Why are junior organisers against ECF membership?

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IanDavis
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Re: Why are junior organisers against ECF membership?

Post by IanDavis » Sat Apr 27, 2013 7:38 pm

Perhaps we could see some figures. For n = 1 to 10, what % of junior players do not return to competition after their nth tournament. Obviously this has been already calculated.

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Why are junior organisers against ECF membership?

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Sat Apr 27, 2013 7:46 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:Much of Yorkshire will presumably disappear
A very interesting statement. You do learn some fascinating things on this forum; it's great for gossip. I had no idea this was going to happen. I assume you have evidence ...
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Why are junior organisers against ECF membership?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Apr 27, 2013 7:52 pm

IanDavis wrote: For n = 1 to 10, what % of junior players do not return to competition after their nth tournament. Obviously this has been already calculated.
I'm not sure it has. There's a long tail of players with less than 10 games in a grading season.

It's my belief that the ECF didn't research the type of chess played by Juniors with any degree of thoroughness. Many events are formatted as individual tournaments, so the ECF lumped them in with adult Congresses and assumed thousands of Silver Junior members. It was the context of that rather massive price rise which provoked the Junior Game Fee compromise so resented by some in the ECF.

Let's not forget that adult Gold members who played in leagues were the beneficiaries of the ECF's largesse, by virtue of the abolition of Game Fee for members playing in Leagues. That largesse had to be financed from somewhere and it was Junior organisations and less active adults who would be picking up the bills. Unsurprisingly the Junior Organisations raised objections.

Angus French
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Re: Why are junior organisers against ECF membership?

Post by Angus French » Sat Apr 27, 2013 7:52 pm

Some stats, for what they are worth (from a copy of the ECF Membership List downloaded just after 5pm on Tuesday 23 April and from the March Master List of Players released on 27 March):

Number of memberships - 9409
Number of memberships without a prior Due Date - 9381
Platinum memberships (excluding those with a prior Due Date) - 280 (3.2%)
Gold Adult memberships (on the same basis as for Platinum memberships etc.) - 1660
Gold Junior memberships - 441
Silver Adult memberships - 1815
Silver Junior memberships - 452
Bronze Adult memberships - 4304
Bronze Junior memberships - 413
Other memberships -16
Adult memberships - 7779 (82.9%)
Junior memberships -1306 (13.9%)
Number of players who played at least one graded game in 2012 - 16441
Number of the above who are members (determined by matching on Grade Reference) - 8770 (53.3%)
Number of players who played between 1 and 15 graded games in 2012 - 9961
Number of the above who are members - 3435 (34.5%)

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Why are junior organisers against ECF membership?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Apr 27, 2013 8:00 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote: A very interesting statement. You do learn some fascinating things on this forum; it's great for gossip. I had no idea this was going to happen. I assume you have evidence ...
I'm referring to the removal of the special deal by which ECF members taking part in unregistered Yorkshire competitions would have the games in these competitions graded. As these competitions are not going to be graded, there will be fewer games graded as a consequence. Anyone currently or becoming a member playing solely in those leagues is going to disappear from the ECF's grading list through apparent inactivity.

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Why are junior organisers against ECF membership?

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Sat Apr 27, 2013 8:11 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Andrew Zigmond wrote: A very interesting statement. You do learn some fascinating things on this forum; it's great for gossip. I had no idea this was going to happen. I assume you have evidence ...
I'm referring to the removal of the special deal by which ECF members taking part in unregistered Yorkshire competitions would have the games in these competitions graded. As these competitions are not going to be graded, there will be fewer games graded as a consequence. Anyone currently or becoming a member playing solely in those leagues is going to disappear from the ECF's grading list through apparent inactivity.
Just to clarify, you quoted Sean's reference to 9,500 members and implied that many Yorkshire members will cease to be so - that's how I read it anyway. Can I just check this is the case before I comment further?
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Andrew Varney
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Re: Why are junior organisers against ECF membership?

Post by Andrew Varney » Sat Apr 27, 2013 8:13 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:
Andrew Varney wrote:Easy answer - junior organisers are no more against ECF membership than any other party
Well that's demonstrably false!
Sean Hewitt wrote:
Andrew Varney wrote:Then please demonstrate that! Where are your survey statistics comparing the response of junior organisers to the general chess-playing population and how was the question worded?
No problem. I have not conducted any survey (neither, I suspect, have you). I have witnessed comments made by junior organisers at council and based on actual correspondence I have received from junior organisations I've found

Junior Organisers who are in favour of membership : Zero
Junior Organisers who are against membership : All of them

However, please feel free to cite your own source of information.
Unfortunately evidence seems very much *not* clear from what is being written. In my statement I made it quite clear at the start (unquoted by Sean) that my comments were
My view
whereas Sean stated that this was
demonstrably false
. This has not been demonstrated!

