Stockport and District Chess League

Minutes of the 2011 Annual General Meeting held at 7.30 pm on Wednesday May 11th 2011 at the Ladybrook Hotel, Fir Road, Bramhall

1 Attendance and apologies
Present were: P. Cattermole (Treasurer), K. Lockett (Fixtures Secretary), S. Murray (Vice-President), A. Reeve (Website Manager), D. Taylor (Secretary), M.Tunstall (Grading Officer), A. Walker (Handbook Secretary), R. Warhurst (President), I. Vaughan (Auditor), J. Barlow (Marple), I. Bates (Holmes Chapel), A. Beresford (Chorlton), D. Cook (Denton), T. Cowling (Marple), A. Doust (Marple), A. Flynn (Wilmslow), S. Hewitt (Marple), K. Hodgson (Bramhall), D. and S. Holt (Denton), D. Hughes (Altrincham), D. Kierman (Chorlton), P. Ramsey (East Cheshire), J. Reyes (Urmston), V. Rushworth (Stockport), D. Risley (Macclesfield), D. Sheppard (Stockport), A. Soames (Macclesfield), D. Toole (Denton), John Turner (Holmes Chapel). Apologies for absence were received from C. Pinel (High Peak) and T. Plunkett (Urmston).

2 Minutes of the 2010 AGM were accepted by the meeting and signed by the President.

3 Matters arising
The President reported that Dennis Owen had for personal reasons been unable to fill the position of joint Website Manager and Fixtures Secretary, and that Andy Reeve (Stockport) and Karl Lockett (Altrincham) had been appointed at the Fixtures Meeting to fill these positions, now separated.

4 Officers' reports
4.1 President Robin Warhurst said that the first year of his presidency had been relatively uneventful, and thanked his fellow officers warmly for their efficiency which had ensured the League had been well run for the past twelve months.

4.2 Secretary David Taylor said that his year as Secretary had also been uneventful, and particularly congratulated Karl Lockett (Fixtures Secretary) and Andy Reeve (Website Manager) for the efficient way they had taken up their posts. He expressed concern that the League was devoting so much time to modifying its rules, and recommended that a small panel would be more effective at achieving any necessary changes than large groups such as the AGM. He also reminded clubs that the Disputes Panel existed for the resolution of disputes which could not be immediately resolved by amicable agreement. He also asked each club secretary who wished to nominate a junior member for the Eric Harrison Memorial Trophy to restrict themselves to one nomination from their club, and to bear in mind the criteria set out in Rule 42 when doing so.

4.3 Fixtures Secretary Karl Lockett reported that the separation of the Fixtures Secretary’s role from that of the Website Manager had operated well, and been a necessary split. As Fixtures Secretary he checks all match results sent to him and would make enquiries if grading or registration anomalies emerged before sending the results to the Website Manager for posting. He thanked all captains who had sent results promptly. He also thanked those who had registered new players correctly during the season. However, some captains were very slow to send results, and this made his task much harder.

The season had seen fewer match defaults (2) and board defaults (19; 1 in Div 1, 6 in Div 2, and 12 in Div 3) than in previous seasons. He recommended that out of courtesy, captains who were aware that a default would occur should notify the opposing captain in advance. There were a number of instances where unregistered players or incorrect team order based on grades had occurred contrary to Rule 25B. In the majority of cases the match result was unaffected, and the opposing team captain did not ask for any action to be taken. However, in a couple of instances the opposing captain made an official complaint, and in two cases a penalty under Rule 25B was imposed. One of these involved an unregistered player, the other an incorrect board order. However, he was satisfied that no team had attempted to mislead or take unfair advantage of their opponents. He asked all captains to check registration and board order prior to the match starting, and to raise any issues that emerged with the opposing captain at that stage. He suggested that this should be included in the list of captains’ duties contained in the League Handbook. He also asked that captains or club secretaries should regularly check that their club’s registration list on the league website is up to date, and promptly inform him or the Grading Officer of any new players or amendments in grades.

All games in the three divisions had been completed prior to the AGM, with the exception of a match between Marple A and Holmes Chapel in Division 1, cancelled one month prior to the end of the season, which is to be played later this month. There is one adjourned game between Stockport Reds and Denton yet to be played to a finish. The Charnley Cup Final at which Stockport Blues would take on Holmes Chapel, had also not yet been played. He proposed that the rules relating to postponements and adjournments should be tightened, and would bring proposals to the Fixtures Meeting, including a recommendation that the final week of the season should be kept clear for postponed matches.

Finally he reported that Holmes Chapel had won Division 1, Macclesfield A Division 2, and Wilmslow B Division 3. The Vic Knox trophy (best individual performance) had been won by Philip Armstrong (Ashton) with almost 91% (10 points from 11 games), although Alex Longson (Marple) and Dave Risley (Macclesfield) had turned in excellent performances too with 6 points from 7 games.

