The value of the ECF Calendar

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
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Neill Cooper
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The value of the ECF Calendar

Post by Neill Cooper » Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:19 am

As a junior organiser I find the ECF Calendar a valuable resource when planning dates for events. In particular as a means of avoiding clashing with other important events. Rarely this does not work when an event has not been listed. However, I notice from the latest board minutes
The Board agreed that in future a charge of £50 (including VAT) would be made to organisations who wish to advertise their events in the ECF calendar if they were not to be graded. No charge would be made in respect of events that are graded.
This will result in many junior events no longer being listed (e.g. NYCA, EPSCA, traning events) - theoretically including the ECF Secondary School event I ran last week in which most games were played without clocks.

I think it is a pity that the ECF will no longer be providing a comprehensive calendar.

ps What will happen about Blitz events, as these are not graded?

Roger de Coverly
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Re: The value of the ECF Calendar

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:38 am

Neill Cooper wrote:I think it is a pity that the ECF will no longer be providing a comprehensive calendar.
Perhaps what they meant to say was that the charge would be made to organisations who are not members of the ECF, presuming the intention was to charge Congresses and other bodies not prepared to insist on individual members being ECF members or charging "pay to play" or "residual game fee".

Having a comprehensive calendar was touted as one of the benefits of universal individual membership. Instead it seems to have become one of the discards.

Jim Wadsworth
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Re: The value of the ECF Calendar

Post by Jim Wadsworth » Sun Nov 25, 2012 10:21 am

Neill Cooper wrote:As a junior organiser I find the ECF Calendar a valuable resource when planning dates for events. In particular as a means of avoiding clashing with other important events.
[Note: not speaking/posting in my ECF officer role]

As a county junior organiser I agree - the calendar is a vital resource. Without it, there will inevitably be more clashes than we already see. I would hope that the powers that be take another look at this, at least in relation to junior events.

As a member, I find myself agreeing with Roger - isn't this part of the membership service provided by the ECF?

Richard Bates
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Re: The value of the ECF Calendar

Post by Richard Bates » Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:09 pm

The approach seems to rather unimaginatively assume that the provision of the Calendar is solely for the benefit of organisers looking to publicise their events.

When in reality it is as much for the benefit of players looking for events to play in, as well as (as mentioned) organisers as a means of avoiding clashes.

If organisers don't want their events graded, and the participating players are accepting of that, then i don't think it should be the job of the ECF to attempt to enforce grading participation. If the calendar is to be treated as a commercial resource then charge everyone for its use. And anyway such an approach will probably be counter-productive/short-sighted - many "non-graded events" especially junior ones are effectively "introductory" for new players. New players often have little understanding/knowledge of grading, but once they play more regularly they will usually want one, and are therefore future source of income to the ECF.

John Upham
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Re: The value of the ECF Calendar

Post by John Upham » Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:17 pm

Perhaps this opens the way for someone to produce a more comprehensive calendar.

How about one where you could list events that were in the future?
What about listing events based on distance from a postcode?

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Roger de Coverly
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Re: The value of the ECF Calendar

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:47 pm

John Upham wrote:Perhaps this opens the way for someone to produce a more comprehensive calendar.
The BCM ran a calendar when John Saunders was editor.

http://web.archive.org/web/200008161702 ... events.htm

and ran the BCF's online calendar as well

http://web.archive.org/web/200005101225 ... index.html

The printed BCF yearbook had a calendar going back many years. The 1981-82 yearbook has one, although this had disappeared by the 2000 yearbook.

John Upham
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Re: The value of the ECF Calendar

Post by John Upham » Sun Nov 25, 2012 1:04 pm

Roger,

I hadn't felt the need to reinvent the wheel whilst the ECF calendar was almost comprehensive.

There will always be "missing events" since the organisers of those events do not pay enough attention to event promotion or publicity. They put a lot of effort into printing entry forms but do not distribute the to the customer.

If decisions are being made to reduce the added value of the ECF calendar then importing events into a dynamic (rather than static) application would make more sense and is becoming more attractive.

As you rightly point out, one of the promoted benefits of ECF membership is access to the calendar. Of course, it isn't really since the calendar is open to all.

The definition of member benefits has to be those not available to non-members (unless I am becoming more stupid).

