Thank you Lara and staff

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
Paul Cooksey

Re: Thank you Lara and staff

Post by Paul Cooksey » Sun Aug 05, 2012 12:05 am

William Metcalfe wrote:Laras statement had nothing to do with any dispute with some ECF board members anybody that even thinks that obv have there own agendas.
It seems to me likely her poor decision not to consult the board was influenced by her poor relations with the board. But if you'd prefer to imagine hidden agendas, because you think it is impossible for someone you like to make a mistake, that is your right.

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Re: Thank you Lara and staff

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Aug 05, 2012 12:15 am

Andrew Farthing wrote: The ECF will NOT struggle to afford the Riviera Centre.
It does however cost more than £ zero.

If the ECF rejects a sponsorship or patronage deal because it's already signed up for Torquay, that isn't a problem, other than to note the rejected possible opportunity.

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Re: Thank you Lara and staff

Post by harrylamb » Sun Aug 05, 2012 12:46 am

Andrew Farthing wrote: The ECF will NOT struggle to afford the Riviera Centre.
It seems to me, as a management consultant, that having the CEO shout and bully you ( by putting words in capital letters) does not make a statement more true. It does however indicate that the CEO's case is weak.

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Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Thank you Lara and staff

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Sun Aug 05, 2012 4:11 am

Paul Cooksey wrote: Some of our arbiters have used every opportunity to attack the ECF board, since they felt that they were mistreated at last years championship.
They were mistreated at last year's championship. I'm sorry but that's a simple statement of fact; albeit one that's off topic for this thread which was intended to praise Lara's hard work in difficult circumstances.
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Re: Thank you Lara and staff

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Sun Aug 05, 2012 4:21 am

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
Andrew Zigmond wrote:Obviously certain events continue to (needlessly) cast their shadow but I hope Alex and Lara will remain involve with the British for many years to come. After all, who else is willing to give up their time so selflessly in order to make events such as this happen in spite of their other commitments - okay don't answer that.
It's not the central point of this thread, but I would take issue with this. The dynamics of volunteer organisations and getting people to volunteer and work together, are something that should be considered more. Saying that any individual volunteers are irreplaceable or that no-one else is stepping forward, or would step forward, to do what someone does, ends up being a self-fulfilling statement.

The mark of the best volunteers, the ones who put aside ego and pride in their own achievements, are those who ensure a legacy of other volunteers that follow after them when they step down and/or move on. Those who encourage and help train other volunteers, building up something that is more than the sum of its parts. Finding other people to do what you are doing now is never easy, but if it is done and continuity is ensured, that is sometimes as important as the job you have volunteered for. No matter how competent or exceptional a volunteer is, if things collapse after they leave, they bear some responsibility for that (and this is directed at anyone who has ever volunteered in any chess organising role, from congress organiser to ECF Board members).

One thing is certain. The wrong atmosphere can discourage others from volunteering. It doesn't matter who is responsible for that atmosphere, everyone needs to work to encourage people to volunteer at whatever level, not blithely question who else is willing to do things.
Andrew Zigmond wrote:Let's make this the round of applause for the organisers and I hope as many members of the board as possible will put aside the rancour of the last twelve months to add their thanks.
I think what this thread has shown is that more than this, from all concerned, is needed. Possibly it is no longer possible for certain people to work together. If that is so, then something needs to happen to allow English chess as a whole to move on.
Just picking up on a couple of things from this post.

Obviously nobody is irreplacable and I never intended to imply otherwise. But whoever is appointed manager of Torquay 2013 (and I hope Lara and Alex will be given first refusal) will have a tough act to follow.

