ECF Council - Controversial Issues

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
Roger de Coverly
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ECF Council - Controversial Issues

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Sep 19, 2014 9:40 am

Council papers for October 2014 have now appeared at
http://www.englishchess.org.uk/about/ec ... and-board/

Two controversial issues are buried at the bottom

Firstly the ECF Board want to abolish adjudication, or at least make it ungraded.
http://www.englishchess.org.uk/wp-conte ... oposal.pdf

Secondly they are now openly advocating compulsory membership
http://www.englishchess.org.uk/wp-conte ... -Paper.pdf
The general opinion of the board is that the ECF should work towards phasing out game fee over time in favour of a pure membership scheme.
If I am misinterpreting this, supporters of "the general opinion" are welcome to explain why a "pure membership scheme" doesn't ban non-members from participation.

Mick Norris
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Re: ECF Council - Controversial Issues

Post by Mick Norris » Fri Sep 19, 2014 9:54 am

From the Agenda
Discussion item requisitioned by the Devon County Chess Association, Bristol & District Chess League, Torbay Chess League, Royal Beacon Seniors Congress and Barnstaple Chess Club for members of Council to discuss how their groups use Game Fee to help the ECF identify any problems that might need to be resolved before Game Fee can be phased out in favour of a pure membership scheme *
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF Council - Controversial Issues

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Sep 19, 2014 10:34 am

An impression gained from skimming through the various director's reports is of a Board divided, the non-appearance of minutes being a symptom of this. But what are the voting membership to make of this? If the issues dividing Board members are not made public, how can Council decide, should it wish to elect a unified Board, or even a divided one for that matter?

Not seeking re-election, Nigel is blunt about the problems facing the potential FIDE Delegate. There's the ECF Board's paper on its relationship to FIDE which is so broad that it could allow a Delegate anything from extreme troughing (to use Nigel's phrase) to outright hostility. There's only two of the three statements been published, but I didn't see whether the Candidates endorsed or opposed the ECF Board's proposed position.

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Re: ECF Council - Controversial Issues

Post by benedgell » Fri Sep 19, 2014 10:51 am

Mick Norris wrote:From the Agenda
Discussion item requisitioned by the Devon County Chess Association, Bristol & District Chess League, Torbay Chess League, Royal Beacon Seniors Congress and Barnstaple Chess Club for members of Council to discuss how their groups use Game Fee to help the ECF identify any problems that might need to be resolved before Game Fee can be phased out in favour of a pure membership scheme *
I've just been calling it Game Fee discussion paper. Bit worried with it being virtually last on the agenda that it'll be rushed over at the end. I'll copy the paper in full onto here:

"The general opinion of the board is that the ECF should work towards phasing out game fee over time in favour of a pure membership scheme. The aim of this discussion paper is not to pass judgement on this. Instead the aim is to encourage the various leagues, counties, congresses etc to discuss how they use game fee (if they do so) and any problems they feel would need to be resolved before they could accept a pure membership scheme.

From this the ECF will be better informed as to what they need to do before they can introduce a pure membership scheme, and have a better idea of the time scale that this aim may involve."

Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF Council - Controversial Issues

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Sep 19, 2014 11:15 am

benedgell wrote: From this the ECF will be better informed as to what they need to do before they can introduce a pure membership scheme, and have a better idea of the time scale that this aim may involve."
You do recall, I hope, the lengthy discussions on this forum about membership schemes and the assurances given by their advocates that they weren't to be compulsory. Reasons for not having a compulsory scheme are the same as they always have been, a point accepted last year by the Council meeting when it reversed the attempt by the ECF to make membership a requirement for taking part in some school team events.

The issue immediately before your discussion, abolition of adjudications, may well overrun and overlap. If leagues are desperate to retain adjudication even at the risk of opting out of ECF grading, their players have no need to be forced into ECF membership.

Still it's clear positions move. The common sense of allowing a fourteen month period for new joiners to include both the British Championship and the following season has now been adopted, despite causing a stand-up row at the Torquay 2013 British between the then organisers and the director then responsible.

