ECF elections 2016

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
John Reyes
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Re: ECF elections 2016

Post by John Reyes » Sun Oct 16, 2016 2:42 pm

NickFaulks wrote:
John Reyes wrote:Good meeting
While John and I were generally of like mind on the issues, I thought the meeting was horrible. I can only hope that John's greater experience of ECF mechanisms means that his more optimistic view of how matters will unfold is justified.


It was better then last year one lol

I felt that there were three active factions at yesterday's AGM.

1. Those still trying to carry on unfinished business ( as they see it ) from a year ago. Phil Ehr unsurprisingly made the first contribution from the floor, lamenting the ECF's diminishing credibility and commending Malcolm Pein for his efforts to reverse this. They spoke to nearly every item on the agenda, saying largely the same thing every time. One topic which did resound was the failure of the Board to communicate with members, though their view that the old forum had been the solution was met with weary silence.

2. The Member Representatives, and a few others, who had to some extent managed to canvass their members. They had found that the Board's plan to expend far greater resources on international chess, funded by fee increases, did not command much support among club members. This was, of course, merely a confirmation of the last Finance Meeting, where this plan was given the thumbs down by Council, and there was disappointment that it had just reappeared almost unchanged.

3. The Board. They are absolutely determined that the Olympiad team is a top priority, supported as necessary by membership fees. We were told at length and several times over that club members "had to decide" what sort of ECF they wanted. Bleatings from the floor that they had been asked, and had expressed a different view from the Board's, were not even acknowledged. From some parts of the top table, I felt that the bringers of unwelcome news were pretty much being spat at.

As to financing of international chess, there was a very unsatisfactory divergence within the Board. The International Director, re-elected nem con for three years, has given his assurance that he has obtained very substantial sponsorship which he expects to be maintained in the future. There is, however, no mention of this in the financial plan, where increased international spending is matched by increased fees. This makes no sense.

note : the FD offered to change the presentation of the numbers so it would be less apparent that increased fee income matched increased international outgo. That is not the solution.

It was noted that the current year's Budget included nothing for the sponsorship support for last month's Olympiad campaign. The Director of Finance replied that he could not do that because he hadn't seen the money yet. During the stunned silence following that reply the meeting moved on to the next item, but it is extraordinary. If he is confident that the money will be received, then there is no reason for it to be left out of the Budget. I feel that we are missing some important piece of information.
When will we see this info??
Any postings on here represent my personal views only

Mark Jordan
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Re: ECF elections 2016 Boards report

Post by Mark Jordan » Sun Oct 16, 2016 6:02 pm

Bob Kane wrote:Subject: C25.6.1 The Board’s Report ~communication improvement claims

Just for the record my comments in bold

"One area for which the Board as a whole, rather than any individual Director, has ownership is that of communication. The Board has made great efforts to improve performance in this regard. A Publicity Officer has been appointed, ( Mark was recruited in August 2015 the appointment confirmed by the Board 18th Sept 2015) a new email database has been set up so that the Board can communicate directly with league and congress organisers, the ECF forum has been closed down, a new monthly e-newsletter has been implemented to replace Chess Moves, ( the previous revamped chess moves had 4/6 pages of games and downloadable PGNs + popular member offers, new in chess , informators etc, this "new" newsletter is a poor substitute ) much more use is being made of social media such as Twitter and Facebook ( not true since the Board got rid of the social media manager the tweets have drastically reduced in Quality and quantity), and an Ask the Directors facility has been implemented so that members (and indeed anyone else) can interact directly with Directors. ( so you can now send a private email to a director,(wow !) this effectively curtails any public discussion of contentious issues)Much work remains to be done in this area (including a long overdue upgrading of the ECF website) but, as the saying has it, “every journey begins with a single step”.

hardly an improvement in communication, rather a dismantling of the existing communication tools


Bob Kane
Hi Bob

Some points of correction.

I am in fact the Publicity Manager rather than Publicity Officer, as was discussed when I first took on the role and as it appears on the list of directors and officers. I've also occasionally been referred to as the Publicity Director! This is a minor point but it seems sensible to stick to the job title that was agreed.

"Chess Moves", certainly in the issues I went through after taking up my post, was almost all copied existing items from the website with the only constant exception being Gary Lane's book reviews. The eNewsletter has generally included far more original material and new features which did not appear in Chess Moves as well as links to the website and links elsewhere. It seems to have been received very positively and I'm getting contributions of material from a number of sources which was never the case with "Chess Moves!. Having said that, the last issue was below par with very little original stuff, mainly due to the fact that a put the material together and do all the editing by myself and I had too many other things on my plate last month, but it will improve again in future issues with more new material and should continue to improve as the format settles down.

