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2009 Annual Meeting

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Page published 2010

MCCU AGM Minutes

28 June 2009, 2.00pm at The Bowling Green, Friary Road, Lichfield, Staffs, WS13 6QJ

1) Apologies

Dave Thomas, Simon Gilmore, Chris Gibson, David Pardoe, Matthew Pollard


Ray Collett(RC) & Andrew Farthing(AF) (Worcs), Mick Norris(MN) (Manchester), Andrew Leadbetter(AL), Andrew Davies(AD), Matthew Corr(MC) & Graham Humphries(GH) (Staffs), John Pakenham(JP) (Warks), Peter Gibbs(PG), Sean Hewitt(SH) & Cyril(CJ) & Julie Johnson(JJ) (Leics), John Hoddy(JH) (Derbys), Peter Sherlock(PS) (Lincs), David Levens(DL) & Robert Richmond(RR) (Notts)

2) Minutes of the MCCU AGM 2008

2.1) Accuracy. The draft minutes were agreed without amendment. A request was made to avoid coloured highlighting as some delegates had experienced printing difficulties.
2.2) Matters Arising. There were no matters arising not already covered on the agenda.

3) Reports

3.1) Chairman. Nothing to report
3.2) Chief Executive. Written report submitted. Commenting on the need for county involvement with the Chess for Schools project, MN asked for clearer guidance on adult involvement with juniors. When was CRB clearance required, what is the process for clearance? Some clubs in his area had ceased junior sections because of fears, misunderstanding or misconceptions on the subject. CJ will raise these issues with Peter Purland the ECF Junior Director, with a view to getting answers and information for circulation. Report accepted.

3.3) Secretary (vacant)
3.4) Finance Director. The accounts were presented. SH queried the fact that the MCCU GP prize had not been sent out, AL had not seen an email from SH requesting payment. It was suggested that this amount ought to appear in this years accounts, but this was discounted as the audit had already taken place. Spending had been much lower than expected. The anticipated level of junior spending had not arisen because of abortive attempts to run an MCCU Junior individual event. A further attempt would be made in the Autumn. The Board had not approved any requests for donations/bursaries. JJ explained that only 1 request had been received, from a party who has received donations before. The Board did not feel it was appropriate to make repeat donations without a compelling case. A previous AGM had agreed that unless the Union ran an event in its own name there was no need to have insurance – hence no expenditure. No officer had submitted any expenses claims. AL asked directors/officers present if there were any known expenses to be claimed for last year – no one indicated any claims to be made. Accounts accepted.
3.5) Director for Junior Chess. GH gave a verbal report. He regretted that he had been unable to be as active as he had hoped during last year, but improvements to his health meant that if re-elected he would be more active.
Report accepted.
3.6) Grading Director. Details of the number of games graded were supplied with comparisons to last year - all match details had been received. Report accepted.
3.7) Events Director. SH, who had resigned this post towards the end of the year, gave a verbal report. The GP had consisted of 6 events & was won by Mark Hebden. Two players had tied for the British Championship place, but this had been easily resolved as only 1, Don Mason, wished to play. There are other congresses operating within the MCCU that are not part of the GP, it is unclear why this is the case. The county teams’ events had run reasonably smoothly, however there had been an issue with an ungraded player who had not been cleared with the controller, as required by the rules. This would not have been a problem had the player been found to be eligible, but his results showed him to be above the 99 grading limit. Captains needed reminding to heed the rules. SH reiterated his disappointment that the voting of several MCCU counties at the ECF council meeting had not been in accordance with the feedback he had received from county captains.
Report accepted.
3.8) Public Relations Director. RC provided a written report which was accepted.
3.9) County Teams. See 3.7
3.10) Correspondence Chess:
3.10.1) Individual Event. JJ had been informed that the event had again been won by Keith McLaughlin of Leics.
3.10.2) Team Event. The event has not been revived, there being little interest.
3.11) MCCU Webmaster (vacant). SH had been the webmaster until resigning close to the year end. Most of the county results had been received electronically which had made keeping that area up to date much easier. He is happy to assist in handing over when a replacement webmaster has been found and provide copies of existing files. Report accepted.
3.12) ECF. JJ provided a written report mainly covering matters other than the Chess for Schools project, which had a separate agenda item (see item 7). It was decided that these 2 items would be dealt with together. A separate update report relating to the schools project had been provided by Chris Majer the ECF CEO, mainly covering a small distribution event the previous day. Copies of extracts from the Chess for Schools section of Holliod’ website were also circulated. DL feels that coaches are key to the project, but did not feel that this aspect had been taken on board. He has provided comments to the ECF CEO & Junior Director but has received no feedback. The position with gradings was queried. CJ explained that a meeting of the grading team had taken place recently to discuss a number of concerns. As far as he is aware new gradings will be published at the usual time. CJ still feels that changes to county team grading bands should have been delayed for 12mths to see the actual impact of the uplifts to the grades. Reports accepted.
3.13) Non-executives. AF had no specific comments relating to the MCCU. He did however mention his role as the new strategic planning officer with the ECF. He is seeking input regarding the future and urged anyone with any comments to get in touch with him. It was realised that a Presidents report had not been listed. PC was invited to comment. He had no report as such, but he thanked the CEO for her comments on his role as provider of sage advice, and liked to feel he was useful in that capacity.