I know 100% for sure that not ALL junior organisers are against ECF membership because I am not. I regularly promote membership to parents of more active juniors I am involved with. The document I cited also clearly implies that the bulk of junior organisers (as represented by Phil Ehr and Neill in the document) were in favour of membership. If that had not been the case, the document would surely not have been proposing an amendment to the membership scheme but it's abolition! I am sure that there are junior organisers who are anti-membership, but I have no reason to believe that the proportion is any different from the informed chess-playing population in general.

What may be the case (I do not know, but it might explain Sean's experience/view) is that 100% of junior organisers are against the way that the membership scheme has been imposed seemingly without thinking through the consequences for the junior (future adult) chess scene. If the "experts" in a major sub-group that is strategic expresses a strong view, it should probably be listened to. Maybe there is a justifiable reason they are saying what they say? I think this is pretty clearly spelled out in the document I cited as well as several other places where junior chess matters have been written about. There is an entry level barrier which the current implementation of ECF membership requirements for junior chess events imposes. This is especially significant for activity within secondary schools where the chess-playing population is so small. If we want to change the status quo for the better, it would be best to do something about it.

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Why are junior organisers against ECF membership?

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Sat Apr 27, 2013 8:40 pm

I think ECF membership is a barrier to participation which is why junior organisers are opposed. As a barrier it's a great big barricade, more a speed bump, but it's there nonetheless. I also suspect that many organisers are opposed on practical grounds rather than principle. There is a difference.

I made the following point on the lengthy thread that led to this one but it seemed to get lost. £8 is not a lot of money in the grand scheme of things but it cannot simply be absorbed into general fees. It requires each player to register in advance. Leaving aside the fact that junior players can't write a cheque or pay online with their credit card; I'm also assuming that they need to get a parent or guardian to sign. It's not a major problem in itself but another thing that has to be done in advance of the event. The organiser has to tell schools that all their pupils need to be ECF members (and justify the reason if need be). The schools then have to get all their pupils to sign up (and justify the reason to parents if need be). What do the organisers do if a young entrant turns up who (for whatever reason) has neglected to sort out their membership - turn them away?

Another point I'd make is that adult chess and junior chess have become very polarised. Junior organisers have had to strike out on their own initiative. This ties into my own main frustration with chess organisation at the moment; the lack of any network and communication between different organisations and events. The ECF has retained a certain influence in adult chess but less so in junior chess which is why relations may - at present - be poorer.
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Why are junior organisers against ECF membership?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Apr 27, 2013 8:45 pm

Regarding the 9500, I am comparing that to the total of 14500 or so who played at least one graded game in previous years. With the exclusion from grading of local Yorkshire leagues and the removal of some Junior events from elsewhere in the country, it is my speculation that the count of graded games and the count of graded players will show a reduction year in year. There have been more e2e4 events this year which might push the game count up a bit, but only if they are not at the expense of existing events. Outside of events for juniors, Congresses no longer attract players new to organised chess.

John Swain
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Re: Why are junior organisers against ECF membership?

Post by John Swain » Sat Apr 27, 2013 8:49 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:
Andrew Varney wrote:Then please demonstrate that! Where are your survey statistics comparing the response of junior organisers to the general chess-playing population and how was the question worded?
No problem. I have not conducted any survey (neither, I suspect, have you). I have witnessed comments made by junior organisers at council and based on actual correspondence I have received from junior organisations I've found

Junior Organisers who are in favour of membership : Zero
Junior Organisers who are against membership : All of them

However, please feel free to cite your own source of information.
The claim that all junior organisers are against membership is incredibly naive, especially coming from someone who has a reputation for running sophisticated high-quality chess tournaments.

I support the idea that as many juniors as possible become ECF members. Many of the juniors I know are ECF members, which is great. The issue is whether the ECF would not be better advised to allow those juniors just getting interested in the game and who only play for their school teams the opportunity to sample the benefits of ECF membership free (including grading) for perhaps a year or two. Many by then join clubs and play in congresses, thereby becoming ECF members, but some stay at the "school team stage" whilst others lose interest altogether. Those like myself raising school teams need these temporary players as well as those who are thinking about increasing their involvement.

Many schools do not have an adequate budget for chess and some have none at all - they just get access to the school minibus and that's about it. So we need to encourage secondary school chess events, supporting the initiatives of Neill Cooper and others who offer free or virtually free events (eg. £5 per team in the Birmingham League tournaments which then pays for individual best board trophies). The ECF has also benefited from several schools offering their facilities for free, so the least the ECF can do is to offer something in return.

So, Sean, please don't stereotype everyone who is not 100% behind your views as being 100% against. There are many shades of grey - a lot more than fifty!

IanDavis
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Re: Why are junior organisers against ECF membership?

Post by IanDavis » Sat Apr 27, 2013 9:02 pm

Junior Organisers who are in favour of membership : Zero
Junior Organisers who are against membership : All of them
This is generally the sort of statement you'd expect from a troll, however, that's not to say it is a troll in this instance.

Paul Bielby
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Re: Why are junior organisers against ECF membership?

