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Brian_Jones
12-05-2008, 04:39 PM
Today I was reading a letter written by Mike Truran, who recently resigned his postion as Director of the English Chess Federation (ECF). I give an extract below: the full letter is published at http://bcmchess.blogspot.com/2008/05/mike-truran-open-letter-8-may-2008.html

It reminded me of some of the problems with the Australian Chess Federation (ACF). :)

"Have you ever been to an ECF Council meeting? If you ever get invited, run like hell in the other direction. There are, I know, good and competent Council members who recognise that there is a problem with English chess and would like to do something about it. Meeting after meeting these members’ voices are drowned out by a vociferous minority who either bang on about arcane points of order and constitutional minutiae or about their own particular hobbyhorses, which usually involve some variant of the “What does the ECF do for me?” or “What’s the Board trying to slip past us this time?” themes – and usually (which I find more soul-destroying than anything) without a scintilla of doubt as to the correctness of their own opinion and with an absolute refusal to countenance the possibility that there might just possibly be valid points of view other than their own. Most of the subjects discussed involve operational matters which should be within the Board’s remit and so not even on the agenda. The atmosphere typically ranges from the unpleasant to the poisonous. No meeting passes without some confrontation or other between Council and the Board. I recall on one occasion overhearing one Council member saying to another member “I wouldn’t trust this Board as far as I could throw them”. On no occasion can I recall any strategic discussion about how Council thinks the ECF (and the Board on behalf of the ECF) should be developing and improving English chess. The ECF discussing strategy? Don’t make me laugh. It’s much more exciting to discuss whether game fee increase should be 1p or 2p."

Brian_Jones
12-05-2008, 04:43 PM
And more:

"The ECF needs to tear up its present structure and start again. Council in its present form is unworkable, and the Board is emasculated by the need to refer any meaningful decisions to Council. To my mind the present Council structure should be replaced by a small number of shareholders, duly elected by their constituents – in effect the shareholders who hire or fire the directors. As a starter for ten suggestion, these members could, for example, be representatives of the regional unions and/or the major leagues, with the unions/leagues taking responsibility for the democratic processes whereby these members were elected. I recall writing to Gerry Walsh before the BCF morphed into the ECF suggesting that the change of legal status was a golden opportunity to get the structure fit for purpose for the 21st century. True to form, nothing happened."

Denis_Jessop
12-05-2008, 05:15 PM
Today I was reading a letter written by Mike Truran, who recently resigned his postion as Director of the English Chess Federation (ECF). I give an extract below: the full letter is published at http://bcmchess.blogspot.com/2008/05/mike-truran-open-letter-8-may-2008.html

It reminded me of some of the problems with the Australian Chess Federation (ACF). :)

"Have you ever been to an ECF Council meeting? If you ever get invited, run like hell in the other direction. There are, I know, good and competent Council members who recognise that there is a problem with English chess and would like to do something about it. Meeting after meeting these members’ voices are drowned out by a vociferous minority who either bang on about arcane points of order and constitutional minutiae or about their own particular hobbyhorses, which usually involve some variant of the “What does the ECF do for me?” or “What’s the Board trying to slip past us this time?” themes – and usually (which I find more soul-destroying than anything) without a scintilla of doubt as to the correctness of their own opinion and with an absolute refusal to countenance the possibility that there might just possibly be valid points of view other than their own. Most of the subjects discussed involve operational matters which should be within the Board’s remit and so not even on the agenda. The atmosphere typically ranges from the unpleasant to the poisonous. No meeting passes without some confrontation or other between Council and the Board. I recall on one occasion overhearing one Council member saying to another member “I wouldn’t trust this Board as far as I could throw them”. On no occasion can I recall any strategic discussion about how Council thinks the ECF (and the Board on behalf of the ECF) should be developing and improving English chess. The ECF discussing strategy? Don’t make me laugh. It’s much more exciting to discuss whether game fee increase should be 1p or 2p."

As one who has attended almost every ACF Council meeting for the last eleven years, I can say that the ACF Council meetings are nothing like those of the ECF as described. If the ECF is like that - and that is not certain as we have only one man's view - it is really sick. I repeat that the ACF is nothing like that nor has it been over the last eleven years.

