Archive: Minutes of 2002/3 AGM

Minutes of the AGM of the Mid-Sussex Chess League held in the Function Room of the Royal Oak Hotel, Lewes on Tuesday 20th May 2003


Those present were:

D Badham (Brighton)
D S Blott (Haywards Heath)
A Briggs (Woodpushers)
M Broom (Chairman and Lewes)
C Brown (Hassocks)
M Bryant (Hastings)
B Cafferty (Hastings)
L J Cannon (Horsham)
M Card (Args)
D Collard (Args)
I Comley (Horsham)
M Costley (Lewes)
D Curtis (Haywards Heath)
S P Deere (Crowborough)
D Ford (Lewes)
S Fraser (East Grinstead)
M Garson (Args)
D P Grant (K.O. Controller and Crowborough)
E Hamlyn (Eastbourne)
J G Herbert (Eastbourne)
D Hirsch (Crawley)
G James (Brighton)
R J Johnson (Secretary and Hassocks)
P Kington (Args)
D J Langridge (St Francis Hospital)
B Maufe (Lewes)
R A Mercer (Haywards Heath)
R Moorhouse (Horsham)
R W Nicholas (Knoll Knights)
M J Reddie (Eastbourne)
M Redman (Crowborough)
D L Roberts (Match Recorder and Lewes)
G P Salmon (Crowborough)
P R Selby (The Holt)
D Stevenson (Treasurer and Eastbourne)
J Tuck (Crowborough)
R Waddingham (Horsham)
P Watson (The Holt)

1. Secretary's Opening Remarks and Apologies for Absence

The secretary, Richard Johnson, welcomed everyone to meeting. Apologies for absence had been received from David Bennett (Brighton).

2. Vote for new Chairman

The secretary announced that Oliver Andrew had stood down as chairman in view of his expected absence from the country during May for the foreseeable future, and invited nominations for a successor. Mark Broom was nominated by David Roberts. There being no other candidates, Mark took on the role immediately.

3. Minutes of 2002 AGM

The minutes of the 2002 AGM were agreed as being a true record of that meeting. There were no matters arising.

4. Secretary's Report and Matters Arising

The secretary reported that the season had commenced with the traditional Champions (The Holt) versus The Rest match, played at Dorothy Stringer School on 18 September, which resulted in a 3½–2½ win for The Rest.

The fixture-making process had gone fairly smoothly this year, apart from a couple of typing errors and scheduling the Holt second team to travel to Lewes on 5 November.

David Roberts and Richard Johnson had redrafted the rules to structure them better and eliminate ambiguity. These had been distributed to clubs for comment, and after the resulting feedback, minor amendments had been made, and these had also been sent out. (The amended rules were then formally accepted by the meeting.)

Defaults had been fairly low again, the only notable one being the Crowborough first team postponement of their match at Brighton. This had clearly done them no harm, as they went on to win the Championship.

Although there had been no major disputes, there had been some trouble concerning clocks. Clubs had a duty to ensure that they can cope with clock failure by having more than the absolute minimum number. The league officers would be sympathetic to a complaint raised by a team who felt that they lost out in such circumstances; victory might be awarded to an away player where a functioning clocks was unavailable.

The secretary reported that he might well have to relocate from Sussex in order to earn an income. He would thus be obliged to give up his post with the league, and a successor would need to be found. He invited any interested parties to approach him for information about the job.

There were no matters arising.

5. Treasurer's Report and Matters Arising

The treasurer, Doug Stevenson, presented the meeting with a set of accounts. In view of the increase in game fee imposed upon us from the BCF he suggested the following fees for the 2003/4 season: £21 for the first division (no change); £18 for the second and third divisions (up from £16); £17 for division 4 (up from £14).

The fee changes were accepted and the treasurer's report was agreed.

6. Match Recorder's Report and Matters Arising

The match recorder, David Roberts, reported that he had volunteered to take over the job during the summer, and that the task had been enjoyable, though it had involved some hard work.

He reported various facts and figures, a number of which indicated that division 4 was the least smooth-running department of the league, notably in terms of matches rescheduled and boards defaulted; this was not a major worry, but he suggested that some of the larger clubs might be able to do more by way of support for their team captains in the bottom division.

He made a number of appeals to match captains, namely that they should return match cards more promptly; they should give more thought to providing details of new players so that they could be graded properly; they should let the match recorder know if matches were rescheduled; and they should keep the match recorder better informed of the progress of games passing through the adjudication system.

He pointed out various problems with the adjudication process, and indicated that supervising the current system of nominations imposed a disproportionate administrative burden.

He thanked all those who had made suggestions or submitted corrections or other information for the website.

Issues arising:

John Cannon (Horsham) requested that April be allowed for rescheduled matches only.

Doug Stevenson (Eastbourne) requested that teams should be allowed to e-mail results for speed. The match recorder indicated that there was no problem with this, as long as the signed match card followed.

Mark Bryant (Hastings) suggested that the league officers consider scrapping the rule regarding ineligible players for division 4.

