Role of the Manager of the British Championships

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
Andrew Farthing
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Re: Role of the Manager of the British Championships

Post by Andrew Farthing » Sun Aug 05, 2012 12:43 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:Notwithstanding what it says in the ECF's internal documentation, recent practice has been that the Manager(s) (prior to 2005 Director) does the leg work of sorting out a venue and the financial conditions surrounding it with the Home Director/ CEO/ Board just rubber stamping the result.
How many more times do I need to say it: the venue had already been sorted out, and a contract signed a year ago.

Alex McFarlane
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Re: Role of the Manager of the British Championships

Post by Alex McFarlane » Sun Aug 05, 2012 12:45 pm

Andrew was not contacted but one Board member and an alternate were aware. If they had any concerns then they too should have contacted Andrew.

It is not uncommon for potential venues to approach people in this way. To arrive with detailed proposals was however.

The position of 'Manager' used to be a Directorship. As such both Stewart and Neil Graham booked venues (approved by the Board). This continued with Dave Welch and myself. Liverpool, Great Yarmouth and North Shields are examples. Stewart, as manager booked Sheffield, though at the time he also reported to himself as International Director (the event having been transferred there).

As such it has been normal practice to pass the venue to the Board for ratification rather than approval in the true sense.

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JustinHorton
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Re: Role of the Manager of the British Championships

Post by JustinHorton » Sun Aug 05, 2012 12:46 pm

Andrew Farthing wrote:
Roger de Coverly wrote:Notwithstanding what it says in the ECF's internal documentation, recent practice has been that the Manager(s) (prior to 2005 Director) does the leg work of sorting out a venue and the financial conditions surrounding it with the Home Director/ CEO/ Board just rubber stamping the result.
How many more times do I need to say it: the venue had already been sorted out, and a contract signed a year ago.
You've said it quite a sufficient number of times, Andrew, and everybody knows it. What they don't know is what should have been done in the quite unexpected event of somebody coming up with a better offer. My view is that they should probably have contacted you.
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Role of the Manager of the British Championships

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Aug 05, 2012 12:54 pm

Andrew Farthing wrote: How many more times do I need to say it: the venue had already been sorted out, and a contract signed a year ago.
As far as I am aware, the Board involvement in deciding to go to Torquay in 2013 was a special case because of it being the 100th event. Earlier venues such as Sheffield in 2011, Canterbury in 2010, Torquay in 2009, Liverpool in 2008, Great Yarmouth in 2007, Swansea in 2006 would have been researched and recommended by the Congress Managers . The possibility of a return to Torquay or Plymouth in 2013 for the 100th had already been mooted in a survey of players at the 2009 Torquay event. Stewart was nominally in charge at that time, although absent through illness.

Alex Holowczak
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Re: Role of the Manager of the British Championships

Post by Alex Holowczak » Sun Aug 05, 2012 1:08 pm

Alex McFarlane wrote:Andrew was not contacted but one Board member and an alternate were aware. If they had any concerns then they too should have contacted Andrew.
I was aware of the Plymouth discussions that morning, but I wasn't aware that there was going to be an announcement to that effect made before the start of round 11. I spoke to Lara about it soon after the start of the round, and said I intended to e-mail Adam and Andrew, but she said that she already had e-mailed Andrew. So I didn't see why I needed to get involved.
Last edited by Alex Holowczak on Sun Aug 05, 2012 1:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

PaulJackson
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Re: Role of the Manager of the British Championships

Post by PaulJackson » Sun Aug 05, 2012 1:11 pm

Alex McFarlane wrote:Andrew was not contacted
Why wasn't Andrew contacted?? I can't understand why you would not contact him yet you do not hesitate to air your dirty laundry in public on this forum at every opportunity.
Last edited by PaulJackson on Sun Aug 05, 2012 3:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Role of the Manager of the British Championships

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Sun Aug 05, 2012 1:11 pm

Alex McFarlane wrote:It is not uncommon for potential venues to approach people in this way. To arrive with detailed proposals was however.
It does seem a bit of sharp practice by Plymouth. Are seaside towns and centres now that desperate to fill their rooms and venues? I wonder if the Plymouth representatives would have made this approach if they had known that a contract had been signed with Torquay? Was this approach by Plymouth completely out of the blue or had they had contact with anyone previously to turning up (that they had detailed proposals might indicate this)? Maybe Plymouth know more about Torquay than the public do?

