Lincolnshire Chess Association

General Meeting

Minutes of General Meeting held 2pm, 20 September 2014 at Church House, Louth

Attending: John Grasham, Denis Georgiou, Peter Sherlock, Keith Noons, David Mills, Nick Stead, Mike Colebrook, Andrew Watson, Phill Beckett, David Carew

Apologies: David Lees, Nigel Birtwistle, Ben Mason, Francis Bowers, Frank Robinson

1. Minutes of 2013 AGM

The minutes of the 2013 AGM were circulated to attendees before the meeting and these were voted as an accurate record of the 2013 meeting.

2. Matters Arising

There were no matters arising.

3. Secretary's Report (John Grasham)

This year’s County Championships saw a turnout of 20 players, last year’s champion and top seed Claudio Mangione was again the man to beat but a second round defeat to Ray Ilett left the door open for Chris Dorrington to claim the title. Ayman Hammam finished second with two Louth players finishing joint third, Keith Palmer and Amy Milson who beat her brother in the final round. The Quilter Trophy was taken by newcomer James Irwin. Thanks go to Peter Sherlock and Herman Kok who provided the venue.

Louth’s annual Alf Newman Memorial Quickplay had a healthy attendance of 32 entrants this year. Nigel Birtwistle, Ayman Hammam and John Naylor shared first prize with 5 out 6 in Sam Milson’s absence. Allan Marshall won the under 150 grading prize, Mike Dew won the under 120 grading prize and nine year old Kishore Murugesh won the junior prize. Adam Robinson won the Nottingham Shield. Luckily no-one got locked in the toilet at the event.

The George Renison Memorial Jamboree was hosted by Grimsby this year. Five teams from two different clubs attended with the trophy being won by Louth A. I am hoping to make a few changes to the event this season so participation will increase.

Message from David Lees: Stamford Chess Club

SCC is in its fourth year of existence and currently has 12 paid-up members, 4 of whom are juniors. We meet weekly on Mondays.

U18 Chess in South Kesteven

Bourne Grammar and Deeping Secondary School had chess clubs in 2013-14. Bourne sent 4 pupils to the Lincolnshire Megafinal in June with 1 qualifying for the Gigafinal in Manchester. Bourne Grammar chess club will continue in 2014-15 and I await a response from Deeping to see if their club will continue too.

U11 Chess in Stamford

Primary/Junior school chess in Stamford is still represented by Malcolm Sargent PS (MSPS) and Stamford Junior School (SJS). SJS ran a Festival of Chess individual competition in February this year with over 80 entries and is again running this event this coming November. MSPS ran a Stamford U11 Team Chess Congress in March with 12 teams from 5 schools present (80 pupils in total). This will be run for the second year in March 2015. MSPS and SCC are supporting the development of a chess club at St Gilbert’s PS in Stamford through the offer of funding and an invitation to an inter-school match. SJS and MSPS will play their annual match in October this year. MSPS sent 7 pupils to the Lincolnshire Megafinal in June, with 5 qualifying for the Gigafinal.

4. League Secretary's Report (John Grasham)

This season Division 1 was won by Grimsby ending six years of Lincoln domination. This was thanks in part to their new player Andy Dyce. I promise not to make any jokes about Grimsby winning the league on the roll of a Dyce!

Division 2 North was comfortably won by Scunthorpe B after they only dropped 1 point over the course of the season. They are celebrating their first title since 1997. Louth Juniors who regularly fielded a team of four players who were still at school finished a creditable third. Cameron Marnoch even broke my record of beating a player graded 45 points ahead of them with a win over a player graded 48 points above him.

Division 2 South was won by Louth making them the fourth different winner in four years. Our success came despite losing more individual games than we won. It is like winning the Premier League with a negative goal difference!

5. Treasurer's Report (Peter Sherlock)

I am very pleased to report that the county made a large surplus of £311.66 which added to last year’s surplus of £318.34 means the county has a healthy balance of £1,477.22 in the bank.

Again the County Championships made a surplus. This year £132, not quite the monumental proportions of last year’s £341, as the entry was slightly down, 20 compared to 26, and the only sponsor was the Lindum Group who donated £100 as well as providing the venue free of charge. Again we need to thank Herman Kok for this.

The expenses for the county teams reflected their changes in fortune. The Minor team played in the combined Open/ Minor tournament and were eliminated after winning a home match to Derbyshire which cost £13.56 and losing away to Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire which cost nothing. The U120 team played four matches and their expenses increased from £33.20 to £44.99.

The game fees shown in the accounts are for games played by non-ECF members. The county paid £226 to the ECF but was only able to recover £189 from the clubs and U120 team. The main reason for this is that Grimsby took the wording of my October letter literally and paid 25p per game for juniors instead of the £2 charged by the ECF. I have amended the letter to reflect the correct situation which is that juniors are charged 25p when they are involved in strictly junior events – which is not the case in Grimsby internal club matches. This year’s letter will be amended accordingly.