DJ

Denis_Jessop
12-05-2008, 05:18 PM
And more:

"The ECF needs to tear up its present structure and start again. Council in its present form is unworkable, and the Board is emasculated by the need to refer any meaningful decisions to Council. To my mind the present Council structure should be replaced by a small number of shareholders, duly elected by their constituents – in effect the shareholders who hire or fire the directors. As a starter for ten suggestion, these members could, for example, be representatives of the regional unions and/or the major leagues, with the unions/leagues taking responsibility for the democratic processes whereby these members were elected. I recall writing to Gerry Walsh before the BCF morphed into the ECF suggesting that the change of legal status was a golden opportunity to get the structure fit for purpose for the 21st century. True to form, nothing happened."

I'm not right up with the ECF and its structure. I thought the BCF tore up its structure and the ECF was created only a couple of years ago. Who were the dummies who did that? :doh:

DJ

eclectic
12-05-2008, 06:42 PM
i thought it proper to upload a picture of the said hierarchy but then i'm not sure whether this is the ECF or the ACF :whistle:

Brian_Jones
13-05-2008, 10:20 AM
As one who has attended almost every ACF Council meeting for the last eleven years, I can say that the ACF Council meetings are nothing like those of the ECF as described. If the ECF is like that - and that is not certain as we have only one man's view - it is really sick. I repeat that the ACF is nothing like that nor has it been over the last eleven years. DJ

OK, so the ACF Council is a friendly bunch of folk! But you don't have a seperate executive management team trying to get things done against a hostile Council (or do you?).

But can you recall any real strategic discussion about how Council thinks the ACF should be developing and improving Australian chess?

Or would you have said "The ACF discussing strategy? Don’t make me laugh. It’s much more exciting to discuss whether rating fees should increase by 1c or 2c."

Basil
13-05-2008, 10:53 AM
But can you recall any real strategic discussion about how Council thinks the ACF should be developing and improving Australian chess?

There has been such discussion from some members on some issues over recent years. And you know it, Brian.

Part of the problem is that not everyone on the ACF can agree on these issues - and agreement is required to move forward. Who to blame for the lack of agreement? No one (on the ACF) - backing one's beliefs is not a crime.

What to do about it? Change your representatives on the ACF at state level (so they do agree come ACF time). If the rank and file members won't do this, they are to blame. You're carping at the wrong people again, Brian. Get into your electorate and get busy!


Or would you have said "The ACF discussing strategy? Don’t make me laugh. It’s much more exciting to discuss whether rating fees should increase by 1c or 2c."
Not fair. There's a perfect spot for you in The Toolbox - you should get on like a house on fire ;)

Basil
13-05-2008, 11:01 AM
Don't get me wrong. I have frustrations with some aspects of the styles of the ACF office-bearers, but so? I would have issues with everybody including you, to varying degrees. And people would have frustrations with me.

I find Bill and Garry a little plank-like and visionless in the area of nationalisation (and others weak), but that neither makes me right or them incompetent - it's merely a personal (and unprovable) opinion. The way that I am going about change is the correct way IMO, as opposed to insulting them or claiming they are doing a bad job.

I support the current ACF and believe it is comprised of good people with a breadth of valuable skills.

MichaelBaron
13-05-2008, 12:04 PM
I have a question.

What is ACF up to right now? What is its strategy? I keep recieving ACF bulletin but i can not recall any talk about strategy. So are we similar to BCF or not? If ACF is really doing something right now what is it that they have on their agenda?

For the last 15 years there has been talk about having chess recognized as a sport and getting sponsorship...not sure how much progress has been made in these directions. What about recent developments? :hmm: Any new ideas/projects?

Brian_Jones
13-05-2008, 01:32 PM
There has been such discussion from some members on some issues over recent years. And you know it, Brian.

Yes, by old blokes like you and me! :)

But I can't see any young energetic council members leading the ACF forward.

And I can't see the strategic plan. Only a few piecemeal projects undertaken largely by the old blokes. :)

Apart from these very few projects, we just see the ACF carrying out the bare essentials of Olympiad Teams, Australian Championships, Medals and Ratings.

Denis_Jessop
13-05-2008, 02:32 PM
OK, so the ACF Council is a friendly bunch of folk! But you don't have a seperate executive management team trying to get things done against a hostile Council (or do you?).

But can you recall any real strategic discussion about how Council thinks the ACF should be developing and improving Australian chess?

Or would you have said "The ACF discussing strategy? Don’t make me laugh. It’s much more exciting to discuss whether rating fees should increase by 1c or 2c."

