Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
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Chris Goodall
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Re: Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Post by Chris Goodall » Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:54 am

Paul McKeown wrote: Can I ask what, in your opinion, makes you more of a grass-roots player than myself?
I don't use words like piffwibble.


So last night at the chess club I invented a mechanism for determining the views of some ordinary members on whether the ECF president should carry on. (I went up and asked them.)

"What's he done?" Fallen out with the board, basically. "Well if he's not following what the board want he's got to go hasn't he."
"You know what, it's bloody ridiculous Chris, the way the board are behaving."
"The president of what? Ah aye, the BCF... Nah, I just give me money tiv em."
"Oh God, who's trying to depose the leader this time?"
"I don't know him, so I'm happy for him to carry on."
"It's all politics isn't it. I don't get involved."

Maybe I was assuming too much background knowledge. What if I just asked for people's opinion on the current ECF 'situation'?

"Absolutely no opinion at all."
"No, I haven't been following it."

Have you been following the situation at the ECF? "No." Expectant pause. "No and to be honest I don't care."

FIDE! Surely people had an opinion on that?

"No idea."
"Weren't they trying to elect Karpov a while ago?"
"Who's standing for election?" Well, its a choice between Garry Kasparov and this other chap who's been doing it for years, who reckons he once got abducted by aliens. "Well the aliens obviously brought him back then, haha! ...I expect people must have their own reasons for voting for him... I'm not sure, I followed it all maybe 20 years ago but these days I just want a casual game."
Chris Goodall, formerly known as Chris Wardle. Northumbria League hand-cranker; ECF Grader for Bernicia and the NCCU.
Newcastle is not in Scotland!

Paul McKeown
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Re: Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Post by Paul McKeown » Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:03 am

Chris, that is hardly giving an answer as to why you see yourself as the personification of the grass-roots. But anyway, I wasn't expecting much.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:33 am

Chris Wardle wrote: So last night at the chess club I invented a mechanism for determining the views of some ordinary members on whether the ECF president should carry on. (I went up and asked them.)

I have long presumed that part of the job description of being the "Representative Member" of an organisation and thus a member of the exclusive body of those entitled to vote for ECF Directors is that they should become something of an expert in ECF matters. In other words, in part at least to represent the ECF to the local body and local players, who as observed aren't greatly interested until the ECF or FIDE does something really stupid that impacts them directly.

But for some of us, the rules relating to International tournaments and International ratings and who makes these rules are points of issue.

The current state of play is that the ECF President has fallen out with the majority of the Board over issues that have probably only partially been made public and only recently for that matter. To resolve the deadlock, the voting membership comprising the ECF Council is likely to be asked to adjudicate. The exact format of this adjudication remains to be seen and this will be dictated by the ECF Constitution and more general law relating to the conduct of Companies. The ECF president has also fallen out with an influential columnist and businessman who endorsed his candidacy last October, even to the level of accusing his Board opponents of being stooges of the said columnist. On the face of it, either the President goes, or else some or all of the five opposing Directors and the FIDE Delegate. In the latter case they would be replaced by the President's placemen.

I would hesitate to describe it as a falling out, as they were never "in" to start with, but the President has also fallen out with the ECF's Delegate to FIDE, probably over the Delegate's campaigning in favour of the Kasparov camp, but perhaps also on the ECF President wishing to stand for election as a European Chess Union Vice President on the slate of a potential ECU President which the ECF might find difficult to support. The Delegate, along with previously the ECF, has consistently for some years advocated the removal from office of the alien loving incumbent from the FIDE Presidency.

By the way, I don't have a vote, but those that do should have a responsibility to establish the background to what they are likely to be asked to vote on.

Martin Crichton
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Re: Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Post by Martin Crichton » Tue Feb 18, 2014 12:00 pm

Cheers Roger
I have googled Paulson and found this reasonable synopsis on the current situation here:
http://www.chessvibes.com/andrew-paulso ... federation
My view....
As I suspected it seems he has/had a lot of business clout and contacts and probably promised the ECF a lot of money!....I guess the then current ECF board members were falling over themselves to elect him..
He who haveth the money maketh the rules!
Oh dear...now some of his promises are not coming to fruition.....who are to blame...only look to those that elected him IMO! Possibly only Short has saved face as he had made known his reservations at the time of his election....all the others .... lol ...you reap what you sow!
Member of "the strongest amateur chess club in London" (Cavendish)

my views are not representative of any clubs or organisations.

