Lincolnshire Chess Association

General Meeting

Minutes of General Meeting held 3pm, 13 September 2015 at Church House, Louth

Attending: Peter Sherlock, Denis Georgiou, John Grasham, Keith Noons, Francis Bowers, Nigel Birtwistle, Andrew Watson, James Irwin, Frank Robinson and Mike Colebrook.

Apologies: Mark Radley, Ben Mason, Louise Smith, Nick Stead, Mike Dew and David Carew

1. Minutes of 2014 AGM

The minutes of the 2014 AGM were circulated to attendees before the meeting and these were voted as an accurate record of the 2014 meeting.

2. Matters Arising

There were no matters arising.

3. Secretary's Report (John Grasham)

It is with great sadness that I report the deaths of both Geoff Collyer in April and Mark Crolla recently. Geoff was a stalwart of Lincolnshire Chess for over 40 years and played for four of the counties clubs. He was best known for his resourceful style of play and his many eccentricities. He was 77 years old. Mark was a stalwart of Grimsby club for many years and regularly attended the Louth Quickplay.

I also feel the need to mention the incident that happened at the Under 18 Lincolnshire County Championships. One of the players was accused of cheating by their opponent in two separate games. Peter Sherlock as arbiter was asked to adjudicate on the second of these incidents. After making his decision the father of the child who made the allegation was unhappy with the result of the game awarded by Peter and made his feelings known in a very public manner. Peter then made the decision to reverse the result of that particular game. I did not witness these incidents taking place although I was in the room at the time.

I will repeat my thoughts at the time. I feel that anyone who is willing to give up their time to run and control a tournament should be commended as a lot of preparatory work goes into it behind the scenes where nobody sees it and having to make a snap decision when something goes wrong can be very difficult. More people need to be encouraged and supported to run tournaments and I, for one, certainly don't want to lose the people who are already doing it. I feel I need to reiterate that the controller’s decision is final and binding on all players and even when the controller is wrong, he is right.

I attended the Lincolnshire Schools Chess Association meeting at Grantham in August. Louise Smith was elected as the new LSCA lead. It is nice to see this association reformed and I hope to see many successful events put on by the LSCA in the next few months.

This year’s County Championships saw a turnout of 21 players, defending champion Chris Dorrington gave a commanding performance and won all five of his games to claim the title. Ayman Hammam finished second and Denis Georgiou finished third. The Quilter Trophy was jointly won by Adam Robinson and John Grasham. Thanks go to Peter Sherlock who ran a successful tournament and Herman Kok who provided the venue.

The Alf Newman Memorial Quickplay Chess Tournament was a success again this year with 29 players taking part. Ayman Hammam took the trophy with 5 ½ / 6 with Joe Kilshaw second and Harry Russell and Nick Stead joint third. Peter Sherlock won the Under 150 grading prize but two junior players stole the show. Arya Parnian beat Pawel Golimowski, James Irwin, Tony Dixon and Mark Newstead on his way to the Under 110 prize and Kishore Murugesh beat Kieran Burt, Paul Fischer and Francis Bowers as well as drawing with Denis Georgiou on his way to the junior prize. John Grasham won the Nottingham Shield. Thanks go to Nick Louth who stepped in to run a successful tournament and please do not set off the fire alarm unless it is an emergency.

The George Renison Memorial Jamboree will be hosted by Horncastle this year. I am hoping that the changes I have made will result in a greater turnout than last year’s event and hope to see as many of you as possible at the event next Sunday.

4. League Secretary's Report (John Grasham)

There were two incidents in the Lincolnshire League I had to adjudicate on this season. The first was an incident that occurred in a match between Scunthorpe A and Grimsby 1875. This occurred when the Scunthorpe player became increasingly frustrated after the Grimsby player refused to accept his offer of a draw on several occasions when the position of the game was an almost certain draw. The caused him to lose his concentration and make a blunder that lost him the game. He was then heard to threaten to punch his opponent at the end of the match.

The other incident was a claim of a draw under the two minute rule in the first division game between Louth and Scunthorpe. This claim was upheld after referral to an arbiter. I feel that if the resolution in the second incident was used in the first than the unpleasantness would not have occurred. I pride the Lincolnshire League on being a very friendly and amiable competition and hope that no further incidents of this kind will occur in the future.

In Division 1 this season Grimsby ran away with the title with a 100% record. Division 2 North was a very tightly contested affair with seemingly a different team on top after every week. Louth Skewers blew their chance by losing at Grimsby D which left Lincoln needing a win against Louth Pins to take the title which they achieved comfortably. Division 2 South was a two horse race between Lincoln and Grantham. It came down to the second match between the two sides with the winner taking the trophy. However all four individual games were drawn leaving Grantham needing a draw against Louth to take the title. They succeeded by winning 2.5 to 1.5.

