My Resignation

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
John McKenna
Posts: 4134
Joined: Tue May 17, 2011 2:02 pm

Re: My Resignation

Post by John McKenna » Mon Feb 06, 2012 5:31 pm

As a postscipt to my last, last post, I'd just like to say thanks to all who bothered to post here even though it may have been a traumatic experience.
Hope something better can arise from the internal ashes of Sheffield, which by all (non-financial) accounts seems to have been an external success. Even the sensational publicity that RDK gave it added a certain zeitgeist (spirit of the Times) unavoidable, sooner or later, in any complex series of social interactions.
PPS c.f. films The Hill & The Offence.
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

User avatar
JustinHorton
Posts: 7530
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:06 am
Location: Somewhere you're not

Re: My Resignation

Post by JustinHorton » Mon Feb 06, 2012 6:19 pm

Jonathan Rogers wrote:We now have an interesting "how far is Ray prepared to go" question - and this time it's more difficult than ever before.

Can he really bring himself to tweet "David Pardoe - eloquent writer - straightforward common sense" ?
It's surely hard to imagine Ray doing anything so shameless.
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 18637
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: My Resignation

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:01 pm

Something from the Gidders blog struck me, that hasn't been mentioned.
Gidders wrote:I have obtained details of an invoice dated 7 April 2011, from CJ de Mooi, addressed to the ECF office at Battle. The rubric reads blandly “British Championship Sponsorship Fund” and the invoice is in the sum of £12,600.
The usual approach in the past for the ECF had been to put sponsorship and payments through the ECF Congress books. If there had been a query about the amounts being paid to individuals, the ECF would have been able to answer it.

The way the alleged invoice is worded suggests the existence of another body the "British Championship Sponsorship Fund". You might hope the ECF minuted the change of practice of handing the sponsorship income to another body and you might also hope that it satisfied itself as to the independence of this entity from the president's personal assets. On the face of it having a third party handle the distribution is inefficient as regards tax unless it's VAT registered as the VAT component of hospitality and accommodation couldn't be recovered. The fund being a private body, the ECF Board or Council would have no rights to see the books of a "Sponsorship Fund", so amounts contributed by individuals or from other fund-raising could remain totally confidential, as could the distribution by recipient. There's nothing wrong with that, except it conflicts with postings supposedly disclosing the amounts raised and the AGM statement that the ECF knew the source of all the sponsorship at Sheffield.

There's still the governance issue. Assuming everything the ECF has done is totally above board, why did it not see fit to announce how it handled matters as a footnote to the 2011 AGM?

Paul Cooksey

Re: My Resignation

Post by Paul Cooksey » Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:26 pm

Matthew Turner wrote:I think many people would be surprised by the scope of this forum. From my experience lots of people read this forum without contributing (for whatever reason). It only needs one of these people in each club for the ideas expressed here to have a very wide airing in the wider chess community.
This is my experience too. I guess 40 or 50 people I don't know particularly well have spoken to me about it, or sent me an email, since I started posting regularly. It is unusual for someone I play not to mention it either before or after a game.

For the small amount it is worth, no one has told me they disagree with me on this issue, whereas lots of people expressed an opinion on game fee/ membership. I suspect that is because it is a different sort of discussion, and because people are generally polite when they talk with you, rather than being indicative of people agreeing with me. But the same is probably true when people talk with Alex's supporters. Several people have told me I am unwise to disagree with a chess establishment figure. A few of those have told me they agree with me, but are reluctant to express their opinion openly here, which is one of the minor reasons I continue to discuss this issue.

I am certainly not arguing for the status quo. But my belief is that the root cause of this issue is that no-one had clear responsibility for the prize giving, so a misunderstanding got out of hand. Therefore I think we need to change some rules so there is clearer accountability for the running of the British, to stop this sort of thing happening again. My view is less interesting than the possibility this is a fight between good and evil. But I believe cock-ups are more common than conspiracies.

I can't understand Alex's insistence that CJ admit he used other terms which imply discrimination and apologise for them. He had already used the term "antediluvian attitudes" on this forum. Both that and Lara's comments were already in the public domain, and were used by other media to wrongly conclude discrimination.

It is unfair that Lara was wrongly accused of homophobia. But I think making an individual a scapegoat for it would also be wrong.

