Minutes of the SJCA AGM
Held at Station Hotel, Perth
24th June 2001
The meeting commenced at 12.36
Sederunt: Rod Tweedie (President & Chairman), Alex Collie (RDM), Yvonne Enoch (Robt Gordon’s), John Glendinning (SCA), Stuart Good (Treasurer), Maureen Mathie (Vice-President), Norman Mathie (Vice President + West Kilbride), Joe McAdam (General Secretary + St Edward’s, Golfhill, Alexandra, St Margaret’s), Alex McFarlane (Vice President), John Shovlin (office bearer + St John’s), Karen Shovlin, Lynsey Shovlin, David Smith (office bearer), Stephen Taylor (Greenwood), Lawrence Thirkell (Newmachar)
S Good (1.00pm)
Apologies: Mike Hanley (Vice President), Keith Hoban (Nairn), Andy MacQueen (Vice President), John Montgomery (Membership Secretary)
Minutes of previous meeting
Minutes had been circulated promptly after the 2000 AGM.
It was noted that the report given on behalf of S Taylor had contained inaccuracies in the figures presented for the P6&7 and S1-2 events. The figures should have been: Paisley 65, Wester Hailes 14, Dumfries 61, Nairn 42 (over 60 entries were received for the Nairn event but due to adverse weather conditions there were a large number of call offs on the day)
It had also been assumed incorrectly that S Taylor had been willing to stand for Council. The Chairman had formally apologised on behalf of the SJCA Council to S Taylor for this misunderstanding and again apologised to S Taylor for any offence this may have caused. The minutes of the September 2000 Council Meeting had also been amended to remove him from the absentees. The Chairman also reported that other inaccuracies involving Mr Taylor and the Scottish Schools Team Championship in the June and September Council Minutes had been amended. The chairman advised all present that they should amend their copies of these minutes accordingly.
There were no matters arising
The adoption of minutes was moved by J Shovlin and seconded by N Mathie.
President’s Report for Annual General Meeting 24th June 2001
In preparing this report I was reflecting upon the circumstances that resulted in my being thrust into the heady realms of the post of SJCA president. That quickly brought me back down to earth. Looking back to that time in September I think we must reflect upon the situation that faced all of the Council members of the SJCA and indeed the SJCA as a whole.
The second president in less than a year had resigned in the August through total disenchantment and frustration with the words ‘pointless’ and ‘total waste of time’ being quoted in his letter of resignation.
The treasurer had indicated that he wished to resign from the post, but was persuaded to carry on until a replacement could be found.
Previous members of the SJCA Council were no longer prepared to participate in Council meetings, as they saw them as a waste of time with hours and hours of talking and no resolution of key issues.
A number of long serving office bearers of the SJCA indicating that they were intending to step down within the next few years with no prospect of any replacements standing in line to take up their posts.
The financial situation at that time if not nearing crisis then certainly difficult proportions.
Over-riding all of this was the situation where less and less children were playing chess, particularly girls, and the standard of junior chess playing generally was at its lowest ebb for many years.
In addition, there were clear divisions both geographically and on issues such as grading, international selection, etc.
Furthermore, there was clear mistrust between the SJCA and the SCA, and a number of conflicts of personality between several potentially important people. It was also clearly noticeable to me as a relative newcomer that while a lot of people were prepared to point a finger and apportion blame, there were not many prepared to recognise and accept the joint responsibility that all of the SJCA and SCA had in allowing this situation to develop.
All-in-all the picture was, and to be perfectly frank still remains on certain issues, pretty bleak.
It was in this background and following the decision by the SJCA Council to embrace the concept of a merger with the SCA that I was persuaded to take up the post of SJCA President. Any misgivings that I had were quickly compounded by the number of people who wished me ‘congratulations’ and in the same breath added ‘or should that be commiseration’s.’ The phrase ‘poisoned chalice’ was also used on more than one occasion.
