The value of the ECF Calendar

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
John Swain
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Re: The value of the ECF Calendar

Post by John Swain » Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:23 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote: Take e2e4 (as a random example). We received 6249 direct referrals last year from the calendar, plus an additional unknown number who saw an e2e4 event in the calendar, only to come back to us direct later. How anybody could think that that's worth very little is beyond me. Of course, the ECF is equally well rewarded. We've paid a significant amount to the ECF in the same period, and they have also benefited by players being members to play our events. It's called a win win situation.
e2e4 events are not a random example. From what I have heard from several friends who have played in these events, they are high quality events at comfortable hotels attracting 'serious', mainly adult, players who are prepared to pay a bit more for a service often including streaming live games, FIDE ratings etc.

By contrast, many junior events are run on a shoestring. The excellent schools event at King Edward's Birmingham to which I am taking two teams this weekend charges just £5 per team and thus generates perhaps £50-£60 in income (this is then used to pay for eight trophies as board prizes). How can such events afford ECF charges?

As I said in a previous post, the ECF should be about promoting all chess events and avoiding unnecessary clashes. Providing a free listing service is just sensible public relations.

Sean Hewitt
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Re: The value of the ECF Calendar

Post by Sean Hewitt » Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:47 pm

John Swain wrote:As I said in a previous post, the ECF should be about promoting all chess events and avoiding unnecessary clashes. Providing a free listing service is just sensible public relations.
Ok John, let me ask you a question. Do you think that being listed in the ECF calendar is worth anything? If you do, what do you think it is worth?

IanDavis
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Re: The value of the ECF Calendar

Post by IanDavis » Wed Nov 28, 2012 11:07 pm

People use calendars to tell them what events are available. If they know that this isn't what the calendar does, this creates dissatisfaction. That isn't to say that it is wrong to charge people for a service, but to highlight how easy it is to set up a rival calendar that has more complete information than the official version, and could easily become the popular choice. What happens to those who charge above the market value?

Richard Bates
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Re: The value of the ECF Calendar

Post by Richard Bates » Wed Nov 28, 2012 11:18 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:
John Swain wrote:As I said in a previous post, the ECF should be about promoting all chess events and avoiding unnecessary clashes. Providing a free listing service is just sensible public relations.
Ok John, let me ask you a question. Do you think that being listed in the ECF calendar is worth anything? If you do, what do you think it is worth?
Well it's worth nothing, financially, to an event which doesn't charge for participation. To somebody organising some free junior training weekend or something, then ultimately the number of participants is of no consequence. Except that a reasonable number of participants would be an indicator that it is worthwhile holding the event.

As pointed out e2e4 is a really bad example - both in that it attracts individuals who are prepared to pay a bit extra for added value, and that it is (I think) run on a commercial basis for profit. Even if one leaves aside the "free event" scenario above, there are many events which, whilst charging for entry, are done on a strictly non-profit making basis. Any surplus, if it materialises, is ploughed back into chess.

I have no problem, in principle, with the ECF seeking to restrict use of the "free advertising" to events which are run on a commercial basis. I'm not sure that it is anyway productive and/or consistent with their mission statement, to seek to exploit events of another nature. Especially events which are effectively 'entry level' events for juniors/beginners/new players.

And i'm not actually clear on the status of events which can't, by their nature, be graded. Sean seemed to imply earlier that as long as the organiser was an ECF member then there would be no charge. Which doesn't seem particularly logical. Why should a rapidplay event attract different rules from a blitz event, for no other reason than one has to actively indicate "lack of support" for the ECF by running it as an ungraded event?

Alex McFarlane
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Re: The value of the ECF Calendar

Post by Alex McFarlane » Wed Nov 28, 2012 11:25 pm

If I may answer Sean's question, for an event like Scarborough it might be worth a few extra entries. For most people it is a simple way of confirming the dates of an event they would enter otherwise.

For most chess players it is a service. Few people will play in a vast number of events so like to plan their lives around the events they do want to play in. Having these listed in the one place makes this a simple task. This decision simply makes it more difficult for people the ECF should be trying to help.

If I can ask a question, is the loss of goodwill greater than the financial gain that might be made. But it is not just goodwill it is future revenue that is potentially being lost.
The above posting by John Swain shows that an organiser might have to choose between awarding trophies or paying for a listing. I think the choice will be an easy one! It is the ECF that will suffer. The young player who might become a serious player a few months down the line will not have a clue how to find events similar to the one he has just enjoyed.

