Archive: Minutes of 2003/4 AGM

Minutes of the AGM of the Mid-Sussex Chess League held in the Function Room of the Royal Oak Hotel, Lewes on Tuesday 25th May 2004


R J Almond (Hastings)
D Badham (Brighton)
P Batchelor (Brighton)
M Broom (Chairman and Lewes)
C Brown (Hassocks)
M Card (The Args)
D Collard (The Args)
R Fletcher (Horsham)
D P Grant (KO Controller and Crowborough)
N Hawkins (Haywards Heath)
P Helliwell (Horsham)
J G Herbert (Eastbourne)
R D Hirsch (Crawley)
G James (Brighton)
R J Johnson (Secretary and Hassocks)
P Kington (The Args)
D J Langridge (St Francis Hospital)
B Maufe (Lewes)
R A Mercer (Haywards Heath)
J A Povey (Hastings)
M J Reddie (Eastbourne)
M Redman (Crowborough)
D L Roberts (Match Recorder and Lewes)
G Salmon (Crowborough)
P R Selby (The Holt)
D Stevenson (Treasurer and Eastbourne)
M F Tanner (Eastbourne)
R Waddingham (Horsham)
P Watson (The Holt)

1. Opening Remarks and Apologies for Absence

The Chairman, Mark Broom, welcomed everyone to the meeting. A minute's silence was held for Derek Blott of Haywards Heath who died on 17th May.

2. Minutes of 2003 AGM

The minutes of the 2003 AGM were agreed as being a true record of that meeting. There were no matters arising.

4. Secretary's Report and Matters Arising

The season commenced with the traditional Champions (Crowborough) versus The Rest match which was played at the United Reform Church, Crowborough on 19/09/03 and resulted in a 3½–2½ win for The Rest.


The fixture-making process went very smoothly this year, and the Secretary was looking forward to another smooth process next September.

Disputes and Incidents

An interesting issue arose when it was reported that a player defaulting on board 2 was found to be playing for a different team in a different league. Given that the defaulting team won 3½–2½, their opponents argued that, had their boards 3–6 moved up a board as they should have done if they had known that their second board was going to default, then the match could very well have ended differently. However, the defaulting team claimed no knowledge of their defaulting player's whereabouts for the evening in question, and as we will always do, we take it that all clubs operate with the highest integrity unless there is clear proof to the contrary.

In a match between Crawley 1 and the Args a power-cut occurred with the games not much out of the opening phase, and, rather than replay the match, a draw was agreed. The officers' view was that this was perfectly acceptable, as it was no different to a player (or 5 players in this case) offering an early draw which is then accepted. But it is not something that we would want to encourage, as the main purpose of the MSL is to encourage the playing of the game of chess.

The Secretary had decided only to communicate directly to club secretaries or their nominated representatives, and club officials, and would then expect all club secretaries to communicate matters to their players as is appropriate. This was because he had found that if he simply communicated to everyone that he has an e-mail address for, then some people could receive messages about a given issue from multiple sources which could be very confusing. Additionally someone might not hear about important issues because everyone assumes that someone else will advise the individual: this state of affairs had led to a team from East Grinstead travelling down to Eastbourne unaware that the match had been postponed.

The Secretary was at his wits' end about the matter of 7.30 p.m. starts. It had been agreed at a previous AGM that home teams would be ready to start at 7.30, but the rule was all too frequently ignored. The rules permit the away team to enforce the starting of the clocks at 7.30 p.m., but this is extremely confrontational so it was not surprising that this was generally avoided. He had a notion for the forthcoming season to keep a record of all home teams who weren't ready to start at 7.30 p.m., and name and shame them! He would welcome any constructive ideas to overcome the problem.

The Current Incumbent

The Secretary reported that he had recently secured himself a three-year contract with Her Majesty's Treasury, and it looked as though he would be in a position to keep doing this job for at least the next two seasons.

Responses from the Meeting

The Match Recorder reminded the Secretary that the fixture-making process hadn't been entirely without incident. About three weeks after the fixtures had been distributed it was pointed out that Haywards Heath second team should have been placed in division four not three. Due to a miscommunication, it hadn't been reported to the Secretary that, in reducing their teams from three to two, Haywards Heath had wanted their second team removed, and not their third team. This resulted in having to cancel ten division 3 matches and hastily arrange nine division 4 matches.

From the floor it was requested that the Secretary reiterate to all clubs that refreshments are a mandatory part of the chess match, as clearly stated in MSCL rules.

4. Treasurer's Report and Matters Arising

The Treasurer presented the meeting with a set of accounts. In view of the significant increase in game fee imposed by the BCF, he suggested the following fees for the 2004/5 season: £26 for division 1 (up from £21); £22 for divisions 2 and 3 (up from £18); £22 for division 4 (up from £17); £5 for the Knock Out Competition (up from £3).

