Counties Chess

2008 Annual Meeting

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Page published 2008

MCCU 2008 AGM Minutes

29 June 2008, 2.30pm at the Syston & District Social Club, High St, Syston, Leics

1) Apologies

Sean Hewitt, Graham Humphries, David Pardoe, Julian Clissold, Matthew Pollard.


Ray Collett & Andrew Farthing (Worcs), Mick Norris (Manchester), Andrew Leadbetter, Andrew Davies, Matthew Corr & David Buckley (Staffs), John Pakenham (Warks), Peter Gibbs & Cyril & Julie Johnson (Leics), Chris Gibson (Northants), Simon Gilmore (Derbys), Peter Sherlock (Lincs).

2) Minutes of the MCCU AGM 2007

2.1) Accuracy
Minutes accepted with no amendments

2.2) Matters Arising
None that are not addressed in reports.

3) Reports

3.1) Chairman
Nothing to report

3.2) Chief Executive
Written report submitted and accepted.

3.3) Secretary (vacant)

3.4) Finance Director
Accounts presented by Andrew Leadbetter (with signed copy from the auditor provided) were accepted.
Instructions are awaited regarding the prize for the Grand Prix which has yet to be paid out.
Grant from John Robinson Trust for a Junior event has been carried over to 2008/9 with the approval of the Trust.

Andrew has explored the options for an account providing a better return for MCCU funds, but has found nothing better available to an organisation of our type. (this matter was raised at the 2007 AGM)

3.5) Director for Junior Chess
A verbal report was passed on by the CEO on behalf of Graham Humphries. He had fallen ill just prior to the meeting & was unable to attend. His own situation recovering from the loss of his wife & that of Cyril Johnson in assisting him in organising events had led to little activity on the Junior side.
Report accepted.

3.6) Grading Director
A written report was provided & accepted.

3.7) Events Director
The Director Sean Hewitt was unable to attend due to other commitments. A written report was provided & accepted. The report included a request for guidance regarding awarding of MCCU British Championship places. 1 more application than places available had been received, with Nottingham, Leicester, Warwickshire & Bolton Congresses all asking for places. The majority view was that places should go to congresses already part of the MCCU Grand Prix. It was also agreed that the MCCU Board prepare a paper for the next meeting on policy for future years.

3.8) Public Relations Director
Due to his own & family health problems & bereavement Cyril Johnson verbally reported that he had been able to do little on the Publicity side.
Report accepted & condolences offered regarding the loss of his mother.

3.9) County Teams
A written report was provided & accepted.
The issue of teams withdrawing from sections provoked discussion. Currently a team pulling out after the fixtures have been published is not refunded the entry fee. The position regarding match expenses incurred by the opposition where a team concedes was clarified – the rules already provide for those expenses to be recovered from the opposing team.
There was a suggestion that in sections with 8 teams, where it was felt there was a danger of a withdrawal, all play all fixtures should be scheduled. It was explained that it would be impractical to schedule fixtures for all play all for more than 7 teams in the time frame available. It was then suggested that further sanctions should be available for use against defaulting teams and a motion was passed with only 2 dissenting votes, “that MCCU rules mirror the ECF County rules on this area” i.e. a team may be fined up to £50. The important point being that “may” allows the particular circumstances in each case to be considered.
The split of the open teams into championship & minor was also discussed. The SCCU had questioned the number of ECF places to which the MCCU were entitled, viewing the Championship section as the number of open teams. Cyril Johnson strongly refuted this suggestion, all the teams competing had no grading restrictions i.e. were open teams. The Minor section was not run on the same lines as the ECF Minor & in fact all Unions had the right to nominate 2 teams to the ECF Minor without running a qualifying event. It was pointed out that some of the open teams in fact had no players over 175.The possibility of such Open teams having the option of being nominated to the U175 section at ECF level, if as expected no U175 event was held, was also discussed & felt to be feasible.
Staffordshire explained that they had been unaware of the play-off for 3rd place in the U100 section, as a result their 2 teams had not played. The website was incorrect in recording the position as a 12-0 default.

3.10) Correspondence Chess
3.10.1) Individual Event
A written report was provided. On the matter of lack of publicity of details on the website the CEO added that the webmaster had reported these detail had not been received by him.
The event for 2008/9 already has more entries then 2007/8, but the CEO reminded all present that the rules were changed last year to allow wider entry & do provide for more than 12 entries. If anyone wished to enter there was still time to do so. She would be putting a message out via the MCCU Newsgroup to that effect.
3.10.2) Team Event
Fewer counties had a correspondence captain and teams were proving difficult to raise even for the National Counties Correspondence competition. It was therefore concluded that there was insufficient interest to run this event.

