Nigel,Nigel_Davies wrote: With such separation still 'pending', and possibly unlikely to happen, I'm afraid you're going to be stuck with professional input.
We have met on a few occasions and I have always enjoyed talking with you and valued the encounters, but in this thread you do seem to be using quite provocative language.
Firstly, a professional body will only come about if professionals organise it for themselves: you are in a position to do that and could begin by sending out Emails to potential participants. The BCF came about by the amaterurish activities of clueless amateurs: how much more effective would be the professional activities of competent professionals? It will not happen if you do not try to achieve it.
Secondly, while most, if not all, on this thread have welcomed the idea of a professional body, I feel you have subtlely upped its status from a body representing professionals to a 'wing' of the ECF or a 'separation of the amateur and professional game'. That is certainly not going to happen. The number of professionals is a very small part of the chess playing community and at most the professional body would simply be a member of the ECF amongst other members. Of course, the professional body might choose to remain outside the ECF and could even seek to become the body recognised by FIDE - but that will not happen either. Even in the international arena the number of participating English players contains far far more 'amateurs' than 'professionals'.
The real problem, the elephant in the thread that I previously referred to, is that there is simply only a very small market for professionals to engage in and it is a market that cannot support many individuals. There are areas where expansion is possible: the simultaneous display (which you already exploit - in the healthy sense of the word) is an area that I think could well expand. The book (and associated media) market I suspect is already fairly full. Coaching is a fairly limited area unlikely to provide full-time employment. Your principle interest seems to be to enable an income for professional players, however. That depends at root on having a spectator base, which might provide direct entrance fees; attract media coverage and attract sponsorship. While some relatively small sponsorships like the Tradewise deal are clearly obtainable, we are being unrealistic if we think that substantial sponsorship can be achieved without the spectator base - and that is not there. It would require a vastly greater playing population and such a population must be achieved first unless by some second outlandish coincidence we were to receive the bonanza of an international conflict of a talented and flamboyant player. Even then, the change would be no more than a temporary glitch unless the base is worked at.
At heart the problem is not the 'amateurish' endeavours of the ECF that is the problem: it is the uncomfortable fact that creating a professional game is an unachievable aim without a much bigger body of amateur players - far more, for example, than a game like snooker that is accessible as a spectator sport to non-participants.
I would be far happier to be paying more for the enhancement of junior chess - though for all juniors and not just the high-flyers. That is also where I would seek to use what sponsorship money can be obtained. I suspect it might also be easier to get for this purpose: for people of my age, for instance, the Sunday Times association with chess (through its schools competition) probably stands out far more prominently than other initiatives.
[Edit: I've got my threads a bit confused here: For clarity, some of my comments refer to a discussion elsewhere in the forum]