An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

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John Upham
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by John Upham » Sat Nov 26, 2011 10:29 am

Roger de Coverly wrote: If you don't read Private Eye or Kingpin and are unaware of the circumstances in which the BCF and Ray parted company, you see the Chess Correspondent of a National newspaper, a writer of books, a past TV presenter, an organiser of chess events and chess related dining. Also someone who had been present at high profile events, admittedly none involving the BCF or ECF as principal.
I believe that you might be suggesting that CJdM did not "do his homework" on Ray or seek advice or be briefed by members of the ECF board. I still do not know if it was a total surprise (officially and privately) for everyone apart from CJdM that RDK turned up at Sheffield. Perhaps it was and therefore no briefing took place. Perhaps it was assumed that CJdM was aware of the regard the English chess community has for RDK? These questions will remain unanswered until someone answers them!
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Nov 26, 2011 10:39 am

John Upham wrote: I believe that you might be suggesting that CJdM did not "do his homework" on Ray or seek advice or be briefed by members of the ECF board.
I'm just suggesting that Ray's reputation isn't as bad as you might think among those whose involvement (such as CJ to 2009) is just at a playing or spectator level. It's still reasonably high among ex-players who haven't followed chess in detail for thirty years.

Whether the Board briefed CJ as to the "past" between the BCF and Ray and the pieces appearing in Private Eye and Kingpin, only they will know. For that matter, we have two new Board members in Tim Woolgar and Phil Ehr. Will they have been briefed on all the BCF and ECF's feuds and past conflicts?

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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Sat Nov 26, 2011 10:43 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
John Upham wrote: What stopped the ECF board making public their opinion (both collective and individual) towards Ray Keene?
That's the one we don't know. Andrew Farthing was asked in the Streatham blog whether the presence of Ray at the Sheffield opening indicated a resolution or just forgetting the issues between the BCF and Ray from more than twenty years ago, but declined to comment.
Just quickly,

That article:-
http://streathambrixtonchess.blogspot.c ... y-ecf.html

Given earlier comments in this thread, I think it's worth pointing out that the reason I was talking to Andrew Farthing in that article is because he was willing to respond to my questions (even though I'm sure he had much better things to be doing with his time).

I *do* feel that the ECF as a whole is struggling with the entire CJ (and CJ/RDK) thing, but I don't feel that criticism of any individual - particularly Andrew who has gone out of his way to communicate with average chessers e.g. by his contributions to this forum - is justified.

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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Sat Nov 26, 2011 10:48 am

John Upham wrote:I still do not know if it was a total surprise (officially and privately) for everyone apart from CJdM that RDK turned up at Sheffield. Perhaps it was and therefore no briefing took place. Perhaps it was assumed that CJdM was aware of the regard the English chess community has for RDK? These questions will remain unanswered until someone answers them!
Andrew Farthing also answers that question publicly in the article cited,
"Yes, I believe that it is true that CJ did not discuss RDK's invitation to open the Championships with any other Board member. Speaking for myself, I did not learn of it until after the event, when I saw mentions of it online."

I have also heard the same privately from several other people within the ECF.

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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Sat Nov 26, 2011 10:50 am

I agree that the board cannot respond to every comment made on Twitter. However, rightly or wrongly, Raymond Keene is a respected chess journalist and an establishment figure and a lot of what he writes reaches a substantial readership. What he wrote on Twitter about Alex and Lara was not a difference of opinion. It was a slander, pure and simple - an unsubstantiated and offensive personal attack he refused to retract. Andrew Farthing as CEO of the ECF has been given ample opportunity to condemn this and his failure to do so has prolonged the ordeal for Alex and Lara.

I still maintain that I'm not sure how Andrew Farthing managed to look Alex and Lara in the eye at Scarborough but maybe that's just me (I notice that he spoke in 2010 but not this year). Seperating the person from the position is always difficult and I thought long and hard before making this statement.

