Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

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

Post by JustinHorton » Sat Mar 01, 2014 8:15 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:The more invective directed at Kasparov, the more credible the theories that his bid for the ECF Presidency was some sort of FIDE attempt to undermine the ECF's long established anti Kirsan stance.
But also, the less credible the theory that his removal is nothing to do with international chess politics.
Roger de Coverly wrote:But complaining that Danailov is a bit dodgy is one of those sayings about bears and woods and Popes and Catholicism.
Of course. And such is Danailov's reputation that we can't imagine somebody like Kasparov going anywhere near such an individual.
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Re: Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Mar 01, 2014 8:30 am

JustinHorton wrote: But also, the less credible the theory that his removal is nothing to do with international chess politics.
He was repeatedly asked, on this forum anyway, whether he was a Kirsan apologist and denied it. The invective against Kasparov proves otherwise and in my view disqualifies him from continuing. His manifesto was never remotely possible of being implemented, but perhaps it wasn't realised how trying to implement it would set him at loggerheads with the rest of the Board.

There's also an interview on chessdom with another Western apologist.
http://www.chessdom.com/interview-with- ... marinello/
chessdom interview wrote:Prior to the 1993 breakaway, Kasparov was having an open feud with former FIDE President Florencio Campomanes. He accused Campomanes of influencing votes from the smaller chess federations by using his position as FIDE President to hand out funding to his allies.
That never happened then and didn't continue with Kirsan as President?

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Re: Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Post by JustinHorton » Sat Mar 01, 2014 8:40 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:The invective against Kasparov proves otherwise and in my view disqualifies him from continuing
And in other peple's view, it should be nothing to do with it. Support for, or opposition to Kasparov aren't qualifications or disqualifications for the job, because the ECF's basic function isn't to engage in FIDE politics.

Nor should Kasparov or his allies be allowed to consider that the post is theirs to control. (That's the real issue, in my mind. It's our post. Not theirs).
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Re: Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Mar 01, 2014 8:54 am

JustinHorton wrote: because the ECF's basic function isn't to engage in FIDE politics.
I would have said it's one of the ECF's core functions to be the National affiliate. Much of English chess can continue to function quite happily without an ECF and in some ways it's one of the strengths that it can.

If the ECF were to collapse and given its financial weakness, that's always possible if relatively remote, what would be the core functions that a successor body or bodies would have to take on as a matter of urgency? The obvious and first would be national grading, but re-establishing with the International body, who was the National body would come pretty high up.

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Re: Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Post by Simon Spivack » Sat Mar 01, 2014 11:39 am

Andrew,

Two posts again today. However, the first is more for clarification. I am not expecting a reply.
Andrew Paulson wrote:I know it goes with the territory, but here I am being held to an Anglo-Saxon level of scrutiny; you can't apply a 'sovok' level of insinuation and innuendo.
Simon Spivack wrote:'Sovok', as opposed to 'clarity, precision and detail'? Up to a point, Lord Copper.
Andrew Paulson wrote:"Sovok" is an adjective describing the behaviour of homo sovieticus.
I have been gently ticked off by a friend for not explaining more of the subtext. Whilst I won't knowingly slip in acrostics, for our exchanges are not exactly poetic, I couldn't resist a different wordplay.

I found it odd for you to apply 'sovok' to me, I still do. I am a native Londoner. As I understand it, 'sovok' is rather derogatory, as in 'Soviet filth'! For instance, page 42 of D!rty Russian (ISBN 978-1-56975-706-2) by Erin Coyne & Igor Fisun has: 'This term generally refers to someone with a Soviet mentality and generally not in a complimentary way. These folks tend to spend most of their time complaining about capitalism and waxing nostalgic about Russia's former glory as a superpower ...' 'Sovok' had more currency in the 1990s, which was when you moved to Russia.

Looked at another way, there is the infinitive 'sovat' (which shares the first syllable of the similar sounding 'Soviet'), i.e. 'to shove', from which one can arrive at the noun 'sovok', i.e. 'dustpan', 'shovel', 'scoop'. This plants the notion of, to amend the language of Trotskii, consignment of the Soviets to the rubbish heap of history, hence the belittling.

As I did not, and do not, consider that you wrote with 'clarity, precision and detail', I chose to put my dissension in writing, but diplomatically. I could, for instance, have written: 'Yea, right', which most native speakers would understand to mean 'no'. However, that struck me as lacking in politesse. Instead, I borrowed from the novel 'Scoop', after all you have an interest in the media, in which 'up to a point, Lord Copper' means 'no'. I expect you groaned at the pun 'scoop'/'Scoop', I hope so.

