Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of the Sheffield & District Chess Association held on Monday 7th September 2015 at The Red Lion, 653 London Road, Sheffield S2 4HT, 7.30pm


We recalled our old friend Joe Morrison, sadly departed this year.

The President applauded Darnall & Handsworth, for thirty years completed and a grand event to mark the occasion.

We wished all the best to Bill Ward, who will, regrettably, be out for some time convalescing.

We applauded Geoff Frost’s remarkable achievement: 50 successive years in the Davy League.

Given the amount of business, we chose 10:30 as the closing time for the meeting come what may, and asked for tolerance of any ruthlessness required to achieve this.

1. Apologies for absence: Bill Ward (unwell); Brian England; Ian Hemingway (supervising the SASCA juniors).

2. Minutes of the 2014 Annual General Meeting were approved.

3. Matters arising: none.

4. Treasurer's Report: John Mercy reported that there were “no problems with finances”. A healthy surplus at the start, augmented over the year by £41. Brian Lever’s work on the website had resulted in £70-80 saved, i.e. potential small deficit becomes a surplus. There may be a small loss next year owing to a) less income from the diminished number of Saturday teams and b) the need to buy new clocks, flagged up by Jeremy Hamm.

5. Secretaries' Reports:

General Secretary: the executive had met to address some disputes and considered these closed. Otherwise, thanks for a trouble free year. Nothing more heard on the ECF – Yorkshire issue.

Yorkshire League: A team report is on website. We congratulated Jeremy on the extraordinary squeak through the middle which had snatched the League title from York and Bradford.

B team: Alan McIntosh reported an up and down contest: lost the first; series of wins had the team near safety by Christmas. Their efforts might have been crowned by success had, e.g., they not had to lend the A team players; ended up one point short, bit of a disaster but the plan is bounce back.

D Team: again, a lot of problems were caused by shortage of players; hard on those who did turn out. One brilliant result v York decided the destination of the trophy. 

E Team: just stayed up in the IM Brown, next but one. Our arrangements for next year should come up with a better experience for the faithful. Again, there was pressure to play volunteers on higher Sheffield teams.

F Team: again, struggling for players, defaulting the last match. Our thanks to those who did turn out.

We plan to enter four teams next year, revamped as A B C & D.

Divisional secretaries: Phill Beckett referred interested parties to the website for reports on Divs 1&4.

Division Two was keenly contested by Chesterfield B (eventual winners), Worksop and Nomads C.

Division 3 and 5 are on the website; 3 saw Rotherham narrowly edge out Darnall & Handsworth; Clay Cross and Barnsley finished level on points, with Barnsley giving the trophy to Clay Cross rather than contest a play off.

Summer League: all went to plan. We will buy a trophy for the winners of Division Three.

Sheffield Individual Championship: went to Chris Shephard, not for the first time. 100% score; Arjun Babu in second. Thanks to john Fryer for running this. He hands over to Geoff Brown.

Crabb & Gurnhill ended up being run by Bill Ward; reports on website, trophies with the winners. Chris Willey will try his hand at running these next term, and welcomes assistance.

Hope Valley tournament saw a very good turnout: victory to David Adams ahead of Khaled Muflehi and Jonathan Arnott 2=, Peter Shaw 4. John Fryer asked for a volunteer to do this next year, failing which he will organise it.

6. Presentation of Trophies. This proved a nightmare and the hunt for various trophies started at once. Those we had will be engraved and re-presented at the Fixture Meeting, by which time we should have all outstanding returned.

7. Election of Officers, Auditors, Archivist & Match Captains.

President: Mike Smith, for one year at the end of which he called for a candidate in good health. 

Past president; Roger Hoole. Vice Presidents: (as before) J L Coe, G Frost, B H England, S J Mann, K M Hogan, R S Hughes, A Perry, P G Swanson, P J Beckett, J A Fryer, G Barnes, S Bessell, W Ward, G D Brown, C C Williams, J Hamm, M Brumby, A Hards, A S McIntosh, P Blackman

General Secretary: Dave Latham.

Treasurer: John Mercy

Competition Controller: Geoff Brown

Website editor: Brian Lever with our thanks for his work this year.

Bulletin Secretary: Steve Mann was elected, but note that this post was removed from the Executive later in the meeting at his suggestion, the bulletin being more or less obsolete in the website era.

Archivist: Steve Mann.

University Chess Supervisor: Mark Kirkham.

Junior Chess Secretary: Ian Hemingway.

Controllers: division 1&4, Richardson & Haystead, and postal chess, Phill Beckett.

Div 2 Steve Bracey; div 3 & 5 Tony Perry.

Match Captains: Sheffield A Jeremy Hamm; Sheffield B Alan McIntosh; Sheffield C Barry Williams; Sheffield D Pete Willoughby.

8. Election of Chairman of the Executive: Andrew Hards was not present and so was unable to escape re-election.

9. Election of members to serve on the Executive: Geoff Frost, Alan Coupe, Pete Swanson, and we welcome Alan Taylor.

10. Fixing of fees and subscriptions. At treasurer John Mercy’s recommendation, no change.

11. Proposed amendments to the Constitution & Rules: see below

12. Approval of Clubs seeking membership to the league: none. We regret the departure of Phoenix and look forward to meeting some of our old friends when they join other clubs.

