Board Meeting : Saturday, January 10th 2009

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
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Matt Harrison
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Re: Board Meeting : Saturday, January 10th 2009

Post by Matt Harrison » Tue Jan 13, 2009 1:41 pm

I haven't commented on this issue before. I was sceptical about the supposed benefits of the free sets in the first place. As the parent of a keen junior, who started playing via his primary school chess club, it seemed to me that the issue of sets was almost irrelevant. They aren't that expensive, they're readily available, and they are the sort of things that is dead easy to get funds from the PTFA or similar to acquire.

The schools my children attend both have no shortage of chess sets. What they find harder is getting sufficient teachers, coaches (and children at the secondary school) to make the club viable. They rely on dedicated parents (at the primary school) and a keen teacher (at the secondary school). There is a keen appetite amongst the parents at the primary school for a local junior chess club, which I am trying (admittedly not very effectively) to pursue with the local adult club where my son now plays. He is a strong player and has been welcomed - but he is one of only 2 juniors there, and cannot attend club nights or some home matches (in a pub with a strict no under 18's rule). Something else is needed for the larger number of children who leave the primary schools in the area which have chess clubs and then stop playing at secondary school.

Surely the priority now is to cut all relations with Holloid. They offered 250,000 free sets, they've supplied 500. For whatever reason (people, money, credit crunch - in the end it doesn't matter) they can't deliver on their original offer. Any attempt to charge the 9,000 schools for the sets would be a disaster.

The only way to salvage anything from this is to deliver on the ECF side of chess for schools, and supply a package of training and support materials to help with school chess clubs and to help recruit and retain junior chess players. There should surely be no ECF money for Holloid, or schools being asked for money for sets. In the end it is this supply of the support material and establishing a pathway from primary schools into adult chess via junior chess clubs and academies that will be of positive benefit.

It's pretty bad, and those people who appear to have jumped the gun publicity-wise on the 250,000 sets may need to consider their positions.

Sorry, a bit of a ramble, but I hope helpful.

William Metcalfe
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Re: Board Meeting : Saturday, January 10th 2009

Post by William Metcalfe » Tue Jan 13, 2009 1:59 pm

The ECF have had the database off all NCCU members for months and we still have not got the rebate that was promised to us for the 2007/2008 NCCU mo.We emailed rob richmond in oct/nov we are still awaiting a reply.
I am speaking here for myself and not the NCCU which i am now president of

William Metcalfe
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Re: Board Meeting : Saturday, January 10th 2009

Post by William Metcalfe » Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:01 pm

I have a question hopefully somebody can answer for me if FIDE do not recognise england as a nation state where does this leave the ecf will we have to go back to some sort of BCF
I am speaking here for myself and not the NCCU which i am now president of

Sean Hewitt

Re: Board Meeting : Saturday, January 10th 2009

Post by Sean Hewitt » Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:05 pm

You need the support of 10% of eligible voters to call an EGM. There are a little less than 300 votes available at council, so you need the support of 30 votes to call an EGM.

The EGM must be for a specific purpose - ie to discuss and vote upon a particular motion. That could be to remove a direcor or directors from their position for example, or to instruct the board to abandon the chess for schools project (or both).

It is clear that there is already sufficient support for such a meeting. I have asked if I could have a list of all delegates and it is being checked if that would be legal under the DPA. If not, there's always the yearbook!

Matthew Turner
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Re: Board Meeting : Saturday, January 10th 2009

Post by Matthew Turner » Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:06 pm

William,
England's status is all to do with the desire of FIDE to have chess in the Olympics. The issue will be settled without reference to chess - it all depends on what happens to Football in 2012.

William Metcalfe
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Re: Board Meeting : Saturday, January 10th 2009

Post by William Metcalfe » Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:09 pm

Thank you for the imformation mathew and i very much doubt chess will become a olympic sport soon lol
I am speaking here for myself and not the NCCU which i am now president of

Matthew Turner
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Re: Board Meeting : Saturday, January 10th 2009

Post by Matthew Turner » Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:11 pm

William,
Just for clarity, my previous post expressed my opinion, you should not take it as fact.

