April 2016 Council meeting

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
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Angus French
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Re: April 2016 Council meeting

Post by Angus French » Thu Apr 07, 2016 5:41 pm

Richard Bates wrote:What makes you think he'd be much cheaper...?
Well... you’re right I was sort of assuming and also conflating that with the idea that the British Champion ought, if possible, to be selected to represent the country.

LawrenceCooper
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Re: April 2016 Council meeting

Post by LawrenceCooper » Thu Apr 07, 2016 5:53 pm

Angus French wrote:
Richard Bates wrote:What makes you think he'd be much cheaper...?
Well... you’re right I was sort of assuming and also conflating that with the idea that the British Champion ought, if possible, to be selected to represent the country.
One thing that might help his cause is for him to play some internationals abroad. He's close to 2600 based on his performances in the UK but if he were to start winning or scoring 2600+ performances in event overseas I think he could become a realistic alternative.

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: April 2016 Council meeting

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Thu Apr 07, 2016 7:02 pm

Angus French wrote:
David Pardoe wrote:I`m tempted to suggest that if money`s are not available to send out our strongest teams, we should scale back and send a more modest representation, maybe giving some `new faces` a chance to gain some useful experience..
I agree with this. At last year's Finance Council meeting, I believe David Openshaw said that the budget for the 2016 Olympiad teams included circa £16K in appearance fees for the Open team players. Personally I'd prefer it if less was spent on appearance fees and we gave more support to up-and-coming players. It's not as though, with our strongest possible team, we're going to be in contention for medals. (my italics - AZ) I'd like, for example, to see the British Champion, Jonathan Hawkins, selected to play.
The same could arguably be said of our national football team and yet nobody would seriously suggest sending anything other than the strongest possible team. It would not be a very good for the prestige of the national game if we didn't send our top players because we couldn't afford them and what happens if another federation promptly offers them their asking fee and they defect? I don't particularly like the thought of having to increase membership fees to meet the shortfall in the international budget but it may be the lesser of two evils.

EDIT - meant to add, what is the funding model in other countries?
Controller - Yorkshire League
Chairman - Harrogate Chess Club
All views expressed entirely my own

Martin Regan

Re: April 2016 Council meeting

Post by Martin Regan » Thu Apr 07, 2016 8:11 pm

I'm afraid this proposal is at the heart of the ECF's problem. It sees its members solely as a source of funding to allow directors to carry out individual pet projects.

Thus, the mindset is always to see what increase can be made - no board ever looked at cutting fees, and the attitude will lead the membership scheme, inevitably, to go the same way as Game Fee which became virtually uncollectable in the North.

Membership was only ever going to be a success if the ECF married it to giving members a greater feeling of ownership - OMOV to my mind is the best way to do this, there are others.

What we have now is a scheme which carries a rising cost and offers only a basic grade. The cost will continue to rise, the grade will continue to be provided but when the cost outweighs the benefits then the members will make their own decisions. There are already Manchester and Yorkshire grading lists.

I am actually in favour of a much-higher membership fee but only if the members agree that this is what the federation needs.

It is all very well asking for higher fees to fund such things as grandmasters in pubs, but these are marketing ideas drawn on the back of a fag packet. By all means ask for more funds but have a strategy not a series of whims, involve the members (I reject out of hand the suggestion that the members would be apathetic).

The current proposals are bad because they revert to the ECF's historic attitudes: English chess is in decline so lets make a lot of noise and dip into the pockets of members.

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Re: April 2016 Council meeting

Post by David Robertson » Thu Apr 07, 2016 8:50 pm

Bravo!

