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 10:45 pm

Andrew Paulson wrote:
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.
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.[/quote]


I said "hmm" because I have the impression that you support Kirsan, but don't wish to say so expressly. After all, you only say that "it is time" for him to go because he has been President for almost 20 years already, rather than that he should go on account of his record, which is the position of just about every one else in western countries. If I have misunderstood you, please correct me.

Do I understand your dog training analogy to mean that you are unequivocally against the giving or receipt of "tips" as well as bribes?

(It is good that you have come to the Forum, relentless though the questions and comments are likely to be).

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

Post by Andrew Paulson » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:47 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
I am happy to video Skype with anyone (or more) who suspects I am not me: ampaulson. [You are being a bit absurd, no?]

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

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:54 pm

Andrew Paulson wrote: I'm happy to give you (all) their email addresses and you can ask them yourself. Its not my position to answer this question.
I think that would be a good idea - after all, you no doubt accept that you are presently rather unknown in English chess. How about nominating three people within FIDE, who know about the expectations when AGON was given a contract with FIDE and how AGON's performance measured up to those expectations, and who might be prepared to publicly support you on your ability to "deliver" ?

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

Post by Richard Bates » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:56 pm

Andrew Paulson wrote:
The Russian Federation said no to retaliate against a perceived slight from Kirsan.
I don't think Roger was having a dig at Agon. The point he was making was that the Russian Federation could say no. The ECF could not. You did not require the support and/or permission of the ECF to organise the Grand Prix event or the Candidates in London. It is this context that i am struggling to understand quite what you mean by offering "English chess" to commercial sponsors. Do you actually mean English chess in it's totality, or is that just an ideal when what you really mean is "English chess, restricted to that part of it that has decided to sign up"?

Because I can't see how there is any prospect of a significant portion of English chess ever agreeing/wishing to sign up, regardless of what goodies are waved in front of them. As is hardly surprising when chess in this country is basically an amateur pursuit (including, importantly, at an organisational level) except for a tiny minority, even for many of the strongest players. Of course much of it wouldn't offer much value to commercial sponsors, but that's not really the point.

Of course I'm sure Roger will solve this lack of understanding by starting making suggestions that this will all be brought about by enforcing compulsory membership leading to licensing and sanctions against those who try to remain outside the umbrella... :D

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

Post by Andrew Paulson » Thu Sep 19, 2013 11:23 pm

Jonathan Rogers 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?[/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.[/quote]


I said "hmm" because I have the impression that you support Kirsan, but don't wish to say so expressly. After all, you only say that "it is time" for him to go because he has been President for almost 20 years already, rather than that he should go on account of his record, which is the position of just about every one else in western countries. If I have misunderstood you, please correct me.

Do I understand your dog training analogy to mean that you are unequivocally against the giving or receipt of "tips" as well as bribes?

(It is good that you have come to the Forum, relentless though the questions and comments are likely to be).[/quote]

I am very happy to be discussing these issues. Almost all of the questions are intelligent and pertinent. And I feel that already the tone of the forum has become more polite and respectful.

I worked in Russia for 15 years. I created the only two major media companies where there was no influence on journalists by (a) advertisers, (b) shareholders, or (c) the government. In those 15 years I neither offered nor accepted a bribe. The most relevant fact is that I was never even OFFERED a bribe because people knew that I was not like that. Therefore, surely you see what my moral position is on corruption.

I think that to reduce the FIDE issue to pro-Kirsan or anti-Kirsan is simplistic. I have proven myself to be frank this evening. I'm not mincing my words. I've said what I believe and I'm not going to conform to your categories on this issue any more than I would on issues of religion or abortion or politics. I'm not a party man.


I'm having trouble with posting; I get a message that there cannot be three embedded quotes. How to evade this?

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

Post by Andrew Paulson » Thu Sep 19, 2013 11:42 pm

Good night and thank you for being friendly and engaging. I realise I am an outsider but I am not surprised: I have always been warmly welcomed by chess players around the world, even the most prickly and most combative. As we get to know one another better, I'm sure you'll see that I have some admirable qualities. You may not vote for me for ECF President, but you will understand better who I am and what I stand for and you'll be better able to explain why you didn't!

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

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Sep 19, 2013 11:58 pm

Richard Bates wrote: The point he was making was that the Russian Federation could say no. The ECF could not.
I did figure out that the ECF could deny rating rights to a tournament it disapproved off, although that doesn't of itself prohibit a tournament or match from taking place. Any ECF Board or Directors that tried to do this would I would hope be deafened by shouts of objection.