4) Elections:

4.1) President: Peter Gibbs – re-elected unopposed
4.2) Meetings Chairman: Cyril Johnson – re-elected unopposed
4.3) Chief Executive: Julie Johnson – re-elected unopposed
4.4) Secretary: no nomination
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: Cyril Johnson – elected *1
4.9) Director for Public Relations: Ray Collett – re-elected unopposed
4.10) Webmaster: Ray Collett – elected *2
4.11) ECF Delegate: Julie Johnson: re-elected (Andrew Leadbetter as 1st reserve)
4.12) Non-executives (max.2): Andrew Farthing (re-elected) John Pakenham (elected) *3

*1 – SH was asked if he was willing to reconsider nomination, he indicated that he was not. CJ had expressed a willingness to fill the post if no one came forward. A query was raised as to whether CJ could take both the meeting chairman & events roles. It was pointed out that the meetings chairman is not a member of the Board, thus he would not be taking 2 Board posts. He has also been both chairman & a director in the past.
*2 – SH was also asked if he would reconsider nomination, he indicated that he would not. The webmaster is not a member of the Board so again there is no issue over RC having 2 posts, in fact it was commented that the webmaster & publicity posts fit naturally together.
*3 – Chris Gibson, who was a non-executive last year, had indicated he did not wish to stand for re-election.

5) Appointment of the Auditor

Roger Butters had indicated his willingness to continue and was duly reappointed.

6) Levy for 2009/10, Finance Director

The budget was considered as part of this item. The inclusion of a number of items for which there had been no expenditure last year was queried. AL explained that he had included various items on the basis that although nothing had arisen last year, it may do so this year. The increase shown in the Junior budget was discussed. A resurrection of the junior county team events was suggested. JJ commented that the problem appeared to be that a number of counties had no junior organiser, thus although there were in theory enough juniors on the grading list in most counties, there was no one to run teams. The Union has significant reserves in comparison to its’ expenditure. AL explained that the policy of keeping a good level of reserves dated back to the need to allow for the losses that arose in some years on the MCCU congress. SH pointed out that the more recent MCCU GMs had indicated that there was no appetite for resurrecting an MCCU congress.
There was a good deal of discussion about the levy and several proposals and amendments were made ranging from no change to a nil levy, and various rebates. The general feeling was that with the current level of expenditure being modest and reserves healthy, there was no justification for significantly increasing reserves further. Ultimately it was agreed that the levy remain unchanged, but that a rebate of £8 a point be made for the current financial year. The situation to be reviewed at the next AGM. The budget was amended to reflect the fact that 2 x £100 would be paid out in relation to the GP. The junior budget reduced to £300 & £100 insurance fee removed. The rebate on levy was also taken into account. The amended budget was accepted.

7) Chess in schools initiative

Taken with item 3.12- see above

8) MCCU County Championship Rules

8.1) JJ explained that the ECF Council meeting in April voted to change the grading limits for the various sections. The MCCU rules do not have to mirror those of the ECF, i.e. our grading sections do not have to be the same, as Unions are allowed to operate their county team events as they see fit. However, if we do not bring our grading limits in line with those of the ECF we will only be able to nominate a maximum of 2 teams for the sections with grading limits from the MCCU, to take part in the National stages. There will also be the issue of how those nominations would be decided if our sections are out of step with those for the National stages. The general view expressed at previous meetings has been that the Union rules should tie in closely with the National rules. For all of the above reasons the following proposal is made by the CEO –
That all references to U175, U150 & U125 within the MCCU county team rules be amended to U180, U160, U140 & U120.
The references to U100 are still appropriate as this is a graded section at ECF level. Effectively the U100 is a new section as it caters for players whose gradings under the old system may have excluded them from county chess. The general feeling was that the Union had little choice but to fall in line with the ECF grading bands. It was pointed out that the new U120 section is intended to be over 12 boards, thus the MCCU rules needed to reflect that, which would not be achieved by the amendment as it stood. The CEO readily accepted an amendment to that effect & the motion was carried.
8.2) Point of information – there appears to be some misunderstanding in some quarters regarding the latest FIDE rules and default times. Whilst the “standard” position in the new FIDE rules, in the absence of anything in the rules for an event, is that players absent at the scheduled start time lose by default, is it important to note the words in italics. The MCCU rules already specify a default time of 1hr. No change has been proposed to this.

