Minutes of the 2008 AGM of the Mid-Sussex Chess League

held at the Luxford Centre, Uckfield on Thursday 29th May 2008



Those present were:

 Dennis Collard (Argumentatives)

Andrew Caswill, Sue Chadwick, Brian Denman, Geoff James, Luke Rutherford, Paul Selby (Brighton and Hove)

Jim Graham, Mick Harris, Daniel Hirsch (Crawley)

Robert Elliston, Graham Salmon, Jonathan Tuck (Crowborough)

David Fryer (East Grinstead)

John Herbert, Michael Reddie, John Silverton, Doug Stevenson (Eastbourne)

Richard Almond, Bernard Cafferty, Bill Penfold (Hastings)

Norman Hawkins, Feliks Kwiatkowski, Richard Mercer (Haywards Heath)

John Cannon, Julie Denning (Horsham)

Barry Maufe (Lewes)

Konrad Langhamer, David Langridge (St. Francis Hospital)

Sue Carter, Ken Swanton, Steve Swanton (Uckfield)

Chris Jones  (Worthing)



  1. Chairman’s opening remarks and apologies for absence


The chairman and treasurer, Doug Stevenson, welcomed everyone to the meeting at its new venue in Uckfield.

Apologies for absence were received from Peter Farr (Args), Don Grant (Crowborough and match recorder) and Ron Nicholas (Knoll Knights).



  1. Minutes of 2007 AGM


The minutes of the 2007 AGM were agreed as being a true record of the meeting. There were no matters arising.



  1. Secretary’s report and matters arising


As the secretary was only recently appointed there was no report.



  1. Treasurer’s report and matters arising


The treasurer, Doug Stevenson, presented an income and expenditure account for year ending 31st March 2008. Its acceptance was proposed by Jim Graham, seconded by Richard Almond and passed unanimously.


The budget and subscriptions for next year were discussed and settled at £25 for first division teams and £22 for other divisions. The knock out competition fees will be £5. It was agreed more match cards were needed and that a template from Horsham should go on the website.



  1. Fixtures Secretary’s report and matters arising


The fixtures secretary, Julie Denning, presented a written report as follows:


The first issue that had to be addressed was the make up of the 4 divisions due to a number of team changes from the previous season.  Haywards Heath only entered 2 teams, rather than 3, but due to the loss of a number of their top players, they requested that the withdrawal was deemed to be their team from Division 1.  In addition, we lost The Holt and Crowborough’s 5th team.  On the plus side, Brighton & Hove entered a 4th team.  This net loss of 2 teams left the League with 36 entries.  Although this would have split evenly into 9 teams per division, the League rules specify an aspiration to have 11 teams in the 1st division.  In consultation with the Chairman and Match Recorder, it was decided to compromise and have 10 teams in Division 1, 9 in Divisions 2 and 3 and 8 in Division 4.  (For 2006 / 07, the split between the 4 divisions had been 11, 9, 9, 9.)


This obviously had some impact on the promotions and relegations that would have been expected from the 2006 / 07 results.  As 2 of the withdrawals were from the previous season’s Division 1, including one team (The Holt) that would otherwise have been relegated, the loss of 1 team from the top division was easily accommodated by promoting Horsham 2 and Crawley 1, as expected, but only relegating East Grinstead 1.  Thus, there were no unexpected promotions or relegations between Divisions 1 and 2.


To maintain 9 teams in Division 2, given that only 1 team had been relegated from Division 1, Knoll Knights and Eastbourne 2 were promoted from Division 3 as expected, but only Horsham 3 were relegated.  The beneficiary of this was Crowborough 3 who avoided their anticipated relegation.  Similarly, only 1 team, Horsham 4, was relegated from Division 3 to Division 4.  However, as Crowborough 5, who had come second to bottom in Division 3 last season had withdrawn, this would have left Division 3 with just 8 teams.  To restore the division to 9, 3 teams were promoted from Division 4.  These were Haywards Heath 3, but now Haywards Heath 2 due to the loss of their top team, and Crawley 2 as expected, together with Brighton & Hove 3 who had come third in Division 4 in 2006 / 07.  Brighton & Hove’s newly entered 4th team were then put into Division 4. 