John McKenna
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Re: Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Post by John McKenna » Tue Feb 18, 2014 12:06 pm

Can't really disagree much with most of what RdC has written above as a broad brush description of the current situation. But, All the Presidents (place)Men is too alarmist - AP tried to get such a team in place at the elections and it did not happen. Nigel and others were (re)elected. They were/are supposed to bury their differences and find a modus operandi even if there is no modus vivendi. Instead someone started a fight.
The idea was supposed to be to prepare for the mother-battle at Tromso.
AP has a longterm strategy of a kind but NS seems to be just doing tactics.
It reminds me of how Monty insisted on punching straight thru', while his commander Ike wanted a broad advance.
Ike let Monty have a go and the result was he went a bit too far.
Please don't make Tromso into another Arnhem!
Andrew & Nigel should pull (themselves and us all) together - not apart.
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

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Re: Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Post by Angus French » Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:05 pm

Martin Crichton wrote:Cheers Roger
I have googled Paulson and found this reasonable synopsis on the current situation here:
http://www.chessvibes.com/andrew-paulso ... federation
My view....
As I suspected it seems he has/had a lot of business clout and contacts and probably promised the ECF a lot of money!....I guess the then current ECF board members were falling over themselves to elect him..
He who haveth the money maketh the rules!
Oh dear...now some of his promises are not coming to fruition.....who are to blame...only look to those that elected him IMO! Possibly only Short has saved face as he had made known his reservations at the time of his election....all the others .... lol ...you reap what you sow!
Martin, a number of points on your post:
1. I don't believe Andrew Paulson ever promised money to the ECF.
2. The Board did not elect Andrew Paulson, ECF Council did.
3. Nigel Short made allegations about Andrew Paulson and FIDE in advance of the last ECF elections which he didn't substantiate. He did so in his annual report to Council - and this was quite the wrong place to do it (and as a consequence Nigel was rebuked at the ECF AGM).
4. Nigel Short has persistently made unsubstantiated allegations about the ownership of Agon when evidence has been available to suggest different - e.g. denials from Andrew Paulson and from FIDE and an annual return which showed that all issued shares in Agon were held by Andrew Paulson.
5. Nigel Short has a very poor record in representing the ECF as its FIDE Delegate. For example, he failed to report the existence of the Kasparov-inspired legal cases against FIDE, brought in the ECF's name, to ECF Council. At the FIDE Congress in Estonia last year, Nigel appointed Garry Kasparov to act as the ECF's proxy - this was done without consulting the ECF Board and without the Board's knowledge (these facts were revealed at the ECF AGM last October).
Last edited by Angus French on Tue Feb 18, 2014 2:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Martin Crichton
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Re: Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Post by Martin Crichton » Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:34 pm

Cheers Angus
To be honest most of those sitting on the ECF probably have their own agendas. I take on board your rebuttal of Short's assumptions regarding the ownership of Argon. Are there any honest candidates out there to contest the FIDE delegates position (NS) and ECF presidents position (AP)? Or are they poisoned chalices? Would anyone want those positions?
I actually found AP's view (quoted in the above link) about Kasparov as honest and refreshing to read. (Short and Pein are both closely aligned to Kasparov and would probably disagree with that view).
I think the FIDE delegate should adhere to whatever he/she is told to do by their federation...but these meetings rarely follow agendas and back room deals are often done (that can benifit the FIDE delegate if he or she can be influenced by such things). Ireland was very lucky to have Kevin O' Connell as our FIDE delegate for many years. That good luck may have changed recently...we will see. (There was a brief episode a couple of years ago where we had a temporary FIDE delegate and that is where I heard stories (very reliable sources) of cash promises for votes etc enamating from!)
Member of "the strongest amateur chess club in London" (Cavendish)

my views are not representative of any clubs or organisations.

John McKenna
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Re: Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Post by John McKenna » Tue Feb 18, 2014 2:27 pm

Eminently relevant posts by Angus & Martin above

There you have it - Nigel the Black Prince.
Better he kept himself busy jousting in tournaments than keeping him on the diplomatic front?
Well, at least until he learns to rein himself in.