7. K.O. Cup Organiser's Report and Matters Arising

Don Grant reported that the KO competition had proceeded very smoothly this year, aided by the new "Roberts" method of settling the whole draw at the start of the season. Woodpushers claimed the trophy after a resounding 5½–½ victory against Hassocks in the final.

8. Results and Tables

Richard Johnson presented the League Tables, announcing the winners, teams relegated and promoted.

9. Presentation of Trophies

Mark Broom handed out the trophies to the league's divisional team winners and to the individual's with the best scores in each of the divisions. Crowborough 1 received the Mowatt Cup (division 1 champions), Lewes 2 the Gregory Cup (division 2 winners), Worthing the Division 3 Cup, and Eastbourne 3 the Division 4 Cup. Edward Hamlyn of Eastbourne won the overall Best Player Tankard with a 100% score. The tankard for division 1 was won by Peter Harbott, division 2 by Peter Farr, division 3 by David Oates, and division 4 by Edward Hamlyn.

10. Election of Officers

All the current officers were re-elected unanimously en bloc:

Match Recorder: David Roberts
Secretary: Richard Johnson
Treasurer: Doug Stevenson
Auditor: Paul Selby
KO Cup organiser: Don Grant

11. County Secretary's report

The county secretary, Paul Watson, reported that the game fee would rise from 32p to 36p in the 2003/4 season.

The county teams had enjoyed a reasonably successful year, with both the U150 team and U175 team winning their divisions. Unfortunately the U150 team went down heavily to Yorkshire in the QF of the National stage, but the U175 team had gone automatically to the semi-finals to be played in June.

Since the league does not send a representative at BCF meetings, it was agreed that it should be represented by Mark Bryant, who currently attends on behalf of Hastings.

12. Adjudication Secretary's report and matters arising

The adjudication secretary, Mike Nicholas, had sent a written report.

Nine positions from MSL games had been adjudicated in the last season. However, there had been another four games where only one player sent in a claim.

Although there were few positions, there were still discrepancies in submissions-reply envelopes not sent, wrong forms used, cheques made out incorrectly and so on.

There had been a dispute involving a failure by two teams to observe the deadline for submitting their claim. The Adjudication Secretary had had to refuse to accept a claim made out of time. The time allowed for making a claim had been extended from seven days to ten days a few years ago to eliminate this sort of problem.

It was the Adjudication Secretary's feeling that there must be a better way than maintaining this archaic system of deciding games.

Issues arising:

The league should ensure that its rules concerning the time permitted for when games are to be sent for adjudication is compatible with the those of the Sussex County Chess Association (who process such games on the league's behalf). The secretary would seek to clarify this before the start of the new season.

It was pointed out that if a captain was unable to contact his/her opposite number regarding an unfinished game, then the only available course of action is to send the position for adjudication within 10 days of the game being played.

It was felt by some that Mike was making rather a fuss over such a small number of games, but others considered that he was perfectly reasonable to complain that a high proportion of positions sent for adjudication did not follow the process.

13. Champions versus the Rest

Jonathan Tuck of Crowborough would inform the league secretary of the date for the Champions versus the Rest match at the earliest opportunity.

14. Any Other Business

14.1 Proposed rule change

Lewes proposed a new rule 7.5 to be introduced under the heading "Time Controls":

At least 3 hours must be allowed for play. The time control shall be 30 moves in 1 hour, plus all remaining moves in the remaining time available.

Martin Costley spoke in favour of the motion, arguing that this would end the problems with adjudication once and for all, and introduce the endgame to the league as an essential part of the game.

This proposal proved generally unpopular. Reasons against: 30 moves is hardly out of the opening (Geoff James); sometimes players are late as a result of travelling after work – this would erode even more time (John Cannon); "The league is a leisurely league where I can enjoy my chess – this would end that." (Doug Stevenson).

The motion was rejected by 23 votes to 7, which led Jonathan Tuck to suggest that the committee should look into a range of possibilities from other leagues to see if there might be more popular ways of reducing/ending adjudications.

14.2 Proposed rule change

Hastings proposed an amendment to rule 6.2.1 under the heading "Defaults":

Change "the team shall have half a match point deducted ..."
to "the team shall have one match point deducted ..."

Mark Bryant spoke in favour of the motion, arguing that the current penalty was insufficient. A team that knew it was going to be short of critical players for a particular match might consider it worth sacrificing half a point to rearrange the match.

This motion was carried by 19 votes to 10.

14.3 Postponement of matches

The League Secretary agreed to publish guidelines as to when matches may be postponed – this would be sent out before the start of the 2003/4 season.

14.4 Promotions

The winners of division 2 (Lewes 2) would prefer not to take promotion, so Crowborough 2 would be offered promotion. Brighton 2 offered to accept promotion should Crowborough turn it down.

This means that division 1 will be up to 10 teams next season. As a consequence only the bottom team from division 2 (Eastbourne 2) and from division 3 (Crowborough 4) would be relegated. Worthing and Crawley 1 would be promoted to division 2, with Eastbourne 3 and Crowborough 5 being promoted to division 3.

The chairman duly declared the meeting over at 9.20 p.m.