Wikipedia

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
Paul McKeown
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Wikipedia

Post by Paul McKeown » Tue Sep 30, 2014 10:36 am

Wikipedia makes the following claim:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_Chess_Federation wrote:The English Chess Federation (ECF) is the governing chess organisation in England and is affiliated to FIDE. The ECF was formed in 2004 and was effectively a re-constitution of the extant governing body, the British Chess Federation (BCF), an organisation founded in 1904. The BCF had been set up to replace the non-functioning British Chess Association (BCA) and initially, not only governed chess in England, but also included Wales and Northern Ireland in its region of activities.
Apart from the anachronism that Northern Ireland did not exist as a political entity in 1904, surely Northern Ireland would have been part of the territory of the Irish Chess Union since its inception (ignoring any supposed relatively recent UCU secession)? So, even if the BCF had responsibility for Ireland at some point, it would have been for Ireland as a whole? And what is the evidence for that, anyway?

Seems like a poor written article, at best.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Wikipedia

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Sep 30, 2014 11:13 am

Paul McKeown wrote: So, even if the BCF had responsibility for Ireland at some point, it would have been for Ireland as a whole? And what is the evidence for that, anyway?


Back in 1904, there appears to have been an attitude that the BCF was a proto-FIDE for the British Empire in that it represented chess in all territories that didn't have their own body. Check the founders of the BCF, I think the Calcutta Club was among them. The 1930s book by Sergeant of 100 Years of British Chess can be a good source of the order in which bodies were founded and how they were regarded, written as it was, when the establishment of the BCF was recent memory.

According to wiki (!), the Irish Chess Union was founded in 1912. Did it regard itself as equivalent in status to the BCF or just to one of the BCF's regional subdivisions such as the SCCU or NCCU? It remained a single body in 1921. Again according to Wiki, it joined FIDE in 1933, so the BCF's influence would have been minimised.

Players from Northern Ireland played in the Irish team in Olympiads in the 1960s and 1970s, but presumably would also have been eligible to enter the British Championships unlike those from the Republic.

Wales had the same status as the English county unions until around 1970. Welsh county teams would take part in the National stages of the Counties Championship.

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Re: Wikipedia

Post by Paul McKeown » Tue Sep 30, 2014 11:47 am

My understanding is that in 1912, the ICU viewed itself as completely independent, like the Scottish Chess Association. I'm willing to be corrected, though. And I rather doubt that from 1904 - 1912 that chess in Ireland saw itself as bound to the BCF, again I would be willing to hear countervailing evidence. Were any Irish clubs, county or provincial associations affiliated with the BCF, or indeed problem, study or correspondence circles?

In any case, singling out Northern Ireland is clearly incorrect, in terms of anachronism, and because at no point was the UCU (founded much later) a separate national body; it was always a provincial body within the ICU, and indeed was responsible for chess in Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan, at least until the recent attempt at secession.

Regarding the British Championships, my understanding is that players from the Irish Free State, and, later, Éire, were welcome to participate. The watershed came when the constitutional fiction of a dominion was thrown aside with the institution of the Republic of Ireland in 1949, or that is my understanding, possibly again wrongly. In any case, organising the British Championships is a function of a co-ordinating body, not the BCF or its successor, the ECF.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Wikipedia

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:01 pm

Paul McKeown wrote: In any case, organising the British Championships is a function of a co-ordinating body, not the BCF or its successor, the ECF.
Historically I wouldn't be so sure. Back in the 1960s, it was styled as the annual Congress of the British Chess Federation. It was Stewart Reuben who claims to have renamed it as the Championships of the British Isles so as to enable Southern Irish players to take part. According to the history in the 2004 BCF Yearbook, the date of that change was 1986.

Also according to that history, the Scottish Chess Association joined the BCF in 1908. The ICU isn't mentioned.

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Re: Wikipedia

Post by Paul McKeown » Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:17 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:It was Stewart Reuben who claims to have renamed it as the Championships of the British Isles so as to enable Southern Irish players to take part.
I thought we had been through that before, and that it transpired that Stewart Reuben was not aware of what had been the case before he was born?
Roger de Coverly wrote:Also according to that history, the Scottish Chess Association joined the BCF in 1908.
That is interesting, but what does that word "joined" actually mean? And, if that is the case, when did the SCA "leave"?
Roger de Coverly wrote:The ICU isn't mentioned.
Absence of evidence is, of course, not evidence of absence, but, nevertheless, that may be a quiet pointer.

One possibility is that some people a century ago may have made assumptions on behalf of other people, that those other people were not aware of, or didn't subscribe to, and it was only later that more formal territorial definitions or clarifications were made.

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Re: Wikipedia

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:30 pm

Paul McKeown wrote: That is interesting, but what does that word "joined" actually mean? And, if that is the case, when did the SCA "leave"?
The implication is that the BCF was governed by delegates from its membership, these being the regional chess associations plus the London and Manchester Leagues. So the SCA had the same power as, for example, the SCCU. The suggestion is that it became independent in the international sense when it first entered its own Olympiad team in 1933. When it ceased to have any voting say in the affairs of the BCF, I wouldn't know. The 2004 Yearbook makes the cryptic remark that in 1952 an agreement with the SCA was reached that continues to this day. So maybe 1952 was when it left but it retained a right to be consulted about eligibilities for British titles.

