ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator

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

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:47 pm

Richard James wrote:
Alex McFarlane wrote: I remember Bob Wade travelling the country giving courses on how teachers should promote chess. When did the ECF last do something like this?
John Foley is doing precisely this at the moment on behalf of CSC.
Are there any links about Mr Foley and his activities? We have a junior organiser locally who may be interested.
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Sean Hewitt
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Re: ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator

Post by Sean Hewitt » Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:53 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:Rather than debating the `track record`
We can't debate their track record. I keep asking, without any response, what their track record is. Why is articulating what has been achieved thus far so problematic?
Andrew Zigmond wrote:the ECF needs to consult the views of junior organisers, look at what is being done well and what is not
Without knowing the track record of these organisers, it's impossible to judge how much weight to give to their views, nor form an opinion as to whether they would know what is being done well and what is not.
Andrew Zigmond wrote:I don't know why this seems to be so difficult.
It's difficult because no one has yet set out the achievements of the junior chess community with whom you'd like us to consult. Why is doing this so difficult?

IanDavis
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Re: ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator

Post by IanDavis » Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:05 pm

Which junior organiser would you like to start with?

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David Shepherd
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Re: ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator

Post by David Shepherd » Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:08 pm

David Shepherd wrote:Apologies if I have got this all wrong and I haven't checked the rules closely but are you saying that if counties closed their doors and made junior tournaments restricted to their county only then only bronze membership would apply? If so is that really what the ECf want to encourage :( . Sorry I very am busy at the moment and don't have much time to go through all this - I just dipped in to this thread so have probably just got it all wrong

Ok I was waiting for someone to tell me I hadn't understood the position - looks like that isn't the case. http://www.englishchess.org.uk/wp-conte ... -paper.pdf. Apologies to all - its probably covered earlier in the thread. But this exemption appears to apply to both adult and junior chess. Could someone please explain to me why the ECF are encouraging closed tournaments in this way. Particularly unfortunate if you live near county boundaries and your nearest tournament is in an adjoining county :( .

Why are the ECF giving exemption from being a gold member on a one off basis for some FIDE events but seemingly unwilling to give schools at least the equivalent one off exemption - maybe again I am misunderstanding.

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

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:18 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote: I keep asking, without any response, what their track record is.
Surely everyone involved in English chess for any length of time is aware of the overall picture. The Junior organisations have been able to maintain consistently reasonable numbers at Primary School level over many years. This fails to translate into similar numbers at secondary school and university ages. The knock on effects are that results at International Junior level are mediocre by the standards of past achievements and the emergence of new FMs, IMs and GMs infrequent. Also the headcount of players taking part in Congress and club chess in the 18-40 age range are well outnumbered by those over that age.

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

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:24 pm

David Shepherd wrote: Why are the ECF giving exemption from being a gold member on a one off basis for some FIDE events but seemingly unwilling to give schools at least the equivalent one off exemption - maybe again I am misunderstanding.
You aren't misunderstanding. A cynic would suggest that the main beneficiaries of this generosity hold a lot of voting power in the ECF Council.

A pragmatist would say that you allow exemptions so as not to hit players with an annualised membership cost purely for one game. But that equally applies to school events.

Krishna Shiatis
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Re: ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator

Post by Krishna Shiatis » Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:29 pm

Neill Cooper wrote:I have resigned from my post as ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator.
Neill, you're doing a great job. I do not think that you should resign over this. The chess playing kids of England need you where you are. I have seen a real revival in secondary chess since you began and brought your enthusiasm. This is a post that requires someone of your vision for the long term. It would be a real loss to English Junior Chess if you leave.

Perhaps some middle ground can be found - whereby your ideas can be discussed further at board level?

Have you spoken with Phil Ehr?

(I have not read the entire thread as it is very long - apologies if this has already been discussed...)

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:46 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:
Andrew Zigmond wrote:Rather than debating the `track record`
We can't debate their track record. I keep asking, without any response, what their track record is. Why is articulating what has been achieved thus far so problematic?
A good question and quite a difficult one to answer. I suppose it would depend a) what constitutes achievement and b) what you as a major figure in the governing body would reasonably expect grassroots organisers to achieve, given that the ECF has a part to play.

I shouldn't have to spell out the achievements of Mike Basman and Richard James. I am aware that no less than three individuals known to me personally (Phill Beckett, John Hipshon, Andrew Wainwright) have all run highly praised junior events in recent weeks so there must be a lot of activity going on nationally. Which brings us on to the bigger picture ...

Chess organisation in this country sometimes feels like an endless room with many people stumbling around with candles and groping for the light switch (a few have managed to find torches). The biggest question is - when they do find the switch; will there be a bulb?