Jonathan Rogers
Posts: 4042
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2008 9:26 pm

Re: My Resignation

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:51 pm

JustinHorton wrote:
Jonathan Rogers wrote:Responding to Steve, who suggest that we should look nicely upon each other because we don't know all the facts and most bad events turn out to be simple cock-ups:

generally, perhaps ... but with the ECF, CJ and RDK, if none of us know all the facts, it is because they are being kept from us.

For example, have you an "innocent cock up" theory about how we were not told that the ECF was suing the FIDE President, even though the decision was made a year ago and no one on the Board ever mentioned it in a thousand opportunities, including two Council meetings and the report from the ECF Delegate to FIDE* which was directed towards a vilification of the FIDE President and alluded to a court case (if I remember rightly) but still managed to omit to mention our own involvement?

As for CJ allowing us to believe that he has pumped thousands of pounds in to chess: perhaps. But he has never offered precise accounts to anyone, including the ECF Board itself, and has now vanished from the public eye (including his own re-election) for six months now that people have acquired the habit of asking detailed questions - well, this might be an unfortunate lapse in accountability, but it's rather a long drawn out sort of cock-up, isn't it?

And is it a separate cock up that CJ has never acknowledged or responded to the implication from the Times itself that he told the Times that he suspected the organisers of the British of homophobia (or words to that effect), and that after he was requested to do so several times, the Board removed the chief complainant from his position?

And further - there are some facts that are not disclosed, for reasons of privacy, or because informants request confidentiality, or because "rumours abound" that both RDK and CJ speak with libel lawyers more or less as a matter of routine. Even though we don't have all the facts on this forum, can you really say that you are not somewhat concerned about what we do know?

* I meant to write this originally, but got mixed up. Apologies to those who read the earlier version.
I reproduce the above in full because I agree with it in full.

Paul, perhaps you can respond to this earlier post of mine, since Mr Rooney did not?

I'm also curious as to what you mean by saying that no one should be made a "scapegoat" for the accusations against Lara. What if the real culprit is found - could something be done then? And if so, why cannot steps be taken to at least get an account from the most obvious suspect?

Steve Rooney
Posts: 426
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:36 pm
Location: Church Stretton

Re: My Resignation

Post by Steve Rooney » Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:16 pm

Jonathan Rogers wrote:
JustinHorton wrote:
Jonathan Rogers wrote:Responding to Steve, who suggest that we should look nicely upon each other because we don't know all the facts and most bad events turn out to be simple cock-ups:

generally, perhaps ... but with the ECF, CJ and RDK, if none of us know all the facts, it is because they are being kept from us.

For example, have you an "innocent cock up" theory about how we were not told that the ECF was suing the FIDE President, even though the decision was made a year ago and no one on the Board ever mentioned it in a thousand opportunities, including two Council meetings and the report from the ECF Delegate to FIDE* which was directed towards a vilification of the FIDE President and alluded to a court case (if I remember rightly) but still managed to omit to mention our own involvement?

As for CJ allowing us to believe that he has pumped thousands of pounds in to chess: perhaps. But he has never offered precise accounts to anyone, including the ECF Board itself, and has now vanished from the public eye (including his own re-election) for six months now that people have acquired the habit of asking detailed questions - well, this might be an unfortunate lapse in accountability, but it's rather a long drawn out sort of cock-up, isn't it?

And is it a separate cock up that CJ has never acknowledged or responded to the implication from the Times itself that he told the Times that he suspected the organisers of the British of homophobia (or words to that effect), and that after he was requested to do so several times, the Board removed the chief complainant from his position?

And further - there are some facts that are not disclosed, for reasons of privacy, or because informants request confidentiality, or because "rumours abound" that both RDK and CJ speak with libel lawyers more or less as a matter of routine. Even though we don't have all the facts on this forum, can you really say that you are not somewhat concerned about what we do know?

* I meant to write this originally, but got mixed up. Apologies to those who read the earlier version.
I reproduce the above in full because I agree with it in full.

Paul, perhaps you can respond to this earlier post of mine, since Mr Rooney did not?

I'm also curious as to what you mean by saying that no one should be made a "scapegoat" for the accusations against Lara. What if the real culprit is found - could something be done then? And if so, why cannot steps be taken to at least get an account from the most obvious suspect?
Jonathan (hope it's OK to still use first names?)