In drawing up a fixtures schedule, I attempted to respect a number of criteria:


-          playing season from mid-October to mid-April, but with no matches scheduled during a 4 weeks period over Christmas and New Year, or a 2 weeks period over Easter


-          for Divisions 1 and 4, where each team had an odd number of matches, an imbalance of only 1 between home and away fixtures, and a  balance of home and away fixtures for Divisions 2 and 3.  In addition, where any 2 teams had met in the previous season, the home / away status was reversed.


-          any blackout dates notified by clubs kept clear.


-          no team playing more than once a week


-          where a club had more than one team, adjacent teams not playing on the same night


-          no club scheduled to play more than 1 home match on the same night, unless I was assured they could readily accommodate this.


I believe I was just about able to achieve all of this, although it did result in a rather uneven spread of matches for some teams.


Given the tight time schedule to get the fixtures list out at the start of the season, I requested that if any problems arose, the captains involved should attempt to resolve the situation between themselves and just notify me of the outcome.  A number of teams did just this and I’m grateful to them for making the necessary changes.


This was the first season I had undertaken this task, but from my point of view it all seemed to go reasonably smoothly.  If asked to do the job again for the coming season, I would seek to do it the same way, except that where any team had an imbalance of home and away fixtures this year, I will attempt to reverse that.  I would welcome any feedback from clubs regarding any changes they might wish to see in the process.


Julie was thanked by the chairman. There followed a discussion about the scheduling of matches around holiday periods, made more difficult this year by an exceptionally early Easter. It was agreed that the second week in January would be available for matches this season as the Hastings Congress finishes on 5th January.



6.      Match recorder’s report and matters arising


The match recorder, Don Grant, had prepared a written report:


In division 1 Hastings 1 claimed their third title in four years. (Last season they trailed Haywards Heath, with their controversial array of stars, but only by half a point.) Relegated were Horsham 2, after the briefest stay, and Eastbourne 1 who provided the former with their sole win. In division 2 Knoll Knights were champions, their second successive promotion, with Worthing promoting with them only half a point behind. Relegated were Crowborough 3 (the only team in the competition not to score) and Lewes 2, who picked up two penalty points. Division 3 promotions were champions Lewes 3, and Horsham 3 who edged out Haywards Heath 1 on game points. Relegated were Crowborough 4, who finished third last season, and Crawley 2 who were promoted last time. In division 4  Horsham 4, relegated last season, bounced straight back up to division 3, 1.5 points better than Hastings 3. Wooden spoonists were Aldrington House for the second successive season.


In the KO cup: Crowborough have now won the trophy for the past four years, being last defeated in the semi-final against the Woodpushers in 2004. This season they entered two teams and both reached the final with the B side clinching victory over the A side by attaining 1.5 points out of the 6 at stake.


Don was thanked, in his absence, for his hard work.



7.       Presentation of trophies


Hastings 1 received the Mowatt Cup for winning division 1, Knoll Knights the Gregory Cup for division 2, Lewes 3 the division 3 cup and Horsham 4 the division 4 cup.


The best match average tankard was shared between Luke Rutherford (B&H 1) and Peter Farr (Args) who both won 7.5 out of 8 games played. Luke and Peter also collected the division 1 and division 3 tankards respectively. The tankard for division 2 was won by Alessandro Bonnano (East Grinstead 1&2) on 6 out of 6 and for division 4 by Stefan Lewins (Horsham 4) on 6 out of 7.







8.      Election of officers


Chairman and Treasurer                                                                              Doug Stevenson

Web Editor and Fixtures Secretary                                                             Julie Denning

Secretary                                                                                                     Sue Chadwick

Match  Recorder and KO Cup Tournament Controller                              Don Grant

Auditor                                                                                                        JG Herbert


The proposal to accept the above nominations en bloc was put by John Silverton and seconded by Jim Graham. The proposal was passed unanimously.



9.      SCCA Matters relating to the league and its clubs


There was no business to discuss on this topic.