If certain portions of the ECF site where "Members Only" then the claimed benefit would be more credible.
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Sean Hewitt
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Re: The value of the ECF Calendar

Post by Sean Hewitt » Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:41 pm

The ECF is a federation of member organisations. Those member organisations pay a membership fee which is the larger of £58 per annum or deemed game fee on events which they run. The ECF has decided that such members can continue to include all of their events on which they pay their membership fees (i.e. game fee) free of charge. However organisations that choose to not grade an event, and therefore not support the ECF, must pay a small charge (£41.66 + VAT) instead.

The point about the calendar being useful to organisers and players alike is well made, and is the reason why ungraded events can be listed at all as the ECF has no obligation to support events that choose not to support the ECF.

Junior organisers argued successfully at council for a dispensation on the membership / game fee scheme which allowed them to pay a reduced game fee instead of requiring membership if they wanted. Having won that dispensation it would seem rather odd to me if an event still chose to be ungraded but then complained that the ECF wouldn't advertise the event for free!

I'm delighted that Neill Cooper and others recognise the ECF Calendar as the valuable resource that it is. I'm a little disappointed that he also implies that it's not one that junior organisers are prepared to pay for.

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Re: The value of the ECF Calendar

Post by John Upham » Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:00 pm

Wearing a "School Chess Club coach" hat... (apologies for the DP ellipsis :lol: )

One area that I might find most frustrating is finding about junior events in good time to recommend to the parents of school and normal chess club children. :(

I am continually asked by the children and their parents to recommend tournaments. This applies to Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire in my case.

At opposite ends of the scale we have:

For those who attend Berkshire schools they are very lucky: they have Berkshire Junior Chess Association which does a tremendous job and I get many of the children to join. :D

For those who attend Hampshire schools I am at a loss to recommend anything. Provision for children and juniors in the North East of the county is poor. There is nothing to join.

A decent calendar of events a few weeks & months in the future (rather than in the past or not at all) would be most helpful. :wink:

Much of this patchiness would be eliminated by a coordinated, reliable national calendar for junior events especially for youngsters in Primary Schools.

Maybe I am missing some great resources for this part of the market but I have looked! :shock:
Last edited by John Upham on Sun Nov 25, 2012 10:49 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Ian Thompson
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Re: The value of the ECF Calendar

Post by Ian Thompson » Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:14 pm

Neill Cooper wrote:ps What will happen about Blitz events, as these are not graded?
... and things like:
Simultaneous displays
Lectures
Training/coaching days
Chess holidays for beginners

The ECF (Sean Hewitt) describes £50 as "a small charge". Has the ECF got any evidence that £50 is value for money for events of this type?

Neill Cooper
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Re: The value of the ECF Calendar

Post by Neill Cooper » Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:33 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:The ECF is a federation of member organisations. Those member organisations pay a membership fee which is the larger of £58 per annum or deemed game fee on events which they run. The ECF has decided that such members can continue to include all of their events on which they pay their membership fees (i.e. game fee) free of charge. However organisations that choose to not grade an event, and therefore not support the ECF, must pay a small charge (£41.66 + VAT) instead.
That is very different to what the ECF website reports. It implies EVERY ungraded event will pay the fee. What happens when a membership organisation runs an ungraded event? [e.g. the ECF Schools event I ran last week?]

Also, most of the junior organisations I know are run by volunteers and are not registered for VAT. So please quote the actual price they have to pay (£50) explicitly.
Sean Hewitt wrote:I'm delighted that Neill Cooper and others recognise the ECF Calendar as the valuable resource that it is. I'm a little disappointed that he also implies that it's not one that junior organisers are prepared to pay for.
Please note that I am not speaking for anyone else, this is just my personal view.

Neill Cooper
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Re: The value of the ECF Calendar

Post by Neill Cooper » Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:02 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:Junior organisers argued successfully at council for a dispensation on the membership / game fee scheme which allowed them to pay a reduced game fee instead of requiring membership if they wanted. Having won that dispensation it would seem rather odd to me if an event still chose to be ungraded but then complained that the ECF wouldn't advertise the event for free!
The junior organisations I quoted above (NYCA, EPSCA) did not grade any games last year nor this. So they have in no way benefited from the retention of a junior game fee discount.

Earlier this year the NYCA did not list their events on the ECF calendar. As a consequence I did not know about them and organised an ECF secondary school event which unfortunately clashed with one of their events. So they have already listed next year's events on the ECF website to avoid this problem in the future. It is not put in the calendar for advertising, so I very much doubt that they would wish to pay for the entry.