David Pardoe
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Re: ECF Council - Controversial Issues

Post by David Pardoe » Fri Sep 19, 2014 11:29 am

As for Game fee/ Membership...generally I favour this as the `standard` option...but we should recognise the many `flavours` that make up our chess community.
I`m particularly keen that other low cost options should be available to players, to encourage greater participation.
Maybe a `dozen games for a tenner`option would be good to give those who only play a handfull of games a better deal..
And I`d include a `mix and match` option that enabled these players to play a mix of FIDE, Congress, and league games.

On grading, I`d like to see the `online community` brought into the fold, by at least recognising there online grades as `indicative` ECF grades.... you`d need to construct a rough conversion rule...but this need only be an approximation to get them started and recognised in the ECF regime.
eg, on Gameknot.com the grades range from around 2750 at the top end to about 750 at the tail end...
Those in the 1700 - 2700 range could be given roughly parallel FIDE/ECF equivalents, but based on a reasonable history of rated games...
Such players could be signed up as `ECF Members` for a tenner, and officially recognised, with grading category of say `O`...as opposed to `A`, `B`, `C` ..etc

And talking of gradings... I`ve long suspected that grades should be regarded as for guidance only...ie, a grade should be treated as (+ or - 20 points) for the purposes of team order and selection...particularly those graded under say 170...
One glaring failure of the grading system is the way that draws are rated...
ie if a 125 player draws with a 160 player the two players get each others grades..
this is plainly a `nonsense`, in my view...how can the same game, played by two players producing a draw be given two different ratings...maybe a `balancing grade` should be allocated for both players..
We need to change the way juniors are rated..particularly those who are fast tracking up the ladders....
eg, I played a junior graded 113 at a recent Congress.... he ended the tournament with a tournament rating of 147, having drawn with 3 players graded 140 - 150, and beaten another in that range...

As for Adjudication/adjournments...yes these must continue to be rated, and I`d say they are a vital part of our chess scene.. I`m not a great fan of the new brand of `high speed` digital/incremental chess...
However, it might be worth having a speed play finish before adjudications, instead of the current QPF...
eg lets say the league plays 35 moves in 75 mins...you might then insist on a min of 15 moves in 15 mins before any game goes for adjudication.. That at least gives one party a 50 move window to prove they are winning or drawing..
On the subject of unified boards...the elections produce a random selection of candidates, many thrown up by the `party system`...so a fair degree of randomness and individuallity is bound to occur, and makes for a healthy variety of views... One of my concerns is that the `President` role has now become a beauty contest, to see who might have the biggest pulling power and connections, etc...and maybe a fat wallet/source of funding, by which they can magically increase the ECFs purse. I`d like to see candidates who clearly have the ECFs interests at heart, but may not be coated in a cloth of gold, given a fair crack of the whip..
Remember the very boring Mr Hodgson...currently Englands football manager...
He my be boring and dull and not inspirational for the media...but he has injected a slice of stability and order into the England camp...and I`m delighted that he keeps out of the media glare and doesnt get turned into another media circus victim like so many others have..
BRING BACK THE BCF

Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF Council - Controversial Issues

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Sep 19, 2014 11:44 am

David Pardoe wrote: Maybe a `dozen games for a tenner`option would be good to give those who only play a handfull of games a better deal..
Currently it's twelve pounds for an unlimited number of league, county and club games, so not greatly different. Better not to have membership at all, or if you must, have it for the duration of a single game.

David Pardoe wrote: One glaring failure of the grading system is the way that draws are rated...
ie if a 125 player draws with a 160 player the two players get each others grades..
this is plainly a `nonsense`, in my view...how can the same game, played by two players producing a draw be given two different ratings...maybe a `balancing grade` should be allocated for both players..
A few years ago, we had a very long thread with someone advocating that idea. As I said at the time, the ECF grading method is based on a principle of equal pay for equal work. So if a player draws with a long string of 125 graded players, you work out his performance as being 125 regardless of his previous grade. Similarly a player able to draw with 160s, himself gets a 160 grade.