Neil Graham
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Re: Role of the Manager of the British Championships

Post by Neil Graham » Sun Aug 05, 2012 4:25 pm

Alex McFarlane wrote:Andrew was not contacted but one Board member and an alternate were aware. If they had any concerns then they too should have contacted Andrew.

It is not uncommon for potential venues to approach people in this way. To arrive with detailed proposals was however.

The position of 'Manager' used to be a Directorship. As such both Stewart and Neil Graham booked venues (approved by the Board). This continued with Dave Welch and myself. Liverpool, Great Yarmouth and North Shields are examples. Stewart, as manager booked Sheffield, though at the time he also reported to himself as International Director (the event having been transferred there).

As such it has been normal practice to pass the venue to the Board for ratification rather than approval in the true sense.
Not quite correct. I was Director of Congress Chess which had more responsibilities than just arranging the British Championship though, of course, this was the main part of the Directorship. The Director of Congress Chess was also Congress Director of the British Championship though these two functions could have been separate they never were.

In respect of the venues I used to work two years in advance; thus when I stepped down in 2004, the venues for 2005 (Isle of Man) and 2006 (Swansea) were already in place. Having viewed the venues, I used to make recommendations to the Board. These were definitely more than a rubber-stamping ratification as Board members often voiced their opinions about suitability. Thus I believe that Stewart's proposals for holding the Championships in London & Twickenham were rejected.

The organising of the Championships is a massive undertaking and to have a Manager run the event rather than a Director who reports to the ECF Board to my mind was a backward step. The ECF runs one big event a year and this is it and to keep it at arm's length of decision making is a backward step. But hey, I stood down in 2004 and have had nothing to do with the running of the Championships since then so what do I know?

One thing is certain; to dispense with the expertise of those who have been associated with the Championships for years would be a disaster. Does the ECF really think that there are people queuing up out there to be the Manager of the Championships? Of course not. Factor in the changes of Directors that will inevitably take place at the ECF Annual General Meeting and disaster will be looming on the horizon.

Finally to answer a question posed elsewhere about the venue for the Championships. Seaside venues are popular and are always successful; consequently Torquay, Scarborough and Great Yarmouth will always attract a better entry than (say) Nottingham. There needs to be some rotation and trying out of new ideas but essentially once an event has been held at a venue and proven, there is always impetus to return in a few years.

Paul Cooksey

Re: Role of the Manager of the British Championships

Post by Paul Cooksey » Sun Aug 05, 2012 5:25 pm

There is some discussion in this thread of the Plymouth incident. I've given my view on that in other threads, so will disregard it here.

I think this thread does need to be considered in parallel within our earlier discussion on reform of the format of the British. I don't think it makes sense to simultaneously work out how to run a British in its existing form while arguing its format should be changed.

Alex's view on what is necessary for someone to run the event carries a great deal of weight, as does Neil Graham's view that it is a role of Director proportions. However I think we should think of the way in which the ECF has recently changed, and is developing too. The ECF used to be a Federation of Events, effectively an organisers organisation. It is reinventing itself as a governing body of members, a players organisation. I am not sure it is necessary for the British to be run by the ECF, or that it makes as much sense to have this arrangement in the new model. I think it could exist as an independent event.

For me, the ECF's key role is the right to award titles (or a share of that, I am unclear on the workings of BICC) . I would want the event awarding the British title to be of sufficient standard. But I would be comfortable with Hastings or the LCC awarding the title if they represented the best bid. I'd prefer an independent tournament, but think the existing format needs reform to survive. I supported the idea of a 9 round open Swiss with the title going to the best eligible player, because I think that is a proven model.

