Proposed London Mind Sports Centre

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
Mike Gunn
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Proposed London Mind Sports Centre

Post by Mike Gunn » Thu Apr 14, 2016 1:23 pm

There is now a a paper on this (agenda item 12, Finance Council) on the ECF website.

NickFaulks
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Re: Proposed London Mind Sports Centre

Post by NickFaulks » Thu Apr 14, 2016 1:42 pm

It's a nice idea but I really don't think it is practical. The ECF has turnover of less than £500k and a £100k balance sheet. There's nothing wrong with that but, even if the finance could be arranged, dropping in a £2m asset would make it look like a property company with a chess sideline.
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John Foley
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Re: Proposed London Mind Sports Centre

Post by John Foley » Thu Apr 14, 2016 1:59 pm

The paper invites Council to express a view on a permanent Mind Sports Centre. A more precise issue for Council is how much would ECF be prepared to pay to cover the cost of the fundraising. If fundraising costs 20% (a typical metric), then the ECF will have to commit to £34,000 in order to raise the minimum £1.7m required. Probably two professionals would need to be hired to build the case and approach funders and have a chance of reaching the higher end of the target amount. This is a worthwhile project, the outcome of which justifies the cost in spite of the risk of failing to raise the target amount.

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Michael Farthing
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Re: Proposed London Mind Sports Centre

Post by Michael Farthing » Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:16 pm

Presumably not quite this severe: as I understand it the ECF would be in partnership with the GO association (and possibly other 'mind sports'). Surely the ECF is not being asked to cough up the balance of the funding - which would make them the lead participant!

So we can presumably lower the £34000 to £17000 for a kick off, and possibly more. Nevertheless this is a substantial sum and the risk clearly is high: we have seen that raising funds is not easy. In addition, if the project were to be successful there would be a continuing management burden that we would need to consider, let alone possibly horrific costs if the project fails to continue to break even. It's an interesting and exciting idea and I'm in favour of the Board continuing to investigate possibilities with due caution (and preferably undue caution). I'm scared though that this is heart before brain.

[Edit: Wonder if such a building might house a library?]
Last edited by Michael Farthing on Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Proposed London Mind Sports Centre

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:17 pm

John Foley wrote:The paper invites Council to express a view on a permanent Mind Sports Centre.
The British Go Association have a legacy of around £ 300,000 to spend to establish somewhere to play Go in London. For that sort of money, wouldn't a solution for them be to take out in partnership a tenancy on a pub and then run it on the lines of how the Kings Head used to operate with sets available behind the bar and clocks for hire?

In the unlikely event of the ECF raising £ 1.7 million or even £ 34,000, there are a number of activities higher in the priority list. See the papers on the proposed fee increases for examples.

NickFaulks
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Re: Proposed London Mind Sports Centre

Post by NickFaulks » Thu Apr 14, 2016 3:12 pm

John Foley wrote: If fundraising costs 20% (a typical metric), then the ECF will have to commit to £34,000 in order to raise the minimum £1.7m required.
20% of £1.7m is £340,000.
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Michael Farthing
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Re: Proposed London Mind Sports Centre

Post by Michael Farthing » Thu Apr 14, 2016 3:19 pm

Whoops!!

MartinCarpenter
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Re: Proposed London Mind Sports Centre

Post by MartinCarpenter » Thu Apr 14, 2016 3:48 pm

Like I said the other thread this came up in, it would be hugely easier if it wasn't London :)

I would presume the main partner in any sort of thing would have to either be a bridge club or a well established boardgaming club. Essentially anything that gets decent enough regular revenue to pay for a big chunk of the upkeep (not trivial either!), fill the venue on a regular basis etc.

Although even the Young Chelsea bridge club (big, long established) seem to lease their venue so maybe London is just too expensive for even that.

Julie Denning
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Re: Proposed London Mind Sports Centre

Post by Julie Denning » Thu Apr 14, 2016 8:31 pm

Michael Farthing wrote:
[Edit: Wonder if such a building might house a library?]
Michael,

A home for the National Chess Library is a possible benefit that has been identified if the scheme went ahead, but clearly it can't offer much justification in its own right for a £2m scheme. What's in storage at the moment might take up about 30 metres of 6-high shelving - perhaps a bit less with some thinning out of duplicates - but there's also prospects of further collections being donated in future if a suitable home can be found. Add in a bit of reading space and we're talking about a not-inconsequential piece of real estate for something that is unlikely to bring in income. Hence the failure to find a satisfactory solution so far for the library. Equally, continuing to fork out over £3k a year to keep the material in storage and inaccessible isn't doing anyone any benefit.

Jonathan Bryant
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Re: Proposed London Mind Sports Centre

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Thu Apr 14, 2016 10:44 pm

Mike Gunn wrote:There is now a a paper on this (agenda item 12, Finance Council) on the ECF website.

Perhaps I’m being unduly pessimistic, but I think I’d like to see the ECF demonstrate that it can run an internet forum before I’d be willing to believe it was capable of successfully getting involved in anything like this.

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Re: Proposed London Mind Sports Centre

Post by John Foley » Fri Apr 15, 2016 6:31 pm

Whoops indeed - an errant zero - the figure should have been 2%.
Whichever way you look at it, the amounts are large by ECF standards.
It is not clear why "discussions" favoured purchasing a property rather than renting one.
Renting would demonstrate demand for the facility and enable the proposition to be refined.

NickFaulks
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Re: Proposed London Mind Sports Centre

Post by NickFaulks » Fri Apr 15, 2016 6:47 pm

John Foley wrote: the figure should have been 2%.
I must say that I assumed the 20% figure was correct, although I am not well informed. 2% looks extraordinarily low.
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Richard Bates
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Re: Proposed London Mind Sports Centre

Post by Richard Bates » Fri Apr 15, 2016 7:13 pm

NickFaulks wrote:
John Foley wrote: the figure should have been 2%.
I must say that I assumed the 20% figure was correct, although I am not well informed. 2% looks extraordinarily low.
No knowledge at all of the issue but I imagine that the figure reduces as sponsorship target increases.

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Re: Proposed London Mind Sports Centre

Post by John Foley » Sun Dec 04, 2016 4:35 pm

There will be a presentation on the proposed National Mind Sports Centre on Monday 12th December at the Kensington Olympia Hilton Hotel at 2pm. Amanda Ross will outline the preliminary results of the feasibility study that she has been undertaking on behalf of the British Go Association and the English Chess Federation. The presentation will be an open session of the London Chess Conference. After the presentation there will be a discussion. Event ends 4pm. No registration required. All welcome.

IanCalvert
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Re: Proposed London Mind Sports Centre

Post by IanCalvert » Sun Dec 04, 2016 6:39 pm

Is there a cunning plan to site this at Bletchley Park (aka Milton Keynes) ?? :)

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