Juniors, remember, are treated as new players. That means if they perform at 147 for the whole season, that's the figure their opponents will get. A similar estimation process applies to players without grades. You can and would estimate a grade for someone new, but that's for assigning board orders, Congress sections and seedings and doesn't and probably shouldn't affect calculations.

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: ECF Council - Controversial Issues

Post by Carl Hibbard » Fri Sep 19, 2014 11:48 am

One legal case too, going to take a while to read the lot.
Cheers
Carl Hibbard

Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF Council - Controversial Issues

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Sep 19, 2014 11:48 am

benedgell wrote:before Game Fee can be phased out in favour of a pure membership scheme *
As one of the proposers of the motion, does the notion of a "pure membership scheme" include the concept of temporary membership? This would be a membership lasting the duration of a game, or a series of games like a Congress weekend.

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Re: ECF Council - Controversial Issues

Post by MartinCarpenter » Fri Sep 19, 2014 11:53 am

It doesn't seem an insane position, with it being a long term aspiration and all. The answer for the Yorkshire league/congresses (never mind evening leagues) is of course not now as it wouldn't be at all feasible, and probably not for a long while. Imagine they know that though.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF Council - Controversial Issues

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Sep 19, 2014 11:55 am

Carl Hibbard wrote:One legal case too, going to take a while to read the lot.
It appears to involve a chess parent so all bets are off, but the monetary value of the Junior Grand Prix is not high and the first prize is £ 100. That does suggest the potential value of an ECF Dispute Resolution service, although whether in this case it would have been useful is obviously unknown.

One presumes the ECF didn't start this particular legal action.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: ECF Council - Controversial Issues

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Fri Sep 19, 2014 12:36 pm

"The issue immediately before your discussion, abolition of adjudications, may well overrun and overlap. If leagues are desperate to retain adjudication even at the risk of opting out of ECF grading, their players have no need to be forced into ECF membership."

Surrey has a system which works well for nearly all players, that there is a choice of adjudication (of which there are very few), adjournment, QP (30 moves in an hour plus 20 minutes)and Fischer timing for league matches. SCCA has contacted Alex H explaining this and asking for a re-think. I pointed out to SCCA that Alex was obsessed with QP and wanted it installed no matter how much damage it did to chess. I favour QP/Fischer timing myself, but understand (and care) that lots of people don't. It might leave SCCA with a difficult choice next AGM. Do you drive away those players who don't want to play speed chess? I think SCCA is big enough to have its own grading system- most players only play in the league and internal club competitions anyway and many club players do not care about gradings. Unless there's a sizeable majority for QP finish, it is just possible that a counter-proposal, saying "we carry on as before, run our own grading system, and by the way, you don't have to be ECF members" might just win...

ECF should be encouraging people to play chess. I hope the ECF meeting throws out the proposal to stop grading games in leagues where someone else might have opted for adjudication!

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Re: ECF Council - Controversial Issues

Post by David Pardoe » Fri Sep 19, 2014 12:48 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
David Pardoe wrote: Maybe a `dozen games for a tenner`option would be good to give those who only play a handfull of games a better deal..
Currently it's twelve pounds for an unlimited number of league, county and club games, so not greatly different. Better not to have membership at all, or if you must, have it for the duration of a single game.

David Pardoe wrote: One glaring failure of the grading system is the way that draws are rated...
ie if a 125 player draws with a 160 player the two players get each others grades..
this is plainly a `nonsense`, in my view...how can the same game, played by two players producing a draw be given two different ratings...maybe a `balancing grade` should be allocated for both players..
A few years ago, we had a very long thread with someone advocating that idea. As I said at the time, the ECF grading method is based on a principle of equal pay for equal work. So if a player draws with a long string of 125 graded players, you work out his performance as being 125 regardless of his previous grade. Similarly a player able to draw with 160s, himself gets a 160 grade.

