One contributor to this thread has suggested that the proposals in the consultation paper should be thrown aside with great force. He is entitled to this view but personally I think some of the responses to this paper should be thrown aside with even greater force.
Firstly we should remind ourselves of what the document actually is. It is a second stage consultation paper based around responses to an open survey. It reflects what 183 respondents have said about the county championships. It invites responses with a deadline of over a month for doing so and notes that the relevant director will happily clarify any points on request. It is not a fully signed and sealed act of law. Yes, there are some radical proposals put forward because some players may have radical ideas. They may not be the right ideas but it is only right that these should be reflected in the proposals. Reading the comments from Neil Graham and David Sedgwick I am left with the impression that they are not so much appalled by radical proposals (which is their right) as the fact that some players may actually hold such views.
In four years as county championships controller I have dealt with David Sedgwick on a few matters and have always had considerable respect for him, even when we disagreed. For that reason I can scarcely believed he has authored the post below.
David Sedgwick wrote: ↑
Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:11 am
Important as the above discussion is, the paper contains even more damaging proposals.
One of the key reasons for the formation of the BCF in 1904 was to facilitate competition amongst the Champion Counties of each Union. The resulting model - Union Championships serving as qualifying competitions for National Stages - has served the BCF / ECF extremely well for 114 years.
I didn't take part in the initial consultation, as I always suspected that its purpose was to provide a fig leaf for a predetermined agenda, that agenda being the abandonment of that model and the destruction of the Union Championships.
This paper confirms my worst fears.
The ECF Council of a decade ago would have thrown these proposals out resoundingly. Whether that still happens will be an acid test of the Council of today.
The Union Championships will survive anyway, of course. It will be the ECF Counties Championships which will end up being destroyed if these proposals are adopted.
There is one important respect in which even the rejection of the proposals must not be the end of the matter. The whole episode demonstrates the need to transfer responsibility for the National Stages away from the Director of Home Chess and into the hands of a Committee of the five Unions.
It is hard to know where to start with this. David may feel that the current model works well; the whingeing and whining that has found its way into my inbox in four years (and which I was sick to the back teeth of after two) suggests otherwise. If I know my history the original format was simply a straight contest of the union champions and I suppose in 2017 we still follow that tradition (albeit with only two competing unions). However the competition has expanded to six grade limited section and that is the point where the union nomination structure creaks.
I wish I could share David's optimism that the union competitions will survive. Three of the five are practically non existent.
As for David's last proposal, and having been on skype calls with union representatives, may I nominate him as chairman of the committee? It's just a shame I can't then be a fly on the wall.
I'm sure most of us can remember 2015 when Alex was challenged for the home directorship and had to fight a nasty, deeply personal campaign when he was attacked for being a defender of the status quo, unwilling to bring about the radical change the ECF's heritage events needed. Three years on he brings in proposals that are perhaps too radical and we see the result ...
Finally, as the outgoing controller I can say what I like. It has been a privilege to be involved with such a historic competition and I am grateful to Alex for giving me this opportunity (and the ECF board, the makeup of which changed radically several times during those four years, for appointing and reappointing me). I have met many organisers up and down the country who are dedicated to the competition and the experience of inter county play; as a team captain myself I know how painful it can be. However there are a sizeable minority of county captains and union officials (and on occasion players) who delight in sending emails that criticize me for applying this rule or for not applying that rule and for not having the authority to do something or not doing something quickly enough. In 2018 I am looking forward to not having to deal with any of this and devote my energies to attracting and encouraging new players to the game, the thing I have always been most passionate about.
For the record I don't think requiring players from specific demographics is the way forward.