It's funny that you should mention strategy as I brought that up at the last Council meeting a month ago and have sent a paper on it to the Executive. Then, last night, following up on the ECF, I found its enormous strategy documents (Long term Strategic Plan and 2007-2008 Business Plan) but they don't seem to have saved the ECF from getting into a big mess. Not only that but Leonard Barden keeps bemoaning the lack of junior talent in England which isn't a worry for us. Ironically, much of the ECF's problems seem to stem from their membership scheme. The ACF doesn't have one of those thus saving it a good deal of grief. :)

DJ

george
13-05-2008, 02:38 PM
Hi All,
When i was President ACF some time ago i ran an all day workshop for ACF Councillors and other interested chess folks in Canberra. The entire theme of the day was folks split into various groups and came up with ideas some from left field.

Then the afternoon sessions were devising implementation strategies to firstly get the proposal approved by ACF then implemented.

There were many good people there and I hoped this could become an annual thing but my attention certainly became focused elsewhere a few months after that.

ACF got a proposal before South Australian cabinet on hosting the Olympiad in Adelaide. It was not supported by cabinet.

When I have a few moments I will draft a petition which the australian chess public will be asked to sign - see the latest Newsletter re changing the definition of sport to include chess as per British definition.

So to answer a few questions things have been tried and not necessarily worked but I keep trying. I am currently an ACF Councillor and i know that many Councillors are major players with workload in their own states/territories but they still come up with ideas.

Anyway these are some things I as a Councillor whatever have tried etc.

What we need in ACF Council are some younger folks not already burdened with lots of chess work - I dont believe the current crop of ACF Councillors are the only ones interested in national administration but other folks dont seem to get up.

Not only is the current ACF Council full of good meaning competent people they are also very aware of the responsibility entrusted in them - so if things sometimes happen slowly its because the system has checks and balances and is not a benevolant dictatorship which probably would function more efficiently but would make decisions not properly thought through.

Anyway - just some odd ramblings!

Kindest Regards to ALL

Basil
13-05-2008, 07:56 PM
Ironically, much of the ECF's problems seem to stem from their membership scheme. The ACF doesn't have one of those thus saving it a good deal of grief. :)
:doh: :wall: :doh: :wall: :doh: :wall:
It should be noted that I am both beside myself with laughter and balling my eyes out, as I know not which is more apt ;)

Kevin Bonham
13-05-2008, 08:32 PM
But you don't have a seperate executive management team trying to get things done against a hostile Council (or do you?).

Of all the split votes that have happened in my time on Council (they do happen now and then) I cannot recall one single one that was split anything like Exec vs rest of Council.

george
13-05-2008, 11:10 PM
Hi All,

I was lucky/unlucky depending on your understanding of Greater Yarmouth to be there last year when they held the British Chess Championship. It was run very well and i didnt notice any friction or tension - what I did notice was the extrordinary number of people they had running the various tournaments.

They had very large display boards for the top 4 boards and a host of enthusiastic juniors who moved the pieces so that onlookers were able to be seated at the side of the top boards- catered for about 100 - and able to follow the top 4 boards without crowding or annoying the players.

If I am able to borrow/hire such large display boards I will run such a system at Freytag. BRIAN- are there large (6ft x 6ft) display boards we could use??

Anyway regards to ALL

MichaelBaron
14-05-2008, 10:57 AM
So can we make this discussion a bit more concrete?

What are the things achieved by ACF in the last 15 years?:hmm

Denis_Jessop
14-05-2008, 11:22 AM
So can we make this discussion a bit more concrete?

What are the things achieved by ACF in the last 15 years?:hmm

It will actually be much less concrete if we consider a vague question like yours. Could you be more specific?

DJ

Brian_Jones
14-05-2008, 11:31 AM
What are the things achieved by ACF in the last 15 years?:hmm

Australia has produced two OTB Grandmasters in the last 15 years (Ian Rogers was already a GM!) :)

Igor_Goldenberg
14-05-2008, 11:35 AM
Australia has produced two OTB Grandmasters in the last 15 years (Ian Rogers was already a GM!) :)
I'd say it was a personal achievement, not ACF's

Desmond
14-05-2008, 11:46 AM
I'd say it was a personal achievement, not ACF'sIndeed, but certainly not possible without a governing body to process FIDE ratings, amoungst other things.

george
14-05-2008, 12:31 PM
Hi All,

Can this debate go along the lines of - this is what needs to be done - these are the implementation strategies - this is what I myself am/am not able to do to achieve these changes.

If this is going to be simply a whinge thats ok that is after all what aussies seem to be good at but if folks can come up with strategies for change that would be great.

Brian had some ideas about various things and his achievement with Myer/Tan is first class.

Perhaps others with ideas could share them and achievable goals with strategies.

Otherwise it will be the same ACF Council which posters here love bagging trying to achieve things.

