Counties Chess

Unconfirmed Minutes of
2011 Annual General Meeting

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Page published8 November 2011

MCCU AGM, 25 June 2011, 2.00pm

At The Bowling Green, Friary Road, Lichfield, Staffs, WS13 6QJ

1) Apologies:

Peter Gibbs & Richard Thompson


Julie Johnson (JJ) & Cyril Johnson (CJ) (Leics), Mick Norris (MN) (Manchester), Peter Sherlock (PS) (Lincs), Drag Sudar (DS), Robert Richmond (RR) & David Levens (DN) (Notts), John Pakenham (JP) (Warks),  David Anderton (DA), Andrew Leadbetter (AL), Andrew Davies (AD) & Matthew Corr (MC) (Staffs), Simon Gilmore (SG) (Derbys), Ray Collett (RC), Andrew Farthing (AF) & Alex Holowczak (AH)  (Worcs), Roger Browne (RB) & Glyn Pugh (GP) (Shropshire), & Alan Leary (Hereford)

2) Minutes of the MCCU AGM 2010

2.1) Accuracy

JJ explained that following circulation of the draft minutes last year there had been some question regarding what had been agreed concerning digital clocks. There had been no consensus amongst the delegates on the matter. Therefore she proposed that a note to this effect be added to the minutes. This was agreed & the minutes passed with this amendment.

2.2) Matters Arising

It was noted that David Levens joined the Board as Junior Director following the search requested by the meeting.
Other matters arising from last year were scheduled as separate items on the agenda.
The meeting asked that its congratulations to the CEO on her ECF Presidents Award for Services to Chess be noted. CJ also informed the meeting that JJ was to be formally presented with this at the County Finals the following Saturday.

3) Reports:

3.1) President

Unfortunately Peter was unable to attend the meeting due to illness but had sent his best wishes and indicated his willingness to stand for re-election.

3.2) Chairman

The chairman had nothing to report.

3.3) Chief Executive

A written report had been circulated before the meeting. JJ added that she that a much of her report flagged up areas that invited discussion & input, a number of which appeared later on the agenda. She was keen that delegates go away and consult their counties and feed back their thoughts.

The CEO was thanked for her report which was accepted.

3.4) Secretary (vacant)

3.5) Finance Director

AL presented an signed copy of the audited accounts.

He explained that little had passed through the accounts. Some amendments to county team fees for last season would be required next season as a result of defaults and team changes. These would be dealt with as adjustments to the charges for the coming season.

He had not invoiced Northants for levy last season as he was unsure of their situation. JJ confirmed that although Northants had not sent a delegate to the AGM in recent years they had not formally withdrawn from the MCCU & as far as she was aware had not expressed any intention of doing so. She had received no feedback from them in response to AGM notification or county team invites.

The meeting requested that the CEO attempt to make contact with Northants 7 clarify their position.

The Finance report was accepted.

3.6) Director for Junior Chess

DL had provided a written report for circulation before the meeting. He emphasized the importance of Junior Chess. He is keen to assist other counties in setting up coaching systems.

RC asked if funds currently set aside for Junior chess could be used for this purpose. CJ suggested that some proposals from DL to the Board on this matter would be welcome. DL indicated that he would be willing to do so but needs people to come forward and act as links to their counties.

RC proposed that use of Junior funds for coaching be encouraged, this was agreed.

DL was asked what funds counties currently provide for junior chess. He explained that this varies greatly. His own county pays him a fee for his work, but he stressed that he was quite happy to assist other counties on an expenses only basis. He stressed that his experience is that you do not need to be a highly rated player to coach chess & that teaching staff who do not play chess are willing to get involved if pointed in the right direction.

Notts already have syllabus in place developed by DL aimed at producing accredited chess coaches. CJ proposed that DL be empowered to take this forward.

Some discussion ensued on the merits and desirability of the MCCU creating its' own scheme as opposed to using an ECF scheme. It was explained that the current ECF scheme provided no training, merely accreditation on the basis of known performance. Attempts to get the ECF to set up a training scheme for coaching had not been progressed despite past requests and proposals. DL had receive no response to his own more recent approaches.