Sean,to reverse the question, would you like to quantify how much will be lost by the ECF in the future due to this short-sighted action? Who knows how many juniors and even adults could be lost to chess by this.
Also how much office time will be wasted telling people that there are tournaments taking place but they are not allowed to publicise the fact. I know people (local organisers for example) get contacted for advice from parents about events for their youngsters. What sort of impression will the answer "The ECF refuses to list the type of event that would be suitable for your son or daughter" give? Having spoken with them, I have certainly directed such people to the calendar in the past.

John Swain
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Re: The value of the ECF Calendar

Post by John Swain » Wed Nov 28, 2012 11:46 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote: Ok John, let me ask you a question. Do you think that being listed in the ECF calendar is worth anything? If you do, what do you think it is worth?
The ECF calendar is invaluable as a resource for both organisers and players, providing it is comprehensive. Once you put a price on it, and some vote with their feet and choose not to pay and be listed, the calendar's value diminishes. Keep it free and it remains valuable. Catch 22.

Potential organisers of graded events which would financially benefit the ECF need to know about existing tournaments which are not going to be graded if they are going to make an informed choice of date.

I doubt in any case whether this new short-sighted policy will raise much revenue at all. It will certainly frustrate many people and will provide ready ammunition for those who delight in criticising the ECF as out of touch with many grassroots players.

Sean Hewitt
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Re: The value of the ECF Calendar

Post by Sean Hewitt » Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:11 am

John Swain wrote:
Sean Hewitt wrote: Ok John, let me ask you a question. Do you think that being listed in the ECF calendar is worth anything? If you do, what do you think it is worth?
The ECF calendar is invaluable as a resource for both organisers and players, providing it is comprehensive. Once you put a price on it, and some vote with their feet and choose not to pay and be listed, the calendar's value diminishes. Keep it free and it remains valuable. Catch 22.

Potential organisers of graded events which would financially benefit the ECF need to know about existing tournaments which are not going to be graded if they are going to make an informed choice of date.

I doubt in any case whether this new short-sighted policy will raise much revenue at all. It will certainly frustrate many people and will provide ready ammunition for those who delight in criticising the ECF as out of touch with many grassroots players.
The calendar has never been comprehensive. There are many events which take place and which do not advertise in the ECF calendar. This policy is not simply about raising a few quid. It is (and this is just my personal opinion) a logical consequence of a universal membership scheme.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: The value of the ECF Calendar

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:22 am

Sean Hewitt wrote: This policy is not simply about raising a few quid. It is (and this is just my personal opinion) a logical consequence of a universal membership scheme.
It's certainly a logical consequence thereby demonstrating why universal individual membership is bad for promotion of chess in a sense broader than the ECF attempted monopoly.

The ECF has a legal structure which embraces membership for organisations. Why can it not exploit this structure by offering some form of membership to training organisations or even schools?

Sean Hewitt
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Re: The value of the ECF Calendar

Post by Sean Hewitt » Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:25 am

Richard Bates wrote:Well it's worth nothing, financially, to an event which doesn't charge for participation.
I can't accept that. If it's worth nothing, why the fuss?
Richard Bates wrote:To somebody organising some free junior training weekend or something, then ultimately the number of participants is of no consequence. Except that a reasonable number of participants would be an indicator that it is worthwhile holding the event.
I agree with that. Do you know many of the events that we are talking about are free? My guess is not many.
Richard Bates wrote:As pointed out e2e4 is a really bad example - both in that it attracts individuals who are prepared to pay a bit extra for added value, and that it is (I think) run on a commercial basis for profit.
Unfortunately not. We actually run e2e4, idiots that we are, because we enjoy it. We cover our expenses and break even, but that's about it. Either that, or I'm so terrible at it that I also work full in a real, full time, paying job!
Richard Bates wrote: Even if one leaves aside the "free event" scenario above, there are many events which, whilst charging for entry, are done on a strictly non-profit making basis. Any surplus, if it materialises, is ploughed back into chess.
I'd say most events fall into that category. But most events also require players to be ECF members (or pay game fee) so they get a free calendar listing. The issue is the ones that don't. I presume that those events though still pay to hire their premises. I wonder if they complain that their printer wants paying to print their entry forms?
Richard Bates wrote: And i'm not actually clear on the status of events which can't, by their nature, be graded. Sean seemed to imply earlier that as long as the organiser was an ECF member then there would be no charge. Which doesn't seem particularly logical. Why should a rapidplay event attract different rules from a blitz event, for no other reason than one has to actively indicate "lack of support" for the ECF by running it as an ungraded event?
Apologies, I don't think I explained myself as well as I might have done. Blitz events can't pay game fee because the ECF doesn't grade blitz games. So I was suggesting that as long as the event was FIDE rated and organised by an ECF member it would be ok to be listed. Perhaps I'm wrong to say that.

