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.
David Robertson
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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 » Sat May 18, 2019 1:29 pm

Brian Towers wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 12:21 pm
can claim up to £200 from the fund to cover a loss
Moral hazard

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

Post by Adam Raoof » Sat May 18, 2019 4:27 pm

Brian Towers wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 12:21 pm
Trying to pull the thread back on topic, here's a suggestion for what us plebs would like the ECF to spend some money on.

How about an annual £5,000 congress contingency fund? The idea is to rescue events which get cancelled because the organisers believe the event is going to lose money and encourage organisers to hold events which they think from the start might lose money.

The terms would be something like this. Any event which satisfies the following conditions can claim up to £200 from the fund to cover a loss:

1) The event requires at least silver membership (so not leagues and not internal club events)
2) No IMs or GMs (so not sponsoring international level chess)
3) Some additional checks to ensure that given normal conditions the event would break even, i.e. costs (hall hire + arbiters fees/expenses) + prize money >= expected entrance fees

Such a fund could rescue / incentivise up to 25 events a year which might not otherwise take place.
What problem are you trying to solve? Organisers cancel events for all sorts of reasons, and objectively £200 is not going to make a huge difference. Players are leaving it later and later to register for events, which tests the nerve of even the more experienced organisers.

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

Post by Alex Holowczak » Sat May 18, 2019 10:39 pm

Adam Raoof wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 4:27 pm
Brian Towers wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 12:21 pm
Trying to pull the thread back on topic, here's a suggestion for what us plebs would like the ECF to spend some money on.

How about an annual £5,000 congress contingency fund? The idea is to rescue events which get cancelled because the organisers believe the event is going to lose money and encourage organisers to hold events which they think from the start might lose money.

The terms would be something like this. Any event which satisfies the following conditions can claim up to £200 from the fund to cover a loss:

1) The event requires at least silver membership (so not leagues and not internal club events)
2) No IMs or GMs (so not sponsoring international level chess)
3) Some additional checks to ensure that given normal conditions the event would break even, i.e. costs (hall hire + arbiters fees/expenses) + prize money >= expected entrance fees

Such a fund could rescue / incentivise up to 25 events a year which might not otherwise take place.
What problem are you trying to solve? Organisers cancel events for all sorts of reasons, and objectively £200 is not going to make a huge difference. Players are leaving it later and later to register for events, which tests the nerve of even the more experienced organisers.
£200 is 6-7 entries for a weekender. I can't speak for Adam, or other tournament organisers, but I wish I could predict my entries for any given tournament to that degree of accuracy.

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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 » Sun May 19, 2019 12:08 pm

From the minutes of the most recent board meeting, which was held prior to the finance council meeting.
It was noted that comments had been made on the ECF forum in relation to membership
growth being overestimated for the next two years’ budgets’ and it was expected that this
would be raised at the meeting. DE and DT clarified that the estimated membership baseline in
the budgets was based on a previous forecast which has proved to be too high compared with
current figures, but that the trajectory was much as expected with year on year targets being
met. It was agreed that the plans to grow the membership base should be seen as a shared
initiative, and not merely the responsibility of the ECF Board, and Council members would be
encouraged to provide their continued support in attracting new members.
This needs to be read in context with Mike Truran's quoted response to Tim Wall that opened this thread. For me it also explains the gulf between the board and council; the majority of the current board are innovators who want changes to chess organisation in this country while council delegates represent the status quo (and to be fair they are the ones financing the ECF at present).

I disagree with Brian Towers suggestion of ECF funds to prop up existing events. What I would like to see myself is for the ECF to provide grants to local organisers setting up initiatives to attract new players to the game. This would have to work within certain parameters and it wouldn't be a case of clubs being given money to fritter away as they please. In some cases a grant wouldn't even be necessary; it doesn't cost anything to get some chess going in the corner of a pub on a quietish night.

It's probably fair to say that at a local level the returns would be small; there isn't going to be a horde of new players queuing to sign up. But imagine if every chess club in the country could grow their membership by five members - how many would that be magnified across the country?
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Paul Cooksey
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Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by Paul Cooksey » Sun May 19, 2019 12:29 pm

To frame this as a disagreement between Council and Board overlooks that the biggest block vote in Council is the Board members. There is no evidence to suggest this is a disagreement between traditionalists and innovators. It is a disagreement between those who want more centralisation, and higher fees to fund it, and those that do not.

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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 » Sun May 19, 2019 12:43 pm

Paul Cooksey wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 12:29 pm
To frame this as a disagreement between Council and Board overlooks that the biggest block vote in Council is the Board members. There is no evidence to suggest this is a disagreement between traditionalists and innovators. It is a disagreement between those who want more centralisation, and higher fees to fund it, and those that do not.
This is the most insightful post of the thread.

