Election Addresses for 2018 AGM

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Election Addresses for 2018 AGM

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:55 pm

Quite a bit to get stuck into. Starting with the Director of Women's Chess role it is worth noting that this is the first time Chris Fegan has faced a council wide vote and it will be council's chance to either endorse or reject the appointment the board made. It's probably the one election where none of the above has a realistic possibility. Personally I remain deeply unhappy with the comments Chris made during the 2015 election and at intervals since where he attacked the motives of anybody who had the temerity to disagree with him; this included myself (nobody important) but also some of the hardest working volunteers the ECF has. That said, I am impressed by the noticeable achievements he has made in a short time as Director of Women's Chess and will try to remain neutral.

That said, as a board member Chris Fegan will have some influence on governance matters and it is not clear whether he will pursue to long held ambition to dissolve council and bring in (an unspecified form of) OMOV.

EDIT Obviously council and the board could only elect/ appoint those who stand but it's a shame that having had three female board members following the 2017 AGM we will now be down to one.
Controller - Yorkshire League
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Andrew Zigmond
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Location: Harrogate

Re: Election Addresses for 2018 AGM

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:15 pm

Moving on to the Director of Home Chess election; it is frustrating that Adrian Elwin has made no address so it is impossible to know whether he disagrees with Tim Wall on any substantive issue. Having dealt with Adrian a few times as county championships controller and also having played in the weekender at this year's British which he ran I am sure he would be a worthy successor to Alex.

However I found much of Tim Wall's address interesting with a lot that I would support. It's worth noting that he is nominated by Malcolm Pein (curiously in his capacity of FIDE delegate rather than the senior of Director of International Chess) and a lot of Tim's ideas would tie into a paper Malcolm presented to the board (at the July meeting) regarding the role and appointment of a `Development Officer` (I asked through Ask The Directors whether I could have sight of this paper but did not receive a reply). Obviously there is little that can be done about the `heritage` side of the Home Directorate; debate around the county championships has shown that those who play in it do not want change. However it seems that those of us who want chess in England to continue after the demographic problem bites need to look at doing their own thing outside of the box. For that reason I would like to engage with Tim's ideas and see how these could be put into place nationally.

Tim, one question - if elected would you keep the existing Home directorate team or seek to appoint your own?
Controller - Yorkshire League
Chairman - Harrogate Chess Club
All views expressed entirely my own

Richard Bates
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Re: Election Addresses for 2018 AGM

Post by Richard Bates » Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:18 pm

Not a question but advice. Approach changes to the amateur side of the game with caution, and only propose changes when genuinely worthwhile and with groundwork laid for realistic prospect of success. Pleased to see reference to British Rapidplay which has arguably been neglected, or at best passively undermined for a number of years. See you in London! (as home director or otherwise!)

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Election Addresses for 2018 AGM

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:38 pm

Richard Bates wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:18 pm
Approach changes to the amateur side of the game with caution, and only propose changes when genuinely worthwhile and with groundwork laid for realistic prospect of success.
A default view of the ECF from "the amateur side" is that it takes money whilst giving nothing in return.

TimWall
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Re: Election Addresses for 2018 AGM

Post by TimWall » Sat Sep 15, 2018 1:01 am

Hi everyone, lots of excellent questions - which I hope to answer satisfactorily in the morning! Until then: Just got back from a very enjoyable (!) Forest Hall Chess Club AGM (and drinks afterwards). We had 20 members present, lots of interesting discussions and new volunteers for various posts. My favourite proposal (not sure if it was completely serious...) was: 'As the UK is leaving the European Union, I propose that we ban the French Defence!" Huh??? Much hilarity ensued....

TimWall
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Re: Election Addresses for 2018 AGM

Post by TimWall » Sat Sep 15, 2018 10:08 am

J T Melsom wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:12 pm
I like the references in a couple of the published manifestos to 'sharing best practice'. Although clubs are autonomous, and very diverse it is often difficult to think creatively about how to run a club, let alone have the energy to do so. I think therefore that this sharing and promulgating of ideas is a good thing, and has the potential to strengthen the connection between national body and club members and organisers. And there are many clubs wanting to give assistance to juniors without really knowing where to start, so similar observations apply here, although in truth, less dabbling and more structured competence from those involved at club level might served the children better.
Yes, training for clubs and other local chess organisations is very important, as I mentioned in the election address:
"I would organise and facilitate training events for local chess organisers, drawing on the expertise of successful club and congress organisers, to help clubs and constituent organisations."

