Bristol & District Chess League Forum

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Author:  Ben_Edgell [ Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:15 pm ]
Post subject:  ECF

Just thought I'd introduce myself to anyone who isn't already aware that I'm the Bristol League's ECF Rep. I'll try to check this forum and reply regularly if people want to post any questions r.e. the ECF here. Also, my email address etc is on the Bristol Chess site as well. I try to send out an email any time there's ECF news of particular relevance to the Bristol League. If you haven't received any emails to date from me and would like to be included on the mailing list for ECF news send me an email.

The main issue effecting the Bristol League at the moment is the ECF's decision to move to a Membership Scheme. For anyone not familiar with the key points I wrote a summary a while back:

and the document the ECF sent out in full is here:

Per season:
Bronze membership (club, league, and county games eligible for grading) £12 full, £8 concessions.
Silver membership (as bronze, but also games played in congresses eligible for grading) £18 full, £12 concessions.
Gold membership (as silver, but also inclusive of FIDE rated games) £27 full, £22 concessions.

is a basic summary.

At the ECF AGM a few months back I was instructed by the LMC (League Management Committee) to vote against the membership scheme. In the event the motions in favour of the membership scheme passed by a large majority, and now the membership scheme will be in place come next season. It merely remains for the exact fees to be charged to be confirmed at a Finance Council meeting early next year. I would be a surprised if it differed much from the fees listed above.

The Bristol League now has to choose whether to adopt the Membership Scheme or not, and this will be voted on at the League AGM in the summer.

The points in favour of the membership scheme:

1. It allows everyone to have a nationally- recognised grade.

2. For the more active players, and also anyone who is already an ECF member in order to play FIDE- rated games, there could be quite a cost saving.

3. People may find it just as easy/ easier to pay one fee at the start of the season, especially if its encorporated into the club fees they pay anyway.

4. The congresses may well have to enforce the membership scheme whether or not the League chooses to adopt the membership scheme, in order to remain attractive to anyone from outside Bristol.

5. Ungraded/ new players will be allowed to play 3 graded games free of charge.

The points against a membership scheme:

1. Dave Tipper does all of the grading calculations anyway (excellent work), so it's perfectly feasible to establish a local grading system where league and congress games played in Bristol are the only ones counted, but at a substantially reduced cost.

2. Anyone who doesn't become an ECF member will have to pay a game- fee at a much higher rate then previously. The document states "£2 per game if less then 85% of chess players become ECF members, £1 per game if more then 85% become ECF members". I would say almost certainly that it would end up being £2 per game.

3. After a "bedding down period" to allow for the transition to the Membership Scheme (estimated to be 2 years) everyone would be required to be an ECF Member.

4. Anyone who is a member of a different Federation would either have to become an ECF member as well, or be charged £6 per congress on top of the entry fee, and £1.50 per game for FIDE- rated games.

5. Its difficult to state what the ECF provides to the average club player in return for a membership fee. Beyond the grade each year, its difficult to answer.

6. The ECF Finance Director revealed there was a £10,000 shortfall in the game fee collected last year (i.e. £10,000 that should've been collected wasn't). It doesn't inspire much confidence in the ECF's ability to collect membership fees next year.

Author:  PaulHatchett [ Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: ECF

This appears to me to be a pretty important decision for the league and the effects of either choice need to be carefully considered. It is not clear to me how the new scheme is going to work and I understand more detail will be published by the ECF. Leaving that aside, and my own personal views if I can, it may be useful to try to understand the implications of the two options. I am sure there are more than what I have listed below but I have been trying to give this some thought:

Go along with the scheme:

The cost of chess for new members will be increased and this may put off those people who are not sure if the game is for them. You have three free games but that is a small concession. Also chess will cost more for those who only play a handful of games. I have not done the maths but it will affect the occassional player.

On the plus side it will be cheaper for those who play a lot of games potentially. Overall the cost of chess must rise because the ECF are using this method to raise money. If they don't raise enough then the cost of membership will undoubtedly be more in the future.

I cannot see how the scheme can work without considerable work by league officials, club secretaries and congress organisers. There will be a need to check who are members and who are not. This will be problematic if you have late entries to tournaments or players who join teams at the last minute. Also it may be difficult to collect the varying different charges. What happens if you play in more than one league. For instance, Ben used to play in the Somerset League as well (may still do!)

Do not participate in the scheme:

Is this effectively leaving the ECF? It appears to be the case. The league voted against the scheme but the democratic process went the other way. If the league are now to ignore the will of the majority then is that undemocratic? I am not sure how democratic the ECF voting system actually is anyway so perhaps this is irrelevant.

On the plus side chess will get cheaper for all as presumably the league will not be paying either direct membership or the current game fee. However, players will not get ECF grades and if we put in a local version we need someone to be willing to prepare these grades locally. On the long term this may cost money if we assume that the current generous work done by the current grader is not immortalised!

Players who want to be internationals or represent England at junior level presumably can become direct members of the ECF. However, I am not sure whether they will still be selected or eligible. Also, presumably a significant number of the games played against Bristol non-ECF members will not be graded by the ECF. Will this affect the chances of our junior players? Finally the cost of membership for these elite players, if I may call them, will rise if whole swathes of people do not join. If the league does not go along with the arrangement then that will be the case.

Presumably the NCL teams may be effected but I am not sure how this works as have never sacrificed my weekends. Also, if players are not registered with the ECF can they get FIDE grades? (Can we all become stateless like Korchnoy when he first defected?)

