ECF membership & clubs' internal games.

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
Sean Hewitt
Posts: 2190
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2012 8:18 pm
Contact:

Re: ECF membership & clubs' internal games.

Post by Sean Hewitt » Tue Oct 09, 2012 6:18 pm

Angus French wrote:Yes! Although maybe I considered them to be honorary members - they certainly weren't members of any other league club and the ECF received income it wouldn't otherwise have... Anyhow, my point was that, to some extent, it won't be so easy to enfranchise these players.
Laudable though the aim may have been, I think you've diddled the ECF out of the game fee it was due on these events in previous years. :D It's akin (on a larger scale) to e2e4 claiming all players were honorary members of the e2e4 Chess Club! Seriously though, I doubt such players will care too much if the event is graded or not.

I think there are two considerations here. Firstly, events such as this are pretty uncommon (as a proportion of the 200,000+ half games graded each year), so we should be mindful of not developing policy that tries to cater to perhaps less than 1% of games played.

Secondly, if players are not prepared to pay £12 a year to play chess one has to question how interested they are in playing seriously (by that I mean graded games). They are probably perfectly happy playing ungraded games and friendly events. That's fine.

The membership list grows by the hundreds of members every day. That is a really healthy sign and I am sure that chess in this country will benefit from that in the long term.

Bill Porter
Posts: 145
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 12:20 pm

Re: ECF membership & clubs' internal games.

Post by Bill Porter » Tue Oct 09, 2012 6:24 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:
Roger de Coverly wrote:This rather demonstrates the point, denied by several or many membership advocates, that the ECF's scheme in particular and possibly MOs in general increased costs to "average" club players.
Despite your assertions to the contrary, this is not denied by anyone as far as I'm aware. The point that you conveniently forget to mention is that the ECF lost its government grant. Costs to players were always going to increase whether we had membership or whether we had game fee.

However, the bigger fact in my clubs fees this year was the decision to purchase some digital clocks.
The point that you conveniently forget to mention is that the increased costs only apply to less active players; reducing costs to the more active players is hardly a way to increase ECF revenue.
Alan Walton wrote:
Bill Porter wrote:
Alan Walton wrote: being able to run internal congresses totally free of charge is a good barrier to break and get more players playing competitive chess
How does requiring £2 minimum per graded game or £12 for ECF membership for "internal congresses totally free of charge" instead of the club paying 20p(?) game fee "get more players playing competitive chess"?
Because I am under the impression that they volume of players who just play internal club competitions only is very miniscule, therefore these players will unlikely to be interested in having a grade
Any such player has to pay to play in graded "internal congresses totally free of charge" whether or not he wants a grade.
You imply ( I suspect unintentionally ) you have a percentage threshold below which the interests of such players can be ignored. eg if their only local club has a graded internal tournament.
Alan Walton wrote:If their main aim is to get a grade then in reality they would have to play some league chess and become a bronze member (or congresses but you have to be silver), once players are members @ £12 which is highly recommended in the majority of leagues, then internal congresses are free to run
How a competitive player gets a grade hardly seems relevant here.
Alan Walton wrote:One question Bill, how many players in your club only play in your internal club competition and don't play anywhere else?
Bit late for that question as I no longer play club chess.
I didn't count; all I can say from casual conversations is "two or three, possibly rather more."

Although I played league and internal competitions, I was one of those 'marginal' players whose costs would have increased.
The money was not significant; I don't care to associate myself with the ECF and its secretive approach to actions most members oppose.
( Perhaps they wouldn't? The ECF doesn't accept "No taxation without representation" so no one can be sure. The usual attitude of the ECF when awkward facts become public is "It all happened a long time ago; time to move on.")

I've therefor stopped playing club chess for a year or two or indefinitely.

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 19086
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: ECF membership & clubs' internal games.

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Oct 09, 2012 6:46 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote: Firstly, events such as this are pretty uncommon (as a proportion of the 200,000+ half games graded each year), so we should be mindful of not developing policy that tries to cater to perhaps less than 1% of games played.
I would be inclined to suggest that the unusual feature is that it's an event for adults and that Streatham should be commended for attempting to attract new adult players, which is not something many clubs and Congresses achieve. Junior events frequently offer mass participation to new players, which is why there was the near revolt at the April Council meeting which forced the partial reinstatement of the Game Fee concept.

