Mike Truran - Opened Upward Letter, Eight May 2008

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The next opened upward alphabetic quality was sent to me for publication yesteryear Mike Truran in addition to he has agreed that I should display it on BCMBlog. To seat you lot inward the picture, Mike was until a few days agone a non-executive manager of the English linguistic communication Chess Federation. In conjunction with a number of other directors of the federation, he decided to resign from his postal service terminal week. The background to the ECF crisis has been summarised elsewhere on the spider web in addition to I (JS) don't advise to summarise it hither (though I may tell to a greater extent than at a afterward date). Links to diverse background material: SCCU Report of the ECF Council Meeting of 26 Apr 2008 - Debate at the ECF Forum - Debate at the Atticus CC forum.

Here is Mike Truran's opened upward alphabetic quality inward full:


There is a story (apocryphal or otherwise) of how the Chinese reason forces in ane trial decided to found a armed forces garrison inward the pump of the Gobi desert. The garrison was built, provide lines were established, soldiers were dispatched, all at ruinous cost. It manifestly took approximately years for it to dawn on people that nobody, friend or foe, was peculiarly interested inward the pump of the Gobi desert. The call for of the garrison was the garrison’s ain existence.

Sometimes I’m reminded of the story when thinking almost the ECF. It’s equally if the primary work of the ECF is to heighten plenty funds to perpetuate the ECF. Certainly its work doesn’t seem to last to last to assort out the woeful province of chess inward this country. The ECF president exclusively a few days agone was manifestly heard to tell “The ECF is almost to a greater extent than than chess”. Let’s promise that’s right, because it certain equally hell isn’t peculiarly almost chess.

There has been a lot of speculation almost why 4 of us lately resigned equally ECF directors, with many fanciful theories raised on diverse forums. I speak for myself on this, although I believe that my swain directors percentage similar although non necessarily identical thoughts. I resigned because I receive got lost faith inward the powerfulness of the ECF equally it is before long structured to accept meaningful activity to assort out English linguistic communication chess – or indeed inward the powerfulness of the ECF to fifty-fifty empathize that in that location is an issue.

When I signed upward to Martin Regan’s ticket in addition to agreed to stand upward for re-election equally a non-executive manager I truly believed that in that location was at long terminal an chance to revitalise English linguistic communication chess in addition to embark on a radical programme that would restore English linguistic communication chess to its rightful seat inward the world. I at nowadays believe that the vested involvement lobbies inward Council in addition to on the Board volition all they tin flame to preclude meaningful change, in addition to that fifty-fifty if Martin in addition to his squad had been able to forcefulness through the changes needed the resulting fall-out would receive got made life intolerable.

I’m a senior draw of piece of work concern executive inward my existent life. Time is a valuable commodity for me. That said, I’m willing to give my fourth dimension for gratis when I consider goodwill in addition to a genuine intention to construct things ameliorate with my colleagues. What I’m non prepared to gain is to waste materials my fourth dimension pushing H2O uphill. Life’s besides brusk in addition to I receive got ameliorate things to do.

Have you lot ever been to an ECF Council meeting? If you lot ever larn invited, run similar hell inward the other direction. There are, I know, adept in addition to competent Council members who recognise that in that location is a job with English linguistic communication chess in addition to would similar to gain something almost it. Meeting after coming together these members’ voices are drowned out yesteryear a vociferous minority who either bang on almost arcane points of monastic tell in addition to constitutional minutiae or almost their ain detail hobbyhorses, which normally involve approximately variant of the “What does the ECF gain for me?” or “What’s the Board trying to skid yesteryear us this time?” themes – in addition to normally (which I discovery to a greater extent than soul-destroying than anything) without a scintilla of dubiousness equally to the correctness of their ain sentiment in addition to with an absolute refusal to countenance the possibility that in that location mightiness precisely maybe last valid points of catch other than their own. Most of the subjects discussed involve operational matters which should last inside the Board’s remit in addition to thus non fifty-fifty on the agenda. The atmosphere typically ranges from the unpleasant to the poisonous. No coming together passes without approximately confrontation or other betwixt Council in addition to the Board. I call upward on ane occasion overhearing ane Council fellow member maxim to approximately other fellow member “I wouldn’t trust this Board equally far equally I could throw them”. On no occasion tin flame I call upward whatever strategic give-and-take almost how Council thinks the ECF (and the Board on behalf of the ECF) should last developing in addition to improving English linguistic communication chess. The ECF discussing strategy? Don’t construct me laugh. It’s much to a greater extent than exciting to beak over whether game fee growth should last 1p or 2p.

