Enquiry: English Chess Association

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Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Enquiry: English Chess Association

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Sat Jan 18, 2014 8:53 pm

JustinHorton wrote:
Andrew Zigmond wrote: I have attempted to advise you that this forum has been threatened with legal action due to comments made about Mr Keene
Just for clarification, Andrew, can you draw our attention to precisely where this has occurred?
Andrew Zigmond wrote: and has led to the credibility of this forum being attacked elsewhere.
Who by, and why does this matter?
A legal threat was mentioned in the Giddins blog although it's not clear whether the letter was actually sent. Around the same time Carl quite decisively shut down a thread concerning Mr Keene and it was assumed the two were connected. Even if it wasn't it sets a precedent - Carl is consistent about what he will and will not accept.
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JustinHorton
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Re: Enquiry: English Chess Association

Post by JustinHorton » Sat Jan 18, 2014 8:57 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:A legal threat was mentioned in the Giddins blog
Are you able to direct our attention to this item?
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

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Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Enquiry: English Chess Association

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:00 pm

JustinHorton wrote:
Andrew Zigmond wrote:A legal threat was mentioned in the Giddins blog
Are you able to direct our attention to this item?
I'm not sure whether this is a trick question or not; however I can't as Steve Giddins has now removed the inactive blog. I believe there is a locked thread on here called `Raymond Keene biography` which may or may not have reference to it. The bottom line is that I have highlighted my concerns to Carl and if he chooses to let this thread stand - it's more the location than the content I'm querying - then I will accept that.
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JustinHorton
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Re: Enquiry: English Chess Association

Post by JustinHorton » Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:07 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:I'm not sure whether this is a trick question or not
No, it's a serious question, because if you can't show us what you're referring to, how on Earth are we to evaluate its relevance? I mean that's even before we ask the question as to whether anything Mr G says or has said is to be taken seriously.
Andrew Zigmond wrote:it's more the location than the content I'm querying
Then really, why trouble us with these multiple references to legal action, Mr G and some supposed problem of "credibility" which you've not even begun to explain?

If you think the thread should be moved, why not just say where to?
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

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Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Enquiry: English Chess Association

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:36 pm

JustinHorton wrote: If you think the thread should be moved, why not just say where to?
I have, on at least two occasions upthread. It belongs in Chess History or at a pinch in General Discussion although I'm not clear exactly what more there is to discuss.
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Enquiry: English Chess Association

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:40 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote: I'm not sure whether this is a trick question or not; however I can't as Steve Giddins has now removed the inactive blog.
The most recent blog has gone, the predecessor is still present (for the time being?)
http://stevegiddinschessblog.wordpress.com/
It covers the aftermath of Sheffield 2011.

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JustinHorton
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Re: Enquiry: English Chess Association

Post by JustinHorton » Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:47 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
JustinHorton wrote: If you think the thread should be moved, why not just say where to?
I have, on at least two occasions upthread. It belongs in Chess History or at a pinch in General Discussion
Then if I may put to you the point you've put to others, is any purpose served by repetition of a point you have, by your own account, already made twice?

(Though I would genuinely love to know what you've meant by "credibility". The best I can do is to assume that it refers to being attacked by Mr G, something which strikes me as adding to the forum's credibility rather than the opposite.)
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JustinHorton
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Re: Enquiry: English Chess Association

Post by JustinHorton » Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:59 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:The most recent blog has gone
You can actually still look at traces of it using the Wayback Machine, and possibly more than that if you know the URLs of specific pieces. Looking at it feels a bit like Curse Of The Mummy though.
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Carl Hibbard
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Re: Enquiry: English Chess Association

Post by Carl Hibbard » Sun Jan 19, 2014 7:55 am

JustinHorton wrote:
Andrew Zigmond wrote: and has led to the credibility of this forum being attacked elsewhere.
Who by, and why does this matter?
I agree with Andrew and have moved this thread to another topic.

Again I would ask again that members stick to the point of this topic otherwise I will just close it down.
Last edited by Carl Hibbard on Sun Jan 19, 2014 10:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Moderating myself.
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O.G. Urcan
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Re: Enquiry: English Chess Association

Post by O.G. Urcan » Sun Jan 19, 2014 1:01 pm

Now may be a convenient time to summarize what we have learned so far from the many posts on the topic of the English Chess Association.

The Association was created by Raymond Keene in October 1987, in the immediate aftermath of his resignation from the British Chess Federation. That resignation concerned an aborted enquiry by the BCF into a complaint by Tony Miles about Raymond Keene's claim to have been Miles' second at the Tunis Interzonal tournament in 1985.

The formation of the English Chess Association was announced in the Times in October 1987. At first, the newspaper stated that the ECA would be in competition with the BCF. Following a complaint to the Times by the ECA Chairman, Alexander Kennaway, a few days later the Times published a different report, saying that the ECA would be working in addition to the BCF, and not in competition with it.

However, the following year Raymond Keene published the Pocket Book of Chess, in which contact details were given for the English Chess Association, Scottish Chess Association, Welsh Chess Union, Irish Chess Union, Guernsey & Jersey Chess Federation and the United States Chess Federation - but not for the British Chess Federation.

The English Chess Association also promoted itself improperly in connection with the 1988 Britannica Book of the Year, using praise of the Association from that source without saying that the praise had been written by Raymond Keene himself.

The ECA invited subscriptions, and thanks to this thread two individuals are known to have paid the £8 fee, out of curiosity, receiving little material in return. The ECA's aims as set out in its literature have been shown in this thread, and they indicated no rivalry with the BCF. The literature stated that the ECA's "Secretary" (also "General Secretary/Treasurer") was Julian Simpole, and the membership card also gave the contact details of Paul Cohen, Eureka Electronics. The Association's London base was provided by Granada Leisure in Clapham.

