Andrew Paulson -- Candidacy for ECF President

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
Jonathan Rogers
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Re: Andrew Paulson -- Candidacy for ECF President

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:59 pm

[quote="Andrew Paulson"] Nigel and I have discussed this at length. His position is that in a democracy you vote; you don't absent yourself if you are not happy with either candidate. If my opinion were determinant, I would agree. However, I think that at this point is it more important to register dissatisfaction than settle. [quote="Andrew Paulson"]

Perhaps the fault is mine, but I quite fail to understand what you are trying to say here

Jonathan Rogers
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Re: Andrew Paulson -- Candidacy for ECF President

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:02 pm

Andrew Paulson wrote: To your second point, Kirsan, as President of FIDE, signed the AGON/FIDE contract. However, it was negotiated by senior members of the Presidential Board in a highly combative manner over a period of nine months and then unanimously approved by the Presidential Board who conceded that it was broadly advantageous to FIDE before Kirsan signed it.

I don't think that my role as President of the ECF would be determinant in deciding how the ECF Delegate might vote any more than I think that the vote of the ECF Delegate will be determinant in who gets elected. (Nigel Short's power comes from being Nigel Short, not from being the ECF Delegate; being the ECF Delegate gets him in the room.) It would not be my prerogative as President of the ECF to undermine either the Board of the Delegate on this matter by expressing my opinion in public. As a business partner of FIDE, I have always said loudly that my loyalty is to FIDE the institution, not to its officers.
[/quote][/quote]

Basically then you do support Kirsan, though wouldn't want to "undermine" anyone in the ECF by saying so. Again, hmmm. You said earlier that Kasparov is a divider, not a leader, the clear message being that you do not regard Kirsan as being similarly divisive. Suspending my disbelief for a moment, I would like to ask whether you were aware of either of the following:

a) the clear majority of countries with a substantial number of internationally active players oppose Kirsan at every election, regardless who stands against him. His votes come from countries with very little chess activity (eg most African countries, incidentally).

b) Kirsan's introduction of shortened time controls, zero-tolerance rules requiring players to be at the board when the game starts, and his habit of changing the arrangements for FIDE events at short notice (venues, world championship systems, etc) have lost him the respect of all top players?

Why do you think that Kasparov would be more divisive than Kirsan?

Finally, where do you stand on allegations of bribery, which are common in international sporting associations? Would you seek the removal of office of anyone in the chess world if you had clear evidence that he had offered or accepted bribes for (say) votes, or the right to hold international children's events, or other favours?

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JustinHorton
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Re: Andrew Paulson -- Candidacy for ECF President

Post by JustinHorton » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:05 pm

Andrew Paulson wrote:
JustinHorton wrote:
Andrew Paulson wrote: managing and leading English Domestic Chess is a complex integrative task not unlike managing a large media company in a foreign language
Without any knowledge or experience of the ECF, are you really in a position to make that comparison with any confidence?
The greatest obstacles before the ECF have nothing to do with chess.
In the absence of any further explanation, isn't that a non-sequitur?
Andrew Paulson wrote:Sheffield, no.
Isn't this a real problem? You're asking to suddenly be put in charge of an organisation of which you have no knowledge and little apparent understanding, and the recent history of which is opaque to you. That simply isn't a proper basis for running anything, is it? if you don't know how something works you don't know what needs to be changes and if you don't know what's been happening you don't know what people's concerns or priorities are.

If you don't know what happened at Sheffield, what the consequences were and why it was important, you simply don't know enough.
Andrew Paulson wrote: As you will note, this was a rather aggressive, not to say hostile, interview by Peter Doggers
I thought it was a proper piece of journalism which did Peter credit.
"Do you play chess?"
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Jonathan Rogers
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Re: Andrew Paulson -- Candidacy for ECF President

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:07 pm

Andrew Paulson wrote:
JustinHorton wrote:
Andrew Paulson wrote: managing and leading English Domestic Chess is a complex integrative task not unlike managing a large media company in a foreign language
Without any knowledge or experience of the ECF, are you really in a position to make that comparison with any confidence?
The greatest obstacles before the ECF have nothing to do with chess.

The support I received from FIDE came precisely because everyone they had ever worked with had been a chess professional; they were convinced that therein lay their problem. On that score, I can go on for hours.....
The impression from the outside is very much that AGON does not have support within FIDE as a whole and that Kirsan was recently pressed to sever FIDE's contract with AGON. Which other figures in the FIDE hierarchy would you expect to speak highly of your services to FIDE?

