Announcement

Discussions regarding the 70,000 Free Chess Sets for Schools in England.
Andrew Farthing
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Announcement

Post by Andrew Farthing » Fri Sep 24, 2010 11:40 am

The following statement has just been posted on the ECF homepage:

"It is with regret that the ECF announces that it is withdrawing from the Chess For Schools project as of 18th October. Following the reduction of the Department for Culture, Media & Sport grant this year and the expectation that the ECF will receive no further DCMS funding after March 2011, the Federation finds itself no longer in a position to provide the resources to support the significant logistical work required when distributing sets to schools.

The ECF is seeking a partner for Holloid who will take over the ECF’s role of communicating with the schools and facilitating delivery of the sets following manufacture. Holloid Plastics remains committed to the project and to date have borne all of the cost of the manufacturing of the sets. Holloid has to schedule the production of the sets within the constraints of their commercial operations. During recent months, the shortage of plastics raw materials has made it difficult for Holloid to arrange these productions slots. The manufacture of the sets is likely to take at least a year once manufacture has restarted.

The ECF continues to wish Holloid well with the project and will seek to provide the company and any new partner with whatever help it can, consistent with the Federation’s ongoing support for English chess activities."

Steve Rooney
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Re: Announcement

Post by Steve Rooney » Fri Sep 24, 2010 12:04 pm

Long overdue, but nonetheless it's a welcome recognition of reality.

John Upham
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Re: Announcement

Post by John Upham » Fri Sep 24, 2010 12:20 pm

Are we saying to the schools that the new sets from HP will now be piling up but that the ECF cannot get them delivered as the current Chess for Schools administrator (Andrew Walker) will no longer have the resources to do the work?

I can only conclude from this that had the DCMS grant be continued then the MoA would have been renewed : is this really the case? :lol:

Can someone clarify this for me please?

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: Announcement

Post by Carl Hibbard » Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:53 pm

Andrew Farthing wrote:The manufacture of the sets is likely to take at least a year once manufacture has restarted.
This seems to conflict with what was suggested even at the previous AGM does it not?
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Carl Hibbard

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Announcement

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Sep 24, 2010 3:04 pm

Andrew Farthing wrote:The ECF is seeking a partner for Holloid who will take over the ECF’s role of communicating with the schools and facilitating delivery of the sets following manufacture.
Malcolm's Chess for Schools and Communities charity might be a logical partner. Particularly if Chess & Bridge could be persuaded to handle the distribution.

Alex McFarlane
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Re: Announcement

Post by Alex McFarlane » Fri Sep 24, 2010 3:22 pm

Chess for Schools has a bad image. There is no likelihood of sets appearing in the near future. With these two considerations, what incentive is there for any company/sponsor to get involved with this project?

If (when?) a significant number of sets were available it may be that support could be found but until such times I would think it unlikely. This presupposes that the storage problems associated with a large number of sets could be solved.

John Upham
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Re: Announcement

Post by John Upham » Fri Sep 24, 2010 3:44 pm

All is not bad when it comes to providing sets for schools.

Look at the successes achieved by David Bently and others in Derbyshire.

David demonstrated that it was possible. :D

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Announcement

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Sun Oct 31, 2010 2:42 pm

Those reading this thread who subscribe to CHESS might be interested in what Malcolm Pein has to say on the matter in his editorial in the November 2010 issue of CHESS.

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: Announcement

Post by Carl Hibbard » Sun Oct 31, 2010 2:59 pm

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:Those reading this thread who subscribe to CHESS might be interested in what Malcolm Pein has to say on the matter in his editorial in the November 2010 issue of CHESS.
Which was what?

Is anyone able to replicate it here?
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Carl Hibbard

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Announcement

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Sun Oct 31, 2010 3:50 pm

Carl Hibbard wrote:
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:Those reading this thread who subscribe to CHESS might be interested in what Malcolm Pein has to say on the matter in his editorial in the November 2010 issue of CHESS.
Which was what?

Is anyone able to replicate it here?
It is short enough that quoting parts of it might end up quoting all of it!

Malcolm Pein does call the statement on the ECF website "disingenuous" if you want an idea of the tone, and he calls the initial scheme a "fantasy". If I understand the editorial correctly, he is saying that the scheme showed "great vision" but the execution of the scheme (by the ECF) was "laughably poor". The important bit is the last sentence: "My understanding is that Holloid Plastics, to their enormous credit, are still keen to continue, so watch this space".