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.

Keith Noons asked if a player who had played enough matches to pay for bronze membership through his game fee but had not purchased it himself would be automatically awarded bronze membership. Peter Sherlock said no, the player in question would have had to become a bronze member by the 31st August otherwise he would be liable for the higher figure in respect of game fee.

6. Under 11 Secretary's Report (vacant)

John Grasham reported that Keith Palmer had told him that he was not the under 11 secretary and did not wish to be associated with the post.

7. Under 18 Secretary's Report (vacant)

Phill Beckett reported that there were three under 18 events held every year, that Lincolnshire did not enter a team into the ECF under 18 County Championship and that King’s School in Grantham had been chosen to hold this event in 2015.

8. Open Team Match Captain's Report (Nigel Birtwistle, read by John Grasham)

The 2013-14 season saw a change of format in the way that the county fixtures were arranged in the top section of the MCCU. The MCCU was split in to East and West Zones. Lincolnshire competed in the Eastern Zone along with Derbyshire, Leicestershire and returning old foes, Nottinghamshire. The Western Zone saw Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Greater Manchester and Worcestershire competing against one another. This Zonal system is nothing new. It is the same one that was used for many years in the MCCU before county teams were given the option of being allowed to enter the Minor Counties competition instead of the Open. Only Staffordshire had expressed an interest in playing in the Open section. This meant that in the Eastern Zone that four teams were playing for two qualifying spots in the Minor Counties Competition.

Lincolnshire’s first opponents were Nottinghamshire. I could have claimed the original fixture as Nottinghamshire failed to organise a venue in the required time frame but I sportingly agreed to a postponement and a new date. Unfortunately several players were unavailable for the new date and we tumbled to a 10-6 defeat. Our second match at home to Derbyshire saw us out grade our opponents on every board, but we made hard work of our victory, winning only by a 9-7 margin. Our final group fixture against Leicestershire saw both teams needing to win in order to progress to the knockout stages. On the day our opponents played better than we did and deservedly won by a 10-6 margin.

So for the first time under my captaincy Lincolnshire failed to qualify for the knockout stages. I have no complaints about this, as in all three matches our opponents simply played better than we did. The strength of the Eastern Zone was reflected in the fact that the two teams that qualified from it Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire met again later on in the season at the semi-final stage with Nottinghamshire emerging victorious. However, they were well beaten in the final by Suffolk. Lincolnshire did struggle a little more this season than in previous ones with regard to raising a team. I believe that the new format may have had something to do with this. The team had to play one match per month before Christmas in October, November and December. This may not seem like a big deal but it probably puts the Lincolnshire team at a slight disadvantage by comparison to the other counties because they have a larger number of players to choose from than we do. Despite this season’s disappointing campaign I am once again willing to stand again as captain if asked to do so. Hopefully we can return to winning ways next season.

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

A very tight match was in progress in our first match against Nottinghamshire as they only outgraded us by an average of four points per board. Unfortunately it did not pan out that way. Quick defeats for Haydn Godfrey whose opponent overran his defences, Paul Chaplin and Joe Hamson whose king was exposed in the middle of the board left us with a mountain to climb. David Scott got us of the mark after his opponent chose to engineer an endgame with a bishop and rook against David’s queen but he could not stop David’s passed a pawn. Things got worse when Max Vasey lost out after losing a piece in the middlegame, Paul Fischer lost in a tight endgame and Gary Scott couldn’t force a win when a rook for two pawns up and had to settle for a draw. The match was over when James Wilson was overrun in the endgame. Draws for Chris Cumbers and Mike Dew who was two pawns down added respectability to the scoreline and wins eventually came for William Orr after his opponent blundered a bishop in the endgame and Philip Gutcher who came out a piece up in an incredible double edged middlegame and then overran his opponent’s position with his queen to force mate. Lincolnshire are next in action on the 9th November against Staffordshire.

Lincolnshire were set to field another strong team in their second match of the season against Staffordshire but unfortunately two players pulled out on the day. Luckily William Orr agreed to step in with only two hours notice and Callum Foard’s father Ian, who had transported him to the match agreed to play at the last minute. The bottom two boards were over very quickly with Ian Foard winning in his first ever game of competitive chess and Cameron Marnoch losing after making a mistake in the opening and things quickly escalated. Paul Fischer put us ahead after converting an endgame in which he had an extra knight and draws for Callum Foard and Will Taylor, a defeat for David Scott after being a piece up but not being able to hold on to it and a win for Frank Robinson who was playing out a drawn game until his opponent made a critical blunder meant that we were still ahead. However it was not to last, Chris Cumbers was forced to resign after being a piece down for most of his game and Mike Dew lost after giving away his queen. Henrieke van der Knijff had to settle for a draw in her first match in England despite being two pawns up and late substitute William Orr got a draw from three passed pawns down. This left Gary Scott needing to win to save the draw but his opponent was three pawns up and all over him and in the end a quick checkmate left us with our second defeat. However a tight match leaves me with confidence going into our next game with Warwickshire on the 14th December.