The impact of the ECF's scheme won't really be known until next July, and the financial consequences, not until next September. I would expect the number of heads with at least one graded game to reduce, the number of league games will probably stay at around the same in the short term, but with fewer participants. Congresses for experienced players may mostly be unaffected, but those relying on Scots and Welsh may suffer. Junior events and those for new players such as Streatham Library will just disappear from grading.

For that matter, whether the ECF can really run a membership system will only become apparent next September as renewals need to be processed. Non renewals appear to stay in the membership list, thereby introducing confusion to any billing dependent on membership.

The other question that isn't answered is whether this is as far as the ECF wants to go on compulsory membership. Does it have ambitions for an absolute ban on non-members taking part in League and Congress events with possible penalties to members playing in unauthorised events?

Angus French
Posts: 1705
Joined: Thu May 15, 2008 1:37 am
Contact:

Re: ECF membership & clubs' internal games.

Post by Angus French » Tue Oct 09, 2012 6:52 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:
Angus French wrote:Yes! Although maybe I considered them to be honorary members - they certainly weren't members of any other league club and the ECF received income it wouldn't otherwise have... Anyhow, my point was that, to some extent, it won't be so easy to enfranchise these players.
Laudable though the aim may have been, I think you've diddled the ECF out of the game fee it was due on these events in previous years. :D It's akin (on a larger scale) to e2e4 claiming all players were honorary members of the e2e4 Chess Club! Seriously though, I doubt such players will care too much if the event is graded or not.

I think there are two considerations here. Firstly, events such as this are pretty uncommon (as a proportion of the 200,000+ half games graded each year), so we should be mindful of not developing policy that tries to cater to perhaps less than 1% of games played.

Secondly, if players are not prepared to pay £12 a year to play chess one has to question how interested they are in playing seriously (by that I mean graded games). They are probably perfectly happy playing ungraded games and friendly events. That's fine.

The membership list grows by the hundreds of members every day. That is a really healthy sign and I am sure that chess in this country will benefit from that in the long term.
Well, maybe I could have worded my original post better. Some consider the Library group to be part of S&BCC and that's the way it's presented on our website. Certainly it wouldn't be like e2e4 participants claiming to be members of an e2e4 club.

The ungraded players often do care about getting a grade - it's part of what motivates them to get into competitive chess. For some, paying £12 is too much of a jump, especially if they are unwaged or low-waged (though for others it is not - one ungraded Library player has just bought a gold membership and will play his first league game tomorrow).

Currently, excluding memberships with an August 2012 or a September 2012 Due Date (which have presumably expired), there are about 5,500 ECF memberships of which about 4,300 are new - I don't think this quite equates to hundreds joining every day. We'll have a better picture at the end of the membership year.
Last edited by Angus French on Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.

John Townsend
Posts: 369
Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 8:26 pm

Re: ECF membership & clubs' internal games.

Post by John Townsend » Tue Oct 09, 2012 6:59 pm

Sean said:
I do not believe, for one minute, that charging £12 per year will prevent anyone who wants to play chess, from playing chess on cost grounds.
£12 now, but how much next year? Some people may expect value for money and
see no benefit beyond grading. But it isn't only the £12, there's also the sub for a club (can be £80) and extra money for congresses, travelling for away matches, and, in my case, £12 would not entitle me to play in an appropriate section of my local congress, as I used to do - it would need to be £27.

Sean Hewitt
Posts: 2190
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2012 8:18 pm
Contact:

Re: ECF membership & clubs' internal games.