Having advised Council at the end of the September meeting that I would be prepared to take up the post, I also gave Council my assurance that I would work with John Glendinning, the SCA President, in developing the structure of the proposed merger organisation but would also ensure that the interests of the SJCA and junior chess would not be compromised in the establishment of the new merged organisation.
I believe that I have honoured that commitment over the succeeding months and that the merger documents which have been prepared provide a structure and framework which will allow Chess in Scotland to develop in a properly planned manner with the interests of Junior Chess well to the fore.
I could go on about the large amount of my personal time that this has taken up and the miles that I have travelled in meeting this commitment, but I would rather wish to state that the time and effort that I have expended, pales into insignificance when compared to that of the SCA President, John Glendinning. I would wish to state, here and now, that any doubts that I may have had implanted by other people regarding John’s commitment to Junior Chess have been totally removed by my first hand experience of his drive and enthusiasm in seeking to improve Chess throughout Scotland. Whether a merger goes ahead or not, I would wish to have my personal thanks to John for all of his efforts placed on record. At the same time I would wish to thank the other two members of the Steering Group Ian Mackintosh and Ronnie MacDonald for their expertise and professional input despite both having significant work commitments.
In hindsight, perhaps the time-scale we gave ourselves to undertake all aspects of a merger process was unrealistic, particularly with business and family pressures. It would be fair to say that the process of consultation, could have been more thorough with an extended time period, but I believe that a significant amount has been achieved within the time constraints imposed. If any person feels that they have been overlooked I would extend my apologies and trust that they will realise that this was not deliberate.
I would wish to thank all of the people who participated in the various groups and meetings that have taken place. In particular my personal thanks to Dave Smith and Yvonne Enoch for arranging the Aberdeen local meeting and to Douglas Anderson and his ELCA and Edindburgh Lothians Primary Schools League colleagues for the Edinburgh meeting. Thanks also to Peter and Kamala MacNab for their hospitality before the Aberdeen meeting.
I do not intend to comment upon the various activities, events, tournaments, congresses and training days organised by all of the vice-presidents and organisers throughout the year. The details will be covered in their reports and I don’t wish to steal their thunder.
However, my personal thanks to Joe McAdam for his work as secretary and in running a number of events, Stewart Good for continuing with the duties of treasurer, Maureen and Norrie Mathie for all of their efforts particularly on the internationals and Primary individual, Alex for producing the well received and read ‘Ah Wun’ and his efforts on the international and Grand Prix fronts, Mike for the very successful training days and his participation on the International Selection panel, Andy McQueen for the P5 & under and assisting in other events and training days, John Shovlin for the Age championships and assistance on the Girls team & other events, Stephen Taylor for the Scottish Secondary Schools Championships and the P6-7 and S1-S3, and all the other organisers, coaches, parents and teachers who have assisted in running local clubs, heats and the other events throughout the year.
John Montgomery should also be thanked for the amount of time devoted to maintaining the Association’s membership records.
In preparing this report and reflecting upon the amount of time that these key people give to the rest of the members of the SJCA I have to ask myself how strong their own clubs and juniors would be if they were to devote this time wholly to their own clubs. I would therefore wish to highlight this and encourage other SJCA organisers and clubs to consider giving some of their time to promoting and developing chess in a wider sense.
In conclusion, I believe that we now have the opportunity to move forward in a positive fashion and genuinely believe that the proposed merger which will be voted upon shortly holds the best options for advancing junior chess in the whole of Scotland. I would therefore urge everyone to make their decision based upon an objective view of the merger documents and to vote accordingly.
It was noted that David Wallace a former president had passed away on 9th June. The significant role he had played in the Association and in arbiting in general was noted. His family were planning a memorial service in September.
As part of the Secretary’s report the following contributions from Vice-Presidents were read.
Report from Maureen Mathie:
The 3rd Tri-Nation International was held in June 2000 at James Watt College, Greenock. This match was played over 6 boards at U12 and U14. Both matches were won by Wales with Scotland second and Ireland 3rd.