The fee changes were accepted and the treasurer's report was agreed. However, due to a motion subsequently being passed to reduce the number of players in the first division to 5, the fee for division 1 was amended to £22, so that all divisions would now pay the same fee. It was asked that league officers investigate the possibility of clawing back all fees paid to the BCF when they involve players who are direct members of the BCF.

5. Match Recorder's Report and Matters Arising

The Match Recorder reported that the season had run with few problems. Owing to his forthcoming marriage and move out of the area, the following season will be the last that he could undertake the two tasks of Match Recorder and Grader. He hoped that a volunteer might come forward to replace him, so that he could pass on some of the more arcane knowledge concerning grading.

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

The Organiser reported that the KO Competition had proceeded very smoothly, with Woodpushers holding onto the trophy that they won last year. He pointed that match results should be sent to him, not the Match Recorder.

7. Results and Tables

The Secretary presented the League Tables, announcing the winners.

8. Presentation of Trophies

It was a considerable disappointment to the meeting that, of the ten trophies to be presented, only four were brought in for the AGM. The Secretary handed out those trophies available to the league's divisional team winners and to the individual's with the best scores in each of the divisions. Brighton 1 received the Mowatt Cup (division 1 champions), Crawley 1 the Gregory Cup (division 2 winners), Woodpushers the Division 3 Cup, and Worthing 2 the Division 4 Cup. Robert Noyce of Crawley and Chris Jones of Worthing shared the overall Best Player Tankard with a 100% score; they also shared the division 2 trophy. The tankard for division 1 was shared by Patrick Coleman (Crowborough) and Chris Lowe (Brighton), division 3 by Julian Mitchell (Woodpushers), and division 4 by Chris Balchin (Haywards Heath).

9. Election of Officers

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

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

10. County Secretary's report

The county secretary, Paul Watson, reported that the game fee would rise from 36p to 44p in the 2004/5 season. At the BCF meeting where this decision was taken, apparently 23 out of 193 members had proposed an increase raising the fee to over 50 pence!

The county teams were enjoying a reasonably successful year, with both the Open team and U175 team reaching the semi-finals to be played in June.

11. Adjudication Secretary's report and matters arising

The adjudication secretary, Mike Nicholas, had not sent a written report, but Paul Watson informed the meeting that 11 positions had been sent in, that Mike had stepped down, and would be replaced next season by Robert Elliston.

12. Champions versus the Rest

Paul Batchelor of Brighton undertook to inform the Secretary of the date for the Champions versus the Rest match at the earliest opportunity.

13. Any Other Business

Rule changes:

The Secretary proposed a change to rule 5.1(Team size): instead of six board matches in division 1 and five board matches in all other divisions, five board matches shall be played in all divisions.

In order to quell the concerns of a previous AGM (that of some teams possibly having a majority of games played with the white pieces and of the possibility of playing the best teams at home), the Secretary proposed that for the first division the following will be observed:

1. The away team shall have white on odd numbered boards.
2. The top three teams will play one of the other top three teams at home and the other away.
3. The top five teams will play two of the other top five teams at home and the other two away.

The Secretary argued that this would give consistency between the divisions, and enable teams to take promotion to division 1 without having the concern of where to find the additional player.

Concern was expressed that knowing what colour you were going to have would allow advanced preparation against expected opponents, and therefore the Chairman proposed an amendment dropping point 1 listed above.

Before this was voted on, it was requested that there be a show of hands for the principle of reducing the first division to 5 players per team – this was 16–9 in favour.

After much debate it was decided that point 1 be ignored (15–4 against) but points 2 and 3 be included (14–3 in favour).

Key arguments in rejecting the now amended motion (as proposed by the Chairman) included that the first division is best for chess and therefore should stick to six players (Jonathan Tuck), and arguments for accepting the motion included that this would make it easier to accept promotion to the first division. (David Roberts explained that this was why Lewes 2, last year's division 2 winners, had rejected promotion.)

Amended Motion was carried 13–7.

The Secretary proposed an addition to rule 7 (Time controls): If, and only if, both players agree then instead of playing 42 in 90 minutes, they may play 35 in 75 minutes and the rest of their moves in quarter of an hour.

The Secretary argued that this would allow those didn't want to resort to adjudication a way out. The main concern of the meeting was that it could be disconcerting having a mixture of games played at a fixed rate of play and games with a quick play finish.

Motion was rejected 14–8.

The Match Recorder proposed the addition of the following sentence to rule 10.2.

"Alternatively the home captain may send an accurate transcription of the information on the match card to the Match Recorder as an e-mail message. Where e-mail is used, it is the home captain's responsibility to preserve the match card and produce it should the Match Recorder require it."

Motion was carried 19–1.

As point of rule clarification, the Match Recorder proposed that rule 4.2.2 should now read:

"4.2.2 Whether nominated or not, a player from a lower team may appear on a match score card 5 times for higher teams while retaining his eligibility to play for the lower team. Upon appearing on a match score card a 6th time for any higher team the player becomes ineligible to play for the lower team."

Motion was carried 15–5.

The chairman duly declared the meeting over at 9.40 p.m.