Post by Paul Bielby » Sat Apr 27, 2013 9:49 pm

I have just got home after the Northumbria Megafinal to find this highly contentious thread. In this area I know of no junior organisers who are against ECF membership. The Northumbria Junior Chess Association have practised 100% membership for the past several seasons and would like to continue to do so. Some 80 of the 452 ECF Junior Silver members come from Northumberland as well as a few Junior Gold members. All the Northumbria team playing in the recent Pennine Cup competition in Bradford were gold or silver members and they have expressed disappointment that the event was not graded. Previous Pennine Cup competitions have been graded and at last year's Pennine cup the NJCA paid the game fee for any visitors who were not members.

Of course we have no junior bronze members. All our graded junior chess is played in tournaments. Of course many of our better juniors play league chess as well, but most junior chess is played in the half dozen or so tournaments that we hold each season. This is the 'entry level' for juniors. I simply don't understand what point there is in junior bronze membership. What is wrong is that Silver membership - the first membership that a junior takes out - costs more than bronze membership.

I am personally a Platinum member and a junior coach of more than 50 years standing. I introduced idea that to play in our competitions a junior had to be a member if they were to play regularly, because I want to see a strong, viable ECF. And the children are very keen and enthusiastic about their gradings. However, as I have mentioned before on this forum, the more expensive silver membership and the relatively cheap 50p game fee for junior games, must discourage juniors from actually taking up membership.

It seems to be the ECF council and Board that are the ones against junior membership.

Neill Cooper
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Re: Why are junior organisers against ECF membership?

Post by Neill Cooper » Sat Apr 27, 2013 10:10 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:
Andrew Varney wrote:Then please demonstrate that! Where are your survey statistics comparing the response of junior organisers to the general chess-playing population and how was the question worded?
No problem. I have not conducted any survey (neither, I suspect, have you). I have witnessed comments made by junior organisers at council and based on actual correspondence I have received from junior organisations I've found

Junior Organisers who are in favour of membership : Zero
Junior Organisers who are against membership : All of them

However, please feel free to cite your own source of information.
I think the subsequent posts by various junior organisers in response to this biased and false claim show why it is imperative that in the review of ECF junior membership it is the junior director who leads, as he has the confidence of junior organisers.

For the record I support ECF junior membership, and I insist on it at Castles Junior Chess Club.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Why are junior organisers against ECF membership?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Apr 27, 2013 11:55 pm

Paul Bielby wrote: However, as I have mentioned before on this forum, the more expensive silver membership and the relatively cheap 50p game fee for junior games, must discourage juniors from actually taking up membership.
For Junior rapidplays, the Game Fee was something like 10p a game in 2011-12. So an organiser of a 100 player event over 5 rounds had to budget for around £ 50 payable to the ECF. Here and there, organisations didn't want to pay that, so some set up private rating systems. If you had a hundred new players, the ECF was proposing to increase the price from £ 50 to £ 1200 assuming Silver membership at £ 12 a head. The lack of shouting at the October 2011 meeting presumably means they hadn't realised the problem. By the April 2012 meeting they had. Hence the ambush on the ECF's budget.

Richard Bates
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Re: Why are junior organisers against ECF membership?

Post by Richard Bates » Sun Apr 28, 2013 9:43 am

I think this whole thread is compromised by too much black and white "pro" vs "anti" membership assumptions. Many people's views are clearly more nuanced. Of course there will always be individuals who hide behind specific circumstances to cover a wider agenda, but that should not be assumed to be the case. Furthermore it doesn't help by it not being clear whether this was a decision taken in the knowledge of the claimed effect it would have on the National Schools competition, or if it is one of those "unintended consequences" decisions for which a case is having to be constructed after the fact.

A couple of points which haven't perhaps been raised though:

1) How would the decision be implemented in practice (other than by going ungraded)? It is relatively easy for organisers of individual tournaments to enforce compulsory membership - the organiser just has the responsibility of requiring evidence of membership before entry is accepted. Although (and it's not really a problem whilst we have residual game fees for non-member games) how the liability would be treated in the event of a mistake is not clear.

You couldn't possibly obtain evidence of membership in advance of entry in an event like the National Schools though. And without any alternative game fee payments allowed where does the liability lie? With the individual players? With the schools? Or with the organisers?

2) Is it actually desirable for events like the National Schools to be graded? Not from the perspective of the organisers, who obviously see it as a useful incentive, but from the perspective of the integrity of the grading system. It has been commented before about the potential consequences of the UK Chess Challenge suddenly deciding it wanted its games graded, considering the uncertain value of the Junior/new player algorithm. This is obviously smaller scale, but should there be a requirement for a minimum % of graded players for an event to be considered for grading?


More widely I think there is a discussion to be had (away from the specifics of individual events) about whether there is a case to be made for the ECF to introduce some new tournament category within the membership structure of "entry-level tournaments" which could have different requirements in relation to funding the ECF. Basically events which meet certain defined criteria (including probably being non-profit making) which are designed to introduce new players to the game, on the basis the introduction of new players who will contribute to the finances of the ECF in future is as valuable as any financial contribution any single event could generate. Such a category would, it seems to me, be logically compatable with the universal membership structure being established.

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