AF in his capacity as ECF CEO indicated that he would not view an MCCU scheme in a negative light & he would be happy to assist in liaison between DL & the ECF coaching manager.

The meeting agreed that DL should be encouraged to take matters forward & he was invited by MN to become involved with Manchester in this respect.

There was some discussion about junior events, CJ indicated that he had a venue available for 24th September for an event The meeting felt that this may be too early in the school year & it may clash with an NYCA event. JJ pointed out that there was no method of establishing a full calendar of dates & there was a real issue in finding free slots in the calendar. It was suggested that in order to set any dates for next season wide consultation was needed.

Report accepted.

3.7) Grading Director

A report had been circulated. PS highlighted the reduction in number of county games, caused by complete match “defaults” and a variety of boards in matches that were played. This is of some concern.

MN asked PS for his views on the move to an additional  mid-season grading list. He indicated that this would create addition work for him & he was not convinced of the benefits, although he could see the usefulness in relation to ungraded players.

AL felt that summer leagues & congresses would benefit & had been keen for this move to go forward. AF explained that the move had happened, not because a few were keen. The ECF was in fact unusual across the world in not having more frequent grading lists.

Report accepted.

3.8) Events Director

A written report had been provided for circulation.

CJ added that provision of equipment had been mentioned to him as a stumbling block to people running congresses, along with suitable venues. He was quite happy to help with venues.

Report accepted.

3.9) Public Relations Director,

A written report had been circulated.

RC added that he was aware that there had been issues with county team tables last season, these will be addressed for the coming season.

CJ commented that he feels the MCCU site looks good in comparison to other Union sites. This was echoed by others.

Report accepted.

3.10) County Teams

A written report had been circulated.

JJ highlighted her concerns about the level of conceded matches and defaulted boards. She feared that this along with loss and potential loss of captains would lead to a reduction in teams next season. She had drawn attention to the possibility of another Union making proposals to change the current bandings so that counties were alerted. Also because she wished to get feedback on the views on Midlands counties to inform whether the MCCU supported any proposals made.

AF indicated that analysis had shown that although the current grading bands were a 20 point span, compared to the old 25 point bands, the number of players in each band was broadly the same. This was because of the effects of the grading revisions.

MN noted that he was aware of some ECF consultation on this subject. He also added that the neutral venue rule change made last season had worked well.

RC felt that any reduction in the number of players in a team would have an adverse effect financially, particularly on smaller counties who rely on board fees to fund venue hire.

PS highlighted the issue of travelling costs & felt that east/west zoning would help. JJ pointed out that the last AGM had agreed that zoning could be used even where there were less than 8 teams, provided a majority of the teams agreed. However, the proposal had been made in 1 section but had not found agreement.

RC wondered if north/south zoning might be possible. JJ indicated that the rules could easily be amended to accommodate this.

Report accepted.

3.11) Correspondence Chess:

3.11.1) Individual Event

JJ reported that she had been unable to ascertain the situation with the 2010/11 event, She was aware that numbers had been affected by the fact that some players did not wish to play using snail mail, whilst at least 1 player did not wish to play by email.

AF indicated that the ECF had also found this to be an issue with their correspondence events.

3.11.2) Team Event (vacant)

JJ reminded the meeting that there had been no real support for a team event over the last few years.

3.12) MCCU Webmaster

Already covered as part of the Publicity report.

3.13) ECF

AL had not provided a written report as he felt that everyone was already aware of what had gone on at ECF meetings from the ECF website. However a number of delegates felt that a delegates view was important. AL verbally highlighted that finances had dominated, with the loss of the government grant needing to be addressed.

SG asked how AL had voted on the membership issue. He could not recall whether he had used the MCCU vote, he had been in possession of a number of votes for various bodies.

AF was asked to add his comments. He referred to the possible reorganisation of the ECF into separate parts in essence splitting amateur activity from professional. This would allow the amateur side to qualify for charitable status. Work was under-way on a code of ethics to regulate the behaviour of players, an area where the ECF currently had little clout.

