ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator

National developments, strategies and ideas.
Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:37 pm

John Swain wrote: However, what options are open to ECF officials in the near future even if they realise they have made a "simple misjudgement" about insisting on ECF membership for events such as Neill Cooper's graded Rapidplays and the National Schools Championships, amongst others?
They rather missed the boat. Had the change of policy been known prior to the April Finance meeting, they could have backed down with the excuse that the ECF Council vetoed their original decision.

If the decision had stood it's possible that some of the decisions made at the Council meeting might have been different. Council might have been less willing to allow an adult player in the Oxford FIDE league to not become an ECF Gold member when only playing one game, if they had realised that a school player playing in a single match in the National Schools would be required to be a member.
Last edited by Roger de Coverly on Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:44 pm

Andrew Martin wrote:Where we go is to ask who DOES actually support the decision that the ECF Board has decided upon? I am willing to listen to the arguments.
I oppose the concept of compulsory membership or schemes that have the same effect. But those who support the notion of a membership scheme several stages short of optional have to be able to live with the pain that it causes and not take refuge in exemptions from all the anomalies and disincentives it creates.

LawrenceCooper
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Re: ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator

Post by LawrenceCooper » Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:07 pm

Unless I'm misunderstanding this the choice for the organisers is the following:

1) Run an ungraded event with no membership requirements.

2) Run a graded event whereby all players must be bronze members.

Whilst I can understand grading to be desirable would the event still not be a big success without it?

Carol Williams
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Re: ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator

Post by Carol Williams » Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:20 pm

Neill Cooper wrote:
IM Jack Rudd wrote:We, as a board, make a number of decisions about ECF policy. Many of them are controversial, many will be disagreed with, and some may even be ones we ourselves will go on to disagree with. But they are all made with the interests of chess in this country at heart.
It would be more appropriate if the board consulted more widely rather than rushing to make such decisions, particularly when they are by no means united themselves and making a decision against the wishes of the relevant director. I get the impression that many of the board had not even read my article on Secondary School Chess in January 2013 Chess Moves before making a decision about School Chess. It looks to me (and very many others) as if a small group on the board are pushing through an agenda against junior chess.

There does not seem to be any support for the decision on this forum, nor in the private emails I have been sent by many people. I would have thought the board would have learnt from the Autumn, when the decision to summarily remove all ungraded events from the ECF calendar provoked such a backlash that they have now reversed the decision to allow ungraded junior events to be listed.

Perhaps "Vote in haste, repent in leisure" or "To have to reverse one decision, Mr Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to reverse two looks like carelessness."
Couldn't agree more Neil

Carol Williams
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Re: ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator

Post by Carol Williams » Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:26 pm

John Swain wrote:
Andrew Martin wrote:It is no good beating about the bush on this one. The National Schools Championships have been set out with the idea of encouraging and developing chess in schools and among children. That's the vision of the sponsors and the organisers. We can't have it killed off with an insistence on ECF membership, formulated by people who basically have nothing to do with it. If all the kids get to like chess, they will eventually become ECF members anyway; the situation does not need forcing.

So this is a very serious issue, but I am confident it is a simple misjudgement which can be corrected with a bit of flexibility. I hope so anyway.
Andrew's comment makes a lot of sense. However, what options are open to ECF officials in the near future even if they realise they have made a "simple misjudgement" about insisting on ECF membership for events such as Neill Cooper's graded Rapidplays and the National Schools Championships, amongst others?

I am asking from a position of ignorance, having never operated beyond the county level of administration.

It is to their credit that ECF officials like Jack Rudd and Sean Hewitt engage with forumites even when people like myself are sometimes critical. I also appreciate their need for "cabinet responsibility" (they will feel the need to defend ECF decisions made even if they disagreed with them at the time and were outvoted).

So where do we go from here?
You should not defend a decision that you know to be wrong, it solves nothing.