ECF Board meetings are trivial better. The belatedly lamented John Dunleavy in ane trial said to Martin Regan “Well, Council receive got at to the lowest degree given you lot one-half a ticket”. As Martin commented recently, that wasn’t enough. In the end, it seems to me that the Board split right downwards the pump betwixt those who sought radical alter in addition to those who wanted to save the status quo. In draw of piece of work concern a divided Board never achieves its objectives. This Board was no different, in addition to I think that inward the terminate Martin in addition to his squad recognised that the drag on the reform in addition to modernisation agenda from those who looked to block noun progress at every plow was going to last insuperable. In whatever event, equally with Council, getting the Board to beak over anything other than trivia was e'er difficult. As a for instance, I call upward ane memorable occasion when nosotros spent an enthralling quarter of an hr or thus debating whether ane detail chore championship should last “…………Manager” or “Manager of…………”.

So where are nosotros now? An scheme with the turnover of a fairly large Cotswold tea store has a draw of piece of work concern computer program it has neither the resources nor the skills to deliver, seemingly living inward a fantasy reason inward which all fashion of lofty ambitions are signed upward to yr after yr with no discernible volition to provide the finance to accomplish those ambitions. Any meaningful debate almost what the ECF should last delivering equally opposed to what it really delivers is similar a shot hijacked yesteryear lobbyists complaining almost the damage of chess inward England. All Martin in addition to his squad wanted to gain was to larn the debate out on the table. We really didn’t attention whether membership was pitched at £2 or £50. What nosotros wanted to level out was a vision from Council, the elected representatives of chess organisations inward England, of what the ECF should last doing in addition to where it should last going. If Council precisely wanted the ECF to create a grading list, with no component subdivision in addition to a skeleton service (£2?), that was fine. If Council wanted the ECF to run properly funded international teams to stand upward for England, provide appropriate weather condition for our top players to play inward the British Championship, invest properly inward junior chess, receive got a properly resourced in addition to skilled component subdivision delivering proper value added services for members etc etc (£50?) that was fine too. Once the vision was agreed, the costs would follow. We couldn’t fifty-fifty larn the debate started.

Well, I’ve said my slice and, having said it, tin flame hardly last excused from the obligation to offering approximately thoughts on how matters mightiness last improved. So hither goes, for what it’s worth…………

• The ECF needs to tear upward its acquaint construction in addition to get-go again. Council inward its acquaint flat is unworkable, in addition to the Board is emasculated yesteryear the require to mention whatever meaningful decisions to Council. To my heed the acquaint Council construction should last replaced yesteryear a little number of shareholders, duly elected yesteryear their constituents – inward outcome the shareholders who hire or burn downwards the directors. As a starter for 10 suggestion, these members could, for example, last representatives of the regional unions and/or the major leagues, with the unions/leagues taking responsibleness for the democratic processes whereby these members were elected. I call upward writing to Gerry Walsh earlier the BCF morphed into the ECF suggesting that the alter of legal status was a golden chance to larn the construction correspond for work for the 21st century. True to form, goose egg happened.

• The ECF needs to allow its Board to larn on with things, equally would last the instance inward the existent world. The Board, equally Council’s appointees, needs to last able to laid the overall strategy for the ECF in addition to and thus to laid almost delivering it. If Council isn’t happy it should larn rid of its directors in addition to appoint novel ones, non seek to instant guess them at every turn.

