Poll: Is the ECF doing a good job?

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.

Is the ECF doing a good job?

Poll ended at Wed May 31, 2017 9:42 pm

Yes
23
53%
No
20
47%
 
Total votes: 43

NickFaulks
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Re: Poll: Is the ECF doing a good job?

Post by NickFaulks » Sat May 27, 2017 11:37 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
NickFaulks wrote: Kasparov's right hand man Ignatius Leong was the prime mover and enforcer.
In 2008, he was Kirsan's and FIDE's prime mover and enforcer as chief arbiter at the Olympiad.
That remains unclear.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Poll: Is the ECF doing a good job?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun May 28, 2017 7:24 am

NickFaulks wrote: That remains unclear.
2008 was within the lifetime of this forum.

This is what we thought about it at the time.

http://www.ecforum.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=514

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Michael Farthing
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Re: Poll: Is the ECF doing a good job?

Post by Michael Farthing » Sun May 28, 2017 7:32 am

IM Jack Rudd wrote:
Michael Farthing wrote:
IM Jack Rudd wrote: (You really do not want to run membership schemes where fees are proportional to activity. The admin overload of doing that is ridiculous.)
Umm.. Seems to work OK for beer, gas, electricity, petrol, bread, games of putting, theatre visits, sausage rolls, taxi rides, trips to brothels, haircuts, bed and breakfast, the timed slalem run on piste 79 at Madonna di Campiglio, bridge evenings (as afore mentioned) and perhaps one or two other things also.
Those are mostly not membership schemes, they are sales of goods and services. Where, typically, the provider is also the organization being funded by the purchase. Chess in England doesn't work like that.
This is saying nothing Jack. All you have said is to describe what happens: the central chess organisation is financed through an annual fee rather than direct charges for each purchase (a graded game). We know that. You haven't explained why doing it that way is better. In my (flippant) list of examples the crucial one is bridge which does it the other way and is pretty comparable to chess.

The current structure is actually largely designed to achieve precisely what I am suggesting through the back door: keener players are charged more by making some of the keener actvities (congresses and internationals) cost more. I would rather we were explicit about it, mainly because I think the current structure has problems with disincentives. I am not saying it has to be calculated down to individual game level (though that might have been the impression I gave).

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Poll: Is the ECF doing a good job?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun May 28, 2017 7:53 am

Michael Farthing wrote:keener players are charged more by making some of the keener actvities (congresses and internationals) cost more.
It's a very crude measure, if someone upgrades from playing one tournament a year to playing one tournament a month, that doesn't trigger any extra revenue to the ECF. Similarly if they play in multiple leagues rather than just one.

NickFaulks
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Re: Poll: Is the ECF doing a good job?

Post by NickFaulks » Sun May 28, 2017 10:21 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:This is what we thought about it at the time.
Precisely, but that discussion was based on a false premise. Like other crazy ideas that emerged from the 2008 Congress, it was never going to happen and it didn't happen.

The reason why I started contributing to this forum was that nobody here seemed to understand how FIDE works.

Alex McFarlane
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Re: Poll: Is the ECF doing a good job?

Post by Alex McFarlane » Sun May 28, 2017 10:35 am

Chess Scotland raises a large part of its revenue from game fees with relatively few problems.

The problem with the old ECF system was its complexity with various exemptions and variable fees dependent on status, etc.
Rather than decluttering this the ECF went for compulsory membership.

In Scotland the calculation is relatively simple. If a congress allows CS members a discount on their entry fee it pays x pence per game or with no discount it pays y pence a game. So for a 5 round congress the organiser simply adds 5x or 5y to the entry fee.

For congresses early in the season the current ECF system is a nightmare and leads to many queries when the ECF presents its bill. This is caused by the status of players being unclear as many still do not enter directly but possibly via their club. These fees are not always passed on to the ECF until near the November deadline leaving the organiser no way to check if the membership claim is correct.

Jonathan Bryant
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Re: Poll: Is the ECF doing a good job?

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Sun May 28, 2017 1:49 pm

IM Jack Rudd wrote:The other number you can work with is the 15323 people on the ECF grading list. Again, much smaller than comparable FRA and GER numbers.

What I'm not sure is what the ECF could do about it.
[my bold]

We seem to have moved on a bit, but I think Jack’s last point here is pretty important. It’s what I was trying to get at by asking about what would be a par ECF performance.

Simply comparing numbers - here and board; here/now and here/before - is absurd without considering what those numbers actually mean. We might end up considering that the ECF is under-performing but we might well end up thinking, "well, given the circumstances that comparison doesn’t actually reflect that badly on the ECF." We might even conclude the ECF is over-performing given the context it faces.