Carol Williams
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Re: ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator

Post by Carol Williams » Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:27 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
IM Jack Rudd wrote:What possible benefit could that bring to us?
It very much depends who you define as us. It can be in the nature of chess governing bodies that they seek to control and regulate, so a smaller body of players very much under control is preferable to a larger more anarchic community. Sports or other activities which ban players or members for taking part in unauthorised competitions are an example.

It's reasonable also to complain about the manner of the ECF decision. It was taken at the March Board meeting on a subject closely related to that debated at the April Council meeting, namely membership requirements and exemptions. It's rather like when the Board "forgot" to mention that it was taking legal action in CAS, it had the side effect of avoiding difficult questions.
Hit the nail on the head Roger

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Rob Thompson
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Re: ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator

Post by Rob Thompson » Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:34 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:I oppose the concept of compulsory membership or schemes that have the same effect.
You know, at this point we may have just been able to work that one out.
True glory lies in doing what deserves to be written; in writing what deserves to be read.

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Re: ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator

Post by Angus French » Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:35 pm

Neill Cooper wrote:
IM Jack Rudd wrote:We, as a board, make a number of decisions about ECF policy. Many of them are controversial, many will be disagreed with, and some may even be ones we ourselves will go on to disagree with. But they are all made with the interests of chess in this country at heart.
It would be more appropriate if the board consulted more widely rather than rushing to make such decisions, particularly when they are by no means united themselves and making a decision against the wishes of the relevant director. I get the impression that many of the board had not even read my article on Secondary School Chess in January 2013 Chess Moves before making a decision about School Chess. It looks to me (and very many others) as if a small group on the board are pushing through an agenda against junior chess.

There does not seem to be any support for the decision on this forum, nor in the private emails I have been sent by many people. I would have thought the board would have learnt from the Autumn, when the decision to summarily remove all ungraded events from the ECF calendar provoked such a backlash that they have now reversed the decision to allow ungraded junior events to be listed.

Perhaps "Vote in haste, repent in leisure" or "To have to reverse one decision, Mr Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to reverse two looks like carelessness."
Something which has bothered me for a while (going back to the previous Board) is: what do the Non-Executive Directors perceive their role to be?

In my view, it's to bring extra perspective and to try to ensure a balance in decision making. Scrutinising what the executive directors do is a large part of this.

If there's a risk that a decision will be taken too quickly and without due consideration and consultation, the NEDs should, I believe, recognise this and step in.

If a proposal appears to affect one Directorate in particular and if the Director concerned is against the proposal then, again, I think the NEDs should recognise this and take action.

The NEDs shouldn't just be people with extra votes. (Edit: last sentence reworded.)
Last edited by Angus French on Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:43 pm

LawrenceCooper wrote:Unless I'm misunderstanding this the choice for the organisers is the following:

1) Run an ungraded event with no membership requirements.

2) Run a graded event whereby all players must be bronze members.

Whilst I can understand grading to be desirable would the event still not be a big success without it?

In the case of the National Schools, the ECF is the organiser and it has chosen 2).

But the ECF is the decision maker, so it could choose to both have grading and not to have membership requirements. As one of the many ways of achieving this, it could outsource the running of the event to third parties.

Neill Cooper
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Re: ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator

Post by Neill Cooper » Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:49 pm

LawrenceCooper wrote:Unless I'm misunderstanding this the choice for the organisers is the following:

1) Run an ungraded event with no membership requirements.

2) Run a graded event whereby all players must be bronze members.

Whilst I can understand grading to be desirable would the event still not be a big success without it?
Secondary school chess is in a very weak state in many parts of England. Getting schools teams out can be very difficult. For instance, at the Grantham event two schools withdrew less than 48 hours before the event because they could not get a team of four players, two other teams could only get three players but still came. Therefore anything that can give them an incentive to play is beneficial. Grading provides an extra incentive, and is therefore valuable. Read my King's Grantham report at http://www.englishchess.org.uk/ecf-seco ... ournament/

LawrenceCooper
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Re: ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator

Post by LawrenceCooper » Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:51 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
LawrenceCooper wrote:Unless I'm misunderstanding this the choice for the organisers is the following:

1) Run an ungraded event with no membership requirements.

