Counties Chess

2007 Annual Meeting

MCCU Home About MCCU Junior Chess Correspondence Chess County Matches Grand Prix Congresses Links Links Site Guide



About the MCCU MCCU Counties MCCU Officers Constitution Admin Papers

Page published 2007

MCCU AGM, 24 June 2007, 2.30pm

2:30pm at the Erdington Conservative Club, Orphanage Road, Erdington


In the absence of the meetings Chairman John Pakenham took on this role.

1) Apologies

Cyril Johnson, Simon Gilmore, Peter Gibbs, Dave Thomas, David Buckley


Julie Johnson & Sean Hewitt (Leics); Robert Richmond & Tony Wright (Notts); Gordon Christie & John Pakenham (Warks); Andrew Leadbetter, Andrew Davies & Stephane Pedder (Staffs); Peter Sherlock (Lincs); Ray Collett (Worcs); Windsor Peck (Shrops); Chris Gibson (Northants)

2) Minutes of the MCCU Half Year General Meeting

2.1) Accuracy
The minutes were agreed with the addition of a list of known attendees (not all had signed the attendance list at the meeting) & a note that discussion included the fact that we do not currently have an MCCU individual champion.

2.2) Matters Arising
The failed U175 jamboree was discussed, there appears to have been some confusion/doubt over the exact chain of events, and some correspondence that did not reach all of the parties concerned. The consensus was that nothing could be done retrospectively. Discussion regarding next season arose under a later agenda item.

3) Address of the President.

The sad loss of Roy Woodcock ment that there could be no report.
The meeting observed a few moments silence in his memory.

4) Reports:

4.1) Chairman
Nothing to report

4.2) Chief Executive
A written report was provided.
During discussion the issue of ECF membership schemes arose. Robert Richmond – also ECF Finance Director, clarified that any new schemes would be required to guarantee a substantial take up in numbers and income not less than that expected through game fee.

4.3) Secretary (vacant)

4.4) Finance Director
Andrew highlighted
• the extraordinary item of expenditure in the accounts relating to a claim for old expenses.
• Game fee includes amounts relating to games that were not paid e.g. the U175 jamboree. Such amounts will be credited to counties next season.
• £300 normally allocated to junior chess has been included in the main accounts; it has previously been shown as a separate item.
In discussion -
• The possibility of getting a better return on reserves was raised.
• A proposal that an audit of equipment/trophies be undertaken and a system of keeping track of trophies be introduced was accepted.
• Past consensus had been that as the Union does not currently run any congresses, nor own any particularly valuable trophies, there was little point in taking out insurance cover. There was no apparent consensus on this meeting and no formal proposal made on the matter.
• Northants requested information on the basis of the county levy – this dates back to the time when the BCF used a levy system for affiliation purposes. The MCCU had continued this basis, which is related to the number of players in a county & ranges from Hereford with only 1 point to Warks & Manchester with 7.

4.5) Director for Junior Chess
No report –for those who were unaware Graham Humphries sadly lost his wife very recently.

4.6) Grading Director
A written report was provided.

4.7) Events Director
No report due to illness.
There was some discussion about future events. The idea of allocating the titles formerly competed for under MCCU congresses to locate congresses found favour, as did running a Midlands Grand Prix. It was agreed that the Events Director would look at these areas.

4.8) Public Relations Director, (Vacant).

4.9) County Teams
Written report received.
The CEO reminded delegates that this was the last such report from Neil Beasley, who had announced his intention of retiring as controller 12 mths ago. A hearty vote of thanks was proposed and implemented by a round of applause from all present.

4.10) Correspondence Chess
4.10.1) Individual Event
As reported at the November GM there had been insufficient entries to make the event viable. A later agenda item proposed changes to the event, which were discussed at that juncture.
4.10.2) Team Event
No response had been forthcoming from Chris Lee regarding the team correspondence event, which he had agreed to run, but on the evidence available this had not happened.
There is a volunteer willing to run both events for the coming season.

4.11) MCCU Webmaster
A written report was received.
The meeting welcomed the changes in format during the past year, but were concerned that the site had experienced a certain amount of “down time”. The webmaster pointed out that unless he was told of “down time” he would not be aware of it & had only had 1 such instance reported to him.
The issue of “spammers” getting hold of email addresses was of concern to some, but protecting these is difficult. The webmaster reminded everyone that if they did not wish their email address to appear on the site, they only had to inform him.

