Appeal for Board Support

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Appeal for Board Support

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Wed Sep 28, 2011 7:07 pm

Ernie Lazenby wrote:Chris you are entitled to say what you wish and I read your comments with interest but perhaps it would help you to know what impact all this is having on Alex and Lara. I saw them at the weekend doing another excellent job running a congress under extreme stress caused by our federations failure to support them. It is impacting on their lives and Alex's frustrations is clear for all to read and within that context perhaps a little more understanding could be given.
I'm sure this is causing stress for a lot of people, but my point is that it is not always a good thing to push things too far in public, especially if you will likely have to work with some of these people in the future. I am also more sympathetic now that Alex has explained some things in private, so I'll stop there.

Paul Cooksey

Re: Appeal for Board Support

Post by Paul Cooksey » Wed Sep 28, 2011 7:28 pm

Jonathan Rogers wrote:If I shared your optimism that things will be sorted out privately, I would walk away, but I don't; and as the thread has worn on, I have actually become more convinced that it is one of the more important ones on this Forum. Do keep reading, even if you don't want to post.
I did not intend to post further on this subject after the initial apologies were issued, but do so for the reason Jonathan gives.

I also write in this thread with reluctance, because Alex and Lara are well respected and do much good for British chess. I think they have every right to an apology from the Times if it made an allegation of intentional homophobia in its original article, which I have unfortunately been unable to see. The contents of the Times Chess Twitter I did see, and consider unacceptable. I wish them success in their PCC case and hope that the impact on their personal lives is mitigated as soon as possible.

However re-examining events at the time and calling for CJ to be sacked seems to me wrong. Unless there is some reason to consider CJs apology insincere, it was accepted. His resignation was declined. That should be the end of the matter. After the initial mistakes for which he has apologised, I felt CJ did the ECF a huge favour by accepting the apology. It made no reference to the part of the incident I found most distressing.

I would not expect a governing body to comment on a pending press complaint, and therefore support the ECFs position. Personal support, where there are personal relationships, of course. But the more the board says, the more controversy is likely to be generated. In these situations professional bodies wait for the verdict so they can comment only once and with the highest level of factual accuracy.

David Robertson
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Re: Appeal for Board Support

Post by David Robertson » Wed Sep 28, 2011 7:52 pm

He will. It's been the case, privately, for some days. Line up your alternatives

Paul Cooksey

Re: Appeal for Board Support

Post by Paul Cooksey » Wed Sep 28, 2011 7:54 pm

David Robertson wrote:He will. It's been the case, privately, for some days. Line up your alternatives
I am saddened to hear that news.

I'll delete my reply to Ernie. I didn't agree, but it does not seem worthwhile continuing the discussion.

Jonathan Rogers
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Re: Appeal for Board Support

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Wed Sep 28, 2011 8:09 pm

I would actually have preferred that CJ had sorted out the mess he had created, and then stayed on. But if he is not willing to do that, then I think he should announce his resignation.

Until he does so, this thread is not yet purely academic. One answer to Paul's earlier point about professional companies postponing comments until a case is resolved is that such cases tend to be ones where the fact that matters to the company/litigant is the one that is in dispute. But that was not the case here. The PCC will decide whether the ST were to blame for running the piece based on the information they had, i.e whether it was fair comment in the circumstances, and what level to apology is now appropriate. It is not deciding whether Alex and Lara actually are homophobic in any way (I trust) - so the ECF can support them on this already, and in forceful terms. If it so chooses.

Peter Sowray
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Re: Appeal for Board Support

Post by Peter Sowray » Wed Sep 28, 2011 8:23 pm

Alex,

I wasn’t at Sheffield, so my knowledge of the T-shirt fiasco is limited and second-hand. But my strong impression is that Lara is the only person to come out of this incident with any credit and that her subsequent treatment has been outrageous.

I am sorry that you are both so obviously distressed.

Yours aye,

Peter

Alex McFarlane
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Re: Appeal for Board Support

Post by Alex McFarlane » Wed Sep 28, 2011 8:36 pm

I have now received a personal apology from Stewart which I am happy to accept.

