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  1. #1
    CC International Master Brian_Jones's Avatar
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    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...-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."
    Last edited by Brian_Jones; 12-05-2008 at 04:49 PM.

  2. #2
    CC International Master Brian_Jones's Avatar
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    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."

  3. #3
    CC Grandmaster Denis_Jessop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian_Jones
    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...-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
    ...I don't want to go among mad people Alice remarked, "Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: we're all mad here. I am mad. You're mad." "How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice. "You must be," said the Cat ,"or you wouldn't have come here."

  4. #4
    CC Grandmaster Denis_Jessop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian_Jones
    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?

    DJ
    ...I don't want to go among mad people Alice remarked, "Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: we're all mad here. I am mad. You're mad." "How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice. "You must be," said the Cat ,"or you wouldn't have come here."

  5. #5
    . eclectic's Avatar
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    we might as well know who this is all about ...

    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
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  6. #6
    CC International Master Brian_Jones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Denis_Jessop
    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."
    Last edited by Brian_Jones; 13-05-2008 at 01:21 PM.

  7. #7
    CC Grandmaster Basil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian_Jones
    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!

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian_Jones
    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
    Last edited by Basil; 13-05-2008 at 03:55 PM.
    There is no cure for leftism. Its infestation of the host mostly diminishes with age except in the most rabid of specimens.

  8. #8
    CC Grandmaster Basil's Avatar
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    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.
    Last edited by Basil; 13-05-2008 at 07:52 PM.
    There is no cure for leftism. Its infestation of the host mostly diminishes with age except in the most rabid of specimens.

  9. #9
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    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? Any new ideas/projects?
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  10. #10
    CC International Master Brian_Jones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gunner Duggan
    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.
    Last edited by Brian_Jones; 13-05-2008 at 01:37 PM.

  11. #11
    CC Grandmaster Denis_Jessop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian_Jones
    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
    ...I don't want to go among mad people Alice remarked, "Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: we're all mad here. I am mad. You're mad." "How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice. "You must be," said the Cat ,"or you wouldn't have come here."

  12. #12
    CC FIDE Master george's Avatar
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    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

  13. #13
    CC Grandmaster Basil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Denis_Jessop
    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.

    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
    Last edited by Basil; 13-05-2008 at 09:03 PM.
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  14. #14
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian_Jones
    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.
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  15. #15
    CC FIDE Master george's Avatar
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    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

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