13. Organisation of teams into Divisions: proceeded; Mike Smith will have the final version of the five divisions within the next few days. A vote was taken to the effect that the fifth division will be three matches per club; people are welcome to play matches for double pionts by agreement between the two clubs.

14. Any Other Business: none. Meeting closed at 10 25 pm.

11 “Proposed amendments”. Several were withdrawn to enable the meeting to finish on time.

ACCEPTED: 1. Mike Smith: I propose to Change to Rule 17 (d), which currently reads:

17 (d) Any player who plays three or more matches in the top half of any team shall be automatically registered for that team.

Propose to change 'three' to 'four'. Rule to read:

(d) Any player who plays four or more matches in the top half of any team shall be automatically registered for that team.

This rule change proposal will brings rule 17(d) into line with rule 17 (c). The intention of registration is to prevent players who regularly play on the top boards from playing in a club's lower division team. I think the present threshold is too severe and entire teams (and more) are registered, which may prevent clubs from entering additional teams, and therefore break our own rules about encouraging chess.

Examples of number of players registered this last season: 

8 Woodseats A, Barnsley B (!) 7 Barnsley A, Chesterfield A, Phoenix A, Nomads D (!), University B 6 Nomads B, SASCA A, Chesterfield B, Nomads C, Stannington B, Chesterfield C, Ecclesall D, SASCA D

but I think we should make stepwise changes so that we can assess their impact and ensure no unexpected consequences. MOTION CARRIED

ACCEPTED. Note that it was further agreed that entries to the new league should be made to Pete Willoughby at or before the meeting on 21 09 15. Dave Latham offered to draw up fixtures for the league once we have the entries.

2. Pete Willoughby:

I propose that the SDCA introduce a grade restricted League from season 2015/2016. If this proposal is passed, and for use in the discussion with regard to the proposal I include some suggested rules. If the AGM accepts the proposal it is of course free to amend the rules in any way.


The aim of this competition is to provide more opportunities for lower graded players to play chess. Normal Evening League rules will apply except as follows:

a) Teams shall comprise four boards, with grades totalling a maximum of 400 with no player to be graded over 120. The minimum individual grade is 80. (Players below 80 can play, but count as 80 towards the team total). Ungraded players are counted as having a grade of 80, unless there are reasonable grounds for using a higher figure. Defaulted boards are counted as 80 towards the team total

b) The grade in use shall be the July YCA Grade published in the Yorkshire Handbook prior to the season of the competition. This shall be used throughout the season.

c) The 400 League is expected to consist of one division with each team playing two matches (home and away) with each other team.

d) If the 400 League exceeds 9 teams they shall be split into two (or more) divisions either geographically or otherwise as felt fit by the Executive (or the AGM).

e) If a division consists of less than six teams a second round of matches will be undertaken with each team playing four matches (two home and two away) with each other team.

f) A team shall consist of 4 boards.

g) Applications for election to the 400 League will normally be made at the AGM.

h) If a division comprises more than eight matches, the teams may by mutual consent agree to play one match for double points in place of home and away matches.

i) Once a player has represented a team in the 400 League s/he is ineligible to represent another team in the 400 League in the same season unless officially transferred by the Executive. A player may however represent one club in the 400 League and a different club in any other League/Competition run by SDCA.


If a team total of grades exceeds the defined limit, one point shall be deducted from the team score for each ten grading points (or part thereof) over the limit. If an ineligible player plays, his or her game is deemed to be lost and one additional point is deducted from the team score." MOTION CARRIED

ACCEPTED: 4. Steve Mann:

I would like to formally put forward, for consideration the following replacement for the Rule 13:


(a) The Association shall effect official communication normally, as detailed below, by means of one or more the following:

(i) e-mail,

(ii) the Association Website,

(iii) an external website updated by League Secretaries,

(iv) printable or printed Bulletins; and only in emergency shall a telephone be used.

(b) At the start of the season, the Association shall arrange for the publication, via the Association website, and/or in a Bulletin (or “Hand Book”), of the following:

(i) names and appropriate contact details of those elected or appointed by the Association; 

(ii) details of fees and subscriptions fixed for the ensuing season;

(iii) details of club officials, match venues &c, supplied by competing clubs.

(c) As appropriate, throughout the season, the Association shall arrange for publication, via e-mail or post, and also the Association website and/or Bulletins, of the following:

(i) pairings for the team knock-out competitions;

(ii) pairings for individual tournaments;

(iii) such other news and information as the Secretary may decide.

(d) Regularly, throughout the season, the Association shall arrange for publication via an external website, and/or the Association website, and/or periodic Bulletins, of the following:

(i) results of representative matches, detailed game by game;

(ii) results of League and of team knock-out competition matches, detailed game by game;

(iii) results of successive rounds of individual tournaments.

(e) When the requirements of 13(d) are not met by periodic Bulletins throughout the season, a single, all-embracing Bulletin (or “Year Book”) may be produced.

