ECF Vacancies

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF Vacancies

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Jan 22, 2016 12:37 am

Andrew Zigmond wrote:[ how do you know that somebody necessarily has nothing to contribute?
I've long struggled to understand how those who don't play chess and aren't interested in playing chess can contribute. Arguably those who can speak for arbiters, parents, organisers and trainers have a role. Where do retired GMs stand on this?

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Re: ECF Vacancies

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Fri Jan 22, 2016 12:45 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Andrew Zigmond wrote:[ how do you know that somebody necessarily has nothing to contribute?
I've long struggled to understand how those who don't play chess and aren't interested in playing chess can contribute. Arguably those who can speak for arbiters, parents, organisers and trainers have a role. Where do retired GMs stand on this?
If you are referring to one particular contributor to this thread I think a former Chief Executive whose resignation was generally seen as a matter of regret should be listened to. But that's just my view.
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Re: ECF Vacancies

Post by Nigel_Davies » Fri Jan 22, 2016 12:50 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Andrew Zigmond wrote:[ how do you know that somebody necessarily has nothing to contribute?
I've long struggled to understand how those who don't play chess and aren't interested in playing chess can contribute. Arguably those who can speak for arbiters, parents, organisers and trainers have a role. Where do retired GMs stand on this?
Roger, it's likely that non playing 'politicians' are just in it for ego gratification via roles, titles (honorary Vice President, bla bla bla) and the feeling that they're saving us with their 'wisdom and leadership'. They haven't spent much time on chess but nonetheless think they should be leaders, an indication of egotism if ever there was one. You need people with chess experience and business acumen in chess federations and not have them outnumbered and contradicted by the clueless. Simples.

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Re: ECF Vacancies

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Jan 22, 2016 12:57 am

Andrew Zigmond wrote: If you are referring to one particular contributor to this thread I think a former Chief Executive whose resignation was generally seen as a matter of regret should be listened to.
It's a bit more general than that. The CEO forced out of office last year only had credibility as a chess parent and perhaps junior organiser. The CEO who walked out in 2008 has hardly played or organised chess since and when he first stood, both he and his candidate for President were so passionate about chess that between them they had played just one graded game. I forget which one had played it.

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Re: ECF Vacancies

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Fri Jan 22, 2016 12:59 am

Is that chess experience AND business acumen combined or just one out of the two?

More in response to Roger's post; while not every recent President and/ or Chief Executive is currently active in competitive chess only one can be described as a non player and in that particular example it was his business background that won him office.
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Re: ECF Vacancies

Post by Nigel_Davies » Fri Jan 22, 2016 1:10 am

Andrew Zigmond wrote:Is that chess experience AND business acumen combined or just one out of the two?
If you reread my post I'm sure you'll see the word 'AND'. Imagine for a moment that the post of CEO carried a salary of £50,000 pa. Would you take someone with next to no chess experience and (effectively) total ignorance of the field? Of course not, but people get appointed to these posts because they're willing to work for free. I think it should be obvious that this is not a good starting point for any organization, there may be a few properly qualified people who are willing to fill such roles but to aim for a large number of them is, let's say, optimistic.

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Re: ECF Vacancies

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Fri Jan 22, 2016 1:26 am

Nigel_Davies wrote:
Andrew Zigmond wrote:Is that chess experience AND business acumen combined or just one out of the two?
If you reread my post I'm sure you'll see the word 'AND'. Imagine for a moment that the post of CEO carried a salary of £50,000 pa. Would you take someone with next to no chess experience and (effectively) total ignorance of the field? Of course not, but people get appointed to these posts because they're willing to work for free. I think it should be obvious that this is not a good starting point for any organization, there may be a few properly qualified people who are willing to fill such roles but to aim for a large number of them is, let's say, optimistic.
I agree with you entirely on that. However we are not in a position to pay a CEO £50,000 pa and unfortunately with volunteers you do get what you pay for. I do think that most recent Presidents and CEOs (with perhaps one exception) ran for the post because they genuinely wanted to do their best for English chess. We could be here all night discussing why each one failed and that's not the point.