What I’m not sure about is how exactly you make that judgement and how, therefore, what we might consider to be an 'average' performance level.

Jonathan Bryant
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Re: Poll: Is the ECF doing a good job?

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Sun May 28, 2017 1:55 pm

Carl Hibbard wrote:A reasonable job yes but accountability not so much.
[my bold]


This is the one exception, to my "I’m not sure" conclusion. I think it’s more than fair to say that since I got started playing chess in the mid 80s, by any conceivable standard the ECF has not been good at engaging/involving those who it chose to make members nor at making itself relevant to them. The issue of accountability and OMOV/democracy is a reflection of that.

I’m afraid, the feeling I’ve had over the past 30 or so years is that the ECF is a club for a certain type (or types, perhaps) of people. A club with from it’s quite hard to get yourself uninvolved other than by personal choice.

Worth remembering, I think, that the utter shambles that was the CJ de Mooi Presidency did not end with him getting the boot.

In this context it’s also worth remembering that it’s two years to the day that this view was expressed by somebody undertaking ECF business:-
"The view has been expressed that most of the nominated players are white. The committee did not notice this. I think that demonstrates we are not biased."

Alex Holowczak
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Re: Poll: Is the ECF doing a good job?

Post by Alex Holowczak » Sun May 28, 2017 2:31 pm

Alex McFarlane wrote:For congresses early in the season the current ECF system is a nightmare and leads to many queries when the ECF presents its bill. This is caused by the status of players being unclear as many still do not enter directly but possibly via their club. These fees are not always passed on to the ECF until near the November deadline leaving the organiser no way to check if the membership claim is correct.
I don't find it to be a "nightmare". I organise a Rapidplay in the middle of October. For those who it has effected, I've been sent the list of names submitted by the club to the MO. I didn't even need to ask for it, the person expected it might be a problem, and e-mailed me in advance of trying to enter! That was good enough for me. If the ECF were to come after me for that £7.50, given the level of pragmatism the Office has shown in such matters, I'd be confident that I wouldn't be charged the £7.50. Around here, pretty much everyone only takes out Bronze membership through the MOs and not Silver or Gold, so they pay the £7.50 whatever happens.

Alex McFarlane
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Re: Poll: Is the ECF doing a good job?

Post by Alex McFarlane » Sun May 28, 2017 3:15 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:I don't find it to be a "nightmare".
Excellent. Can I let Andrew and Maggie Butterworth know that you are willing to take the entries for the Scarborough Congress? I can assure you that from talking to the people who collect the entries for the Northumberland and Scarborough Congresses that the ECF Membership scheme has added considerably to the workload involved.
Alex Holowczak wrote: If the ECF were to come after me for that £7.50, given the level of pragmatism the Office has shown in such matters, I'd be confident that I wouldn't be charged the £7.50
Agreed. The office does a great job on this but has anyone actually calculated the amount of office staff time taken up dealing with amending these invoices. In the case of the Scarborough Congress last year there were, I believe, 10 players whose membership was in dispute. The resolution required a bit of to-ing and fro-ing.
You had one person send you a list of people who had joined through a membership organisation. How many such lists would you expect Scarborough to receive? Not all come through an organisation - as indicated it is common to be told that a player has passed on his membership to his club. Remember that used to be seen as a good way of collecting memberships - club to MO to ECF - some club secretaries still seem to receive ECF memberships.
Alex Holowczak wrote:Around here, pretty much everyone only takes out Bronze membership through the MOs and not Silver or Gold, so they pay the £7.50 whatever happens.
And that actually highlights another problem that I had missed. Casual players still don't know what the required level of membership is (or possibly don't even know what their category is). They assume that taking out membership allows them to play in congresses so the Entries Secretary has to query their entry, requesting the extra entry fee. Getting the money is not usually a problem but the time taken to check and chase is.

As I said earlier, it is MUCH easier to have a game fee which applies to every entrant. I can assure you from experience that the admin on checking entries required to run an event in Scotland is considerably less than to run an equivalent event in England.

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Re: Poll: Is the ECF doing a good job?