After defeat for the first team last week it was up to the U120 team to ensure that Lincolnshire had participation in the knockout stages of the county championships this year but they knew only a win would do against a strong Warwickshire side. Paul Chaplin gave Lincolnshire a good start after putting a rook en prise to attack his opponent’s queen only for her to ignore it completely allowing the queen to be taken. Mike Dew had an early defeat after losing two pawns in the opening and Chris Cumbers and Paul Fischer agreed early draws in complex positions. Defeats for Callum Foard after he was a piece down in the endgame, Cameron Marnoch who couldn’t stop both his opponents passed pawns and Will Taylor who kept losing pieces until he had none left put us on the brink of defeat. However a win for Dan Denton who checkmated his opponent on his first appearance for the county and draws for James Irwin who was a pawn up and Phil Gutcher who was two pawns down left us needing to win the final two matches. Andrew Watson hung on grimly but wasn’t able to get anything left us with a defeat but William Orr again appearing as our super sub battled on for 30 minutes after all the other games had finished to claim a consolation win after a pawn sacrifice led to him trapping his opponent’s rook. Lincolnshire’s final match of the season is against Worcestershire on the 25th January.

Lincolnshire’s final game of the season was a dead rubber against Worcestershire but the team were keen to get the result that recent performances had indicated. Just before the match the Worcestershire captain informed me that they were defaulting the bottom two boards so Will Taylor and Cameron Marnoch were left without a game but we started 2-0 up. Phil Gutcher agreed a draw early on but little did he know what was about to unfold. David Scott was first to finish after his opponent carelessly left a back rank mate and wins for James Irwin and Callum Foard soon followed. Paul Fischer’s extra pawn in a rook endgame proved crucial in his win and all of a sudden the match was ours with five games still being played. However it still got better for Lincolnshire. Dan Denton won after being the exchange up in the endgame and his opponent’s knight couldn’t stop his passed pawn. Chris Cumbers was a pawn up but with no way through he agreed a draw. Gary Scott’s opponent resigned after he threatened two different checkmates which couldn’t both be defended and William Orr’s opponent resigned after he broke through on the queenside and there was no escape for the exposed king. Frank Robinson was last to finish but fought back from a pawn down to two pawns up in the endgame and slowly ground down his opponent in an 80 move plus marathon and she resigned when she couldn’t stop his remaining pawn from queening. This left Lincolnshire with an unbelievable 11-1 win but with no chance of reaching the knockout stages I hope this form can be taken into next season.

I would again like to thank everyone who played for the team this year, especially those who provided transport and look forward to captaining the team again and welcoming both new and returning players for next season.

10. Grading Officer's Report (Peter Sherlock)

Results were forwarded for grading for Lincolnshire League, County Championship, Under 18 Rapidplay Events, Scunthorpe and District League and internal club results for Barton on Humber, Horncastle, Lincoln, Louth, Grimsby and Scunthorpe.

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

11. Newsletter Editor's Report (Peter Sherlock)

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

12. Correspondence Secretary's Report (Peter Sherlock)

There were no correspondence events organised at MCCU level.

Lincolnshire entered a team of 8 into the Sinclair national Web-based event. The team being David Coates, Harry Russell, Russell Ludlow, Herman Kok, myself, Mike Dew, James Irwin and Paul Fischer.

The team amassed 8.5 points out of 16 with the breakdown as follows: David Coates (0.5), Harry Russell (1), Russell Ludlow (1), Herman Kok (1), Peter Sherlock (1), Mike Dew (0.5), James Irwin (1.5) and Paul Fischer (2).

We finished 10th out of 20 teams – a reasonable performance given that it was our first year. Many thanks to all those who took part.

With 20 teams the organisers decided that the division would be split into two for the 2014-15 season with the top 9 teams staying in the Sinclair and the rest forming effectively Division 3 which will be named the Butler-Thomas. As we finished 10th it means that we will start next season in this new division.

I have had one withdrawal. Mike Dew has stood down and will be replaced by Ian Scott of Louth.

The new team in grade order is therefore Harry Russell, David Coates, Russell Ludlow, Herman Kok, Ian Scott, Peter Sherlock, James Irwin and Paul Fischer.

