Universal Membership Scheme

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Carl Hibbard
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Universal Membership Scheme

Post by Carl Hibbard » Wed Apr 02, 2008 6:56 am

An item that needs discussion came up on the excellent SOUTHERN COUNTIES CHESS UNION web site as run by Richard Haddrell

It's here http://sccu.ndo.co.uk/bcf.htm

And to quote word for word:-

ECF COUNCIL MEETING
26.4.08 in London
The papers arrived today 27.3.08 and we have not had time to read them thoroughly. But three things strike us as noteworthy.
(1) Game Fee. The Board recommends an increase of 2p from 46p to 48p.
(2) Direct Membership Fee. The Board recommends an increase of 50p (or ½p if you believe another page, but we think that's an accident) in the Basic Member's fee; and no change otherwise.
(3) Membership Issues. That's what the papers call it, and we can only do them justice by quoting them verbatim.
"The Board has become convinced that the future of the ECF depends on a Universal Membership Scheme and gives Council notice that it will present such a scheme for consideration to the AGM in October. The Board also believes that such a scheme should carry some element of direct empowerment - ie an element of One Man One Vote. Both clearly carry major policy issues so the CEO takes the opportunity to give Council the chance to discuss the principles behind the concept and for members to take soundings from their constituents."
What is a Universal Membership Scheme? You may well ask. Our private unofficial information is that it means grades are calculated for everyone, but the grades of non-Members are replaced by *** in the published grading list. We've met this scheme before somewhere. But our information may be wrong. The Board's intention will emerge when they tell us it.
So, we must hope, will their understanding of "an element of one man one vote". May we delay our soundings till informed?
rjh 27.3.08

As Richard has pointed out far more details are needed but I throw it open (for now...) without passing further comment
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Carl Hibbard

Ian Kingston
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Re: Universal Membership Scheme

Post by Ian Kingston » Wed Apr 02, 2008 8:52 pm

I have a feeling that, had the ECF (or BCF) always operated a universal membership scheme, the prospect of using any other system would seem quite bizarre. The difficulty is in making the transition from what we have now to that more sensible system.

It's not easy to sell the idea, because the present system hides the cost of playing. I would guess that the majority of players have no idea that each game they play costs 46p. It's hidden in their club membership fee and in the fees that clubs pay to leagues, and also in their Congress entry fees. Consequently, any membership scheme automatically appears as a perceived additional cost – and chessplayers, being a parsimonious bunch, don't like that. There can't be any doubt that the introduction of such a scheme will drive away some less than committed players. Some of the independently minded leagues and associations may well refuse to cooperate, leading to chaos.

So maybe some kind of sweetener will be needed. Make membership free in the first year for the members of all organisations that can show that they have cut their fees by the amount that Game Fee would have raised, and get all congresses to cut their entry fees by the equivalent of Game Fee (since they won't be paying it). Obviously the ECF takes a big financial hit in that year – using Richard Haddrell's figures at http://www.sccu.ndo.co.uk/grad.htm, I get a rough figure of over £100,000 at current rates. Maybe that's not acceptable or feasible. But at least it would make it clear to players that they're not being ripped off. And without that kind of assurance, I don't see how to make the transition without doing lasting damage.

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: Universal Membership Scheme

Post by Carl Hibbard » Mon Apr 07, 2008 9:16 pm

I no longer play but does this mean I can now shark if I end up with a *** grade?

The grading change is just silly!
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Mick Norris
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Re: Universal Membership Scheme

Post by Mick Norris » Thu Apr 10, 2008 3:16 pm

I think a National Membership Scheme is the right way to go

It would obviosuly be better if chess players actually wanted to join the ECF, so lessons have to be learned from existing membership schemes - there has to be a "sell" from the ECF as to why this idea is right and why players should join - in particular, what would the players stand to gain from it?