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: April 2016 Council meeti

Post by Carl Hibbard » Thu Apr 07, 2016 9:15 pm

There is some cryptic comments from Chris 'Toxic' Fegan over there but who he is referring to is unclear.
Cheers
Carl Hibbard

David Pardoe
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Re: April 2016 Council meeting

Post by David Pardoe » Thu Apr 07, 2016 9:59 pm

I agree with most of your points Martin..
But...
Increased Membership fees...yes, with some restructuring.
I`d go for £30 Gold, and a merged Silver Bronze membership , set at about £18 - £20.
I`d probably add a utility membership option at say £12 to allow up to 10 games played in any category or combination thereof... maybe with juniors membership set at £10... This would cater for those who play infrequently, or are new to chess.
Maybe I`d add a block membership category, where say a county could qualify for basic membership at £12 - £15, if they could generate say 1500 members.... A Union body could get a basic £10 deal if they could generate say 4000 members..(to include juniors). Or a Gold deal for say £20.
I`m not averse to a range of fund raising options, to allow the ECF and membership to use some initiative and imagination in there fund raising, rather than relying on a fixed rigid strategy.
Sponsors are key, I guess...but my aim with Membership would be to try to boost numbers up by 50% over say 5 - 10 years..

To justify this support for our top GMs and IMs etc, we`d need some payback..
Good results and performances to generate greater interest from `joe public and media..
This means more high profile coverage and promotion of chess through various media channels, which in turn would hopefully lead to an uptake of interest and growing membership numbers. Maybe standards would be raised and more top players hopefully emerge..

Regarding OMOV...yes. but I`d go for a merged OMOV combined with corporate/Union/other bodies delegate voting, to create a proportionate voting. Its something I`ve mentioned before...assuming that corporate rules would allow.
I can see plenty of interest in online voting by individual members, assuming a good distribution of support data. Voting could be tried out on a restricted basis to start with..
To ensure that individual votes actually got a real recognition, I`d count the individual online votes as follows..
1 - 100 votes would count as 10% voting rights.
101 - 250 votes to count as 20% representation...
251 - 500 votes to count as 30%..
501 - 1000 as 40%
1001 - 2000 to count as 50%
Over 2000 to count as 60% of voting power.
Hopefully this would help get the individual membership more involved with the ECF.
Clearly these options would need to be reviewed and fine tuned by a panel of ECF senior officials/committee and a paper formulated.
Yes, I`m up for rewarding our GMs and IMs and others for agreeing to play for the country. This has be affordable for the ECF..
Could we start a formal funding scheme for our top 30 active GMs and IMs, with the aim of giving them at least a starting amount to participate in tournaments... If we could generate £2500 for our top 10 players and say £1500 for the next 10 or so players, they would at least have a purse each season to work with. But that's £40k to find...maybe sponsors would put up this money and the senior players would wear distinctive sponsor shirts at tournaments.
Lots for the efficianadoes to think about....
BRING BACK THE BCF

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: April 2016 Council meeting

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Thu Apr 07, 2016 10:10 pm

David Pardoe wrote: Could we start a formal funding scheme for our top 30 active GMs and IMs, with the aim of giving them at least a starting amount to participate in tournaments... If we could generate £2500 for our top 10 players and say £1500 for the next 10 or so players, they would at least have a purse each season to work with. But that's £40k to find...maybe sponsors would put up this money and the senior players would wear distinctive sponsor shirts at tournaments.
It's a nice idea. Of course, finding sponsors who are willing to put in £40,000 is the tricky part.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: April 2016 Council meeti

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Apr 07, 2016 11:08 pm

Carl Hibbard wrote:There is some cryptic comments from Chris 'Toxic' Fegan over there but who he is referring to is unclear.
The only candidate that came to my mind is his boss at Chess in Schools.

Paul Dargan
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Re: April 2016 Council meeting

Post by Paul Dargan » Fri Apr 08, 2016 9:20 am

This is dangerously close to my twice yearly post ... I have a fundamental issue with paying the salary of the England team. If they dont want to represent their country for two weeks for their country for expenses only then send someone who will.

Paul

Roger de Coverly
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Re: April 2016 Council meeting

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Apr 08, 2016 9:38 am

Paul Dargan wrote: If they dont want to represent their country for two weeks for their country for expenses only then send someone who will.
Even if it's just expenses only, that's still not a zero cost. Would expenses include loss of earnings?

