What is a Bona Fide Member of a Chess Club

Discuss anything you like about chess related matters in this forum.
Trevor Coote
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:42 am

What is a Bona Fide Member of a Chess Club

Post by Trevor Coote » Thu Sep 06, 2018 6:21 pm

I would like to put this out as a discussion point first a little background:
a recent appeal of an Essex league knockout came back with a ruling that states
The dispute revolves around the meaning of "bona-fide member".
The current rules do not define this in detail but the panel agree with the Controller that it has a meaning which is different to that of simply being a member of a chess club.

does this mean that no one is a bona fide member ?

Alex Holowczak
Posts: 8499
Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 5:18 pm
Location: Oldbury, Worcestershire
Contact:

Re: What is a Bona Fide Member of a Chess Club

Post by Alex Holowczak » Thu Sep 06, 2018 7:03 pm

To write down here what I wrote in the relevant Facebook thread:

The rule is clear enough, and you can look up what bona fide means in a dictionary. Rather than define at length what a bona fide member is in the context of a chess club, the power to make that judgement is instead vested in the Controller.

It's one of a number of reasonable ways of writing an eligibility rule, although I suspect chessplayers would prefer something written down in black and white rather than leave it to someone to make a judgement.

Gavin Hughes
Posts: 39
Joined: Sun Jul 23, 2017 11:36 pm

Re: What is a Bona Fide Member of a Chess Club

Post by Gavin Hughes » Thu Sep 06, 2018 7:16 pm

I know who it now isn't and paying a membership fee doesnt qualify, in fact never paying a membership is ok.

Roger Lancaster
Posts: 478
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 2:44 pm

Re: What is a Bona Fide Member of a Chess Club

Post by Roger Lancaster » Thu Sep 06, 2018 7:41 pm

It should be a statement of the blindingly obvious that, with "bona fides" meaning "in good faith", what is and what isn't in good faith is a subjective judgment. No criticism there as I imagine it would be well-nigh impossible to formulate an objective definition which wasn't later found to have loopholes.

Gavin Hughes
Posts: 39
Joined: Sun Jul 23, 2017 11:36 pm

Re: What is a Bona Fide Member of a Chess Club

Post by Gavin Hughes » Thu Sep 06, 2018 7:56 pm

What Trevor is referring to is this match

https://www.essexchess.org.uk/index.php ... art-eko18l

where David Haydon played but was deemed ineligible because Writtle claimed he was not a bona fide member even though he was a paid up member and rejoined the club a week before the match. He last played for Brentwood a few games in 2012. The controller agreed and the appeal by Brentwood was lost.

Gavin Hughes
Posts: 39
Joined: Sun Jul 23, 2017 11:36 pm

Re: What is a Bona Fide Member of a Chess Club

Post by Gavin Hughes » Thu Sep 06, 2018 8:16 pm

As a subnote Ivor at Writtle who complained about Brentwood sent this email to the North Essex Chess League which i think explains in the post script his definition of bona fide members.


Subject: Re: NECL Knockout weeks

Ian,

It is so disappointing that you were unable to provide these dates at the NECL AGM last Wednesday and I do hope that it hasn’t caused difficulty for others.

On Friday after dates of fixtures in the London League had been published the seven teams that play home and away in the 1st Division of the Essex League, i.e. 12 matches each, arranged all their fixtures over the next three days - all done by email !

You will appreciate why it’s somewhat annoying that having had to assume that last year’s dates would be unchanged you have decided to change three of the five and that left me with the difficult task of then making changes with clubs, particularly in the London area, with little left to offer.

I only mention this in the hope that nobody else has a similar problem and whatever happens please now leave these new dates as they are.

P.S. If anybody is interested in playing an occasional game in the 1st Division of the Essex League then please let me know.

Best wishes

Ivor

Writtle Chess Club

Trevor Coote
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:42 am

Re: What is a Bona Fide Member of a Chess Club

Post by Trevor Coote » Thu Sep 06, 2018 8:31 pm

The rule in question Alex is this

Each player must be a bona-fide member of the club represented by his or her team, or, in the case of a school, he or she must be a pupil or employee of that school.

