Minutes of the 2007 AGM of the Mid-Sussex Chess League held at Lewes Constitutional Club

Those present were: Julie Denning (Horsham), Mark Broom (Lewes), Doug Stevenson (Eastbourne), Don Grant (Crowborough), Paul Kington (The Args/Horsham), M Tanner (Eastbourne), John Herbert (Eastbourne), Mick Reddie (Eastbourne), Simon Wrigley (Lewes), Joe Sharp (Hastings), Martyn Shorrocks (Hastings), John Driver (Hastings), Ron Nicholas (Knoll Knights), David Langridge (St. Francis Hospital), Martin Costley (Lewes), Peter Bayliss (Crowborough), Graham Salmon (Crowborough), Jim Graham (Crawley), Bill Penfold (Hastings), Bernard Cafferty (Hastings), Geoffrey James (Brighton), Sue Carter (Uckfield), Brian Denman (Brighton), Mark Attree (East Grinstead), Richard Mercer (Haywards Heath), Norman Hawkins (Haywards Heath), John Cannon (Horsham), Ian Comley (Horsham), Robert Elliston (Crowborough), Jonathan Tuck (Crowborough), Barry Maufe (Lewes), Roger Waddingham (Horsham).

1 Opening remarks and apologies for absence

The Chairman, Mark Broom, welcomed everyone to the meeting. Apologies for absence were received from Richard Almond (Hastings) and David Fryer (East Grinstead).

2 Minutes of 2006 AGM

There was a single correction, namely that trophy winner David Curtis had been mistakenly called Don Curtis. The minutes of the 2006 AGM were otherwise agreed as being a true record of the meeting.

3 Secretary’s report and matters arising

In the absence of a League Secretary, this was given by the Chairman.

The main issue is that there is still no League Secretary. This has been the case for the whole of the season and cannot go on. Mark commented that in the past resigning officers have been replaced as if ”by magic”; but that this was in fact Paul Watson doing a lot of persuasion behind the scenes, which is clearly not going to happen this time. The league needs somebody to step forward. Mark raised the possibility of calling an EGM with a view to winding up the league if no one volunteers.

A lot of already busy people stepped forward at the last moment last year to do jobs that they had not expected to do. Mark has effectively been acting Secretary during the year. He thanked;

Doug Stevenson the Treasurer for organising the AGM;

David Fryer for producing the fixtures and running the website, the fixtures working well despite a few necessary rearrangments;

Julie Denning for taking over these two important functions from David.

The fixtures have over the last few years tended to bunch after Christmas. More are arranged there initially, and then postponed fixtures move later to add to the imbalance. Mark argued for more fixtures to be scheduled before Christmas. He stated that he believes that there are too many restrictive rules on fixtures, and recommend that the new Fixtures Secretary try to simplify the procedure as much as she can.

There was one major issue this year, regarding the eligibility of players. The officers had to make rulings on players’ eligibility this year, and did so following what they believed was the logical interpretation of the rules as they stand. Questions have been raised, and Mark said that he would not discuss it further as there was a motion suggesting a change to the rules for eligibility of players later in the meeting. He urged that whatever feelings about the issue suitable congratulations should be offered to all this year’s winners.

He concluded on the positive note that no teams folded during the course of the season and all matches were played. The league continues to have a healthy number of teams, with 38 competing.

4 Treasurer’s report and matters arising

The Treasurer presented the meeting with the accounts, which showed a small surplus for the year. The accounts were unanimously accepted. Doug proposed that club fees remain the same for next year, and this was also unanimously accepted.

5 Match Recorder’s report and matters arising

The Match Recorder reported on another exciting season, with several close finishes at both the top and bottom of the different divisions. Particularly close was the finish to Division 2, where Horsham 2 finished level on points with Crawley 1, but came top by half a game point.

6 Presentation of trophies

Trophies were presented to the winners, who were as follows:

Winning teams:

Division 1: Haywards Heath I

Division 2: Horsham II

Division 3: Knoll Knights

Division 4: Haywards Heath III

Knockout Cup: Crowborough

Best individual match averages:

Overall: Brian Denman

Division 1: Brian Denman

Division 2: Jim Graham

Division 3: David Hall

Division 4: Thomas Fitzgerald


7 Election of officers

Chairman: Doug Stevenson

The current Chairman stood down because of work commitments. Mark was thanked for his work by the meeting. The Treasurer agreed to stand and was elected.