And I hope Andrew Paulson can avoid the fate of Richard II.
Caught between revolting peasants and scheming Barons.

Times (and people) don't change much, do they?

Rest easy heads who wear no crowns - I'll make no more horrible historical parallels.
For the rest of the day that is.
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

Simon Spivack
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Re: Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Post by Simon Spivack » Tue Feb 18, 2014 3:30 pm

Andrew Paulson wrote:
Malcolm Pein wrote:REF Andrew Paulson wrote:
Note: Malcolm Pein, Sean Hewitt and Alex Holowczak, among others, were eager to be put on Commissions under this initiative.

Sean Hewitt wrote: I cannot speak for others, but in my case this is demonstrably false.

It is also demonstrably false in my case. It's just more nonsense from AP, I have copied below relevant extracts from an email of 30th Jan. 2014 from AP to me and me to AP.

Re AP's other lies and assurances to me, I will go into more detail in due course before the ECF Council Meeting.

Also, off topic, I hope to announce announce another sponsorship for English chess shortly.

MP

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: Some Business
Date: Thu, 30 Jan 2014 15:57:38 +0000
From: Malcolm Pein <>
To: Andrew Paulson <>, Phil Ehr <>, Malcolm Pein <>

2) I have met with the main Chess in Schools organisations in Western Europe recently. The general consensus is that the FIDE Chess in Schools Commission is damaged beyond repair.
We are probably forming an umbrella organisation for Europe to coordinate research and fund raising. FIDE is toxic from that viewpoint. In the unlikely event of a complete clear out many people might come forward. I think the FIDE brand might remain toxic for some time to come but so I would be unlikely to put my name forward.

Regards

Malcolm

2. I had discussions in Lausanne about the Chess in Schools Commission, as said I would when we last met. If there were a new Chairman whom you had confidence in, it might be very valuable for all concerned for you to be a core member of this Commission, regardless of who is the President of FIDE after the elections. Do you still agree with this and should I include you in the list of potential candidates for senior commission roles?

Andrew
Malcolm is forgetting a conversation we had a month or so ago in my flat (January 3rd at 12:30 p.m.) where we discussed the Anglophone Committee and he said that he would be interested in sitting on the FIDE Chess in Schools Commission.
Andrew,

Malcolm has provided documentary evidence to support his case, you have come up with your recollection. They are not of equal value. I, for one, do not always accurately recall conversations; furthermore, there is the added difficulty that what one party imagines he has said is not necessarily the same as what his interlocutor believes he has heard.

A perfectly plausible sequence of events is that you broached to Malcolm the possibility of occupying a FIDE post and that he replied in a non-committal manner. That is how I would usually reply should someone bounce something unexpected off me. Having investigated the matter, Malcolm's reply was negative.


In the interests of disclosure, I should mention that I have known Malcolm since we were children. I have even stayed at his parents' home when it was in Liverpool. In the world of UK chess, there are many such links.

Mike Gunn
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Re: Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Post by Mike Gunn » Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:21 pm

Angus French wrote:5. Nigel Short has a very poor record in representing the ECF as its FIDE Delegate. For example, he failed to report the existence of the Kasparov-inspired legal cases against FIDE, brought in the ECF's name, to ECF Council. At the FIDE Congress in Estonia last year, Nigel appointed Garry Kasparov to act as the ECF's proxy - this was done without consulting the ECF Board and without the Board's knowledge (these facts were revealed at the ECF AGM last October).
Angus, as ex-Non-Executive Chairman of the ECF my perspective on this is somewhat different. Nigel has regularly attended ECF board meetings and (in my view) he had a good working relationship with the rest of the board. The original decision to take legal action was debated and agreed by the whole board (with one vote against). In general the board doesn't interfere or check in detail what all the functional directors (or the FIDE delegate or the various managers and officers who ultimately report to directors) are up to. We used to operate in a spirit of trust and the assumption that people are carrying out agreed or appropriately authorised decisions and are applying common sense. Occasionally, people will let us down by not doing the right thing (e.g. CJ giving out sponsorship money without properly documenting the amounts or collecting receipts). Nigel's action in passing on his proxy to somebody he trusts seems reasonable to me, and I don't have a problem with it.