This policy is about trying to give some benefit to those who support the ECF by implementing the membership scheme. I hope no one pays the £50. I'd rather events became graded.

Sean Hewitt
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Re: The value of the ECF Calendar

Post by Sean Hewitt » Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:28 am

IanDavis wrote:People use calendars to tell them what events are available. If they know that this isn't what the calendar does, this creates dissatisfaction. That isn't to say that it is wrong to charge people for a service, but to highlight how easy it is to set up a rival calendar that has more complete information than the official version, and could easily become the popular choice.
The ECF calendar has never been comprehensive. There are graded events which, for whatever reason, don't get listed. That's one of the reasons why I say that it exists principally to advertise events. Anyone is of course free to set up an alternative if they feel so inclined. There is no monopoly at work here.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: The value of the ECF Calendar

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:35 am

Sean Hewitt wrote: I hope no one pays the £50. I'd rather events became graded.
Simuls and training events cannot be graded. Why try to exclude them from the calendar?

From January 1st, you don't try to FIDE rate a Blitz event if it will cause the person running the event to have to register for an Identity Card from FIDE at a price.

Sean Hewitt
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Re: The value of the ECF Calendar

Post by Sean Hewitt » Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:36 am

Alex McFarlane wrote:For most chess players it is a service. Few people will play in a vast number of events so like to plan their lives around the events they do want to play in. Having these listed in the one place makes this a simple task. This decision simply makes it more difficult for people the ECF should be trying to help.
Lot's of people seem to be taking this 'all in one place' line. The ECF calendar does not list all events in one place. It never has and realistically it probably never will.
Alex McFarlane wrote: Sean,to reverse the question, would you like to quantify how much will be lost by the ECF in the future due to this short-sighted action? Who knows how many juniors and even adults could be lost to chess by this.
If you have a sensible question to ask, why the need to be vexatious? It does you little credit, and does not help you in moving this forward.

Your attempt to pre-empt the question notwithstanding, nothing will be lost by the ECF as a result of this decision. Quite the reverse in fact.

I know of at least two events which look like they will become graded as a result of this decision. This is excellent, and welcome news.

Sean Hewitt
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Re: The value of the ECF Calendar

Post by Sean Hewitt » Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:39 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Sean Hewitt wrote: I hope no one pays the £50. I'd rather events became graded.
Simuls and training events cannot be graded. Why try to exclude them from the calendar?
Because it's meant to be a domestic tournament calendar. There will be a calendar of other events and I see no reason why simuls and training events could not be advertised there.
Roger de Coverly wrote:From January 1st, you don't try to FIDE rate a Blitz event if it will cause the person running the event to have to register for an Identity Card from FIDE at a price.
Don't you? I know of a number of arbiter's who have licensed for exactly this reason. However, wrong topic I think.

Sean Hewitt
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Re: The value of the ECF Calendar

Post by Sean Hewitt » Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:41 am

I'm signing off from this now. I'm off to bed and then off to the London Chess Classic tomorrow so have fun!

Roger de Coverly
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Re: The value of the ECF Calendar

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:55 am

Sean Hewitt wrote: Lot's of people seem to be taking this 'all in one place' line. The ECF calendar does not list all events in one place. It never has and realistically it probably never will.
I would have thought it an aspiration and a justification of the ECF that it should attempt to do so. If it doesn't wish to undertake this task, then a third party might attempt to do so either on a voluntary basis or as an attempt to attract visitors to a chess related commercial website.

But measure the voices. There's next to no one supporting the decisions of the ECF Board. All that remains is to prod the voting members and attendees of Council meetings into life to put up a motion changing the principles of inclusion on the ECF calendar.

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