Secretary: Vacant

Unfortunately nobody put their name forward (see above).

Fixtures Secretary: Julie Denning

Julie was elected to the post after having taken it over during the course of the season.

Treasurer: Doug Stevenson

Doug was happy to continue, despite now also taking on the role of Chairman.

Match Recorder: Don Grant

Don was happy to continue.

Webmaster: Julie Denning

Julie was again elected after taking over during the season.

Auditor: John Herbert

John was happy to continue.

8 County Secretary’s report

There was no official report. Bernard Cafferty commented that sadly the county had an unsuccessful season, with no teams qualifying for the later stages of the national competition for the first time in many years.

9 Adjudication secretary’s report and matters arising

Robert Elliston reported that 12 positions were sent in, with only 2 unanimous decisions. There were 2 appeals, but sufficient analysis was not provided, so these were rejected.

10 Champions versus the Rest

This fixture has not happened for the last two years because of the difficulty of raising a ”Rest” team. It is the Secretary’s role to nominate the team. If anyone wants to organise a team to play the Champions they should contact the Secretary. Traditionally teams are chosen to roughly match the strength of the Champions team likely to play.

11 Any Other Business

Jonathan Tuck asked the league to congratulate two Sussex players achieving titles this year, which we were very happy to do. These are

David Howell, who is now a Grandmaster.

Thomas Rendle, who is now an International Master.

Rule Changes

There were two proposals for changes to the rules, both proposed by Hastings & St.Leonards.

A) Eligibility to play for a team is based upon meeting at least TWO of the following criteria, which point to being a bona fide club member:

1) Payment of a current season annual subscription to the club;

2) Having one’s main residence within the County of Sussex (=E Sx & W Sx);

3) Having one’s main residence within 12 miles outside of the Sussex county boundary;

4) Having played at least one full season in an internal club competition in the previous few years i.e. played, and completed the full schedule;

5) Having played at least 40 % of matches for the club in two previous MSL seasons in the previous five years;

6) Birth in Sussex.

It is envisaged that, before a newcomer to a club is permitted to play in the league, the relevant club shall furnish proof to the Tournament Controller of eligibility in accordance with the above criteria. The onus of proving eligibility lies with the club, not the league.

There was a wide ranging discussion about who could be classed as a bona fide club player, the history of the league and why this rule was introduced in the first place. The major points were, essentially:

In favour of the motion - to prevent teams bussing in strong outsiders to win the league

and against the motion - the point is to play chess and it is good to play against strong players.

These were raised in the context of what happened this year with the addition of two new strong players at Haywards Heath I, with the ”bona fide” status of one in particular being questioned. Passionate arguments were made by representatives of both Haywards Heath and Hastings chess clubs. It was deemed important to make clear the intention of the rules, whatever the result of the motion.

An amendment was proposed to reduce the motion to part (i) being the single criteria for bona fide. This was defeated by 14-9.

A second amendment to change the wording of part 2) to

2) Having one’s main residence or place of work/education within the County of Sussex (=E Sx & W Sx)

and part 3) to include 20 miles instead of 12 miles

was proposed, and heavily carried.

The choice ended up between the status quo (now clearly interpreted in the terms that the officers did, as players needing to be bona fide members of a club, according to the rules of the club) and the motion as amended. The amended motion was passed by 19-6.

B) Hastings & St. Leonards Chess Club invites the league to reconsider any previous decisions on home venues - and having regard to rules 1.1 and 2.3 - invites the league to rule that Hastings & St. Leonards chess club is a home venue.

This was in the form of a ”request” rather than a motion.

Hastings argued that they have now been in the league for many years, and that travelling has improved a lot since the restriction on the venue was introduced as a condition of Hasting joining the league, so that the time had come for Hastings CC to be allowed to be a home venue.

It was argued against this proposal that there was still a substantial distance to travel to get to Hastings from many clubs. Also it was mentioned that as currently put, in the form of a request, it was not clear to people prior to the meeting that this would be an enforced change.

The ”request” was defeated by 14-11.

Hastings were encouraged to propose a specific change to the rules for next year.