ECF Finance meeting 2018

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
Nick Grey
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Nick Grey » Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:13 pm

I cannot see any items in this part of the budget suggests payments to players, and clearly the intention is some sponsorship.

As much as saying we like to see the top players there are items such as image rights. And their tax returns. Certain matters are confidential.

My tax returns are private, and whilst I may hit a certain threshold that it has to be shown in my employers annual accounts as a number it is not at the levels of those at significant senior levels that are disclosed.

ECF could also (and probably does) have a charitable giving, or make donations to facility (not even necessary just to members). I remember decades of adverts in our chess publications to provide support for an event, provide seconds, coaches, help with expenses.

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Chris Goodall
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Chris Goodall » Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:37 pm

The trouble with evolution is, it only increases fitness if you have evolutionary pressure on you. If you don't, then what you get is mutational meltdown, not evolution.

What would happen if we spun the national team off into a separate company?
Chris Goodall, formerly known as Chris Wardle. ECF Grader for the ancient kingdom of Bernicia (or Northumberland and Durham, if you prefer).
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:45 pm

Chris Goodall wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:37 pm
What would happen if we spun the national team off into a separate company?
The ECF has considered that in recent years. That was in connection with an attempt to get charitable status for the "amateur" ECF. The conclusion was that professional and amateur chess were so tangled together that drawing a boundary was next to impossible.

They ran into the problem that without a captive membership, who would be paying? Possibly there's a problem as to which ECF is the FIDE Affiliate and who pays for the Office.

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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:01 pm

Chris Goodall wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:37 pm
What would happen if we spun the national team off into a separate company?
This has come up before as a fair few of our professional players have expression frustration at being shackled to the whims of club and county players.

There is a very common misconception that professional chess players and grandmasters generally are absolutely rolling in money. While those who were world championship contenders in the day might be quite comfortably off I suspect those who are in the vanguard of international play live more modestly. Other GMs are likely to have to supplement their income from writing and coaching. Within Britain itself where prizes have not kept up with inflation there is not a lot of money in chess and, let's face it, anybody with the intelligence to become a titled player will probably also have the intelligence to be able to earn a lucrative salary elsewhere should they wish.

Let's imagine for a minute that ECF council decided they weren't going to finance the teams for international events. For whatever reason sponsorship proves elusive so there is either no England team or else a very weak one of players who have an alternative source of income and can use the Olympiad as a holiday. It would be a pretty poor shop window for the national game. Those players who would otherwise be selected would then become guns for hire; I don't think it is particularly difficult to switch national allegiance and Scotland and Wales are separate federations.

And it might well be your club that has the wonderkid who is brought to the club by his Dad aged eight and five years on can trash the entire membership in a simultaneous. I'm sure we'd want to give him something to aspire to.

So, as Mike Truran (easily the most capable CEO we've had for generations btw and an unpaid volunteer at that - do we want him to quit) says it's £3 of our annual membership which isn't a big ask really. If we all muck in, concentrate on what we agree on and put a professional front for sponsors (who have a history of being ripped apart by the same people who then moan because we aren't attracting sponsors) we can probably free up that £3 each for other things anyway. If you wanted to be stingy and ask for a rebate you could buy half a pint of beer and a Mars bar with it.

That's where we're at. Deal with it.
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Nick Grey
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Nick Grey » Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:03 pm

I was having problems with the first sentence after my post
On the second sentence we can hardly be a national federation if we do not have individuals and teams entering international competitions.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:52 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:01 pm
Those players who would otherwise be selected would then become guns for hire; I don't think it is particularly difficult to switch national allegiance and Scotland and Wales are separate federations.
Scotland and Wales don't have any money to spend on Grandmasters. Their teams are selected, for the Europeans in particular, on the basis of maximising the ratings, whilst minimising the costs. They aren't that keen on imported hired guns either, otherwise back in the 1980s they could have attempted to field teams that were England 2 and England 3 in all but name.