Seperately to this, much has been written about Raymond Keene in various media. I don't want to start making slanders myself but I have read two lengthy pieces in Kingpin and I would be sorry to believe half of it. This suggests that Mr Keene operates by ingratiating himself to people and gaining their trust. In fairness to CJ he would not be the first to be taken in. In his appeal for board support Alex drew attention to Raymond Keene's conduct at the ECF championships, largely his attitude towards volunteers. It is dissapointing that the board refuses to address these issues.
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Paul Cooksey

Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Paul Cooksey » Sat Nov 26, 2011 10:59 am

Alex McFarlane wrote:It is difficult to word this diplomatically so I'll just come straight out.
I do not agree with Alex's interpretation of the PCC report, or the conclusions he draws from it.

Regardless of my opinion of CJs friends, I do not think Alex is treating him fairly. I will ask my ECF rep to support CJ if it comes to a vote.

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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Nov 26, 2011 11:02 am

Jonathan Bryant wrote: I *do* feel that the ECF as a whole is struggling with the entire CJ (and CJ/RDK) thing,
I suspect the treatment of Ray at the Opening "ceremony" might not have helped. If you look at the ECF, the Congress Organisers and journalists reporting the Congress as one entity, it's a bit rough to invite someone of eminence (in his own eyes at least) to open your event and then fail to mention his presence.

But were the Congress organisers amiss in not planning the Opening and checking with CJ who would turn up? There was no microphone or staging area, both of which were potential problems whoever did the opening.

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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by John Upham » Sat Nov 26, 2011 11:18 am

Roger de Coverly wrote: it's a bit rough to invite someone of eminence (in his own eyes at least) to open your event and then fail to mention his presence.
I thought that it is agreed that RDK was not invited by one (or any) of the organisers.

As far as I know, CJdM obtained sponsorship to enable conditions for some of the players to be met but was not referenced as an organiser as such.

Were any funds from Darwin Strategic (or any other unnamed sponsor) used for the event itself (rather than as above)?
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Nov 26, 2011 11:24 am

Ernie Lazenby wrote:Sorry Roger but I cannot agree with you. Why would anyone want to report on Keenes presence after what he wrote?
Remember the time line. Keene was present at the opening and complained almost immediately that his presence was unreported. This was before the issues at the closing ceremony.

I don't know how many journalists CJ contacted, but it was the Times who were most negative about the ECF and the local decision makers. Was the non-reporting of the Opening Ceremony a contributory factor in the negative comment? We may never know.
Ernie Lazenby wrote: are you now looking for reasons to complain about the organisation at the British and those who organised it?
I think the Opening could have been handled better.

If you aren't going to have local dignitaries and sponsor representatives, it might be better to reduce the Opening to Alex McF telling the room to start the clocks. Those of us familiar with tournaments with Alex in charge will be aware that no microphone is necessary.

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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Andrew Farthing » Sat Nov 26, 2011 11:57 am

Andrew Zigmond wrote:I still maintain that I'm not sure how Andrew Farthing managed to look Alex and Lara in the eye at Scarborough but maybe that's just me (I notice that he spoke in 2010 but not this year).
I only get up and speak at congresses if invited to by the organisers. At Scarborough in 2010 I was invited to speak, so I did; this year I wasn't, so I didn't.

The patronising comments earlier in the thread about "advisers" and other dark forces notwithstanding, I am my own person and make my own decisions. I'm not so arrogant as to believe that they've always been perfect, but on this issue I stand by them. People are perfectly entitled to disagree with me, but I'd prefer that they do it without belittling me by implying that I'm not capable of weighing up the facts and a wide range of views and reaching my own conclusion.

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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Adam Raoof » Sat Nov 26, 2011 12:00 pm

Ernie Lazenby wrote:I sense a drift of support for CJ DE-Mooi so let me ask some relevant questions;

Remove the rose tinted glasses and forget hes on TV;

