Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

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

Post by Chris Rice » Wed Mar 12, 2014 6:49 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Chris Rice wrote: I was quite pleased to see that this is the likely direction for the ECF.
It isn't though. The idea is to set up a new body in parallel to the existing ECF. One role would be for it to hold the legacy funds now in the BCF PIF. Other than the Board note indicating a desire to press forward, the background as to what functions it takes on and how it dovetails with the rest of the ECF's activity remains unstated.

It appears the problems of combining a charity which cannot be seen to support "professional" sport or activities with a national chess body, one of whose functions, if aspiring to be world top 20, is to develop it, have proved impossible to reconcile.
Thanks for clarifying Roger. I went back to the January 2014 minutes and as you say it does state:

"By unanimous decision, the Board authorised the Chairman of the Charity and Recognition Committee to establish a charitable trust as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO). It is to be presented to the Finance Council in April. The reasons for moving away from the previous approach of converting the ECF itself into a charity and establishing a new company for non-charitable purposes were to ensure that ECF funds could still be used to fund professional players and to retain flexibility in accepting commercial and media sponsorship. The Finance team was asked to consider options for contributing all or part of the Permanent Invested Fund to the charity."

I had thought that forming a CIO was a way of avoiding having two bodies running but perhaps that's not possible to do. Pity.

Mick Norris
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Re: Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Post by Mick Norris » Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:26 am

Chris Rice wrote:It would appear that the way that you would define the role, which I note has been echoed by others, is similar to a sort of Prince Andrew (Duke of York) style role where he talks to British businesses and represents British business interests abroad and drums up trade but is not part of the government. Is that fair comment?
I hadn't thought of that analogy, but that sounds more like it
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

Alex Holowczak
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Re: Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Post by Alex Holowczak » Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:48 am

Mick Norris wrote:
Chris Rice wrote:It would appear that the way that you would define the role, which I note has been echoed by others, is similar to a sort of Prince Andrew (Duke of York) style role where he talks to British businesses and represents British business interests abroad and drums up trade but is not part of the government. Is that fair comment?
I hadn't thought of that analogy, but that sounds more like it
Given we have approximately 10,000 members, the Duke of York is an excellent analogy! :lol:

Jonathan Rogers
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Re: Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:55 am

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Mick Norris wrote:
Chris Rice wrote:It would appear that the way that you would define the role, which I note has been echoed by others, is similar to a sort of Prince Andrew (Duke of York) style role where he talks to British businesses and represents British business interests abroad and drums up trade but is not part of the government. Is that fair comment?
I hadn't thought of that analogy, but that sounds more like it
Given we have approximately 10,000 members, the Duke of York is an excellent analogy! :lol:
Very good!

But he does march them down the hill again at the end. Heck, that would make him a perfect fit for English chess though!

David Pardoe
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Re: Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Post by David Pardoe » Wed Mar 12, 2014 11:32 am

The absence of Captain Shorts platoon from the parade ground meant that not all was `present and correct`.
The drill seargent and other officers did notice this.
Was the wayward platoon guilty of desertion, absence without leave...?
Whatever, their needs to be accountability, and officers need to report on a regular basis, take instructions, and inform the regiment of any developments.
BRING BACK THE BCF

David Pardoe
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Re: Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Post by David Pardoe » Thu Mar 13, 2014 9:04 am

Following on from my earlier comments on pages 36, & 37.....

I`ve read the latest Board minutes, and make the following comments..
It appears that the current problems arose mainly due to two factors..

1. AP and NS clearly were at loggerheads over FIDE matters and personalities. My perception is that these are probably more of a side show and distracted from the main work of the ECF Board. That's not to say that we must overlook our role in the FIDE arena, nor fail to play a full part.

2. General disagreement over APs handling of ECF Board business, with regard to the other Directors.
It would be disappointing if such matters occurred in future only for the Board to fall into disarray. David Robertson, and others did forecast a collision...

So, could a working arrangement be found to overcome these problems...?
Here`s my suggestions...

NS almost never appears at Board meetings, nor does he seem to take any real part in its business at those meetings, unless he`s been in contact via Skype, or some such.
Whatever, there appears to be little direct accountability to the Board, nor meaningful dialogue.
From the outside, he does give the appearance of being a `one man band`, and who knows, maybe that can work.