When I started in my role FB was rarely updated and Twitter was active but did not always reflect the ECF view on particular issues and got us into some controversies every now and then. FB is now updated almost every day (sometimes 2 or 3 times a day) and the number of people reading items there has increased 10-fold. Phil Makepeace had always concentrated on Twitter and had achieved an impressive following but left us by mutual agreement a few months ago. However, my attempts to keep Twitter going were not terribly successful since, as I soon discovered, it required my being almost constantly Twittering away for which I simply did not have the time. Phil has now returned to us with a slightly amended brief and, since his own work outside ECF seems to require him to always be a click away form Twitter, it is now far more active again.

The "Ask the Directors" is a means by which the Board can be directly and swiftly available to the membership and anyone else who goes to the trouble of asking a question. It was explicitly stated when it was set up that questions of general interest (including controversial ones) will be made public on the website as will response times. I am also hoping that it will assist in constructing a Q&A page. If someone asks something they would prefer to be confidential they have an option of saying so and their wish would be honoured although, I would suggest, such questions would be best communicated by ordinary email. In any case, questions will be anonymised on the website. We didn't have much take-up in the first couple of months and some of the questions were so specific as not to be of general interest but we now have over 100 questions and answers and I'm hoping to go public on these in the next couple of weeks. If any of the questions and answers are considered controversial than they will no doubt generate discussion on here and elsewhere.

The feedback I have received so far has been generally positive but that is no excuse for complacency as there's much more to do!

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: ECF elections 2016

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Sun Oct 16, 2016 6:47 pm

NickFaulks wrote: 1. Those still trying to carry on unfinished business ( as they see it ) from a year ago. Phil Ehr unsurprisingly made the first contribution from the floor, lamenting the ECF's diminishing credibility and commending Malcolm Pein for his efforts to reverse this. They spoke to nearly every item on the agenda, saying largely the same thing every time. One topic which did resound was the failure of the Board to communicate with members, though their view that the old forum had been the solution was met with weary silence.

2. The Member Representatives, and a few others, who had to some extent managed to canvass their members. They had found that the Board's plan to expend far greater resources on international chess, funded by fee increases, did not command much support among club members. This was, of course, merely a confirmation of the last Finance Meeting, where this plan was given the thumbs down by Council, and there was disappointment that it had just reappeared almost unchanged.

3. The Board. They are absolutely determined that the Olympiad team is a top priority, supported as necessary by membership fees. We were told at length and several times over that club members "had to decide" what sort of ECF they wanted. Bleatings from the floor that they had been asked, and had expressed a different view from the Board's, were not even acknowledged. From some parts of the top table, I felt that the bringers of unwelcome news were pretty much being spat at.
I'm acutely aware I'm quoting a report of the meeting by an observer and not any official report or a comment by Phil Ehr and known associates BUT `diminishing credibility`!??? Surely the ECF's credibility was at its lowest during the Gerry Walsh years and the Chess for Schools fiasco and has (albeit bumpily) increased ever since. This time last year there was talk of a `meltdown` that has rather embarrassingly (for those who predicted it) failed to happen.

Moving on to the wider issues it does seem to me that the board can't win. Going back a decade or so, when the English team sunk to an absolute low on the Olympiad and the ECF council responded by spending hours discussing domestic issues, a very respected journalist absolutely lambasted them in a national newspaper (one assumes he wasn't deluged with mail from `ordinary` chess players telling him he was wrong). International chess does matter as the showcase for the national game; amateur chess is unlikely to generate headlines and publicity. It is true that a lot of club players (trust me, I've had this argument) don't like their membership going on international chess, largely in the mistaken belief that top players are rolling in money.

Communication will always be a difficult one. It is not the fault of the board that so few members choose to use the means of communication open to them (not just Ask the Directors and Direct Membership representatives but I assume critical letters in Chess, BCM and national newspapers would elicit right of reply).
Controller - Yorkshire League
Chairman - Harrogate Chess Club
All views expressed entirely my own

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: ECF elections 2016

Post by Carl Hibbard » Sun Oct 16, 2016 7:15 pm

We had 501 users yesterday from the UK but chess players who knows?
Cheers
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF elections 2016

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Oct 16, 2016 10:05 pm

JustinHorton wrote: Are any of these people employed by Malcolm in any capacity?
Given the sustained demand by CSC for tutors, doesn't this include almost everyone making part of a living from chess?

LawrenceCooper
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Re: ECF elections 2016

Post by LawrenceCooper » Sun Oct 16, 2016 10:09 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
JustinHorton wrote: Are any of these people employed by Malcolm in any capacity?
Given the sustained demand by CSC for tutors, doesn't this include almost everyone making part of a living from chess?
http://www.chessinschools.co.uk/profiles.htm

Brendan O'Gorman
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Re: ECF elections 2016

Post by Brendan O'Gorman » Sun Oct 16, 2016 10:21 pm


Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF elections 2016

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Oct 17, 2016 1:08 am

NickFaulks wrote: We were told at length and several times over that club members "had to decide" what sort of ECF they wanted.
That question has been asked before. In the absence of a set of reasoned options, Directors and CEOs are never going to get an answer.