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

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Sep 20, 2013 1:14 am

Andrew Paulson wrote: Similarly, in order for the ECF to find a commercial partner, they need to be able to offer English Chess, not a single event.
How does this work when you have multiple sponsors? For example in the 1970s you might play in events titled "Aaronson Masters", "Evening Standard Open", "National Bank of Dubai Open", "Lloyds Bank Open" etc whilst at the same time accumulating points in the "Cutty Sark Grand Prix". At the same time or later, the British Championship Congress was sponsored by Grieveson Grant and the national teams by Duncan Lawrie. For that matter Phillips & Drew sponsored tournaments of near equivalent strength to the recent Grand Prix. We shouldn't forget Hastings either, which had Zetters Pools and then later Foreign & Colonial.

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

Post by Andrew Paulson » Fri Sep 20, 2013 7:06 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Andrew Paulson wrote: Similarly, in order for the ECF to find a commercial partner, they need to be able to offer English Chess, not a single event.
How does this work when you have multiple sponsors? For example in the 1970s you might play in events titled "Aaronson Masters", "Evening Standard Open", "National Bank of Dubai Open", "Lloyds Bank Open" etc whilst at the same time accumulating points in the "Cutty Sark Grand Prix". At the same time or later, the British Championship Congress was sponsored by Grieveson Grant and the national teams by Duncan Lawrie. For that matter Phillips & Drew sponsored tournaments of near equivalent strength to the recent Grand Prix. We shouldn't forget Hastings either, which had Zetters Pools and then later Foreign & Colonial.
This is a very good point. Two superficial answers: (a) that was a long time ago and the profession of sponsorship has evolved mightily since, and (b) where are these sponsors of chess now and how much are they spending?

My position, which is a theory to be proven, is that by aggregating the entire (willing to be aggregated) chess world in England, one achieves significant audience numbers which make an 'investment' in sponsorship by a brand profitable. (As unpleasant as that sounds!) "Sponsorship" is no longer the correct word for what we are talking about precisely because it smells of irrational charitable support of the pet hobby of a CEO. Today, the fiduciary standards imposed on management of a big company are such that they need to analyse a "Partnership" (not "Sponsorship") by its ROI ("Return on Investment") like any other expenditure. We have to make a case that if they spend £250k/year on chess in England, they will achieve an effect equivalent to, say, £1m/year of advertising in The Economist, billboards along the M4, a football jersey, or contextual advertising on Google. Otherwise, why bother.

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

Post by Andrew Paulson » Fri Sep 20, 2013 7:27 am

Jonathan Rogers wrote:
Andrew Paulson wrote: I'm happy to give you (all) their email addresses and you can ask them yourself. Its not my position to answer this question.
I think that would be a good idea - after all, you no doubt accept that you are presently rather unknown in English chess. How about nominating three people within FIDE, who know about the expectations when AGON was given a contract with FIDE and how AGON's performance measured up to those expectations, and who might be prepared to publicly support you on your ability to "deliver" ?
The two obvious people are Georgios Makropoulos (makro_g@yahoo.gr) and Nigel Freeman (nigelfreeman@fide.com) who make up the "Interface" AGON has with FIDE.

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JustinHorton
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Re: Andrew Paulson -- Candidacy for ECF President

Post by JustinHorton » Fri Sep 20, 2013 7:30 am

What was happening with the posting at 10.28 last night?
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

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JustinHorton
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Re: Andrew Paulson -- Candidacy for ECF President

Post by JustinHorton » Fri Sep 20, 2013 7:37 am

Andrew Paulson wrote:My position, which is a theory to be proven, is that by aggregating the entire (willing to be aggregated) chess world in England, one achieves significant audience numbers which make an 'investment' in sponsorship by a brand profitable.
Surely not so much "a theory to be proven" as a hypotheiss without, at present, any supporting evidence?

Where's your figures on this? What research have you done? How much does that potentially-aggregated chess world consist of, what audience numbers would you expect to achieve and what value would you expect that to have?
Last edited by JustinHorton on Fri Sep 20, 2013 7:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

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

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Fri Sep 20, 2013 7:41 am

Morning Andrew.

A quick question if I may:

who owns Agon?

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

Post by Andrew Paulson » Fri Sep 20, 2013 7:50 am

Jonathan Bryant wrote:Morning Andrew.

A quick question if I may:

who owns Agon?
I do, 100%.

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

Post by John McKenna » Fri Sep 20, 2013 8:20 am

Good morning Mr. Paulson.

If I might ask -

When and where did you first encounter Phil Ehr?
How important to you, should you be elected, is that he is elected CEO?

In other words are you on the same ticket?
And if that ticket fails to deliver both posts can a 'Republican' President work with a 'Democrat' CEO?
(And vice versa if Phil Ehr cares to answer? I note that he came on here and confirmed that you are "the real deal" last night.)

Edit: I am assuming that you are both 'Republicans'.
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

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