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The Big Issue for S&DCA: Grading and League Management in a post-chessnuts world?

From the president:

"...I really want each club to be discussing the issues at club level and hopefully to have a representative to out forward the club's issues or opinions."

13/10/2017:"I posted my initial thoughts after the AGM. This has been on the Association website, and I sent a separate copy to every club. I hope therefore that each club has circulated its members, posted on club website, or at least started a discussion.

The playing season has just started but I am heartened by players approaching me with their views and opinions.
I did indicate that I would set up a working party to examine issues. To that end I have asked Geoff Brown of Darnall and Handsworth to chair any meetings on our behalf.
We believe that a starting point would be an initial meeting, one member per club. We would hope that club representatives would bring the views of their members and listen to those of other clubs. After that a small working committee be set up to move forward and examine the options, consequences.
Looking at the calendar it is clear the the November Richardson Cup week is fairly free. Only one game Nomads 1 v Ecclesall 1 on Tuesday 14th. Provisionally I am suggesting a meeting at Nomads on that night. It is a home match for Nomads and I would expect Ecclesall to bring a reserve and supporters.
This will be a one topic meeting in 5 weeks time and I hope for as much representation across the Association.
Geoff (Brown) or I would welcome apologies with comments if some clubs are unable to attend."

Earlier: "I would like to thank everybody who attended the AGM.... The main issue of the evening concerned the future of the YCA Chessnuts grading and results system run by Jon Griffiths. Jon is I believe 74 and has stated on the Chessnuts site that he will step down at the end of the 2017/2018 season. This has always been a free service and we all have relied on it to get up to date grades. Naturally we have used them in settling team board orders.
There is a national scheme run by the ECF but this comes at a cost. For an organiser to submit results of a league event for ECF grading, all participants playing 4 or more games must be ECF members. The lowest level of ECF membership costs £16. The ECF will fine the organisers for each non-member included who has played 4 or more games. That fine is currently only £16, though the ECF Board wanted it to be £25.
There has always been some form of opposition from the YCA to the BCF (now ECF) going back many years at least 40. Distrust of the entire BCF(ECF) set up, sucking money out of the poorer counties etc was the main complaint. More recently there was the Game Fee scheme which was much of the same. We joined and the left some 25 years ago. The same arguments, cost and how it was passed on to individual members resurfaced. From 2005 we have had this Chessnuts set up which has served us well but around us virtually all Counties have joined the ECF scheme and in Yorkshire many of the other city associations have joined.
We have to now decide our way forward and as we often say “the clock is ticking”
I believe that a couple of people are looking at the Chessnuts system to see if they can, or will, take it on.
Some members are happy to join the ECF, some are already individual Bronze members for playing in Saturday Chess or congresses.
Then there is then the divide between richer and poorer clubs, richer and poorer players.
This probably demonstrates how much we take for granted. South Yorkshire is not a wealthy area and we are an aging membership. We should look at our individual clubs to see how many are unwaged/retired as a percentage of our memberships.
I am hoping to set up a small group to look at all the options, and to consult with the wider membership as soon as I can. I realise the most clubs only sent 1 or 2 representatives to the AGM so I would be grateful if clubs could start internal discussions.
There is more to say, the mechanics of submitting data to the ECF, the finance arrangements. I am afraid that these are only the headlines.

Geoff Frost

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