(f) Any Bulletin (or “Hand Book” or “Year Book”) shall be distributed free of charge to the Officers, members of Executive, the secretaries of member clubs, individual members, captains of Association teams and such other persons as the Executive may decide. MOTION CARRIED

REJECTED: (10 in favour, 11 against): 5.

Steve Mann: I’d like hereby formally to make the proposal, for consideration at the 2015 S&DCA AGM, that Rule 14(e) be changed to read as follows:

“(e) In Division One of the League a team shall consist of either eight players or six players.  At the AGM, each team in Division One must be declared by its club to be either an eight-player team or a six-player team for the ensuing season. In matches involving a six-player team the match shall be played over only six boards, otherwise the match shall be played over eight boards.” MOTION NOT CARRIED.

ACCEPTED: 6. Steve Mann: I wish to formally propose two independent changes to Rule 7, by way of a tidying-up operation.

The first proposal is to delete the word “Special” from Rule 7(a) and add the following two paragraphs between the existing 7(a) and 7(b), with the re-lettering of the present Rule 7(b) as 7(d) – to keep the ordering used in similar Rules:

(b) The Fixture Meeting shall be open to all members of the Association.

(c) Nine voting members shall form a quorum.

The reasoning is that the present Rule 7 defines the Fixture Meeting as a “Special General Meeting”, and as such is governed by Rule 6 as well as Rule 7 and Rule 9.  The Fixture Meeting in reality is not what is normally meant by “Special” General Meeting, a term normally referring to extraordinary meetings as opposed to routinely recurrent ones.  In particular, Rule 6(a) is in no way appropriate to the Fixture Meeting, Rule 6(b) precludes agenda items other than those explicitly mentioned in 7(a) (e.g. it currently disallows “Any Other Business” or business passed across by the AGM).  Rule 6(d) as applies to the Fixture Meeting is reiterated by Rule 7(b), so that angle is covered without change.  The only way in which the Fixture Meeting actual currently depends of Rule 6 is for definition of who may attend and the size of a quorum – 6(c) and 6(d), hence the paragraphs to be added to Rule 7. MOTION CARRIED

ACCEPTED: 7. Steve Mann:   The second proposal is to add to Rule 7(a) the following subparagraphs, lettered sequentially after the existing ones (which ever remain):

(--) Handle business delegated by the Annual General Meeting

(--) Take Any Other Business, covering minor items taken at the discretion of the Chair.

The reasoning is that it reflects current practice and reflects the type and level of content of Rules such at 5(b) and 8(c). MOTION CARRIED

ACCEPTED: 11. Steve Mann: I would like to formally propose three amendments to the S&DCA Constitution & Rules for consideration as the 2015 AGM in accordance with Rule 10.  These are largely for the purpose of tidying up, rather than effecting change to what is done.

Proposal 1, regarding playing League matches for double points

The proposal is to delete Rule 7(a) (iv) and to delete Rule 14(d), with consequent re-lettering of subsequent clauses within Rule 14.

The reasoning is that the provisions of the Rules to be deleted are effectively provided elsewhere by Rule 16(g). For reference, the present wording of the Rules referred to, with elements to be deleted in italics, is as follows:


(a) The Fixture Meeting shall be a Special General Meeting held in September, after the Annual General Meeting,


. . . (iv) Entertain applications for double point matches under Rule 14(d)


. . . (d) The Fixture Meeting may allow clubs to arrange one match for double points in place of home and away matches, provided that their opponents agree.


. . . (g) By mutual consent and with the approval of the Secretary the clubs concerned may arrange for one match for double points in place of home and away matches.


ACCEPTED: 12: Steve Mann: Proposal 2, regarding the composition of the Executive

Rule 8(a) currently reads:


(a) The Executive shall consist of The Chair of the Executive, the Treasurer, the General Secretary, the Divisional Secretaries, the Bulletin Secretary, the Tournament Controller and four members elected annually by the AGM.

The proposal is to add “the Webmaster” so that it reads:


(a) The Executive shall consist of the Chair of the Executive, the Treasurer, the General Secretary, the Divisional Secretaries, the Webmaster, the Bulletin Secretary, the Tournament Controller and four members elected annually by the AGM.

The reasoning is that the original inclusion of the Bulletin Secretary was to include the editor of the Association’s primary organ of communication, which is now the website. MOTION CARRIED

ACCEPTED: 13. Steve Mann: Proposal 3, regarding the composition of the Executive

The proposal is to remove from Rule 8(a) the phrase “the Bulletin Secretary”.


REJECTED (10 in favour 11 against): 14. Paul Fletcher: I’d like to make these proposals, for consideration at the 2015 S&DCA AGM:

That Rule 14 (e) be changed to read,

"14(e)In all Divisions with the exception of division 5 and below a team shall consist of 6 players" 

and that the current Rule 14(f) is deleted, Rules 14(g) and (h) to be renumbered as 14(f) and (g) respectively.


ACCEPTED: 15. Paul Fletcher: I also wish to propose also that Rule 15 (e) be changed to read,

"15(e) No club may have more than three teams in any one division other than the lowest division.


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