Developing top-level English chess by David Openshaw

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John Upham
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Developing top-level English chess by David Openshaw

Post by John Upham » Fri Aug 16, 2013 2:47 pm

BCM has published an article by ECF Director of International Chess, David Openshaw.

and here it is! :D
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Re: Developing top-level English chess by David Openshaw

Post by Angus French » Sat Aug 17, 2013 12:12 pm

Thanks John. That's an interesting and well-written piece by David Openshaw.

A few comments:
1. It's not mentioned but I'm sure the Slater competition helped the development of English chess in the 70s.
2. Leonard Barden helped facilitate English chess development in the 70s and 80s. I would be interested in hearing his views.
3. Chess today is different to how it was in the 70s and 80s. In particular, computers and the Internet now play a significant role.
4. I wonder if participation in the Olympiad (at approx. £30K) and other team competitions is the most cost-effective route - I'm not saying it isn't and I do take the point that strong England performances provide an incentive; I'm just wondering. I'd also like to see support for individual participation in top foreign tournaments - Wijk aan Zee comes to mind.
5. It would be great to attract some major sponsors.
6. I would like to see England's top players involved - as providers of advice and coaching - in the development programme.
7. I'm pleased that David persuaded ECF Council to provide extra funding for the upcoming 2013 European Team Championships and 2014 Olympiad.

Jonathan Bryant
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Re: Developing top-level English chess by David Openshaw

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Sun Aug 18, 2013 8:40 am

Yes that was an interesting read and very welcome.

A couple of comments from me:

I was pleased to see a specific target mentioned, but given the issues around the rating system (as discussed elsewhere) I wonder if we can be confident that Elos (be they 2450 or 2680 or whatever) will be a meaningful way to measure things by 2016 - or whether it is now for that matter.

Second, I wonder if the problem is really a difficulty in pushing on from borderline Grandmaster level to strong Grandmaster rather than not making it to GM in the first place. Checking the current list I see England has 23 players currently rated 2450+. Of those 7 (Ghasi, Zhou, Gordon, Hawkins, Howell, Jones, McShane) were born in 1983 or later - which doesn't sound so bad I suppose, but look for the guys who are under 25 or still in their teens and you have to go a long way down the list.

To an extent I guess the top of the list being packed with older guys is a measure of past success and problems with the rating system. Still, if we are going to have six chessers over 2680 by 2016 it's hard to see them being anyone other than the current top six Adams, McShane, Short, Sadler, Jones and Howell. Perhaps Zhou although that might depend on what he chooses to do regarding University and anyway his rating has rather stagnated over the past couple of years - which brings us back once again to whether elo is a reliable yardstick.

Anyhoo, as a statement of intent it was very pleasing to read. And encouraging to see a challenging target set rather than one that could be easily met just so a 'success' could be claimed.

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Re: Developing top-level English chess by David Openshaw

Post by Colin Patterson » Sun Aug 18, 2013 1:22 pm

I have one inexpensive suggestion to help encourage national success.

I recall browsing a few chess federation websites many years ago. I stopped at one in particular (I think a former Soviet State) and noted how logical it was to see a highlighted block of text in one corner of the homepage, showing a regularly updated list of their top 10 national players with their FIDE rating (and possibly their world ranking). It made perfect sense to me that this was a good way to encourage young and/or ambitious players to aspire to see their name displayed as an object of national pride, so to speak.

Naturally, this could be expanded to include additional lists of the top 10 boys and top 10 girls as well. I remember this sort of list was always a feature of the annual BCF rating books, so why not make use of the ECF home page to generate greater interest? There will be lots of small kids who will make it their goal to get on the list, where they can stand out amongst their peers. It would also significantly boost the numbers of hits on the website, particularly when new rating data is incorporated.

I note that the BCM website already includes this list for the top players of the world, and maybe their international readership warrants this, but why not include a British or ECF-centric list alongside?

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Re: Developing top-level English chess by David Openshaw

Post by IanDavis » Sun Aug 18, 2013 10:59 pm

Bit of a long winded way of asking for money?

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Peter D Williams
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Re: Developing top-level English chess by David Openshaw

Post by Peter D Williams » Mon Aug 19, 2013 4:19 pm

Why not have a levy on all membership renewals say £5 that could then be used to help develop talented chess player. after all i presume all members of the ECF want to develop/ encourage up and coming talent to improve at chess?

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Re: Developing top-level English chess by David Openshaw

Post by John Upham » Mon Aug 19, 2013 4:41 pm

Colin Patterson wrote: I note that the BCM website already includes this list for the top players of the world, and maybe their international readership warrants this, but why not include a British or ECF-centric list alongside?
Good suggestion!

