Outcome of membership scheme

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Outcome of membership scheme

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Oct 25, 2012 12:32 pm

David Gilbert wrote:It's a record breaker!
Not really, it reflects the fact that the League season is now under way and many clubs or leagues have made it compulsory or near compulsory to become a member in order to play league chess. The bigger issues will be at the end of the season as to whether both the number of games graded and the numbers of people playing them hold up. The count of players with enough games to get a published grade is of the order of 12,000 whilst the number playing at least one graded game pushes the total towards 15,000.

Where the ECF converts an exceptionally active player into a member, it's experiencing a net loss by comparison to last year as it will also do with existing converted Gold members.

David Gilbert
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Re: Outcome of membership scheme

Post by David Gilbert » Thu Oct 25, 2012 12:38 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
David Gilbert wrote:It's a record breaker!
Not really.
Oh yes it is! It's a bigger number than any two days since records began!

Angus French
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Re: Outcome of membership scheme

Post by Angus French » Thu Oct 25, 2012 3:58 pm

David Gilbert wrote:It adds up to 664 new enrolments in two days! It's a record breaker!
Presumably due to the fact that MOs have until the end of October to submit membership applications and claim a discount.
David Gilbert wrote:... a few are duplicates mainly due to people taking out new memberships rather than renewing.
In today's list there are 37 Grade Refs which are used more than once. 13 memberships with duplicated Grade Ref have a Due Date (indicating a new membership rather than a renewal).

I've updated the membership stats I recorded earlier and also attached a spreadsheet with further stats. These include, for example, a list of all the memberships with a duplicated Grade Ref.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Outcome of membership scheme

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Oct 25, 2012 4:26 pm

Angus French wrote: In today's list there are 37 Grade Refs which are used more than once. 13 memberships with duplicated Grade Ref have a Due Date (indicating a new membership rather than a renewal).
If you strip out the prefix, you can sort by numeric code, which approximates to initial joining sequence. On today's list, this throws up data corruption, membership codes without the customary J,S,G,B,P prefixes. As they relate to a common geographic area, I'd guess it's a problem with the bulk load.

David Robertson
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Re: Outcome of membership scheme

Post by David Robertson » Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:27 pm

This question may invite scorn from those who've come to terms better than I have with AF's (very helpful) data table. But, at 1900+, aren't there many more Gold members than there 'needs' to be? (ie who would play FIDE/4NCL in a year).

If so, I regard that as excellent news.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Outcome of membership scheme

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:42 pm

David Robertson wrote: But, at 1900+, aren't there many more Gold members than there 'needs' to be? (ie who would play FIDE/4NCL in a year).
There's probably a tail of those with part ratings, so the Gold headcount will be a bit higher than the active FIDE rated count. Also Gold are those who were Direct members on the old scheme, who may not renew as such. You also got those having to pay the ECF's £ 27 a year charge to avoid being classed as equivalent to cheats. If you aren't ENG, you don't need to be an ECF Gold member, not that the ECF website tells you that.

Angus French
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Re: Outcome of membership scheme

Post by Angus French » Thu Oct 25, 2012 6:38 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
David Robertson wrote: But, at 1900+, aren't there many more Gold members than there 'needs' to be? (ie who would play FIDE/4NCL in a year).
There's probably a tail of those with part ratings, so the Gold headcount will be a bit higher than the active FIDE rated count. Also Gold are those who were Direct members on the old scheme, who may not renew as such. You also got those having to pay the ECF's £ 27 a year charge to avoid being classed as equivalent to cheats. If you aren't ENG, you don't need to be an ECF Gold member, not that the ECF website tells you that.
I’d guess also that some players are showing a degree of generosity towards the ECF by signing up for a higher category than is needed. Perhaps an (unforeseen?) advantage of the membership scheme is that it facilitates this.