13. ECF Delegate's Report (Peter Sherlock)

A comprehensive resume of the ECF meetings have been produced by Andrew Farthing, who is the ECF delegate of both Worcestershire and the MCCU.

I attended both the October and April meetings in London.

At the October AGM there were a few changes. Firstly Andrew Paulson was elected president which seemed a positive move at the time as he promised, through his many contacts, to increase the profile of English chess and to encourage more sponsorship.

Secondly, Phil Ehr the previous junior director was elected as Chief Executive and has proved to be a steady hand at the helm and since his appointment has put forward some good ideas about how to move the ECF forward.

Thirdly, David Eustace was appointed as Director of Finance and together with John Phillpott the ECF Secretary, has got a grip of the finances continuing the good work by Chris Mattos.

Since the AGM a bitter dispute occurred between President Andrew Paulson and the rest of the board. The exact reasons are unclear but it appears to centre around a conflict of interest on Andrew Paulson’s part. This culminated in February when a vote of no confidence was taken and Andrew was forced to stand down. The board decided to leave the position of President vacant in order to find a suitable candidate in time for the AGM in October.

At the April finance meeting a complete set of accounts were presented that showed the ECF had made a modest surplus of £11,000 due in part to good housekeeping and also a better than expected take up of the membership scheme.

Motions were passed to make additional funds available to the International Director to ensure that the best possible teams would be sent to the forthcoming European Championships and the Olympiad to be held at Tromso in Norway.

There was a motion by Hastings to reduce the game fee for non members from £2 to £1 which I voted for. Unfortunately this was defeated. There was also a motion from the board to increase the game fee from £2 to £2.25 which I voted against. Fortunately this was also defeated so the game fee and also the membership fees remain unchanged.

The Finance Director also put forward a budget for the coming year which forecasts a surplus of £21,000 so it looks as if the ECF has turned the corner.

The Finance Director also put forward a paper discussing the setting up of a charity to support English chess. This is different from the original proposals to split the ECF into two with the amateur part of the ECF becoming a charity. The paper now proposes that the ECF remains unchanged with an independent charity being set up.

Peter Sherlock said he was unable to attend the meeting in October with Francis Bowers representing Lincolnshire instead.

14. MCCU Delegate's Report (Peter Sherlock)

John Grasham and myself attended the MCCU AGM held in Syston in June. This year we arrived at the venue without mishap although the date of the meeting was brought forward a week and clashed with the George Renison Jamboree. John, as secretary, took the minutes and these are available on the MCCU website.

I submitted my reports as Grading Director and County Championship Controller.

As mentioned in my treasurers report the Open/ Minor events were combined which meant Lincolnshire played Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire in the East Zone losing to Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire who eventually met in the MCCU final with Nottinghamshire winning to be crowned MCCU Champions. Leicestershire again lost to Nottinghamshire in the ECF semi finals with Nottinghamshire losing to Suffolk in the final.

Both of us were re-elected in our respective rolls.

There was a proposal by Worcestershire to amend the rules regarding the use of mobile phones etc. This was rejected so the ruler remains that if your phone or electronic device goes off during your game then you lose. The meeting did pass another resolution which is captains must remind players of the rules before play starts.

15. Election of Officers for 2014 - 2015 season

President: Denis Georgiou
Vice-President: David Carew
Life Member: Mike Colebrook, Robert Dale
Honorary Secretary: John Grasham
League Secretary: John Grasham
Honorary Treasurer: Peter Sherlock
Under 11 Co-ordinator: Not filled
Under 18 Co-ordinator: Not filled
Lincolnshire Schools Chess Association Lead: David Lees
Open Team Match Captain: Nigel Birtwistle
Under 120 Team Match Captain: John Grasham
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

16. Programme for 2014 - 2015

Jamboree Hosts Horncastle - Late September
County Championships Lincoln - July
Louth Quickplay Louth – early June
County AGM 12/9/14

17. Any Proposals

To change the order of the Jamboree hosts to let Horncastle take Scunthorpe’s place in hosting the 2015 event.

Dealt with under section 16, this motion was passed unanimously, John Grasham to organize.

To appoint David Lees as overall Co-ordinator of under 18 chess in Lincolnshire.

Dealt with under section 15, this motion was passed unanimously. David Lees has told me he wishes to be known as Lincolnshire Schools Chess Association Lead.

18. Any Other Business

Dave Mills pointed out that some of the pages on the Lincolnshire Chess Association website were out of date. John Grasham suggested he contact the Webmaster, David Coates, about this via email.

19. Trophy Presentation

Denis Georgiou presented the Division 1 Trophy to Nick Stead (Grimsby) and the Division 2 South Trophy to John Grasham (Louth). John Grasham presented the Division 2 North Trophy to Denis Georgiou (Scunthorpe).

The meeting was closed at 2.55pm.