The pragmatic answer is that the ECF should do the same this year as it did last year. As variously noted, there is a fault line on how much or how little should be spent on International chess. You could try a comparison with mainstream sports. When the English chess team was finishing a consistent second to the USSR in the 1980s, that was a better performance than the football team. More recently the Olympiad performances are best forgotten, but ninth on tie break outscores failing to qualify for the last 16.


The ECF has a privileged monopoly position, being recognised by the UK Government, UK sporting and recreational bodies and FIDE as the national governing body for chess in England. Any answers to "what is the ECF for?" have to take this into account.

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JustinHorton
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Re: ECF elections 2016

Post by JustinHorton » Mon Oct 17, 2016 10:11 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
JustinHorton wrote: Are any of these people employed by Malcolm in any capacity?
Given the sustained demand by CSC for tutors, doesn't this include almost everyone making part of a living from chess?
To a degree it surely does, but it's an ongoing curiosity that the people concerned seem to think they have no conflicts of interest.
Last edited by JustinHorton on Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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JustinHorton
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Re: ECF elections 2016

Post by JustinHorton » Mon Oct 17, 2016 10:15 am

Andrew Zigmond wrote: Moving on to the wider issues it does seem to me that the board can't win.
I am sure this is uncontroversially true but at the same time, saying so doesn't help us to understand any given question or controversy, let alone resolve it.
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John Upham
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Re: ECF elections 2016

Post by John Upham » Mon Oct 17, 2016 11:00 am

Roger de Coverly wrote: When the English chess team was finishing a consistent second to the USSR in the 1980s, that was a better performance than the football team. More recently the Olympiad performances are best forgotten, but ninth on tie break outscores failing to qualify for the last 16.

In those days England (and the rest of the world) competed against the USSR A team.

Nowadays we compete versus the ex-USSR A, B, C, D, E, F and G (etc) teams disguised as other countries. Of course China has emerged to challenge Russia and the other ex-USSR teams.

In table tennis there are more players from China playing for countries other than China than Chinese players representing China. This trend will continue we have

China A, B, C, D etc contesting team table tennis.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF elections 2016

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Oct 17, 2016 11:10 am

John Upham wrote: Nowadays we compete versus the ex-USSR A, B, C, D, E, F and G (etc) teams disguised as other countries.

That applies to all sports rather than just chess. There's also ex-Yugoslavia A, B, C etc.

In chess, the Scots, Welsh (and Irish) have never had any inclination to field teams that might have also been England B, England C etc.

John Reyes
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Re: ECF elections 2016

Post by John Reyes » Mon Oct 17, 2016 1:02 pm

It was an Fun meeting, as it was better then last year Problems

this is just my views

I sat with nick, Michael and Angus as they just like the normal chess player, who cares about the chess.

I thought John Foley Address to the committee was lost as he attack Mike Truran in front of the people!
also Chris Fagan Question to Mike Truran in which he managed to be un professional just show that some of the members are out of touch with the Direct Members!!

I think Peter Hornsby did a good job and I hope that the Board managed to offer him a role in the future as he would be good for Business.

Steve Woodhouse will be good for the ECF

Also I feel that some rep need to remember that we there for the bigger picture, and not try to have cheap pop to the board and also how long that they are going to be on the board.

Also the Board’s Strategy Statement need looking at, but having a go that men was not included was a bit petty, as we need more junior and woman in chess.

I feel that angus and nick and Michael did a wonderful job asking question in the financial report and hope to here that the information that was missing will be there at the April Meeting

also there are some good people in the board and we should try and get behind them, like Tracy Whitfield, Julian Clissord etc

on a final note, John Philpott will be a massive lost for the ECF and I hope that the ECF will do something for him like a award fit for him

john reyes
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Jonathan Bryant
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Re: ECF elections 2016 Boards report

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Mon Oct 17, 2016 1:35 pm

Mark Jordan wrote:... Phil Makepeace had always concentrated on Twitter and had achieved an impressive following but left us by mutual agreement a few months ago.

Really? That’s not how it looked to the outsider.

There was certainly nothing on the twitter feed prior to the change that made it look like Phil was ready to hang up his tweets.

The frequency of tweeting was certainly a problem thereafter. As was the quality.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF elections 2016 Boards report

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Oct 17, 2016 1:43 pm

Jonathan Bryant wrote: There was certainly nothing on the twitter feed prior to the change that made it look like Phil was ready to hang up his tweets.
Communication again. If you didn't follow detailed changes to ECF managers, you would not have been aware that he was no longer behind the ecfchess handle. There is, or perhaps was, an alert that something had changed on that page at the ECF site. The changes are more often than not just routine.

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