A small unknown number of events were organized under the auspices of the ECA, one being the "ECA/Granada Tournament" in Preston in 1989.

At a meeting in 1991 between Raymond Keene and John Poole (the then BCF President), the former stated that he would recommend to his colleagues (unidentified) that the ECA's name would be changed and that the ECA would act purely to promote chess. He offered the BCF his membership list, said to comprise about 5,000 people, but it is not believed that any such list materialized. It has not been explained where the 5,000 figure came from or why the ECA did not then go ahead and change its name.

Raymond Keene organized the 1993 match in London between Garry Kasparov and Nigel Short, but no references to the ECA have been noted in connection with that event. The same applies to the Staunton memorial tournaments later on.

In its 25 January-7 February 2002 issue, Private Eye referred dismissively to a claim that ownership of the rights to the name "English Chess Association" was "a valuable asset".

In 2004 the British Chess Federation became the English Chess Federation. It has not yet been clarified in this thread whether this was done on the assumption that the English Chess Association no longer existed.

When Martin Regan resigned as Chief Executive of the English Chess Federation in 2008, he was contacted the next day by Raymond Keene, who apparently wished to sell him the ECA. Mr Regan declined.

In 2013 Raymond Keene published a book on Tony Buzan which described him (Keene), in the present tense, as "the Chairman of the English Chess Association". The ethics of such a claim, and particularly in a book addressed primarily to non-chessplayers, are open to question.

For practical purposes, has the ECA really existed at all for the past 24 years or so? Is it "dormant", as one person suggested in this thread? Or perhaps "largely dormant", as that same individual had suggested here the previous day? Does the ECA currently have any officials at all - let alone members - other than Raymond Keene?

In 2013, Raymond Keene brought out a book on the Carlsen vs Anand match. The proof-reader was named as "Julian Simpole Commonwealth Chess Association Life Vice President and Official FIDE Organiser". Whatever those titles may signify (do readers of this forum know?), there was no mention of the ECA. It has not yet been discovered when he left the ECA, or even whether he has done so.

A photograph of Andrew Paulson in the 8/2013 New in Chess with the unfortunate caption "President of the English Chess Association" can be regarded as an isolated mishap.

My query launching this thread said: "May I enquire whether anyone knows anything about the 'English Chess Association'? Who are its officers and members, and what are its activities?" Thanks to contributors who have offered facts, substantial progress has been made with these questions (which relate to both the present and the past). Even so, there is evidently much yet to be uncovered and discussed about the ECA, an organization still shrouded in mystery.

Many thanks.

Olimpiu G. Urcan

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Enquiry: English Chess Association

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Jan 19, 2014 1:30 pm

O.G. Urcan wrote: The proof-reader was named as "Julian Simpole Commonwealth Chess Association Life Vice President and Official FIDE Organiser". Whatever those titles may signify (do readers of this forum know?), there was no mention of the ECA.
FIDE award titles to organisers as well as players and arbiters.

http://ratings.fide.com/card.phtml?event=422800
http://ratings.fide.com/card.phtml?event=400211

They are recorded on the ratings site.

The current Commonwealth Chess Association website doesn't mention any Vice-Presidents, Life or otherwise. http://www.commonwealthchess.com/board-members.php

Google searches finding material several years old do however associate Julian Simpole with the Life Vice President title.

Gordon Cadden
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Re: Enquiry: English Chess Association

Post by Gordon Cadden » Sun Jan 19, 2014 2:31 pm

We are most grateful to Olympiu, for his thorough research into this interesting topic.

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JustinHorton
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Re: Enquiry: English Chess Association

Post by JustinHorton » Sun Jan 19, 2014 2:39 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:It's known that it's unincorporated, so not under any direct requirement to have a constitution or articles, hold AGMs and publish accounts.
Would it ever have published accounts though?
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PeterFarr
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Re: Enquiry: English Chess Association

Post by PeterFarr » Sun Jan 19, 2014 4:01 pm

One little extra, from an entry on the "Hiarcs chess forum":

"the Novag cc is a strange bird, it seems to have been released in conjunction with Novag to support the creation of the just founded English Chess Association (a short lived now defunct association dreamed up by GM Keene)
on the actual box it has printed the name and address of Eureka electronics a major distributor of Chess Computers in the UK
Inside the box is a bizarre coupon entitling the owner of the computer to a free one year membership to the ECA( worth 8 Sterling supposedly) which the owner must send to Eureka
the actual endorsement by Keene ..printed on the box says...
GRANDMASTER KEENE-E.C.A.EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SAY(the word SAY here is not a typo on my part..this is what the box actually has printed on it)
"We recommend this Novag chess computer as ideal for all players who want to improve their standard or who just want to have fun with chess"


I guess giving away free memberships with chess computers might have helped towards the 5,000 members quoted, though it still seems rather high.

O.G. Urcan
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Re: Enquiry: English Chess Association

Post by O.G. Urcan » Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:55 am

One of the Eureka Electronics leaflets sent to ECA members had the English Chess Association logo and said:

"The Novag range of chess computers is recommended by the ECA and all carry an invitation to one year's free membership."

Another leaflet from the company, issued at Christmas 1989, had this about the "Novag Super Expert B" computer:
novag.jpg
novag.jpg (48.77 KiB) Viewed 1202 times
Caution is needed in discussing the strength of chess computers, but I've found five or six websites which give a rating for the "Novag Super Expert B". The Elo ratings range from 1820 to 2019.

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