Graham Ives
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Re: April 2016 Council meeting

Post by Graham Ives » Fri Apr 08, 2016 4:31 pm

benedgell wrote:
Roger de Coverly wrote:
Angus French wrote: Something else: I didn't see proposals for the implementation of League Management Software or for a switch to monthly grading.
It might come in under Budget and Finance proposals, there again it may have been dropped for the time being. Were there any applicants for the project of supplying the software?
Yes, there were applicants.
Is there any documentation describing what functionality this software is required to deliver, how it is to be used, how it is to be maintained, and what the selection process is? Basically, any documentation that can be used by members, such as myself, to help decide whether we think this would be £10k well spent or whether we think it's an idea that should be binned?

Roger de Coverly
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Re: April 2016 Council meeting

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Apr 08, 2016 4:56 pm

Graham Ives wrote: Is there any documentation describing what functionality this software is required to deliver, how it is to be used, how it is to be maintained, and what the selection process is?
I would have referred you to
http://www.englishchess.org.uk/league-m ... evelopment

but it seems to have been deleted.

This topic refers
http://www.ecforum.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=8133

Graham Ives wrote: Basically, any documentation that can be used by members, such as myself, to help decide whether we think this would be £10k well spent or whether we think it's an idea that should be binned?
Unless you are a voting member of the ECF Council, or have the ear of someone who is, you don't get any say in the matter.

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Adam Raoof
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Re: April 2016 Council meeting

Post by Adam Raoof » Fri Apr 08, 2016 5:03 pm

Graham Ives wrote:
benedgell wrote:
Roger de Coverly wrote:
It might come in under Budget and Finance proposals, there again it may have been dropped for the time being. Were there any applicants for the project of supplying the software?
Yes, there were applicants.
Is there any documentation describing what functionality this software is required to deliver, how it is to be used, how it is to be maintained, and what the selection process is? Basically, any documentation that can be used by members, such as myself, to help decide whether we think this would be £10k well spent or whether we think it's an idea that should be binned?
Instinct? Bin it. Google LeagueManage. Ask John Upham how much it would cost for the ECF to supply this software to any league which does not already have suitable software. Pay for it for the first year. Done.
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Graham Ives
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Re: April 2016 Council meeting

Post by Graham Ives » Fri Apr 08, 2016 5:36 pm

Adam Raoof wrote:
Graham Ives wrote:
benedgell wrote:
Yes, there were applicants.
Is there any documentation describing what functionality this software is required to deliver, how it is to be used, how it is to be maintained, and what the selection process is? Basically, any documentation that can be used by members, such as myself, to help decide whether we think this would be £10k well spent or whether we think it's an idea that should be binned?
Instinct? Bin it. Google LeagueManage. Ask John Upham how much it would cost for the ECF to supply this software to any league which does not already have suitable software. Pay for it for the first year. Done.
Yes.....I tend to agree. But two observations -
Firstly, if we don't know what it's going to do or what it's for, then how can we "encourage" the Council to vote for or against the budget that includes it?
Secondly, there are lots of potential implications and risks in this that perhaps members are not being told about. For instance, 1. Is it the intention that the use of such software, if provided, would become Mandatory, as a way of passing game results to the ECF. So, Leagues that have successfully developed their own systems would be expected to throw them away and conform to whatever system is imposed centrally? 2. Would there be other ongoing maintenance or administration costs when the software is implemented, that are not shown in the proposed budget? 3. Would this do away with a lot of the work the ECF Office in administering and processing results - and so reduce costs, or would it increase costs because of the amount of human intervention and correction it might need? 4. Has anyone done a cost/benefit analysis or a risk assessment?

This isn't an issue that should be "snuck in" and agreed via a single, unexplained, line in a budget proposal. Especially given that the role of Manager of ICT has been vacant for a good many years now. Who is advising the Council on this? This is an issue that needs consultation and debate! Quite a lot of it!

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