5. Treasurer's Report (Peter Sherlock)

I am pleased to report a small surplus of 28.52 which means that the balance at the bank just tips over the £1500 mark.

Again the County Championship made a surplus – this year £119 and continues to be a nice little earner. Again Lindum sponsored the event by £100 as well as providing the venue free of charge. We thank Herman Kok for this who also provides the venue free of charge for county matches.

Our county teams had some success with both the Minor and U120 teams reaching the ECF national stages which meant that the team expenses were £191.10 compared with £58.55 last year. This year we will be fielding an extra team with the U140 side returning after a few years absence.

As promised at last years AGM we paid the £100 entry fee for the U18 and U13 junior teams in the Inter-counties event held at King’s School Grantham.

The cost of trophies includes a new trophy for the Junior event to be held at next week’s Jamboree at Horncastle. It also includes the engraving of the Division 2 South trophy at a cost of £7.50 which we are hoping to recover from Grantham.

The invoice for the game fee pertaining to games played by non-ECF members eventually came through. Even so I had a good response from the clubs. Only Grantham have not paid the £8 they owe.

Given the healthy balance at the bank I see no reason to increase subscriptions at this time although we need to ensure that we do not incur unnecessary expenditure in the coming year.

6. Open Team Match Cpatain's Report (Nigel Birtwistle)

After failing to qualify for last season’s Minor Counties Competition Lincolnshire were determined to improve upon the previous season’s results. The two home matches at the excellent Lindum Atrium building in North Hykeham against Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire both resulted in hard fought but well deserved victories. A drawn match away at Derbyshire was enough to see us finish top of the Eastern Zone of the MCCU. Usually this would mean automatic qualification for the National Minor Counties Competition. However Staffordshire were the only county wishing to play in the Open stages of the National competition and had failed to finish in the top two places in the Western Zone. This meant that Staffordshire were the MCCU nominee for the open competition and the teams that had finished in the top places in the group stages were to play off for the MCCU Open Championship. There was a downside to this format as four teams were vying for only three places in the Minor Counties Competition.

Lincolnshire were paired against Greater Manchester in the Semi Final at Sheffield in late January. We were expected to be underdogs in this match but surprisingly we cruised to a 9½-6½ victory. This meant that we were through to the final and had avoided the dreaded play off for the last Minor Counties place. Our opponents in the final were Worcestershire who had recruited GM Keith Arkell to see off Leicestershire in the other Semi Final. In anticipation of Arkell appearing again I called upon GM Matthew Turner to combat the threat. Matthew was more than willing to help out despite not having played for the county in over twenty years. Unfortunately the GM clash on top board failed to materialise as Arkell was unavailable. But having a Grandmaster as our board one certainly lifted the team’s spirits and Lincolnshire eventually prevailed over a resilient Worcestershire team by a narrow 8½-7½ margin. This was an historic day for Lincolnshire Chess which saw the county win the MCCU Open Championship for the very first time. The competition has been in existence since 1898 and we may never repeat the feat again.

The MCCU Championship win proved to be the high point of the season because when Lincolnshire returned to playing county chess in May against Essex in the Quarter Finals of the Minor Counties Competition they were well beaten by a strong Essex team. Despite the disappointing end to our season I am very proud of the team. Lincolnshire does not have masses of players that they can call upon by comparison to the other county associations. So we are punching well above our weight with a small determined band of enthusiastic players. Whilst this is the case I am more than happy to continue in my role as captain if asked to do so.

Peter Sherlock complemented Nigel on his work as captain.

7. Under 120 Team Match Captain's Report (John Grasham)

Lincolnshire went into their first game of the season in confident mood having beaten Worcestershire by an 11-1 margin in their previous game. However despite leading 6-4 at one point we had to settle for a 6-6 draw. Our second match against Nottinghamshire was tough going and after losing the first seven games we lost by 9.5-2.5. We started 2-0 up against Staffordshire as they could only field 10 players. We still performed very well however winning more individual games than our opponents in a 7.5-4.5 win.

This left us knowing that a win against Warwickshire in our final game would take us through to the national stages for the first time. I assembled a strong team but we were still heavily outgraded. However valiant performances from everyone meant we emerged victorious by the narrowest of margins 6.5-5.5. All the other remaining games went in our favour and we emerged as the top seeded team from the MCCU region. Nottinghamshire who thumped us convincingly failed to qualify.

This left us a match against Kent in the national quarter finals. Despite a couple of late withdrawals I was able to name the strongest team I ever had in the competition. However Kent still outgraded us by an average of 10 points on every board. We went 3-0 down quite quickly but the spirit it the team gradually came through and we started pulling back the scoreline. At one point it looked as if the match might be decided on board count but we just came up short losing 6.5-5.5.