2) Run a graded event whereby all players must be bronze members.

Whilst I can understand grading to be desirable would the event still not be a big success without it?

In the case of the National Schools, the ECF is the organiser and it has chosen 2).

But the ECF is the decision maker, so it could choose to both have grading and not to have membership requirements. As one of the many ways of achieving this, it could outsource the running of the event to third parties.
When you say "the ECF is the organiser" do you mean the junior directorship or one of his managers or the board as a whole? From what I read and have been told the event doesn't have to have membership unless it's graded. Whilst I can understand that the organiser would prefer it to be graded it does seem that people here are under the impression that there is no option to run the event without membership.

My only interest is for the event(s) to continue to run and I would hope that it being ungraded wouldn't stop lots of players entering, sponsors continuing to sponsor etc

Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:55 pm

Paul Cooksey wrote: I would have been much happier if there was a lower rate junior membership than I am with the legacy game fee.
There's already a lower rate junior membership of £ 8. But it's the same point as the 4NCL and the FIDE Oxford league. Membership isn't demanded for a first appearance in these leagues, so why should it be demanded for a similar one-off appearance in the National Schools?

Is it known what the economics are for the National Schools? For a six board team, you might need a squad of 8, so the implicit entry fee for a team wholly new to national chess would be £ 64. I think entry was free in 2012-13 in order to promote and revive the event.

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Re: ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:05 pm

LawrenceCooper wrote: When you say "the ECF is the organiser" do you mean the junior directorship or one of his managers or the board as a whole?
I mean the ECF itself in the legal and accounting sense that all money goes through the ECF's books.

Many years ago, the BCF exempted itself from paying Game Fee and this was continued by the ECF. This is now being used by the ECF as an excuse to demand compulsory membership for events like the National Counties and the National Schools. If it wanted to, and my point is that it doesn't, I would hope it could outsource the affected competitions, thereby putting them under the Game Fee rules. The organiser, no longer the ECF, would be charged residual Game Fee by the ECF for any games played by non-members. If the ECF was feeing generous, it could waive these amounts, or make an equivalent donation to cover them. Or it could expect the organiser to treat it as part of the cost of the competition and meet it out of entry fees or sponsorship.

LawrenceCooper
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Re: ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator

Post by LawrenceCooper » Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:14 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
LawrenceCooper wrote: When you say "the ECF is the organiser" do you mean the junior directorship or one of his managers or the board as a whole?
I mean the ECF itself in the legal and accounting sense that all money goes through the ECF's books.

Many years ago, the BCF exempted itself from paying Game Fee and this was continued by the ECF. This is now being used by the ECF as an excuse to demand compulsory membership for events like the National Counties and the National Schools. If it wanted to, and my point is that it doesn't, I would hope it could outsource the affected competitions, thereby putting them under the Game Fee rules. The organiser, no longer the ECF, would be charged residual Game Fee by the ECF for any games played by non-members. If the ECF was feeing generous, it could waive these amounts, or make an equivalent donation to cover them. Or it could expect the organiser to treat it as part of the cost of the competition and meet it out of entry fees or sponsorship.
Except that there is no demand for membership unless the event is graded.

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Re: ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:19 pm

Paul Cooksey wrote:But I have written before at my frustration that the junior organisation is hanging on to game fee. Membership is a promotional tool, as well as a revenue generator. Picking up Alex's supermarket analogy, one of the most successful and imitated promotional tools is Tesco's Clubcard. Collecting the contact details of juniors seems to me very useful, even if the only thing the ECF ever did was email them with events in their area, and even if the membership was given away free.
For low activity and new players, they wanted to hang to Game Fee because in the absence of free membership, it's a cheaper option to pay for the event as a whole than add the cost of membership to the entry fee. The Tesco analogy is broken as the Clubcard is given away for nothing and non-possession doesn't ban you from shopping there.

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