And I think most people who have followed this forum over the past year will have formed the opinion that it is certain members of the board who have refused to work with the championship organisers rather than vice versa.
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Andrew Farthing
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Re: Thank you Lara and staff

Post by Andrew Farthing » Sun Aug 05, 2012 6:58 am

William Metcalfe wrote:Laras statement had nothing to do with any dispute with some ECF board members anybody that even thinks that obv have there own agendas.Lara made the statement because of information she had been given that there could be a problem and she did not want people lossing money.
If a potential sponsor has pulled out i hope the ECF are not expecting the players to pay increased entry fees.
Once again, I shall repeat that there is no problem concerning Torquay. The reference to a potential sponsor pulling out has no basis in fact at any level and is yet another example of unfounded speculation being used as the basis for an alarmist statement about players possibly having to pay increased entry fees.
Andrew Farthing wrote:As the remarks quoted above show, no matter how clearly I state the truth, I have to keep on rebutting new variations on the same nonsense.

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Re: Thank you Lara and staff

Post by Andrew Farthing » Sun Aug 05, 2012 7:03 am

harrylamb wrote:
Andrew Farthing wrote: The ECF will NOT struggle to afford the Riviera Centre.
It seems to me, as a management consultant, that having the CEO shout and bully you ( by putting words in capital letters) does not make a statement more true. It does however indicate that the CEO's case is weak.
What it indicates is that stating the simple truth repeatedly has been ignored and that the CEO is using a conventional typographical device in order to emphasise the points being ignored.

To call this bullying is ludicrous.

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Re: Thank you Lara and staff

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Sun Aug 05, 2012 8:09 am

Andrew Farthing wrote: To call this bullying is ludicrous.
Agreed.

Paul Cooksey

Re: Thank you Lara and staff

Post by Paul Cooksey » Sun Aug 05, 2012 8:44 am

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Paul Cooksey wrote: Some of our arbiters have used every opportunity to attack the ECF board, since they felt that they were mistreated at last years championship.
They were mistreated at last year's championship. I'm sorry but that's a simple statement of fact; albeit one that's off topic for this thread which was intended to praise Lara's hard work in difficult circumstances.
I think Andrew is being disingenuous.

This thread stopped being just about praising Lara's hard work when Andrew chose to talk about other issues. I don't think it is right for him to suggest his controversial views should go unchallenged because he associated them with the message of thanks.

I do not want to particularly go over the details of last years championship again, partly because I have explained my position in a lot of detail already, and partly because it is Andrew not Lara or Alex reopening the discussion. But I will say that I was trying to express the point as neutrally as I could. Andrew states opinion not fact, as I explained at length my view was and remains that there was fault on both sides.
Andrew Zigmond wrote:And I think most people who have followed this forum over the past year will have formed the opinion that it is certain members of the board who have refused to work with the championship organisers rather than vice versa.
Perception is a very subjective matter, I'd say that three or four very active posters have tried to give this impression, but I do not think they have proved their case.

I have no problem with a straight forward challenge to any of the elected board members. Not all of them have my full support. But in the absence of this, the onus is on the appointed officials to either work with the elected ones, or resign.

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Re: Thank you Lara and staff

Post by JustinHorton » Sun Aug 05, 2012 9:30 am

Paul Cooksey wrote: But I will say that I was trying to express the point as neutrally as I could. Andrew states opinion not fact, as I explained at length my view was and remains that there was fault on both sides.
Yadda yadda yadda. As far as I recall only one "side" chose to traduce the other in the national press. From which the other "side" is supposed to "move on". Personally I think the main effect of the "fault on both sides" is to make that moving-on process much harder while providing an alibi for the people who could have facilitated it. But didn't, because they wouldn't do the necessary job of telling CJ de Mooi that he'd overstepped the mark. Which he had done, in a number of ways, as he had done in a number of ways previously. (Whether he has done so subsequently I can't say, since I'm struggling to think of anything he's done in his role since Sheffield.)

At the risk of returning to a much-visited theme of mine, this is what happens if you don't deal with things thoroughly. They dont ever go away. They could have done. But they didn't, because the requisite actions were not taken.

