECF delegation to Turkey or the Ivory Coast to find out how it should be done? :?

John
Last edited by John Upham on Thu May 01, 2008 11:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Sean Hewitt

Re: Resignation Rumours

Post by Sean Hewitt » Thu May 01, 2008 11:00 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:The entry form you have, far from requiring £23 or £33 from you under such a scheme would simply require £10. Thats the current £13 minus the game fee you cost them by playing (six games at 48p per game).

Ok I can accept the entry fee would be £10 instead of £13.

My point was this was how this looks to someone who is a newcomer or returnee to competition chess. The entry conditions for the tournament may state that you have to be a member of the ECF. If you aren't please enclose an extra £20 and promise to pay an extra £1 if the ECF goes bust. Also please accept that the first round is unlikely to start on time because the organiser will have to check out everyone's membership id. before allowing play to commence.
Roger, no congress organiser worth his salt would impose a compulsory membership criteria in these days of struggling events where you need as many players as you can get just to keep your event from going under. This is why I say that you have to make players want to join the ECF, and thats why I suggest linking the publication of a grade (the one thing the ECF does that players value) to membership. In both the US and Ireland, they only publish ratings of their members.

Mike Gunn
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Re: Resignation Rumours

Post by Mike Gunn » Thu May 01, 2008 11:11 am

Sean, I play in two leagues (this is fairly common around London). What would happen if one becomes a member organisation and the other opts to stick with game fee - would I have to pay twice?

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Resignation Rumours

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 am

I think the Grading function if it is costing too much money (I am not sure this is true) could be out sourced to cut costs.

According to the 2007 ECF yearbook "grading" shows an income of £6,961 and an expenditure of £17,688. There' s probably also some grading expenditure in the "Management Services" cost of £119,741. In comparison "Game Fee" raised £52,120 and "Direct Members" £45,471 (expenditure £12,223)

Most of the grading work is done by volunteers at little or no cost.

At one time, grading was more or less self supporting with the direct expenditure costs being recouped by the sale of printed grading lists. Obviously with the excellent web based system now in place, demand for printed lists has dropped drastically. I would hope everybody would agree that the grading website was worth the expenditure.

The point of game fee and universal membership schemes are to raise money for the ECF to spend. Where the ECF spends money raised from "memberships" is affected by the sponsorship and legacy income it receives which is often tied to specific items

Expenditure items include but aren't limited to

Sending England teams to international events
Sending and supporting junior players in international events
Enhancing prize money and "conditions" in the British Championship
running the permanent office in Battle ( but it gets a government grant for most of this)

There are other expenditures, but many of them are self supporting. For example "Home Chess" cost £3,557 but raised £2,947

If it solely covered direct grading costs, game fee would be much much smaller.

My personal take on the current row is this:-

The resigning ECF directors wanted to:-
introduce OMOV - perhaps. It's difficult to be excited about this one way or the other
spend more of the legacy money - I think they have a reasonable case
spend more money - perhaps. It depends what they wanted to spend it on.
They believed that they could raise more money by scrapping game fee and introducing compulsory membership.

This I regard as a high risk strategy since it's not even obvious they will sell enough memberships to recoup the loss of game fee and in the process they could wreck the existing infrastructure. It's also a divisive strategy because there remains a body of opinion (myself included) which regards game fee as a "least worst" option for financing the ECF.

In the past I think the ECF board would have proceeded with greater caution. Perhaps they should have asked Council to endorse the setting up of a working party which would be charged with establishing the feasability and acceptablity of a universal scheme with a view to hammering out (if possible) a generally accepted proposal.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Resignation Rumours

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu May 01, 2008 11:34 am

How are the perils of these very difficult to overcome logistics dealt with in lands with compulsory membership such as USCF, France and others?

Do their tournaments always start late whilst organisers check membership IDs or have they possibly dealt with this non-issue?


I can't speak for the USA but I have yet to play in a European tournament which has started the first round on time.

I believe the membership position is as follows:-

USA : you have to be a member of the USCF to play in tournaments. They do not have any rated leagues.Outside of the FIDE rated events I doubt if they recognise membership of foreign federations.

France : you have to be a member of a club to play in a tournament. Alternatively you can be a member of another national federation.