Points were U12 Wales 8.5, Scotland 6.5, Ireland 3
U14 Wales 6.5, Scotland 6, Ireland 5.5
The 4th Tri-Nation International was held in June 2001, at Dublin City University, 8 boards at U12 and U14. We were very fortunate in receiving sponsorship for this from Action Environment Limited, this was much appreciated.
This year Scotland were the winners in both matches with Wales second and Ireland 3rd.
Points were U12 Scotland 12, Wales 6.5, Ireland 5.5
U14 Scotland 11.5, Wales 6.5, Ireland 6
The annual 12-board match at U14 and U12 v Wales was held in January 2001 at the Brabloch Hotel, Paisley. The U12 was unfortunately a rather one-sided match with Scotland winning 22.5-1.5. The under 14 was much closer with Scotland winning 14-10.
My sincere thanks to Alex McFarlane for controlling at both home matches and also for printing programmes and certificates also to Norrie for all his help.
Next year’s Wales v Scotland match has been arranged for w/e 25th-27th Jan 2002 in Wales and the Tri Nation for either w/e 14-16th June or 21-23rd June 2002, also in Wales.
Report from Norrie Mathie
Primary Individual Championship 2001
This year the above event was held at St Andrew’s College, Bearsden on Sat2nd and 3rd June
28 players took part.
Results: Winner Christopher MacDonald (Dollar) 6/6
Runner-Up David Oswald (George Heriot’s) 5/6
Third Place Peter Vas (Dunnottar) 4/6 Tie Break
I should like to thank Alex McFarlane for controlling at this event and for printing of programmes, certificates etc. Thanks also to Maureen for all her help in Organisation and looking after children.
In recognition of his selection, for six years in succession, to the Primary Individual Championship Christopher MacDonald was presented with a plaque by Norrie and Maureen Mathie on behalf of the SJCA.
Report from Joe McAdam
6 teams took part in the Girls’ Team Championship. The winners were Arduthie, from RDM
In the Girl’s Individual the winner was Lynsey Shovlin
Primary Team Championship was won by Mile End
Scottish Schools was won by St Margaret’s (Airdrie)
It was also reported that both St Margaret’s and Greenwood had taken part in the Times Schools’ Team Championship. Greenwood has reached the semi-final of the plate.
Report from Alex McFarlane
Vice President’s Report 2001
The Grand Prix continues to be a popular event. Over 400 names appear on this year’s list. Sponsorship is becoming a problem. Chess Suppliers has cutback on the amount contributed and a new sponsor is needed.
The newsletter is now produced in an updated format which seems to have been popular. There have been some feelings that additional copies should be sent to schools and clubs. It is good to see the increased amount of material which is being sent to me for inclusion in both “Ah Wun” and Scottish Chess magazine. The downside is that the newsletter has gone from 4 pages to 12, and I already have over 4 pages for the August issue.
The PowerPoint presentation giving a brief overview of junior activities has proved to be quite popular at congresses where both adults and younger players are to be found reading it. It has certainly attracted more attention than the old folders that we used to display.
No report was received from Mike Hanley or Andy MacQueen
The success, measured by the large numbers in attendance, at the Training events organised by M Hanley was recognised. Also mentioned was the success of the Basman event.
Draft accounts for year April 2000-Mar2001 have been prepared but have still to be audited. This should be done in the near future. It was pointed out that some tournaments are split across two financial years. A request was made by S Good to have any outstanding financial details of events sent to him.
An outline of financial position was given. Income had been received as follows: Club membership £600, individual £600 SEED £800. Losses at international matches had been reduced to £800. This was achieved by charging juniors and through donations. The Primary Individual lost £500. All other tournaments showed a profit e.g. Age Championships (£270) and training just under £300. Admin had cost £350. Income totalled £7500 with donations accounting for an additional figure of just under £500. Expenditure amounted to £6500- giving a surplus of just under £1600.
