ECF Elections - FIDE Delegate - Poll

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.

Is it ok for Malcolm Pein to be the ECFs FIDE Delegate while actively involved in FIDE politics?

Poll ended at Mon Oct 01, 2018 12:27 pm

Yes, the roles are compatible
4
20%
No, there is a potential conflict of influence
14
70%
Meh, even if it was a problem it wouldn't be big enough to worry about
2
10%
 
Total votes: 20

Jonathan Rogers
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Re: ECF Elections - FIDE Delegate - Poll

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Sat Sep 22, 2018 2:08 pm

Brian Towers wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 1:34 pm
Jonathan Rogers wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 10:03 am
In this instance, it is his position as Editor of CHESS which has taken a hit.

I have been quite taken aback by the nature of his coverage of the FIDE election in his magazine. No room in the magazine has been given, or it would seem even offered, to either of his opponents in order to allow readers a balanced view. Ideally he should not himself be writing editorials on the matter, given his own personal interests, and should have been asking some one else to do so, with his views appearing separately (besides those of his opponents). Of course we do not expect very high standards of impartiality in the closed world of chess as we might do in the BBC, but the CHESS coverage has probably fallen below even our own quite minimal standards.

Fine, if you are a campaigning politician but not if you are editing a chess magazine aimed at a wide, non-partisan audience.
Does the magazine actually make a profit? Or is it the case, as in so much in the world of chess administration, that he is doing us a favour because there is no money in it?
I wouldn't know (and don't know) but I strongly suspect profits are minimal, if even existent, and that the magazine is supported by advertising their own chess books and products. Combining a chess magazine with other chess-related business is, I think, quite common elsewhere in Europe.

But even if he were making on overall loss from the business, would that really mean that he should be free to be as one sided as he likes when editing the country's leading magazine?

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Re: ECF Elections - FIDE Delegate - Poll

Post by JustinHorton » Sat Sep 22, 2018 4:09 pm

Jonathan Rogers wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 1:59 pm

Probably you are thinking more of BCM than CHESS here.
Up to a point, yes, and historically definitely so, but I wonder how much Malcolm-era CHESS has actually covered the scandals that the BCM systematically leaves out.
Jonathan Rogers wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 2:08 pm
would that really mean that he should be free to be as one sided as he likes when editing the country's leading magazine?
In my view yes, and the quid pro quo is that observers need to be aware that he does this, and say so.
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Re: ECF Elections - FIDE Delegate - Poll

Post by Roger Lancaster » Sat Sep 22, 2018 9:28 pm

If one reads a Boris Johnson article in the Daily Telegraph, or a John McDonnell piece in the Guardian for that matter, one notes the byline and doesn't expect total objectivity. I'd suggest that it's a fact of life that people with an axe to grind will take steps to communicate their views. What would, I suggest, have been more insidious would have been a piece inspired by Malcolm but omitting his byline and presented as objective editorial.

The separate fact that Malcolm is not simply a contributor but editor, and therefore able to influence editorial policy, is however slightly uncomfortable. There isn't a 100% parallel but think George Osborne. Nevertheless, worse things will happen in this campaign.

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Re: ECF Elections - FIDE Delegate - Poll

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Sun Sep 23, 2018 12:51 pm

Roger Lancaster wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 9:28 pm
If one reads a Boris Johnson article in the Daily Telegraph, or a John McDonnell piece in the Guardian for that matter, one notes the byline and doesn't expect total objectivity.
And media oligarchs, perhaps most notably Rupert Murdoch, use the publications they own to influence public opinion in order to protect their own interests. Having reread Malcolm Pein's comments on the FIDE elections he states that he is on one of the tickets so his interest is declared; it would be very naive reader who thinks that his subsequent comments are without bias. It's also worth noting that when Malcolm has made partisan interventions in the past (for example concerning the resignations of Martin Regan and later Andrew Paulson) he has given those he criticised right of reply.

