Minutes of Telepost Chess Club AGM
Held Monday 29th July 2019 at the Clubhouse.
PRESENT: Martin Ayres, John Bashall, Paul Billington, Dennis Bonner, John Casewell, Nick Holmes, Charles Micallef, Graham Shepherd, Shane Sweeney, Keith Tabner, John Westhead, Steve Wilson, Phil Zabrocki
APOLOGIES: Matthew Clark, Paul Officer
1. Acceptance of Minutes of AGM on 13/8/18 – agreed.
2. A team summary – Matthew sent a report:
The A team enjoyed another successful season, but we didn’t win a trophy this year. Our most successful competition this year was the Rapid Play League, where we came 2nd. This was a big improvement from last year. We ended up coming 3rd in the Classical League. Newport were clearly the strongest team, but Maddocks also just came ahead of us. We reached the semi-finals of both the Cox Trophy and the Summer Rapid Play Cup. Nigel enjoyed another magnificent season. He was unbeaten in the League for the 2nd year in a row, scoring 8/10. He scored a total of 20/27 in all competitions, including 2 wins over an International Master. He would be my clear nominee for player of the year, not just for our club, but across the entire league. Phil Zabrocki was our next most successful player with 13.5/22. Our aim for next year should be to finish in the top two in the League and to win a trophy. We probably need better results on boards 4 and 5 to achieve this.
3. B team summary – John W reported that the team had struggled this year mainly due to problems getting a full team out because of holidays and illness. One match was defaulted. The team finished second from bottom but we have recently heard that they will remain in the second division as the League Controller needs to even up the divisions. Steve Kempsell is aiming to return to playing next season and all wished him well.
4. C team summary – Dennis reported that the team finished fifth out of seven teams, with 11 points. Kate was the most successful player but didn’t play all the matches. Newport B won the league, with Maddocks B second, and all agreed that there were some very strong teams in the division this season.
5. D team summary – Steve W reported that he didn’t have high expectations and they were met! But the team beat Oswestry in avoiding the wooden spoon, with five draws and one win. Steve hoped to be able to convert more draws to wins next season with a stronger team. Shane had an excellent season on board one and David Neale continues to improve. Optimistic for next season, especially with a second Telepost team in the division, from whom he hoped to get four points! John C pointed out that it was a very good achievement for the D team to avoid the bottom place, but, as E team captain, noted the challenge in Steve’s final comment!
6. B team rapidplay summary – Nick reported in Paul O’s place since he was rather a long way away in the Falklands. Headline news was that the team avoided the wooden spoon. Paul introduced some innovative captaincy tactics including first to lose misses the next game, and dropping the strongest player, himself! We fielded a full team for all five fixture nights, but, as with the previous season, we could do with a couple more stronger players for boards one and two to avoid being the whipping boys (and girl). The league ran very smoothly this year.
7. Shrewsbury Town Champs 2019/Cox and Minor Trophies/Club Championships – Keith reported that the Shrewsbury Town champs had a healthy entry of 14 players this year and was progressing smoothly (Phil was encouraged to continue catching up…). For the Cox and Minor, Keith was persuaded to introduce a new rule regarding players being cup tied (following an incident last year where Charles ended up playing the same player twice). The new rule meant that players were cup tied once they had played once, but its effect in practice was that a number of teams had to withdraw or default, including our own B team. Keith intends to withdraw the new rule next season. Telepost weren’t among the trophies, with Shrewsbury C the surprise winners on the Minor – good to see an underdog come through. Keith reported that the Club Champs only had 7 players this year and 6 the previous year and asked whether it was still worth running it. He felt that 8 players was a minimum viable number. On a show of hands there were 6 people in the meeting interested in entering and it was agreed that Keith would email the whole membership nearer the time to gauge numbers before making a final decision. An alternative would be to have some individual events in gaps in the league schedule.
8. National Team Championships – Dennis reported that this competition, in which Telepost B won and Telepost A came second in their division in 2018, was no longer being run by the ECF, meaning we are reigning champions until the powers that be decide otherwise.
9. Club members at congresses – Dennis reported that a number of members had attended congresses during the season, including a good Telepost turnout at Blackpool, which all agreed had been an enjoyable event. Highlights included two section wins for Kate, at Warwickshire and North Wales.
10. Shropshire Minor Individual U125 – Nick reported that three Telepost players had entered the second year of this competition. John W went into an early lead, nearly got caught at the end, but held on to win the tournament with an impressive 5.5/7, receiving a very smart rose bowl trophy and £50. Nick was fourth on 4.5/7 and Dennis won the U100 grading prize with 3.5/7, so a good showing by the club. The competition ran very smoothly and members were encouraged to enter next year.