It was described as a healthy year, the best in the Treasurer’s memory. The Bank balance stood at £5079. The Association held little in the way of stock currently. Trophies were not valued in the assets.
The Treasurer re-iterated that the sheet prepared by J Montgomery had been useful to him in receiving accounts from organisers of events.
The membership figures were given as 53 clubs, 190 individuals.
S Good again expressed a desire to resign.
The Chairman thanked him for his efforts and indicated that George Brechin was willing to take over if accounts were audited.
It was agreed to discuss fees after the item on the merger.
It was confirmed that the merger document had been received by all. R Tweedie indicated that his feelings had been given in his Chairman’s report and invited comment on the proposal and document.
NM expressed anxiety about filling the positions and asked if anyone had volunteered. It was indicated that less than 6 had done so – though most not currently involved. No one had as yet been approached by him as it was important that the proposal for a merged organisation was not presented as a ‘fait accompli.’
ST commented that there was provision for individual membership in the merger documents but none for club. This was acknowledged as an oversight. Membership group is to meet again to discuss family membership and will consider this at the same time. Assurances were given that the fee will not be similar to adult club fees but should be in line with current fees.
JS asked if the proposed merger would generate more activity or would it just be a talking shop? RT replied that it was envisaged that the number of tournaments would continue as is, but that there was also a need for a strategy for the short, medium and long terms. This needed a number of people to work in this area and to put a business plan together; the proposed structure should do away with discussing same issues ad infinitum at management group meetings. Directors would be given autonomy but would be required put a plan to Council for approval twice a year.
JG stated the proposals allow organisers get on with organising and that there would be regular reporting.
JS indicated that he felt there was no improvement in the SCA after its last re-organisation. JG asked what the would position would have been if the SCA had not re-structured. JS felt juniors had not benefited from the last reorganisation. JG indicated that a 4-figure sum was spent by the SCA on juniors going abroad each year. This figure is far in excess of any income generated by membership fees paid. JG stated that we are all suffering from a reduction in chess activity. This must be redressed. A unified body would encourage schools chess to get back up and running as a priority.
JS asked about the possibility of it not working? RT replied that the current structure was not working and indicated the drop in standards and activity in the relatively short time that he had been involved with the SJCA. Improvement would clearly not happen overnight, the merger proposal was not a panacea for all of the current problems. But it did offer more opportunities. People could be brought in on strategy e.g. Bill Boyd (Bill is a project development officer with Shell Expro). This would allow others to continue to run events. Whilst creating directors posts there had been worries expressed over their accepting and taking responsibility for juniors. However, it was felt that having a junior director was not acceptable. All directors will have a prime responsibility for the development of grass roots and junior chess. As an interim safeguard a position of Junior Auditor would be established. This post would have sufficient status to speak to directors if concerns raised and directly to Council if issues were unresolved. The post will last for a minimum of two years after the creation of a merged organisation.
JS expressed doubts over interest of the people currently involved with the SCA regarding juniors. RT stated that his personal experience had showed that people are interested but unlikely to volunteer until asked. There were many parents, adult players etc. from a wide variety of backgrounds who would be prepared to contribute in some way if they were approached. No one had indicated that they would not be prepared to be involved in a merged organisation.
JS expressed concerns over personality conflicts. It was pointed out these existed in most organisations and indeed currently existed within the SJCA. RT felt the merger proposals gave a degree of independence to key people who would be responsible for their own budget.
JS re-iterated his lack of trust in the adult organisation. JG stated that there would at first, be continuing difficulties. However he believed the option offers the best way forward. RT stated that issues of concern to the SJCA members had been raised throughout the year with the Steering Group and each of these had been addressed to the satisfaction of the SJCA Council and Executive.