It's also worth noting that the editorial is not exactly going to change anything. Readers of Chess only have a very indirect say in the decision and that's just the ones who are ECF members.
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Re: ECF Elections - FIDE Delegate - Poll

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Sun Sep 23, 2018 3:08 pm

Above points all taken. But I made my original comments in response to the question how many hats can anyone wear at the same time; and so rather than referring to the general lack of objectivity in editorials, which is certainly not so unusual and is indeed reasonably obvious in Malcolm's case, I meant to refer to the total disapprearance of objectivity when it crosses with his political ambitions. As Andrew notes above, he has at least offered criticised people a right to reply in the past, but apparently not so this time.

A better way of testing the multiple hats point would be to look at the Telegraph coverage, since here a requirement of objectvity is much more obvious, but I don't read the Telegraph and for obvious reasons would not expect scrupulous journalism to be a concern of theirs in any event.

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Re: ECF Elections - FIDE Delegate - Poll

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Sun Sep 23, 2018 3:15 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 12:51 pm
....
It's also worth noting that the editorial is not exactly going to change anything. Readers of Chess only have a very indirect say in the decision and that's just the ones who are ECF members.
Well, why make all his effort, then? It is read abroad, and could be expected to create an atomosphere in which the ECF would find it harder not to endorse the Makro ballot, support which, as we have seen, has obvious political capital for them.

And yet, what policy have we seen (for any candidate) which may well most obviously benefit English chess? Quite possibly, it is that to abolish rip - off accommodation costs for official events, which apply not only to junior events but all sorts of others, eg European Club Cup*, which would benefit English players who tend to lack domestic support for such events. A policy of Dvorkovich, no less, and one which could not plausibly be one of Makro after all these years of exploitation.

* I am hazy on FIDE's formal influence on such events - perhaps it is non-existent - but I assume that in practice considerable pressure could be applied.

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Re: ECF Elections - FIDE Delegate - Poll

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Sep 23, 2018 4:50 pm

Jonathan Rogers wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 3:15 pm
* I am hazy on FIDE's formal influence on such events - perhaps it is non-existent - but I assume that in practice considerable pressure could be applied.
The easy way to do this would be to remove from tournament regulations all mention of requirements to stay at official hotels unless the organisers are paying the hotel bills.

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Re: ECF Elections - FIDE Delegate - Poll

Post by Alex Holowczak » Sun Sep 23, 2018 5:08 pm

Jonathan Rogers wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 3:15 pm
And yet, what policy have we seen (for any candidate) which may well most obviously benefit English chess? Quite possibly, it is that to abolish rip - off accommodation costs for official events, which apply not only to junior events but all sorts of others, eg European Club Cup*, which would benefit English players who tend to lack domestic support for such events. A policy of Dvorkovich, no less, and one which could not plausibly be one of Makro after all these years of exploitation.

(...)

* I am hazy on FIDE's formal influence on such events - perhaps it is non-existent - but I assume that in practice considerable pressure could be applied.
Non-existent. As the name suggests, the European Club Cup is a European event, and not a world event. As such, it is the domain of the European Chess Union.

Even then, their influence is weak, I suspect. Unlike the ECF and the British Chess Championships, the event is tendered out rather than organised centrally.

You can download the bids from the ECU website: http://www.europechess.org/events/biddi ... 2017-2018/

The cost of accommodation is included as part of the bid, so anyone is free to read the accommodation rates that are normally offered, and make a bid in future that competes favourably with the rates shown there.

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Re: ECF Elections - FIDE Delegate - Poll

Post by Roger Lancaster » Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:30 pm

"The easy way to do this would be to remove from tournament regulations all mention of requirements to stay at official hotels unless the organisers are paying the hotel bills"

Of course. Organisers will contend that they can obtain the playing hall and surroundings at a cheaper price from the hotel if, in return, they can guarantee paying guests at said hotel. That's probably literally true. But it occurs through an extra cost being transferred from the organisers to the competitors who consequently pay over-the-top prices due to the hotel's monopoly position. That's something in which the organisers are typically acquiescent, even if they are not actually taking a commission.

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Re: ECF Elections - FIDE Delegate - Poll

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:43 pm

Roger Lancaster wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:30 pm
Organisers will contend that they can obtain the playing hall and surroundings at a cheaper price from the hotel if, in return, they can guarantee paying guests at said hotel.
That how the 4NCL has operated for twenty years when it first took up repeated use of the Birmingham Moat House hotel. It should go without saying that the price has to be comparable with or cheaper than what you might find with a web search or phoning the hotel directly.