Italy : you appear to need to show some form of Italian Federation membership card - I don't know the details.

Sean Hewitt

Re: Resignation Rumours

Post by Sean Hewitt » Thu May 01, 2008 11:36 am

Mike Gunn wrote:Sean, I play in two leagues (this is fairly common around London). What would happen if one becomes a member organisation and the other opts to stick with game fee - would I have to pay twice?
Mike, I play in three leagues (four, if you include the 4NCL), so am in the same boat at you!

At the moment, you do pay twice (you pay game fee in both of your leagues). What should happen under my proposal? Thats debateable. Either you should have to pay game fee in the game fee league, or your membership from one league should carry into the other. At this juncture I'm agnostic on the point - that's detail for the ECF to decide - after considering the relevant facts.

The issue for now is agreeing a broad principle - around which detail can be added later - rather than trying to tie up the detail now. This (to be fair) is what the resigning directors tried to do. They wanted a compulsory scheme, and found that in principle there was no support for that. I favour something thats optional, and then "selling" the benefits so that people want to join, rather than join because they have to!

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Re: Resignation Rumours

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu May 01, 2008 11:41 am

now we have an MO in Leicester, we have been able to run additional events (both team and individual) at no extra cost to us or the players. These events have been popular and well supported.

Would I be right to suppose that you are lucky enough to have a free venue?

If you have to pay room hire costs to run extra events, then you need to make a charge. Typically our county matches charge £3 a head for home matches and nothing for aways. So you've got £2 for venue and refreshments and £1 (ok 96p) for game fee ( to cover both home and away matches)

Sean Hewitt

Re: Resignation Rumours

Post by Sean Hewitt » Thu May 01, 2008 11:51 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:now we have an MO in Leicester, we have been able to run additional events (both team and individual) at no extra cost to us or the players. These events have been popular and well supported.

Would I be right to suppose that you are lucky enough to have a free venue?

If you have to pay room hire costs to run extra events, then you need to make a charge. Typically our county matches charge £3 a head for home matches and nothing for aways. So you've got £2 for venue and refreshments and £1 (ok 96p) for game fee ( to cover both home and away matches)
For team events each club plays matches home and away. Some clubs pay room hire charges, many do not. Whether they do or do not though is irrelevant though because those clubs are paying those charges anyway so playing additional competitive fixtures in a room that is already paid for has no variable cost.

For individual events I have negotiated a venue free from room hire charges. Of course, there is no such thing as a free lunch, and the venue makes its money from the sale of food and drink. They are happy with the arrangement, as are we. Indeed, only yesterday, they talked to me about putting up some cash in addition to the free venue. The players are of course paying for this room - but they are doing so voluntarily, through the provision of goods and services where they get value for money. Rather like the membership scheme that I am advocating!

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Charles W. Wood
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Re: Resignation Rumours

Post by Charles W. Wood » Thu May 01, 2008 12:05 pm

Paul Stimpson wrote:Harriet,
The issue as I see it is what positive suggestions did those who opposed the compulsory membership scheme have to move forward chess in this country?
If I thought a compulsory membership scheme would move chess forward in England then I would be all for it!

However much of the chess that is played by the majority of players in England is run by the Counties and hardworking individuals. The ECF should be working hard to secure Sponsorship and exposure of chess in the media, this they have failed at miserably, they are the National body that represents the game after all.
Have you been hiding under a rock, the ECF has secured £6.4m so far this year and is about to put a cherry on the cake with a massive deal from a parcel haulier. "The ECF don't do anything", the ECF is running a massive project to better chess in EVERY school, so you think that that is a failure. We may be on Newsround in the next couple of weeks. The "Chess for Schools" project has been "exposed" in 280 publications across England. We have already secure £100,000 in cash to support the Chess for Schools project, 25% (So Far) is to help develop Juniors into adult League Players.

It seams you are one of these "The ECF doesn't do anything" types when right under your nose theres a project being run to develop all Junior and Adult Chess across the country, backed up with tons of money. No wonder the board resigned, no-one notices anything they do.

