ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator

National developments, strategies and ideas.
LawrenceCooper
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Re: ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator

Post by LawrenceCooper » Tue Apr 30, 2013 9:54 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
LawrenceCooper wrote: If they do nothing then they are criticised but if they try and do things then they get a load of grief.
What they have to do is build support and consensus. If ECF directors insist on trying to force through unpopular measures, they will have to accept the gripes and be prepared to climb down if necessary.
It can be rather tricky though when questions are asked of the dissatisfied customers and no answers appear to be forthcoming. I can't help feeling this thread has become more of an anti-membership and anti ECF board thread than trying to work at finding a solution as to the original question.

I'm also a bit surprised that no one else from the junior directorship has contributed to this thread in support of Neil and his attempts to find a solution to having graded events without membership requirements. The ball would appear to be in their court to suggest a workable alternative.

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

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:06 am

Alex McFarlane wrote: The ECF did not ask adult organisers to get together to formulate a policy. It made proposals and reacted to the feedback. Why is the same process not being followed with the junior sector?
The original Farthing paper on membership schemes didn't consider the position of Junior players and organisations beyond concessions on the payments to be demanded of Juniors taking part in adult events.

In public at least, junior organisers didn't examine the proposals in detail and express disquiet at the practical effects. This was to an extent difficult as the author of the proposals was vague about what the sanctions against non-members would be and also tried to imply that he wasn't talking about compulsory membership with the disincentives to participation that this implies. There was also a refusal to give any analysis comparing from one year to the next with the change of method of where the ECF's finance was to come from, which should have signalled a warning as it attempted to shift funding onto players taking part in Junior events.

Moving from Game Fee to per head charging had a bigger financial impact on Junior chess than adult chess as the Game Fee amounts for Juniors were previously at a much higher discount compared to adults than the relative per head charges.

The impression may have been given that games played by non-members wouldn't be graded. That's a rule which could have less impact on junior chess than adult chess since it wouldn't affect players in their first and only tournament or event.

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

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:13 am

LawrenceCooper wrote: I'm also a bit surprised that no one else from the junior directorship has contributed to this thread in support of Neil and his attempts to find a solution to having graded events without membership requirements.
Why is the solution in any way difficult? Just restore the position applying to the current season, that in order to encourage Secondary School chess, events run for that sector in the name of the ECF will not demand membership or Game Fee. If you promote an event as a loss leader by offering free entry, that message is undermined by also demanding £ 8 per head from new players as a condition of participation.

Angus French
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Re: ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator

Post by Angus French » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:14 am

LawrenceCooper wrote:It can be rather tricky though when questions are asked of the dissatisfied customers and no answers appear to be forthcoming. I can't help feeling this thread has become more of an anti-membership and anti ECF board thread than trying to work at finding a solution as to the original question.

I'm also a bit surprised that no one else from the junior directorship has contributed to this thread in support of Neil and his attempts to find a solution to having graded events without membership requirements. The ball would appear to be in their court to suggest a workable alternative.
Don't be silly, Lawrence. This thread is not anti-membership and it's not anti-ECF Board. Possible solutions have been suggested which do involve membership. If the ball's in anyone's court, I'd suggest it's in Sean Hewitt's though those ECF Board members, whoever they may be, who approved the proposal to require participants in ECF-organised events to be members have something to answer for.
Last edited by Angus French on Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

Sean Hewitt
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Re: ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator

Post by Sean Hewitt » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:19 am

Angus French wrote:If the ball's in anyone's court, I'd suggest it's in Sean Hewitt's though those ECF Board members, whoever they may be, who approved the proposal to require participants in ECF-organised events to be members have something to answer for.
Don't be silly Angus. The ball is in the junior chess communities court to articulate precisely what their issues with the existing ECF membership scheme are. I can't speak for previous boards, but I doubt that this one is going to try to second guess them. Of course, if they are unable to unwilling to engage with the ECF, then they'll get the scheme that the ECF believes best for delivering its long term aims.

Sean Hewitt
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Re: ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator

Post by Sean Hewitt » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:21 am

Mick Norris wrote:Most of the success is down to the existence of 3Cs, who I would submit are probably the best junior chess club in England, and obviously a model for the ECF to follow

As well as producing a great many junior players, crucially some of which play at secondary school level and some as adults, they have produced GM Stephen Gordon

So, I would suggest listening to Phil Adams in particular, and to Steve Rigby and Dave Hardy, would be good
Thanks Mick, that's really helpful. 3Cs sounds like the kind of community club that I had described earlier. It's nice to have some evidence that it works. Wouldn't it be great to have a similar club in every city.

Hopefully we can tap in to their expertise.

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

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:51 am

Sean Hewitt wrote: Of course, if they are unable to unwilling to engage with the ECF, then they'll get the scheme that the ECF believes best for delivering its long term aims.
But what are the ECF's long term aims? Is it absolutely compulsory membership along the lines of the USCF? Or does it want to go further than that and introduce penalties for participation in unauthorised events along the lines of the AICF or outside of chess, ETTA?

If the ECF regards junior academies as the way forward, then the abolition of the competing strand of chess played in Secondary Schools would seem to be necessary and imposing new requirements on participants in the ECF Schools a move in that direction.