Richard Bates
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Re: Andrew Paulson -- Candidacy for ECF President

Post by Richard Bates » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:09 pm

Andrew Paulson wrote:
An example of what I'd like to see emerge for chess (sooner rather than later) is the current Aegon (no relation) sponsorship of all of English tennis (except Wimbledon) for ~£5m/year under a 5-year contract. They have branding rights over tennis at every level of play. And the purveyors of tennis at every level of play participate pro rata (imagine the fisticuffs) in this windfall.
I think this needs rather more elaboration. Leaving aside the issue of whether the LTA's track record in improving British tennis is really something that any sporting body would want to emulate, I don't see how this is something that is in the ECF's gift to offer. The LTA pretty much does control tennis at every level in a way the ECF doesn't, and isn't likely to.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Andrew Paulson -- Candidacy for ECF President

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:11 pm

Andrew Paulson wrote: The ECF now has 'no direct control' over their activities, but if the ECF begins to do things that are useful or helpful for these 'bodies', then they will slowly reintegrate into the ECF.
The ECF and the BCF before it have always been bottom-up organisations. In other words the ECF exists because of the local and regional bodies who created it and form its voting membership. So there's never been a "now" when the ECF or BCF had any direct control. So it's not a question of reintegration but integration. In other words is the plan that ECF should absorb and control bodies like the 4NCL, Hastings International Congress, CSC, London Classic, local leagues and Congresses etc?

It's where the ECF differs from other national chess federations such as the French who exert top down control that you have to have a chess licence to be allowed to play in French competitions with limited exceptions such as visiting foreigners. The FFE has a national sponsor, as far as I am aware, in the Banque Paribas. The Bank's logo is everywhere.

I recall the Agon problem when the first Grand Prix tournament couldn't be played in Russia because the Russian Federation said "no". The ECF doesn't have similar powers, not should it seek them.

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Re: Andrew Paulson -- Candidacy for ECF President

Post by Andrew Paulson » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:22 pm

Jonathan Rogers wrote:
Andrew Paulson wrote: To your second point, Kirsan, as President of FIDE, signed the AGON/FIDE contract. However, it was negotiated by senior members of the Presidential Board in a highly combative manner over a period of nine months and then unanimously approved by the Presidential Board who conceded that it was broadly advantageous to FIDE before Kirsan signed it.

I don't think that my role as President of the ECF would be determinant in deciding how the ECF Delegate might vote any more than I think that the vote of the ECF Delegate will be determinant in who gets elected. (Nigel Short's power comes from being Nigel Short, not from being the ECF Delegate; being the ECF Delegate gets him in the room.) It would not be my prerogative as President of the ECF to undermine either the Board of the Delegate on this matter by expressing my opinion in public. As a business partner of FIDE, I have always said loudly that my loyalty is to FIDE the institution, not to its officers.
[/quote]

Basically then you do support Kirsan, though wouldn't want to "undermine" anyone in the ECF by saying so. Again, hmmm. You said earlier that Kasparov is a divider, not a leader, the clear message being that you do not regard Kirsan as being similarly divisive. Suspending my disbelief for a moment, I would like to ask whether you were aware of either of the following:

a) the clear majority of countries with a substantial number of internationally active players oppose Kirsan at every election, regardless who stands against him. His votes come from countries with very little chess activity (eg most African countries, incidentally).

b) Kirsan's introduction of shortened time controls, zero-tolerance rules requiring players to be at the board when the game starts, and his habit of changing the arrangements for FIDE events at short notice (venues, world championship systems, etc) have lost him the respect of all top players?

Why do you think that Kasparov would be more divisive than Kirsan?

Finally, where do you stand on allegations of bribery, which are common in international sporting associations? Would you seek the removal of office of anyone in the chess world if you had clear evidence that he had offered or accepted bribes for (say) votes, or the right to hold international children's events, or other favours?[/quote]

1) I believe a vote can have many attributes and meanings depending on the context.
2) You ask complicated questions and I give (I hope) nuanced answers. Your response is: hmmmm. That's not much better than an emoticon. Happy to talk about it on the phone if you'd like to go deeper.
3) (a) yes; (b) I doubt that this is Kirsan's doing! He is surrounded by a team and there is usually consensus.
4) He 'is' not just 'would be'. In my opinion. Its how he plays chess, btw.
5) There is so little money involved in chess that I am always amused by the word 'bribery'; I'd call it more 'tips'. You recall when George Osborne was on the yacht of a Russian Oligarch Oleg Deripaska and it was reported that he was asking for £140k for the Torie Party? The response of the Russian press was that Deripaska would have been much more receptive if Osborne had been asking for £140m. But, no way around it, a whore is a whore at any price. How do you root out corruption in chess (I have heard about it, but never experienced it)? Its like training a dog: institutionalise the buiscuit-giving and institute zero-tolerance.