I haven't gone away or ignored your post, but I'm not sure it's always helpful to indulge in line by line responses. I simply don't think there are enough facts to condemn anyone at this stage and continually throwing up "known unknowns" doesn't seem to get us any further forward. You've said that some facts aren't known because of reasons of privacy or fear of libel action and that's precisely what I said earlier; we don't really know what happened and it is possible that there has been no serious wrongdoing. I'm not saying that's the case, I simply don't know and prefer to err on the side of not condemning people without evidence.

I think Paul C has articulated the issues very well and I tend to agree with his view on the centrality of governance. I would also echo his suggestion about the possibility of people being reluctant to post in this thread because it can lead to very fierce responses. I note that a lot of regular forumites are still very busy on other threads but the numbers posting in this one are pretty small, although I imagine it is being read widely.

Paul Cooksey

Re: My Resignation

Post by Paul Cooksey » Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:25 pm

Jonathan Rogers wrote:Paul, perhaps you can respond to this earlier post of mine, since Mr Rooney did not?
Actually he has now. But if you like:
Jonathan Rogers wrote:For example, have you an "innocent cock up" theory about how we were not told that the ECF was suing the FIDE President, even though the decision was made a year ago and no one on the Board ever mentioned it in a thousand opportunities, including two Council meetings and the report from the ECF Delegate to FIDE* which was directed towards a vilification of the FIDE President and alluded to a court case (if I remember rightly) but still managed to omit to mention our own involvement?
I'm not claiming the ECF is prone to cock-ups at random, but rather because it has a structure which encourages them. It is a rare organisation where someone can start legal action without thinking it worth mentioning. But the ECF does seem to be that sort of organisation. I think we should do something about it, and reform the ECF so it has clearer goals and its officials are more accountable. But I don't think we can call it CJs fault.
As for CJ allowing us to believe that he has pumped thousands of pounds in to chess: perhaps. But he has never offered precise accounts to anyone, including the ECF Board itself, and has now vanished from the public eye (including his own re-election) for six months now that people have acquired the habit of asking detailed questions - well, this might be an unfortunate lapse in accountability, but it's rather a long drawn out sort of cock-up, isn't it?
If he has concluded that posting on this forum is only likely to result in abuse, I can't honestly say I think he is wrong. Given no-one stood against him, and only the Arbiters association voted against him, a couple of months after t-shirtgate he might have concluded this forum is unrepresentative and not worth the trouble. I don't understand why he offered accounts, which seemed largely irrelevant. I think it makes him look a bit foolish to have not done as he said he would, but I don't think we should throw around allegations of financial impropriety unless there is evidence to support such a claim.
And is it a separate cock up that CJ has never acknowledged or responded to the implication from the Times itself that he told the Times that he suspected the organisers of the British of homophobia (or words to that effect), and that after he was requested to do so several times, the Board removed the chief complainant from his position?
CJ admited he overreacted. The idea that his overreaction was to tell the TImes "I believe a misunderstanding occured for which no-one was to blame" is not credible. But he has admited his mistake and offered his resignation. His personal relationship with the chief complainant is clearly poor, and he has not helped him. But he has accepted an apology which did not admit any blame and has not raised the matter since. I'd call his silence dignified, given the provocation directed at him.
And further - there are some facts that are not disclosed, for reasons of privacy, or because informants request confidentiality, or because "rumours abound" that both RDK and CJ speak with libel lawyers more or less as a matter of routine. Even though we don't have all the facts on this forum, can you really say that you are not somewhat concerned about what we do know?
If the parties have agreed to confidentiality, I think I have to accept it.

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 18637
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: My Resignation

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:30 pm

Steve Rooney wrote:
I think Paul C has articulated the issues very well and I tend to agree with his view on the centrality of governance.
Whilst the ECF in a collective sense putting its hand up to governance shortcomings would resolve the financial issues, I don't really see that happening. The governance issues also include what now seem to be the evasive answers at the 2011 AGM and the "oversight" in not reporting the legal action against FIDE to which the ECF is a party. Ironically the FIDE action is governance related as well, namely the rights or otherwise of the FIDE president to appoint Vice-Presidents. I'm also reminded that one of the planks of the Karpov campaign for FIDE President of which CJ was a prominent personal supporter, was that it wasn't right for a president's personal assets and sponsorship to be muddled with those of the Federation. (Kirsan being the president and FIDE the federation)

Jonathan Rogers
Posts: 4042
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2008 9:26 pm

Re: My Resignation

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:39 pm

Hi Steve (yes, first names of course!)