4.12) ECF
ECF matters had been incorporated into the CEO report.

4.13) Non-executives
Gordon Christie provided a written report.

5) Elections:

5.1) President – vacant
It was agreed to leave the post vacant in memory of Roy Woodcock and allow the Board time to consider and approach possible candidates.
5.2) Chairman – Cyril Johnson
5.3) Chief Executive – Julie Johnson
5.4) Secretary - vacant
5.5) Finance Director – Andrew Leadbetter
5.6) Director for Junior Chess – 2 nominations were made Graham Humphries & Alan Ruffle, Graham was elected.
5.7) Director for Grading – Peter Sherlock
5.8) Director for Events – Sean Hewitt & Cyril Johnson were nominated & Sean elected.
5.9) Director for Public Relations – Cyril Johnson
5.10) Webmaster – Sean Hewitt
5.11) ECF Delegates (max.2) Julie Johnson & Andrew Leadbetter
5.12) Non-executives (max.2) Gordon Christie & Chris Gibson

6) Appointment of the Auditor.

It was agreed that R V H Butters continue.

7) Levy for 2006/7, Finance Director.

There was some discussion on the budget. It was agreed that the £300 junior budget be split between junior & events, with scope for movement between the 2. The possibility of using the British Championship Bursary as a prize for a 2007/8 Midland Grand prix was discussed, but no firm decision was taken. The meeting accepted Andrew Leadbetter’s proposal to leave the levy unchanged at £12 per point.

8) Constitutional Matters

Proposed by the CEO
a) The AGM is invited to recommend that the current review sub-committee produce draft articles and memorandum with a view to the MCCU becoming a company limited by guarantee.
Basics concerning Companies Limited by guarantee -
A company limited by guarantee is a not for profit entity and does not have a share capital. It is normally incorporated for people wishing their company to acquire a corporate status but will have non-profit making functions. This type of company may be used for people wishing to gain charitable status, for trusts, clubs, churches, schools, or professional and trade associations i.e. a not for profit organisation.
As the limited by guarantee company operates without the aim of making a profit, there are no shares issued. This type of guarantee limited company has members instead of shareholders. Instead of buying shares, anyone who becomes a member sign a form agreeing to pay a sum of money (for example £1). Members can be individuals or corporate bodies. The members will have limited liability - the member’s liability is limited to the amount each member agrees to contribute to the assets of the company in the event of its being wound up, normally £1. This form is called the ‘guarantee’ and is legally binding.
The members agree to contribute a membership fee or subscription, normally have equal voting rights and elect a board of directors. Any profits are not distributed as dividends, but are put towards the company activities.
Unlike unincorporated associations and trusts, the guarantee company has a separate legal existence from its members. This means that, in its own right, it can employ people, own property, enter into contracts and sue or be sued in the courts. The directors, who are also defined in law as charity trustees if it is a charitable company, conduct the daily running of the business. The directors may call themselves a management committee, an executive committee, board of trustees or board of directors.
The main benefits of becoming a Limited Company -
• In legal action it is the company, not the officers or delegates who are liable.
• Those who would argue in favour of limiting MCCU liability would point out that this is an age where litigation is being used more and more. It is not simply MCCU officers who could be liable, but delegates too, if they have been involved in a decision that becomes the subject of legal action.
• The counter argument is that the chances of legal action being taken against the MCCU are remote.
• Charitable status & limited company status go hand in hand.
• To the Charities Commission a Ltd Company is a more sound body than an unincorporated association. A limited company could be set up separately to cover specific charitable areas should the need arise, so some would argue that it is not necessary for the MCCU as a whole to go down this route.
• Recent legal changes now provide charitable status for chess as a whole, not merely chess for the under 21’s as in the past
• Obtaining grants and funding may be facilitated.
• A limited company is generally regarded as a sounder body; as a result those who might provide funding are more likely to deal with a limited company. If there is no interest in expanding what the MCCU does, this may not be a consideration.
On the Down Side –
• There would be costs involved in forming a company.
• The pure cost of forming a company is not huge & can be achieved for around £100, hopefully we could obtain professional advice pro-bono from within our own chess playing ranks.
• A more formal audit would be required with submission of accounts to Companies House.
There were varying opinions expressed, but the meeting voted to reject the idea of the Union becoming a Limited Company.
b) The AGM is invited to recommend that any new constitution or memorandum/articles enshrine the right of all chess bodies operating within the MCCU area to affiliate/become members of the Union and be allocated voting rights.
It has been suggested that without voting rights there is little point in membership for bodies other than counties. Counties may wish to consider whether voting rights should apply to all areas, or whether for example county team rule changes should be the province of only counties.
The meeting rejected this proposal.

