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Grangemouth - George Neave - 12-07-2014

Can I ask why has this event ceased to exist? Conscious it was a fixture in the calendar for many years normally attracting a strong turnout no doubt because of the good central venue and local sponsorship. Initially I thought it maybe just a 1 year gap but not appears to have gone permanently. How come? What would have to happen to get it resurrected? Feels to me like a major loss.

Re: Grangemouth - Donald Wilson - 12-07-2014

Since I ran the last Grangemouth Congress (in 2011) I guess I should answer this query. There are a number of factors involved here.

First, I found running that congress a real burden, and didn't want to do it again. It doesn't help that I live fifteen miles away and don't have the local contacts that Jim Watson had when he ran it (which he did successfully for many years).

Second, nobody in Grangemouth Chess Club was, at least at that time, in a position to take over the running of the Congress. That may change, but people cannot be expected to burden themselves with unpaid work unless they know they can cope with it and know they can complete the task.

Third, and probably most serious, is the financial aspect. There used to be sponsorship (originally mainly from BP), but that dwindled over the years as the refinery changed hands (the current owners, Ineos, threatened to shut the refinery a year or so ago because of the losses it was making - so there's little prospect of sponsorship from the biggest employer in Grangemouth). On top of that, the local council increased the rent for the town hall by a significant amount almost every year, but the grant they gave to offset part of the rent did not go up accordingly. Added to that, the entry for the adult events at the 2011 congress was only 117 players (compared with 134 in 2010, and regularly about 160 a decade ago) - consequently, I was faced with a choice between drastically reducing the prize fund in 2011 or using up almost all the reserve funds. I chose to pay the advertised prizes, so the amount of money still in the congress bank account is a lot less than it used to be - and rather importantly, it's not enough to allow another congress to be held without a substantial amount of outside funding from sponsors or benefactors.

I'm not saying the Grangemouth Congress is dead and buried - there is a chance it will return, and I hope it does. But a congress needs the right people and the right money in the right place at the right time, and I don't think all the conditions for a revival of the Grangemouth Congress are met at present.

Re: Grangemouth - George Neave - 12-07-2014

Thanks for the comprehensive response, Donald. Nothing else can be said really - you covered it all.