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Re: Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Post by NickFaulks » Sat Mar 01, 2014 2:54 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
He was repeatedly asked, on this forum anyway, whether he was a Kirsan apologist and denied it. The invective against Kasparov proves otherwise
This is the logic I shall never understand. If you dare to suggest on this forum that Kasparov, on his record and that of his team, would make a very poor President, that makes you a "Kirsan apologist", an unqualified admirer of the man and all his works. No, one does not imply the other, they are not even connected.
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Re: Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Post by Simon Spivack » Sat Mar 01, 2014 3:18 pm

Andrew Paulson wrote:You're right about 'deposit'. Both that it is often refundable, and that in the Agreement it is not stated how or why it would be refunded. This is because the 'deposit' was added after the Presidential Board approved the Agreement as a sop to Ilya Levitov, Executive Director of the Russian Chess Federation, who thought that AGON should put some 'skin on the table.' I didn't/couldn't object to this unilateral demand at the last minute. But it was also slipped in without consulting lawyers, who might have addressed such issues. I was reassured verbally that it would be reimbursed as soon as AGON had proven its track record of payment; I'm not sure if I believed that, but I had little choice.
Andrew,

I have to agree with Andy McCulloch, this is quite incredible. The other side to the negotiation adds a material clause, which could potentially have cost you $500,000, and you meekly accept without obtaining a legal opinion. Furthermore, by your own account, the person proposing the change was hostile!

Given the deposit has never been paid, one is entitled to wonder whether, even at this early stage, you intended to cough up. Nor does it occasion astonishment that the entire venture appears to have collapsed within eighteen months.

Whatever the interpretation, no sane member of the ECF Council can possibly support a president who behaves so recklessly. In my estimation you should resign, although I expect you to play on until you are checkmated at the finance meeting on 12th April. Speaking of which, have you got any candidates active in English chess to take over from the directors you wish to replace?
Andrew Paulson wrote:You have been doing your homework on the AGON Agreement; let me help you out. Nigel Short has alleged that Kirsan Ilyumzhinov or some other FIDE official(s) representing a conflict of interest are behind AGON. If, as he claims, they stand to reap huge profits or that they seek to control the World Championship Cycle for some other nefarious reason, you’d assume that you’d see some evidence of this. None has been offered and there’s only one place to look: cherchez l'argent.
That's why I started with the unpaid deposit! We've got six weeks to cover the rest.
Andrew Paulson wrote:Under the AGON/FIDE Contract (unanimously approved by the Presidential Board; ratified by the General Assembly; publicly available since February 2012), the first four years (two World Championship Cycles, not including the World Cup — 2012-2015) cost AGON over €20m, of which FIDE receives €1.75m (prize fund commissions, the rest being overhead, product development, event costs and prize funds). The ambitious assumption that sponsorship revenue will grow from zero to €5m/year by year four, this implies a loss of about €10m before break-even.

Starting in 2016, AGON starts paying to FIDE 30% royalties on any sponsorship revenues (over agreed-upon base costs) up to $5m, with percentages growing on a sliding scale to 55%. Therefore, in addition to €436k/year in prize fund commissions, assuming AGON was by then breaking even (now requiring about €7m/year), AGON would be paying FIDE an additional €2m/year. As soon as AGON makes a profit, even more goes to FIDE.

The owner(s) of AGON would therefore receive no dividends unless AGON grew sponsorship revenue from zero to €5m/year by year four and continued to grow it to over €10m/year by year eight to pay back the €10m start-up deficit; at which moment, AGON would have only 3 years left to earn money on what would generally be considered a crazy high-risk, capital-intensive investment … before the Agreement was up for renewal with FIDE in year eleven. By which time, AGON would have paid to FIDE €35m. (To put this in perspective, currently FIDE’s budget is about €3m/year.)
Thanks, Andrew, when I previously indicated that I had read dozens and dozens of files on the FIDE website, I should have added that I had perused the Agreement. I consider this scheme quite lunatic, something you appear to agree with, and I don't want you to talk the ECF into something similar. Furthermore, given the missing deposit, there's no reason to assume you would pass on any sums due.

The whole thing is so utterly bizarre that one naturally is entranced by conspiracy theories. As far as I'm aware, you've never publicly and convincingly explained this.