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Re: Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Post by David Robertson » Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:35 pm

The facts won't make a scrap of difference, Mike. Reason has long since taken French leave :roll:

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Gerard Killoran
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Re: Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Post by Gerard Killoran » Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:08 pm

Mike Gunn wrote:
Angus French wrote: At the FIDE Congress in Estonia last year, Nigel appointed Garry Kasparov to act as the ECF's proxy - this was done without consulting the ECF Board and without the Board's knowledge (these facts were revealed at the ECF AGM last October).
Nigel's action in passing on his proxy to somebody he trusts seems reasonable to me, and I don't have a problem with it.
Indeed, what could possibly go wrong?

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Re: Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Post by Angus French » Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:22 pm

Mike Gunn wrote:
Angus French wrote:5. Nigel Short has a very poor record in representing the ECF as its FIDE Delegate. For example, he failed to report the existence of the Kasparov-inspired legal cases against FIDE, brought in the ECF's name, to ECF Council. At the FIDE Congress in Estonia last year, Nigel appointed Garry Kasparov to act as the ECF's proxy - this was done without consulting the ECF Board and without the Board's knowledge (these facts were revealed at the ECF AGM last October).
Angus, as ex-Non-Executive Chairman of the ECF my perspective on this is somewhat different. Nigel has regularly attended ECF board meetings and (in my view) he had a good working relationship with the rest of the board. The original decision to take legal action was debated and agreed by the whole board (with one vote against). In general the board doesn't interfere or check in detail what all the functional directors (or the FIDE delegate or the various managers and officers who ultimately report to directors) are up to. We used to operate in a spirit of trust and the assumption that people are carrying out agreed or appropriately authorised decisions and are applying common sense. Occasionally, people will let us down by not doing the right thing (e.g. CJ giving out sponsorship money without properly documenting the amounts or collecting receipts). Nigel's action in passing on his proxy to somebody he trusts seems reasonable to me, and I don't have a problem with it.
Mike, in response to your post:
1. Nigel may well have regularly have attended ECF Board meetings when you were Non-exec Chairman but I don't believe he's attended many since his re-election in October. (Has he attended any?) How many ECF *Council* meetings has Nigel attended in recent years? (I've been to the last five and, IIRC, Nigel was at just one of those.)
2. Re the Board's decision to support the legal action against FIDE. I don't think it's acceptable that the Board wasn't informed of or asked to approve the second legal case (or informed of FIDE's objections to the first case). I also don't think it acceptable that ECF Council weren't informed of - or consulted about - the legal action. There were two very good opportunities to do this: the Council meetings of April 2011 and October 2011.
3. Mike, you may have forgotten that ECF Council voted (at the Finance Council meeting in April 2012) to reject (by 103 votes to 73) the FIDE Delegate's report because it hadn't been informed of the legal action. Following on from this, and given that the legal action was orchestrated by Kasparov, it doesn't seem appropriate to me that the ECF's vote should subsequently have been given - without the Board's consent - to Kasparov. Also, I believe it was mentioned at the last Council meeting that Kasparov passed on the ECF's vote to someone else - I think it might have been Estonia Chess Federation's representative. If this is correct, do you approve of that, Mike?

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Re: Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Post by Angus French » Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:23 pm

David Robertson wrote:The facts won't make a scrap of difference, Mike. Reason has long since taken French leave :roll:
Yeah. Very good. How about some reasoned argument and facts rather than personal insult?

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Re: Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Post by Alex Holowczak » Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:53 pm

Angus French wrote:How many ECF *Council* meetings has Nigel attended in recent years? (I've been to the last five and, IIRC, Nigel was at just one of those.)
If Nigel's non-attendance at Council meetings is a big deal, then Council has had three (?) opportunities to get rid of him that haven't been taken. Indeed, one of his non-attendances was a contested election that he won, even though his opponent attended. It seems strange to me that you can elect someone who hasn't had a track record of turning up to Council meetings, and then complain about his track record of turning up to Council meetings.
Angus French wrote:Also, I believe it was mentioned at the last Council meeting that Kasparov passed on the ECF's vote to someone else - I think it might have been Estonia Chess Federation's representative. If this is correct, do you approve of that, Mike?
Albeit, this was not before three other ECF Officers were invited to hold the ECF vote at those meetings, all of which declined because the ECF budget wouldn't cover those expenses. If the ECF vote had been passed on to another Federation, it wasn't for a lack of trying on Nigel's part to find someone from the ECF.

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