no recognition for finalists

Discussion about all aspects of the ECF County Championships.
Jonathan Rogers
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Re: no recognition for finalists

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Fri Feb 18, 2011 4:39 pm

LozCooper wrote:
Matthew Turner wrote:Martin has explained the amount of time required to compete in the County Championships. Those players are the bedrock of chess in England, the organisers, the club captains, the sponsors (in all senses of the word). To try to save money by not having trophies is just short-sighted. Yes the ECF does need to save money, but there are much better ways.
I've just located a plaque from 2003 when Staffordshire were Minor Counties champion and a medallion from 1991-92 when Staffordshire won the National County Championship despite the handicap of having me as a captain. Sadly the promised photos from the 91-92 event were never sent and were allegedly lost/deleted by the official photographer so it's nice to have something to remember it by.

From memory, everyone who played in the final received one and I purchased extra ones in 92 for those players who had played in many of the eight games leading up to the final.

I also recall that someone called Carl Hibbard got us over the winning line in 2003 :shock:

I saw a photo of the winning Staffordshire team (1992) in CHESS. I remember wondering what on earth Cathy Forbes was doing in the photo!

I think it's nice to have trophies. You don't travel all that way if you don't care about county chess. Many (most?) county chess participants, moreover, will have played for their county for several years with no reward, so a small trophy when they reach a Final should not be too much to ask. I left the county final in 2006 very early but was delighted and surprised in equal measure when some of my team mates detoured past my house on their way home to hand me my trophy.

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: no recognition for finalists

Post by Carl Hibbard » Fri Feb 18, 2011 5:48 pm

LozCooper wrote:I also recall that someone called Carl Hibbard got us over the winning line in 2003 :shock:
Is there a record since I don't remember even playing that one?
Cheers
Carl Hibbard

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: no recognition for finalists

Post by Carl Hibbard » Fri Feb 18, 2011 5:53 pm

I do recall winning the Birmingham Division 1 (and 2!) individual and the Rock Cup in the same year once - my claim to fame, although what year I haven't a clue
Cheers
Carl Hibbard

LozCooper

Re: no recognition for finalists

Post by LozCooper » Fri Feb 18, 2011 7:18 pm

Carl Hibbard wrote:
LozCooper wrote:I also recall that someone called Carl Hibbard got us over the winning line in 2003 :shock:
Is there a record since I don't remember even playing that one?
It was against Norfolk in a venue vaguely in the direction of Leicestershire I think. From memory you wanted to know what the score was to see if you should offer a draw and no one was being very helpful :D County matches just aren't the same now without you telling me you don't like my position :roll:

Nick Thomas
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Re: no recognition for finalists

Post by Nick Thomas » Fri Feb 18, 2011 9:16 pm

You wouldn't have to spend £1000 on this. Decent medals could be bought for about £1 each :|

Sean Hewitt

Re: no recognition for finalists

Post by Sean Hewitt » Fri Feb 18, 2011 11:24 pm

Nick Thomas wrote:You wouldn't have to spend £1000 on this. Decent medals could be bought for about £1 each :|
Does that include engraving and can you tell me where from. It would save us a fortune!

Nick Thomas
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Re: no recognition for finalists

Post by Nick Thomas » Sat Feb 19, 2011 10:09 am

Doesn't include engraving but does include ribbons and a generic chess centre, pm me if you are interested.

Martin Crichton
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Re: no recognition for finalists

Post by Martin Crichton » Sat Feb 19, 2011 3:22 pm

Detailed response below from my team captain and Middlesex open team captain....Anthony Fulton (19-02-2011)

Martin,

You have certainly stirred up a hornets nest!!!

Your response and those echoing you shows the short-sightedness of the ECF, and yes even if there may not have been too many dissenting voices at the time this was possibly because individuals were expecting to receive laminated personalised certificates presuming this would be completed some time after the event.

Recognition is always a thorny subject however it is accepted in ALL walks of life that if you want to motivate individuals you MUST acknowledge their effort. Certainly as a captain of two County Teams it is critical that I recognise the effort of all involved else Mx would still be in the wilderness when considering the County scene.

I do recall an exchange of emails between Adam and myself asking whether certificates had been issued on Finals Day. I informed him that since Mx were defeated Minor finalists the team had left before the award ceremony so I could not advise him of what had taken place. His email to me suggests that some form of individual award was to be made on the day. David Sedgwick verifies that certificates were to be awarded. One thing that puzzles me is how the ECF Committee arrived at the decision that certificates instead of trophies are to be awarded and are indeed acceptable?

Richard suggests ask the opinion of those who count. At no stage do I recall being approached by ECF to advise that 'austere measures' are to be taken and one of those is to review the awards issued for the County Championship. Austere measures - fair enough. What alternative award - not fair enough. So just how did the Committee arrive at the decision that Certificates were something that players would appreciate instead of the trophies awarded in previous years? Adam notes that he and Cyril had a conversation and came up with the suggestion of 'not charging for refreshments instead of providing trophies'. Alex compounds this by stating 'had the funds been available then trophies would have been provided'. By not canvassing the opinion of Captains at the very least and potentially to only decide the matter on cost means there is a lack of transparency on this issue. In fact we have an example of a 'fait accompli'. Surely those involved may have been aware that a problem could ensue thus it would be better to obtain views rather than make independent decision. Had a canvass been undertaken they may have been able to answer the following:
1) How many Captains pay the cost of refreshments on behalf of their team? Doing this in lieu of say buying a pint in the pub afterwards. Captains recognising and rewarding achievement.
2) How many Counties reimburse captains? County recognition of achievement
On the two previous occasions when Mx have reached the final under my tenure I have paid the refreshments on behalf of my team so they can focus on the match. I would surmise that most Counties have a pre- / post-match celebratory/commiserations drink which may develop into a meal. So paying for refreshment may not be too much of an issue.