9) MCCU Grand Prix & MCCU Nominations for the British Championship

These 2 areas are closely linked.
9.1) The 2008 AGM asked the Board to consider options for the awarding British Championship nominations in the Union’s gift to congresses. A paper was produced setting out the options and recommendations to the meeting. JJ outlined some of the main points contained within the paper and discussion then ensued. SH explained that only 3 congresses had approached him seeking MCCU nominations, so there was not a problem for next season, they were Bolton, Warwickshire & Nottingham. It was agreed that these events would receive the places for 2009/10. RR did not feel that the nominations had any significant impact on entries. Various options were discussed, but ultimately the meeting decided that rather than following through the idea of choosing a particular option from the paper presented, it would be left to the Board to advertise places giving indications of factors that would be taken into account in deciding allocations. The precise factors were also left to the Board, but the general feeling was that only events run by MCCU affiliated counties/clubs, & taking place in the MCCU counties should be considered. It was also felt that only events with open sections could apply, and new events should prove themselves before becoming eligible. In addition the meeting felt that only events operating with ECF arbiters should be considered.
9.2) The 2007 AGM gave the Events Director freedom to formulate rules for the Grand Prix. A copy of extracts from the MCCU web pages relating to the Grand Prix rules was provided. These were the only existing rules for the event. In order to address a range of issues about which the current rules are silent, a new set of rules was put to the meeting for approval.
JJ highlighted the issue of ties for the British Championship nomination that had arisen this year, although it had been settled because only 1 player wished to take up the opportunity, there was no guarantee that this would be the case in future. The draft rules provided for an option of £100 prize going to the winner or to the British Championship nominee, the prize was originally agreed as a bursary for the British and the meeting wanted it to remain that way. There was therefore a potential issue of a tie for the bursary for the British. After some discussion it was agreed that those on equal scores for the British Championship place, and if no additional places were available from the ECF, those who wished to be considered for nomination should be invited to play-off for that place. If any ties for the bursary arise it was suggested that all would receive a £100 bursary. AL expressed some concerns about potential multiple pay-outs, but given the current reserves this was not felt to be an issue. It was agreed that if there is a tie on equal scores all participants in the British will receive a £100 bursary. It was pointed out that the grading season runs to 31st May not 30th April – rule B1 amended accordingly.
The meeting felt that scores from all GP events should count, rather than a defined number of best scores & that it should be scores rather than percentages. Those entering more events would effectively gain credit for doing so, and those entering 6 round events, as opposed to 5 rounds, would potentially benefit. The new rules were agreed with to amendments to reflect the above.
9.3) A further matter arises out of the GP rules on the website. The provisions for the £100 prize 2007/8 & 2008/9 are at variance. However, the provisions set out in 2008/9 were actually applied in 2007/8. The Board view was that as the matter has come to light recently it should be discussed by the AGM & a decision made on what action if any should be taken.
SH clarified matters by explaining that the web page relating to 2007/8 was not what had originally been published at the start of that event. He had made an error in the wording when putting together the page after the event finished. The meeting accepted his assurance that the wording at the start of both years had been to the effect that the £100 was a bursary for the British and thus there was no real issue.

10) Any other business

Trophies were mentioned with a suggestion that an individual trophy, to be retained by the winner, be awarded for the Grand Prix. It was reported that all of the junior trophies were missing and this had been the case for some time. GH indicated that these had been with Neil Graham/Len Morrell (past CEO & Junior Director) the last he had heard of them. JJ reported that she had received a number of items from Neil several years after he ceased to be CEO, but no junior trophies were included. Enquires would be made of Neil. That said the general feeling was that trophies that could be kept by the winners were more appreciated than those that had to be handed back. A proposal was made & carried that the Finance Director be responsible for maintaining a photographic record of MCCU trophies and their holders, on the basis that these are Union assets.

11) Date/place of next meeting

JJ explained that, having discovered that the original date a week earlier was Fathers Day the meeting date had been changed. She also reported on the difficulties that had been experienced securing a venue for the meeting, Sundays now seemed to be a difficult day, with a number of potential venues either closed or requiring higher charges to cover caretaker time “out of hours”. However, it was agreed that the Bowling Green has proved a very good venue, in a good location. The designation of Sundays for GMs was thought to be related to Saturdays being a county match day. However, as the AGM is effectively held “out of season” there appeared to be no reason why it should not be held on a Saturday. Public transport is used by several delegates and is easier on Saturdays, so long as major towns/cities are not used as venues those travelling by car would not be significantly inconvenienced. It was agreed that the 2010 AGM be held on Saturday June 26th in Syston. It was suggested that if an interim GM is requested/required during the county season, this would be best scheduled on a Sunday.

The meeting closed at 17.30pm