David Robertson
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Re: Outcome of membership scheme

Post by David Robertson » Thu Oct 25, 2012 7:11 pm

Angus French wrote:
David Robertson wrote:But, at 1900+, aren't there many more Gold members than there 'needs' to be? (ie who would play FIDE/4NCL in a year)
I’d guess also that some players are showing a degree of generosity towards the ECF by signing up for a higher category than is needed. Perhaps an (unforeseen?) advantage of the membership scheme is that it facilitates this.
Behavioural economics would predict it. My initial nervousness, when drawing attention to the matter, was because I feared I'd overlooked some factor that would be obvious to those with better knowledge of ECF details. And the reason I'm interested at all is to see if behavioural economic theory stands up in this case. The signs are good.

But I have a yet more important reason. A year back, I argued at length for a tiered membership model based on the differential allocation of benefits, including voting rights but avoiding the arbitrary demarcation between club, congress & FIDE chess. This idea was brushed aside by people whose judgement I might normally respect (eg Andrew Farthing & Mike Truran). They claimed players would simply opt for Bronze unless coerced. Privately this opinion irritated me greatly because it is not supported by evidence from behavioural economics. However, there was nothing more I could say at the time, absent concrete evidence from chess player behaviour. So we ended up with the coercive model of tiered membership, not the voluntary model I was advocating. Frankly, that's a pity.

We are where we are. The data is not conclusive; but it is in line with what I would have predicted a year ago.

Mike Truran
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Re: Outcome of membership scheme

Post by Mike Truran » Thu Oct 25, 2012 7:35 pm

This idea was brushed aside by people whose judgement I might normally respect (eg Andrew Farthing & Mike Truran).
Did I really do that? Sorry about that - I'm sure you're right, but I have no recollection of it. But then I am getting on a bit and prone to forgetfulness. Anyway, whatever I may (or may not) have said back then (when?), what you say seems to make eminent sense.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Outcome of membership scheme

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Oct 25, 2012 7:43 pm

Mike Truran wrote:Did I really do that? Sorry about that - I'm sure you're right, but I have no recollection of it.
As far as I am aware, you were or are one of the most enthusiastic advocates for the notion that individuals should each pay or cause to be paid the same amount to the ECF per season, regardless of whether they play one game or two hundred. Lest we forget, this was the underlying premise of version one of the Farthing scheme with the odd concession for players without grades.

Mike Truran
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Re: Outcome of membership scheme

Post by Mike Truran » Thu Oct 25, 2012 7:52 pm

That was a fixed costs argument, not a voting rights argument. But given that you have consistently failed to understand the fixed costs argument, I doubt you will be able to grasp this particular distinction either.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Outcome of membership scheme

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Oct 25, 2012 7:56 pm

Mike Truran wrote:That was a fixed costs argument, not a voting rights argument. But given that you have consistently failed to understand the fixed costs argument, I doubt you will be able to grasp this particular distinction either.
I thought it a particularly obscure accounting point. But let me rephrase the question. If you were setting membership rates, how many would there be and would they be the same for everyone?

Mike Truran
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Re: Outcome of membership scheme

Post by Mike Truran » Thu Oct 25, 2012 8:04 pm

I thought it a particularly obscure accounting point.
And I thought it a pretty fundamental point that even an ex-actuary with seemingly only a hazy grasp of economics might grasp and be prepared to debate on anything other than an 'I'm right and you're wrong' basis. But apparently not.

Michele Clack
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Re: Outcome of membership scheme

Post by Michele Clack » Thu Oct 25, 2012 8:09 pm

I think when you look at the figures for Gold you are forgetting how many more FIDE rated tournaments there are now. I was expecting to play at the E2E4 High Wycombe event, which I did, so I joined at gold level. I may well not play any more FIDE tournaments this year. I'm sure this sort of scenario will not be uncommon with people playing just one or two such events. The very enjoyable weekend at High Wycombe (apart from the chess!) cost me far more than a year's subscription to the ECF. THe ECF looks a bargain to me.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Outcome of membership scheme

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Oct 25, 2012 8:18 pm

michele clack wrote: The very enjoyable weekend at High Wycombe (apart from the chess!) cost me far more than a year's subscription to the ECF. THe ECF looks a bargain to me.
There is a fundamental point about the attitude of Congress organisers. Why is it that they were so opposed to their Congresses paying around £ 2.50 to £ 3.00 per head to the ECF and that an increase of 50p was the end of the universe?

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