11. Treasurer’s report – John W presented the accounts. There has been a drop in the balance of club funds, mainly due to equipment purchases totalling £145 over the last two years (slightly offset this year by not needing to buy any trophies since we didn’t win anything!) John estimated a minimum expenditure on clock batteries, league fees (for 5 teams) and scoresheets of £80, before any additional expenditure on trophies or equipment. If we have three teams playing on one night (a possibility with 5 teams next season), or two teams playing and individual matches, we might need more clocks. In view of all the above, John raised the question whether we should raise the club fees from the current level of £5. After some discussion it was proposed and agreed that the fees should rise to £8 for adults and £4 for juniors. The meeting also discussed options for obtaining sponsorship or grants, including approaching the council (Steve W had seen this work in Wolverhampton league) and asking any suppliers that we use if they could sponsor us. Dennis also asked for anyone who knew of a company that might be interested in sponsorship to let him know, and thanked John for his work. New fees to be paid to John W asap please.
12. Club website – John C reported that he was working on updating the noticeboard but needed some help from Keith to publish the fetching photo of John W and his rose bowl. Dennis thanked John C for his work on the site. There was some discussion of the need for the Shropshire AGM minutes to appear on the county website in advance of the new season.
13. Teams for 2018/19 season – Dennis circulated membership lists with new and previous grades. There had been a Captains’ meeting to discuss teams. There was initially some discussion of juniors – we have one new junior member and Chris Lewis intends to resuscitate the Shropshire junior programme in the new year. Keith noted that we needed to be careful about legislation regarding juniors in the club and Dennis explained that junior players always had a guardian with them when they attended. John C noted that Alan Brannen of Maddocks was intending to introduce chess into the curriculum at his school. Returning to the teams, Dennis noted that we had a number of new members, including Graham moving from Church Stretton, Paul B returning to the club after many years, and James Holyhead, who is based in Birmingham but will be playing for our teams. It was good for the club that we were able to field 5 teams next season. The main decision to be made was whether to return to deciding teams on grade order. After some discussion, it was proposed and agreed that this should be the case, allowing for availability of drivers. (Paul B very generously offered to help out with transport for any teams that were struggling with this, and the meeting thanked him.) Captains would liaise again to finalise the teams in line with grade order now the new grades were confirmed.
14. Election of Officers and Captains – there were no changes to officers – Secretary – Dennis, Treasurer – John W, Honorary President – Keith, Equipment Secretary – Steve W. Captains are as follows:
A team – Matthew
B team – John W
C team – Dennis
D team – Steve W
E team = John C
A team rapidplay – Matthew
B team rapidplay – Nick will captain if Paul O is in Matthew’s team
15. Discussion points:
Shropshire AGM – the main changes arising were a new requirement for Division One nominated players to play 50% of matches, and a new rule that matches must start at 7.30pm with the right for a team to start the clocks if their opponents are not all present (if a home team is not ready to start at 7.30, the away team can insist that the time between 7.30 and the actual start of the match is deducted from the home team’s time.) All of this can be disregarded if both team captains are happy for a later start. Dennis also reported that it had been confirmed that Shropshire would once again enter a county open team, captained by Matthew, and an U120 team captained by Dennis. Plans for this were progressing well, and Roger Brown had also expressed an interest in forming an U140 team. Val had agreed that we can use Telepost for some of the home matches and Matthew was investigating using Shrewsbury School.
Mentoring system – this had been discussed last year but had not yet got off the ground and the meeting discussed various options. Paul B proposed an interesting idea of having sessions using some of the excellent tutoring resources that are now available online. It was felt that this would need to be on targeted nights of gaps in the league schedule because of pressure on space. Paul suggested that another approach would be for captains to discuss these resources with their teams. John C and Steve W said they were not keen to mentor, but happy to encourage, and John W noted that he was the lowest graded player on his team. Keith noted that there were links to resources on the club website and asked that people let him know of any additional ones. Dennis pointed out that the key problem was a willingness for people to act as mentors. Nick noted that playing in club championships and Shrewsbury Town champs was a good way for lower graded players to get advice from higher graded players, through post-game analysis.
Chess equipment – Steve W reported that it was all in the cupboard! He reiterated that it was important that the flexible boards are put away properly otherwise they are difficult to get flat. John W has spared no expense and made another custom bespoke board holder to address this.
Pre-season friendly with Shrewsbury – Dennis reported there had been less players for this in the last couple of years and asked whether it should continue. Meeting agreed that Dennis would gauge interest from Shrewsbury before a final decision.
Rapidplay Swiss – Steve W agreed to run another rapidplay event, possibly handicapped, during the season. Phil was prepared to host another simul if Nigel can’t be persuaded.
AOB – Steve W presented some matchcards to be used to record results, which were well received and will be left in the cupboard and given to captains. Graham advertised the MCCU Championships to be held at the Ramada in Telford on 9-11 August.
Keith proposed it was past time to go to the bar and the meeting closed at 9.40pm.
Nick Holmes 30/7/19