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Re: The value of the ECF Calendar

Post by Sean Hewitt » Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:50 pm

Neill Cooper wrote:
Sean Hewitt wrote:The ECF is a federation of member organisations. Those member organisations pay a membership fee which is the larger of £58 per annum or deemed game fee on events which they run. The ECF has decided that such members can continue to include all of their events on which they pay their membership fees (i.e. game fee) free of charge. However organisations that choose to not grade an event, and therefore not support the ECF, must pay a small charge (£41.66 + VAT) instead.
That is very different to what the ECF website reports. It implies EVERY ungraded event will pay the fee. What happens when a membership organisation runs an ungraded event? [e.g. the ECF Schools event I ran last week?]
It is not different, it's exactly the same. Every ungraded will have to pay the fee if it wants to be in the calendar. I'm simply explaining the rationale as to why.
Neill Cooper wrote:Also, most of the junior organisations I know are run by volunteers and are not registered for VAT. So please quote the actual price they have to pay (£50) explicitly.
I have quoted the actual price they must pay. They must pay £41.66 + VAT. At the current rate, that is £50.
Neill Cooper wrote:
Sean Hewitt wrote:I'm delighted that Neill Cooper and others recognise the ECF Calendar as the valuable resource that it is. I'm a little disappointed that he also implies that it's not one that junior organisers are prepared to pay for.
Please note that I am not speaking for anyone else, this is just my personal view.
Apologies. This statement led me to believe that you were speaking for NYCA, EPSCA etc
Neill Cooper wrote:This will result in many junior events no longer being listed (e.g. NYCA, EPSCA, traning events)
Neill Cooper wrote:The junior organisations I quoted above (NYCA, EPSCA) did not grade any games last year nor this. So they have in no way benefited from the retention of a junior game fee discount.
If they are not prepared to support the ECF, they won't mind that the ECF is not prepared to give them free advertising.
Last edited by Sean Hewitt on Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

harrylamb
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Re: The value of the ECF Calendar

Post by harrylamb » Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:52 pm

It seems to me that the ECF has a choice.

a) To be an organisation which promotes chess
b) To be an organisation that only promotes chess that it organises

By this decision the ECF board is signalling that it does not intend to be an organisation that promotes chess. It intends to be an organisation that will only promote the chess under its control. If the ECF is not involved in the general promotion of chess events then less chess will be played overall and in the end the ECF will contract as the amount of chess played in the country decreases.

It is also a dangerous path to go down. As already stated BCM used to have an excellent list of events and other similar organisations could easily set one up. There are excellent commercial reasons for running a list of events. It brings people to your website. In the medium term the organisation with the most events listed will get all the traffic. The danger is that if another more comprehensive site exits then the ECF site will wither and die.

As to price, I too am involved in organising congresses. They are all ECF graded. So I am not affected by this charge and thus consider myself unbiased. My opinion is that £50 is much too high a fee to pay. The main reason is that many congresses do not make £50 profit. Sean Hewitt tries to re-butt the effect of the £50 fee by saying.
Sean Hewitt wrote:However organisations that choose to not grade an event, and therefore not support the ECF, must pay a small charge (£41.66 + VAT) instead.
.....
I'm delighted that Neill Cooper and others recognise the ECF Calendar as the valuable resource that it is. I'm a little disappointed that he also implies that it's not one that junior organisers are prepared to pay for.
Well Sean and I must have been on the same course. The course teaches:-

a) Re-butt any complaint immediately.
b) Minimise the cost. Small charge (£41.44 + VAT). Well in my opinion it is not small and it is not £41.44.
c) Get a plug in. Tell everybody what a good service you are offering I'm delighted that Neill Cooper and others recognise the ECF Calendar as the valuable resource that it is.
No taxation without representation

Sean Hewitt
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Re: The value of the ECF Calendar

Post by Sean Hewitt » Sun Nov 25, 2012 5:06 pm

Harry Lamb is of course entirely wrong. He is also not as unbiased as he claims to be, being the producer of a grading list for ungraded events in the North West of England. I do find it odd given his statement above that he sells this grading list. You would have thought that he must give it away for free!

What the ECF is actually saying is that it wants to support all events by allowing them to be listed in the ECF calendar. For those that actively support the ECF, that is free. For those that don't there is a small charge. I say small because, as a % of total entry fees received, £50 is undoubtedly small.

Like it or not, promoting chess costs money. If events don't want to support the ECF that is their choice, but they have no right to complain when the consequence is that the ECF does not supply them with services free of charge.

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