This thread was started by an individual wanting to highlight the current vacancies. With the exception of the board level posts most of the posts listed are relatively minor, solely concern the amateur side and give the holder very little influence within the ECF.
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Re: ECF Vacancies

Post by Nigel_Davies » Fri Jan 22, 2016 1:48 am

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
I agree with you entirely on that. However we are not in a position to pay a CEO £50,000 pa and unfortunately with volunteers you do get what you pay for. I do think that most recent Presidents and CEOs (with perhaps one exception) ran for the post because they genuinely wanted to do their best for English chess. We could be here all night discussing why each one failed and that's not the point.

This thread was started by an individual wanting to highlight the current vacancies. With the exception of the board level posts most of the posts listed are relatively minor, solely concern the amateur side and give the holder very little influence within the ECF.
Well I still think this needs to be approached differently. What, realistically, should be the goals of the ECF? And how many people does this need? I think that most amateurs would like a reliable grading system and a calendar of events, but what is really needed apart from that? Certainly they don't want to be burdened with high membership fees, and for the services mentioned a maximum of £10 per annum seems like more than enough. So that requires a grading officer, someone to put events on a calendar and someone to collect the membership fees. Of course this is not what they are getting and certainly not for less than £10 per annum. Ergo the discontent..

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Re: ECF Vacancies

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Fri Jan 22, 2016 3:13 am

My personal view is that amateur chess in this country does need restructuring. Even if the organisation and funding of professional chess were devolved to a separate organisation there would still need to be an infrastructure so that a nine year old learning the moves for the first time can find a junior club and then (in a perfect world) progress to playing league and/ or tournament chess in well run events and maybe just go a little bit beyond that. At present there are many excellent individuals and initiatives but these exist in a vacuum.

The more activity that is going on; the more people you need to oversee it. Even at amateur level there is a need for a) capable individuals to organise and manage events and b) people with business backgrounds who can raise funding locally where necessary. Some may disagree (I know one person who will) but I don't think an annual subscription of £22 to my national body is excessive; particularly when I remember that as a teenager I'd happily pay £14 for my favourite band's new CD. One of the problems with chess in this country is that too many people want it on the cheap.

I personally feel the ECF has made progress since the days when a county official with a modest grade was the delegate to FIDE. Decisions affecting professional chess should not be taken by bumbling league secretaries. There is much work still to be done but we have moved away from that.

In the meantime we return to the positions the ECF are listing as vacant. As I've said before most are minor and have no impact on professional chess. Some (as per Michael Flatt's post) may be redundant already. These small voluntary roles can act as a way for people to get involved; they may then upskill and take on a bigger role within AMATEUR chess. As I've said more than once there is a difference between amateurs and amateurism.

Of course you want professionals running professional chess (although hopefully in the short term you'll settle for people who can put on a professional front). I still feel that we need to move away from statements such as `rag bag` (taken out of its original context) that belittle the volunteer base.
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Re: ECF Vacancies

Post by Nigel_Davies » Fri Jan 22, 2016 7:53 am

Andrew Zigmond wrote: The more activity that is going on; the more people you need to oversee it....
I think you can look at this differently. How about no game fee to reduce the cost of playing chess and make the admin of tournament organizers easier? A purely voluntary membership of the federation for which people get a grade for their membership fee? People who play chess pay enough in terms of petrol and entry fees without having to have another layer of fees which for them provides nothing more than a grade.

Membership should increase which gives you a bigger database of players that anyone who wants to run an event should have access to. You'd have more people playing more chess in more tournaments and less federation. Simples.

