Counties Chess

2012 Annual Meeting

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Page published 18 June 2012

CEO REPORT 2011/12

Julie D Johnson


Last years AGM asked the MCCU to look to increase activity. This has proven difficult. An attempted team rapidplay was simply not supported by enough entries to make it worthwhile. The chess calendar has become increasingly full, so trying to find dates to run other events has been a major stumbling block. I have had a few approaches from individuals either seeking to run events under the MCCU name, or obtaining funding for events. However, none of these actually got out of the starting blocks because having made an initial approach, those concerned failed to come back with detailed, properly costed proposals when invited to do so. I do have some concerns about the principal of considering approaches from individuals (apart from MCCU officers in their official capacity). I would like some feedback on whether delegates feel any such approaches should in the first instances have the support of a county. I do not feel that any approaches from an individual who would not qualify to represent an MCCU county team should be entertained, even if they relate to something in the MCCU area.

The 2011 AGM asked us to come back with proposals with a view to filling the gap left by the Hereford Congress. There is no separate paper on this because the view of the events director and myself is that developments mean this is no longer needed. A congress in the MCCU has already been organised to fill that void. We do not feel it is appropriate or advisable for the MCCU to run a congress in direct competition to another event in our area. We did look at whether an event close to the previous Hereford dates might work. However, between late August & late Sept this year there are 4 weekend congresses in the MCCU, along with the major congress at Paignton and the Steve Boniface memorial congress at Bristol. These all look likely to remain annual events run at the same time. We feel another congress would be overkill. It would have a greater risk of running at a significant loss, and could also compromise the other events, 3 of which are run by constituent members of the MCCU. If delegates would like us to consider any other options in response to my report, please do so.

You will be aware from earlier emails that there are issues regarding the revisions ECF county team rules. The amendments may or may not have been signed off prior to our AGM. Even if the have been, to have these available less than a week before our meeting is not acceptable. I have made my thoughts on this clear to the ECF CEO. It is fortunate that, on the face of it, amendments will not be so fundamental as to make our MCCU rules significantly out of step with the ECF rules even if they remain unchanged. I have drawn attention to a couple of matters relating to the ECF rules in the County Controllers report, where I do not feel we should replicate the proposed ECF changes, if they have been adopted, but would like to reinforce one aspect within this report.

I feel it is unclear what effect the ECF membership scheme will have on chess overall, or in the Midlands in particular. I know that despite the scheme being endorsed by ECF Council, there are those with reservations, and those who are unhappy with the principle of individual membership or some elements of the scheme. I would however ask everyone to accept that we are where we are. Given that the decision has been made, I feel the most appropriate course is for the MCCU to encourage players to join the membership scheme. However, I am quite strongly of the view that limiting our county team events to members only would have a detrimental impact. A number of teams, particularly in the lower graded sections, have new and inexperienced players turning out for their county. I feel we should be encouraging players and teams to play county chess, limiting participation to members would discourage this. It would risk us having fewer teams in our events and more defaulted boards. I would therefore urge you to consider this when discussing the relevant agenda item and deciding on which way to go. Whatever the impact of changes at ECF level, our county team tournament is something we must try to protect, it is the event that involves the greatest number of MCCU players, the event where we are most visible to grass roots players.