No where else is there any controllers decision is final or any other wording on eligibility
In the controllers report he has stated that parts of the rule were left out
The controller has interpreted a rule that was there in the past which was replaced by the above rule but hasn't used another old rule that stated if the player intends to play for the team in the future season which is the reason David has joined he can play
The point is how do you prove bona fide ?
And I always thought that in law you are innocent till proven guilty not the other way round
The rule is extremely badly drafted

Trevor Coote
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:42 am

Re: What is a Bona Fide Member of a Chess Club

Post by Trevor Coote » Thu Sep 06, 2018 8:34 pm

We now know writtles definition of A bona fide member


OCCASIONAL

Alex Holowczak
Posts: 8499
Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 5:18 pm
Location: Oldbury, Worcestershire
Contact:

Re: What is a Bona Fide Member of a Chess Club

Post by Alex Holowczak » Thu Sep 06, 2018 9:41 pm

Trevor Coote wrote:
Thu Sep 06, 2018 8:31 pm
The rule in question Alex is this

Each player must be a bona-fide member of the club represented by his or her team, or, in the case of a school, he or she must be a pupil or employee of that school.

No where else is there any controllers decision is final or any other wording on eligibility
In the controllers report he has stated that parts of the rule were left out
The controller has interpreted a rule that was there in the past which was replaced by the above rule but hasn't used another old rule that stated if the player intends to play for the team in the future season which is the reason David has joined he can play
The point is how do you prove bona fide ?
And I always thought that in law you are innocent till proven guilty not the other way round
The rule is extremely badly drafted
We're going to have to agree to disagree here.

In my opinion, the rule is perfectly well drafted, and its intentions are clear. It's to make sure that clubs choose members from their clubs, and don't bring in external players to the detriment of players in their club, and ensure that opponents don't have to turn up and play a team of strong players who are nothing to do with the club.

It should be obvious that in the context of a league/cup game such as those in this competition, where there is a dispute it is the responsibility of the Controller to make a decision. If the competition permits appeals, then again it should be obvious that it does so.

I think you are letting your opinion that the rule is bad - which I don't disagree with! - cloud your judgement as to the quality of its drafting.

The club turned up with a strong player who hadn't played in the rest of the competition. If the point of the rule is to prevent bringing in ringers, it looks to all outside observers not connected with the detail that you've brought in a ringer. So people were always going to be suspicious, and if you won the match, this argument was always going to happen. It could have been prevented by telling the Controller in advance, and asking if he had any problems with the player playing in the match. Then you can pick him or not.

As it happens, having read the majority of detail of the argument on Facebook, I have sympathy with the club losing this case. But equally, I think it's worth the club reflecting on what it could have done differently to ensure the argument never happened in the first place, rather than just blame the rule, the opposing club, the Controller, and the people who heard the appeal.

User avatar
JustinHorton
Posts: 5594
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:06 am
Location: Somewhere you're not

Re: What is a Bona Fide Member of a Chess Club

Post by JustinHorton » Thu Sep 06, 2018 9:51 pm

Trevor Coote wrote:
Thu Sep 06, 2018 8:31 pm

And I always thought that in law you are innocent till proven guilty not the other way round
Without prejudice to the particular dispute under discussion, the principle of innocence under the law is basically concerned with the criminal law and the rights of individuals, and its applicability to other situations is not at all obvious.
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 17313
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: What is a Bona Fide Member of a Chess Club

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Sep 06, 2018 9:55 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Thu Sep 06, 2018 9:41 pm
If the point of the rule is to prevent bringing in ringers, it looks to all outside observers not connected with the detail that you've brought in a ringer.
The Berkshire rule for the later stages of the Cup competition was essentially that players need to have played in the League in current or previous seasons. This was directed specifically against hired guns being brought in for cup matches only. Following representations, the AGM weakened the conditions so that anyone previously associated with the club as evidenced by the local League management system or the ECF grading history was eligible. There's a valid case that enticing players back for a one-off cup match is an easier sale than getting them back for the whole league season.

It helped dispute avoidance that the fielding of the potentially dubious player was known to the league controller before the match.

