Outcome of membership scheme

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
Roger de Coverly
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Re: Outcome of membership scheme

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Oct 26, 2012 10:06 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote: That decision will clearly have a detrimental effect on Junior Silver membership.
Given that the rate of Junior Rapid Play Game Fee was 10p a game, £ 12 per head Silver Junior membership was always an immense price increase for participation in a five round Saturday or Sunday rapid play. Unsurprisingly Junior organisers didn't rate access to ECF grading highly enough to want to impose that level of increase on the parents of their participants. It was always unrealistic of the ECF CEO to base his financial projections on the assumption that sort of increase could be collected.

Richard Bates
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Re: Outcome of membership scheme

Post by Richard Bates » Fri Oct 26, 2012 11:25 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Richard Bates wrote: Just out of interest, are there any outcomes of the current scheme which would cause you to revise your opinion of it? Although these days you seem to spend less time engaging in questioning about the current scheme as it is in existence, and more about hypothetical alternative schemes which aren't...
To be classed a success, the scheme has to satisfy four requirements
(a) increase in ECF revenue
(b) increase in number of games played
(c) increase in number of players
(d) no obvious drop in the annual numbers of new players
What nonsense. Even if one accepts b,c, and d as particularly important in the short term, they are anyway things that are likely to fail anyway due to demographic change. The membership model is being judged against factors which aren't seen as relevant under any alternative model - ie. you are proposing to judge it in absolute terms whereas if being judged at all it should be in relative terms to what would happen if not implemented.

One of the significant criticisms you have offered throughout is the effect on individuals who play merely a handful of games a year. Frankly as far as the ECF, and the future of chess in this country are concerned, these people are irrelevant. Their relevance begins and ends with the impact that their hypothesised loss will have on league chess. If league chess begins to shows signs of suffering (beyond the decline that has been evident previously) as a result then there is an issue to tackle. But in general their loss or otherwise is a sideshow to chess in this country.

Richard Bates
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Re: Outcome of membership scheme

Post by Richard Bates » Fri Oct 26, 2012 11:29 pm

E Michael White wrote:
Roger de Coverly wrote:
Phil Neatherway wrote:Roger,
that's not answering the question. What do you WANT the outcome of the membership scheme to be?
Scrap any form of compulsion for league play. What that means is charging leagues in bulk, which is what the Scots do.
We need to consider the next moves here; something chess players should be familiar with.

When the ECF becomes a charity charging leagues in bulk would probably miss out on gift aid on members subscriptions, for that league's members or prevent it for all ECF members. That is unless the league or county itself becomes a charity and makes charitable transfers to the ECF. However keeping the subscriptions of league only players to the minimum would be a good charitable objective and be in line with the identified health benefits to older players. I don’t think it will be long before chess clubs open in the afternoon for pensioners who drift away when the relative juniors start their A team matches.

SH you know who, and Richard Bates need not reply.
Not at all sure i understand this - hopefully it's a reference to me being several decades away from retirement... ! 8)

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Outcome of membership scheme

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Oct 27, 2012 12:15 am

Richard Bates wrote: What nonsense. Even if one accepts b,c, and d as particularly important in the short term, they are anyway things that are likely to fail anyway due to demographic change. The membership model is being judged against factors which aren't seen as relevant under any alternative model - ie. you are proposing to judge it in absolute terms whereas if being judged at all it should be in relative terms to what would happen if not implemented.
The grading team have been monitoring for a number of years, both the headcount of players with grades and the number of graded games. It's also possible to monitor from one year to the next the numbers of leavers and new players. Consistently from one year to the next, the English chess scene has been in an approximately stable state, that the number of joiners is about equal to the number of leavers and the number of games graded is near constant as well. For the 2011-12 season there was even a modest increase over 2010-11.

So the monitoring system is in place and with the minor leap of faith that there are no significant global forces influencing changing playing decisions other than the membership scheme, I consider it very plausible to monitor the effects of the scheme by outcome in terms of number of games played and numbers of players playing them. There are those like Sean Hewitt who believe the membership scheme will have a positive outcome in terms of both increased numbers of players and increased numbers of games. I have to express a disbelief, particularly because of the price hike on both juniors and occasional players.
Richard Bates wrote:Frankly as far as the ECF, and the future of chess in this country are concerned, these people are irrelevant
If that's what you believe, then fine. The consequence is a reduction in the number of players taking part and probably the number of graded games played. In its way, you have a point. The Game Fee system helped mask the decline of chess interest and activity by keeping marginal players in the system. But if the true head count is around 8000 or under, I really don't see that the ECF can justify the level of full time office staff that it currently employs.

Those of us who have been playing since our school years probably realise that there have been years where cutting down to one weekend a year would have been an expedient solution. So I don't think currently relatively inactive players should be condemned as irrelevant as they may well be suffering from external constraints on their time. As David Pardoe indicates, there are any number of on line players out there, making no contribution at all to ECF, Congress or club finances. What can be done to entice them back or in? Hard line member only attitudes are not in my view helpful.

Alex Holowczak
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Re: Outcome of membership scheme

Post by Alex Holowczak » Sat Oct 27, 2012 9:37 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:As David Pardoe indicates, there are any number of on line players out there, making no contribution at all to ECF, Congress or club finances. What can be done to entice them back or in? Hard line member only attitudes are not in my view helpful.
There are numerous ways in which over-the-board chess cannot compete with online chess:
(1) Entertainment value. A 10-minute blitz game is far more appealing to them than a 3-hour slog.
(2) Time. There's little time for anything else on an evening with a chess game. However, by playing online, you cut out the travel.
(3) Cost. Again, no need to travel, so no need for Oyster cards, bus tickets, fuel expenses.