A couple of other points I've picked up on during this thread;

The National Club Championship is an ECF event but ECF membership is not compulsary. I played a non ECF member in the Harrogate team and the controller clarified that this was acceptable. There wasn't even a charge for the resultant game fee, which I would happily have paid. So why is membership not required for this event where it would be a perfectly reasonable condition, but apparently is for junior event where I personally feel it wouldn't.

Much earlier, Sean mentioned the need for a five or ten year plan. I agree with this and would like to know more about what the ECF evisage. Mulling matters over today (the Yorkshire situation has been on my mind) I think the ECF needs to relaunch their overall vision and the timescales for achieving it.
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John Swain
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Re: ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator

Post by John Swain » Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:17 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:
Andrew Zigmond wrote:Rather than debating the `track record`
We can't debate their track record. I keep asking, without any response, what their track record is. Why is articulating what has been achieved thus far so problematic?
Andrew Zigmond wrote:the ECF needs to consult the views of junior organisers, look at what is being done well and what is not
Without knowing the track record of these organisers, it's impossible to judge how much weight to give to their views, nor form an opinion as to whether they would know what is being done well and what is not.
Andrew Zigmond wrote:I don't know why this seems to be so difficult.
It's difficult because no one has yet set out the achievements of the junior chess community with whom you'd like us to consult. Why is doing this so difficult?
I don't see why a junior organiser should have to enumerate his or her achievements, or receive your endorsement, before you are prepared to listen to their views. There are lots of well respected junior organisers around the country, as you must know; with all the tournaments you run and players you meet, you must hear of many of their achievements. That is not to say that we cannot make improvements in junior organisation, especially at secondary level, which is exactly why the initiatives of Neill Cooper and others need supporting.

I don't see what you, as a senior ECF official, are trying to gain by this rather eccentric approach on the Forum of alienating junior organisers. The present situation calls for tact and diplomacy, with discussions in private, rather than these seemingly endless round-in-circles exchanges on this Forum.

Please, Sean, start mending some bridges, not setting the charges to demolish even more.
Last edited by John Swain on Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

LawrenceCooper
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Re: ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator

Post by LawrenceCooper » Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:25 pm

I can't help feeling that directors sometimes can't win. If they do nothing then they are criticised but if they try and do things then they get a load of grief. If they don't contribute to the forum they are criticised, if they do then they seem to get a lot of grief. That probably explains why so few people volunteer and prefer to leave the posts vacant.

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:35 pm

David Shepherd wrote:But even then I am not sure that any requirements would mean that only bronze membership is required - mega-finals are open to players from any county (they just can't win the prize, but can qualify for the next round)
Ah, fair enough; I stand corrected. It's a long time since I had any connection with anything to do with that event.

John Swain
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Re: ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator

Post by John Swain » Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:44 pm

LawrenceCooper wrote:I can't help feeling that directors sometimes can't win. If they do nothing then they are criticised but if they try and do things then they get a load of grief. If they don't contribute to the forum they are criticised, if they do then they seem to get a lot of grief. That probably explains why so few people volunteer and prefer to leave the posts vacant.
I couldn't agree more. I've previously commended ECF officials who are prepared to make comments on this Forum but I don't blame others who prefer to keep their counsel.

I'm merely trying to suggest that, after many frank exchanges of views, the way forward on this particular issue may be best advanced by discussions elsewhere.

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:48 pm

David Shepherd wrote: Could someone please explain to me why the ECF are encouraging closed tournaments in this way. Particularly unfortunate if you live near county boundaries and your nearest tournament is in an adjoining county :( .
Well, I'm only familiar with one congress of this nature, so I'll use it as an example: the Bristol League Congress. This is a weekend event organized by the Bristol League for members of its clubs, as a sort of internal individual championship. That, I think, is the major idea behind that exemption: it allows counties and leagues to have internal individual championship events that require only Bronze membership, should they wish them.

(If you live near county boundaries and your nearest tournament is a Closed event in an adjoining county, it's often possible to join a club in said adjoining county and become eligible for it that way.)

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

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:49 pm

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's the same with FIDE. Quite frequently FIDE propose something totally idiotic. Usually but not always, the resulting shouting forces a climb down. Sometimes the measures get through, at least in part. Zero defaults in official FIDE events and the licence fees for arbiters being cases in point, although the licence fee for players appears for the moment to have been defeated.

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David Shepherd
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Re: ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator

Post by David Shepherd » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:09 am

I think the forum is useful for encouraging debate and gathering views, and people should support and thank the likes of Sean and Jack for putting their views forward, whether they agree or disagree with them.

I find the approach that the board have taken is not surprising. The ECF needs to raise funds, it has chosen to do so by a membership scheme (which I agree with in some form) and as an extension decided that ideally all players playing graded games (a service that it offers) should be members. The board seem to have voted to make this compulsory in the events they run themselves. I can understand the logic behind this and wouldn't be critical of a member for voting in that way. I just don't agree with them in this case.

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