Yorkshire CA AGM 2023 - A Report
held 24/06/2023, West Riding pub, Wellington Street, Leeds
As there is now a new YCA Website, allegedly up and running, it seemed likely some sort of report on the AGM would appear there, but as yet none has appeared, so, here goes, again, with this site’s webmaster’s own report.
I probably would not have bothered going, but neither Sheffield’s nor Doncaster’s representative could attend, and both asked if I was going. So, I attended mainly to represent and report back to Sheffield and Doncaster. My intended train from Rotherham to Leeds was cancelled, and after I’d gone to Meadowhall to catch the train on the other Sheffield-Leeds route, it transpired that train was delayed “due to a fault with a swing bridge over a river.”
So, I arrived about 30 minutes late, so missing agenda items 1 to 4(e).
Eighteen people attended, or maybe only seventeen.
The agenda had been circulated by e-mail (see here), but not coupled with the Minutes of the previous AGM which one would have expected as minimum. The Competitions Secretary had already e-mailed out a report on the concluded season (see here) and information necessary for the AGM (see here), and these also appeared on this website, but no other papers for the meeting were supplied for this website but equally did not appear on the new YCA website. Nevertheless, there were available at the meeting hard-copy reports from the President and from the Secretary for Junior Chess. These latter two reports may not have been seen by many people other than those at the meeting, so afterwards I offered by e-mail to post them on this website if it was so wished and the electronic documents were forwarded to me, “but answer came there none” as Lewis Carrol put it in The Walrus and the Carpenter.
There were also some accounts. These fell short of what any comparable organisation presents in my experience, presumably due to the intervention which the president had indicated at the previous AGM that he wished to make as regards presentation of accounts. In particular, there was no year-on-year comparison. This might be excusable due to the effects of Covid, but any accountants present would surely expect more next year. My own experience of financial reporting outside chess organisations is mainly limited to government administrative financial reporting (on relative chicken feed: millions rather than billions) where reporting is of course against budget rather than prior periods, with the subtle twist that an underspend is nearly as bad as an overspend, as others could have used the unspent budget given the chance. (Yes, you do get mid-year virements if an underspend is expected.) I missed the treasurer’s report, so cannot comment on how these accounts were received by the meeting. (There is no criticism here of the treasurer who I have held in high respect for probably more years than either of us can remember!)
The following topics do not follow agenda order.
Proposed change to Rule A15
The proposed default start time of 1.30, rather than the present 2.30, had some support from people who liked the idea of getting home from away matches at a more-civilised hour. On the other hand, some people, especially juniors, can have morning commitments which might not fit in with the earlier start. The clincher came when York pointed out that they would need to find a new venue if the proposal were passed. (The proposal might then have been seen as a cunning way of trying to stop York winning the Woodhouse Cup, but Sheffield had just shown this was in fact possible by fair means rather than foul.) The proposal was defeated.
Format of the League for 2023-24
The first two Divisions (Woodhouse and I. M. Brown) were agreed to be as the Competitions Controller had proposed in the above-cited pre-AGM info. For the Silver Rook, however, there was a request from Leeds (once again!) to be given extra time to try to rustle up another team. If that extra team materialised, then there’d be 13 teams which it was agreed would play on an all-play-all once basis. However, it was decided that, if there were only 12 teams then the Silver Rook would be run on a “World Cup” basis in which two all-play-all-twice groups each of 6 teams produced finalists who played off to determine winner and runner-up (i. e. those earning promotion).
This World Cup-style Silver Rook would present problems for the Competitions Controller in trying to meet requirements/requests of clubs with more than one team as regards whether those teams played at home at the same time or else did not play at home together. Such requirements are relatively easily met with divisions of the same number of teams, but with mixed 10- and 6-player divisions things become more problematical.
Presentation of Trophies
These were presented as follows:
The Under-18 Team event was of course a new event going some way to filling the age-old vacuum created by the demise of the local schools’ leagues around the Yorkshire cities, and the less significant Yorkshire Schools Jamboree of yesteryear. The Yorkshire Junior CA’s individual events complement this team event.
Election of Officers, County Captains and Other Appointments
All incumbent Officers other than captains were re-elected nem. con.:
In yesteryear the Hon. Sec. was far more prominent in the running of the Association in ways many of which no longer exist e. g. the Bulletin, the Calendar and its successor the Year Book, and the Hon. Sec. would play a much greater part in the running of the AGM and (face-to-face) committee meetings and for that reason the burden of minuting meetings provided welcome assistance. (When I was Hon. Sec. I found having a separate Minute Secretary a welcome luxurious feature as compared with being secretary of the Sheffield & DCA.) Now, the function of the Hon. Sec. at the AGM itself seems little more than that of taking the minutes. So, maybe the minutes post needs formally abolishing.