8) MCCU County Teams' Tournament Rules

That rule 1 currently as follows -
1. All arrangements in respect of the grouping of counties for the purpose of these tournaments shall be made at the Annual General Meeting of the MCCU.
Be amended to -
1. The Controller shall make all arrangements in respect of the grouping of counties for the purpose of these tournaments.

That Rule 20(a), currently as follows -
20. (a) The dates on which matches are to be played shall be arranged at the AGM.
Be amended to
20. (a) The Controller shall arrange the dates on which matches are to be played.
Both amendments are to reflect that this is not in fact practical and not what effectively happens. Counties are not in a position to make firm entries until the grading list is produced, which is after the AGM.
These amendments were accepted.

That rule 3 be amended as shown in italics, the wording simply moves the under 175, 150 & 125 within the rule -
Each county shall be represented by sixteen players in the Championship, and twelve players in the Under 175, Under 150, Under 125 and Under 100 grade tournament unless they mutually agree upon a greater even number of players. One game only shall be played between each pair of players; a win shall count one point and a draw half a point towards the match score. Proposed by the Events Director
Whilst some counties and individuals have recently indicated they are against the proposal, other counties and individuals have indicated the opposite. This motion will allow the issue to be voted upon formally.
The ECF voted against a reduction from 16 to 12, but conceded that as the rules had not changed for some time a review was in order. No timetable was given for that review. Because of the timing of ECF Council meetings, there is no prospect of changes to ECF rules until 2008/9 at the earliest. The current ECF stages had no preliminary round matches and more byes at quarterfinal stage than ever before.
I am aware that there are those who feel the MCCU should not change its rules until the ECF has decided what changes to make. Others feel that the current state of the MCCU events require action sooner rather than later, and any changes for 2007/8 would not prevent further changes being made in the light of ECF changes.

A number of delegates did not feel that there was any firm evidence that additional teams would enter at 12 a side & that the upshot of a reduction could be less players playing county chess rather than more. The motion was rejected.
The following motion is proposed- That the experiment of holding a 2 round jamboree for U175 county teams be discontinued forthwith. Proposed by the Events Director
Attempts have been made to run a jamboree in the last 2 seasons. In both cases teams withdrew at the 11th hour, leaving only 2 teams in 2005/6 and only 1 this season. The November GM questioned the viability of an U175 event being held at all. The effect of the above motion would be to revert to the same rules as for the other sections.
The meeting voted to leave options open to the Controller on the format of the event.

9) MCCU Individual Correspondence Championship

The meeting is invited to adopt a new basis for entry to this event –
The MCCU Individual Correspondence Championship is open to all players subject to the entrant being -
a) Born in one of the counties affiliated to the Union
b) Resident in one of those counties at the start of the event
c) In full time education in one of those counties at the start of the event
Should there be more than 12 entrants to the event, pairings will be drawn up with the aim of providing each entrant with a similar cross-section of opponents. The competitor achieving the highest points score will be declared the Champion. In the event of 2 or more players achieving the highest total, they will be declared joint champions.
The current arrangements are that counties are invited to nominate 1 player and the reigning champion has the right to defend his/her title. The November GM agreed in principle that, due to a lack of entries for 2006/7 using this method, entry to the event should be opened out. The above is designed to set down basic rules for eligibility. The maximum number of entries under the current system was 12. Opening the event out could result in more than 12 entrants, beyond this an all play all would commit players to rather too many games. The ECF Chief Arbiter David Welch has suggested the concept of pairings that give each player a similar cross section of opponents and has offered his assistance in drawing up these should the need arise.
The motion was accepted.

10) Any other business

A request was made for draft minutes to be circulated as soon as available and was agreed.
A vote of thanks was proposed for the work of the Directors.

11) Date /place of next meeting

Both meetings are due to be held in the East Midlands if previous protocols are applied. It was agreed to continue the current approach. Syston was accepted as a suitable location being near the motorway system.