Austin Friars (Carlisle) Chess Club AGM Minutes
Held 7.35pm, 14/7/2011 at the Working Men’s Club.

Present: Daniel O’Dowd (DO), Bill Hardwick (DO), Dave Siddall (DS), George Glover (GG), John Kelly (JK), Drew Millar (DM), Ian Mackay (IM) , Chris Royle (CR), Jason Maxwell (JM), Max Brown (MB) , John Poels (JP) (11)

1. Election of Officers:

BH explained that in order for the new bank account to be validated, we required a chairperson and secretary as joint signatories. GG was nominated and unanimously approved as Chairman. DO was nominated and unanimously approved as Secretary. BH was unanimously re-elected as Treasurer, and DO was unanimously elected Tournaments Director. JK was confirmed as Web Designer for our new county-wide site, and also agreed to take responsibility for publicity and leafleting to target new members.

It was agreed that JK would take effectively take over as match secretary, under the aegis of A team captain, with IM as his deputy. Their job will be to organise and prioritise team selections, and liaise with other team captains, yet to be elected because of grades, and pending confirmation of numbers for the coming season. Captaincy of the South Tyne League Austins team was raised, and it was agreed that DM would take this over, BH continuing as ever, as Friars captain; the two to liaise with John and Ian on fixture conflicts/coordination.

The name of the club was debated, and it was decided that to honour Austin Friars’ very generous continued donation of their facilities (for no charge, it might be added), the name of the club will continue to be “Austin Friars (Carlisle) Chess Club” until a change be required should circumstances change. The AF name also serves as a useful brand under which to unite all our budding juniors, and this in turn helps garner positive publicity for both school and club. Both DM and JP mentioned that it was several years before either of them came to a chess club in the city, despite living here, and it was agreed that more will be done by advertising to indicate that our club is open to all, regardless of its name and location.

Austin Friars (Carlisle) Chess Club starts with a balance of £428.68.

2. 2011-12 Teams:

GG mentioned that due to falling numbers in recent years, the free move of players between teams of the same club has been possible. Due to unknown grades as mentioned above, and uncertainty over final numbers, the total number of teams to be entered was not finalised, though it will almost certainly be two (2) in Division 1, and one or two in Division 2, one to be composed of juniors possibly. Re: six monthly grading, this is a county affair, excepting rules of local competitions, which will be announced as and when required.

3. Club Nights/Venues:

It was suggested that with appropriate desire, a secondary club night (for casual games or other reasons) could be held at the Working Men’s Club. It was decided to delay a permanent secondary night, remembering that this fractured membership when both the Liberal Club and AF were operating, and to avoid conflicts, but that a session might be held at the WMC monthly, so as to encourage new players, or possibly for specific casual tournaments. Club Nights at Austin Friars bungalow will remain as Thursdays. While we have access to AF facilities outside of term time, this will be reserved for weekend matches until further notice: no club nights through summer excepting above-mentioned casual WMC. We will continue to use WMC for some league matches, depending on parking, and other factors. We retain the King’s Head as a potential venue also. It was suggested that future WMC sessions start early to enable people to get home in good time, and this was accepted.

4. 2011-12 Membership:

As previous Treasurer of the original Carlisle chess club, GG pointed out that typically the treasurer would be responsible for setting subscription/membership fees. BH mentioned that current levels are £20 for adults and £10 for juniors, albeit that most of this goes toward ECF membership, through the CCA, and that these figures will not change.

5. Constitution:

IM mentioned that he had copies of various styles of constitution available should we want to choose. GG pointed out that a constitution was only in the past really useful for a bank account, and that since we have a CCA constitution, we wouldn’t need one at club level, since club competitions already have separate rules. DM raised the point of Public Liability Insurance, and BH mentioned the possibility of ECF-derived insurance for just £15, which will be looked into.

6. Tournaments/Matches:

DO confirmed the date of the Carlisle Rapidplay as Sunday 25th September, to be held at the Working Men’s Club. With ample space for the 40 or so players we had last year, he questioned whether we wanted to expand our target audience beyond the Northumbria STL enclave, Dumfries area, and all of Cumbria. It was agreed to place details on the ECF website, but not to overpush, so as to maintain current standards. GG mentioned that in some tournaments the prizes were allocated as a percentage of total entries. It is unlikely currently that this will be implemented, assuming numbers hold. Entry forms will be sent out in the middle of August.