I would like to thank everyone who played for the team this season especially those who drove to matches. I am sure that William Orr will do as good a job next season when taking over as captain and I hope to see many of the same faces in my under 140 team next season.

Nigel Birtwistle thanked John for the effort he had put into the Under 120 team to make it competitive after a sticky start.

8. Grading Officer's Report (Peter Sherlock)

Results were forwarded for grading for Lincolnshire League, County Championship, U-18 Rapidplay events, Scunthorpe & District League, Internal club results for Barton-on-Humber, Horncastle, Lincoln, Louth, Grimsby & Scunthorpe.

Results were submitted in December and June in line with the twice yearly grading lists.

John Grasham reported that some errors were found in results on the grading database for some Lincolnshire players but these errors had now been rectified.

9. Newsletter Editor's Report (Peter Sherlock)

The county newsletter was published at the end of July after the County Championship.

10. Correspondence Secretary's Report (Peter Sherlock)

Lincolnshire again entered a team in the national correspondence chess competition organised by the ICCF (International Correspondence Chess Federation). We finished 5th out of 10 in Division 2 with 8.5 points. The breakdown of scores as following.

Harry Russell 2.0
David Coates 0.0
Russell Ludlow 0.5
Herman Kok 0.0
Ian Scott 1.5
Peter Sherlock 1.5
James Irwin 1.0
Paul Fischer 2.0
Total 8.5

The Division was won by Essex C (12 points) and Yorkshire C (11 points) but both teams declined to step up to Division 1 so promotion was offered to third place Suffolk (9.5 points) and Staffordshire who, on 8.5 points, finished ahead of Lincolnshire on the number of wins (8 to our 6). So did we miss out on promotion or did we escape a poisoned chalice. Anyway, we weren’t relegated, that privilege went to Durham and Merseyside who were replaced by Surrey B and Warwickshire C. Herefordshire and West Wales join us next season having been relegated from Division 1.

David Coates and Russell Ludlow have left the team to be replaced by Behzad Parnian and Mike Colebrook. A big thank you to them and best wishes to this season’s team – Harry Russell, Herman Kok, Ian Scott, James Irwin, Behzad Parnian, Mike Colebrook, myself and Paul Fischer.

11. ECF Delegate's Report (Peter Sherlock)

I was unable to attend either meeting in October 2014 and April 2015, both in Birmingham. Francis Bowers took my place in October and I transferred my proxy to Andrew Farthing in April so I am grateful to both for the content of this report.

At the ECF AGM in October Dominic Lawson was elected as president thus filling the vacancy left by Andrew Poulson. Traci Whitfield was elected Director of Junior Chess beating David Levens in a card vote. Phil Ehr, the Chief Executive, survived a vote of no-confidence but hopefully took note of the disquiet in the ranks that there does not seem to be the required level of transparency particularly with the lack of board meeting minutes.

The ECF membership scheme was altered in that renewals have to take place before June 30, rather than August 31, if they are to apply retrospectively to September 1. After June 30 they will be seen as payment for the forthcoming year.

In the ECF Finance Council Meeting in April the membership subscription rates were increased to the following:

Bronze Adults £15 Junior £11
Silver Adults £22 Junior £16
Gold Adults £32 Junior £26
Platinum £60

The £1 discount for online applications continues.

The Game Fee for non-members has also been increased as follows

Adults Long play £2.50 Rapidplay £1.25
Juniors Long play £0.60 Rapidplay £0.30

Unrest was again in the ranks about transparency and the lack for the last 3 years of any sort of Business Plan.

A budget of £36,000 was set aside to support teams in the 2016 Olympiad.

Traci Whitfield put forward plans to create an ECF FIDE Academy for young players.

I am happy to put my name forward as the ECF delegate as, at the moment, I shall be available for both of the forthcoming meeings in October and April.

It was reported that two ECF directors had been suspended recently but both had appealed.

12. MCCU Delegate's Report (Peter Sherlock)

John Grasham and myself attended the MCCU AGM held on June 20 in Cannock, Staffordshire. The meeting was graced by the presence of Phil Ehr, the CEO of the English Chess Federation.

Andrew Farthing was the chairman and the first item on the agenda was his report as MCCU delegate of the ECF which had been critical of the ECF board and Phil Ehr in particular for lack of transparency and no business plan. However, his report did point out that the ECF was now on a sound financial footing.

Phil accepted the criticism but said that, since the last ECF meeting in April, the board had formulated a draft Development plan including additional funding and sponsorship.

The MCCU CEO Ray Dolan reported that the MCCU Congress in March had made a loss of £860 mainly due to the poor turnout and high prize fund. It was voted that the event would be held in 2016.

John Grasham submitted his report as secretary and added that the year book entry for the MCCU had been the same as in 2013 despite the ECF acknowledging receipt of the 2014 changes.