William Metcalfe
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Re: ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator

Post by William Metcalfe » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:55 am

I really hope junior organisers get in touch with Sean and the Ecf pick there brains to find out what works and what does not work with Juniors.
Then i would really like the Ecf to put out a document with those ideas that way new junior clubs like our club would have ideas about how to do things instead of wasting time on things that do not work
I am speaking here for myself and not the NCCU which i am now president of

Angus French
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Re: ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator

Post by Angus French » Tue Apr 30, 2013 11:03 am

I don’t get this show-us-your-expertise stance. It doesn’t seem relevant to the original decision which was taken without consultation and apparently in disregard to the opinion of the Director of Junior Chess. And a decent decision-maker will surely place as much emphasis as possible on the merits of a thing and on the case presented, not on a perception of track record.

In my opinion, the best thing the Board can do is to reverse their decision, consult with the people involved in organising ECF events (who may or may not read this Forum), try to persuade Neill to return, and come up with a proposal for the next Council meeting to approve.

Sean Hewitt
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Re: ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator

Post by Sean Hewitt » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:05 pm

Krishna Shiatis wrote:I see your words that you have written here and I see the comments you have made thereafter and it does seem to me that you are dismissing their views - is that not why Neill has resigned?
I don't think so unless you are privy to information about this that I am not. Neill articulated his reasons for resigning here. I've not seen any correspondence from him apart from this, either pre or post his resignation, where he has put his views and / or suggested alternatives.

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

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:12 pm

Angus French wrote: In my opinion, the best thing the Board can do is to reverse their decision, consult with the people involved in organising ECF events (who may or may not read this Forum), try to persuade Neill to return, and come up with a proposal for the next Council meeting to approve.
In the context of a search for a workable application for charitable status, the split between amateur and professional currently being proposed, could be replaced or supplemented by a spilt between Adult and Junior. This would make all events for under 18s the province of a hypothetical charitable English Junior Chess Federation who would be free to set their own rules and fund raising for exclusively Junior events. That could even run a Scottish style rating system whereby you didn't need to be a member to be included but if you played in outside events, such as those organised by the (adult) ECF, games would only be included in the junior rating if an EJCF member.

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

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:59 pm

Alex McFarlane wrote: Now look at the remainder of the list. Get the total. Calculate 95% of this. You now have a number which is less than the number of adult players who benefitted from junior organisers.
For much older players, I'm not sure this is so true. In the 1960s and 1970s, British chess benefited from the effect that Secondary school chess was almost self seeding in that schools routinely played matches against one another without the BCF having any great involvement. I believe what was then the Sunday Times tournament had been set up with the benefit of an initial BCF involvement so as to get it off the ground but generally the BCF and to a lesser extent the county organisations just left Junior chess at Secondary School level to get on with itself whilst preserving a relatively benign external environment such as providing grading services and not demanding membership payments at every juncture. Stewart Reuben and other Congress organisers were able to run massive events on the back of this underlying interest from school matches and the Fischer publicity.

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Tue Apr 30, 2013 2:45 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote: That's why I keep suggesting that it would be helpful if the junior chess community could get its heads together and articulate to the ECF what their objections are.
I think Neill's original post made it perfectly plain what his objections were and they were regarding practical matters (the main reason for any apparent hostility to membership in the country) rather than any objection to the principle of membership. The fact that we now have an eighteen page thread going round in circles on an unofficial forum is incidental.
Sean Hewitt wrote:Those events made a compelling case that this small deviation from the membership scheme would significantly help them to grow their event and ECF membership.
Off topic but I think this is an interesting choice of words and gives me some ideas about the Yorkshire situation.

Just to pick up on the track record debate, Sean, could you qualify what you mean by achievement (ie what do you expect junior organisers to reasonably achieve)? That might help people answer the question. I agree that some people may be better qualified to comment than others but if a junior organiser (or anybody else) is an ECF member surely their opinions should be considered?

As an aside nobody has yet explained why the National Club Championship is open to non ECF members but Schools events aren't.
Controller - Yorkshire League
Chairman - Harrogate Chess Club
All views expressed entirely my own

Paul Sanders
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Re: ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator

Post by Paul Sanders » Tue Apr 30, 2013 3:10 pm

I know it is tangential, but has anyone within the ECF or in a junior chess organisation thought through what bringing all U16s who play chess competitively (about 60,000 perhaps? maybe a few more) into the ECF should cost?

And subsequently whether it might be worth passing a hat around to make sure that there are no financial barriers at all to membership for English juniors?

Krishna Shiatis
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Re: ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator

Post by Krishna Shiatis » Tue Apr 30, 2013 3:33 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:I don't think so unless you are privy to information about this that I am not. Neill articulated his reasons for resigning here. I've not seen any correspondence from him apart from this, either pre or post his resignation, where he has put his views and / or suggested alternatives.
In that case, maybe pick up the phone and have a chat with him. Maybe you and he can discuss the best way forward together and you can use all your persuasive charm to get him back.:)

Neill is very good at what he does and we do need him. This is not the type of issue that you want to be losing your excellent volunteers over. It can be fixed by a little compromise.

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