At the very least, your commercial enterprise is a potentially massive conflict of interest for you at the ECF.
Andrew Paulson wrote:Having conclusively established that I own and have always owned 100% of AGON ...
But there's the rub. Ignoring tax and ethical considerations for the moment, there are other ways to reward stakeholders than a mere payment of dividends or a repurchase of shares by the company. One can instruct agents, one can hire employees at inflated salaries, one can buy assets at one price and sell at another, ...

I expect you followed the court proceedings initiated by the late Boris Berezovsky against Roman Abramovich, according to Berezovsky he was the real owner of substantial stakes in Sibneft and Rusal. According to Abramovich, he had to pay $1.3 billion for krysha, effectively protection, in relation to Sibneft. What this illustrates is that the concept of payment to 'non-shareholders' for curious services is not exactly unknown in Russia. ECF members may enjoy a feeling of déja vu should any reach point 34 of the judge's summary: 'On my analysis of the entirety of the evidence, I found Mr. Berezovsky an unimpressive, and inherently unreliable, witness, who regarded truth as a transitory, flexible concept, which could be moulded to suit his current purposes. At times the evidence which he gave was deliberately dishonest; sometimes he was clearly making his evidence up as he went along in response to the perceived difficulty in answering the questions in a manner consistent with his case; at other times, I gained the impression that he was not necessarily being deliberately dishonest, but had deluded himself into believing his own version of events ...'

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Re: Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Post by Paolo Casaschi » Sat Mar 01, 2014 4:42 pm

I received today my copy of the CHESS magazine and a good part of MP editorial comments on the ECF board issue; a good summary of the discussions we have seen on the forum in the last few weeks.

Reading that article (and checking some of the posts here, but I might have missed something), I noticed MP reporting that AP told him in more than one occasion (including sometimes before the ECF elections, according to the chessvibes article) that KI was the majority owner of Agon. What would probably require more details from MP is why the Agon ownership was not an issue before the ECF election (when MP actually recommended AP for president) and it's a major issue at the moment, after the leaked agreement has been published. I mean, if MP was told already by AP that KI owned Agon, what difference does it make the publication of a document that might just confirm such an agreement that MP was made aware of before by AP himself?

I can understand anyone else being upset by the leaked document, but if AP had told you already beforehand about the Agon ownership, what is different now?

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Re: Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Post by Angus French » Sat Mar 01, 2014 5:06 pm

Paolo Casaschi wrote:I received today my copy of the CHESS magazine and a good part of MP editorial comments on the ECF board issue; a good summary of the discussions we have seen on the forum in the last few weeks.

Reading that article (and checking some of the posts here, but I might have missed something), I noticed MP reporting that AP told him in more than one occasion (including sometimes before the ECF elections, according to the chessvibes article) that KI was the majority owner of Agon. What would probably require more details from MP is why the Agon ownership was not an issue before the ECF election (when MP actually recommended AP for president) and it's a major issue at the moment, after the leaked agreement has been published. I mean, if MP was told already by AP that KI owned Agon, what difference does it make the publication of a document that might just confirm such an agreement that MP was made aware of before by AP himself?

I can understand anyone else being upset by the leaked document, but if AP had told you already beforehand about the Agon ownership, what is different now?
Quite.

... and if you read MP's editorial and didn't know, I guess you might get the impression that AP and KI were dreaming up a scheme to fleece FIDE. There's no real mention of the FIDE-Agon contract which, as I understand it, is separate and came ahead of the Paulson-Ilyumzhinov proposal. The agreed version of the FIDE-Agon contract can be found here. It seems to me to be beneficial to FIDE:
- FIDE receives payment for each event organised by Agon (see 3.2.(b).(ii) of the contract) equal to 20% or 25% of the prize money fund; and
- FIDE receives payment from Agon each year from 2016 (see part 4) of between 30% and 55% of "Adjusted Gross Sponsorship Revenue" or 500,000 Euros, whichever is greater.

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Re: Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Mar 02, 2014 12:48 am

NickFaulks wrote: This is the logic I shall never understand. If you dare to suggest on this forum that Kasparov, on his record and that of his team, would make a very poor President, that makes you a "Kirsan apologist", an unqualified admirer of the man and all his works. No, one does not imply the other, they are not even connected.
Ask this. Why is it that Kirsan after eighteen years as FIDE President has very little support amongst English chess players for his regime to continue? Surely something he has done would make him popular? If Federations vote for him, his regime and that of his cronies continues.