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Re: ECF Elections - FIDE Delegate - Poll

Post by Roger Lancaster » Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:50 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:43 pm
That how the 4NCL has operated for twenty years when it first took up repeated use of the Birmingham Moat House hotel. It should go without saying that the price has to be comparable with or cheaper than what you might find with a web search or phoning the hotel directly.
I'm not an expert on 4NCL history but, with this proviso, yes, obviously. Current 4NCL practice seems to me very reasonable.

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Re: ECF Elections - FIDE Delegate - Poll

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Mon Sep 24, 2018 12:31 am

I don't think Malcolm is making any particular `effort. His editorial always has the tagline `on the latest developments in the game` and the election of a new FIDE president is certainly a big story and given his place on one of the tickets he would look a bit silly trying to be studiously neutral. As for the lack of any `right of reply` on this occasion I can only assume that Nigel Short has chosen not to ask for a response to be published, probably because he has other platforms.

Some people will have seen that @timeschess (aka Raymond Keene) on twitter has reacted angrily to the ECF's decision not to vote for Nigel Short and has called for `the out of touch ECF elite to be impeached and kicked out of office`. He is entitled to his opinion although I suspect if most ECF members were given a vote between Malcolm Pein and Nigel Short (obviously they're not standing directly against each other) then Malcolm would win.

Returning to the main question I don't think that Malcolm's role as FIDE delegate is necessarily a problem at this stage. I can't speak with any great authority but I believe that the role of the FIDE delegate is to represent the ECF and English players within FIDE and not all of this work happens on the conference floor (in a similar way Theresa May represents her Maidenhead constituents in parliament despite being Prime Minister). In any case Malcolm hasn't actually been elected yet. If he is he may have to relinquish some of his hats but obviously can't do so until he knows he is elected. Again, there are parallels in wider politics - most United States presidential candidates have a gubernatorial or congressional role they resign if elected.

Finally it will be interesting to know if the ECF direct members representatives have been inundated with complaints about the ECF's failure to support Nigel Short. I'm personally more interested in the chess development paper that was presented at the last board meeting.
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Re: ECF Elections - FIDE Delegate - Poll

Post by Michael Farthing » Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:56 am

As you express an interest, Andrew, this direct member representative has not received a single Email about the FIDE elections.

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Re: ECF Elections - FIDE Delegate - Poll

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:30 am

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 12:31 am
I don't think Malcolm is making any particular `effort. His editorial always has the tagline `on the latest developments in the game` and the election of a new FIDE president is certainly a big story and given his place on one of the tickets he would look a bit silly trying to be studiously neutral. As for the lack of any `right of reply` on this occasion I can only assume that Nigel Short has chosen not to ask for a response to be published, probably because he has other platforms.
"he would look a bit silly trying to be studiously neutral"

Never suggested that. Suggestions included asking someone else to write editorials on the matter, or to allow rights of reply.

"on this occasion I can only assume that Nigel Short has chosen not to ask for a response to be published"

.... in which case, normal practice would be to state that he was offered the chance and had declined to take it up.

I wondered at first why anyone could possibly "only assume", in the teeth of the evidence, that Nigel had been offered space in CHESS. Then I remembered that when Paulson's presidency of the ECF was at issue, you, Andrew, said that Malcom Pein's view must be all-important. Though in the event, Malcolm supported Paulson and retracted that support four months later on the basis of information that he would seemingly have known all along.

Sorry to drag that up, but it is one of Malcolm's episodes which I have found hard to forget in recent weeks, and I shouldn't be too surprised if we see a change in heart in the coming years if Makro wins.

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Re: ECF Elections - FIDE Delegate - Poll

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:35 am

Michael Farthing wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:56 am
As you express an interest, Andrew, this direct member representative has not received a single Email about the FIDE elections.
I don't see the ECF Board as having gone out of its way to publicise the FIDE election, possibly because of its own internal divisions, but those now critical of the ECF Board's decision didn't do anything pre-emptive to anticipate or influence it.

The only way dissent can now be voiced is by "none of the above" votes at the forthcoming AGM. With three year terms, even "none of the above" votes are potentially less influential.

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