English Primary Schools Chess Association

National developments, strategies and ideas.
Roger Lancaster
Posts: 1046
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 2:44 pm

Re: English Primary Schools Chess Association

Post by Roger Lancaster » Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:29 am

Kevin Thurlow wrote: It's the false claims that they make that annoy me.
Well, yes, that (assuming no-one from the EPSCA disputes that theirs is a false claim) was my reason for raising the matter.

Michael Flatt
Posts: 1235
Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:36 am
Location: Hertfordshire

Re: English Primary Schools Chess Association

Post by Michael Flatt » Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:20 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:Wasn't historically the National Junior Chess Squad, the BCF Junior squad? I think they parted company with the BCF around the late 1990s. The BCF had no control over what the squad did.

One way of telling who was or had been a member was that they wrote their moves like this

Code: Select all

1. e4     e5
2.    Nf3    Nc6
3. Bb5    a6
4.    Ba4    Nf6
The BCF Junior squad would have been behind the big London simuls of the 1970s and domestically would turn up en masse to terrorise Open tournaments with prepared novelties.
That interesting. A previous forum item relates to the BCF Junior Squad simul vs Boris Spassky.
http://www.ecforum.org.uk/viewtopic.php?t=800

Is there any recorded history or discussion relating to the schism between the BCF/ECF and the Junior Squad which led to them continuing independently as the National Junior Chess Squad?

Has there been any attempt at a reconciliation?

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 19080
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: English Primary Schools Chess Association

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Feb 27, 2017 4:37 pm

Michael Flatt wrote:
Is there any recorded history or discussion relating to the schism between the BCF/ECF and the Junior Squad which led to them continuing independently as the National Junior Chess Squad?
You might want to consult the SCCU archive from the late Richard Haddrell's site. There was a junior international tournament at around that time, 1999/2000, the name Witley/Whitley springs to mind where the BCF and the BCF Junior squad each thought the other was paying for it. There again that may have had nothing to do with it. No high profile announcement was ever made.

Roger Lancaster
Posts: 1046
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 2:44 pm

Re: English Primary Schools Chess Association

Post by Roger Lancaster » Mon Feb 27, 2017 5:41 pm

Can't vouch for truth of that, Roger, but the event you have in mind would almost certainly be the Smith & Williamson Young Masters which was, I think, held in both 1999 and 2000.

Leonard Barden
Posts: 1642
Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2008 11:21 am

Re: English Primary Schools Chess Association

Post by Leonard Barden » Mon Feb 27, 2017 5:53 pm

No, the event which caused the financial hole was a triangular team match between England, the United States, and a third country which might have been Serbia. Russia was invited as a fourth but pulled out. I think it was an under-16 or 17 match and the England team may have included Craig Hanley and Lorin D'Costa.

Neill Cooper
Posts: 1251
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Croydon
Contact:

Re: English Primary Schools Chess Association

Post by Neill Cooper » Mon Feb 27, 2017 5:58 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:I'm perhaps going slightly off topic but is there an equivalent organisation focusing on secondary school chess? Does the EPSCA have a legacy in terms of former participants in their events still in active play? This ties into something I have a bee in my bonnet about locally.
I don't know of any secondary school organisation like EPSCA. But the ECF organises some Secondary School tournaments. See the schools pages on the ECF website http://englishchess.org.uk/NSCC/ and feel free to email me manager.secondary@englishchess.org.uk.

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 19080
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: English Primary Schools Chess Association

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Feb 27, 2017 6:12 pm

Some extracts from http://sccu-chess.com/archive/9899/bcf.htm
BCF MANAGEMENT BOARD MEETING 19 June 1999 wrote:The Finance Committee Chairman had provided an interim report on the Investigation into the finances surrounding the Witley Junior International Event. A response from Alec Webster, the Junior Squad Treasurer, to certain questions that had been raised with him was tabled at the meeting. Certain points need to be followed up before it will be appropriate for this to come into the public domain. The Board did, however, endorse the general principle that another organisation can only use the "BCF" name with the approval of the Board or Council.
BCF FINANCE COUNCIL MEETING 24th April 1999 wrote: Financial Control Procedures. Council requested the Management Board to investigate last year's junior overspend and come up with procedures that would prevent such a thing happening again. So how did the previous Junior Director manage to overspend to the tune of �8,000? With the Witley event, in a nutshell. It is still not entirely clear to rjh why the Director was expecting sponsorship that never materialised. The Management Board had been given to understand that Witley was being financed by the Junior Squad. The Junior Squad, apparently, had been given to understand that it was being financed by the BCF. Everyone agreed, and not for the first time, that while the Junior Squad does splendid work it's nonsensical to have them using the Federation's name without being in any way accountable to it.
BCF MANAGEMENT BOARD 14th November 1998 wrote:There was an extended discussion on junior issues, which have given rise to much external comment, with further letters from Messrs Basman and Barden awaiting members of the Board on arrival. The Junior selection committee was eventually re-elected, and it was agreed that minutes of selection meetings indicating who was present and the decisions reached would be maintained. A paper on the Junior Squad would be presented to the February Board meeting, when the relationship between the BCF and an autonomous body allowed to use "BCF" as part of its name could be fully debated. Peter Turner was elected as an additional trustee of the British Youth Trust. In answer to comments about the difficulty in obtaining responses from the Junior Director to communications, it was pointed out that other directors could also be slow in responding. So that is clearly all right then!