As can happen in heated situations, it appears that we both read more into statements than was probably intended.

Jon D'Souza-Eva

Re: Appeal for Board Support

Post by Jon D'Souza-Eva » Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:49 pm

Carl Hibbard wrote:Ouch now even Mr. Giddins has chipped in but only after reading this forum of course :lol: http://stevegiddinschessblog.wordpress.com/
I'm starting to find it difficult to tell these two apart...

Image
Steve Giddins

{Photograph of Steve Giddins removed from this thread for reasons of copyright}
Ray Keene

Craig Pritchett
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Re: Appeal for Board Support

Post by Craig Pritchett » Wed Sep 28, 2011 11:18 pm

When I posted at around 11am this morning (on page 3 of this thread), I did not anticipate that it would lead to a significant flurry of postings stretching to page 7 tonight. But much more importantly I would like to stress that my post should not be construed in any way as an attack on the ECF president (as some posts on this thread appear to be). I am not even an ECF member, shun most chess "politics" anyway and take no sides, while recognising that the ECF president has been a most welcome breath of fresh air for chess in the UK (not just England).

My post is and was purely to be construed as an attempt to make sense of what is to my mind an extraordinary set of affairs. How can the likes of Alex and Lara - who, like the ECF president have also been outstanding servants of chess in the UK (not just England) - come to be labelled "homophobic", "bigots", "brutish", and persons who "should be reported to the police", if this is in fact true, as they allege? Such language makes no sense to me.

No doubt, as one Director of the ECF subsequently said to me today (and I won't name that person, nor do I make any judgement of any sort about that person's message to me ... I respect that person's views and haven't the slightest ground for any animus against that person or any other member of the ECF board), there were probably mistakes on all sides. But one of these sides has (allegedly) been labelled "homophobic", "bigots", "brutish" and persons who "should be reported to the police", which unless it can be definitively proven to be the case, should be retracted fully by the "labeller", who, as far as I know, along with other "sides" in whatever real issues are involved, has not been subject to criticism in remotely such pejorative terms.

I may be wrong, of course. I shall, however, assert that if I felt I had been labelled unjustly in such terms, I wouldn't take it lying down either.

Good night and maybe also god bless!?

Simon Spivack
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Re: Appeal for Board Support

Post by Simon Spivack » Thu Sep 29, 2011 12:58 pm

I shall risk Carl's wrath by tackling one digression.
IM Jack Rudd wrote:You mentioned the Night of the Long Knives. How is that not a Nazi reference?
It is not a direct reference when Harold Macmillan's bloodletting is understood, which for someone of Ernie's generation is a plausible interpretation.

Ambiguity and different pockets of knowledge cause much mischief. Sadly, too many people (not Jack, to remove all doubt) do not understand what they are reading; instead of taking the trouble to work out why something apparently nonsensical actually makes sense, they launch an attack.
Craig Pritchett wrote:I shall, however, assert that if I felt I had been labelled unjustly in such terms, I wouldn't take it lying down either.
I concur.

If Alex acts as an arbiter at the London Chess Classic, I trust there will be an opportunity for the competitors to publicly show their appreciation for Alex and Lara. A round of applause will do.

Andrew Farthing
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Re: Appeal for Board Support

Post by Andrew Farthing » Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:23 pm

Given the continuing misinterpretation of the ECF Board's views on this matter, I feel it necessary to make this further statement.

Following the original incident at the British Championships prizegiving, I investigated what happened and spoke to the parties involved. The result was the statement posted on this forum on 7th August and the shorter statement published on the ECF website the following day. Both are available at http://www.englishchess.org.uk/?page_id=13807. These statements included unequivocal expressions of support for the organisers of the British Championships. The quoted statement from the ECF President made it clear that he did not make an accusation of homophobia and deplored the actions of anyone sending abusive messages to Lara.

I have always considered that the ECF's expressions of support for the organisers were clear, but for the avoidance of all doubt I wish to state that the Board and I are completely satisfied that any accusations of homophobia or bigotry are entirely without foundation.