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: Board Meeting : Saturday, January 10th 2009

Post by Carl Hibbard » Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:12 pm

As usual the SCCU reporting is excellent, see here:-

http://www.sccu.ndo.co.uk/bcf.htm
Cheers
Carl Hibbard

Andrew Farthing
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Re: Board Meeting : Saturday, January 10th 2009

Post by Andrew Farthing » Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:14 pm

William Metcalfe wrote:I have a question hopefully somebody can answer for me if FIDE do not recognise england as a nation state where does this leave the ecf will we have to go back to some sort of BCF
As I understood it from Saturday's meeting, FIDE gave an assurance at the relevant meeting that non-nation states which were already members (such as England) would not be affected by the policy. This assurance was minuted. In principle, therefore, the ECF should be unaffected.

The concern expressed, however, was that the assurance was not given the force of statute within FIDE. This is significant because it means that FIDE's stance could be changed by a simple majority vote, whereas a change to FIDE statute would require a two-thirds majority.

Matthew Turner
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Re: Board Meeting : Saturday, January 10th 2009

Post by Matthew Turner » Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:23 pm

Reading through SCCU minutes I have two further observations
1. It appears that the chess sets (that schools can purchase) will not be coming from Holloid's, but from a Chinese supplier. However, to get the £2.90 rate you need to purchase 10,000. I would have thought it was very unlikely that the ECF would get 1,000 schools to pay £30, so if they advertise set for sale at the £2.90 rate, they could again be left with egg on their face.
2. ECF general reserves stand at £20,000 hmm, this sounds very low. When we consider fotry odd people went to Vietnam for World Youth, it is certainly conceivable that the ECF could become overdrawn whilst cash flows round the system.

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Ben Purton
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Re: Board Meeting : Saturday, January 10th 2009

Post by Ben Purton » Tue Jan 13, 2009 3:11 pm

I truly believe a younger person with amazing energy is what is needed now.

Alot of "us" have energy as we are on the forum. Age is of course nothing to do with energy directly. Peter T had envious energy when Junior director. But I feel we have more chance with a fresh face on things.

I believe in 1-2 years time Phil Makepeace, regardless of being a student should be at least elected on to the ECF Council to represent the age group of 15-30 year olds.

I am under the understanding in order to be nominated for the council itself. You must become a representative for a given league or district.

Please confirm

Kind regards

Ben
I love sleep, I need 8 hours a day and about 10 at night - Bill Hicks
I would die happy if I beat Wood Green in the Eastman Cup final - Richmond LL captain.
Hating the Yankees since 2002. Hating the Jets since 2001.

Phil Makepeace
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Re: Board Meeting : Saturday, January 10th 2009

Post by Phil Makepeace » Tue Jan 13, 2009 3:16 pm

True, Ernie does have quite an appropriate surname for international espionage. Having spoken to him in depth on the subject at Liverpool, I will be very interested to read Malcolm Pein's thoughts on the scandal in his next CHESS Editorial.

Regarding Ben's point which has been made before, I would not be averse to pursuing what I believe is the vacant Student Rep position once I've sorted out my academic future in the summer.

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Board Meeting : Saturday, January 10th 2009

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Tue Jan 13, 2009 3:42 pm

Phil, if you want to be on Council, I can nominate you as the representative for the Yeovil Congress.

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Board Meeting : Saturday, January 10th 2009

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Tue Jan 13, 2009 3:54 pm

My views on some of the other issues raised by this board meeting:

Manuel Weeks: excellent choice, and would have been my pick for Congress Manager. The 2008 EU Championship ran very smoothly under his direction. He has the skills required to do the job, and is young enough to be a proper long-term appointment.

Chess Sets For Schools: as a national project, this seems dead in the water. So now is the time to start re-working it as multiple local projects. As Chairman of Barnstaple chess club, I propose this.