Andrew Paulson
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Re: Andrew Paulson -- Candidacy for ECF President

Post by Andrew Paulson » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:24 pm

Andrew Paulson wrote: As you will note, this was a rather aggressive, not to say hostile, interview by Peter Doggers
I thought it was a proper piece of journalism which did Peter credit.[/quote]

Don't selectively quote me.

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Re: Andrew Paulson -- Candidacy for ECF President

Post by Andrew Paulson » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:28 pm

JustinHorton wrote:managing and leading English Domestic Chess is a complex integrative task not unlike managing a large media company in a foreign language
Without any knowledge or experience of the ECF, are you really in a position to make that comparison with any confidence?[/quote]

The greatest obstacles before the ECF have nothing to do with chess.

The support I received from FIDE came precisely because everyone they had ever worked with had been a chess professional; they were convinced that therein lay their problem. On that score, I can go on for hours.....[/quote]

The impression from the outside is very much that AGON does not have support within FIDE as a whole and that Kirsan was recently pressed to sever FIDE's contract with AGON. Which other figures in the FIDE hierarchy would you expect to speak highly of your services to FIDE?[/quote]

I'm happy to give you (all) their email addresses and you can ask them yourself. Its not my position to answer this question.
Last edited by Andrew Paulson on Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

PeterFarr
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Re: Andrew Paulson -- Candidacy for ECF President

Post by PeterFarr » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:31 pm

Andrew,

So you said that you didn't want to go into more detail on business plan ("elevator pitch") here, but you also said, at the risk of selective quotation:

(1)
Andrew Paulson wrote:The ECF should develop a set of tools which will be useful for all event organisers, that will cut their costs, expand their reach, increase their media impact, and ultimately generate revenue. Brand guidelines. Press kits. Media events. Lobbying efforts. The list goes on and on.
And later:
(2)
Andrew Paulson wrote:The ECF now has 'no direct control' over their activities, but if the ECF begins to do things that are useful or helpful for these 'bodies', then they will slowly reintegrate into the ECF.
And also:
(3)
Andrew Paulson wrote:There are proxies which show that things I have experience in are relevant to the tasks at hand: managing and leading English Domestic Chess is a complex integrative task not unlike managing a large media company in a foreign language which requires expertise in many different professional domains (e.g., advertising, distribution, editorial, design, law, finance, etc.)
Given that the ECF has very little expertise (especially that is full time / paid) in marketing disciplines, is it fair to assume that you intend to bring your own expertise (and resources?) to this area, with a view to then being able to demonstrate the value add for others - indeed that the ECF can be better than the rest in an area where currently it is worse? It would seem that this a pre-condition for achieving the kind of re-integration you mention in (2)?

So couldn't you say something slightly more concrete about some of your plans along the lines of:

(1) build up marketing expertise and tools within the ECF; demonstrate excellence in this area and enable re-use through the organisation and to other chess bodies
(2) use this demonstrated expertise to help build bridges and move towards a greater integration of English chess
(3) as a consequence (or perhaps in parallel) develop integrated sponsorship relationships for English chess

I guess you are arguing that a more integrated approach will help attract sponsors and benefit everybody, and that that is a strong carrot to get over the hurdles (such as those mentioned by Roger earlier)?

Is that more or less fair? I'm just trying to understand a bit more about your thinking.

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: Andrew Paulson -- Candidacy for ECF President

Post by Carl Hibbard » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:34 pm

John Foley wrote:
Paul Dargan wrote:Can we just check that there are some basic ID checks in place, so Carl can confirm we are dealing with the man himself, not some wind-up merchant who has just registered an account?
As wind-up merchants go, this one seems to be particularly well-informed, nay erudite. Even if he is using a PR agency, they have been fully-briefed. I submit we have a contender.
I only have an email address to go on so if anybody out there can confirm this for me via PM please
Cheers
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Andrew Paulson -- Candidacy for ECF President

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:35 pm

Andrew Paulson wrote: (b) I doubt that this is Kirsan's doing! He is surrounded by a team and there is usually consensus.
There's enough evidence of Kirsan speaking in favour of zero time defaults. In fact it almost got incorporated into the Laws of Chess without options until one of his team rather hurriedly moved the meeting on to next business.

