ECF Membership - The proposal

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

Post by Andrew Farthing » Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:36 pm

I'd like to comment on the suggested approach to grading the games of non-members. It's true that processing the games within the grading system but not publishing the grade of non-members is a relatively "soft" or tolerant option. It does leave players with the choice of playing but accepting that, as a non-member, they will not receive a grade.

The Board did discuss tougher options. Apart from attempting to ban non-members from playing graded games at all, which seemed wrong from an organisation designed to promote the playing of chess, the Board considered the option of simply not grading games involving non-members. This might be an appropriate action with regard to the non-member, but it would penalise the opponent who, if an ECF member, would rightly feel aggrieved that what s/he thought was a graded game turned out not to be.

I accept that the "soft" approach is riskier. A large number of players might choose to live without their grade. However, I felt that it was better to treat players in a mature way and seek a quid pro quo: In return for the ECF's trying to ensure that as many games can be graded as possible, we hope that member organisations will get behind the membership scheme and encourage players to join.

This may prove naive, but I'd rather set out a proposal which maximises the number of graded games than one which creates a large number of grading "black holes". A system that feels like it's built upon punishment for non-compliance is not a healthy basis for future progress. Ultimately, the ECF wants to achieve the positive development of chess in England, and I'd like to think that the vast majority of English players would see success in this as being in their own interest and a goal worth supporting.

If the prevailing opinion is more cynical than this, doubtless this will be reflected in the proposals voted for by Council.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF Membership - The proposal

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:03 am

Adam Raoof wrote:this is what a typical tournament entry form looks like;
Are you really sure Table Tennis is directly comparable?

(edit)
Table Tennis wrote:2. All entries must hold a valid ETTA Player License or have paid the appropriate Single Competiton License Fee with their entry form unless he/she provides proof of being a member of another National Association affiliated to the ITTF and is not affiliated to the ETTA Ltd
So why isn't a Single Competition License Fee more or less the same concept as Game Fee?
(/edit)

For example I believe it was John Upham who reported that he paid his league table fees directly by bank transfer. There's also mentions of tournament membership. So you become a member, but you pay an additional charge for each league match you take part in. As a non-member you can take part in tournaments but at the cost of a higher temporary membership.

So it is not a good comparison to compare the ECF's proposals to a scheme where you have both individual membership and pay to play, even for members.

Were you to propose a scheme whereby you both paid to become a member and events paid a rating fee, that would be interesting to consider. But you haven't and the ECF seems particularly adamant that any new scheme must exclude almost all elements of paying by event.

As a for example, look at the rules for FIDE rated tournaments. It seems to me that you are offering voting membership of the ECF in return for what exactly? No obvious payment by the event to the ECF. Will even organisations like the Endgame Study Circle have to pay more for their ECF membership than some prestige FIDE rated events?
Last edited by Roger de Coverly on Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF Membership - The proposal

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:09 am

Andrew Farthing wrote:. Apart from attempting to ban non-members from playing graded games at all, which seemed wrong from an organisation designed to promote the playing of chess,

In my view (banning non-members) is the logical consequence of trying to set up a member only organisation with a financial barrier to entry and no facilities for non-members to take part.

Now do you understand why your plans meet opposition ?

Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF Membership - The proposal

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:28 am

Andrew Farthing wrote: we hope that member organisations will get behind the membership scheme and encourage players to join.
Without wishing to speak for any member organisations (county associations) , I would express the view that the ECF are withdrawing the facility to have all games played under the auspices of said member organisation graded in exchange for a lump sum payment for the member organisation's ECF membership.

Under current rules it doesn't matter to the member organisation whether a club uses 20 players to field three 6 board teams or 40. If you want to expand the head count who participate it's better that it's 40. It shouldn't be difficult, if you have the will, to write statutes so that every person who plays a game in an event run by a member organisation is deemed a member, or proxy for member, of the national body.

Richard Bates
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Re: ECF Membership - The proposal

Post by Richard Bates » Fri Jun 24, 2011 6:30 am

Just a couple of questions:

1) What is the estimate of the impact of the changes on the workload of the office?

2) Since the grading database is currently held outside of direct ECF control, what would happen if Carl decided that he wasn't too happy to play ball with the business of "hiding" players grades and just published everything (perhaps on the grounds that he couldn't be fussed with the extra work involved with regularly having to update player status's on the database as they paid their appropriate level of membership and/or mistakes were discovered)?

Mark Howitt
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Re: ECF Membership - The proposal

Post by Mark Howitt » Fri Jun 24, 2011 7:17 am

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Mark Howitt wrote:Even when I played 45 rated games a season it was never even suggested to me to become an ECF member.
Well, this sounds like it could be used as evidence if Yorkshire are reported for breach of their MO contract, which says they have to endeavour to make everyone a member.
It's barely mentioned. However, you Alex could be the answer! I'm sure you'd go down well in Yorkshire Working Men's Clubs asking for money... in more ways than one ;)

E Michael White
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Re: ECF Membership - The proposal

Post by E Michael White » Fri Jun 24, 2011 7:44 am

At some point the ECF may do what should have been done a few years ago and apply for charitable status. When this happens, to make maximum use of government encouragement through gift aid, a contribution through ECF membership fees needs to be for support of the British Championship. This does not fit the Gold Bronze Silver scheme as BC players may cut across all three levels.