I can say one thing I will always thank Martin Regan for, he started the debate, even though no-one wanted it starting. Well done Martin.
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Paul Stimpson
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Re: Resignation Rumours

Post by Paul Stimpson » Thu May 01, 2008 12:13 pm

Sean,
I favour something thats optional, and then "selling" the benefits so that people want to join, rather than join because they have to!
This approach is the most sensible route in my opinion, try to get to say a certain level of membership before switching to compulsory. I guess it was considered unworkable because we already have direct membership which is not bringing in the numbers required. However if you take the USCF membership example you do seem to get a more professional service for your money and quite a good magazine to boot.

In principle compulsory membership looks a good bet, lots of extra revenue etc. However in my opinion we have dropped to such a level that if we want to bring lots of new players to the game, then this fee is going to be an obstacle.

I cannot see it being a good idea to split this by county either and though you say individuals don't pay the game fee the leagues and congresses do this, it is rather a mute point because it is factored into the entry fee (or should be).

If so desired Congresses or Leagues could go unrated to test the pulling power of the grading aspect. I would suggest having a grading is still very important to most players since only a very few can have a successful tournament and win money, whilst improving ones grade can be a goal for other entrants.

Overall though I stick by my earlier post in that membership is a Red Herring in all this in relation to improving chess in England as I believe the ECF should be working harder to promote funding from other sources than the grass roots area. Take Darts for instance, this is taken directly from the BDO website :-
Founded in 1973, THE BRITISH DARTS ORGANISATION (BDO) is recognised globally as the world’s leading darts organisation with over 1,000 officials and a calendar that produces in excess of EIGHT HUNDRED darts events annually.

The BDO is firmly established as governing body for the sport of darts in Britain, and as such is fully committed to regulating, organising, promoting, staging, administrating and fostering darts nationally, internationally and worldwide for men, women, boys and girls to ensure the on-going growth of the sport for all participants irrespective of sex, age, creed, colour and ability.

The BDO represents darts from grass roots right through to professional standard. As such it is all-inclusive and representative of the sport.

The BDO comprises sixty-four member counties in Britain, and has sixty-nine associate countries worldwide.

Each BDO county stages its own domestic events, with some staging open events for men, women and youth. Each county has a Super-League for men and women and some have their own youth sections.

The BDO is administered by a board of directors, democratically elected annually at its AGM. It is funded by subscription from its member counties, and also receives revenue from various sponsors, etc.
Note that the BDO is funded from member COUNTIES and SPONSORS. also note that second paragraph very closely, fully committed to regulating, organising, promoting, staging, administrating and fostering darts nationally, internationally and worldwide for men, women, boys and girls. Do the ECF do this enough for chess?

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Re: Resignation Rumours

Post by Paul Stimpson » Thu May 01, 2008 12:26 pm

Charles,
Have you been hiding under a rock, the ECF has secured £6.4m so far this year and is about to put a cherry on the cake with a massive deal from a parcel haulier.
So everything is completely fine then! Hmmm exactly WHY have people resigned then DOH!!!!

I admire the Chess for Schools Project and wish it full support, but this wasn't even started by the ECF as stated by the blurb on the website, it took some young lad who happened to have a Dad in the plastics industry to be woeful and upset about the lack of sets!!! What about the ECF where were they?

It seems without the luck of this guy seeking out the ECF to fix this problem then nothing would have been sorted out. Which is my point!

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: Resignation Rumours

Post by Carl Hibbard » Thu May 01, 2008 12:31 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote: At one time, grading was more or less self supporting with the direct expenditure costs being recouped by the sale of printed grading lists. Obviously with the excellent web based system now in place, demand for printed lists has dropped drastically. I would hope everybody would agree that the grading website was worth the expenditure.
There was (and is..) no expenditure on the grading web site and never will be!
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Charles W. Wood
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Re: Resignation Rumours

Post by Charles W. Wood » Thu May 01, 2008 12:37 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:
Roger de Coverly wrote:The entry form you have, far from requiring £23 or £33 from you under such a scheme would simply require £10. Thats the current £13 minus the game fee you cost them by playing (six games at 48p per game).

Ok I can accept the entry fee would be £10 instead of £13.