Finally, and this may be a minor point, I am not sure how attractive the new arrangement will be to anybody registered with the WCU. By the benefit of location, the league may have players who come across the border to take part in our league. In our club we have at least four WCU members and two of those live in Wales. They currently pay the game fee but asking them to join the ECF may be unpopular. We may lose a few members if that is the case. (I know of one definite withdrawal if the new scheme goes ahead! However, I promised to leave my prejudices out of the text.)

I think it would be hugely beneficial if we could obtain the views of a lot of players in the league and not just those who make the laudable effort to go to the AGM. This forum would appear to be an excellent vehicle for a discussion.

Author:  Matein8 [ Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: ECF

Thanks for a well-written and informative post Paul :)

Author:  John Curtis [ Fri Jan 06, 2012 3:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: ECF

I've no time for a detailed post now, but I'll state my position.

The membership scheme is coming, like it or not. I don't believe that burying our heads in the sand and not joining is a sustainable position. Some people will be a bit better off financially, and some a bit worse off. The costs are low in any case, e.g. silver membership (league + congress games) works out at 35p per week. The only downside is that extra work may be required by the league officials - if someone could quantify this I'd be grateful. It may be that we'll need more volunteers, and I for one would be willing to help where I can.

In a nutshell: We should join the scheme. We should work out in advance how best to make it work in Bristol.

Author:  Mike Richardt [ Fri Jan 06, 2012 5:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: ECF

The discussion about the new membership proposal is quite interesting and a difficult one for the south west of England. If you are lucky enough to live and/or play in Bristol or any other big city with a lot of chess available I think the new scheme is actually a good deal.

A huge discussion about the scheme was/is in the English chess forum:

When you look at the leagues in Somerset the scheme doesn’t make any sense at all. At the Taunton AGM in August we were discussing the matter. The main problem for teams in Somerset (Bristol league teams excluded) is that most players are quite inactive. Most players play their 5-10 games for their team and they are otherwise quite happy to just have a nice game at a club night.
Suddenly they have to pay extra (£5 membership for their club plus suddenly at least £12 extra). They just don’t want it.

For me as a relatively active player the scheme makes sense and I would actually save some money I guess. The one thing that I am not sure of: I am already a member of the German federation and therefore able to play FIDE-rated tournaments anyway. Do I still have to pay the Gold membership or is the Silver one sufficient enough. In all fairness I think £9 doesn’t really make any difference in the end.

I do agree with John Curtis: The scheme will come and league have to figure out how to deal with it. :?:
Paul pointed out two other main problems which the ECF haven't addressed yet. But saying that the scheme is only a proposal and still needs some twicking!!!

Also does that mean that tournament organisers will change less entrance fee to tournaments as their game fees for grading are already covert by the players?

Just to put the money side in relation to the German membership fee: I have to pay 55 Euros to my German club despite the fact I only play about 2-3 games a year for them. When you calculate that that means I pay about £17 per game!!!!!! So I am actually not complaining about the money I have to pay in England. :lol:

Author:  Rob Thompson [ Fri Jan 06, 2012 8:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: ECF

It may also interest people to note that I am one (out of 2) of the representatives for current standard members of the ECF, so I am also happy to take suggestions/questions and answer them to the best of my ability. One thing I will note is that players who already play in the 4NCL will be unaffected as they are already ECF members. ECF membership has been a requirement to play Fide-rated chess for a few years now.

Author:  Peter Kirby [ Sat Jan 07, 2012 12:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: ECF

Rob Thompson wrote:
It may also interest people to note that I am one (out of 2) of the representatives for current standard members of the ECF, so I am also happy to take suggestions/questions and answer them to the best of my ability. One thing I will note is that players who already play in the 4NCL will be unaffected as they are already ECF members. ECF membership has been a requirement to play Fide-rated chess for a few years now.

It is only a requirement for english players to be members of the ECF in 4NCL, players who are affiliated to other federations don't need to be, but they do need to be a member of their own federation.

This really seems to be an area where the proposals aren't well thought through.

Author:  IM Jack Rudd [ Sat Jan 07, 2012 2:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: ECF

Peter Kirby wrote:
It is only a requirement for english players to be members of the ECF in 4NCL, players who are affiliated to other federations don't need to be, but they do need to be a member of their own federation.

Actually, they don't. There are many federations of which one cannot be a member; the country in question simply has no individual membership scheme. (Russia is arguably the most prominent such country.)

Author:  philp burnett [ Sat Jan 07, 2012 5:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: ECF

I don't completely understand it, but if I wanted to play in the league and congresses (and be graded) I would have to pay £18 and presumably plus the league fee/club subs? I am struggling to play in league games this season (have only played two) and although I try to make congresses I cannot always guarantee being free - meaning I could pay £18 per year and only play 4 league games and may not be able to play in a congress.

I am worried that this new scheme could see a further decline in players/members in the Bristol chess league and the cost could dissuade new players from joining? However, I don't fully understand it - I have a basic understanding of the different memberships.

Author:  Ben_Edgell [ Sat Jan 07, 2012 6:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: ECF

Hi Phillip.

For the "bedding in period" i.e the time it would take to fully integrate the membership scheme (estimated by the ECF to be 2 years, but not set in stone) you would have 2 options:

You could choose to become an ECF member which would cost you £12 if you only intend to play league matches, or £18 if you wished to play in congresses as well.

The alternative would be to pay a game fee at a significantly higher rate (most likely £2 per game), and pay a set fee of £6 on top of the entry fee for each congress you wish to enter.

At the end of the bedding in period you would be required to become an ECF member, at which point only the first of the 2 options above would be applicable.

Most likely relatively inactive players such as yourself would end up paying more, but a small amount more. Whether or not this would result in the problems for the Bristol League you mention in your second paragraph, and if so to what extent, is for you to decide.

On the other hand membership would be advantageous for more active players, who would probably end up saving money through the scheme.

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