4.4 Website Manager Andy Reeve reported that he had inherited an excellent website which had served the League well in the past season. He had made some alterations to the site architecture which had improved its ease of use, and there were some new features, including games of interest played in league matches, for which he asked for more submissions and expressions of interest. Publication of results now takes less time and is less prone to errors. Further enhancements are limited by the 100mb server, but this provider does have the advantage of being free of charges.

He defined the Webmaster’s role as mainly publication of information owned by other officers. For example, Mike Tunstall owns the Players’ Registration list and the Fixtures Secretary the Fixtures and Results tables. He did not wish himself to be responsible for publicity, or information relating to congresses or other local events. He recommended that the League decide who is responsible for that type of information, which could then be included and regularly updated. He also noted that the website of Stockport Chess Club was still part of the League’s website, and advised that he would be asking Stockport club to create an independent website. Changes to league rules should ideally be made before the Fixtures meeting, since they may take time to upload.

4.5 Handbook Secretary Andrew Walker reported that the Handbook had been printed and circulated at a cost of around 85 p / copy. It was suggested during discussion that in future the Handbook should contain a list of results for the previous season. Further discussion was postponed until item 5.

4.6 Grading Officer Mike Tunstall reported that there had been some player registration problems, because the way changes were compiled in batches led to slow updating, and that this would be avoided next season. Because the ECF-registered player-name is inflexible, he would be giving each player a unique identifier next season, so that game results can appear in any name format (e.g., just player surname and initial instead of full name). The submission of dates of birth (dob) for new players to be registered with the ECF had continued to be a problem (22 dob provided for 45 registrations), but this was less than in previous years. He warned that there will be a major change in grading next season, because the ECF were to issue their grading lists twice a year and the League would therefore have to decide how to use the list issued by the ECF in mid-season: this would also affect the calculation of Current Performance which might become obselete.

4.7 Treasurer Phil Cattermole presented accounts for 2010-11, which had now been audited. There was an excess of expenditure over income of £281.74, largely because ECF registration fees had increased by around £350 and we had re-introduced the League Handbook at a cost of around £235. All clubs had paid their fees promptly: due to increased membership there has been an increase in income from £909.50 (previous year) to £1056. Expenditure had been £1,337.84 (previous year: £657.82), of which £991.68 was for ECF game fees. Current assets were £866.42 (previous year: £1,148.16). The accounts were accepted by the meeting.

5 Team Fees, ECF Funding and future of the League Handbook

The Treasurer recommended that team fees should remain unchanged at £48 (£45 if paid before Oct 31st 2011), even though the ECF grading fee would increase from 54p to 58p per player per match.

Item 9 in the Agenda (Handbook) was brought forward and then discussed. Andrew Walker outlined three options, and after discussion it was decided (voting: 18 to 5) to base the print run on (a) a free copy for each League Officer (8), (b) a free copy for each club secretary (13) and each team captain (23), and (c) pre-ordered copies offered to all players at £1 per copy. Order forms would be provided by the Handbook Secretary and circulated at the Fixtures Meeting, and payment would be required from club secretaries for pre-ordered copies by the end of October (voting: nem con). Advertising/sponsorship was also advocated as a revenue earner to support the handbook costs.

Sean Hewitt (Marple) then outlined the problems faced by the ECF, which has lost its grant of £60K (around one third of its funding). Various options had been considered by ECF Council, and at its last meeting it voted (91 to 71) to adopt a compulsory membership scheme, likely to cost each chess player ca. £18 p.a. (with exceptions for new players and reduction to £12 for juniors). Final details were yet to be decided as to how this would be levied in 2012, but the implications were that clubs would have to pay for registered players, and the ECF would exact payment from organizations such as the League. Match fees could then be abolished, so that a player taking part in 10 games per season would pay approximately an additional £12 (£18 less 10 x ca. 60p).

The meeting then discussed the Treasurer’s proposal to keep match fees unchanged and after a vote (15 to 8) this was agreed.

6 Presentation of trophies

The awards were made as follows.

Division 1 Champions: Homes Chapel. The Cup was presented.
Division 2 Champions: Chorlton. The Cup was unavailable for presentation (ACTION: Chorlton to pass cup to Macclesfield A a.s.a.p.)
Division 3 Champions: Wilmslow B. The Cup was presented.
Charnley Cup: postponed until Fixtures Meeting.
Vic Knox Trophy: Philip Armstrong (Ashton); he scored 91% from 11 games: the Cup was not presented because no-one from Ashton was present.
Eric Harrison Trophy: Michael Fernandez (Marple A, current performance 168, 57% from 7 games, aged 11). The Cup was presented to a Marple delegate in Michael’s absence.