However, some of the most popular sites on the Internet require a membership fee, far in excess of £12, in order to participate.

My experience of players who are new to chess is that they ask "How much do I need to pay?" So you tell them. If the answer is £12 for the ECF, plus a club fee of £40/year (say), then in practice, this is acceptable. The problem isn't the newcomers to the system who know no different. In that respect, I don't think it will put up a barrier to stop new players coming to over the board chess.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Outcome of membership scheme

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Oct 27, 2012 10:30 am

Alex Holowczak wrote: My experience of players who are new to chess is that they ask "How much do I need to pay?" So you tell them. If the answer is £12 for the ECF, plus a club fee of £40/year (say), then in practice, this is acceptable. The problem isn't the newcomers to the system who know no different. In that respect, I don't think it will put up a barrier to stop new players coming to over the board chess.
This does make some assumptions. One is that someone is joining to take part in a season's club chess, that's not applicable if they just intend a handful of games or the one Congress. The other is that the organisation finances itself by an annual per head charge. Some clubs, as disclosed by Streatham, have a more sophisticated charging structure, whilst it's quite normal for county teams and 4NCL teams to be financed match by match.

Junior organisers in particular didn't accept the membership model as suitable for the types of events they run, which is why the April Finance meeting was unable to vote on a budget.

Ernie Lazenby
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Re: Outcome of membership scheme

Post by Ernie Lazenby » Sat Oct 27, 2012 10:40 am

Can I ask a straight forward question. Are these endless discussions about the membership scheme going to result in the ECF doing things differently?

Having gone through a long process I dont think so therefore all I see is the same old drum beat day on day.

David Robertson
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Re: Outcome of membership scheme

Post by David Robertson » Sat Oct 27, 2012 11:06 am

Ernie Lazenby wrote:the same old drum beat day on day.
That's not a drumbeat you hear. It's a drone.

One way to guarantee a surefire spike in membership would be for Roger de Coverly to take a break for a couple of hours

Angus French
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Re: Outcome of membership scheme

Post by Angus French » Sat Oct 27, 2012 12:03 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:... These figures were pre the April Finance Council meeting (which introduced junior game fee).

That decision will clearly have a detrimental effect on Junior Silver membership, despite the proposers of the motion claiming that it would have a positive effect on junior membership. Time will tell how detrimental that decision was.
I calculate there are currently 894 junior memberships against a total of 6669 memberships - 13.4% which seems not too bad given
Andrew Farthing's 'Funding the ECF' paper (16 April 2010) wrote:Using the experience of the existing MOs and NMS, it is assumed that 1 in 7 members would be Juniors ...
(Junior game fees apply only to junior-only events.)

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Outcome of membership scheme

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Oct 27, 2012 12:31 pm

Angus French wrote:I calculate there are currently 894 junior memberships against a total of 6669 memberships - 13.4% which seems not too bad given
If you look at a combined published standard play and rapid play list, juniors are rather nearer 1 in 4 on published grades. Many of these just play in junior only events. The question will be whether the Junior Game Fee concession was enough to keep these events within national grading. I'm not sure what a typical entry fee is for a Saturday or Sunday junior rapid play, but the prospect of adding a membership fee to it was enough for organisers to threaten to withdraw from grading.

John Upham
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Re: Outcome of membership scheme

Post by John Upham » Sat Oct 27, 2012 12:33 pm

Today's download contains 6,738 records.

I''ll let AF analyse this.

I once had a T-shirt with Angus on it but it no longer fits.
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Neill Cooper
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Re: Outcome of membership scheme

Post by Neill Cooper » Sat Oct 27, 2012 12:39 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:These figures were pre the April Finance Council meeting (which introduced junior game fee).

That decision will clearly have a detrimental effect on Junior Silver membership, despite the proposers of the motion claiming that it would have a positive effect on junior membership. Time will tell how detrimental that decision was.
Just to clarify, the proposers (Wilts Juniors) made no claim about the effect of their motion on junior membership.

The Consultation Paper for Junior ECF Membership made it clear that most junior organisations would withdraw from ECF grading and therefore the numbers of ECF junior members in the board proposals were highly optimistic.

At the meeting I did say that the reduced game fee would result in a larger junior membership than if there was a high game fee, as junior organisations would be more likely to encourage junior membership.

Andrew Martin
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Re: Outcome of membership scheme

Post by Andrew Martin » Sat Oct 27, 2012 2:09 pm

I think there are maybe four or five Roger De Coverleys, churning out the posts from an obscure call centre somewhere near Bourne End. He never relaxes, he never rests. He's always online24 hrs a day, 7 days a week , 365 days a year.

I could go on, but I have better things to do.

John Upham
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Re: Outcome of membership scheme

Post by John Upham » Sat Oct 27, 2012 2:19 pm

From the film The Forumnator:
John Connor to Andrew Farthing wrote:Listen, and understand. RDdC is out there. He can't be bargained with. He can't be reasoned with. He doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And he absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are brain dead.
:D
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Sean Hewitt
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Re: Outcome of membership scheme

Post by Sean Hewitt » Sat Oct 27, 2012 4:03 pm

Neill Cooper wrote:At the meeting I did say that the reduced game fee would result in a larger junior membership than if there was a high game fee, as junior organisations would be more likely to encourage junior membership.
Apologies, I thought that it was the person who had proposed it. I knew that someone at the meeting, in favour of the motion, had said something to that effect. I didn't understand the logic then, and I must confess that I still don't understand the logic now.

It does appear that a number of junior events are not going to be graded this year, even with this easement. If that does turn out to be the case, it rather weakens the argument for the easement continuing when the matter is reconsidered at the next finance meeting.

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