All incumbent Match Captains (who are also counted as Officers) were re-elected nem. con. except for the (acting) Open captain:
* subject to the traditional proviso of still having a low enough rating to play.
As regards the Open captaincy, Matthew Webb had at the 2022 AGM replaced Peter Ackley who was standing down, but the new captain had then taken up a job in Dubai before the start of the county-match season and Andrew Wainwright took over but is unwilling to continue. So, the hunt is on for a new Open team captain. Rupert Jones is believed to be trying to find a candidate, so, if you are interested, then it might be best to contact Rupert. Of course, if there is no Open captain then there will be no Open team!
Delegates to other organisations were elected as follows:
* the second replacing Steve Westmoreland.
Simon Watson was re-appointed.
Having set up a new official YCA website - see https://yorkshirechess.com/ - the president seems to be looking for somebody to take over running it from him, as those at the meeting were invited to volunteer to this end. Not surprisingly, there were no volunteers. Such an appeal needs to be addressed to a much wider audience! No technical specification was given, nor a job description. The site seems to be located on a Go Daddy server which means (I believe) it is probably maintained via a version of Wordpress. Thus, any volunteer would probably need to be conversant with (or be willing to learn to use) Wordpress. The job presumably would be to maintain what is already there, in a “timely” manner, in response to requests from YCA officials, and I guess the post-holder would not be expected to proactively generate material themselves. The president, if I recall correctly, expressed a wish/hope to “cooperate closely” with this website, so presumably there would be no expectation of replicating anything like the news reporting of this website.
£165.30 was recorded in the accounts as having been spent on the new website. (That was nothing to do with this website of course.)
There are currently a number of errors, omissions and arguably meaningless waffle on the new site at present. Two representatives of Constituent Members long ago reported to me finding the new website via Google and submitting corrections - without effect. So, I compiled a summary of such things and submitted them to the president using his prescribed firstname.lastname@example.org e-mail address. I was a bit worried that this e-mail address was not working and so I copied it to three other YCA officers to be on the safe side, but nothing had changed last time I looked.
Oddly, even the entry for the president’s own club, Ilkley Chess Centre, contains an out-of-date website address, http://www.chesscentre.online/) instead of https://ilkleychesscentre.com/. This all leads me to the conclusion the president is far from being on top of maintaining the site.
Now, of course, the name of P. C. Gibbs will need removing from the list of Honorary Life Members as well as an updating of the list of YCA captains and delegates.
A notice advertising such a webmaster vacancy could be posted on this website, but I shall of course not post one unless so requested. (The Yorkshire Rapidplay got two volunteers to do the new website within 48 hours of an appropriately worded, targeted appeal!)
Once that is done, the YCA Committee needs to determine what information the YCA website assumes responsibility for. At present, for instance, the Constitution is on the new website yet not the Rules!! (This website retains the Rules until the YCA website is straightened out, but otherwise such information should not need to be carried on this site.)
This website remains open to requests from YCA officers etc for notices to be posted on this website, irrespective of whatever state the YCA website is in at the time.
Congress to Host Yorkshire Championship
The 2022 Yorkshire Individual Championship fell foul of unrealistic ideas as to organising a “better” style of event, and things in that respect at least are returning to normal. Accordingly, hosting the 2023 Championship (assuming we are still working on calendar years as opposed to seasons) was awarded to Hull (8th to 10th September, see here).
As the president seemed not fully conversant with current fees (which I used to carry on this website when it was the official YCA website), maybe they should be added to the new YCA website (not my problem). Fee structure was something else the president seemed to want to change, but if I recall correctly, things were not changed, and fees fixed annually were as follows:
The Affiliation Fee is what the county element of the old BCF Registration Fee was converted into when the YCA seceded from the BCF (now ECF). Scrapping this category of membership, without adjustments elsewhere, would undermine the Constitution, though there is the theoretical short-term “fix” of setting the fee at £0 if that suited.
Clause 4(c) of the Constitution provides also for Individual Membership, but for a number of years the AGM has neglected to set the fee for this. Individual Members used to be eligible to receive the Bulletin and thus Individual Membership could serve in effect as a personal Bulletin subscription. Despite the demise of the Bulletin, some people not active as League players might nevertheless wish to become an Individual Member. Such membership could also be seen as a vehicle for making a donation to the YCA.
Clause 4(a) of the Constitution provides for (non-Honorary) Life Membership. I personally don’t recall the fee for this ever having been set, or of anyone applying for such membership, so there is a case for (legally) abolishing that type of membership.
A. O. B.
Under “any other business” David Mills explained his unhappiness with how he was treated at (in his absence), and after, the 2022 YCA AGM. I have a hard copy of what David read out but was in two minds as to whether to publish it. (He’d have to send me an electronic copy.) Whilst I wholly sympathise with David, I have not included any of his comments here. I’ve decided that in about a week’s time I will send him an e-mail which I hope will cheer him up a bit.