7 Election of officers
The following officers were elected unopposed. President: Robin WARHURST (Wilmslow) to continue in office. Vice President: Stuart MURRAY (Stockport) to continue in office. Treasurer: Phil Cattermole (Marple) to continue in office. Secretary: Sean Hewitt (Marple) was elected nem con. Fixtures Secretary Karl Lockett (Altrincham) to continue in office. Website Manager: Andy Reeve (Stockport) to continue in office. Auditor: Ian VAUGHAN (East Cheshire) to continue in office. Grading Officer: Mike TUNSTALL (Stockport) to continue in office for one year. Handbook Editor: Andrew WALKER (East Cheshire) to continue in office.

Disputes Panel: five members (two Sub-Committee Members & three Deputies, in addition to the Fixtures Secretary) were elected by the meeting: I. Bates (Holmes Chapel), A. Doust (Marple), D. Holt (Denton), D. Taylor (East Cheshire), and M. Taylor (Stockport).

8 Changes to League Rules not affecting the constitution

A proposal ( A. Reeve, D. Sheppard) to amend Rules 25 D and 25B as shown below was carried by 13 votes to 6.

The final sentence of Rule 25D is changed from “Each game played by an unregistered player shall result in the adjustment of match scores by minus 0.5 points & plus 0.5 points …”. to read: “At the discretion of the Fixtures Secretary, an unregistered player shall be treated as having defaulted the game for the purposes of the match score.

The second sentence of Rule 25B is changed to read: “An infringement of this condition (other than substitutions under Rule 16B) will, at the discretion of the Fixtures Secretary, result in the game involving the highest rated players playing out of sequence being recorded as defaulted by the offending team.”

A proposal (D Holt) to modify rule 25C to read: To register any player following the commencement of the season the fixtures secretary must have the registration for a full 7 days prior to the player being eligible to play for the team” was discussed, along with several additional amendments to the rule involving late registrations. However, a final decision on the procedure to be adopted when registering a new player during the season was postponed until the Fixtures Meeting.

Changes to Rules 17A, 17B and 39 (T Cowling, P. Ramsey) (defeated, see below)

It was proposed that Rules 17A and 17B be modified to read as follows:

17A Rate of Play (quickplay finish)

The rate of play shall be 36 moves in the first 75 minutes, and at this time control (i.e. after Black's 36th move) the clocks shall be set back 15 minutes. Each player shall make all his remaining moves before the next time control. The player whose flag falls first shall lose unless his opponent has insufficient material remaining to mate, in which case the game shall be drawn.

Therefore this sentence has been deleted ( If a quickplay finish was played in the first match that season between the same teams there must be a quickplay finish in the second match.)

17B Rate of Play (not a quickplay finish)
If both captains so agree prior to play starting, then the rate of play may be amended to at least 36 moves in the first 75 minutes, at least 52 moves in the first 105 minutes, at least 68 moves in the first 135 minutes, and so on. The clocks shall be set back at each time control, i.e. after black's 36th, 52nd, 68th moves, etc. Such games are to be played to a finish, through adjournments if necessary.

Therefore this rule change makes quickplay finish the normal rate of play, and matches with adjournments will be unusual and only occur if both captains agree.

As a consequence of this change, Rule 39 would need tp be modified as follows:

(i) Adjournments are not allowed; the rate of play shall be as described in Rule 17A

(ii) remove

(iii) renumber as (ii)

An amendments to the above (D. Holt, J. Turner) proposed instead that adjournments should be scrapped and Manchester League time controls be adopted: this amendment was defeated (6:15).

After discussion, a vote was taken on the proposed changes to rules 17A, 17B and 39, but this was defeated by 10 votes to 13.

A proposal to change Rule 22 (A. Soames, D. Risley) so that all teams would consist of 5 players was defeated (3:20).

9. Future of the Handbook: this matter was discussed earlier (see above)

10 Any Other Business.

D Kierman (Chorlton) informed the meeting that Les Moore, a Chorlton player, had died recently. The President expressed the sympathetic feelings of the meeting.

A. Soames (Macclesfield) agreed to take on the role of League archivist, and asked for any suitable records of the League and its clubs to be forwarded to him for safe-keeping.

S. Hewitt (Marple) had agreed to act as liaison contact between the League and the ECF, because he was currently a member of the ECF Council.

S. Holt (Denton) asked why Denton’s concerns regarding a dispute had not been referred to the Disputes Panel during the season. The President apologised if correct League procedures had not been properly followed, and promised that in future the Disputes Panel would be involved in such issues if the Fixtures Secretary, or the League President or Secretary, was contacted and considered it appropriate. A formal request of this type should be submitted as soon as possible after such an incident occurred, but no action could be taken after the end of the playing season.

The meeting closed shortly after 10.00 p.m.