If a poster here can come up with a good outline of something with strategies for achieving same i for one am quite happy to put it up at the next Council meeting so go for it.

Zwischenzug
14-05-2008, 12:48 PM
I'd say it was a personal achievement, not ACF's

Also, I think it is somewhat unethical that a chess administration will help someone become a GM :hmm: .

Brian_Jones
14-05-2008, 12:58 PM
Indeed, but certainly not possible without a governing body to process FIDE ratings, amoungst other things.

Exactly, FIDE ratings is Greg Canfell (:clap: :clap: :clap: )
Greg is not on the ACF Council.

It appears to me that the main jobs are done by people who are not on the ACF Council!

So why don't we let the ACF Executive manage by itself and just scrap the ACF Council?

We need a new structure! George, please scrap yourself at the next meeting! :)

PS I don't mind George (for example) taking on projects (such as Government liaison) but the ACF must get rid of parochialism from the States!

Everyone must wear an Australian hat!

MichaelBaron
14-05-2008, 03:15 PM
It will actually be much less concrete if we consider a vague question like yours. Could you be more specific?

DJ

I guess Dennis is right i should be more specific:

Okie the specific questions are:

1) Has more sponsorship from private and public organisations been gained?
2) Has overall budget of the ACF improved (showing bigger surplus)?
3) Has number of the tournaments/events/clubs Australia-wide gone up?
:hmm:

george
14-05-2008, 04:14 PM
Hi Brian,

Its my intention to give up ALL chess administrative and organisational posts dealing with ALL matters of chess after the second sunday in February - that is the next SACA AGM. It has been my intention to do this for some time and i made SACA aware of this last February and to Gary Wastell privately a couple of months ago.

So your wish to get me off Council will be fulfilled!

SA chess will be a little poorer as i have good relationships with many sponsors etc and have the respect of SA chess public but I will do as you wish and leave to play interclub chess mainly at my beloved Norwood Chess Club!

After all it is best for chess in Australia that experienced people who understand the politics etc go away and let rookies who can be swayed by chess political heads to do their bidding!!


Kindest Regards

Denis_Jessop
14-05-2008, 05:25 PM
I guess Dennis is right i should be more specific:

Okie the specific questions are:

1) Has more sponsorship from private and public organisations been gained?
2) Has overall budget of the ACF improved (showing bigger surplus)?
3) Has number of the tournaments/events/clubs Australia-wide gone up?
:hmm:

Yes; those are more helpful questions.

1) Private sponsorship: Yes - the sponsorship by Dr Henry Ergas for the ACF Elite Junior Development Squad has been of great benefit. All recent national Championships have had some form of sponsorship.
Public Sponsorship - The ACF did receive substantial sponsor ship from the Federal Government about 25 years ago but that ceased upon the change of Minister and, depite representations since there has been no sponsorship. The ACF is currently trying to change that situation, thanks to the efforts first of brain Jones and now of George Howard who has taken the project on.

2) Yes; the change in income structure initiated by Graeme Gardiner as ACF President resulted in a considerable increase in ACF income and thus surplus. When I was President, I sought to have the ACF adopt planning procedures for the use of its funds as a large surplus is not necessarily what the ACF should be trying to achieve. This was put on hold to an extent by the ACF's need to fund the Australian Open 2007 in Canberra. I have recently taken steps to revive the adoption of planning procedures.

3) The ACF is responsible only for national events. Other events and the welfare of chess clubs are within the responsibility of State Associations under our federal structure. There is a limit to the number of national events that can be held successfully.

DJ

Kevin Bonham
14-05-2008, 10:48 PM
It appears to me that the main jobs are done by people who are not on the ACF Council!

Some of done by Councillors, some are not.

This is (in my view) one of the weaknesses of the present Council system. Some significant officebearers are not only outside of the Council loop, which creates communication issues, but also do not get reward for effort, while there is no actual requirement for Councillors who are state delegates to do anything for the ACF (although some do).

The TCA currently has a structure in which all the significant positions carry a TCA Exec (equivalent to ACF Council) vote so people who are doing major work get to influence the direction of chess in the state.

So an option at ACF level would be to make a number of major positions vote-carrying Council positions so that those who put up their hands to do them get more influence on the direction of chess if they want it.


So why don't we let the ACF Executive manage by itself and just scrap the ACF Council?

I actually think this change would be in the wrong direction because having state reps on Council means that the opinions and experiences of administrators from each area can be on the table for each vote.

