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MINUTES OF COUNCIL MEETING

Old Waverley Hotel, Edinburgh
Saturday 19 October 2002

ATTENDEES

J Glendinning Chairman
G Clarke
R Heathwood Secretary
L R McKenzie
A Minnican
F Petrie
A Plato
K Stewart
D Wilson

APOLOGIES

Apologies had been received from the following:-

D Bryson S Collins H Flockhart J McAdam A McFarlane
I Mackintosh D Smith R Tweedie

Concern was expressed at the poor turnout of Council members.

PREVIOUS MEETING

As yet, no minutes had been circulated for the previous Meeting.

APPOINTMENT OF EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Council expressed good wishes to Bill Boyd in his new job based in Holland and accepted the proposal that Richard Heathwood would take over Bill's responsibilities. Bill had not severed all links with CS and retained certain responsibilities, e.g. Internet chess access and child protection policy.

MEMBERSHIP OPTIONS

Council debated the issues raised in two documents which had been circulated prior to the Meeting:-

Report by Membership Package Group 25 September 2002
Fixed and Variable Magazine Cost Summary 16 October 2002

Council agreed with the general financial objective for CS which had been drafted - 'To align membership conditions and options to modern, and developing, circumstances with a view to increasing net income [i.e. membership income less the cost of membership features] to fund the promotion of chess to a wider community and to enhance the relevance and usefulness of CS for members.'

The biggest single issue before Council was whether or not CS should produce their magazine, 'Scottish Chess', as a PDF file format, similar to that already produced by SCCA - otherwise referred to as an electronic magazine. The idea was that individual members could then choose whether they preferred paper or electronic. Both of the above documents gave background information on the implications identified to date and drew attention to a number of related issues.

After a full discussion, it was agreed that the idea of an electronic magazine would not be implemented at this stage. The potential cost savings which had been identified did not warrant introducing the concept on purely financial grounds; however, the matter would be kept under review and revisited in, say, a year from now. A proposal advanced at the meeting and accepted by Council, was that as well as the cost benefit implications, the future review should place more emphasis on the user advantages of paper versus electronic magazine. There was a sentiment that introducing an electronic magazine was inevitable at some future stage, though the positioning of a PDF magazine relative to internet information was also questioned.

The list of recommendations - see Appendix to minutes - was reviewed. Recommendations A,B and C were not accepted at this stage but D to J inclusive were well received. The Membership Packages Group would now re-convene in order to collate detailed proposals for implementing the accepted recommendations.

OLYMPIAD

Council noted that a Scottish team was taking part in the Olympiad to be held in Slovenia, commencing 26 October. The Council wished the team every success. They also endorsed A Minnican as delegate to the FIDE and EU meetings to be held at the same time, confirming he had complete authority to exercise his discretion, acting on behalf of CS.


The question of whether or not to introduce drug testing was an ongoing debate at the international level of chess and there was a very real possibility of testing being carried out during this Olympiad. Quite apart from the strong, adverse, emotional reactions which drug testing could arouse, Council were not in favour for two key reasons:-

No drug had been identified which would improve a chess player's results
The cost of implementation was an unacceptably onerous burden.

The vote on behalf of CS should therefore be in opposition to drugs testing.

(A Minnican then left the Meeting.)

PROMOTION OF CHESS

F Petrie invited comments and reactions to her paper on the promotion of chess. The general tenor of the wide-ranging discussion was that this was a difficult area. For example, any central approach by CS for sponsorship needed to avoid any conflict with existing local sponsors. FP would collate a list of local sponsors.

It was generally agreed that congress chess players, for example, should be made more aware of CS. FP would consider marketing/advertising proposals.

On balance, Council advocated that resources should concentrate on the promotion of existing chess clubs rather than seeking to introduce chess in new locations (very welcome as any such development would be).

ANY OTHER BUSINESS

The opportunity was take to deal with a number of issues including the following:-

Welsh girl playing in Scottish Faber Cup Team. This was a non-contentious practical solution to a problem of the age group of available players and supporting adult supervision.
No player of the year award. This was now being looked at.
CS members could now monitor grading changes during the season. Noted.
Only CS members were eligible for Grand Prix prizes. This should be highlighted to the top 30 players in each section. Good marketing opportunity for S Collins to pursue.
Dormant clubs were still appearing on grading lists and listed clubs. Fair point, but it was sometimes difficult to establish whether or not a club had finally closed.

DATE OF NEXT MEETING

As published, Council agreed to meet on 9 February 2003. The date of the AGM required to be reviewed and would be confirmed at the February meeting of Council.

APPENDIX
SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS

A. Approval in principle should be given to the concept of an electronic version of the magazine, which individual members could choose to take in substitution for the traditional bound paper magazine.
B. The existing concept of Basic Membership should be replaced by an electronic membership (called Silver Member?) whereby all CS information would be available in an automated, non-paper way. Gold Membership would include the provision of other services including distribution of a printed magazine. Further work should be undertaken on the possible pricing structure for Silver and Gold membership categories.
C. All "add on" services beyond the core responsibilities should be self-financing
D. More effort should be made to integrate junior players to equal status with adult players. For example, the congress results coverage, results and annotated games, should report juniors' performance with equal prominence alongside everyone else.
E. CS should continue to produce its own magazine, the outsourcing option is not recommended at this stage.
F. Further thought should be given to demonstrating the relevance of CS to chess players, e.g. extend the issuing of CS certificates to congress winners.
G. Perhaps more importantly, a welcome pack should be issued promptly to all new members. In many/most cases this could be arranged electronically to reduce costs
H. A charging structure for access to the ChessBase PlayChess server in the future needs to be agreed in due course, i.e. to apply after the expiry of the free "trial offer".
I. There is a strong case to improve the mechanisms operated by CS to canvass views in order to be able to speak with authority to outside parties such as the Scottish Executive (as such it ties in closely with the ongoing collation of management information).
J. In the context of membership packages, no changes have been identified to fulfilling the core responsibilities as listed.


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Chess Scotland 2002