Arbiters (jobs for) proposal.

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Arbiters (jobs for) proposal.

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Jun 07, 2016 12:02 am

Mike Truran wrote:How exactly does the statement "the ECF is inviting responses from arbiters, players, and other interested parties" suggest to you that "stealth changes are being pushed through"?
There is no option to comment on or oppose the "ECF Competition Rules" supposedly to be introduced from September 2016. It would have been possible to ask the April 2016 Finance meeting to endorse them, but no such motion was put forward.

Is it a current understanding that events can be graded without the notional presence of an ECF approved arbiter?

On the subject of extraordinary documents, what should be made of this?
http://www.englishchess.org.uk/wp-conte ... ssors.docx

Attempting to extend parallels between chess arbiters and football/rugby referees, tennis/cricket umpires is fraught with being stupid. A chess event can run without an arbiter being required to make a single decision. Even the CAA pairings are allegedly deterministic, so no judgement is required. If the event is played with increments, Appendix G issues don't arise either. That just leaves arbiters ruling on the correct way to make threefold and fifty move claims, or handling players griping about pairings.

John McKenna
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Re: Arbiters (jobs for) proposal.

Post by John McKenna » Tue Jun 07, 2016 12:39 am

Michael Flatt wrote:
Just out of curiosity, how many qualified Arbiters are you able to call on locally and ... ?
Taking the current list of Level 2 (50 listed) & Level 3 Arbiters (13 listed) as published on the ECF website and combining them with club/county affiliations listed on the ECF Grading database, I have arrived at the list below:

Of course, not all Arbiters will necessarily be active but it does give a rough estimate of the coverage across the country.

Geographic Area, Number of Level 2/3 Arbiters
Bedfordshire, 1
Berkshire, 1
Bristol, 2
Cambridgeshire, 1
Derbyshire, 1
Devon, 3
Essex, 2
Gloucestershire, 2
Greater Manchester, 4
Hampshire, 1
Hertfordshire, 1
Lancashire, 1
Leicestershire, 1
London, 7
Merseyside, 3
Norfolk, 1
Northumberland, 3
Nottinghamshire, 2
Oxfordshire, 2
Scotland, 1
Somerset, 1
Staffordshire, 4
Surrey, 8
Sussex, 1
unknown, 1
Warwickshire, 1
West Midlands, 3
Yorkshire, 4
Total= 63


What, no arbiters in Kent!?
Would any of the 7 London arbiters be considered borderline Kent?
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

Michael Flatt
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Re: Arbiters (jobs for) proposal.

Post by Michael Flatt » Tue Jun 07, 2016 7:49 am

John, I couldn't identify anyone on the list who has an obvious connection with Kent or adjacent London Borough.

Do remember Arbiters that had been appointed by the British Chess Federation (BCF) may not have made it onto the ECF list so Kent may have qualified Arbiters that the ECF refuses to acknowledge. I have never seen a list of BCF Arbiters so I don't know how many have been disregarded.

The current list does illustrates the lack of qualified Arbiters in England and although the ECF have made a proposal for all ECF-graded events to be overseen by ECF level 2/3 Arbiters there doesn't appear to be any coordinated plan to ensure that there are sufficient available by the 2021 deadline.

John McKenna
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Re: Arbiters (jobs for) proposal.

Post by John McKenna » Tue Jun 07, 2016 9:22 am

You'd think that there'd be one or two arbiters tucked away somewhere in Kent. Perhaps there's a tendency to migrate to Hastings in East Sussex (though I see Sussex only have 1 arbiter on your list) or Redhill in Surrey (a county with 8 arbiters!)

Kevin Thurlow of Redhill was the main arbiter at the Broadstairs Kent Championship tournament last year. He had a colleague but I don't recall his name right now.

Anyhow, all this talk of arbiters for leagues, etc. may spur the ECF to train more up more speedily.
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

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Adam Raoof
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Re: Arbiters (jobs for) proposal.

Post by Adam Raoof » Tue Jun 07, 2016 9:26 am

I'm only a level 1 arbiter - does that mean I won't be able to run any of my own events come 2021?

I say that because the likelihood of my passing an ECF Arbiters exam is remote - I'm always running events, and I'm exam phobic!

Maybe the ECF can do what FIDE does and have them online.

Mike Truran
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Re: Arbiters (jobs for) proposal.

Post by Mike Truran » Tue Jun 07, 2016 10:31 am

There is no option to comment on or oppose the "ECF Competition Rules" supposedly to be introduced from September 2016.
The ECF competition rules were first posted on the ECF website homepage on 4 January, eight months before the proposed implementation date. The document asked for any questions to be directed to Alex - as it still does. With hindsight a request for comments and feedback rather than questions would have been more helpful, but the intention in posting the document eight months beforehand was self-evidently to obtain comments and feedback. Otherwise why publish it so early?