The revised merger document containing all of the SJCA required amendments and changes had been agreed by the SCA management group. RT stated that he considered it would be difficult to see what more could be done by the SCA to demonstrate their commitment to junior chess in advance of the merger.
JMcA stated that despite 200 merger documents and notices sent out only 4 ‘new’ people had attended the meeting.
NM stated that the SCA would more than likely have received a similar response.
The financial circumstances surrounding the merger were mentioned, particularly as the SJCA had had their best year financially for several years. It was suggested that the SCA usually operated at best at break even. JG indicated that this was clearly not correct and that the SCA had made a profit of £4000 for the year ended 31 March 2001. RT who had attended the SCA meeting by invitation verified that this had been formally reported by the SCA treasurer and that this was a positive set of circumstances as each of the organisations would be seen as being equal positive contributors to any merged organisation. JMcA stated that the current year had been exceptional for both organisations in this respect.
ST indicated that when he was SJCA President, about 11 years ago, the organisation had 104 school members. Membership had halved in 10 years. Something must be done in this respect and the McCrone report was not the answer. RT pointed out that the position was no worse and was indeed slightly better than when ST took over as President.
The problem of unfilled positions was again raised. RT indicated that low-key sounding out of people had taken place with regard to participation and he was reasonably assured that most of the key posts would be filled. JG stated that there would be activity to pro-actively try to fill the roles and a list would be published on 5th Aug or thereabouts. This list should not be seen as prescriptive and other interested persons will be able and indeed encouraged to stand. SG expressed concern over losing good people. Currently there was too much talk over same issues, the Strategy group would have to be focussed. It would be terrific to get new people participating. SG continued by saying that chess would be negligible if not for SJCA activity, but that he would be surprised if everyone currently involved with the SJCA continued in a merged organisation. Chess needed organisers. He expressed concern that some events would not take place next season and if events were lost they would not re-start. RT re-iterated that no one had come out and said they would not be prepared to be involved in a merged organisation. He also felt that pressure should not be applied nor should the future be held to ransom by individuals with their own personal agendas.
The discussion having drawn to a close the mechanism for voting was explained, particularly with regard to those having multiple votes. It was also stated that a majority of two-thirds was needed for the motion to be passed.
In accordance with the SJCA Constitution regarding voting at the AGM outlined in the distributed Agenda document, 3 clubs and 1 league had written to the Secretary instructing him to vote on their behalf.
Bonaly Primary School Chess Club
Edinburgh and Lothians Primary Chess League
Saint Bride’s Primary School Chess Club, Bothwell
Saint Dominic’s Primary School Chess Club, Airdrie
SG made a query over club representation. It was pointed out that clubs having only three representatives applied to Council but not the AGM.
The voting was as follows: For 18, against 7 (72%)
As this exceeded the required two thirds majority required, the motion was carried.
It was indicated that before the merger could proceed there was a need to wait on the SCA AGM to confirm its support.
If the SCA voted for the merger as well there was a need for an interim Council to hold office until the merger went through, otherwise the Office Bearers would be in position until the next AGM.
Election of Office-Bearers
All of the existing office-bearers stepped down and J McA took the chair
President: RT elected unopposed. RT resumed the Chair
Secy: JMcA elected unopposed
Treasurer: SG elected unopposed for a period not exceeding 2 weeks after the proposed inaugural meeting of the proposed merged organisation on 19th Aug.
Membership Secy: J Montgomery elected unopposed
NM returned unopposed
MM returned unopposed
AMcF returned unopposed
AMacQ returned unopposed
MH returned unopposed subject to confirmation from MH
John Shovlin, Dave Smith.
Yvonne Enoch, Liz Boyd
Junior Director to SCA:
SJCA representative to SCA Council
It was noted by the acting minutes secretary that the meeting did not set membership fees. The membership / Administration group is scheduled to meet on June 18th and this will be discussed and recommendations prepared for presentation at the inaugural meeting of the merged organisation, assuming the SCA supports the merger proposal.