In separating the British from the ECF, I am putting it at one step removed from ECF financial support. Again partly because of what I see as the need for reform. I think the existing format would not represent good marketing spend. I would expect the JRT to continue to have a role in funding. But my impression when I was talking with people about "what does the ECF do for us?" during membership discussion was that "Runs the British" was not seen as a priority. It was seen as a benefit to those who entered, but not something most people wanted to see their membership fees spent on.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Role of the Manager of the British Championships

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Aug 05, 2012 5:42 pm

Paul Cooksey wrote:T
For me, the ECF's key role is the right to award titles
For many of the 99 previous events, the styling was that of "the Championship Congress of the British Chess Federation" or "British Chess Federation xxth Annual Congress". In other words it was an annual Congress, equivalent to Hastings, Kidlington, Scarborough, Blackpool and many other long running events. The British Championship itself was one of the events and there haven't been 99 of them because the Championship wasn't contested in the years before 1939 if there was a clash with the Olympiad or a major international tournament.

Actually there was a missed opportunity in 2005. It would have been financially beneficial to leave the Congress in the hands of the British Chess Federation because the turnover would then fall beneath the VAT threshold.

It's a common role of national chess federations that they organise annual championships and parallel events. It's not unknown to franchise them out. The ICU had their championship run as an e2e4 event within the last two years.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Role of the Manager of the British Championships

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Aug 05, 2012 5:55 pm

Paul Cooksey wrote:It was seen as a benefit to those who entered, but not something most people wanted to see their membership fees spent on.
Like any Congress, you would expect it to be self supporting or make a modest profit for the ECF. If the ECF attracts sponsorship, it's valid to spend it on the Congress.

In the past, Stewart has been open about the need to secure a free or discounted venue to underpin the event finances. This is often in response to those who would ask "why cannot it be held in X?". The financial arrangements for Torquay 2013 appear to have departed from this model.

Neil Graham
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Re: Role of the Manager of the British Championships

Post by Neil Graham » Sun Aug 05, 2012 7:29 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Paul Cooksey wrote:It was seen as a benefit to those who entered, but not something most people wanted to see their membership fees spent on.
Like any Congress, you would expect it to be self supporting or make a modest profit for the ECF. If the ECF attracts sponsorship, it's valid to spend it on the Congress.

In the past, Stewart has been open about the need to secure a free or discounted venue to underpin the event finances. This is often in response to those who would ask "why cannot it be held in X?". The financial arrangements for Torquay 2013 appear to have departed from this model.
I have no idea what the arrangements are for Torquay; in the past free/discounted venues have been the norm. However times have changed; many venues are under the control of local authorities and the like. Whilst cuts in services are wholesale across the public sector letting chess players have a free venue for a fortnight doesn't easily sit with current trends.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Role of the Manager of the British Championships

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Sun Aug 05, 2012 7:36 pm

Maybe the question should be who decides the role of the Manager of the British Championships. We can discuss all we like here, but what effect will it have? I'm not entirely comfortable with the implicit assumptions in some of these threads that this forum can be a place where solutions are proposed, discussed and then presented as a fait accompli. Aren't people elected to the ECF Board and appointed to do this sort of thing?

William Metcalfe
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Re: Role of the Manager of the British Championships

Post by William Metcalfe » Sun Aug 05, 2012 7:43 pm

Andrew no need to shout at me i am not stupid i know the British is taking place at Torquay if you had read my post i said Lara was in a tricky situation on Friday rumours were going around the venue so all she did was ask people to wait till things were 100% sorted out.
The situation is now clear cut and finalised and Laras recent statement told everybody Torquay was next years venue.
I really hope the ECF keep Lara as the manager she did a brilliant job under trying circumstances at North Shields.
I am speaking here for myself and not the NCCU which i am now president of

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Role of the Manager of the British Championships

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Aug 05, 2012 7:59 pm

Neil Graham wrote:However times have changed; many venues are under the control of local authorities and the like. Whilst cuts in services are wholesale across the public sector letting chess players have a free venue for a fortnight doesn't easily sit with current trends.
That is quite likely.

Which means that either a sponsor or benefactor is being expected to pay, the players themselves through entry fees or the wider ECF.

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