10.  County Adjudications Secretary’s report and matters arising


Robert Elliston said it had been a quieter season than last year. Eight positions were considered and seven adjudicated drawn. He reminded captains that claims must be received within ten days of the game being played. It had been suggested that positions could be sent to him by email and he was happy with this, but collecting the loser’s fee might present a problem.



11.  Champions v The Rest match


This has not happened for a year or two. Doug asked whether there was any interest in playing the match. The problems lie in getting together a team for The Rest and in picking a suitably neutral venue. Sue Carter offered Uckfield as a venue but there are no trains, which could be a problem. Hastings are happy to play the match and Eastbourne offered to host. The committee offered to try and put a Rest team together and the league could meet the room hire charge.


12.  AOB


Quickplay finishes: David Fryer requested the committee consider putting together a proposal for a rule change concerning quickplay finishes. Bernard Cafferty said this has been rejected at past AGMs and, although there has been a discussion on the MSL website, there has been no proposal put before this AGM. From this he took it that the majority were in favour of the status quo. Doug Stevenson said any proposal must come from the clubs. David Fryer said it was difficult because clubs were divided. Julie said the web view was more in favour of change. John Silverton suggested there might be a voluntary year if both parties agreed to a quickplay finish, but Doug said this was not in the rules. A move to form a sub-committee to draw up proposals for next year’s AGM was rejected without a vote.


Haywards Heath and St. Francis Hospital merger: David Langridge explained this is a possibility. Norman Hawkins said Haywards Heath was facing a massive increase in running costs and was considering its options. At present the clubs use the same venue on different nights. A merger would mean the new club fielding the same number of teams as the two clubs did before. This should all be settled in the next month or so.


Grading limits: John Silverton requested grading limits be considered, instancing 180 as being too strong for a third division top board. Doug said this needed to be in the form of a proposal as it would be a change to the rules.


Changes to League Rules:   Recommendations by the League Committee


Doug explained the rules needed a tidy-up which will be done at a later meeting. He wished the AGM to consider the following points:


15.1 OFFICERS: add, "Fixtures Secretary". Add new sentence " With the exception of the Auditor the officers will comprise the Management Committee".


Passed unanimously


2.1 SEASON. Amend 1st sentence to "The season will commence with the distribution of Fixture lists in accordance with rule 2.5".


Passed unanimously


2.2 ENTRY FEES. Amend to: "ENTRIES"

Add new 1st sentence "Team application forms must be submitted by 14 September".

Amend present rule [now 2nd sentence] "League entry fees must be submitted with the Team Entry Application form in order for teams to be included in the Fixtures List. Payment shall be by cheque unless a BACS transfer is arranged in advance with the Treasurer.


Passed unanimously


2.5 FIXTURE LISTS. Amend 1st sentence to: "The Fixtures Secretary shall circulate to all teams by 28 September the Fixtures List for the season with the initial matches set for mid October".

Amend 2nd sentence to: This will take into account the 15 dates a team does not wish to play on as specified in the Team Application form.


Passed unanimously



In rule 4.1.2 change both 3s to 4.


This change was suggested so that all teams now having 5 players would have 4 players nominated. With nominations at 3, lower teams find their nominated players are in reality members of higher teams. This creates a situation where either some players play for 2 teams (until they become ineligible) and weaker players not at all, or nominations are meaningless for lower teams who are trying to include their lower graded players in the league. Jim Graham thought this change would make it more difficult to find enough players for the lower teams. After some discussion an amendment was proposed to maintain the status quo so that no vote would be taken on the proposal. The amendment was proposed by John Herbert and seconded by Jim Graham. Voting was 17 for the status quo and 7 against.


4.3 NEW PLAYERS; Amend 1st sentence to ".............. that player's details in accordance with rule 3.1”


Passed unanimously




Knock Out rules: 


12. Amend to "eligibility of players" [the League rules description] and add sentence "If a League player's club does not enter a team they may play for another clubs K/O team irrespective of League rule 3.2"


Passed unanimously


13. Amend to "5 or 7 days”


Passed unanimously



The meeting ended with a vote of thanks to the Chair.

Thanks were given to Uckfield Chess Club for providing the venue and refreshments.









Sue Chadwick

Secretary MSCL