1. Please tell me exactly what he has done for the English Chess federation. Exclude private functions which are self promoting for himself and several others.
CJ has been tireless in promoting the game up and down the country. He has driven thousands of miles to attend hundreds of tournaments, clubs and events not with the aim of playing, but to award prizes and meet local organisers and players.
Ernie Lazenby wrote:2. How much effort has he put into helping Andrew and the others trying to rescue our Federation from the financial abbiss?
I am not sure that is the primary role of the President. However he has been very energetic in seeking sponsorship for the ECF and putting his own money on the line when necessary. His presence at some important Board meetings has made the difference.
Ernie Lazenby wrote:3. If he is just a figure head then should he not be doing all he can to give our federation a good image - if so then what he did falls short of what we expect.
I think most people would agree that CJ is not just a figurehead.
Ernie Lazenby wrote:4. Much has been made by him of how much of his own money he has put into chess, where is the record of that contribution ,is his sponsorship recorded or is it the money went into the private ventures. (He made a public statement saying he would not put in any more- where are the previous contributions?
I don't think that the President's role has ever been to put money into the game, and private ventures are well, private. As long as those events don't cost the ECF money or bring the ECF into disrepute, I don't really care.
Ernie Lazenby wrote:5. Have the private ventures done anything to improve the finances of the ECF, hard cash tangible assests?
See above, but yes. Sheffield would not have been the great success that it was without CJ.
Ernie Lazenby wrote:6. Have the private ventures attracted any new players into the game?
How can we measure this?
Ernie Lazenby wrote:7. Has any money by way of sponsorship been obtained for the 2012 British Championship?
Sponsorship for that event is in local hands, and good hands. Sponsorship for 2013 is already promised, and we have a great venue in Torquay for the 100th event.
Ernie Lazenby wrote:So perhaps we can get past perception through rose tinted glasses/friendships and get down to facts please. I am very willing to listen to proven benefits and thus modify my view..
Last edited by Adam Raoof on Sat Nov 26, 2011 12:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Sean Hewitt » Sat Nov 26, 2011 12:01 pm

Andrew Farthing wrote:The patronising comments earlier in the thread about "advisers" and other dark forces notwithstanding, I am my own person and make my own decisions. I'm not so arrogant as to believe that they've always been perfect, but on this issue I stand by them. People are perfectly entitled to disagree with me, but I'd prefer that they do it without belittling me by implying that I'm not capable of weighing up the facts and a wide range of views and reaching my own conclusion.
Agreed. Just because someone holds a different view does not mean that there is some elaborate conspiracy in play. Keep up the good work Andrew.

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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Alex McFarlane » Sat Nov 26, 2011 12:15 pm

Andrew,
If you were aiming your comments at me then let me clarify matters. I have always assumed that you made your own decisions. It was you who stated to me that you had sought advice, as I would have expected. My comments were not meant to be patronising. Apologies if they were taken as such.

Adam,
It is good to see that you are finally defending an official who is under attack. Will you, belatedly, do the same for me? If not would you be kind enough to explain why you think Mr De Mooi deserves your public support but that others did not.

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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Sat Nov 26, 2011 12:16 pm

Ernie Lazenby wrote:Adam thats an exercise in not answering the questions. Lacking in detail and just the usual spin to come out of the ECF board.
This should really be a separate thread, but Ernie, why not respond point-by-point to what Adam has said? A blanket rejection on your part doesn't really help, and if anything (ironically) it is your response that lacks detail, not his.

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Re: An Open Letter to CJ De Mooi

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Nov 26, 2011 12:38 pm

John Upham wrote: I thought that it is agreed that RDK was not invited by one (or any) of the organisers.
There's a statement on the Streatham blog (linked above)from AF which says that the opening and closing of the British is the responsibility of the President and he issued the invite.
AF/ECF wrote:The President has traditionally been the Board member in charge of the opening and closing ceremonies at the British. As far as I know, it has not been usual for the President to consult the Board regarding the individuals invited, so what happened this year was not outside the norm.
Reading it again, he says that the President doesn't normally consult the Board, which is fair enough. It doesn't say that it's usual for the President not to consult the Congress manager(s) and any local organiser.

If you were an ex-British Champion and received an invite from the President to open the event forty years after your only win, it would be reasonable to assume that it was with the tacit endorsement of the Board of the ECF and the organisers. Or am I being too charitable?
Last edited by Roger de Coverly on Sat Nov 26, 2011 12:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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