Halesowen Chess Club AGM 2021 - Officers Reports
The period since the last AGM in May 2019 has been dominated by the arrival of Covid19 and the imposition of restrictions to control it. Those have lasted for over a year and even now when restrictions have been more or less fully relaxed, people are understandably nervous of taking up chess in exactly the same way as they did before. Some of us have lost family members or close friends during the period. On behalf of the club, and personally, I offer my condolences. I also have to report that one of the earliest members and officers of the club, Mark Millard, died in October 2020, although not from Covid.
The chess world has largely paused, or gone on-line, for the last 12 months. Looking back at the minutes of the 2019 AGM, the club had suffered in the previous year with losing members, largely to retirement, and decided to reduce the number of teams it entered into local leagues. Even so it was understood that fulfilling all fixtures was going to be a stretch. Against that backdrop it is encouraging to note that whilst some defaults did occur (and more than we would have liked) the vast majority of matches did take place and lots of games were played. The club enjoyed some success as will be seen in the captain’s reports.
Each of the four leagues we play in responded in a different way to resolve the league season that started in autumn 2019. More detail in the League representative’s reports.
The club is indebted to its Webmaster (Pete Banks) for keeping the club communication alive when meetings weren’t possible and our venue was closed; and to Paul Evans who initiated social chess activity after the Lighthouse re-opened. They both deserve our thanks. Their activities have resulted in new members Luke and Ali, who we welcome. On-line chess is booming, fuelled in part by the Netflix series “The Queen’s Gambit”. Hopefully, Haelsowen can convert some of the new players to in-person players as conditions ease.
I’d also like to thank Dale Jackson, our treasurer for the last six years, who is not standing for re-election tonight. It is an important role and I look forward to welcoming his successor.
Turning to myself, I had also intended to stand down at the 2021 AGM. I have been Chairman for 17 years and although that is two fewer years than Dave Bissell who preceded me, it is long enough. But with a new Treasurer and a strange year ahead of us, which will no doubt require an unusual amount of admin and communications, I will stand for re-election. I hope that someone will stand against me when I will withdraw! But please note that this will be my last season in role.
Fixtures Officer’s Report
All fixtures were completed (before play was suspended) with the few rearrangements necessary being handled by team captains.
League Representative’s Reports
1. Birmingham League
League play was suspended in March 2020 and after much deliberation is was decided in Summer 2021 that league positions, trophies, promotion and relegation, would be decided on the basis of points gained per match played. It is hoped that incomplete trophy and individual events will be completed at a later date.
The league has now initiated the necessary steps to re-start face-to-face league chess. League play will commence from 1/10/21 with team entries required by 31/8/21. All fixture dates will be set centrally with teams allowed to re-arrange if necessary. There will be no trophy events in 21/22. (Stewart)
2. Wolverhampton League
League play was suspended in March 2020 and it was decided almost immediately when it became clear that matches could not be completed before the final date for play (April 2020) that league positions, trophies, promotion and relegation, would be decided on the basis of points gained per match played. No decision has been made about resumption of league chess. (Pete)
3. Worcester County League
League play was suspended in March 2020 and it was decided that the league season would be complete in Spring of 2021 if practical. This opportunity did not present itself and league play is still suspended, with the future unclear. (John)
4. Dudley and District League
League play was suspended in March 2020 and it with a wide variety of numbers of games yet to be played, it was decided that the 19/20 league season would be declared nul and void. No decision has been made as to when the league will resume. (Stewart)
Safeguarding Officer’s Report
There were no incidents to report. Members are reminded that the Safeguarding policy is available on the website and that it covers both junior members and any juniors visiting the club. Any incidents or concerns are to be reported to the Safeguarding Officer or to Stewart acting as deputy. Significant incidents will be reported on to Dudley Council or the police. (John E)
The website was updated, on average, twice a week before play was suspended. Updates have continued but much more sporadically. I am willing to continue, but would be like to put the role up for other candidates. It would be good if a younger person could step up. (Pete)