I don't really think it's fair to accuse us of "pushing through stealth changes".

Ray Sayers

Re: Arbiters (jobs for) proposal.

Post by Ray Sayers » Tue Jun 07, 2016 10:31 am

Without trying to just automatically criticise the proposal and with my 'junior' hat on, I am hopeful that this proposal will evolve over time.

What will be interesting is whether, for grading purposes, a distinction is made between what we could describe as 'major' events (i.e. adult congresses with high entry fees/cash prizes) and 'minor' events such as locally organised Junior events.

It is hard enough to get people involved in junior organising on a voluntary basis without expecting them to go through what appears to be quite a process to become a level 2 arbiter. It is more likely that the local junior events just won't be graded.

Unless of course I have missed something in the document!

Edit - Aha, Mike you must have submitted your post seconds before I did! I shall ask Alex. I have to say, I didn't see the proposals on the ECF website but then I rarely visit it.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Arbiters (jobs for) proposal.

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Jun 07, 2016 10:37 am

Mike Truran wrote: I don't really think it's fair to accuse us of "pushing through stealth changes".
In my view it should have been an Agenda item at the April Council meeting, as should have been the change to a nine day British.

Mike Truran
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Re: Arbiters (jobs for) proposal.

Post by Mike Truran » Tue Jun 07, 2016 10:39 am

Well that's your view, and you're entitled to it. My view, which I am also entitled to, is that the changes are of an operational rather than a strategic nature and fall within the remit of the Board.

Michael Flatt
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Re: Arbiters (jobs for) proposal.

Post by Michael Flatt » Tue Jun 07, 2016 10:54 am

Adam Raoof wrote:I'm only a level 1 arbiter - does that mean I won't be able to run any of my own events come 2021?
It seems to be the intention of the Home Director that he won't allow games to be graded by the ECF from 2021 unless an ECF level 2/3 Arbiter is overseeing the competition. Theoretically, if the games are not accepted by the ECF they might also be withhold from rating by the FIDE.

Of course, Adam, as one of the most active independent organisers of chess competitions in England it would be completely ludicrous not to accept your tournaments for grading, especially since you already hold the FIDE International Arbiter title which ECF officials had supported when they submitted your application at the time!

The situation is absolutely farcical when you can hold an IA title and yet continue to be refused the lessor ECF level 2 title!

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Arbiters (jobs for) proposal.

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Jun 07, 2016 11:00 am

Mike Truran wrote: the changes are of an operational rather than a strategic nature
If it's an intent that from 1st September 2016, all Congresses require the presence of an arbiter approved by the ECF in order to be graded, that's a strategic issue for those Congresses. But perhaps you have an email from the Home Director saying that's not the case.

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Arbiters (jobs for) proposal.

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Tue Jun 07, 2016 11:03 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Mike Truran wrote: the changes are of an operational rather than a strategic nature
If it's an intent that from 1st September 2016, all Congresses require the presence of an arbiter approved by the ECF in order to be graded, that's a strategic issue for those Congresses. But perhaps you have an email from the Home Director saying that's not the case.
It might be a strategic issue for those Congresses, but it's not a strategic issue for the ECF, which is the relevant factor for whether something needs to be approved at Council level.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Arbiters (jobs for) proposal.

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Jun 07, 2016 11:09 am

IM Jack Rudd wrote: which is the relevant factor for whether something needs to be approved at Council level.
Those voting on Council might have something to say on that. I don't think the ECF should be given powers of dictatorship in the interests of "strategy". I probably disagree with past, present and future ECF Directors on this.

Michael Flatt
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Re: Arbiters (jobs for) proposal.

Post by Michael Flatt » Tue Jun 07, 2016 11:16 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Mike Truran wrote: the changes are of an operational rather than a strategic nature
If it's an intent that from 1st September 2016, all Congresses require the presence of an arbiter approved by the ECF in order to be graded, that's a strategic issue for those Congresses. But perhaps you have an email from the Home Director saying that's not the case.
It does seem to me to be a matter of ECF policy rather than simply an operational matter.

This does illustrate a great weakness in the ECF organisation in that a single individual is the key policy maker and decision taker in three distinct operational areas:
1. Organisation of the British Championship and ECF domestic competitions
2. Grading
3. Arbiting

Each of these three areas would benefit from having their own working party where matters of policy can be discussed in a meaningful manner. Rather than decisions being subject too the whims of a single individual it would be better to seek the consensus of a group of experts and other interested parties.

Mike Truran
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Re: Arbiters (jobs for) proposal.

Post by Mike Truran » Tue Jun 07, 2016 11:22 am

Whether each director has the right spans of control is certainly worthy of discussion, and is something that we may return to in due course once other priorities permit. To say though that "decisions are subject to the whims of a single individual" just isn't true. These things are subject to review by the Board as a whole, with consultation with interested third parties as appropriate.

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