On the Plymouth theme. What happened was not, I think, very important. It seems to me that Lara made her announcement in good faith. If Paul doesn't think so (I'm not trying to put words in his mouth here, it's just not clear to me) then so be it. Either way it's not remotely as important as the bad-faith, genuinely important events that happened at the close of Sheffield. And if I am to make contrasts, there is a contrast between Lara's willingness to explain herself and the absence of that willingness in others.
Paul Cooksey wrote:Some of our arbiters have used every opportunity to attack the ECF board, since they felt that they were mistreated at last years championship. I consider that this has been extremely damaging to English chess.
What nonsense. First, nothing these arbiters have done has been "damaging" to English chess, and if you think otherwise then show me otherwise. Second "have used every opportunity to attack the ECF board" is a rather dubious formulation. I don't much like "attack" as a synonym for disagreement, or asking questions, or even criticising. These are all democratic activities. Describing them in terms of "attack" comes from a different direction entirely.

Something has indeed been damaging to English chess. But it's not the practice of disagreement, it's the practice of acting unaccountably. And indeed, the practice of covering for people who act unaccountably.

By the way, where was the ECF President in North Shields? Couldn't he make it?
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Thank you Lara and staff

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Aug 05, 2012 9:32 am

Andrew Farthing wrote: Once again, I shall repeat that there is no problem concerning Torquay. The reference to a potential sponsor pulling out has no basis in fact at any level and is yet another example of unfounded speculation being used as the basis for an alarmist statement about players possibly having to pay increased entry fees.
What are the actual facts then?

It's normal for the Congress to get a free or heavily discounted venue. If this isn't the case at Torquay, then someone has to pay for it. This is either a sponsor or benefactor, the participating players themselves through entry fees or English players as a whole through membership costs or other levies.

Paul Cooksey

Re: Thank you Lara and staff

Post by Paul Cooksey » Sun Aug 05, 2012 10:11 am

JustinHorton wrote:Yadda yadda yadda. As far as I recall only one "side" chose to traduce the other in the national press.
So we are having that discussion then.

If the only thing that happened was CJ going to the national press he would have looked foolish and petty, and to an extent he did. But the allegation is that through his continued efforts he caused Lara to characterised as homophobic. Alex has given this as a reason to reopen the dispute after an agreement to end the matter had been reached.

This is nonsense, Lara was wrongly characterised as homophobic because she said something misjudged to the press which was then misinterpreted. Not because CJ was thinking of writing an article, which he did not in fact write..
JustinHorton wrote:At the risk of returning to a much-visited theme of mine, this is what happens if you don't deal with things thoroughly. They dont ever go away. They could have done. But they didn't, because the requisite actions were not taken.
I agree. Unfortunately threats to disrupt the 99th British made it impossible for the Board to take the appropriate actions to end the matter.
JustinHorton wrote:On the Plymouth theme. What happened was not, I think, very important. It seems to me that Lara made her announcement in good faith. If Paul doesn't think so (I'm not trying to put words in his mouth here, it's just not clear to me) then so be it.
I find it hard to accept good faith, given the preceding actions. But that was not my main point. My point was that Lara should not have commented. To do so was an error. Justin has argued repeatedly that there is a point of principle at stake if officials do not consider themselves accountable, even if no harm results. Although I think this statement was damaging to the 100th British.
JustinHorton wrote:
Paul Cooksey wrote:Some of our arbiters have used every opportunity to attack the ECF board, since they felt that they were mistreated at last years championship. I consider that this has been extremely damaging to English chess.
What nonsense. First, nothing these arbiters have done has been "damaging" to English chess, and if you think otherwise then show me otherwise.
The ECF has spent a significant amount of time involved in infighting at a time it was attempting reform. My belief is that if Alex had respected the agreement he made after Sheffield, we would be well advanced towards charity status. I also believe Andrew Farthing would have been willing to serve a longer term of office, increasing the chances of reorganisation being sucessful.
JustinHorton wrote:Second "have used every opportunity to attack the ECF board" is a rather dubious formulation. I don't much like "attack" as a synonym for disagreement, or asking questions, or even criticising. These are all democratic activities. Describing them in terms of "attack" comes from a different direction entirely.
My belief is that Alex has repeatedly looked for opportunities to embarrass board members regardless of their substantive importance, the "Nigel Short has insulted me" poll being a case in point. So I do not agree this is democratic criticism, but rather a personal dispute.