Post by Sean Hewitt » Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:13 pm

John Townsend wrote:£12 now, but how much next year?
I think that's the same issue whether you fund the ECF through game fee or membership. There is inflation. Costs go up. Revenue has to go up to match.
John Townsend wrote:Some people may expect value for money and see no benefit beyond grading.
Grading is probably the only tangible benefit that the average player gets - or wants. There are of course other things, such as junior chess, international chess etc that the ECF spends money on - but the majority of those funding the ECF don't derive any direct benefit from those activities.
John Townsend wrote:But it isn't only the £12, there's also the sub for a club (can be £80) and extra money for congresses, travelling for away matches, and, in my case, £12 would not entitle me to play in an appropriate section of my local congress, as I used to do - it would need to be £27.
If a player is already paying out all of this, then in my opinion an extra £12 (or even an extra £27) over the course of a year is unlikely to make any difference to the vast majority of players. There will be exceptions of course, but most will join up and carry on. That's why I'm optimistic for the future.
Last edited by Sean Hewitt on Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Ian Thompson
Posts: 2585
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2008 4:31 pm
Location: Awbridge, Hampshire

Re: ECF membership & clubs' internal games.

Post by Ian Thompson » Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:49 pm

John Townsend wrote:... in my case, £12 would not entitle me to play in an appropriate section of my local congress, as I used to do - it would need to be £27.
That's down to your local congress choosing to have sections FIDE rated, not the new membership scheme. The ECF has been operating a compulsory membership scheme for FIDE rated players for at least 8 years. It's probably cheaper now to be an ECF member eligible to play FIDE rated chess than it would have been had the old membership scheme continued.

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 19086
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: ECF membership & clubs' internal games.

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:03 pm

Angus French wrote: Currently, excluding memberships with an August 2012 or a September 2012 Due Date (which have presumably expired), there are about 5,500 ECF memberships of which about 4,300 are new
It used to be around 1000 excluding MOs, thus equating to the FIDE rated players. If you strip the first character from the membership code, you can identify the former MO people by area, you look for runs of Bronze membership with the odd familiar name amongst them, or just by club. The ECF has renewal data for some of them, Norfolk for example, but elsewhere they are still showing August or September expiry dates. Some obviously are pending, but there must be some non-renewals sitting in there.

Cleveland runs from 11007 to 11310 currently showing only a handful of renewals processed.

Leicester 07000 to 07312 shows a reasonable number processed.

Grading code is empty in rather more cases than you might expect.

Sean Hewitt
Posts: 2190
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2012 8:18 pm
Contact:

Re: ECF membership & clubs' internal games.

Post by Sean Hewitt » Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:04 pm

Angus French wrote:Well, maybe I could have worded my original post better. Some consider the Library group to be part of S&BCC and that's the way it's presented on our website. Certainly it wouldn't be like e2e4 participants claiming to be members of an e2e4 club.
Agreed. I hope you got the point of the smiley - not every forumite does!
Angus French wrote:The ungraded players often do care about getting a grade - it's part of what motivates them to get into competitive chess. For some, paying £12 is too much of a jump, especially if they are unwaged or low-waged (though for others it is not - one ungraded Library player has just bought a gold membership and will play his first league game tomorrow).
Again, I'm sure you're right. Some will jump right in, for some, £12 is not affordable. I know of clubs that have paid the membership up front for some players, and allowed them to pay £1 a week back. This seems a good idea to me.
Angus French wrote:Currently, excluding memberships with an August 2012 or a September 2012 Due Date (which have presumably expired), there are about 5,500 ECF memberships of which about 4,300 are new - I don't think this quite equates to hundreds joining every day. We'll have a better picture at the end of the membership year.
Membership has been live for 39 days. There are 4300 new members so that's more than 100 each and every day. More importantly, I've been downloading the new list every day and can see that more than 100 new names join the list each and every day. It seems to be increasing and this is positive I think. It is true that we won't get a fuller picture until later, but I suspect we'll have a good idea how it's gone in a few weeks.

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 19086
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: ECF membership & clubs' internal games.

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:19 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote: I think that's the same issue whether you fund the ECF through game fee or membership. There is inflation. Costs go up. Revenue has to go up to match.
Obviously true, but why all the hissy fits from Congress organisers whenever Game Fee went up?

