Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
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Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Sat May 04, 2019 12:47 pm

Angus French wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 2:22 pm


I'm quite happy to stick to my description of Roger's report as "grossly misleading". You'll need to wait a few days before I comment further (assuming you want to read what I write).
I am always happy to read what people have to say.

There is a legitimate concern about the perception that ECF members are `taxed` to pay for international chess without any other apparent return. I discussed this prior to the meeting with the various individuals who represent me at council. It is also the case that the ECF does need to do more to regenerate the grassroots. If you read recent board minutes the person who seems the most vocal and pro-active about it is ... Malcolm Pein.

As I have said the board does need to be held to account. At the same time they cannot be expected to divulge every detail, particularly confidential payments to players. To portray the board and particularly Mike Truran and Malcolm Pein as shifty and economical with the truth is more than misleading. It is malicious.

And maybe it is time to look at your own record. You were briefly a non executive director (co-opted on to the board as the best placed unsuccessful candidate after Sean Hewitt resigned). You did not seek re-election. You were then elected to the governance committee which lasted all of a few months. Ditto your appointment as voting register officer. Was it because you discovered that there was actually some hard work involved?

It seems to me that you enjoy needling the board, particularly Mike Truran and Malcolm Pein (both of whom I'm sure could easily drop their voluntary work for the ECF and use the resulting time for salaried work). I was one of those who witnessed your response when Mike Truran (in a discussion about the ECF library) referred you to an answer he had already given - Carl and Jack quickly removed the comment but I saw it and it told me a lot about your motives.

It may well be that I'm doing you an injustice. As the founding member of the controller arbiter nexus I know what that feels like. However I will continue to call out your insinuations about the ECF board. A final point - Malcolm Pein and Mike Truran were probably the two most powerful men in English chess prior to their election to the board. They achieved this standing through three factors a) considerable chess ability in their own right b) a professional background but mainly c) sheer bloody hard work.

EDIT - quotes fixed.
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Hok Yin Stephen Chiu
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Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by Hok Yin Stephen Chiu » Sat May 04, 2019 3:01 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 3:32 pm
Hok Yin Stephen Chiu wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 12:42 pm

Obviously there is overlap, but something we've found is that ECF membership puts off unsure members from competitive chess, in that we can not guarantee enough games to make it a worthwhile commitment, and when we suggest local congresses, they are unsure about being able to make.
Would you support a system, where like the world of Bridge, the amount paid directly or indirectly to support the ECF was in direct proportion to how much you played?
In my view, University players do not appear too fussed per se, over supporting the ECF with a proportional mechanism or not; from experience (with getting students to pay up), they want to pay as little as possible. So, it doesn't really matter about the system of payment, as long as it reasonably reflects the service that the ECF provides, to get games graded/rated - which in the view of students, should be a very low cost (especially given that a fair amount of it, is from local voluntary graders, and ECF office staff).
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Hok Yin Stephen Chiu
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Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by Hok Yin Stephen Chiu » Sat May 04, 2019 3:21 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 1:41 pm
If certain individuals (I'm looking at one in particular) refuse to accept the answer given then that is their privilege. It's politics.
I think what Angus was looking for, is the level of scrutiny that the British Broadcasting Corporation commits to with what their top wages are, because they are accountable to their license fee payers. And rightly, people who disagree with the BBC's spending may choose not to pay the license fee.
Brian Valentine wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 6:33 pm
There were over 2,300 submissions last year from over 150 graders. Surely there is more benefit in that activity than £1 per member.
Most of these graders are presumably doing it for local leagues/congresses, which clubs/players pay to be involved in.
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat May 04, 2019 6:52 pm

Hok Yin Stephen Chiu wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 3:01 pm
So, it doesn't really matter about the system of payment, as long as it reasonably reflects the service that the ECF provides, to get games graded/rated - which in the view of students, should be a very low cost (especially given that a fair amount of it, is from local voluntary graders, and ECF office staff).
The bottom line though is that the ECF needs to raise funds to support its two major outgoings, namely its staffed office and the expenditure on the international teams and it has decided to impose a per head per year charge on everyone playing "serious" chess of more than a handful of games a year. Previously it charged organisations on the basis of the amount of chess they organised. That had an advantage for university clubs that if they fielded, say, three teams of six players, the costs they were likely to be charged by the league would be the same whether they used eighteen players or fifty.

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Mon May 13, 2019 1:48 pm

Hok Yin Stephen Chiu wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 3:21 pm
Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 1:41 pm
If certain individuals (I'm looking at one in particular) refuse to accept the answer given then that is their privilege. It's politics.
I think what Angus was looking for, is the level of scrutiny that the British Broadcasting Corporation commits to with what their top wages are, because they are accountable to their license fee payers. And rightly, people who disagree with the BBC's spending may choose not to pay the license fee.
I'm sorry Hok but I don't think Angus French is interested in that scrutiny. He just wants as much influence in ECF affairs as possible but with the minimum of work. His insistence on pedantry and the right to scrutinise confidential details is simply to make the lives of Mike Truran and Malcolm Pein (and other board members) as miserable as possible. It reminds me of The Chess Scene's* article on kibitzers that states that their ultimate success is to cause the players to pack up their game and leave, provided there is another game to kibitz elsewhere.

Incidentally I deliberately left this thread after my last post to give Angus French a chance to respond. He has not yet done so.