Paul Cooksey
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Paul Cooksey » Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:55 pm

I believe quite a lot more than £3 of my money goes to chess professionals. Not just because I am a gold member. Also because I imagine quite a high percentage of the junior budget goes on coaching. But at least it is clear where that portion of my membership is going and it is something personally I support.

I am sympathetic with those who would prefer to spend less on professional chess. It feels as an ordinary members that you have minimal influence on how the money is spent. A pity the Council did not ask the International Director to set a budget when he stood for election. As I said at the time, this is not all or nothing. A smaller budget, ensuring we have a team but relying on sponsorship to send the best team is a possibility. As Roger says, other countries manage.

Fundamentally I do not believe in the boards strategy. I do not believe that the things they are spending money on will increase membership in the long term. My feeling is the ECF ought to be streamlining to deal with its demographic timebomb, Of course I would be happy to be proved wrong.

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Chris Goodall
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Chris Goodall » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:02 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:01 pm
Chris Goodall wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:37 pm
What would happen if we spun the national team off into a separate company?
This has come up before as a fair few of our professional players have expression frustration at being shackled to the whims of club and county players.

There is a very common misconception that professional chess players and grandmasters generally are absolutely rolling in money. While those who were world championship contenders in the day might be quite comfortably off I suspect those who are in the vanguard of international play live more modestly. Other GMs are likely to have to supplement their income from writing and coaching. Within Britain itself where prizes have not kept up with inflation there is not a lot of money in chess and, let's face it, anybody with the intelligence to become a titled player will probably also have the intelligence to be able to earn a lucrative salary elsewhere should they wish.

Let's imagine for a minute that ECF council decided they weren't going to finance the teams for international events. For whatever reason sponsorship proves elusive so there is either no England team or else a very weak one of players who have an alternative source of income and can use the Olympiad as a holiday. It would be a pretty poor shop window for the national game. Those players who would otherwise be selected would then become guns for hire; I don't think it is particularly difficult to switch national allegiance and Scotland and Wales are separate federations.

And it might well be your club that has the wonderkid who is brought to the club by his Dad aged eight and five years on can trash the entire membership in a simultaneous. I'm sure we'd want to give him something to aspire to.

So, as Mike Truran (easily the most capable CEO we've had for generations btw and an unpaid volunteer at that - do we want him to quit) says it's £3 of our annual membership which isn't a big ask really. If we all muck in, concentrate on what we agree on and put a professional front for sponsors (who have a history of being ripped apart by the same people who then moan because we aren't attracting sponsors) we can probably free up that £3 each for other things anyway. If you wanted to be stingy and ask for a rebate you could buy half a pint of beer and a Mars bar with it.

That's where we're at. Deal with it.
Not going to deal with it. Because if people actually believed the shop window argument, they would consider it a problem that the women's team finished 32nd. Despite playing in an easier tournament! The women's Olympiad is eminently more winnable than the open Olympiad if you look at the grades of the top teams, so why do we give more money to the men?

"It's not very much" is a red herring. An amount that wasn't very much, wouldn't be missed if we took it away. An amount that wasn't very much would be easy for the actual fans of the national team to put their hands in their pockets and replace.

Kids aspire to being world champion. What kid aspires to finishing 9th in a tournament in Siberia? The team are hardly fighting off the paparazzi, are they. Nigel Short occasionally intrudes into the public consciousness when he's complaining about women. Great role model there.

A game with no paying spectators is an amateur game. Deal with it.
Chris Goodall, formerly known as Chris Wardle. ECF Grader for the ancient kingdom of Bernicia (or Northumberland and Durham, if you prefer).
Newcastle is not in Scotland!

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:03 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:52 pm
Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:01 pm
Those players who would otherwise be selected would then become guns for hire; I don't think it is particularly difficult to switch national allegiance and Scotland and Wales are separate federations.
Scotland and Wales don't have any money to spend on Grandmasters. Their teams are selected, for the Europeans in particular, on the basis of maximising the ratings, whilst minimising the costs. They aren't that keen on imported hired guns either, otherwise back in the 1980s they could have attempted to field teams that were England 2 and England 3 in all but name.
It's a strictly hypothetical scenario (and Scottish and Welsh natives might be a little bit miffed at being dropped in favour of English defectors). My point was that the removal of an England team would allow this to happen. The current England team might not be strong enough to challenge for medals at present but the players aren't so hopeless that other nations wouldn't want them.