Peter Turner
Posts: 393
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 7:57 pm

Re: English Primary Schools Chess Association

Post by Peter Turner » Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:06 pm

From Peter Turner
My name has just been mentioned in this tread so I'm happy to make some comments. I would like to say that I remember the Whitley event with some fondness but sadly not so. I have my wife Gill sitting next to me as I type, my memory is far from accurate but Gill remembers it very well. This Whitley event was organised by the Junior Squad, nothing to do with the BCF, it is an independent body. It was quite an impressive event, a quadrangular between England, South Africa, USA & Czech Republic. As with many junior organisations there have been/are overlaps between Officers in the BDF/ECF and other junior organisations. At this time Brian Jones was BCF Director of Junior Chess, I had recently retired so was in a position to accept his invitation to become Officer in charge of Chess in Schools. We were asked if we would go as managers of the England Squad. When we arrived we discovered that Peter Purland was in charge of the chess and we had to deal with other matters.
The first evening was a very impressive buffet for invited guests. We were asked to keep the youngsters away from the buffet until all the guests were served, by which time there was very little left for the youngsters. We had to deal with such things as :- a very badly behaved England U14 Team, the U18 Team were delightful. From the visiting teams, "where do I exchange my currency?", "how do I get to London?", "my toilet is blocked"," I'm locked out of the building", "where is the nearest Supermarket?", "Is there a shower for the ladies?" etc. etc. By the end of the tournament we were exhausted, went to France and slept for three days.
It was the financing of the event that led, I believe , to Brian Jones resigning as Junior Director. The issue was to do with BCF having to cover quite a large amount of money to support the tournament (I'm sure I know the amount but hesitate to say but we are talking thousands).
The fallout had quite an effect on my involvement with the BCF/ECF. Brian Jones resigned and, as just mentioned, I had gone to France with Gill for a good rest. Some time later we were at a very noisy festival and street parade in Strassburg when the mobile rang, it was Stuart Rueben informing me that the Board had decided that I was to be the Junior Director but only in a temporary fashion until an election could be organised. I replied that I would only accept if the Board had confidence in me for a minimum of at least 2 years(I think. Stuart may have a different recollection).

The rest is history.

Cheers

Peter T

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 19080
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: English Primary Schools Chess Association

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:13 pm

Peter Turner wrote: This Whitley event was organised by the Junior Squad, nothing to do with the BCF, it is an independent body.
That's the point of the discussion, that this independent body titled itself the "BCF Junior Squad" and in the case of the Whitley tournament was expecting the BCF to pick up the bill.

Alex Holowczak
Posts: 9085
Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 5:18 pm
Location: Oldbury, Worcestershire
Contact:

Re: English Primary Schools Chess Association

Post by Alex Holowczak » Tue Feb 28, 2017 8:35 pm

If I may winge, I've spent some time this evening reading their Inter-Association rules. Not all of them make sense to me. I think this one is a classic, and works on many levels:
http://www.epsca.org.uk/rules/teamrulesregs.pdf wrote:10. At the semi finals and finals, appeals may be allowed but after one unsuccessful appeal, further appeals in that round by the same association on any other board, must be accompanied by the fee of £1.00 if the appeal is successful.

Paul McKeown
Posts: 3450
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2007 3:01 pm
Location: Hayes (Middx)
Contact:

Re: English Primary Schools Chess Association

Post by Paul McKeown » Wed Mar 01, 2017 12:57 am

I was blissfully unaware of this thread until this evening. An ECF director who has recently taken a board position within EPSCA then proceeded to suggest to me that Richmond Junior Chess Club should be removed from EPSCA's competitions, as "Richmond is not a county" (alongside much jabbering about "silos" and suchlike). Perhaps missing the point that EPSCA does not hold a "county" championship, but an "Inter-Association" championship. Naturally, RJCC will not stand idly by. I can't imagine that such an ill informed agenda will be well received by the other non-county EPSCA associations.

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 19080
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: English Primary Schools Chess Association

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Mar 01, 2017 1:16 am

Paul McKeown wrote: Perhaps missing the point that EPSCA does not hold a "county" championship, but an "Inter-Association" championship.
Wasn't that why EPSCA was set up in the first place around 50 years ago? The idea being to link the various Primary schools chess associations that had sprung up outside of the established county organisations.

In the days when secondary schools regarded chess as a valid inter-school competitive activity to be encouraged, the existence of a local primary schools association was a boon, since it meant that some of the school new entrants might be partly experienced chess players, who could slot into school teams without much additional training.