Objectively though, the 4NCL method is better. Your squad is nominated at the start of the season, and in addition there are limited rights to field wild cards or add additional players.

Andrew Zigmond
Posts: 1566
Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2011 9:23 pm
Location: Harrogate

Re: What is a Bona Fide Member of a Chess Club

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:02 pm

As a county league controller myself I personally wouldn't rule a player ineligible in these circumstances (but obviously this specific instance is none of my business). I've always viewed rules requiring club membership to be relatively toothless as it's up to individual clubs to decide what constitutes a member.

I've never had to make a similar formal ruling as of yet but there have been a couple of occasions where clubs have fielded strong players on a high board in the last match of the season and eyebrows have been raised. My response has always been that if these players are club members (and there has never been any suggestion they weren't) then they are eligible to play.

In the league I run there are restrictions on players who haven't played previously claiming defaults in the last match on the season (introduced by my predecessor after clubs were claiming defaults with players who hadn't played all season or in some cases had no prior history at all). The resulting rule is badly worded and could be read as a ban on new players featuring in the last match at all. I have made it clear that I will not countenance this. Why? Because while some clubs may seek to gain an unfair advantage it is far more likely they may wish to give a perennial reserve a game or blood a junior and I see no reason why not.

The question I would ask is this. Should we be encouraging clubs to attract new members or making our leagues all about eligibility rules and penalties? There may be that one occasion when the player is such an obvious ringer that the law would be an ass if it allowed that and these should be dealt with as such.

Finally this puts in mind of my last year as county championship controller when I received an abusive email (from a prominent captain - it is so tempting to name him and the county) concerning a player who hadn't previously played for that county, but who had been cleared according to the rules.
Controller - Yorkshire League
Chairman - Harrogate Chess Club
All views expressed entirely my own

Trevor Coote
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:42 am

Re: What is a Bona Fide Member of a Chess Club

Post by Trevor Coote » Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:31 pm

Alex
I am afraid that you are in a minority as the appeals committee agree with Brentwood that the rule should be rewritten for next years competition
And Writtle brought in Andrew Lewis the British over 50 champion who had not played in a previous round
I suppose that doesn't count
If the rule had been written along the lines of
Any club member will be eligible to play in the knockout competition if they have played for the club during the preceding season in either a cup or league match
Then there wouldn't be a problem
The need for the controllers consent was removed from the rules in a previous draft as such I would read into this that as it was withdrawn then it was seen as not necessary. The definition of bona fide member was also omitted.
There was no registration requirement apart from bona fide member
David Haydon had been a member of Brentwood but since Brentwood got relegated to a low division he declined to play in that division
A fully paid up member with a clear intention to play this coming year I do not believe constitutes a ringer

But a fully paid up member who had played for the club five years ago isn't a bona fide member when does he become a bona fide member then?

Alex Holowczak
Posts: 8499
Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 5:18 pm
Location: Oldbury, Worcestershire
Contact:

Re: What is a Bona Fide Member of a Chess Club

Post by Alex Holowczak » Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:33 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Thu Sep 06, 2018 9:55 pm
It helped dispute avoidance that the fielding of the potentially dubious player was known to the league controller before the match.
Gosh, I made the same point in my missive. Have just agreed on something? :shock:
Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:02 pm
The question I would ask is this. Should we be encouraging clubs to attract new members or making our leagues all about eligibility rules and penalties?
The rules need to be as flexible as possible. It has long been part of the 4NCL that you can register people throughout the season, and no one seems to grumble there. A registration system where you register players at the start and have freedom to add to it throughout the season should be the way to go.

Alex Holowczak
Posts: 8499
Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 5:18 pm
Location: Oldbury, Worcestershire
Contact:

Re: What is a Bona Fide Member of a Chess Club

Post by Alex Holowczak » Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:36 pm

Trevor Coote wrote:
Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:31 pm
Alex
I am afraid that you are in a minority as the appeals committee agree with Brentwood that the rule should be rewritten for next years competition
No I'm not, because I think it should be rewritten because I think it's a bad rule. What I don't accept is that this rule is badly drafted.

Post Reply