Juniors, remember, are treated as new players. That means if they perform at 147 for the whole season, that's the figure their opponents will get. A similar estimation process applies to players without grades. You can and would estimate a grade for someone new, but that's for assigning board orders, Congress sections and seedings and doesn't and probably shouldn't affect calculations.
Roger,
One point of my suggested Membership option is to allow players to play a small number of games in `any category` for just a tenner. Currently, if you play a few games that are FIDE rated, you get screwed for the full £28, which is bonkers...and chances are you wont come out with a FIDE rating anyway.
So my flexible `discount` option does offer those who play few games a chance of membership and participation at a cheaper rate. I dont see any mileage in going for less than a tenner, and I do see this as a fundamentally reasonable way of funding chess/ECF, which is about promoting UK chess.
Your perpetual `ches for free` approach is a non starter in my view, which would make the raising of funds for ECF purposes from rank and file members very difficult.
I would just like to see those who are members given more say in the ECF, without having to belong to various `bodies`, and have a vote and even stand for elections as `free standing `independant` candidates, if they so wish.
ie, you dont have to (or shouldnt have to..), be a signed up member of `the club`(a chess body) to get the right to stand for `office` at the ECF.
BRING BACK THE BCF

Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF Council - Controversial Issues

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Sep 19, 2014 1:00 pm

David Pardoe wrote:Currently, if you play a few games that are FIDE rated, you get screwed for the full £28 which is bonkers...and chances are you wont come out with a FIDE rating anyway.
The rules have now changed in that you only need five games for a rating. You cannot lose them all though. But I agree that something akin to the £ 6 extra charge at Congresses is needed. The ECF have admitted that they are more interested in exploiting their monopoly position as FIDE affiliate than encouraging new participants.
David Pardoe wrote: Your perpetual `ches for free` approach is a non starter in my view, which would make the raising of funds for ECF purposes from rank and file members very difficult.
It's not "Chess for free", if the ECF needs funds, it charges the organisations who are its voting members. How they raise the money is their business, but a per game charge is one of them. That's implicit in Congress entry fees and explicit for those county teams who finance themselves match by match. For a league it's included in the club entry fee.

Graham Borrowdale

Re: ECF Council - Controversial Issues

Post by Graham Borrowdale » Fri Sep 19, 2014 1:40 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:"The issue immediately before your discussion, abolition of adjudications, may well overrun and overlap. If leagues are desperate to retain adjudication even at the risk of opting out of ECF grading, their players have no need to be forced into ECF membership."

Surrey has a system which works well for nearly all players, that there is a choice of adjudication (of which there are very few), adjournment, QP (30 moves in an hour plus 20 minutes)and Fischer timing for league matches. SCCA has contacted Alex H explaining this and asking for a re-think. I pointed out to SCCA that Alex was obsessed with QP and wanted it installed no matter how much damage it did to chess. I favour QP/Fischer timing myself, but understand (and care) that lots of people don't. It might leave SCCA with a difficult choice next AGM. Do you drive away those players who don't want to play speed chess? I think SCCA is big enough to have its own grading system- most players only play in the league and internal club competitions anyway and many club players do not care about gradings. Unless there's a sizeable majority for QP finish, it is just possible that a counter-proposal, saying "we carry on as before, run our own grading system, and by the way, you don't have to be ECF members" might just win...

ECF should be encouraging people to play chess. I hope the ECF meeting throws out the proposal to stop grading games in leagues where someone else might have opted for adjudication!
A great deal of common sense written there by Kevin, in my view. While it might be acceptable to refuse to grade the odd game which has been adjudicated, a method of completion both players will have agreed on, it can not be right to refuse to grade the whole league because that fairly remote possibility exists.

On the subject of dropping game fee so that players have to join the ECF before they can play a single league game, that is most likely to discourage newcomers from playing. My own league already has that rule, and is quite literally dying from lack of new players. There might not be a connection, but we should do as much as we can not to discourage newcomers.

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