Post by Alex Holowczak » Sun May 28, 2017 3:26 pm

Alex McFarlane wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote:I don't find it to be a "nightmare".
Excellent. Can I let Andrew and Maggie Butterworth know that you are willing to take the entries for the Scarborough Congress? I can assure you that from talking to the people who collect the entries for the Northumberland and Scarborough Congresses that the ECF Membership scheme has added considerably to the workload involved.
Alex Holowczak wrote: If the ECF were to come after me for that £7.50, given the level of pragmatism the Office has shown in such matters, I'd be confident that I wouldn't be charged the £7.50
Agreed. The office does a great job on this but has anyone actually calculated the amount of office staff time taken up dealing with amending these invoices. In the case of the Scarborough Congress last year there were, I believe, 10 players whose membership was in dispute. The resolution required a bit of to-ing and fro-ing.
You had one person send you a list of people who had joined through a membership organisation. How many such lists would you expect Scarborough to receive? Not all come through an organisation - as indicated it is common to be told that a player has passed on his membership to his club. Remember that used to be seen as a good way of collecting memberships - club to MO to ECF - some club secretaries still seem to receive ECF memberships.
Alex Holowczak wrote:Around here, pretty much everyone only takes out Bronze membership through the MOs and not Silver or Gold, so they pay the £7.50 whatever happens.
And that actually highlights another problem that I had missed. Casual players still don't know what the required level of membership is (or possibly don't even know what their category is). They assume that taking out membership allows them to play in congresses so the Entries Secretary has to query their entry, requesting the extra entry fee. Getting the money is not usually a problem but the time taken to check and chase is.

As I said earlier, it is MUCH easier to have a game fee which applies to every entrant. I can assure you from experience that the admin on checking entries required to run an event in Scotland is considerably less than to run an equivalent event in England.
Yes, I'm very happy to take entries to Scarborough if paid commensurately with the amount of work involved.

I already take entries for 4NCL Congress events in early September, and early November. I've previously taken entries for other events in September, as well as the Rapidplay I run in October. I doubt they cumulatively get to the levels of Scarborough, but they must number about 300 between them, which is about 2/3 of the number Scarborough get? And I've had the problem once.

Could this just be a geographic issue? Because I just don't experience the problem you've outlined with the 4NCL Congresses, or in local events in Birmingham. I might have someone who mistakenly already thinks they have a membership at the right level, but I haven't noticed this problem more in September than I have in any other month of the year.

Alex McFarlane
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Re: Poll: Is the ECF doing a good job?

Post by Alex McFarlane » Sun May 28, 2017 4:01 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:Yes, I'm very happy to take entries to Scarborough if paid commensurately with the amount of work involved.
Thank you Alex. But didn't you claim there was little work involved? I'm quite happy, from my own pocket, to pay you 10 times the amount that the volunteers I named are getting. I'll even allow you to name your own multiplication factor. :wink:
Let's compromise. The current people will continue to do the entries but you can do the querying of membership levels on their behalf. At your own assessment level of the work involved I will buy you a small bottle of coke to compensate you.

I would need to check but I think Scarborough has about 3-5 entries each year who didn't realise their membership was not at the right level. These are mainly (totally?) in the lower sections where Scarborough does probably attract a significantly higher number of such cases by its nature.

harrylamb
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Re: Poll: Is the ECF doing a good job?

Post by harrylamb » Sun May 28, 2017 5:06 pm

I run the Manchester congress. Which used to be held the weekend after August Bank holiday and straddles the membership year. When the current rules were introduced it was held the last weekend of the old membership year. Then as the calendar moved it entered a period when it was the first weekend of the new membership year. The thought of running it the first weekend of the membership year was too dreadful to consider and I promptly moved the event to mid August when it was firmly in the old membership year
Alex Holowczak wrote:Yes, I'm very happy to take entries to Scarborough if paid commensurately with the amount of work involved.
If I was being paid commensurately with the amount of work involved for the Manchester Congress I too would be "very happy" I would also be considerably richer than I am now. But I am not. I am a volunteer. The work I have to do to run a congress at the start of the membership year is too onerous and the "fines" I would have to pay through getting it wrong are too high. So I moved the congress to a less stressful date.
No taxation without representation

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Michael Farthing
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Re: Poll: Is the ECF doing a good job?

Post by Michael Farthing » Sun May 28, 2017 5:27 pm

Ah.. I've always wondered why I could never find a congress in September. Have been playing with the idea of running one. On second thoughts....

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Poll: Is the ECF doing a good job?

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Sun May 28, 2017 6:35 pm

Michael Farthing wrote:Ah.. I've always wondered why I could never find a congress in September. Have been playing with the idea of running one. On second thoughts....
Ahem. You're not that far from Yorkshire, Michael. The long established Bradford Congress takes place in September, normally on the third weekend. The 4NCL are bringing an event to Doncaster following previous September events in Wakefield and Bolton. The North Chess Fund Harrogate congress is in September as well. You'll need to travel slightly further but I think Northumberland is also in September. So the Northern chess player is spoilt rotten that month.
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