Year Book 2019-20 Contents
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Recent ECF Developments
Following on from an earlier report on the relatively rosy area of ECF grading, below are described other things going on at the ECF at present.
Any “views” in the following are those of the author rather than the Yorkshire Chess Association. I have tried to tread carefully.
Development Manager Appointment
Following the ECF’s decision to seek to appoint a “Development Officer” who would lead an attempt to rejuvenate English Chess, which is in danger of shrinking radically as present aging organisers drop off their perches, three candidates were to be interviewed. The interviews were held on 13/09/2019, in Birmingham. The successful candidate was Carl Porter. Another candidate was Tim Wall, who earlier had failed in an attempt to become ECF Director of Home Chess. (Who was the third?)
However, certain documents published by the ECF and by the successful candidate caused much confusion in the minds of onlookers, and for some created suspicions that the interviews had been a sham, that the ECF had already decided in advance who they were going to appoint, and that the appointed candidate had known in advance. One unsuccessful candidate, Tim Wall, lodged a complaint.
An independent complaint investigation panel subsequently reviewed things, and, after an extensive analysis of various communications requisitioned from various sources, and direct questions posed to parties concerned one way or another, the committee gave its verdict, which was essentially that the above suspicions were unfounded, and that the ECF had not done anything seriously wrong, though made recommendations to avert a repetition of such misunderstandings.
The complainant had wider concerns, though these too were dismissed by the panel.
The whole saga is too involved to explain in detail, and to a casual observer, once the 37-page report of the complaint investigation panel has been read, the whole episode condenses down to a “Comedy of Errors”. On the one hand an ECF document said something had happened when really it was expected to have happened by the time the document was expected to be read. On the other hand the successful candidate should have changed the date on what was in a sense a draft document, based on the possibility of his being appointed, before publishing it after he actually had been appointed.
On the evidence available at the time, the circumstances needed explaining, and it is understandable that Tim lodged the complaint.
The complaint panel findings can be found on the ECF website at
and its recommendations on the ECF website at
The Development Manager interview-panel recognised Tim Wall had something to offer the ECF, and had in fact recommended him for the job in the event of Carl Portman not actually accepting the offer.
So, . . . .
Women’s Recruitment Officer
One strand of the envisaged Development strategy is bringing more female players into the game. Accordingly, Tim Wall was in time offered the newly created post of Women’s Recruitment Officer by the Director of Women’s Chess. Tim accepted this, and members have already had an e-mail from him in connection with his new post.
However, . . . .
Resignation of Development Officer
It seems that the new Development Officer was uncomfortable with the appointment of the new Women’s Recruitment Officer, and was unhappy with other things, including attacks lodged on “social media”, and has submitted his resignation in a letter dated 09/12/2019. (See https://www.englishchess.org.uk/development-officer-resignation/ on ECF website.) So, there is a vacancy here, if you are interested.
Unfortunately, these days, to present too public a profile one needs the hide of a rhinoceros. I saw Carl at the 2019 ECF AGM, and can confirm he is not a rhinoceros. So, having also seen what gets posted on one “social medium”, I can sympathise with him for resigning.
Meanwhile . . .
Nominations Sought for Post of Chairman of Council
“Council” is the body of people entitled to attend the ECF AGM (normally in October), and the ECF Finance Meeting (normally in April). Council consists mainly of ECF Board members and delegates from the various member organisations. The post of Chairman of council meetings is a “non-executive” one in the sense that that the holder is not a member of the Board, and so will with any luck be fairer than might otherwise be. (The Chairman of the Board is similarly “non-Executive”, though of course normally attends Board meetings.) The holder had been Mike Gunn, up to and including the 2019 AGM, but he stepped down at that meeting, having given prior notice, but there were no nominees for the post. So, the post is currently vacant and the Board is exercising powers to try to fill the post.
I know of someone who had expressed an interest, but it remains to be seen whether he puts his name forward. So, if you are interested in taking on this post, read more at on the ECF website at
Or, if you are more interested in becoming an ECF Board Member . . .
Director of Membership
At the 2019 ECF AGM, the ECF Director of Membership, Dave Thomas, indicated he would be retiring after this season, and invited people to consider taking over. The main part of the job, currently, seems to be trying to tie together those taking out ECF Membership on line with known players in ECF grading system, active or inactive.
Many players do not get their membership properly linked to their existing grading reference number due to lack of adequate information on the on-line membership website. This leads to them getting a new grading reference alongside their old one. Full name and club(s) are desirable in practice, but unfortunately not mandatory on the membership website. Provision for an existing grading reference on the membership website would help. Renewals should be made as such, not as though they were new memberships.
Less frequently new players get linked to different, inactive players with similar names.
The job seems also to involve monitoring numbers of members, and analysing them by various categories, to keep the Board informed on how things are going.
Or, you might like to take on another non-Board post . . .
Other Vacant ECF Posts
Manager of ICT (probably the longest outstanding of these vacancies)
Controller of the Grand Prix (vacant for some time)
Manager for Disabled Chess (long vacant?)
Curator of Equipment (had been the late Dave Welch, died 09/11/2019)
Financial Controller (had been the late John Philpott, died 16/10/2016)
Junior Directorate Finance Manager (?)
Awards Committee Chairman (Paul Bielby has recently stepped down or will be stepping down shortly)
YCA Delegate to the ECF