Development Officer Proposal Paper - Discuss

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
Brian Towers
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Development Officer Proposal Paper - Discuss

Post by Brian Towers » Sun Oct 14, 2018 12:45 pm

The ECF published this paper at the last minute before the AGM with the result that most delegates hadn't had the chance to read it let alone get feedback from the members they represented and so making discussion of its points difficult.

It is quite long, 11 pages, and seems to adopt a "let's throw everything at the Wall and see what sticks" approach, but nevertheless has a lot of good ideas worth thinking about. No doubt there are also good ideas it misses.

Some of them are simple and obvious, like summer chess. When I came back to the UK 3 years ago one of my top priorities was to find a local chess club. I chose South Shields partly because the board 2 of the Sunderland YMCA team I played for on board 6 in the early 70's was a member but mostly because they meet all year round with several players turning up during the summer months to play casual chess. This is a stark contrast to less successful clubs in the area which are only active or even open between late September and early April.

There is a lot of low hanging fruit which this paper identifies.
Ah, but I was so much older then. I'm younger than that now.

benedgell
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Re: Development Officer Proposal Paper - Discuss

Post by benedgell » Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:45 pm

Haven't had a chance to read this yet, but one comment about the Development Officer from one of the leagues I represent: "How much of this is going to be a person telling us what to do, and us doing the work? They could just give us the money to fund ideas we have, seeing as we're the ones paying for it."

Brian Towers
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Re: Development Officer Proposal Paper - Discuss

Post by Brian Towers » Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:43 pm

benedgell wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:45 pm
Haven't had a chance to read this yet, but one comment about the Development Officer from one of the leagues I represent: "How much of this is going to be a person telling us what to do, and us doing the work? They could just give us the money to fund ideas we have, seeing as we're the ones paying for it."
Sadly that curmudgeonly attitude sums a lot of what is wrong with English chess. A lot of the initiatives and suggestions cost time and effort but not money. For instance, over the summer, bored with playing the same openings against the same 2 or 3 people every Thursday I organized a series of themed blitz tournaments. No prizes, no entry fee, no rating/grading (article 2.3 of the FIDE Laws of Chess is a stumbling block). They were very successful. On one level a couple of new players have joined the club, one of them a returning player who is England's lowest rated player to ever appear in the top 100 of a FIDE rating list. We also had players from other clubs come and play as well. Tim (Forest Hall) made a special effort to come and thrash us all when the theme was his favourite Trompowsky.

South Shields chairman, Eddie Czestochowski, teamed up with Tim to get local councils in South Shields and Newcastle to allow us to run chess afternoons on a regular basis in local libraries. For the moment we are providing sets and boards on a temporary basis but then CSC are going to provide them on a more permanent basis. This doesn't cost ECF members a penny. No money involved just some time and effort from club members to support, after the initial effort by Eddie and Tim. We recognize one or two of the people who come along. One of them, a single mother and her daughter, was a South Shields member a few years ago but she can't play evenings. Most of them people we haven't seen before.
Ah, but I was so much older then. I'm younger than that now.

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Development Officer Proposal Paper - Discuss

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:49 pm

I've now had the chance to digest the paper in detail. In some ways there is very little here that hasn't already been suggested or indeed tried already (the paper acknowledges some examples). A fair few ideas are things I've actually tried locally, with limited success. Which takes me on to Ben's comment.
benedgell wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:45 pm
Haven't had a chance to read this yet, but one comment about the Development Officer from one of the leagues I represent: "How much of this is going to be a person telling us what to do, and us doing the work? They could just give us the money to fund ideas we have, seeing as we're the ones paying for it."
Obviously local players will do the organisation on the ground but the where DO could make a big difference is in a) publicity muscle - getting into the local paper can be hard and b) providing the `how to` and training materials and guides for best practice. Of course, if you have prior experience (for example as a teacher) you may not need this but for a lot of players a simple structure to work to could be useful. There is also talk of funding available but this would need to be for chess development; some established local organisers might wish to obtain funding just to bolster established events.

One question that occurs to me is whether council members are the people to deliver this. A lot of council vote holders (generally those with a constituency rather than those without - you might expect it to be the other way around) are defenders of the status quo. To be fair I'm not suggesting that they are averse to chess development but only as long as it doesn't infringe upon ways of working that date back to the nineteen seventies. For progress to be made the ECF and the DO need to reach out to young innovators like Peter Hornsby and Hok Yin Stephen Chiu rather than relying on county union stalwarts who are only interested in their heritage events.