Also, I would look to publicise success stories from around the country (and internationally). Clubs themselves of course will choose the model that suits them. We can help them with one-day or evening regional training events, and also put resources online on the ECF website.

TimWall
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Re: Election Addresses for 2018 AGM

Post by TimWall » Sat Sep 15, 2018 10:37 am

Paul Cooksey wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 6:08 pm
Tim, if you are taking questions - do you have an idea of the budget and team you would need over a 3 year term?

The outgoing Home Director often lamented he had insufficient resources, particularly volunteers, available. It sounds like you are planning to keep doing everything he was, and do more on top.

I think everyone is happy when we have a strong British. But I would like to understand how the Home Director will handle a situation if a sponsor is not available. I hope this is a hypothetical, but it was not for the International Director.
Hi Paul, very good questions!

Tackling the elephant in the room first, the Budget. Most of the 2018-19 onwards budget items look sensible, but some I would like to look at carefully.

For example: There is (under 'Congresses') a £10,000 annual donation to the Hastings International Congress. I would want to make sure that we are getting the best possible value for this sponsorship, and I have made some suggestions to the Hastings organisers previously about attracting more commercial sponsorship and adding slightly more 'modern' events in the mornings, such as a FiDE-rated Junior tournament. If this money is supposed to seed and support Congresses in all areas under ECF jurisdiction, I think where it goes should be carefully reviewed.

The National Club Championship has been discontinued, but I am interested to explore ways of getting a national club competition going again - in a more popular format. In particular, I think online matches (where each club gathers at their home venue, plays via an online playing server such as chess.com or chess24, and has an independent invigilator to ensure no one is consulting engines etc) could be the way forward. I would like to trial this with some clubs informally, and then report back to the Board & Council. If trials were successful, I could put forward a proposal for the 2019-20 season.

On the team, there are fantastic people already working on all the various events that the ECF organises, and I have already made arrangements to visit Torquay with British Championships Manager Kevin Staveley if I am elected. We would both look at the venue and facilities, and I would be particularly interested in meeting with local chess organisers to build up a 'Chess Festival' around the British events, taking our cue from the excellent work by Stephen Greep and others in Hull this year.

On sponsorship for the British, we will always face the possibility that circumstances change. The sensible approach, it seems to me, is to never be complacent and always be talking to various potential sponsors for a whole range of events - and then try to match them together. For example, one event just started, the UK Blitz Championships, would be a great event for a potential new sponsor...
Last edited by TimWall on Sat Sep 15, 2018 5:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

TimWall
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Re: Election Addresses for 2018 AGM

Post by TimWall » Sat Sep 15, 2018 11:00 am

Nick Burrows wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 6:27 pm
In your article about tournament structures, you were outspoken in a) your dislike of graded limited sections and in b) support of more financial support for professional players at the expense of amateur players. Do you have any proposals to attempt to enact these changes?
Hi Nick, I had a feeling these thoughts about grading limited sections expressed a few months ago in an Op-Ed in the ECF Newsletter could (to put it mildly) stir up debate!

Maybe I have softened my views since then, or perhaps more accurately realise the difficulty in making dramatic changes. In continental Europe, there is a tradition of big Open tournaments will lots of grading prizes all the way down. Our culture in this country is a bit different - weekend congresses with Open plus various graded sections. I still think we could introduce more one-section tournaments, but we have to be careful with already-established events.

A big part of the reason for this is demographic: Many of our congress players are, ahem, of my generation or older (I was born in the year England won the World Cup) and radical change is difficult for this significant group of chess players. Then there is a big gap, with comparatively few 18-50 players and sadly far fewer female players than in many other countries.

I am coming to the conclusion that the way forward - to get more young adults playing, and to keep them playing - is probably in some of the newer formats, such as rapidplay and blitz, and at more accessible venues. The days of the traditional weekend congress may not be numbered, exactly, but we need to modernize for 21st century chess in the same way that Stewart Reuben, Leonard Barden & a host of other great organisers did to produce the 'English Chess Explosion' in the 1960s and 70s.

I don't want to pit 'amateurs v professionals' or vice versa. We need to grow chess at all levels, at the base of the pyramid and at the top. I just want to bring people together, so that we support each other as a chess community.

