Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Staunton Memorial Boycotts World.

Billed as the strongest tournament to be held in London for 20 years, most would have thought that the event would have been promoted to the hilt across the UK and on the Internet as a perfect opportunity to promote chess in the UK.

But oh no. Some pompous ass, has decided that the event will only be covered in the bar area inside the venue.

On the same day that this so called prestigious event started without live games being broadcast, we have online live games being broadcast from Great Yarmouth, Hungary and Norway, all 3 pioneers of the 21st millenium and leaving the once great capital of England in their wake.

Shame on you London, shame on you Staunton Memorial tournament organisers and I guess behind the whole strategy with no authority whatsoever the ECF, shame on you all.


Tom Chivers said...

Powerful post Martin. I'm not sure the ECF have anything to do with the tournament though - if they did, I'm quite sure they'd not have it at the same time as the British!

Martin Deane (aka Juicy Plums) said...

Hi Tom,

I wondered about the ECF involvement, but I consider this part of the problem. As the national federation I would expect that no such high profile tournaments could be arranged without their authority. If they don't have that authority then there is an even bigger problem.

Anonymous said...

What do you suggest? Life bans for any participating player?


Martin Deane (aka Juicy Plums) said...

Hi Richard,

The players aren't responsible for the lack of organisation, although there are issues which top UK GMs need to be taken to task over.

I shall cover that at a later date.

The issue here is that the ECF don't seem to have the power to control the scheduling and organisation of major chess events in this country and secondly that the coverage in all media is a complete farce.

Remember this was billed as the strongest event held in London for 20 years. Now that in itself is some statement given that there is only 1 player out of the worlds top players actually here.

Anonymous said...

I don't really understand your point. Is "having the power to control the scheduling of major events" true of any national organisation in the world?

There may be some countries where the national organisations have so much money etc. that there is no need for individual entrepreneurs to organise their own tournaments and/or the leading players are paid by the federations/govts so that they have no choice in what they play in.

But that's not quite the same thing. And doubt you could even cite this Simpsons tournament as an example of an 'entrepreneur' succeeding where the BCF has failed. There certainly doesn't seem to be any notable sponsorship to speak of, and seems to be playing more to the gallery of Raymond Keene's Times chess column (possibly the worst anywhere in the world) than any desire to promote the game.


Martin Deane (aka Juicy Plums) said...

Hi Richard,

Thanks for your response, I do welcome the feedback and discussion.

I'll take a guess here, that you might agree with me that FIDE has spent decades messing up the chess world as a whole and that is hopefully being sorted out with the Bessel Kok company.

What I guess I'm trying to say is that all national chess federations should control the organising of events in their own country. Even at grass roots football level the kids play on a Saturday morning they are still under the auspice of the FA.

Do the Royal & Ancient organise the British Open during the same week as another big golf tournament in the UK. Likewise is the Derby run on the same day as the Grand National. Simplistic I know, and you're probably right that this Staunton Memorial is a Raymond Keene promotional venture and nothing to do with promoting chess in this country.

I take your point that the ECF in its current form doesn't have the money to stage such events, but isn't that a crime. You're talking about one of the richest countries in the world and certainly one of the more technically advanced.

Are there sponsors out there? I don't know, I'm not in a position to look. What I do see is a country such as Turkey ploughing money into the game especially at school level and that's fantastic. So what's going wrong over here?

ejh said...

Isn't it really lazy as well as unfair to blame the ECF for something with which they have no connection whatsoever? Isn't it really, really boring to hear "it's all the fault of the federation for not finding sponsorship" as the analysis of every problem in the chess world? Doesn't it exhibit a complete lack of thought, let alone imagination?

Isn't this:

Do the Royal & Ancient organise the British Open during the same week as another big golf tournament in the UK. Likewise is the Derby run on the same day as the Grand National

a really stupid point? Which do you think was arranged first, the British Championships or the Keene tournament?

Martin Deane (aka Juicy Plums) said...

Well whilst people like yourself defend the ECF all the problems are going to continue. They have done nothing to promote the game in this country and you're delusional prat if you think otherwise.

If you read all the posts, I suggested that if they didn't have authority to schedule the events then they should have.

I also pointed out that my examples were simplistic, what they do point out is that every sport has it's international and national governing bodies, which control all major sporting events in their category. Something which seems lacking in chess.

I also don't apportion all the blame on the ECF, I did say the tournament organisers were to blame also. Indeed you seem to suggest that it is Keene that should be blamed as well.

In the current circumstances you're probably correct, but if the ECF had authority to schedule all major chess events in England then this wouldn't have been possible. This is the crux of my point, aside from the availability of the games online.

Martin Deane (aka Juicy Plums) said...

PS. I am anything but lazy, I do however value your comments and have no illusions that my opinion is always 100 percent correct.

Anonymous said...

The use of the words "delusional prat" suggest otherwise.

Martin Deane (aka Juicy Plums) said...

No they don't, that's just my opinion if people believe the ECF have done anything in the last 20 years to promote the game of chess in the UK. Doesn't mean I'm right, this is my blog after all and I am allowed to post 'my opinion'.

I'm not the one posting anonymously and having nothing constructive to say, for or against the ECF.

Anonymous said...

That wasn't what this thread was about though, was it?

Initially it started as a rant against the Staunton Memorial, including trying to hold the ECF responsible for the failings in a tournament over which they had zero organisation or influence. When this was pointed out, you then tried to blame the ECF for not organising it, or preventing it from being organised (because they should apparently have that power, even though you can't name a single national federation anywhere in the world where such a situation would be different).

The point about the UK being "one of the richest countries in the world" is similarly misleading. You can't automatically create a sponsorship market for chess in the country, when there is no obvious commercial reason for any company to get involved in such a way, given the way the game is viewed and a lack of media coverage. In practice most of the large sponsorship of chess in this country has come about mainly as a result of individuals interested in chess, not out of a clear commercial case. The ECF over the years has had many and varied failings (although a lot of what it is blamed for a things which are not within its mandate, even if some think they should), but in most cases the ECF as it is, is a symptom of the problems of chess in the country, rather than the cause. If there was a market for lots of big money international tournaments in this country then they would happen. As has been pointed out the ECF can't stop that happening. And in no other countries is it any different. But the converse is that if there is little market for individuals to organise tournaments there is no reason why the ECF should be able to do any different.

And they certainly should bankrupt themselves trying.

An easy target though. Easy to blame, less easy to say what they should do differently.


Martin Deane (aka Juicy Plums) said...

Whether any federation has that control is just an extension of the point not an excuse. Someone should have the responsibility of scheduling chess events and surely the best organisation for that task is the naitional federation.

Why can't the ECF make that happen?

Yet again the tired old excuse of there being no support for chess in this country and no sponsors around comes out.

The sponsors are out there, you've just got to work damned hard to find them. Many other smaller sports have done so and many smaller countries have found sponsors for their chess events.

Excuse after excuse, the same tired ones all the time.

The UK is probably the second strongest online chess community in the world on many a website so the interest is there, it just needs to be tapped into. BTW the strongest online chess community which is the USA has many of the same problems as the UK, and I believe they have started taking steps to remedy it by re-organising their chess leagues.

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