Finally the paper does have a throwaway comment about `saving the county championships`. I'm waiting for that particular lead balloon to drop ...
Last edited by Andrew Zigmond on Sun Oct 14, 2018 6:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Paul Cooksey
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Re: Development Officer Proposal Paper - Discuss

Post by Paul Cooksey » Sun Oct 14, 2018 4:22 pm

The way I think this should have been done is that the Home Director should have put a specific proposal to the Council that he wanted to appoint a Development Officer and would be asking for a budget of 10k gbp. That person would be responsible for working with grassroots organisations to develop chess in line with the ECF strategic objectives.

Council votes yes or no. If the Home Director is unlucky I ask him if that is core or development spend. Possibly other Council members want to know some of the detail. If Council says yes the FD adds to the budget.

The document seems to me the pitch to the HD the post is needed. It is too detailed for Council to respond to sensibly without getting into micro-management.

The Board not Council is the executive. The articles of associate explain it formally. Good if someone like Hok or Stephen sees the proposal and says I'd like to get involved. Really good if the idea is in the public domain long before the Council vote on it so those interested can try to improve it or offer to get involved.

I know at least some of the reasons it didn't happen this way. But I don't think they are good reasons.

Ian Thompson
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Re: Development Officer Proposal Paper - Discuss

Post by Ian Thompson » Sun Oct 14, 2018 4:23 pm

The paper contains the following statement - "The Northern Counties Chess Union AGM has just passed a rule change that allows clubs to play their matches in the NCCU Club Championship online, and the first trial match is set to take place this summer."

Has that trial match taken place, and what did the players think of it?

NickFaulks
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Re: Development Officer Proposal Paper - Discuss

Post by NickFaulks » Sun Oct 14, 2018 4:43 pm

Ian Thompson wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 4:23 pm
The paper contains the following statement - "The Northern Counties Chess Union AGM has just passed a rule change that allows clubs to play their matches in the NCCU Club Championship online, and the first trial match is set to take place this summer."

Has that trial match taken place, and what did the players think of it?
This obviously requires a few new rules. I wonder whether they have been written.

Hok Yin Stephen Chiu
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Re: Development Officer Proposal Paper - Discuss

Post by Hok Yin Stephen Chiu » Sun Oct 14, 2018 4:51 pm

Ian Thompson wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 4:23 pm
The paper contains the following statement - "The Northern Counties Chess Union AGM has just passed a rule change that allows clubs to play their matches in the NCCU Club Championship online, and the first trial match is set to take place this summer."

Has that trial match taken place, and what did the players think of it?
I don't know about that, however York University and Warwick tried it once, if Tim Wall (as many seem to predict) gets Development Officer, perhaps he could run a nice online League, going with perhaps grading caps and several divisions, because I think Warwick basically demolished York, because the rather high graded Dimiter Daskalov played on board one (https://www.facebook.com/groups/warwick ... 9294385871) I could offer to help, if anything comes of this. These kind of things effectively cost nothing to run, but require someone to run..
Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:49 pm
One question that occurs to me is whether council members are the people to deliver this. A lot of council vote holders (generally those with a constituency rather than those without - you might expect it to be the other way around) are defenders of the status quo. To be fair I'm suggesting that they're averse to chess development but only as long as it doesn't infringe upon ways of working that date back to the nineteen seventies. For progress to be made the ECF and the DO need to reach out to young innovators like Peter Hornsby and Hok Yin Stephen Chiu rather than relying on county union stalwarts who are only interested in their heritage events.
I think funding should available to organisers running new Congresses/Rapidplays as a priority, or help improve recently established ones, that's not to say well-established congresses shouldn't get funding if they come up with some widening participation ideas.

@Andrew - very kind of you! I must admit I am a unique creature, I enjoy coming up and driving new ideas, but equally, I have a big appreciation for heritage events too, which is why I get involved in my local league, otherwise, I would just be encouraging young people to play online only, and go to the odd congress and get royally plastered!
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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Development Officer Proposal Paper - Discuss

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Sun Oct 14, 2018 4:54 pm

I like the look of teamer so far. Barnstaple's page is currently nothing to write home about, but I'll put more stuff on it as and when.