Understood. But we are not condemning anyone at the moment, only saying that what we do know, incomplete as it is, is worrying enough to warrant further investigation. Generally, when a lot of official investigations start, eg into tax evasion, no one knows the truth at the start - just that there is something which ought to be investigated further. In fact not only does the law allow such investigations, it sometimes (as in the case of suspected tax evasion) requires the suspect to co-operate by providing certain documents, on pain of prosecution if he refuses.

Does that help, or are you really saying there is no reason whatever even to suspect anything untoward at all? (and if so, you may have to read my previous post line by line after all!)

Jonathan Rogers
Posts: 4042
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2008 9:26 pm

Re: My Resignation

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:01 pm

[quote="Paul Cooksey"] ....It is a rare organisation where someone can start legal action without thinking it worth mentioning. But the ECF does seem to be that sort of organisation. I think we should do something about it, and reform the ECF so it has clearer goals and its officials are more accountable. But I don't think we can call it CJs fault.[quote]

What if it was mainly his idea - having gone all the way to Russia for two weeks to assist Karpov's campaign? But altogether you are too credulous here. There were hundreds of opportunities that he and other Board members had to mention this. It is much more likely that it was not mentioned because it was anticipated - rightly - that many would be uncomfortable about leaving the solvency of the ECF to be determined by FIDE and the ECF's puppet master.
Last edited by Jonathan Rogers on Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Jonathan Rogers
Posts: 4042
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2008 9:26 pm

Re: My Resignation

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:02 pm

Paul Cooksey wrote: CJ admited he overreacted. The idea that his overreaction was to tell the TImes "I believe a misunderstanding occured for which no-one was to blame" is not credible. But he has admited his mistake and offered his resignation.


I have visions of this running for the next 20 years, with Alex and others still having to say that CJ apologised - and the apology was accepted - before the Times piece was published.

Paul Cooksey wrote:If the parties have agreed to confidentiality, I think I have to accept it.
Often it's not the parties themselves who have agreed - it is one party discovering info from another on conditions of confidentiality. That is one reason why we don't know everything here, and shouldn't expect to; but we surely know enough to know that the full truth ought to be investigated.

Ernie Lazenby

Re: My Resignation

Post by Ernie Lazenby » Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:14 pm

the Sun newspaper has it's uses not least fish and chip paper and page three for those who use kleenex tissues.This thread has long since ceased to be of any use.

Alex raised issues that warrant investigation, if that not going to happen what's the point of endless repetitive debate.Nothing is going to be done now, next week, next month or at the AGM because of the attitude of Paul, David and other like minded CJ bag carriers.

Paul Cooksey

Re: My Resignation

Post by Paul Cooksey » Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:23 pm

Jonathan Rogers wrote:I have visions of this running for the next 20 years, with Alex and others still having to say that CJ apologised - and the apology was accepted - before the Times piece was published.
Alex corrected me when I described CJs statement of regret an apology. Although Andrew Farthing did describe it as such, when he posted it here. I though the issue of the Sunday Times with the offending article was the one earlier that day?

Paul Cooksey

Re: My Resignation

Post by Paul Cooksey » Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:30 pm

Ernie Lazenby wrote:Alex raised issues that warrant investigation, if that not going to happen what's the point of endless repetitive debate.Nothing is going to be done now, next week, next month or at the AGM because of the attitude of Paul, David and other like minded CJ bag carriers.
I'm not entirely sure how I have hindered an investigation. But having wasted a lot of time responding in detail to posts that Ernie subsequently deleted, I think I'll let this pass.

Andrew Zigmond
Posts: 1751
Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2011 9:23 pm
Location: Harrogate

Re: My Resignation

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:33 pm

Without wanting to break confidences I have been involved in some interesting correspondance today. While my sympathies remain 100% with Alex and Lara it has been brought to my attention that some of those supporting CJ have been subject to abusive and obscene emails. While my own statements have been quite passionate and I haven't covered myself entirely with glory I would say that this is unhelpful and only serves to detract from the main issue.

If CJ wishes to break his silence and confront his critics on this forum I for one am prepared to give him a fair hearing.
Controller - Yorkshire League
Chairman - Harrogate Chess Club
All views expressed entirely my own

Post Reply