Actually it doesn't really matter how good a practical leader Kasparov would be. It's perfectly possible to structure an organisation such that the President is a figurehead who does the media interviews and the opening and closing of things. The actual work of running the organisation is then done by a CEO and executive board. Indeed that's how the ECF is or was structured. Last year the address by the prospective President was heavily criticised for proposing to do things that were the province of the CEO.

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Re: Andrew Paulson -- Candidacy for ECF President

Post by Andrew Paulson » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:39 pm

PeterFarr wrote:Andrew,

So you said that you didn't want to go into more detail on business plan ("elevator pitch") here, but you also said, at the risk of selective quotation:

(1)
Andrew Paulson wrote:The ECF should develop a set of tools which will be useful for all event organisers, that will cut their costs, expand their reach, increase their media impact, and ultimately generate revenue. Brand guidelines. Press kits. Media events. Lobbying efforts. The list goes on and on.
And later:
(2)
Andrew Paulson wrote:The ECF now has 'no direct control' over their activities, but if the ECF begins to do things that are useful or helpful for these 'bodies', then they will slowly reintegrate into the ECF.
And also:
(3)
Andrew Paulson wrote:There are proxies which show that things I have experience in are relevant to the tasks at hand: managing and leading English Domestic Chess is a complex integrative task not unlike managing a large media company in a foreign language which requires expertise in many different professional domains (e.g., advertising, distribution, editorial, design, law, finance, etc.)
Given that the ECF has very little expertise (especially that is full time / paid) in marketing disciplines, is it fair to assume that you intend to bring your own expertise (and resources?) to this area, with a view to then being able to demonstrate the value add for others - indeed that the ECF can be better than the rest in an area where currently it is worse? It would seem that this a pre-condition for achieving the kind of re-integration you mention in (2)?

So couldn't you say something slightly more concrete about some of your plans along the lines of:

(1) build up marketing expertise and tools within the ECF; demonstrate excellence in this area and enable re-use through the organisation and to other chess bodies
(2) use this demonstrated expertise to help build bridges and move towards a greater integration of English chess
(3) as a consequence (or perhaps in parallel) develop integrated sponsorship relationships for English chess

I guess you are arguing that a more integrated approach will help attract sponsors and benefit everybody, and that that is a strong carrot to get over the hurdles (such as those mentioned by Roger earlier)?

Is that more or less fair? I'm just trying to understand a bit more about your thinking.
Well put. This is a corollary to what my position is with the top-level chess events. You can perhaps sell them one-by-one for some money to a city or to a local philanthropist, but in order to have a value proposition for a commercial sponsor one needs to offer up 'chess' as a whole not this Grand Prix or that Grand Prix. Similarly, in order for the ECF to find a commercial partner, they need to be able to offer English Chess, not a single event.

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Re: Andrew Paulson -- Candidacy for ECF President

Post by Andrew Paulson » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:42 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Andrew Paulson wrote: The ECF now has 'no direct control' over their activities, but if the ECF begins to do things that are useful or helpful for these 'bodies', then they will slowly reintegrate into the ECF.
The ECF and the BCF before it have always been bottom-up organisations. In other words the ECF exists because of the local and regional bodies who created it and form its voting membership. So there's never been a "now" when the ECF or BCF had any direct control. So it's not a question of reintegration but integration. In other words is the plan that ECF should absorb and control bodies like the 4NCL, Hastings International Congress, CSC, London Classic, local leagues and Congresses etc?

It's where the ECF differs from other national chess federations such as the French who exert top down control that you have to have a chess licence to be allowed to play in French competitions with limited exceptions such as visiting foreigners. The FFE has a national sponsor, as far as I am aware, in the Banque Paribas. The Bank's logo is everywhere.

I recall the Agon problem when the first Grand Prix tournament couldn't be played in Russia because the Russian Federation said "no". The ECF doesn't have similar powers, not should it seek them.
The Russian Federation said no to retaliate against a perceived slight from Kirsan.

Phil Ehr
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Re: Andrew Paulson -- Candidacy for ECF President

Post by Phil Ehr » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:45 pm

Carl Hibbard wrote:
John Foley wrote:
Paul Dargan wrote:Can we just check that there are some basic ID checks in place, so Carl can confirm we are dealing with the man himself, not some wind-up merchant who has just registered an account?
As wind-up merchants go, this one seems to be particularly well-informed, nay erudite. Even if he is using a PR agency, they have been fully-briefed. I submit we have a contender.
I only have an email address to go on so if anybody out there can confirm this for me via PM please
Yes, this is the real deal.

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