Contact webmaster

Copyright © 2003, Jonathan Tuck, on behalf of the Thames Valley Chess League


BCF ANNUAL COUNCIL MEETING, Saturday 27th September 2003

1.30 – 5.40p.m. at The Bull Hotel, Westgate, Peterborough

This report is for the organisations that I represented at the above meeting. About 45 people were present.

Nigel Dennis

President’s Report and Opening Remarks

Gerry Walsh had had a very significant meeting with The Rt. Hon. Charles Clarke M.P. Minister for Education and Skills to discuss chess in schools, and he is due to meet him again on 7th October. A press release will be issued soon. The Minister considers that chess can play an important role in Education, and that every child should have the opportunity to play. Charles Clarke is the son of the late Sir Richard Clarke who was a civil servant, and invented the BCF Grading system in the 1960’s.


The following were elected:- President – Gerry Walsh, Chief Executive – Roy Heppinstall, Finance Director – Robert Richmond, Director for Congress Chess – Neil Graham, Director of Home Chess – Cyril Johnson, Director of Junior Chess and Education – Peter Turner, Director of Strategic Planning and Grading – Chris Majer, International Director – Rupert Jones, Director of Coaching – Matthew Turner, Director of Women’s Chess – Claire Summerscale, Marketing Director – David Levens, Director of Membership Structures and Information and Communications Technology – Bruce Holland, Delegate to FIDE – Gerry Walsh, Chairman of Finance Committee – John Philpott, Chairman of Constitution Committee – Paul Buswell

All officers seeking election were unopposed, though as is usual, some of the Directors picked up one or two votes against them.

Appointment of Stewart Reuben as Honorary Life Vice-President

The President on behalf of the Management Board proposed the appointment of Stewart Reuben, who was standing down as International Director, as an Honorary Life Vice-President of the BCF. He had been a Management Board member since 1979 apart from two years after he ceased to be Chairman. The representative from Warwickshire Chess Association spoke against this. However when it came to a vote, the Warwickshire vote was the only vote against.

Report of Congress Director

As a result of the entry this year, with the top seeds coming from various countries and English grandmasters most notable for their absence, a meeting was held of the British Isles Co-ordinating committee which decided that qualification to Championship events be limited in 2004 to players from the British Isles rather than open to the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth Chess Association is expected to fill the role vacated by the BCF.

The finances of the BCF Congress continue to produce surpluses with the percentage increases in prize money being greater than the percentage increases in entry fees. They had been able to obtain venues either free or for very little cost, when the commercial price for two weeks would have been about £70,000.

Name and Objects of the Federation

The Management Board proposed "That Council believes in principle that the name and objects of the BCF should be changed to reflect the essentially English nature of the Federation". There was a second proposal, which would only be considered if the first proposal was passed with a two-thirds majority, "to establish a working party and timetable to bring recommendations into effect by 1st January 2005".

To explain very briefly, when the BCF was set up nearly 100 years ago, it had responsibility for other territories such as Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. Now it had very little responsibility beyond England. Gerry Walsh said that, when he attended FIDE meetings, there were eight BCF’s and he often had to explain that he was English. Somebody said that the Scots wanted the BCF to change its name. Alan Martin spoke against the resolution and in favour of keeping the word "British" in the title, and produced considerable laughter when he described the BCF as "well loved by all chess players". The President said that the proposed changes would have no effect on The British Chess Problem Society.

The vote was the only card vote of the meeting, and there were 133 card votes in favour and 48 against. The second proposal regarding the working party and timetable was also passed.

Report on Strategic Planning and Grading

There had been a large increase in the size of the grading list due to the inclusion of all players’ clubs instead of one club. This caused the price to be increased by £2. After 3 or 4 years, the names of players’ old clubs should drop out. Since the current grading software has been running for less than this time, there were many players’ old clubs brought forward from the previous grading software.

The representative of Hastings International Congress said that he enjoyed reading the top 100 players list and the other top lists given at the beginning of the grading list. However he was not too keen on reading so many foreign names. Many of these were of foreign players who had played one tournament in this country. A member of the grading team said that the grading software could not easily identify foreign players. Stewart Reuben said that, if he were shown the list before publication, he could identify nearly all the foreign players in about 5 minutes. Further consideration will be given to publishing only English players in the top player lists in future, though this did seem to present some practical difficulties.

BCF National Schools Championship

This competition used to be sponsored by "The Times". It still has no sponsorship, and the number of schools entering is falling. Richard Haddrell said that a major disadvantage was not being able to distribute the entry form to every school in the country.


There were two new awards this year. The Chequered Board, the magazine of Cowley Chess Club, was "The Magazine of the Year", and was "The website of the Year".

Key Performance Indicators

A 24 page "Achievement Report against 2002-2003 Business Plan" had been circulated before the meeting. The report included the following table: -


2001 - 02

2002 - 03


Number of Direct Members




Number of Players in Grading List




Number of Female Players in Grading List




Number of Games Graded




Number of Titled Players




Number of FIDE Rated Players




Number of Counties in County Championship Zonals




Number of Teams in National Club Championships




Number of Schools in BCF Schools Team Championships




The Sustainable Income of the BCF excluding one-off windfalls



Disability Discrimination Act 1995; Proposal to change Objects of the BCF item 2.9

To provide clearer emphasis to the availability of services and membership to the disabled, and to introduce the word "impairment" within the context of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, there was a proposal that Object 2.9 be changed to "To make the Federation’s services and membership available to all, without restriction on grounds of age, playing ability, impairment, colour, creed, gender, occupation, race or religious or political affiliation, and to promote equal opportunities in a positive manner". Somebody proposed that "sexual orientation " be added to the wording. This was defeated by 19 votes to 12. Stewart Reuben then proposed that, since in future there were likely to be constant proposals about the wording of this clause, all the disabilities should be deleted so that the clause read "To make the Federation’s services and membership available to all, and to promote equal opportunities in a positive manner". There were 6 votes against this, and so many votes in favour that they were not counted.

Disabled Chess

The Director of Home Chess wanted to create a group whose function would be to assist and encourage all who suffer from non-sensory impairment to learn and play chess. There is currently the Braille Chess Association for blind players, and the English Deaf Association for deaf players, but there is no organisation for disabled players who are not blind or deaf.

Quorum at Meetings of the Council

The quorum for meetings of the Council was altered to "20 persons present in person who are entitled to vote" from "15 members present in person or by proxy".

Date of future meetings

The Finance Council Meeting will be held on 24th April 2004 in the West of England. The Annual Council Meeting will be held in October in the Midlands.