Alex Holowczak
Posts: 9085
Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 5:18 pm
Location: Oldbury, Worcestershire
Contact:

Re: English Primary Schools Chess Association

Post by Alex Holowczak » Wed Mar 01, 2017 8:39 am

Allow me to explain what happened.

I was discussing some of the stranger EPSCA rules, one of which I mentioned here, I noted one about LEAs. It was difficult for me for I have children in my team at an independent school, so no real LEA. But apparently you just put the one it's in geographically; and children with eligibility for different areas. Richard James, who is at Richmond JCC, provided assistance to answer that question. The conversation moved on.
Alex Holowczak wrote:Warwickshire is using its county association boundaries. This avoids the problems in Oldham, Richmond, Tameside, Wirral and so on, whereby you get to 11 and can't play for your Association in anything anymore.
Richard James wrote:Well, you can in Richmond up to a point: we can enter various NYCA and SCCU competitions but it's not quite the same thing. On the other hand we can't play in specifically inter-county SCCU events. Parents of Y6 children often ask me what happens next year, expecting something similar for children of secondary school age, but of course it doesn't exist.
Alex Holowczak wrote:Yes, indeed. I know this won't go down well with you, and Paul will have kittens if/when he reads this, but Richmond shouldn't exist as an EPSCA Association - I'm not sure if you're Middlesex or Surrey where you are, but you should be part of a combined county team for EPSCA. Either that, or Richmond should be affiliated to the ECF as a county in its own right within the ECF. There should be the same counties all the way through the system, whatever they are.
The point being that it seems pointless to me that Richmond should do all this good work, if it suddenly stops aged 11 because you've got nothing to play in to represent Richmond. It's not so bad in Richmond as explained by Richard James, but elsewhere it's presumably more of an issue in terms of finding something to play in. It doesn't really bother me who the geographic areas are, but it seemed sensible to me that they should all be the same whether it's EPSCA, NYCA, SCCU or ECF.

So why is my idea that they play as part of Middlesex or Surrey such a bad idea?
Paul McKeown wrote:But we compete in the National Youth and at SCCU level. It is only ECF level we don't compete at, because one person in Middlesex would have a hissy fit. And Middlesex don't even compete at the moment. Although they have asked me half a dozen times to run it for them, without getting paid. Like I'm some village idiot.
There then followed jibes about how Richmond JCC has progressed more than the ECF, and how I should leave "the development of the game to those most suited". And then "I will not stand aside as an ECF official tries to destroy one of the most successful institutions in the history of English junior chess to satisfy some personal agenda ... The lobbying will start tomorrow."

And so Paul has confirmed precisely my point in this thread about junior chess about silos. The important thing in his mind is the success of Richmond JCC and Richmond the geographic entity playing in other things, and if anyone dares to suggest there should be some national unity of approach, then apparently it's trench warfare. I think I mostly agree with Richard James' point:
Richard James wrote:I have some sympathy with Alex's views. Other, more successful, countries, have centralised structures for both junior and adult chess, and this may be one reason for our poor results over the last 15-20 years. However we're so far down the line that, as Paul says, making sudden major changes, will make standards worse rather than better.
I don't know about making standards worse, but will it make results worse? I'm not so sure that it will in the medium to long-term, and in the short-term, I'm not sure our results at age 18 could get noticeably worse than they are at the moment.

For the avoidance of doubt, I think Paul has done a great job at Richmond in the last few years. He has revived their Rapidplay, started Blitz tournaments, and by all accounts the club is in a better place than it was five years ago. He has clearly done a good job there along with Richard James. England would undoubtedly benefit from more such clubs! The problem in my mind isn't the club - it's the fact that there are so many different regions that can enter different competitions with overlapping boundaries and different people running them. It doesn't happen in any other sports, so why chess?

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 19080
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: English Primary Schools Chess Association

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Mar 01, 2017 8:55 am

Alex Holowczak wrote: So why is my idea that they play as part of Middlesex or Surrey such a bad idea?
Why not use equivalent reasoning to suggest that 4NCL teams play as part of counties? The concept of restricted county eligibility is obsolete in my view and has been ever since the 4NCL demonstrated it was unnecessary. Allow players, or their parents, to choose which organisation they wish to play for.

Alex Holowczak
Posts: 9085
Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 5:18 pm
Location: Oldbury, Worcestershire
Contact:

Re: English Primary Schools Chess Association

Post by Alex Holowczak » Wed Mar 01, 2017 8:57 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote: So why is my idea that they play as part of Middlesex or Surrey such a bad idea?
Why not use equivalent reasoning to suggest that 4NCL teams play as part of counties? The concept of restricted county eligibility is obsolete in my view and has been ever since the 4NCL demonstrated it was unnecessary. Allow players, or their parents, to choose which organisation they wish to play for.
The concept of restricted county eligibility exists in EPSCA associations. It's no different in principle from the counties aged 11-18 that play in other competitions. It's just that the associations are different from those that compete at secondary school level.

Post Reply