I would suggest that OMOV would be a help i.e. players gain a vote - many organisations operate this without needing to hire the Albert Hall, by using internet, telephone and postal voting

I can see that withholding grades would be an incentive to join i.e. the players gain a grade for their membership fee - however, as both a county captain and tournament organiser, the idea of increasing the number of "ungraded" players would be a nightmare

The ECF could insist on compulsory membership to play in ECF competitions (like the 4NCL do?), but that would decimate the National Club and County Championships in the short term

I presume the ECF will be consulting with other similar organisations, e.g English Bridge Union, to see what they do and how they do it
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: Universal Membership Scheme

Post by Carl Hibbard » Thu Apr 10, 2008 5:21 pm

The actual details are sketchy at best, we need more information to be honest

The grade one is clearly a farce - you need to add more value added services to increase the membership numbers
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Charles W. Wood
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Re: Universal Membership Scheme

Post by Charles W. Wood » Thu Apr 10, 2008 5:34 pm

From my own point of view, the ECF membership has become very big. There are far too many different types of members, there should be two, Junior/Unwaged and Adult. Thats it!

I can pick Direct Full, Direct Standard, Corporate etc or MO's and other such strange ways of being a member. OMOV is a doer too, every member should be able to vote. I usually disagree with a lot my county association wants to do (not always though) but thats my only voice. This system has been built by Chess Players and as always its far too complicated, simple and straight forward is the way forward. Simple membership and OMOV.

:?
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Universal Membership Scheme

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:22 pm

I have to make it clear that this is NOT a firm proposal by the board at this point - merely an instrument to start discussions


So what is the position? I thought that the board of the ECF are proposing that if
(a) you live in England
(b) you want to play competitive chess
(c) you don't want to become a member (shareholder) of the ECF then
something unpleasant would happen to you and the debate was over the nature of the unpleasantness and whether you got a vote or not.

If it's merely a discussion issue, then the whole premise of universal (compulsory) membership is up for debate.


I suppose the underlying question is: what is the point of managing chess decline?

Could you amplify why you draw the conclusion in your final paragraph?

We are in the position where we are falling behind countries such as France, Germany, Spain and Turkey -at all levels - in a quite alarming fashion Unfortunate but true


- the fact that the average game fee player feels no connection to the ECF (for good reason)
also true

and pays on average only £4.50 per year via game fee to the ECF
This equates to about 10 games - the stats on the SCCU grading page bear this out. In fact there are only about 3500 people who play more than 20 games a year.

is a factor in this decline.

You've lost me here. Are you saying that trying to collect 20-30 pounds instead of £4.50 would encourage more participation both in numbers and in games played?

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Re: Universal Membership Scheme

Post by Steve Henderson » Wed Apr 16, 2008 3:06 pm

Ernie Lazenby wrote:Some of the points raised in this thread re game fee are currently being debated in a thread on the CNE1 forum (Link via Cleveland CA webb site)
Local issues; funding chess in the CCA a way forward . Some of you may find it interesting.

Its quite clear that the point re the cost to the average chess player playing a small number of games is being recognised.

Martin Regan is correct, nothing is cast in stone yet and it may be that the idea of a universal scheme will be binned however I note that he does not deny such a scheme could mean an annual fee of say £20 or more. So if Mr Average is compelled to join the ECF and pay £20 plus his club fees say for example £10 per annum and he plays 8 games in his local league thats £3.75 per game. £2.50 of which is to have his game graded. I cannot see how that will help attract or keep the players we have got.

As you will see in the CCA discussion the same argument applies to those in an MO scheme. Those playing a small number of games subsidise those playing a lot.
For ease of finding the info mentioned above here are the links
CNE1 Forum - http://peterleechessclub.co.uk/yabb/YaBB.pl
The Way Forward - http://peterleechessclub.co.uk/yabb/YaB ... 1208195014
Examples of Savings - http://peterleechessclub.co.uk/yabb/YaB ... 1208195103

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Universal Membership Scheme

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Apr 16, 2008 4:38 pm

Down south, my local county associations are both currently financed as £x per club plus £y per team. It's been that way ( for different values of x and y) since game fee came in about 15 years ago. So your Cleveland proposals are completely feasible.

Entry fees to the individual competitions are set to cover prizes and game fees. Club competitions would be graded with the league results but separately billed to the club concerned. County matches are intended to be self financing with board fees collected from individual players participating.