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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 Sedgwick » Sun May 19, 2019 12:45 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 12:08 pm
From the minutes of the most recent board meeting, which was held prior to the finance council meeting.
It was noted that comments had been made on the ECF forum
Sic!

ECF Board howler, not Andrew's.

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 » Sun May 19, 2019 1:08 pm

David Sedgwick wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 12:45 pm
Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 12:08 pm
From the minutes of the most recent board meeting, which was held prior to the finance council meeting.
It was noted that comments had been made on the ECF forum
Sic!

ECF Board howler, not Andrew's.
Well spotted. I simply copied and pasted from the minutes themselves.
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J T Melsom
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Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by J T Melsom » Sun May 19, 2019 2:29 pm

It is obviously vital to growth that chess clubs are attractive and accessible to potential over the board players. I suspect many are not. Even those clubs which have done pretty well over the years doing things a certain way, may be poorly placed to deal with fresh challenges, especially if they only meet for match nights which is an increasing trend locally.

Most clubs get people who express an interest, may even turn up once or twice and then vanish. Do we ever follow these people up to see why they didn't continue attending? We can guess, but some sort of research might help clubs understand what they need to do to retain interested people.

Its not easy but we managed to get one new player integrated into our league matches this year. Again I've not yet asked him why he stayed and what he thinks so far. The player concerned is keen to improve, and has good analytical skills. He is making the transition like so many social players back to OTB from on-line chess. One thing I'm sure has helped is the support/coaching from another club member, not necessarily on club nights but on-line. Of course this is time consuming, but I wonder whether establishing a virtual presence might help some clubs grow their OTB participation as well?

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

Post by J T Melsom » Sun May 19, 2019 3:39 pm

Clubs and league participation. The traditional model assumes a club in every decent sized town all capable of fielding decent teams from the local community. Often leagues allow first teams a guaranteed place in the top division irrespective of quality thereby increasing mis-matches. Maybe smaller clubs should be encouraged to merge for the purposes of competition rather than field six board teams from eight or nine variable strength members? Lets encourage participation but also maintain/increase standards. A similar consideration arises in respect of venues - smaller clubs - less resource, less appealing venues.

Not much in either of my posts falls to the ECF. It doesn't have the cash and there are plenty who would be ambivalent or outright hostile to centrally driven initiatives. Funding aside for a moment - does the idea of Regional Development Officers fill people with excitement or dread? Its what other 'sports' do.

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

Post by Alex Holowczak » Sun May 19, 2019 7:48 pm

Paul Cooksey wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 12:29 pm
To frame this as a disagreement between Council and Board overlooks that the biggest block vote in Council is the Board members.
The Board only has 1 vote per Director out of a Council of about 300.

It's quite possibly true that:
- Directors have more votes than that in their other capacities (e.g. leagues, congresses)
- Directors inherit various proxies from other organisations around the country

Isn't that a vote of confidence in the Board and its Directors?

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

Post by Paul Cooksey » Sun May 19, 2019 8:25 pm

Definitely true that the Board has a lot of other votes Alex, the voting register is a public document.

I do not have an issue with that, and I do not think anyone else has raised it as an issue either. I only mentioned it to point out that it would be wrong to characterise the board as in dispute with Council.

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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 » Sun May 19, 2019 8:43 pm

Paul Cooksey wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 8:25 pm
I only mentioned it to point out that it would be wrong to characterise the board as in dispute with a conservative English Chess establishment.
Unfortunately there is a conservative English Chess establishment in my view. It doesn't really get to rear its head fully at council very often because council rarely votes on anything that substantial in the grand scheme of things and the North/ South divide is also a factor. It's at its most apparent at club and league level and here I can speak from experience. Does the club want to think outside the box and move to better premises? Does the league want to restructure to avoid less dead rubber matches? Incremental time controls is starting to become the Yorkshire League's Brexit deal.
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Re: Think not what the ECF can do for you, but what you can do for the ECF

Post by J T Melsom » Sun May 19, 2019 8:53 pm

Trying to keep my head down, but there do seem to be those who want the ECF to do more, but don't want it to be funded properly. (Its not just a case of redirecting funds).And there are those who would like the resources to remain local to be spent at the discretion of local organisations, even though many such bodies are struggling for volunteers simply to keep things ticking over let alone new initiatives. And some are a mixture of these ideas. I think you can see conservatism on all sides, but the low taxation lobby are the more dangerous in my view.

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

Post by Paul Cooksey » Sun May 19, 2019 8:58 pm

I edited the word conservative before Andrew replied because I thought it might cause confusion in the sense fiscal conservative.

I do not understand the relevance of Andrew's comments on Yorkshire chess.

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