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Re: Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Post by NickFaulks » Sun Mar 02, 2014 4:04 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
NickFaulks wrote: This is the logic I shall never understand. If you dare to suggest on this forum that Kasparov, on his record and that of his team, would make a very poor President, that makes you a "Kirsan apologist", an unqualified admirer of the man and all his works. No, one does not imply the other, they are not even connected.
Ask this. Why is it that Kirsan after eighteen years as FIDE President has very little support amongst English chess players for his regime to continue? Surely something he has done would make him popular? If Federations vote for him, his regime and that of his cronies continues.
Which has what to do with my post? As usual, the only response on this forum to any suggestion that Kasparov may not be perfect is "yah, boo, Kirsan sucks".

I shall try to answer your question, even though I know you will never answer mine ( because you can't ). The truth is that I don't see many ways in which the vast majority of English chess players would have noticed Kirsan's influence one way or the other. To me, the best thing about FIDE is its titles and ratings systems, but of course I would say that. During his tenure, the ratings system has been refined and has brought in a fair proportion of club players, which I think is popular. The titles system is streamlined, and free of political haggling.

The Arbiters have obtained ( or kept ) a great deal of influence. There is now a financial scheme in place which I don't much like, but they seem to. The Trainers are hoping to follow in their footsteps. I don't know how many people in England think they might make a living as trainers, but perhaps this will work for them. Not my field.

In general, whenever the question arises of why chess in England has been lagging behind other nations, the ECF has found it easier to say "it's FIDE's fault" than to do anything constructive. To the outside world the ECF just looks like a backbiting shambles, and the idea that it might play any significant global role is at present ridiculous.
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Re: Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Post by PeterFarr » Sun Mar 02, 2014 7:35 am

I can't see that any of Azmaiparashvili, Danailov, Ilyumzhinov or Kasparov are fit to run a village fete, much less any international chess federation.

The ECF should vote 'none of the above' in the ECU elections, and for Kasparov in the FIDE elections (because 18 years of a Russian oligarch implicated in the murder of a journalist is enough for anyone ).

It shouldn't take more than 5 minutes to come to those decisions. The ECF is one of 170 odd FIDE members and 50 or so ECU members; there is no reason to suppose that the ECF has, or should have, a very big say in either organization and it should act accordingly.

So don't waste time on it, and focus instead on the domestic agenda that is obviously the main concern of most ECF members.

Whether this means the confidence motion in AP should have happened is an open question, since the substantive grounds for it remain unclear, in spite of all the speculation in this thread. We have heard nothing from the Board members involved, presumably because they have made a collective decision to not engage here. Thus, we simply don't know whether it's all about Agon / FIDE and AP v NS or if it's more about AP's general style / behaviour / inter-action with the Board.

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Re: Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Post by David Sedgwick » Sun Mar 02, 2014 9:14 am

PeterFarr wrote:Whether this means the confidence motion in AP should have happened is an open question, since the substantive grounds for it remain unclear, in spite of all the speculation in this thread. We have heard nothing from the Board members involved, presumably because they have made a collective decision to not engage here. Thus, we simply don't know whether it's all about Agon / FIDE and AP v NS or if it's more about AP's general style / behaviour / inter-action with the Board.
I'm not a member of the Board and I don't speak for all or any of its members.

Speaking for myself as an ECF Officer to some extent affected, I regard the passage of the forthcoming removal motion as essential. I say that because of "AP's general style / behaviour / inter-action with the Board" far more than because of "Agon / FIDE and AP v NS".

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Re: Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Post by JustinHorton » Sun Mar 02, 2014 9:34 am

If I were to look for an "essential", it would be that the ECF, its members and officals all take a very good and honest look at their procedures with a view to ensuring that this sort of nonsense never happens again.

(This won't happen, of course.)
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Re: Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Post by Sean Hewitt » Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:28 am

PeterFarr wrote:Whether this means the confidence motion in AP should have happened is an open question, since the substantive grounds for it remain unclear, in spite of all the speculation in this thread. We have heard nothing from the Board members involved, presumably because they have made a collective decision to not engage here. Thus, we simply don't know whether it's all about Agon / FIDE and AP v NS or if it's more about AP's general style / behaviour / inter-action with the Board.
The grounds for the motion and the way that board members voted are clearly articulated here.

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