Calendar of Events – Results/Reports
I attended the above meeting as YCA delegate to the English Chess Federation and also that of Doncaster Congress. The YCA gets 3 votes in its own right, on the basis of number of games submitted for grading. Doncaster Congress gets 1 vote.
Organisations which submit results for grading, but are not ECF Full Members, are allowed to allocate their total of graded games to an organisation which is a Full Member. Few people know this. However, the new ECF Voting Register Officer proactively contacted such non-member organisations, and as a result the YCA acquired the grading data totals from the Sheffield Congress and some other source. Accordingly, Yorkshire’s vote was boosted to 5, which, with Doncaster’s 1, gave me 6 votes to cast.
Chronologically . . . .
ECF membership rates and game fees for 2018-19 were left unchanged (as per 5-year plan), except for reductions at junior level, the amounts being as follows:
Direct (individual) membership rates:
However, the £1 discount for on-line payment is being withdrawn, allegedly as part of a change of on-line payment service provider. This is perceived by some (including me) as a “stealth” fee increase.
Minimum fee for Member Organisations: still £60.
Grading fees in congresses:
Non-member game fee in adult leagues (4 or more games) still £16.
Non-member game fee in junior leagues (4 or more games) still £5.
2) County Championships, Final Stages
The idea of reducing teams in U-180, U-160 and U-140 sections to 12 boards rather than the present 16 was defeated on a “card vote”: 96 votes for, and 129 against, with 35 registered abstentions. (I voted against. There were seemingly some bulk abstentions by some carrying many but balanced proxies.)
It was clear that a number of counties struggle with 16 and would prefer 12, but things remain as they were, which is what the Yorkshire captains wanted in principle (though Rupert Jones is not opposed to 12 as a way of getting more teams from other counties).
[A slightly poignant postscript is the fact that as this was being discussed, in the U-140s, Hampshire were defaulting three boards in a 16-board match with Lancashire, the latter winning 9½-6½. One Lancashire player is recorded as not showing up on a different board, so it was still 6½-5½ on boards actually played.]
3) “Minor” County Championship
The idea of abolishing the Minor Counties Championship was defeated on a show of hands, without resort to a card vote.
This event was originally for counties who, expressing it crudely, hadn’t won anything recently, hence the name “Minor”. Recently it was changed to an event limited by average grade. This is perceived by some as undermining the other events, especially the Open, on which basis I voted for the proposal. I think there was only one other vote “for”.
4) FIDE Rating of U-180 and “Minor”
The idea of FIDE-rating of the U-180 section of the County Championship final stages, in addition to the Open (already FIDE-rated) was defeated on a hand vote in which I voted against the motion.
The consequent need for players to be ECF Gold members was generally perceived as an obstacle to raising enough players, and was strongly opposed by the YCA’s U-180 captain when he was consulted before the meeting.
5) NCCU Proposal to Merge Bronze and Silver ECF Membership Levels
This would take time to implement, which is why it came after fixing of fees for 2018-19. If the levels were merge, then a new fee somewhere between present Bronze and Silver fees, probably around £20, but in any event an amount higher than the present Bronze fee, would need to be determined so as to keep the budget balanced.
Clearly, the very existence of ECF membership fees is widely perceived as an obstacle to getting new players extensively involved in organised (ECF-graded) chess. Raising the cost at the “entry level” was widely perceived as counter-productive, and the motion was defeated on a card vote by 63 for, 233 against, with 10 registered abstentions. I voted against the motion.
6) Other Items
Little else considered at the meeting would interest many YCA players, but for the few who might be interested, an application for a one-off £6,000 (more, incidentally, than the ECF Schools budget of £5,000) was requested by “Casual Chess”. (See paper on ECF website: https://www.englishchess.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/C28.10-Casual-Chess.pdf ) This was reduced to £3,000 in an amendment to the original request, but it still failed to get approval. I think I abstained on this vote, lacking the energy to raise my arm, but would have voted against.