My point was this was how this looks to someone who is a newcomer or returnee to competition chess. The entry conditions for the tournament may state that you have to be a member of the ECF. If you aren't please enclose an extra £20 and promise to pay an extra £1 if the ECF goes bust. Also please accept that the first round is unlikely to start on time because the organiser will have to check out everyone's membership id. before allowing play to commence.
Roger, no congress organiser worth his salt would impose a compulsory membership criteria in these days of struggling events where you need as many players as you can get just to keep your event from going under. This is why I say that you have to make players want to join the ECF, and thats why I suggest linking the publication of a grade (the one thing the ECF does that players value) to membership. In both the US and Ireland, they only publish ratings of their members.
Ironicly we were just discussing that as I was reading your post. My Renaissance Academy holds 6 events a year for under 25's but we are planning to make it ECF Members Only within two years. This will need to include a drive to do so, and help "Rabbits" and parents of "Rabbits" understand the process. The ECF is thinking about how to push that all the juniors coming through over the next few years ill be "actively encouraged" to become members.

As for US and Ireland, IF the ECF said that it would only publish a grade if both players were members and brought in a time limit for new players to become members, I personally would back it and refuse to play a non-member but still play new players. And that from a player in the Bradford league.

As I see it at the moment the current ECF is mostly supported by on the ground adult players, but this will change very quickly to mostly supported by on the ground juniors then by some adult players if the status quo stands. This needs to change so that the culture of membership becomes the norm but it will take a leap of faith or we will out price those Juniors being developed a miss the opportunity. We need the ECF offering to look good, not just Grading but magazines, structured schools leagues, "Rabbit" tournaments, titles, acheivements, blended tournaments (Mixing Adult and Juniors), safe (Child Protection Covered, CRB'd captains and Car drivers) divisions in the adult leagues, new leagues setting up on a more local level, and an England selection process that is right and strong (I don't know if it isn't because I have never looked at it).

The one thing I keep saying and I believe Martin was trying to get across at the Finance Meeting was that change is coming, we all need to be flexable and go against our basic instinct to think all the answers are already planned out. I liked to believed that the board members resigned because they can see what is happening across England and are fustrated because its members struggle to understand that EVERY single place in England is about to expand and we NEED to change or we'll miss it. Then its gone, and the areas that do get it will florish where as areas that don't will carry on the downward trend as before.
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Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Resignation Rumours

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Thu May 01, 2008 12:47 pm

[quote="Harriet Hunt"]the BCF was awarded a major international tournament, the European team championship in 1999, scheduled for Torquay. It was switched to Georgia at the last minute when the ECU or FIDE (can't remember which) decided England was too expensive. A great shame, but not in BCF control.quote]

Actually, you can blame the BCF for that. The organiser insisted on a payment of about eleven thousand pounds(!) to run the event. Obviously, other people would need to be paid as well, so it was decided to fund it by charging the teams. They would have been required to stay in certain hotels and would have been charged a large fee which incorporated hotel costs and entry fee. One or two of the other teams said they could find the same accommodation more cheaply and were told they could not do that. So, not surprisingly, the other teams voted to go elsewhere, and BCF issued statements that it was not their fault, and Johnny Foreigner was an ungrateful chap, and forgot to mention the £11K. I have spies everywhere though and I knew the information would be useful sometime!

It is quite correct that organisers are paid, but I think one has to be realistic......
"Kevin was the arbiter and was very patient. " Nick Grey

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Resignation Rumours

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu May 01, 2008 1:13 pm

In both the US and Ireland, they only publish ratings of their members.

I think it goes beyond this and they only permit participation in events by members.

From the Irish Chess Union website

Currently, the main benefits of ICU membership are the right to participate in ICU affiliated tournaments, eligibility for selection for international individual and team competitions and the calculation and publication of members' Elo ratings. My emphasis.

Standard membership is 35 euros which is about £25 -£30 depending on the exchange rates.

USCF regular membership is $49 which is also about £25 - £30 depending on the exchange rate.

This also lists as benefits amongst others

The right to play in over-the-board tournaments, on the internet, and through the mail.
The right to earn a national rating.

So if you are holding up the US and Irish as role models, then the cost would be about £25 and it's compulsory to be a member.

Do you want to go in that direction?

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