If not, the Executive of the SJCA will require to set fees as soon as possible after the SCA AGM on June 9th. 2001.
Meeting finished 2.30pm
Station Hotel, Perth
24th June, 2001
The Meeting started at 2.40pm
Sederunt: Rod Tweedie (President & Chairman), Yvonne Enoch (Council member), John Glendinning (SCA), Stuart Good (Treasurer), Maureen Mathie (Vice-President), Norman Mathie (Vice President), Joe McAdam (General Secretary), Alex McFarlane (Vice President), David Smith (Council member), Stephen Taylor (Greenwood), Lawrence Thirkell (Newmachar)
Minutes of previous meetings
RT distributed the minutes of the Council meetings held at Dunfermline and Celtic Park and the minutes of the Executive meeting held at Airdrie.
The minutes for the Dunfermline meeting required the date to be changed from June to January. Apologies from Y Enoch should also be added.
It was agreed to write off the £132 owed by Paisley Grammar School/Rotary as a bad debt. This was proposed by RT and seconded by NM. S Good objected to this stating that he considered insufficient effort had been put in to retrieving the money owed or retrieval of the equipment. RT noted S Good’s comments and while agreeing generally with the comments, in light of the merger most likely proceeding, it was important that outstanding debts of this age be removed from the accounts.
It was noted that Holyrood had paid and the Chairman would forward the money. Tullos School were still to be invoiced and will send the money direct to Stuart.
This was accepted.
A proposal from Steven Tweedie and supported by several other junior international players that there should be an U16 international match was discussed. It was agreed to refer this to the International Group.. JMcA would inform the members of this decision.
JG indicated that participation in the BCF Youth squad and congresses in England was being looked at.
Proposals from Dave Smith about changes to rules was discussed.
a) Proposed changes:
P5 and under to be renamed U10 to allow younger p6 to enter and prevent older p5.
Primary individual to be renamed U12
Organise an U14 invitation championship to be run in conjunction with Primary/U12.
After discussion it was agreed that the P5 and under should remain unchanged as should the Primary Individual though it should be noted that the trophy is engraved SJCA.
It was agreed to look further at the idea of an U14 event though for consistency an S1&S2 invitational would be more appropriate.
b) Proposal to change structure of Primary Team Championship:
DS suggested that heats of equal strength should be staged if the heats were at same venue. It was also proposed that the 16 qualifiers be seeded in the semi-finals to avoid teams from same school and same heats being in the same section. It was also suggested that when appropriate all games be graded.
After discussion on the difficulties of seeding e.g. grading v previous history it was felt that no change could be made and that grading should only be done on a consistent basis. It was agreed to look at keeping teams apart who were from the same school or had already met in the competition.
DS advised that following the discussions he now appreciated that there were many issues that he had been unaware of and appreciated that the previous decisions of Council were not as arbitrary as would first seem.
It was agreed that certain tournaments should be used for international ‘trials’ amongst those suggested were Fair City, Age Championships, Perth Congress, Glasgow Congress. It was agreed to refer this to the International group.
The Banchory &Torphins tournaments are now defunct. Organisers in Aberdeen are planning to stage an event to replace them.
It was agreed that a group should co-ordinate the calendar JMcA / RT would contact organisers before liasing with SCA.
RT would e-mail J Montgomery to get copies of forms previously used for SJCA events.
There was discussion on whether the January match v Wales should be replaced with another International match, possibly against Belgium. If this was to happen then a decision would need to be made quickly.
JG asked if there was a complete set of SJCA minutes available. Various sources were suggested for partial minutes. These included Clive French, Nan Kafka and the material passed on to the SCA by David Wallace.
Date of next meeting
It was agreed that this would be a joint meeting with SCA officials and would take place after 9th July SCA AGM. It was suggested that it should be between 5-19 Aug. Members were asked to indicate their availability.
The meeting ended at 4.40pm with a vote of thanks to the Chair.