Roger Lancaster
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Re: Development Officer Proposal Paper - Discuss

Post by Roger Lancaster » Sun Oct 14, 2018 5:20 pm

It's certainly a useful paper in, if nothing more, serving as a comprehensive reference point for things one should be doing but isn't. Thanks to Tim Wall for taking the trouble to compile it. Trouble at local level is that implementation of every idea would require a decent-sized organising team, whereas at many clubs it's one or at most two people doing most of the work, so it's likely to be a question of first picking the low-hanging fruit.

benedgell
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Re: Development Officer Proposal Paper - Discuss

Post by benedgell » Sun Oct 14, 2018 10:13 pm

Brian Towers wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:43 pm
benedgell wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:45 pm
Haven't had a chance to read this yet, but one comment about the Development Officer from one of the leagues I represent: "How much of this is going to be a person telling us what to do, and us doing the work? They could just give us the money to fund ideas we have, seeing as we're the ones paying for it."
Sadly that curmudgeonly attitude sums a lot of what is wrong with English chess. A lot of the initiatives and suggestions cost time and effort but not money. For instance, over the summer, bored with playing the same openings against the same 2 or 3 people every Thursday I organized a series of themed blitz tournaments. No prizes, no entry fee, no rating/grading (article 2.3 of the FIDE Laws of Chess is a stumbling block). They were very successful. On one level a couple of new players have joined the club, one of them a returning player who is England's lowest rated player to ever appear in the top 100 of a FIDE rating list. We also had players from other clubs come and play as well. Tim (Forest Hall) made a special effort to come and thrash us all when the theme was his favourite Trompowsky.

South Shields chairman, Eddie Czestochowski, teamed up with Tim to get local councils in South Shields and Newcastle to allow us to run chess afternoons on a regular basis in local libraries. For the moment we are providing sets and boards on a temporary basis but then CSC are going to provide them on a more permanent basis. This doesn't cost ECF members a penny. No money involved just some time and effort from club members to support, after the initial effort by Eddie and Tim. We recognize one or two of the people who come along. One of them, a single mother and her daughter, was a South Shields member a few years ago but she can't play evenings. Most of them people we haven't seen before.
It was somewhat unclear from what I originally wrote, but the thrust of the argument was "Is it better having members' money going to someone who will suggest ways we can get more people playing, or given to local leagues who can use the money to implement ideas they already have directly?" A summer theme tournament is great if your club can afford the venue. If your club can only afford the venue for match nights, or for a set number of nights a year, then having the money to have more club nights at a venue might well seem preferable to having someone suggest new initiatives.

Brian Towers
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Re: Development Officer Proposal Paper - Discuss

Post by Brian Towers » Sun Oct 14, 2018 11:44 pm

benedgell wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 10:13 pm
A summer theme tournament is great if your club can afford the venue. If your club can only afford the venue for match nights, or for a set number of nights a year, then having the money to have more club nights at a venue might well seem preferable to having someone suggest new initiatives.
Our venue is a pub. Like a lot if not most venues in this part of the country we have the venue every club night of the year - pubs, working men's clubs, British Legion, community centres. There is no extra monetary cost. The venues would be only too pleased to see more members turning up on more club nights as it would mean more business. Our venue is free with the proviso that we each buy a drink - doesn't have to be alcoholic, the really serious players buy a coffee. The issue, like getting chess started in libraries and community centres, is getting people to do stuff, not money. The role a DO could very usefully play is that of coach/trainer/motivator.
Ah, but I was so much older then. I'm younger than that now.

NickFaulks
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Re: Development Officer Proposal Paper - Discuss

Post by NickFaulks » Mon Oct 15, 2018 2:43 pm

I hope this will open. Before anyone panics, it is from the USCF!

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Development Officer Proposal Paper - Discuss

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:28 pm

NickFaulks wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 2:43 pm
it is from the USCF!
In the USCF context, "development" means fund raising.

Brian Towers
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Re: Development Officer Proposal Paper - Discuss

Post by Brian Towers » Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:13 pm

One sentence which caught my eye was this -
There is also a far smaller proportion of women and girl players in English chess clubs, organisations and tournaments than in many countries in Europe and worldwide.
It is a sentiment often expressed but never, as far as I've seen, backed up with some numbers. I thought I would investigate.

I took the latest rating data from FIDE and did some data crunching. I extracted player counts per federation of all active players and female active players and calculated the percentage female participation rate, limiting to federations with more than 1000 active players. The results are intriguing.
Ah, but I was so much older then. I'm younger than that now.

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