• The ECF should operate out what it is for in addition to what it should last doing yesteryear means of nitty-gritty activities in addition to value added services. Once that is decided, the chess playing world should fund that flat of activity in addition to service on a non-subsided, break-even basis. Whether that is done yesteryear means of membership fees or game fees isn’t the issue. The number is what the chess playing world wants in addition to what it is willing to pay for. Nobody is going to sponsor the ECF inward electrical flow circumstances, fifty-fifty if the ECF had a construct worth investing in, or indeed whatever assort of compelling proposition with which to convince potential sponsors. We can’t aspect whatever of this to last funded yesteryear sponsorship nether electrical flow circumstances, in addition to if nosotros think it volition last nosotros delude ourselves. Anyway, sponsorship should last used to fund the “icing on the cake” over in addition to inward a higher house properly funded in addition to resourced twenty-four hr menstruum to twenty-four hr menstruum activity. Chess players are going to receive got to last prepared to stump upward themselves for what they want. If they are exclusively prepared to pay for a skeleton service that perpetuates the downward spiral of chess inward England, thus last it. If they desire to pay the coin needed to re-energise chess inward England, that’s fine too. What they shouldn’t gain is pretend that they tin flame larn something for nothing. What they should gain is receive got the debate almost what they really desire in addition to what they are really prepared to pay.

• Finally, the ECF needs to larn approximately competent people onto the Board – in addition to that I fright includes replacing approximately of the acquaint incumbents. Whether you lot conduct hold or disagree with the views of Martin in addition to his team, it would last pretty hard to fence (based on what they receive got delivered inward the existent world) that they were non competent to gain the job. With their loss I fright the ECF has missed approximately other golden opportunity. Nobody is irreplaceable, but I suspect the ECF volition receive got to operate quite hard fifty-fifty to discovery people of the calibre of Martin, Peter in addition to Claire, allow solitary persuade them to deed equally ECF directors. The ECF’s reputation is precisely besides low.

It distresses me to consider how English linguistic communication chess has declined over the terminal couplet of decades. I don’t know whether to express mirth or proper name when I compare chess inward England with the buoyant situation inward countries similar Germany, France, Turkey…………I could larn on. I suppose nosotros could hold off for the one-time guard on the Board in addition to inward Council to conk off earlier nosotros endeavour to seat things right. I suspect that yesteryear the fourth dimension that happens chess volition last completely moribund inward this country.

We really gain require to get-go over. But I’m non belongings my breath.

Postscript:

The other twenty-four hr menstruum I was leafing through “Chess Monthly” for 1991 (!) in addition to came across the next (concerning, I believe, something called the Edwards Report which had been commissioned yesteryear the in addition to thus British Chess Federation to “review all aspects of chess activity in addition to scheme inward the UK, taking into draw of piece of work concern human relationship the diverse interests of all levels in addition to groups of players, both amateur in addition to professional, together with organisers in addition to sponsors”). I quote:

“The commission was unanimous inward agreeing that the BCF is designed for a construction of British chess that is largely superseded. It recognised that the cumbersome construction with an unwieldy Council in addition to Management Board was ill-equipped to grip the growth inward professional person chess of the world’s number 2 chess nation. Difficulties inward recent years inward finding in addition to keeping sponsors receive got resulted from the lack of professional person commercial management.

The major recommendations of the study are:
1. To appoint a competent, professional, full-time General Secretary.
2. To get-go a National League.
3. To reform the administration construction of the BCF to simplify the scheme in addition to improve communication to members.”

Progress to date:

1. Not achieved.
2. Achieved, but non yesteryear the BCF.
3. What gain you lot think?

Seventeen years on we’re yet waiting. I had almost forgotten until “Chess Monthly” reminded me that nosotros used to last number 2 field inward the world. Does anybody inward the ECF attention whatever more?

Let me goal with a quote from David Norwood, in addition to thus the BCF’s Publicity Director, also from 1991:

“The BCF……is precisely the amount of its parts: individuals, clubs in addition to counties. If what is commonly termed the ‘grass roots’ in addition to thus continually demands: ‘What does the BCF gain for me?’, equally if expecting immediate benefits from above, in that location is something intrinsically wrong. The BCF tin flame exclusively last what its members construct it.”
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Sumber http://johnchess.blogspot.com/
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