So, might it be possible to change NS reporting on FIDE matters so that he becomes duty bound to report regularly to ECF Council, from whom he then takes any feedback and acts on any instructions given. Maybe then the ECF could directly ensure its wishes were followed on behalf of the general membership and UK chess interests.
Also, for Council to nominate two members to join the Board in a Non Exec capacity, communicating any discussions to the Board regarding FIDE matters, discussing any relevant matters, and acting as intermediaries with Nigel Short. The two Council members that might be appointed could be Andrew Farthing and John Philpott, and maybe Roger Edwards, if he was willing to lend his considerable experience. The board would then only take actions on FIDE matters in consultation with Council.

Secondly, surely most of the other concerns could be resolved by some compromise whereby AP takes note of concerns raised and conducts business to ensure that other Directors are fully involved and properly notified of any business, where they should be directly involved, and no decisions taken without due consultation with the appropriate Board Directors.

As regards the conduct of business. It would appear that the Board are trying to crash through a very big workload, and maybe this needs to be `slowed` to enable all involved to fully participate and do justice to the tasks in hand. Certainly, no-one can doubt the energy with which AP has approached the task of President, nor the hard work he and other Directors have put in. But, we really don't want our Officers to be overworked. That leads to stress, mistakes, and probable demoralisation/disenchantment. Furthermore, we really do not want to see good work and positive efforts go to waste.

Talking of business...here`s a starter.. I see lots of talk about turning the ECF into a more Commercial focused body.
Yes, it needs to raise funds and attract sponsors, but lets remember that 99% of the Membership play chess purely for fun, and associated challenges & enjoyments.

In that context, the ECF in my eyes, is simply an umbrella group, which focuses on chess UK, helping to promote and support all the various chess bodies.
These bodies do not want, nor do they necessarily need to be branded and engulfed by the ECF flagship, binding them into any obligations that may not be desirable.

So, that means the ECF can say that it embodies huge numbers of chess enthusiasts, and has access to a potentially huge audience, but it cannot say that these bodies are a locked in part of any legal structure. We can therefore market the ECF as having assess to a huge chess audience, which sponsors could buy into.

What numbers are we talking about... 80,000 Basman juniors, 20,000 regular chess players, 100,000 casual chess players, 350,000 internet and other UK players.
This is a great potential market for sponsors to aim at, if marketing and promotions can be well directed.

On top of this, many chess bodies will want to do there own fund raising, and its very important that these bodies keep there independent identities in my view.
On another tack, it is also vital that chess bodies across the UK adopt a much more pro-active approach to `self help` initiatives.
Fischer generated a huge wave of chess interest in the 1970s, which will not likely be repeated, so we cant simply throw up our hands in despair and hope that some salvation will drift in on the next breeze. All our chess bodies can and should adopt a much more `can do` approach. Yes, I recognise that in today's busy world, where we`re all supposed to work 50 hours a day to keep the fat cats rolling in money, and somehow keep body, soul, and families in harmony, it is not easy to find time for other things. If only to escape this madhouse scenario, we must look outside the `box`.
As for the ECF, they need to think about how the ECF conducts itself in future, to ensure the current malaise does not repeat. A Chairman appointment might help.

Finally, someone asked `what miracle that ONOV might deliver.
Firstly, it might enable more players to get involved and have a say. This idea that the Membership should simply hand over money and keep there opinions to themselves is simply nonsense.
Yes, we`ll probably only see a small percentage who show interest initially. But thats a start, and once it gets going, then hopefully interest will grow as folk start to see that things are changing.
But, all important is the implementation of this system, in conjunction with Delegate voting.
It might be that initially, any matter where between 10 and 100 people take part say, (via on-line votes), automatically is granted a 30% proportionate vote. But thats something to be decided later.