3.11) MCCU Webmaster
No report received

3.12) ECF
A written report was received & accepted.
There was some debate, speculation & difference of opinion regarding the merits of the Directors who resigned following the April Council meeting & why they had resigned.
The meeting echoed the sentiments of the report in decrying poor communication, particularly when the outgoing ECF CEO had flagged up improved communications as a key area. A number of delegates stressed the need for greater transparency on ECF matters and clarity on issues such as the PIF. There were also some who felt that the ECF accounts were incomprehensible to the majority of delegates. It was pointed out that company law dictated content and layout to a certain extent, and some felt they needed the current level of detail.
The Events Director had raised the issue of limiting the number of proxies any one delegate could bring to an ECF Council. The meeting did not feel it was appropriate to pass any motion on this matter as they had not had the opportunity to discuss this at county level. However, Cyril Johnson indicated that this was an area of concern for him & that as an ECF Director it was open to him to put a motion forward.
Information on the new grading structure was sought by some delegates, Chris Gibson was able to outline the basics.(more information may be found in the ECF April Council minutes on the ECF website) It was confirmed that the “old” style gradings would be used for ECF events, it was for individual counties, congresses and the like to decide whether to use the old or new style grades for their events.

3.13) Non-executives
Chris Gibson had nothing to report & no report had been received from Gordon Christie.

4) Elections

4.1) President – Peter Gibbs elected unopposed – post vacant in 2007/8
4.2) Chairman – Cyril Johnson re-elected unopposed
4.3) Chief Executive – Julie Johnson re-elected unopposed
4.4) Secretary – no nominations
4.5) Finance Director – Andrew Leadbetter re-elected unopposed
4.6) Director for Junior Chess – Graham Humphries re-elected unopposed
4.7) Director for Grading – Peter Sherlock – re-elected unopposed
4.8) Director for Events – Sean Hewitt – re-elected unopposed
4.9) Director for Public Relations – Ray Collett – elected unopposed
4.10) Webmaster – Sean Hewitt – re-elected unopposed
4.11) ECF Delegate – The Union is now entitled to only 1 delegate instead of 2 – it was agreed that this should be the CEO Julie Johnson
4.12) Non-executives (max.2) – Chris Gibson was re-elected, Andrew Farthing elected as the only 2 nominees.

5) Appointment of the Auditor

Roger Butter was re-appointed

6) Levy for 2006/7, Finance Director

Andrew Leadbetter proposed no change – this was accepted & the budget agreed with the removal of insurance premium, cover is not felt to be needed whilst the Union runs no congresses.

7) Chess in schools initiative (discussion item)

The announcement of the initiative by the ECF Marketing Director & an extract of the report on the recent ECF Board meeting relating to this subject had been circulated to delegates. The CEO stressed the potential opportunity presented by considerable number of children learning to play chess & suggested that the MCCU should get involved in drawing interested parties together to explore how to take this forward, rather than leaving counties to work in isolation, or worse still do nothing. Some delegates were unaware of the background to the provision of free sets & boards, this was summarised by the CEO. Some delegates were under the impression that schools would be forced to purchase specific material from specific sources, this is in fact not the case. Any school applying for 10 sets & boards will get them with no strings attached. It was agreed that Ray Collett, & Cyril & Julie Johnson would take the matter of MCCU involvement forward.

8) Midland club events (discussion item)

The Events Director had asked for some feedback on interest in an MCCU club tournament, and ideas on format. There was some concern that with existing county fixtures and congresses there was little room in the calendar for such an event. However, some felt that a 1 day event might be feasible with say 2 games am & pm.

9) Any other business

The situation with the inter-county events next year was queried, both in terms of who would act as controller and approach to scheduling dates. The CEO explained that she had offered to act as controller if there was no suitable alternative. As the Events Director was not present the query on scheduling dates could not be answered.

11) Date/place of next meeting

It was agreed that the next meeting be held in the West Midlands – probably Birmingham area. It was also agreed that unless the CEO saw a particular need for a meeting ahead of the 2009 AGM, this would be the next meeting. The requirement for at least 2 meetings a year stated in the current constitution, to be amended accordingly. The 3rd Sunday in June 2009 is the preferred date for the AGM. It is of course open to counties to request a meeting to address a specific issue or issues.

The meeting closed at 6.00pm