In principle you are correct, the time and effort of all players should be recognised. Whatever happens at a local level is one thing but when a competition is endorsed by a National Organisation, especially one relying on the activities at a local level in the first instance, it clearly is another. This is especially the case when the organisation concerned insists that ALL finalists attend on the same day even though as has happened on many occasions it would be more convenient for finalists to play on their local patch, e.g., between 2006/7 and 2009/10 all the u175/180 finals have seen local clashes, i.e., MCCU, NCCU and SCCU. If the ECF insists on finalists competing on Finals Day even if it is a local clash then it is the least that they can do to recognise the victors else rotate venues so that all Counties have an opportunity to potentially play at 'home' and all have distance to cover and the inconvenience therein. Yes this highlights another bugbear for some but not appropriate for the matter under discussion.

Although I agree that some savings must be made, due to budgetary constraints, it must not be at the expense of those who are willing to validate the existence of County Chess, especially when considering the competing pressures, e.g., weekend tournaments both adult and junior / 4NCL / Rapidplay etc. When it comes to money that tricky issue of financial accountability raises it's head. After all, Unions and individuals, through ECF Membership scheme, already contribute funds towards the ECF coffers, thus it is a matter for the ECF to ensure those funds are used responsibly and recognising participants in THEIR National event is being responsible.

As with all in matters things are not always black and white there are shades of grey. The question therefore is how will the ECF navigate this issue?
1) No individual awards - runs the danger of individuals being fed up with County scene, especially at National Stage, and rings the death knell for County Chess. Individuals may ask themselves why invest so much to play at National Stage. Non-MCCU Counties in essence give up their weekend to play on Finals Day, it is not just Finals Day that needs to be considered but the adjustment that needs to be made on the following day. What is being overlooked is that players finance their own expenses in order to get to matches. Thus the mooted £5 for a trophy is a small price to pay for the outlay players make and yes they too face austerity measures.
2) Individual awards to victors only? If so in what format? When budget is reduced it must be accepted that savings must be found. Yes, trophies are too expensive; however certificates although unsatisfactory are at least an alternative. However I agree with Nick Thomas that surely a badge of some kind can be offered. Surely there must be companies that can design a badge where wording along the lines of "ECF National Champions + Year" can be included at minimal cost. After all it will be bulk purchase and repeat business. [Note, Paper, Ink and Laminated Pouches still cost albeit not a significant amount but a cost nevertheless]. Maybe this is an action the National County Controller can look into. For example, Do the ECF have any connections with specialist chess companies / printers / etc? If not why not?
3) Awards to all participants - this may be possible if the suggestion at point 2 is not exhorbitant. wording "ECF National Finalists + Year". In reality defeated finalists, as indicated above, are more likely to have departed before award ceremony so may not be worthwhile suggestion. [Please note that if the ECF want the award ceremony to be well attended then there must be some form of incentive. Also do me a favour and start with the Open Team or lock the doors. After all it is the most prestigious competition of the Championship and should be recognised by all present. In the past winners on receiving their award depart before the Open Team Captain has received the trophy].

I have tried to avoid expressing my own opinion preferring instead to muse on the questions involved. However I do think it is in the ECF's best interest to recognise and reward BOTH team and individual success thereby echoing the sentiments of the likes of you, David (23years before success); Jonathan Rogers; Steve Rooney, Matthew Turner; et al.

Please feel free to publish this email verbatim on the ECF Forum.

Regards

Anthony (Middlesex Open/u180 Captain)
Member of "the strongest amateur chess club in London" (Cavendish)

my views are not representative of any clubs or organisations.

Tim Spanton
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Re: no recognition for finalists

Post by Tim Spanton » Tue Mar 01, 2011 8:23 pm

Adam Raoof wrote:Firstly, thank you for your feedback.

Cyril Johnson and I discussed the cost of the Finals and decided that we would pay to provide refreshments to all the players for free, and not provide individual trophies. This was because, in our estimation, had we not paid for refreshments, the likelihood of finding someone to take the financial risk of providing refreshments was quite low. Feedback from past events was that the majority of players would prefer that arrangement, and welcomed the generous provision of food and drink. Finalists were not asked for any fee for participating in the finals day.

I was not present at the final. Captains were to be given options by the organisers of the finals and as far as I am aware any Captain who wanted a laminated certificate could have requested one. It is never too late to contact the office!

I am surprised that it took you over six months to make this point, considering how strongly you feel. I haven't had another complaint in all that time, only praise for the way the event was run. Nevertheless this is an important topic, and one which we considered carefully at the time. If you want to contact the new Controller of the Counties Championships, Adrian Elwin, I am sure he will take your views into account.
I can quite believe organisers held this view but I am somewhat surprised players apparently agreed

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