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Re: Wikipedia

Post by Paul McKeown » Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:32 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Paul McKeown wrote: That is interesting, but what does that word "joined" actually mean? And, if that is the case, when did the SCA "leave"?
The implication is that the BCF was governed by delegates from its membership, these being the regional chess associations plus the London and Manchester Leagues. So the SCA had the same power as, for example, the SCCU. The suggestion is that it became independent in the international sense when it first entered its own Olympiad team in 1933. When it ceased to have any voting say in the affairs of the BCF, I wouldn't know. The 2004 Yearbook makes the cryptic remark that in 1952 an agreement with the SCA was reached that continues to this day. So maybe 1952 was when it left but it retained a right to be consulted about eligibilities for British titles.
What is the evidence of that, apart from some potted history in a 2004 YB?

Do early BCF Yearbooks, for instance, which (until 1966, iirc) were very detailed in their exposition of the history of the previous year, actually mention a Scottish delegate and his or her contribution to General Meetings, or is their any mention of an annual SCA subscription fee?

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Re: Wikipedia

Post by Paul McKeown » Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:43 pm

I have scoured the 1951-52 YB (296 pp.), but can find absolutely no mention of Scotland, but do find the South Wales Association, for instance.

And, similarly, the 1950-51 YB (304 pp.), which does, interestingly, reproduce (pp. 10-19) the BCF Constitution.

Article 3:
The Federation shall include
(a) The London Chess League, the Midlands Counties Chess Union, the Northern Counties Chess Union, the Southern Counties Chess Union and the South Wales Chess Association as Constituent Units
No mention of Scotland there.

I don't own any earlier yearbooks, maybe someone else can have a look?

[Edit: capitalisation]
Last edited by Paul McKeown on Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Wikipedia

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:47 pm

Paul McKeown wrote: What is the evidence of that, apart from some potted history in a 2004 YB?

Do early BCF Yearbooks, for instance, which (until 1966, iirc) were very detailed in their exposition of the history of the previous year, actually mention a Scottish delegate and his or her contribution to General Meetings?
If anyone has access to a complete set of Yearbooks, it should be easy enough as the entitlements to membership of Council, the Management Board and its predecessors are usually listed. The 2004 Yearbook history gives authorship credit to John Poole and Stewart Reuben, with assistance from the BCF Office, which infers that past Year Books or BCF internal papers had been consulted.

The earliest Year Book I have is 1981-82 which refers to a 1978 Constitution. There are no Welsh and Scottish representatives on the Council and Management Boards.

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Re: Wikipedia

Post by Paul McKeown » Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:52 pm

Roger, a genuine historical investigation of the relationship between the various territorial associations in the British Isles would not only be interesting, but also welcome and overdue!

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Re: Wikipedia

Post by Paul McKeown » Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:56 pm

So, long story short, Roger, your contention doesn't dispute my original post, that Northern Ireland was not treated differently than the rest of Ireland, apart possibly from at some period with respect to participation of citizens in British Championship congresses, as it was always an integral part of the ICU?

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Wikipedia

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Sep 30, 2014 1:15 pm

Paul McKeown wrote:So, long story short, Roger, your contention doesn't dispute my original post, that Northern Ireland was not treated differently than the rest of Ireland, apart possibly from at some period with respect to participation of citizens in British Championship congresses, as it was always an integral part of the ICU?
We haven't established whether the ICU was ever a voting member of the BCF as the Reuben/Poole history suggests that Scotland was. Timing would seem against it.

The ICU may not have been regarded as an important body. There isn't a mention in the history of the Dublin club of that period, nor the BCF for that matter. It being more important for the club to play matches against other parts of the UK in its own name.
http://www.dublinchessclub.com/club-history.html

I can think of at least two areas where Northern Ireland was treated differently. One would have been eligibility for British titles. Consulting the 1969 Championship programme, whilst there are no Irish players in the Championship itself, there are several Northern Irish based in the various junior championships. The other is that schools in Northern Ireland were always eligible to enter the Sunday Times/Times National Schools Championship, which had been running from the early 1950s.

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Re: Wikipedia

Post by Paul McKeown » Tue Sep 30, 2014 1:24 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:I can think of at least two areas where Northern Ireland was treated differently. One would have been eligibility for British titles.
That would have been post 1949, when the territorial entity, then called Éire, became the Republic of Ireland (*), and renounced its previous Dominion status. I would suggest that it was actually a question of citizenship or nationality, rather than residence. Wade, Yanofsky and Heidenfeld were able to play in (and for the first two, win) British championships. Wade's early passports, as a New Zealander, make clear that he was a British subject.

(*) I use the term "Republic of Ireland" for the purpose of clarity. The constitutional name is simply, of course, "Ireland".

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Re: Wikipedia

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Sep 30, 2014 1:42 pm

Paul McKeown wrote: I would suggest that it was actually a question of citizenship or nationality, rather than residence.
Without automatic qualification based on rating or title, it would have been necessary to be resident in order to play and win a qualification place in a tournament or the qualifiers. So Yanofsky although resident as an Oxford student and eligible as a Canadian passport holder, would still have needed to qualify. I don't think it was until the 1970s that a non-resident titled Commonwealth player could just turn up and demand a place.

Back in the 1930s, the BCF had no difficulty in regarding Mir Sultan Khan as eligible to both compete in the British Championships and play internationally for the BCF team.

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Re: Wikipedia

Post by Paul McKeown » Tue Sep 30, 2014 1:46 pm

Which qualification tournaments did Wade, Yanofsky or Heidenfeld, respectively win then?

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