The logic of game fee seemed to us that for a 6 board team of say 10 matches, it didn't matter whether there were 6 players or 60.

Prior to game fee, congresses didn't have to pay anything to the BCF ( as it then was). The BCF financing was based on a "levy" which depended on how "large" your county was deemed to be. The introduction of game fee shared the burden of BCF financing between league and congress players and the year after game fee saw an appreciable reduction in the amounts which the counties needed to collect from the clubs.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Universal Membership Scheme

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Apr 30, 2008 4:04 pm

16th April Martin Regan

The players and Council may deem after hearing all the arguments that even the thought of such a scheme is not to be contemplated. In which case, I will certainly invite the players to find a CEO who is more in tune with their thinking.

I believe we were warned.

It's an opinion that compulsory membership would reduce both the volume of ECF rated play and the number of ECF rated players. It's also an opinion that this would be a bad thing. So if a new ECF board wishes to continue to develop the compulsory membership concept then it would have to convince the players and Council either that no players would turn their back on ECF rated play or that it didn't matter if they did.

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Re: Universal Membership Scheme

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Feb 22, 2014 8:46 pm

I'll return to my very first post. This was a month or two under six years ago in the run up to what turned out to have been one of the more dramatic Finance Council meetings in recent years, in terms of outcomes at least.

Carl had introduced the topic, by getting wind that the ECF Board wanted to introduce something it called a "Universal Membership Scheme". Precise details were scarce, but I think it was the NE1 forum, or was it Atticus? that got hold of some details.

There wasn't a conflict between the President and the FIDE Delegate as they were the same person, namely Gerry Walsh. The ECF policy towards FIDE at the time was arguably one of appeasement although the then Board had opposed the re-election of Kirsan in 2006. In fact members of the Board trespassed into the domain of the FIDE Delegate, as the then CEO and the International Director wrote in support of Nigel in the "dunderhead" Ethics action by Zurab with or without the agreement of the President.
Roger de Coverly wrote:
ECF spokesman wrote:I have to make it clear that this is NOT a firm proposal by the board at this point - merely an instrument to start discussions

So what is the position? I thought that the board of the ECF are proposing that if
(a) you live in England
(b) you want to play competitive chess
(c) you don't want to become a member (shareholder) of the ECF then
something unpleasant would happen to you and the debate was over the nature of the unpleasantness and whether you got a vote or not.
Six years later, no-one extra has got a vote and the unpleasantness has resolved itself into being banned from playing if you are English, a non-member and want to play in a FIDE rated event, or if you aren't English, have no FIDE identity card and don't want to become English. Also if the event isn't FIDE rated, the organiser will be hit for a charge of £ 2 per game, unless it's the County Championship National Stages when it's £ 10 per game. The previous season, it had been that you defaulted the non-member board. They fell short of demanding a USCF or FFE position that everyone, including visiting foreigners were required to be members as a condition of participation in anything at all. At attempt to force this on schools chess as a condition of being graded was eventually rejected.

An immense amount of denial was created by the very simple proposition that per head charging was more expensive than per Game for average players, yet here it is as part of the initial justification.
Roger de Coverly wrote:
ECF spokesman wrote:and pays on average only £4.50 per year via game fee to the ECF
This equates to about 10 games - the stats on the SCCU grading page bear this out. In fact there are only about 3500 people who play more than 20 games a year.
What we have subsequently found out is that Universal Membership as proposed in 2008 would have meant the scrapping of Universal Grading. So you only got a grade if you were a member. Whether this meant that your game would only be graded if you played another graded member wasn't clarified and an inability of the advocates of Membership schemes to clarify either this or that they intended banning non-members must have contributed to the rejection of such schemes by the 2008 Council.

Whether the Director of Membership has plans for revisions to what ultimately emerged is probably going to take a back seat to the resolution of the major personality clash likely to dominate the next meeting.