James Pratt
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Re: Election Addresses for 2018 AGM

Post by James Pratt » Sat Sep 15, 2018 11:34 am

Yes, one section events are a thought.
essexroad.blogspot.com

Nick Burrows
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Re: Election Addresses for 2018 AGM

Post by Nick Burrows » Sat Sep 15, 2018 1:23 pm

TimWall wrote:
Sat Sep 15, 2018 11:00 am
I still think we could introduce more one-section tournaments, but we have to be careful with already-established events.
As Roger pointed out, one-section tournaments do not work for 5 round tournaments as there are simply not enough rounds to find a single winner. Tinkering with established, sucessful tournaments is also unwise. This leaves the creation of some new 7 or 9 round, single section tournaments that need to prove they can be as popular and commercially viable as the currently favoured model. The Northumbria Masters was a good start!

TimWall
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Re: Election Addresses for 2018 AGM

Post by TimWall » Sat Sep 15, 2018 5:24 pm

Yes, longer tournaments (7 or 9 rounds) was what I had mind. The 2019 Northumbria Masters (16-20 February) will be closer to this goal, as there are no minimum rating requirements this time. It’s specifically aimed at providing opportunities for juniors & adding an international tournament in the north of England. A more spacious venue will allow us room for up to 100 players, whereas in Feb 2018 we were at maximum capacity of 50 players.

TimWall
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Re: Election Addresses for 2018 AGM

Post by TimWall » Sat Sep 15, 2018 11:52 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:15 pm
However I found much of Tim Wall's address interesting with a lot that I would support. It's worth noting that he is nominated by Malcolm Pein (curiously in his capacity of FIDE delegate rather than the senior of Director of International Chess) and a lot of Tim's ideas would tie into a paper Malcolm presented to the board (at the July meeting) regarding the role and appointment of a `Development Officer` (I asked through Ask The Directors whether I could have sight of this paper but did not receive a reply). Obviously there is little that can be done about the `heritage` side of the Home Directorate; debate around the county championships has shown that those who play in it do not want change. However it seems that those of us who want chess in England to continue after the demographic problem bites need to look at doing their own thing outside of the box. For that reason I would like to engage with Tim's ideas and see how these could be put into place nationally.

Tim, one question - if elected would you keep the existing Home directorate team or seek to appoint your own?
Hi Andrew, it's very perceptive of you to link the ideas I'm putting forward in the election address with the Development Paper. The address is a basically a short version of the Development Paper, as I wrote the paper over a period of a few months, after taking various soundings and doing research into the best examples of grassroots development from around the country. The paper is due to be discussed by the ECF Board of Directors on September 20, I believe, and after that presumably it will be published, so that all ECF members can have their say. Essentially it's a blueprint (in draft form) of ways that we can regenerate English chess, particularly at the grassroots club level. And again, as you very accurately point out, it's in great part looking at ways we can address the demographic problems facing us, and how, by thinking outside the box, we have a chance to solve them.

At the time, I was essentially arguing for the creation of the post of Development Officer, but since the post of Director of Home Chess will become vacant in October, it makes sense for me to aim to carry out the plans put forward in that paper from the Board. If that means that someone else is employed by the ECF to carry out the Development Plan reporting to the Director of Home Chess, that's fine by me. (I do a range of chess-related activities already, as can be seen from my 'Chess CV,' so I would not be dependent on income from being a Development Officer anyway.)

The important thing is that we recognise the challenges we face in reviving English chess, and all work together to achieve that goal.

J T Melsom
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Re: Election Addresses for 2018 AGM

Post by J T Melsom » Thu Sep 20, 2018 6:48 pm

Does anybody know what Adrian Elwin proposes to do? I keep reading here and elsewhere that he is an excellent candidate, but it is quite challenging to reach a decision with so little information.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Election Addresses for 2018 AGM

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Sep 27, 2018 9:51 am

Some more material has now appeared at https://www.englishchess.org.uk/about/e ... and-board/

Angus French
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Re: Election Addresses for 2018 AGM

Post by Angus French » Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:36 pm

Some time ago, and around the time of his appointment, I believe I read something to the effect that Chris Fegan would not be looking to stay for long as Director of Women's chess and wished to mentor a female candidate for the position. Does anyone else recall this and if they do can they point to where it's stated? (There's nothing in Chris's election address to corroborate.)

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