I have requested API handles into the ECF grading application over the past couple of years. If this was to be granted I could create a dynamic top 10 listing for the ECF database.
However, there is a fundamental flaw: the database tables containing grading calculations are updated biannually. They would indeed be dynamic with a periodicity of six months.

It is more likely I could do this for the top 10 players who are flagged as being ENG players from the FIDE database and will look into this.
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Re: Developing top-level English chess by David Openshaw

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Tue Aug 20, 2013 12:19 pm

"Why not have a levy on all membership renewals say £5 that could then be used to help develop talented chess player."

I thoguht that's where most of the money went already?

"i presume all members of the ECF want to develop/ encourage up and coming talent to improve at chess?"

I very much doubt they do. I believe most people just want to play and don't care about anyone else.

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Re: Developing top-level English chess by David Openshaw

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Aug 20, 2013 12:34 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:"Why not have a levy on all membership renewals say £5 that could then be used to help develop talented chess player."

I thoguht that's where most of the money went already?
£ 5 a head is about £ 50,000 a year, £ 40,000 after VAT, which is well in excess of the current International budget. Surely the ECF spends much of its income on maintaining an Office to collect its income?

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Re: Developing top-level English chess by David Openshaw

Post by Graham Borrowdale » Tue Aug 20, 2013 1:05 pm

Surely the ECF spends much of its income on maintaining an Office to collect its income?
And so the loop starts again...
If that is indeed true then the reason is that the level of membership is only just above the critical mass required to support the infrastructure required to collect the income. If the ECF could, say, double its membership, without vastly increasing the infrastructure needed to collect the fees, then it would have a lot more funds available for things like supporting improving players, the national team etc.

I agree with Kevin that a lot of people just want to play chess. Imposing a levy, ring-fenced for a specific purpose, sounds like a good idea, but would look like a price increase to most of the membership. And why stop at £5? Why not £10? £20? The answer is obvious, but you get my point?

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Peter D Williams
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Re: Developing top-level English chess by David Openshaw

Post by Peter D Williams » Tue Aug 20, 2013 1:52 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:
I very much doubt they do. I believe most people just want to play and don't care about anyone else.
Afternoon All :D

I think you may be right Kevin most of the the ECF members only want to play chess and do not care about anyone else.

Would a 5 pound levy on membership of the ECF make enough of the members refuse to re-new? some may moan about it but most would pay as all their want to do is play graded chess games in chess tournaments.You have to be a member to do this.
I think it would be a brilliant way of raising extra money for the ECF to use on helping talented Adult/Junior chess players.
Is 5 pound to high you could start with 3 pound? If it was explained to the members why it was needed and the help it would provide for talented chess players.The money could be spent via a poll where members could say where it should be most spent. Let the ECF members have a vote on how it should be spent.

Not that it would ever become a policy of the ECF as i doubt anything i suggest would be put into practice :wink:

Well its time for a nice glass of apple and raspberry drink in the garden with a good book called Behind Bamboo which is all about a new editor who was forced to work on the Notorious Railway of Death by the Japanese.
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Re: Developing top-level English chess by David Openshaw

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Aug 20, 2013 2:01 pm

Peter D Williams wrote: some may moan about it but most would pay as all their want to do is play graded chess games in chess tournaments.You have to be a member to do this.
You don't though. If you don't play in FIDE rated tournaments, no membership is needed but the tournament will probably want an extra £ 6 on the entry fee. If it's a FIDE rated tournament and you are deemed to be non-English, you pay nothing to the ECF. For Leagues you aren't required by the ECF to be a member either, but at £ 2 a game, you will most likely be forced into membership when the game count exceeds six.

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Re: Developing top-level English chess by David Openshaw

Post by Greg Breed » Tue Aug 20, 2013 2:03 pm

Hi Peter, I doubt most would be willing to accept it. As RdC has mentioned ad nauseam, the new Membership scheme is already more expensive for most chess players than it was under game fee, which was absorbed by the club. To introduce so soon afterwards a £5 (or even £3) increase for everyone would, I am certain, cause waves!
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David Gostelow
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Re: Developing top-level English chess by David Openshaw

Post by David Gostelow » Wed Aug 21, 2013 4:35 am

So can someone give us a quick summary of where our money goes ( IE percentage on employee expenses , office expenses etc). I thought the whole point of the membership was for this very purpose .I also do cycling time trials they have quadrupled the fees in the 6 years I have been involved, but the race fee is much the same as the game fee and for that we get third party insurance, manage to employ office staff etc and sponsor a junior rider to live in Belgium full time, promote the sport with ads in mags etc

If its all for admin related to collecting the fee, why not just scrap it completely ??

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Re: Developing top-level English chess by David Openshaw

Post by David Gostelow » Wed Aug 21, 2013 5:04 am

Just looked at the accounts and it looks to me like 90 percent goes on admin . Cant we just outsource membership , there are companies that do that

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