Any school in the North Devon area (it's up to the schools to decide whether they qualify) may affiliate with Barnstaple Chess Club.
Barnstaple Chess Club will undertake to provide chess sets for any affiliated school, provided that members of that school (pupils, teachers, whoever) in return become members of the chess club.

Our current annual membership costs are £20 for a waged person and £10 for an unwaged person, so we don't have to get an awful lot of members out of this deal for it to work out for us. We can work out a more fleshed-out deal with any school interested in dealing with us.

David Sedgwick
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Re: Board Meeting : Saturday, January 10th 2009

Post by David Sedgwick » Tue Jan 13, 2009 4:09 pm

Carl Hibbard wrote:As usual the SCCU reporting is excellent, see here:-

http://www.sccu.ndo.co.uk/bcf.htm
Thanks Carl - that's appreciated. I'm sorry it took a while.

There was indeed a great deal of information to digest at the Meeting and I think that it's understandable that George Horne of the NCCU has not covered exactly the same ground as I have. He's mentioned some points that I've omitted and vice versa. I hope that the appearance of my report has helped to answer some of the points previously raised.

I'll try to clarify a few matters:

1. The issue of the FIDE Statutes has nothing to do with anything which is happening in any other sport. I believe (and it is only my belief) that the intention is to put beyond doubt that Northern Ireland are not eligible for FIDE membership.

2. Manuel Weeks is indeed Australian, but he is now living in England.

3. "The ECF has £30,000 for the British Championships - wasn't this supposed to be for an English Championships?"

I think that George Horne has given the wrong impression here. Robert Richmond referred to there being £30K in the Legacies Fund and £20K in other general reserves. As this was about the minimum level of reserves that he considered acceptable, he wasn't enthusiastic about spending any of it on the British Championships or anything else - see the lukewarm response to Hastings.

This does of course raise the much discussed issue that so much of the funds which are ECF/BCF monies in the broad sense are restricted in their use or otherwise unavailable (John Robinson Trust, Permanent Invested Fund, Chess Centre Ltd.)

The monies being put towards a future English Championship are indeed tied for that specific purpose and quite separate from any of the above, as Martin Regan explained in another thread.

4. "No more than £25,000 for Chess for Schools - this is not necessarily for purchasing chess sets, remember there is the accompanying materials, how much has been spent already?"

These are two separate issues, although they are of course closely related.

At the Meeting one person was suggested that the ECF apply to the John Robinson Trust for £100K to be used to purchase sets, or to enable their manufacture. Another person said that £25K was the maximum he thought appropriate. After discussion the Board decided not to make such an application for any sum.

The loan arrangement for the support package is already in place - it was agreed at the July Council Meeting mentioned earlier in the thread. No details were requested or given at the Board Meeting, but my impression was that little had been drawn but a certain amount committed. The ECF has a contract with John Upham and agreements in principle with Andrew Martin and Richard James.

If my memory is correct, Robert Richmond said at that July Council Meeting that his worst case scenario was for a loss of £25K if no support packages at all were sold to defray upfront expenses of this kind. It is just a coincidence that the sum of £25K has been mentioned twice.

5. "The ECF are looking for a £300,000 sponsor, well of course there is no chance...."

This has nothing at all to do with the John Robinson Trust.

Chris Majer has a meeting in the near future with someone who is anxious to try and help. I know who it is, as I played a part in setting up the meeting, but I've been asked to keep the name confidential.

It may indeed be improbable that £300K will be raised as a result. However, I think it is plausible, for example, that a number of local businesses may each be prepared to contribute £3K-£5K, perhaps in return for having their company logos on the boards distributed in their localities. Each such arrangement might enable 100 or so schools to receive their free sets and boards after all.

I'm afraid that there are a lot of matters which I can't clarify. The first sentence of my report, although accurate, was not without irony.

"The Meeting was held at the Ibis Hotel Birmingham, which was shrouded in fog."

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