Andrew Leadbetter submitted the accounts showing a loss mainly due to the Congress but still beld a health balance of £4,127.

I made my reports as Grading Director and Inter-counties competition controller which were accepted and I even received a round of applause for my efforts. There were 19 players who had not paid their ECF membership including 6 from Lincolnshire.

Ray Collett provided reports as Publicity Director and Webmaster and was complemented for his efforts.

In the election of officers there were a couple of changes.

Andrew Farthing had decided to stand down as both Chairman and ECF delegate. John Pakenham was elected Chairman and David Levens offered his services as ECF delegate as well as filling the role of Dirtector of Junior chess which was previously vacant. Matthew Carr took the place of John Pakenham as Non-executive Director.

Andrew Farthing was elected a life vice-president in recognition of his service.

Both John Grasham and myself were re-elected in our respective roles.

I put forward a change to the rules to accept entries to the U180 section after the Open/Minor zonal matches formalising the de facto situation whereby counties only entered the U180 section if they failed to qualify for the Open/Minor semi-final. This was accepted.

The last item on the agenda was a discussion of the proposal by Alex Holowczak to introduce direct entry to the ECF stages of the inter-counties competition with the ECF stages and the MCCU competitions running in parallel during the winter months. It was agreed by all that the proposals should be rejected as they would totally devalue the MCCU stages which would cease to be a qualifying competition.

13. Introduction to the new LSCA Lead (Louise Smith)

The recently formed (or reformed) LSCA had its inaugural meeting in August 2015 where 3 primary aims and objectives were established and adopted. To:

Currently we are planning an annual programme of events, these will include events aimed at Primary school children, County level events and a series of coaching days aimed at supporting County level players. One of the challenges for a county which such a large geographical area is the problem of arranging events and engaging players when they have to travel large distances, with this in mind we have attempted to ensure that events are available in a variety of venues across the county and have utilised several new venues to help overcome this.

Both players and committee members will wear an official polo shirt which will encourage team cohesiveness and a more professional approach, whilst the majority of players will purchase these we will support those players who have funding difficulties so that no one is excluded.

We are looking to build on the available data base already in existence of schools actively involved in chess and are working hard on engaging with other schools to promote the value of playing chess.

Engaging with parents is very important to the success of our endeavours but this needs to be carefully managed to avoid any negative influences that have previously been experienced.

We are very fortunate to have a strong committee and a very active membership and will be looking at building on this throughout the coming months.

It was clarified that the LSCA covers the whole of Lincolnshire including North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire. Peter Sherlock said the offer of funding was there from the LCA to the LSCA. John Grasham thanked Peter on behalf of the LSCA for the offer and for the Junior Jamboree Trophy which had already been purchased by the LCA for the LSCA. He also said the LSCA would apply for funding as and when needed rather than have an annual donation. John Grasham also clarified that next year’s Lincoln Junior Rapidplay would be under the auspices of the LSCA and run on a different date from the Lincolnshire County Championships so junior players could enter both events if they wished.

14. Election of officers for 2015-2016 season

President: Denis Georgiou
Vice-President: David Carew
Honorary Secretary: John Grasham
League Secretary: John Grasham
Honorary Treasurer: Peter Sherlock
Open Team Match Captain: Nigel Birtwistle
Under 140 Team Match Captain: John Grasham
Under 120 Team Match Captain: William Orr
Grading Officer: Peter Sherlock
Newsletter Editor: Peter Sherlock
Correspondence Secretary: Peter Sherlock
ECF Delegates: Peter Sherlock, Francis Bowers (reserve)
MCCU Delegates: Peter Sherlock, John Grasham (reserve)
Webmaster: David Coates
Life Members: Mike Colebrook, Robert Dale
Lincolnshire Schools Chess Association Lead: Louise Smith

15. Programme for 2015 - 2016

Jamboree Hosts Grimsby in 2016 Scunthorpe in 2017
County Championships Lincoln – July
Louth Quickplay Louth – early June
County AGM 11/9/16

16. Any Proposals

None

17. Any other business

Ian Scott has asked whether anyone would have an objection to there being a Lincolnshire Chess Association page on facebook. There was no objection from anyone at the meeting. It was said that anything to help spread the word about chess in Lincolnshire would be welcome.

Jamboree. There were 8 teams confirmed for next Sunday’s jamboree, two each from Horncastle, Grimsby and Lincoln and one each from Louth and Grantham.

Date and Time of next meeting – is Sunday preferable to Saturday? It was decided that Sunday was preferable to Saturday for the meeting. John Grasham will arrange accordingly.

18. Trophy Presentation

Denis Georgiou presented the Division 1 trophy to Mike Colebrook (Grimsby), the Division 2 North Trophy to Peter Sherlock (Lincoln) and the Division 2 South Trophy to Nigel Birtwistle (Grantham).

The meeting was closed at 4pm.