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Re: ECF Vacancies

Post by Richard Bates » Fri Jan 22, 2016 8:20 am

Nigel_Davies wrote:
Andrew Zigmond wrote: The more activity that is going on; the more people you need to oversee it....
I think you can look at this differently. How about no game fee to reduce the cost of playing chess and make the admin of tournament organizers easier? A purely voluntary membership of the federation for which people get a grade for their membership fee? People who play chess pay enough in terms of petrol and entry fees without having to have another layer of fees which for them provides nothing more than a grade.

Membership should increase which gives you a bigger database of players that anyone who wants to run an event should have access to. You'd have more people playing more chess in more tournaments and less federation. Simples.
I must be missing something obvious (assuming the last 4 years of changes in English chess administration haven't passed you by). Why are these legions of Game Fee-payers (playing less that a dozen games a year at most if they are not acting against their financial interests) going to decide to join a voluntary membership scheme just for the right, not to play competitive chess, but to secure a grade?

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Re: ECF Vacancies

Post by Nigel_Davies » Fri Jan 22, 2016 9:11 am

Richard Bates wrote:
I must be missing something obvious (assuming the last 4 years of changes in English chess administration haven't passed you by). Why are these legions of Game Fee-payers (playing less that a dozen games a year at most if they are not acting against their financial interests) going to decide to join a voluntary membership scheme just for the right, not to play competitive chess, but to secure a grade?
They might not, but it certainly reduces the financial commitment for them to play and takes a job away from event organizers (not to be confused with federation officials). The goal, in my view, should be to facilitate events on a local level by reducing costs and helping organizers. It shouldn't be about funding a federation.

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Re: ECF Vacancies

Post by Richard Bates » Fri Jan 22, 2016 9:31 am

Nigel_Davies wrote:
Richard Bates wrote:
I must be missing something obvious (assuming the last 4 years of changes in English chess administration haven't passed you by). Why are these legions of Game Fee-payers (playing less that a dozen games a year at most if they are not acting against their financial interests) going to decide to join a voluntary membership scheme just for the right, not to play competitive chess, but to secure a grade?
They might not, but it certainly reduces the financial commitment for them to play and takes a job away from event organizers (not to be confused with federation officials). The goal, in my view, should be to facilitate events on a local level by reducing costs and helping organizers. It shouldn't be about funding a federation.
Well you stated that membership "should increase". On the flip side increasing the pool of ungraded players devalues the product for graded players. You may well find then that organisers begin to insist on membership as a condition of entry. So your "voluntary" scheme becomes de facto compulsory by the back door.

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Re: ECF Vacancies

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Jan 22, 2016 9:31 am

Richard Bates wrote: Why are these legions of Game Fee-payers (playing less that a dozen games a year at most if they are not acting against their financial interests) going to decide to join a voluntary membership scheme just for the right, not to play competitive chess, but to secure a grade?
There isn't a compulsory membership scheme apart from those playing internationally rated chess. What there is and always has been is a compulsory grading system. In other words, if you play in competitive chess, your performance will be measured and presented for the information of your opponents.

The ECF uses various devices for raising money from chess participants. In the absence of significant sponsorship, it spends it on maintaining a small office of full and part time employees and in participation fees and expenses for the handful of world class GMs to play for England in the two major international team events.

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Re: ECF Vacancies

Post by Mick Norris » Fri Jan 22, 2016 9:50 am

Andrew Zigmond wrote:Were I not worried about taking too much on I might be tempted by Chess Moves or even Governance, although the latter is probably me getting ideas above my station.
Andrew

I'd hope that Governance, like Finance, was chaired by someone with the relevant expertise (as I explained to Phil Ehr when he offered me Mike Truran's job at Finance, that's not me it needs an accountant)

I think the members can be less expert, as long as they are well led, although I still think the Finance Committee is best filled by those with accountancy expertise

I'm not sure what expertise the members of the Governance Committee have, but it is difficult to wonder if they would be better in other roles within the ECF without appearing to be publicly critical of them
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