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Re: Universal Membership Scheme

Post by Sean Hewitt » Sat Feb 22, 2014 8:54 pm

Roger de Coverly's 10,000th post wrote:I'll return to my very first post. This was a month or two under six years ago in the run up to what turned out to have been one of the more dramatic Finance Council meetings in recent years, in terms of outcomes at least.

Carl had introduced the topic, by getting wind that the ECF Board wanted to introduce something it called a "Universal Membership Scheme". Precise details were scarce, but I think it was the NE1 forum, or was it Atticus? that got hold of some details.

There wasn't a conflict between the President and the FIDE Delegate as they were the same person, namely Gerry Walsh. The ECF policy towards FIDE at the time was arguably one of appeasement although the then Board had opposed the re-election of Kirsan in 2006. In fact members of the Board trespassed into the domain of the FIDE Delegate, as the then CEO and the International Director wrote in support of Nigel in the "dunderhead" Ethics action by Zurab with or without the agreement of the President.
Roger de Coverly wrote:
ECF spokesman wrote:I have to make it clear that this is NOT a firm proposal by the board at this point - merely an instrument to start discussions

So what is the position? I thought that the board of the ECF are proposing that if
(a) you live in England
(b) you want to play competitive chess
(c) you don't want to become a member (shareholder) of the ECF then
something unpleasant would happen to you and the debate was over the nature of the unpleasantness and whether you got a vote or not.
Six years later, no-one extra has got a vote and the unpleasantness has resolved itself into being banned from playing if you are English, a non-member and want to play in a FIDE rated event, or if you aren't English, have no FIDE identity card and don't want to become English. Also if the event isn't FIDE rated, the organiser will be hit for a charge of £ 2 per game, unless it's the County Championship National Stages when it's £ 10 per game. The previous season, it had been that you defaulted the non-member board. They fell short of demanding a USCF or FFE position that everyone, including visiting foreigners were required to be members as a condition of participation in anything at all. At attempt to force this on schools chess as a condition of being graded was eventually rejected.

An immense amount of denial was created by the very simple proposition that per head charging was more expensive than per Game for average players, yet here it is as part of the initial justification.
Roger de Coverly wrote:
ECF spokesman wrote:and pays on average only £4.50 per year via game fee to the ECF
This equates to about 10 games - the stats on the SCCU grading page bear this out. In fact there are only about 3500 people who play more than 20 games a year.
What we have subsequently found out is that Universal Membership as proposed in 2008 would have meant the scrapping of Universal Grading. So you only got a grade if you were a member. Whether this meant that your game would only be graded if you played another graded member wasn't clarified and an inability of the advocates of Membership schemes to clarify either this or that they intended banning non-members must have contributed to the rejection of such schemes by the 2008 Council.

Whether the Director of Membership has plans for revisions to what ultimately emerged is probably going to take a back seat to the resolution of the major personality clash likely to dominate the next meeting.
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Bill Porter
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Re: Universal Membership Scheme

Post by Bill Porter » Sat Feb 22, 2014 9:02 pm

From the first post in this thread:
ECF COUNCIL MEETING wrote: 26.4.08 in London
"The Board has become convinced that the future of the ECF depends on a Universal Membership Scheme and gives Council notice that it will present such a scheme for consideration to the AGM in October. The Board also believes that such a scheme should carry some element of direct empowerment - ie an element of One Man One Vote." :lol:

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Re: Universal Membership Scheme

Post by John Upham » Sat Feb 22, 2014 9:10 pm

Roger's 10,000th post has brought to me a small tear joy. I made a wager with BetNookie it would be about the ECF membership scheme and can now collect my winnings.


Thanks Roger! Of course, the odds were not that favourable.

Here's to the 20,000th on the same topic!

Just remember:
"Listen, and understand. Roger is out there. He can't be bargained with. He can't be reasoned with. He doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And he will absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead. "
:D
Last edited by John Upham on Sat Feb 22, 2014 9:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Universal Membership Scheme

Post by JustinHorton » Sat Feb 22, 2014 9:15 pm

Still, quite a lot of those ten thousand posts have been well-informed, and very few have been rude or abusive to people with whom he disagrees. Can the same be said of all his critics?
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

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