Whilst tiered membership is a good concept, a driving licence approach needs to be used instead of the G/S/B hierarchical approach which in effect assumes eg all FIDE players want to be club and congress players. A driving licence approach would fit into an online membership fee collection scheme and allow members to select the different areas they wish to support. Eg a player may support ABD but not C.
Last edited by E Michael White on Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

Alex Holowczak
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Re: ECF Membership - The proposal

Post by Alex Holowczak » Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:31 am

E Michael White wrote:At some point the ECF may do what should have been done a few years ago and apply for charitable status.
This is covered in the note that Andrew wrote. The opportunity to do so - with the knowledge that it was likely to happen, and not a waste of time and effort - really only emerged a few months ago, and it has been pursued.

E Michael White
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Re: ECF Membership - The proposal

Post by E Michael White » Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:45 am

Alex Holowczak wrote:....... really only emerged a few months ago ................
Untrue
Last edited by E Michael White on Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:50 am, edited 2 times in total.

Alex Holowczak
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Re: ECF Membership - The proposal

Post by Alex Holowczak » Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:47 am

E Michael White wrote:Untrue
Which bit?

David Sedgwick
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Re: ECF Membership - The proposal

Post by David Sedgwick » Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:02 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:
E Michael White wrote:Untrue
Which bit?
The advice which the ECF received was that it couldn't sensibly and realistically pursue an application under the provisions of the Charities Act 2006 until the Charities Commission had produced its guidance note on the matter. That only happened earlier this year. (See Andrew Farthing's answer to "Why can't the ECF benefit from Gift Aid" on his blog of 10th April at http://englishchess.org.uk/farthing/.)

E Michael White has said previously on this Forum that he believes that advice to have been wrong and that he considers that the ECF could and should have acted much sooner.

Maxim Devereaux
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Re: ECF Membership - The proposal

Post by Maxim Devereaux » Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:07 pm

E Michael White wrote:... the hierarchical approach which in effect assumes eg all FIDE players want to be club and congress players...
Yes, as far as I'm concerned this is exactly the point.

I played 8 games in England this season just gone (all in the 4NCL). Why do I have to pay £25 to have those games graded and rated, when someone can quite possibly play 30+ games in leagues and clubs for around half the cost, or 100+ games including congresses for around three quarters of the cost?

I am not the only one - there are quite a number of strong players who are either almost inactive (just turning out to play the odd 4NCL game), or inactive domestically (either due to living abroad, or because, when they do choose to play, they play FIDE rated tournaments abroad). All such players are forced to be in this Gold membership tier.

As far as I can see, from a personal standpoint, this will make matters worse, and not better. Some concessions should be made for those who play less than a certain number of games, or for non-UK residents. Failing that, being foreign is continuing to appear a highly desirable alternative.

Paul Cooksey

Re: ECF Membership - The proposal

Post by Paul Cooksey » Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:32 pm

E Michael White wrote:... the hierarchical approach which in effect assumes eg all FIDE players want to be club and congress players...
I disagree, I think the asumption is that strong players are willing to pay £25 for rated chess even if they do not play for a club or in other events. I think the 4NCL has proved this is true.
Maxim Devereaux wrote: Why do I have to pay £25 to have those games graded and rated, when someone can quite possibly play 30+ games in leagues and clubs for around half the cost, or 100+ games including congresses for around three quarters of the cost?.
I don't agree that number of games is the only measure of the benefit a player gets from the ECF. I think on average strong players benefit more from the ECFs infrastructure.

I'll note some 4NCL teams are willing to pay £25 for an IM, some maybe even a little more.
Maxim Devereaux wrote:Failing that, being foreign is continuing to appear a highly desirable alternative.
I think Max's circumstances are relatively unusual. But the restriction on changing Federation is outside the ECFs control.

E Michael White
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Re: ECF Membership - The proposal

Post by E Michael White » Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:48 pm

Paul Cooksey wrote:I think the assumption is that strong players are willing to pay £25 for rated chess even if they do not play for a club or in other events. I think the 4NCL has proved this is true.
Its no use mentally surveying those who play, you need to assess those who dont play but might if things were different, unless you want the ECF to operate in a smaller arena with diseconomies of scale.

The drivers licence approach has the big advantage that it probably makes incorporation of part of the BC entry fee gift aidable.

A drivers licence approach may also appeal to the baby boomers who are retiring from work and may wish to play abroad occasionally or congresses in the UK but arent interested in clubs or county chess. Regarding baby boomers I notice one has returned after many years who was minded to wear a batman outfit in a tournament in the 60s ! Would such an outfit be exempt from FIDE dress code ?

HLang
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Re: ECF Membership - The proposal

Post by HLang » Fri Jun 24, 2011 1:31 pm

The implications of the proposal to England-resident players who are registered with another federation aren't clear to me.

I live in England. I am SCO on the FIDE list, and a member of Chess Scotland. I play local league and 4NCL, and possibly the occasional e2e4 event. The only reason I am currently an ECF member is to be registered as an ECF accredited coach.

Under this proposal:
  • Would a bronze membership be sufficient for all of the games in the competitions above to be ECF graded, as the FIDE side of things is already covered by my CS membership?
  • Or would just the league games be ECF graded?
  • Is the 4NCL a league for these purposes, or something else?!
  • If the 4NCL is a league, would the only benefit to me of silver or gold membership be getting FIDE rated congress games graded on the ECF list (as I'm not playing non-FIDE rated congresses)?
Apologies if this area has already been discussed in a previous thread - there are a lot of pages to wade through with no search terms guaranteed to bring it up.

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