*an influential overview of English chess from the 1970s written by David Levy and Stewart Reuben - I have my Dad's old copy.
Last edited by Andrew Zigmond on Mon May 13, 2019 2:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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JustinHorton
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Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by JustinHorton » Mon May 13, 2019 2:24 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 1:48 pm

I'm sorry Hok but Angus French is not interested in that scrutiny. He just wants as much influence in ECF affairs as possible but with the minimum of work. His insistence on pedantry and the right to scrutinise confidential details is simply to make the lives of Mike Truran and Malcolm Pein (and other board members) as miserable as possible.
Angus is a friend of mine, but this strikes me as both offensive and untrue, not to mention a breach of Andrew's own homilies about having respect for chess volunteers.
Last edited by JustinHorton on Mon May 13, 2019 2:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Mon May 13, 2019 2:28 pm

JustinHorton wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 2:24 pm
Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 1:48 pm

I'm sorry Hok but Angus French is not interested in that scrutiny. He just wants as much influence in ECF affairs as possible but with the minimum of work. His insistence on pedantry and the right to scrutinise confidential details is simply to make the lives of Mike Truran and Malcolm Pein (and other board members) as miserable as possible.
Angus is a friend of mine, but this strikes me as both offensive and untrue, not to mention a breach of Andrew's own homilies about having respect for chess volunteers.
I agree with Justin here. I think Andrew has gone too far and needs to consider how what he is saying is coming across. There are not many people willing to scrutinize ECF matters. It is better to engage with them rather than try to silence them.

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Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by David Robertson » Mon May 13, 2019 2:46 pm

JustinHorton wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 2:24 pm
Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 1:48 pm
I'm sorry Hok but Angus French is not interested in that scrutiny. He just wants as much influence in ECF affairs as possible but with the minimum of work. His insistence on pedantry and the right to scrutinise confidential details is simply to make the lives of Mike Truran and Malcolm Pein (and other board members) as miserable as possible
...this strikes me as both offensive and untrue
But not quite as offensive or untrue as this:
Angus French wrote:I'm quite happy to stick to my description of Roger's report as "grossly misleading". You'll need to wait a few days before I comment further (assuming you want to read what I write)
Still waiting (and I do)

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Mon May 13, 2019 2:48 pm

I've made a slight edit to my post to frame it as an opinion rather than a fact. I don't know Angus French so I may be doing him an injustice.

I'm heading to work now and won't be back online until tomorrow. If anybody feels my post has overstepped a mark I will accept any decision Carl or Jack make.
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JustinHorton
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Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by JustinHorton » Mon May 13, 2019 2:49 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 2:48 pm
I've made a slight edit to my post to frame it as an opinion rather than a fact.
Its meaning is not especially changed thereby.
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

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Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Tue May 14, 2019 1:01 pm

Having reflected overnight I am not going to write at further length. I think my point has been made and I stand by it. What most forum regulars will not have seen is a message Angus French sent to the graders mailing list (where all replies then bounce backwards and forwards to all recipients) about the move to monthly grading. Which will be a culture change with a handful of practical problems to overcome but the grading team are working on this. Once again I got the impression that Angus' motive was to needle the ECF board and other volunteers. Certainly I can't remember him ever putting forward a positive proposal of his own, which you might expect somebody representing grass roots players to do.

I shall say no more except that I will be interested to hear his reply. Hopefully it will also explain why he was briefly a non executive director and later a member of the governance committee (probably the two roles most concerned with scrutiny and oversight) without lasting long in either role. I also believe he undertook to take on the voting register (after the death of John Philpott) and dropped it equally quickly - if memory serves Michael Farthing had to step into the breach at short notice.
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Brian Valentine
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Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by Brian Valentine » Tue May 14, 2019 1:30 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 1:01 pm
Having reflected overnight I am not going to write at further length. I think my point has been made and I stand by it. What most forum regulars will not have seen is a message Angus French sent to the graders mailing list (where all replies then bounce backwards and forwards to all recipients) about the move to monthly grading. Which will be a culture change with a handful of practical problems to overcome but the grading team are working on this. Once again I got the impression that Angus' motive was to needle the ECF board and other volunteers. Certainly I can't remember him ever putting forward a positive proposal of his own, which you might expect somebody representing grass roots players to do.

I shall say no more except that I will be interested to hear his reply. Hopefully it will also explain why he was briefly a non executive director and later a member of the governance committee (probably the two roles most concerned with scrutiny and oversight) without lasting long in either role. I also believe he undertook to take on the voting register (after the death of John Philpott) and dropped it equally quickly - if memory serves Michael Farthing had to step into the breach at short notice.
Certainly, I did not read anything as sinister in Angus' circular through the grader's email list. Angus' concerns relating the workload for graders are shared by a number of graders and I have no concerns about being held to account in this way. The project will not start till we are confident that we can make things easier than perceived for more regular submissions.
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Michael Farthing
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Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by Michael Farthing » Tue May 14, 2019 1:58 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 1:01 pm
- if memory serves Michael Farthing had to step into the breach at short notice.
Lest anyone should be over-concerned for me I hasten to point out that I was not pinned to the ground by a large gang of ECF thugs until I agreed to take responsibility.

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JustinHorton
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Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by JustinHorton » Tue May 14, 2019 2:08 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 1:01 pm
Once again I got the impression that Angus' motive was to needle the ECF board and other volunteers.
"Once again, I needled another volunteer, and then projected my own petty motives onto them."
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

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Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Tue May 14, 2019 2:29 pm

Michael Farthing wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 1:58 pm
Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 1:01 pm
- if memory serves Michael Farthing had to step into the breach at short notice.
Lest anyone should be over-concerned for me I hasten to point out that I was not pinned to the ground by a large gang of ECF thugs until I agreed to take responsibility.
And you seem to have done a fine and diligent job ever since.
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