Despite the fact that no accusation of homophobia was ever made by anyone directly involved in the original misunderstanding, this was not the case in
various media reports and personal comments on the internet. These fall into two categories:

(1) Published press reports - There is a formal PCC enquiry in progress, and the ECF will not make any comment on the press reporting of the incident before the completion of this enquiry;

(2) Personal comments, including blogs, forums and Twitter - These are remarks made outside a formal editorial framework (and therefore outside the scope of the PCC). Much as it may deplore insulting or false statements made by individuals about ECF officials - and regrettably this incident is far from being a unique example of this - the Federation cannot be expected to make official public responses regarding the individual comments in such cases. To respond to one would risk the ECF's being committed to responding to every insulting or inaccurate personal remark or being accused through its silence of agreement with the view expressed.

Andrew Farthing,
Chief Executive, English Chess Federation

Andrew Farthing
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Re: Appeal for Board Support

Post by Andrew Farthing » Thu Sep 29, 2011 2:06 pm

Ernie Lazenby wrote:I may have missed it so please correct me if I am wrong; I think the President owes an apology to the board members and to the ECF members for running off to the press via RK and saying something, whatever it may have been, that apparently prompted RK to write what he did and since, that was done before the board had any chance to consider the facts.
From the President's statement published on the English Chess Forum on 7th August:
As I have already stated, I no doubt overreacted to Lara’s comments (and I have expressed my admiration for her and the fellow arbiters) and should have referred the matter to the board (a short delay for a call to the Home Director) before discussing it with other people. I was upset (although at no time have I used emotive terms such as ‘homophobia’ or ‘discrimination’) but that does not excuse my error of judgement. (...) I truly regret any distress my actions have caused and it’s never my intention to be offensive.

Jonathan Rogers
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Re: Appeal for Board Support

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Thu Sep 29, 2011 2:11 pm

Andrew Farthing wrote: There is a formal PCC enquiry in progress, and the ECF will not make any comment on the press reporting of the incident before the completion of this enquiry;
Because...?

Angus French
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Re: Appeal for Board Support

Post by Angus French » Thu Sep 29, 2011 2:15 pm

Andrew Farthing wrote:Given the continuing misinterpretation of the ECF Board's views on this matter, I feel it necessary to make this further statement.

Following the original incident at the British Championships prizegiving, I investigated what happened and spoke to the parties involved. The result was the statement posted on this forum on 7th August and the shorter statement published on the ECF website the following day. Both are available at http://www.englishchess.org.uk/?page_id=13807. These statements included unequivocal expressions of support for the organisers of the British Championships. The quoted statement from the ECF President made it clear that he did not make an accusation of homophobia and deplored the actions of anyone sending abusive messages to Lara.

I have always considered that the ECF's expressions of support for the organisers were clear, but for the avoidance of all doubt I wish to state that the Board and I are completely satisfied that any accusations of homophobia or bigotry are entirely without foundation.

Despite the fact that no accusation of homophobia was ever made by anyone directly involved in the original misunderstanding, this was not the case in
various media reports and personal comments on the internet. These fall into two categories:

(1) Published press reports - There is a formal PCC enquiry in progress, and the ECF will not make any comment on the press reporting of the incident before the completion of this enquiry;

(2) Personal comments, including blogs, forums and Twitter - These are remarks made outside a formal editorial framework (and therefore outside the scope of the PCC). Much as it may deplore insulting or false statements made by individuals about ECF officials - and regrettably this incident is far from being a unique example of this - the Federation cannot be expected to make official public responses regarding the individual comments in such cases. To respond to one would risk the ECF's being committed to responding to every insulting or inaccurate personal remark or being accused through its silence of agreement with the view expressed.

Andrew Farthing,
Chief Executive, English Chess Federation
Whether or not this helps is, of course, for Alex and Lara to decide. I should have thought, though, that what was required was for the ECF to demonstate its support for Alex and Lara differently - by condemning Ray Keene for his role in the matter.

Mike Truran
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Re: Appeal for Board Support

Post by Mike Truran » Thu Sep 29, 2011 2:39 pm

One must ask of CJ which hat he was wearing that day.
I thought it was the T shirt that was the problem. :lol:

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