CJ mentioned the code of conduct for disabled players, which he was concerned he could no longer find on the ECF website. AF will look into this.

Note – AF has in fact located this code on the website.

3.14) Non-executives

Neither non-executive had any comment to make.

4) Elections:

4.1) President – Peter Gibbs re-elected unopposed

4.2) Chairman – Cyril Johnson re-elected unopposed

4.3) Chief Executive – Julie Johnson re-elected unopposed

4.4) Secretary – no nomination made

4.5) Finance Director – Andrew Leadbetter – re-elected unopposed

4.6) Director for Junior Chess – David Levens – elected unopposed

4.7) Director for Grading – Peter Sherlock – re-elected unopposed

4.8) Director for Events – Cyril Johnson – re-elected unopposed

4.9) Director for Public Relations – Ray Collett – re-elected unopposed

4.10) Webmaster – Ray Collett – re-elected unopposed

4.11) ECF Delegate – Andrew Leadbetter – re-elected unopposed

4.12) Non-executives (max.2) –  AF expressed his concern that if he stood for re-election his election as ECF CEO might be seen as a matter of conflicting interests, the meeting did not feel this was the case. John Pakenham & Andrew Farthing re-elected unopposed

5) Appointment of the Auditor.

Roger Butters was reappointed.

6) Levy for 2011/12, Finance Director.

AL proposed that the levy remain as £10 a point. A number of delegates drew attention to the fact that reserves had been growing over recent years because expenditure had remained largely static. A wide variety of views were expressed on the merits of continuing to build up funds versus reducing the cost the counties many of whom were not exactly awash with funds.

It was agreed that the MCCU look to increase activity and thus spend more funds. In particular to come back to the next AGM with proposals for an MCCU congress to fill a gap in the calendar that will arise due to the cessation of the Hereford Congress.

A variety of proposals were made ranging from zero levy to £10. Proposals were also made to rebate the levy based on the surplus at the last year end, or going forward at the next year end, or based on last years expenditure.

A series of votes resulted in the £10 levy being passed, but with a rebate of £6 per point to be made.

7) MCCU County Championship

Documents were circulated covering various proposals from Worcestershire, some alternative proposals from the Events Director and information concerning the use of incremental time controls for digital clocks requested by the last AGM.

The proposals regarding rule 6 were agreed without discussion following comment from JJ that there were no current ECF quick-play rules, so reference to them was outdated.

Rule 11b) had been the subject of considerable discussion at the last AGM, following discussion a proposal to move to next business was agreed.

It was explained that there have been instances where the BCF/ECF have decided not to adopt an aspect of FIDE laws, this is why rule 17 specifically mentions the ECF. The proposal to omit this reference was lost.

Guidelines for team captains -

It transpired that a number of delegates had not seen the document setting out the proposals from Worcs and the alternative proposals from the Events Director.

Whilst there was considerable discussion, with a wide variety of views expressed, the meeting voted to remit these proposals to the next meeting to allow those delegates who had not seen the proposals prior to the meeting to study them.

Incremental time controls -

Whilst the ECF Chief Arbiter had made recommendations on this, it was pointed out that there were diverse opinions amongst arbiters on this subject.

Following discussion it was agreed that the existing time controls would remain the default position, but that captains would be free to agree any variation.

The following is added to rule 6 -

If captains wish to agree different time controls, to include the use of digital clocks, with incremental time controls as an option, they may do so.

8) Constitution

The decisions under item 7 made these proposals redundant.

9)  Levy Review

A separate report was circulated on this.

Following discussion the meeting voted not to take the review any further at this time. 

10) Other events related matters

Discussion on junior events arose under the Junior Directors report,  under the Events Directors report and as part of the levy discussions.

11) Any other business   

The paper on ECF funding proposals circulated by AF was discussed.

Much of the content of the proposals was welcomed by delegates. However, as the report only became available a couple of days before the meeting, delegates have not had the chance to consult their counties. JJ requested delegates to go away an discuss the proposals and submit feedback in order to inform the direction of the MCCU vote at the ECF AGM.

12) Date/place of next meeting        

It was agreed that the 2012 AGM be held at Syston on 23rd June.