And my other point still stands; if we do get a potential superstar rising through the ranks are we really going to force him abroad because every single opportunity is there instead?
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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:06 pm

The women's Olympiad may be easier in terms of its overall standard; it's not easier relative to our players. (Our fifth best player overall has a world ranking of 81; our fifth best female player has a women's world ranking of 711.)

NickFaulks
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by NickFaulks » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:10 pm

Paul Cooksey wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:55 pm
A pity the Council did not ask the International Director to set a budget when he stood for election.
They could hardly do that when he had pre-empted it by assuring us that all funds would be raised by sponsorship and that the process would be crippled if any details regarding how much was raised or how it was disbursed were made public.

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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:11 pm

Chris Goodall wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:02 pm

Kids aspire to being world champion. What kid aspires to finishing 9th in a tournament in Siberia? The team are hardly fighting off the paparazzi, are they. Nigel Short occasionally intrudes into the public consciousness when he's complaining about women. Great role model there.

A game with no paying spectators is an amateur game. Deal with it.
By the same logic football mad kids aspire to putting that winning England goal in the net at the World Cup final. If their talent levels out to the point where the career highlight is a last minute goal taking their team to the third promotion slot in division two so be it.
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Chris Goodall
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Chris Goodall » Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:48 pm

Paul Cooksey wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:55 pm
Fundamentally I do not believe in the boards strategy. I do not believe that the things they are spending money on will increase membership in the long term. My feeling is the ECF ought to be streamlining to deal with its demographic timebomb, Of course I would be happy to be proved wrong.
I played in a tournament with 55,000 other kids in 2001. Some of them will be reaching that early 30s sort of age where they've got a stable job and they need something to do with their evenings cos their friends have all had children and become boring.

Streamlining is something I can get on board with. Streamlining and demystifying and modularising. There are far too many superheroes in chess administration. People who are well aware they're the only one who knows how to do the thing, and have no intention of letting anyone else find out, and when they're asked to describe what they do, deliberately make it sound as complicated as possible.

The ideal official isn't one who the ordinary players look at and think "wow, they're doing an impossible job". The ideal official is one who the ordinary players look at and think "I could do that".

Maybe I'll start a Chess Amateurs and Volunteers Association. Cava - it's identical to champagne except it costs you less!
Chris Goodall, formerly known as Chris Wardle. ECF Grader for the ancient kingdom of Bernicia (or Northumberland and Durham, if you prefer).
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:03 am

Chris Goodall wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:48 pm
There are far too many superheroes in chess administration. People who are well aware they're the only one who knows how to do the thing, and have no intention of letting anyone else find out, and when they're asked to describe what they do, deliberately make it sound as complicated as possible.

The ideal official isn't one who the ordinary players look at and think "wow, they're doing an impossible job". The ideal official is one who the ordinary players look at and think "I could do that".

Maybe I'll start a Chess Amateurs and Volunteers Association. Cava - it's identical to champagne except it costs you less!
Leaving aside the fact that `officials` is a fairly broad term I don't think that's the case at all. Most officials are happy to let somebody else have a go, or at least share the workload. I think they might react a little more waspishly to, `I could do that ten times better than you` or `you're doing it all wrong`. But there is nothing to stop anybody setting up their stall and doing things their way. I wish more people would.

I shall follow the progress of Cava with interest.
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF Finance meeting 2018

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:07 am

Chris Goodall wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:48 pm
I played in a tournament with 55,000 other kids in 2001.
How many are still playing today?

That's the nature of the demographic problem, that from the mid 1960s or earlier up to about the mid 1990s there was a steady stream of new players in the 15-25 age range, after which it dried up.

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