If you scrapped the Council and just had the Exec running the ACF then from time to time the Exec might come to be more or less dominated by players from a small number of states. That would increase rather than reduce risks of parochialism in decision-making.

(I feel I need to strengthen the indication given by the "responsibility for posts" disclaimer by reiterating that this post does not represent the views of the ACF or the TCA.)

Brian_Jones
15-05-2008, 09:11 AM
OK Kevin, so maybe we need a larger Executive. :)

I would be happy for the Executive to all live in Hobart or wherever. :)

I just don't like the idea of a state (any state) nominating someone to represent them who then does no ACF work, feels compelled to wear a state hat (and blinkers) and never makes a real national contribution.

MichaelBaron
15-05-2008, 10:42 AM
Yes; those are more helpful questions.

1) Private sponsorship: Yes - the sponsorship by Dr Henry Ergas for the ACF Elite Junior Development Squad has been of great benefit. All recent national Championships have had some form of sponsorship.
Public Sponsorship - The ACF did receive substantial sponsor ship from the Federal Government about 25 years ago but that ceased upon the change of Minister and, depite representations since there has been no sponsorship. The ACF is currently trying to change that situation, thanks to the efforts first of brain Jones and now of George Howard who has taken the project on.

2) Yes; the change in income structure initiated by Graeme Gardiner as ACF President resulted in a considerable increase in ACF income and thus surplus. When I was President, I sought to have the ACF adopt planning procedures for the use of its funds as a large surplus is not necessarily what the ACF should be trying to achieve. This was put on hold to an extent by the ACF's need to fund the Australian Open 2007 in Canberra. I have recently taken steps to revive the adoption of planning procedures.

3) The ACF is responsible only for national events. Other events and the welfare of chess clubs are within the responsibility of State Associations under our federal structure. There is a limit to the number of national events that can be held successfully.

DJ
Thx, Dennis

So money wise, what is the amount of sponsorship ACF is getting now and what are the profits?:hmm:

Denis_Jessop
15-05-2008, 12:00 PM
OK Kevin, so maybe we need a larger Executive. :)

I would be happy for the Executive to all live in Hobart or wherever. :)

I just don't like the idea of a state (any state) nominating someone to represent them who then does no ACF work, feels compelled to wear a state hat (and blinkers) and never makes a real national contribution.

I'm not sure if your first comment was entirely serious but in fact, after the Commission proposal was defeated in the National Conference a few years ago, the Executive was enlarged by the addition of two Vice Presidents. Before that it was President, Deputy President, Secretary and Treasurer. As a result, I think it is now more effective. As a matter of history, it is worth remembering that originally (1922) the ACF had no office bearers at all. Cecil Purdy was unofficial secretary but there was no treasurer and perhaps even no funds. Then there was a Secretary but there was no President until Koshnitsky was appointed about 35 years ago. History shows that the ACF is an evolutionary, not a revolutionary, body. :)

DJ

Denis_Jessop
15-05-2008, 08:31 PM
Thx, Dennis

So money wise, what is the amount of sponsorship ACF is getting now and what are the profits?:hmm:

The sponsorship by Henry Ergas is the only ongoing one. It was $7000 pa until this year when he increased it to $8000. It would be reasonable to consider all donations to the Olympiad Fund as sponsorship as they are voluntary payments. Certainly the $1000 donations by Mr Solomon and Geraldine Johns-Putra should be so considered.

The surplus for the financial year 2006-2007 was $9045.

DJ

rob
17-05-2008, 10:31 AM
I'm not right up with the ECF and its structure. I thought the BCF tore up its structure and the ECF was created only a couple of years ago. Who were the dummies who did that? :doh:

DJ

I find your above post offensive in the extreme.

http://www.englishchess.org.uk/national/2007/obit-heppinstall.htm

Denis_Jessop
17-05-2008, 11:40 AM
I find your above post offensive in the extreme.

http://www.englishchess.org.uk/national/2007/obit-heppinstall.htm

Bad luck - you should take a skin thickening course whoever you are :P

DJ

Basil
17-05-2008, 12:00 PM
I find your above post offensive in the extreme.

http://www.englishchess.org.uk/national/2007/obit-heppinstall.htm
Why's that then, Rob? I am the (self-appointed, useless and until today's date unannounced) UK delegate around here.

Basil
17-05-2008, 07:47 PM
Carn Rob. You can talk to Howie. Chess types can be universally dense and plonking, even the English.

ER
17-05-2008, 08:26 PM
... but that neither makes me right or them incompetent - ...

neither, nor? :owned:

Cheers and good luck?