The things being raised do overlap with things that Justin has raised as points of principle. If he is alleging I am a useful idiot for those who have acted wrongly, I suppose he may be right. But then maybe so is he, if he sees his arguments being used by those who care less about their merits, than of whom they are critical.
JustinHorton wrote:By the way, where was the ECF President in North Shields? Couldn't he make it?
I realise this was partly a joke. But I think the fact it was impossible for the elected President to attend the British, because his presence would disrupt it, illustrates why we have to have this discussion.

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Re: Thank you Lara and staff

Post by JustinHorton » Sun Aug 05, 2012 10:14 am

Paul Cooksey wrote:
JustinHorton wrote:By the way, where was the ECF President in North Shields? Couldn't he make it?
I realise this was partly a joke. But I think the fact it was impossible for the elected President to attend the British, because his presence would disrupt it, illustrates why we have to have this discussion.
Well, alternatively, it illustrates why his position is untenable. But y'know Paul, even if he couldn't attend the British, can you remind me what else he's been doing for the last twelve months? What communication he's made with members? What contribution he has made at ECF meetings?
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JustinHorton
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Re: Thank you Lara and staff

Post by JustinHorton » Sun Aug 05, 2012 10:23 am

Paul Cooksey wrote:. Not because CJ was thinking of writing an article, which he did not in fact write.
No, his mate did. And he himself put round the allegations elsewhere.

Do better than this, Paul.
Paul Cooksey wrote: Unfortunately threats to disrupt the 99th British made it impossible for the Board to take the appropriate actions to end the matter.
What made it impossible was the unwillignness of the Board to distance themselves from CJ. This has caused more than one disaster.
Paul Cooksey wrote:I find it hard to accept good faith, given the preceding actions.
You do realise that what you're implying is that Lara made the announcement deliberately in order to disrupt the following year's tournament?

OK, if you want to say so. But that is liable to cause a great deal more damage than anything Lara has said.

Paul Cooksey wrote:The ECF has spent a significant amount of time involved in infighting at a time it was attempting reform.
The ECF has had to spend a significant amount of time clearing up making messes of its own making and dealing with the scepticism of paying members who no longer trust its officials. As I say, that's what happens.


There is a very large contrast between your willingness to attack Lara Barnes, and accuse her of bad faith, and your keenness to go many extra miles to defend people and action who do not merit it.
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Ernie Lazenby

Re: Thank you Lara and staff

Post by Ernie Lazenby » Sun Aug 05, 2012 10:28 am

Paul I find it hard to take you seriously. You are not even handed in your comments and clearly fall within the CJ and Nigel Short apologist group of individuals.

Alex has probably at times over egged the pudding however it is clear he is very unhappy with events during the last 12 months and a seemingly willingness by some individuals to erase those events from history as if they don't matter. they do matter because they are a symptom of what is wrong with our federation and until people like yourself accept that fact we are not going to see any improvement.

Financially I am very well placed to help chess and do so locally. I did so for this years British, providing a prize for a junior and financial support for a player(a private matter between myself and him) I did it not because it's the ECF event but because it was up here in an area where I live and to help support Lara and her team.(in a small way).

Sponsors are hard to find, particularly those willing to offer substantial amounts, and until we stop the infighting between over inflated egos with their own agendas we will continue to be treated as a minority hobby played by strange individuals.
Last edited by Ernie Lazenby on Sun Aug 05, 2012 10:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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