Its all about the art of the `possible`.....
BRING BACK THE BCF

Alex Holowczak
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Re: Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Post by Alex Holowczak » Thu Mar 13, 2014 9:43 am

David Pardoe wrote:NS almost never appears at Board meetings, nor does he seem to take any real part in its business at those meetings, unless he`s been in contact via Skype, or some such.
That might be because he's not actually a member of the Board.
David Pardoe wrote:So, might it be possible to change NS reporting on FIDE matters so that he becomes duty bound to report regularly to ECF Council
He does, annually. He has done ever since he was in the post, to the best of my knowledge. And so did his predecessor.
David Pardoe wrote:Also, for Council to nominate two members to join the Board in a Non Exec capacity, communicating any discussions to the Board regarding FIDE matters, discussing any relevant matters, and acting as intermediaries with Nigel Short.
Good news! We already have two Non Execs elected by Council: Sean Hewitt and Julian Clissold.

John McKenna
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Re: Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Post by John McKenna » Thu Mar 13, 2014 10:34 am

Alex H forgot to mention to David P that AP has resigned and is therefore (almost) out of the picture.

David P>Secondly, surely most of the other concerns could be resolved by some compromise whereby AP takes note of concerns raised and conducts business to ensure that other Directors are fully involved and properly notified of any business, where they should be directly involved, and no decisions taken without due consultation with the appropriate Board Directors.<
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

David Pardoe
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Re: Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Post by David Pardoe » Thu Mar 13, 2014 1:12 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:
David Pardoe wrote:NS almost never appears at Board meetings, nor does he seem to take any real part in its business at those meetings, unless he`s been in contact via Skype, or some such.
That might be because he's not actually a member of the Board.
David Pardoe wrote:So, might it be possible to change NS reporting on FIDE matters so that he becomes duty bound to report regularly to ECF Council
He does, annually. He has done ever since he was in the post, to the best of my knowledge. And so did his predecessor.
David Pardoe wrote:Also, for Council to nominate two members to join the Board in a Non Exec capacity, communicating any discussions to the Board regarding FIDE matters, discussing any relevant matters, and acting as intermediaries with Nigel Short.
Good news! We already have two Non Execs elected by Council: Sean Hewitt and Julian Clissold.
Thanks for your clarifications Alex. I may not have made my points clearly enough....

By `Council` I meant the Council Officers, and `other ECF Officers` ie, ECF Officers, which would include John Philpott, Andrew Martin...etc... Maybe others might come forward.
I should have made clear that I was referring also to Officers who are members of Council. As you say, this includes Nigel Short, Andrew Farthing, Roger Edwards, and others....
I think Nigel was invited to attend the last Board meeting, but declined, but, as you point out, he is not actually on the Board.

As for Non Execs, I suggested the possible inclusion of others, specifically Council Officers. But its a complex web at the ECF...and they do look extremely casualty prone, losing senior Officers with almost alarming regularity....
How should things continue...? The remaining Board looks rather leaderless at the moment...

John...
Yes, I think we all know that AP tendered his resignation...reluctantly, I suspect. He presumeably could see no clear alternative in the current malaise, with Nigel Short, apparently lobbing granades into th arena from the touchlines.
This was reluctantly accepted by the ECF Council. I believe.

What are the likely and best options to take things forward. We shall see....
BRING BACK THE BCF

John McKenna
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Re: Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Post by John McKenna » Thu Mar 13, 2014 1:19 pm

David, your prescient belief may be right - about AP's resignation already having been accepted by Council.

The deal also involves them accepting that he will have the ECF's support for his ECU ambitions.

Can you tell us if - in your crystal ball - you forsee that eventuality also, please?

Nigel will not be happy if that is the case.
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Emergency Board Meeting - Draft Minutes

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Mar 13, 2014 1:24 pm

David Pardoe wrote: This was reluctantly accepted by the ECF Council. I believe.
As a body that only meets every six months, the voting membership aka ECF Council have yet to be given a formal opportunity to express an opinion. It's possible that the mega voters, those with proxies amounting to at least 3% or more of the votes have been asked to express private opinions about what motions they would be likely to support. Not that I'm expecting anyone to say, but I would doubt there was any support whatsoever for APs notion of dismissing most of the current Board and replacing them with more agreeable stooges, if indeed any plausible stooges could be persuaded to stand against the incumbents.

As to whether the ECF should support the ticket of one East European GM over another, that could still be open to debate. If it's on the basis of AP's memorandum to the Board, they would be excusing asking for take-backs, ratings manipulation and possible tournament falsification.

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