Sean Hewitt wrote: Membership is probably the only tangible benefit that the average player gets - or wants.
In what way is individual membership a "benefit" and in what way is it "wanted"?
Ian Thompson wrote:The ECF has been operating a compulsory membership scheme for FIDE rated players for at least 8 years.
This was based on a falsehood that it was a FIDE requirement.
Ian Thompson wrote: It's probably cheaper now to be an ECF member eligible to play FIDE rated chess than it would have been had the old membership scheme continued.
That is correct. If the FIDE rated player plays in local league chess, it is likely their costs will have been reduced. Quite why the ECF faced with a financial shortfall should choose to give a modest price cut to the most enthusiastic players and pursue the less committed does rather suggest it wants membership for other than purely financial grounds.


Sean Hewitt wrote: If a player is already paying out all of this, then in my opinion an extra £12 (or even an extra £27) over the course of a year is unlikely to make any difference to the vast majority of players.
Which if correct, why then do some Congress organisers kick up such a fuss about being asked to pay £ 2.50 or so a head to the ECF, or Chess Scotland for that matter?

Sean Hewitt
Posts: 2190
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2012 8:18 pm
Contact:

Re: ECF membership & clubs' internal games.

Post by Sean Hewitt » Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:32 pm

Ian Thompson wrote:
John Townsend wrote:... in my case, £12 would not entitle me to play in an appropriate section of my local congress, as I used to do - it would need to be £27.
That's down to your local congress choosing to have sections FIDE rated, not the new membership scheme. The ECF has been operating a compulsory membership scheme for FIDE rated players for at least 8 years. It's probably cheaper now to be an ECF member eligible to play FIDE rated chess than it would have been had the old membership scheme continued.
Absolutely right though interestingly, the only congress Mr Townsend seems to play in is the Kidlington Congress. To the best of my knowledge that's not FIDE rated so it wouldn't cost him £27 for membership.

Sean Hewitt
Posts: 2190
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2012 8:18 pm
Contact:

Re: ECF membership & clubs' internal games.

Post by Sean Hewitt » Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:34 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Sean Hewitt wrote: Membership is probably the only tangible benefit that the average player gets - or wants.
Apologies - that should have read grading - now amended.

Paul Buswell
Posts: 401
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 4:56 pm

Re: ECF membership & clubs' internal games.

Post by Paul Buswell » Tue Oct 09, 2012 11:08 pm

I have read the above with interest. We are experiencing some anti-ECF sentiment from a few members: I have to say that the lack of persuasive propaganda material from ECF was not helpful: I have not seen anything I can distribute to people to sell the ECF to them. The Hastings Club will now be campaigning for a reduction in Game Fee for internal events and also for bulk discounts on bronze membership. Don't really wish to elucidate: I now have the duty to promote that policy and I want to reflect a little on how to approach that.

But I do want to reiterate my view that clubs' internal games are an excellent first step towards competitive chess; that most newcomers do have an interest in grading as a yardstick; and that for many it will be their only competitive play, as there is only one local congress a year with a novice section and our participation in leagues is curtailed by the paucity of low-graded drivers. We could consider not grading our intermal tournaments, and that debate will take place in due course; but our competitions mix the newcomer with active league and congress players and they for their part would probably resent the events not being graded.

This is the time of year when we are getting subs in. Newcomers get their first year at a hefty discount, but we are now asking them for their £55 p.a. Some less active players will be borderline renewal; adding £13 to their sub would make a difference, in my view.

PB

John Townsend
Posts: 369
Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 8:26 pm

Re: ECF membership & clubs' internal games.

Post by John Townsend » Wed Oct 10, 2012 10:25 am

Regarding increases in the Game Fee, Sean noted that, "There is inflation. Costs go up. Revenue has to go up to match."

Fair enough. But inflation increments are not the only form of increase the ECF is capable of introducing. Last year's increase, described as "a fundamental change to the ECF funding model", clocked in at 244.8%.

Mike Truran
Posts: 2392
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 3:44 pm
Contact:

Re: ECF membership & clubs' internal games.

Post by Mike Truran » Wed Oct 10, 2012 10:52 am

Losing the DCMS grant, which I believe was originally in the order of £120k (but someone please correct me if I'm wrong) has doubtless been the biggest contributor in the eye-watering headline increase. I expect someone could produce a calculation for what the increase would have been had we still been on the game fee model.

Post Reply