Elsewhere in the editorial, there is mention of the Chess in Schools and Communities project, which has (and I quote): "only been running for two months but we have already started chess teaching in 51 schools and involved 1,750 children". That may not be entirely unrelated.

Alex Holowczak
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Re: Announcement

Post by Alex Holowczak » Sun Oct 31, 2010 3:53 pm

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:Malcolm Pein does call the statement on the ECF website "disingenuous" if you want an idea of the tone, and he calls the initial scheme a "fantasy". If I understand the editorial correctly, he is saying that the scheme showed "great vision" but the execution of the scheme (by the ECF) was "laughably poor". The important bit is the last sentence: "My understanding is that Holloid Plastics, to their enormous credit, are still keen to continue, so watch this space".
I don't think he quite knows the facts.

The ECF had people in place, and a CoM in place, ready for chess sets to be given to them to distribute. These sets never arrived. I don't know how Holloid not manufacturing chess sets is the ECF's fault.

Sean Hewitt

Re: Announcement

Post by Sean Hewitt » Sun Oct 31, 2010 4:18 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:Malcolm Pein does call the statement on the ECF website "disingenuous" if you want an idea of the tone, and he calls the initial scheme a "fantasy". If I understand the editorial correctly, he is saying that the scheme showed "great vision" but the execution of the scheme (by the ECF) was "laughably poor". The important bit is the last sentence: "My understanding is that Holloid Plastics, to their enormous credit, are still keen to continue, so watch this space".
I don't think he quite knows the facts.

The ECF had people in place, and a CoM in place, ready for chess sets to be given to them to distribute. These sets never arrived. I don't know how Holloid not manufacturing chess sets is the ECF's fault.
Holloid not manufacturing the sets was not the ECFs fault, but

1. Believing that the sets would be produced in the first place

2. Not putting a suitable contract into place

3. Announcement of and poor handling of the 'project'

most certainly were all the fault of the ECF.
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:The important bit is the last sentence: "My understanding is that Holloid Plastics, to their enormous credit, are still keen to continue, so watch this space".
If Malcolm can resurrect something from the CfS fiasco all well and good. I'm sure he will manage the relationship with Holloid in a far more professional manner than the ECF did and will only announce things that are deliverable.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Announcement

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Oct 31, 2010 4:47 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:If Malcolm can resurrect something from the CfS fiasco all well and good. I'm sure he will manage the relationship with Holloid in a far more professional manner than the ECF did and will only announce things that are deliverable.
I think that Malcolm and other chess suppliers should have been in some way involved with CfS from the beginning. After all, the distribution of chess equipment from manufacturer to end user is part of their bread and butter. The ECF started to panic about the volumes involved, but couldn't the commercial supply chain have coped?

There again, if there weren't any chess pieces being moulded, the project wasn't going anywhere.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Announcement

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Sun Oct 31, 2010 5:42 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Sean Hewitt wrote:If Malcolm can resurrect something from the CfS fiasco all well and good. I'm sure he will manage the relationship with Holloid in a far more professional manner than the ECF did and will only announce things that are deliverable.
I think that Malcolm and other chess suppliers should have been in some way involved with CfS from the beginning. After all, the distribution of chess equipment from manufacturer to end user is part of their bread and butter. The ECF started to panic about the volumes involved, but couldn't the commercial supply chain have coped?

There again, if there weren't any chess pieces being moulded, the project wasn't going anywhere.
I'm not entirely sure how large the commercial supply chain for chess is in the UK. I don't know for certain, but I suspect the largest chess businesses are still rather small in the overall scheme of things, and may have equally struggled to cope with the numbers involved. What was (and presumably is) needed is a slow roll-out and ramping up of the volumes.

Andrew Farthing
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Re: Announcement

Post by Andrew Farthing » Sun Oct 31, 2010 5:53 pm

I saw the editorial in "Chess". Malcolm has his own particular take on the project's history, which I don't share. Specifically, I don't think a newcomer to this topic would read the editorial and realise that Holloid approached the ECF, not the other way round. Also, whilst I agree that there should have been much clearer thinking about the distribution aspects upfront, I don't believe that failings in the distribution process affected the progress of the project. Malcolm refers to the low numbers of sets distributed, which is factually correct but ignores the fact that all of the sets that were produced were distributed. In the end, there weren't enough sets to bring any potential distribution problems to breaking point.

As was said when the ECF announced the end of its involvement, Holloid still wish to continue, and I genuinely hope that they can make a success of it.

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