GG mentioned that the Lightning/buzzer tournament used to be held on the final club night before Christmas, as it is a primarily social occasion, and suggested this tradition be maintained. Weather permitting, this will be the case, and the date is provisionally set at Thursday 15th December, which will be confirmed nearer the time. The possibility of a summer lightning was proposed, but not actioned. It will be decided upon in future depending on desire.

DO mentioned that the inaugural Knockout Championship had progressed to one finalist and one semi-final to be played, and asked whether players were comfortable including Penrith players in the scheme. It was then raised that we should either keep it closed to Carlisle members, or open it to anyone in the area willing to play, and this was accepted. The 2nd Knockout Championship is scheduled to begin in October, by when we should have a trophy.

7. Structure of Club Championships:

DO raised the point that we may have sixteen (16) members of the club next year, eligible and willing to play in the Club Championship, and asked whether members would prefer an all-play-all or a split into two groups. While it was agreed that members should make a maximal effort to play their games, it was decided to keep things as they are, and think about a cap, so that at the end of the season, if someone has played fewer than x games, their results be discounted, in the interests of fairness to championship contenders.

DO raised the possibility of changing the Rapid Championship to a World Cup style tournament, with four seeds, placed into groups, and joined by a junior and two other players in each, followed by (optionally) quarter-finals, semi and final. This would greatly reduce the required number of games, and it was suggested these games could be played in WMC sessions or ad hoc. GG pointed out that many players play casual fast games when a Club Championship/league match is unavailable. The suggestion was not voted on, but if anyone would prefer a different format (straight divisions, etc) then please mention it.

JM and CR explained that many juniors ‘forgot’ their junior championship games, and they agreed to take some responsibility for encouraging the completion of these. DM mentioned that he has agreed to work with Kevin Southernwood as junior organisers for the county; Drew in the Carlisle area, and hopefully junior membership numbers will be maintained in future.

8. Any Other Business:


DS proposed that reasonable and quiet conversation be allowed in playing areas on a club night. While players are there for serious games, he mentioned that on occasion he had been shushed for even saying hello. It was agreed that this is rather draconian. It was also generally pointed out that every player has his/her own tolerance for noise, and that we do have upstairs rooms should people prefer. BH raised the point that once asked to be quiet, players tended to obey, and that repeat offence was more of a problem. IM and DS both pointed out that at congresses, things were a lot different, and they expected a higher level of obedience, albeit arbiters tended not to act on this. It was generally agreed that at the start of games, players can come in and greet each other, reasonably.

DM mentioned that with the variety of locations we use our sets (schools/WMC/AF etc), we should undertake a stock check of clocks, boards, etc, to be sure of what we have, to account for future demand at tournaments. He estimated the club to own about 70 sets in total, and he agreed to become equipment organiser.

The issue of advertising was raised, and as mentioned, JK agreed to produce flyers/leaflets. DO mentioned he has casual sessions in coffee shops in town, playing chess, and he could take leaflets along for any casual observers who might be interested in playing, and that he could liaise with Polish friends to gain more members. DS raised the idea of putting notices in the library, and this will also be actioned.

GG proposed that there be a separate post of controller, but it was accepted that this falls under the aegis of Tournaments Director, since DO is already working towards ECF Arbiter qualification, and has the greatest knowledge of rules etc. JK raised the question of club matches being graded, and suggested DO to do this, but it was pointed out that this is again a county matter, currently being undertaken through Dave Cole.

GG raised the point that traditionally an AGM in the old Carlisle club would directly preface the season; rather than be an end. It was agreed that prior to season 2012-13, the date for the AGM would be the first week of that year’s club night.

Finally, we wish to retrospectively acknowledge once again the exceptional and tireless efforts of our predecessor in every regard; Syd Cassidy. His worth and legacy cannot be adequately expressed, and we hope to live up to his workmanship, keeping the club in a steady keel for the years to come.

Meeting Closed.

Daniel O’Dowd (Secretary)