Friday, 6 December 2013

Message from the President

From Colin Roberts, President, Suffolk County Chess Association:

On 29th September 2012, a new website was launched dealing with all aspects of Suffolk Chess.   The editor of this site, Bob Jones, has long been known in the East Anglian chess world for his innovative ideas that have improved the Suffolk chess scene for many years.

The Suffolk Chess website today celebrates its 300th entry and there has been something new every day since the start of the current season on 1st September.   I am honoured that Bob has asked me to mark this occasion with a few words.   Of course, keeping a site so consistently fresh on a virtually daily basis is not an easy task and I know that Bob would welcome more contributions from players of all abilities, whether it be interesting games, news from clubs or just local stories with a chess interest.   Bob first asked me to write something around the time of the 100th new entry on the website, so my response time has not been exactly spectacular, but even so, I believe that we should all try to support this site, not only by following it regularly, but also sending in contributions.

On the whole, it has to be said, chess players are not the best when it comes to putting back something into the sport that gives them so much pleasure.   Chess is a cheap game to play and I don't know of any other sport that, at the local level, offers the opportunity to win such decent prize money as chess tournaments do.   There are plenty of opportunities to play chess, in club competitions in the evenings and at County and tournament level at weekends, but none of these would exist without someone to organise them.

We are fortunate in Suffolk to have one of the finest tournaments in the country in the form of the annual Bury St Edmunds Congress, which next October will take place for the 32nd time.   Again, we have Bob Jones to thank for the high standard of playing conditions in this event.   The 2014 Bury Congress will be the sixteenth that Bob has organised and at this point, having run half of the Congresses held so far and seeing a certain symmetry in terms of 32 representing the number of pieces on the board at the start of a game and his 16 tournaments therefore, a 'full set', Bob has announced his intention to stand down and actually get the opportunity to play in this event again.

We should be grateful to Bob for taking over an already vibrant event and taking it to new heights.   Now is the time for a new team to come forward to continue the tradition of fine tournaments in Bury St Edmunds.   As I mentioned above, as a group, chess players are not the best at coming forward to help organise the game and the majority of the work always seems to be left in the hands of a small cohort of willing, and often unappreciated, volunteers.

I remember a few years ago at the Bury Club Annual Meeting, hearing in disbelief a player who was asked if he would take on the captaincy of his team for a year, answering, "Oh, no! I don't mind playing, but not captaining," as though he was actually doing the club a big favour by merely turning out to play for it!   Chess events at all levels need people to run them.   It is not exactly difficult or excessively time consuming, but it can be very rewarding.

So let me close with a request for volunteers for a new team to run the Bury Congress as well as to step into the posts of Suffolk County Chess Association Vice President, Junior Organiser, Competitions Secretary and First Team Captain.   The first two of these posts currently lie vacant and the other two will become free soon.   Without organisers there will be no chess, so please consider helping to run the sport that provides you with so much enjoyment.

1 comment:

  1. Hello All,
    I echo every word that Colin says about Chess players being a rather insular lot with a small group of under valued volunteers keeping the structures and organisation needed to play league chess and tournaments going.

    I have dabbled with chess organising, the under 140's Suffolk team capitancy for a few years, the Presidency of my local club, Stowmarket and the captaincy of a team there as well this season( Top of our league after finishing bottom last year!).
    Now I am getting to the time of my working life where I will have a lot more spare time. What to do with that time, well the model railway in my shed will get some of it but that keeps my fingers rather than my brain busy so what to do with my spare brain time?

    Congress organiser trying to follow in the gargantuan boots Bob Jones is leaving behind?.
    No chance I have none of the skill, endurance, patience nor absolute flair for organisation, presentation and team building that our congress organiser has shown over these many years. So what else.
    Well 30 years in Quality and environmental management mean I can organise and document regulations working methods and practices, keep good records and get right grumpy with non-compliance. That seems a skill set with which to take a crack at the Competitions secretary role following Mike's resignation.

    With a view to making myself available for nomination at the AGM I am doing some work now with Mike and more later with Bob Jones, that indefatigable man again, but this time in his role as SCCA sceretary. the work involves getting know what is involved and how much effort I will need to commit.

    Here I have run into some concerns for the variety of fixtures we try to squeeze in to a season and our league rule book which really does need some work to tidy it up, clarify its definitions, remove pettiness, define penalties for non compliance and be altogether rmore professional. Much of the rule book trys to define actions obligations and requirements that are overseen by the competitions secretary but fail to give him a firm unambiguous base on which to make his decisions.

    This rules revision needs addressing before the next competition secretary whoever that may be is landed with a task that Mike has managed somehow but that I could not do as the rules currently stand.

    That all sounds a bit heavy when what I want to do is understand just what regulations if any the broad massof SCCA affiliated clubs feel they need to be able to play chess over the board and not in the steward's room.
    Looking forward to some replies.

    David Green.

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