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Minutes of the Watford Chess Club  Annual General Meeting Held on 1st September 2009 at Watford Town and Country Club at 8pm




Jeremy Taffel,  Secretary

Barry Morris, President, 2nd Team Captain

David Healey, Treasurer

Mike Boyce, 1st  Team and Tournament Secretary

Antony  Hall , 3nd Team Captain,


Ian Whyte Roger Kearns, Roger Lancaster, Nick Blinko, Alex Kearns, Iman, Khandaker, Simon Charles




1. Apologies for absence

2. Minutes of previous AGM

3. Officers’ Reports

4 HCA Business

5. Election of Officers

6. Presentation of trophies

7. Books Beheathed by G. Davies

8. Website

9. Any other Business


1. Apologies for Absence


These had been received from: Chris Russell, Peter Edwards, Simon Morris and  Venkat


2. Minutes of Previous AGM


These had been available since October on the club website. Many thanks to Ian Whyte for the corrections.They  were read and agreed.


3. Officers’ Reports


3.1 Secretary’s Report  - Jeremy Taffel


At the start of the season it was by no means clear that we had the membership to continue to run 6 teams. I’d already warned the HCA to expect us to run only 5, before  the captains meeting the week after the AGM. In that meeting, an attempt was made to guess how many games each member would play. That guess led us to the spectacularly wrong conclusion that we could run 6 teams. Membership was slightly down on the previous season, and from the outset both the 4th and 5th teams struggled. Initially the 4th did not have a captain and as in the previous season I attempted to organise things, but was relieved when Chris Russell took over. Where the 4th struggled, the 5th floundered, and with only 1 player to call upon regularly, the 5th team was disbanded after Christmas.


Over the board, the highlights were the 2nd surviving in Division 1 at Hertford’s expense, and the 2nd team surviving in division 3 at the expense of the once mighty Welwyn. However, the 4th team and 6th teams were relegated the 5th team disbanded, so it was not a good season for the bottom half of the club.


Off the board, we were bequeathed a collection of chess books by an ex member, George Davies who gave us some equipment a few years ago when the Vauxhall (Luton) club folded. There is an agenda item to discuss what to do with the equipment.


As Mark Sparrow was no longer updating the club website, I updated the old one. He has recently responded to an email from me and that site now redirects to the old/new one. He has proposed that we buy the domain/site  off him. We should clearly only have one site and I have put the website onto the agenda.


Under the board, we have some new tables. Bought by us, subsidised by the Town and Country Club.



3.2 Treasurer’s Report – David Healey


It was reported that the club has 20 full members, up one  with half or part subs received for another 8, down 4. Income included  43 in subs which had been  outstanding from the previous year


The cheque for the Herts Fees from one of the outstanding years has now   been banked but the other has not, and is unlikely now ever to be. This  makes the balance look a little worse than last year. Once that, and the decision not to pay for insurance, are both taken into consideration, the club’s income was slightly down and outgoings very similar to last year, and as a result  the club ended the year with slightly less in the way of  reserves, but not alarmingly so.  It was understood that the HCA fee rates were likely to be increased slightly, but offset against that, we will only be fielding 5 teams this season, and two were relegated; lower divisions pay lower fees.


Jeremy acknowledged that several members are eligible to pay a half subscription but elect to pay the full amount.  He thanked for them for doing so.


Having examined the account previously, the executive committee  recommended to keep the subscriptions unchanged at 50 +8 Herts Fees.


The proposal to keep the subscriptions unchanged was accepted unanimously.


3.3 Equipment Officer’s Report – David Healey


With the extra digital clocks purchased last season, it was generally agreed that the equipment is more than adequate both in quality and quantity. However, the equipment cupboard is now jam packed, and untidy. It was agreed that the club would attempt to  clear it out after the Cheshire board. Jeremy announced that he has a good numberof hospital clocks at home.


3.4 Tournament Secretary’s Report – Mike Boyce


a) 10-minute Tournament 16 Sept 2008


This was won by Venkat with 4/5; runner-up Jerry Rudge 4/5, after a play-off.



b) Price Cup (Club Championship, a 7-round Swiss)


The Price Cup was shared between Andrew Stone (again unbeaten) and Jerry Rudge with 5/7.


Andrew and Jerry did not play each other during the competition and also elected not to play off for the outright championship.


I am minded to introduce a clearer rule on how ties will be handled, and favour “sum of progressive scores” as the tie-splitting mechanism, rather than shortening each round from 5 weeks to 4 in order to create more time at the end of the season for a play-off, which might involve more than two players.


18 players entered and 17 finished. Rather more games than usual were defaulted.



c) Dobson Shield and Silver Knight


This year neither the Dobson Shield nor the Silver Knight are awarded, as nobody played the requisite eight qualifying games, even with the Price Cup games included



The meeting thanked Mike for his work in running the tournaments



3.5 Team Captain’s Reports



3.5.1.  1st Team captain’s Report – Mike Boyce


The 1st team came 3rd in division 1 once again, in another very competitive league; just one match point from champions Royston, against whom we drew one and lost the other 2-3. Despite winning our last four matches, we could not recover from three losses and a draw in our first four.  Until April any team could have been relegated or promoted. Watford 1 had an equal game score to Hemel but they beat us and so were placed above us in 2nd place.




3.5.2  2nd Team captain’s Report  - Barry Morris


Barry took over from Mike as 2nd team captain, and  managed to survive for a 2nd year in Division 1. Hertford went down with three  200s or ex-200s at the top with 9 points, and us with 10. Mace had the unenviable record of 15 games with black on the trot for the 1st and 2nd teams,  and when was eventually drawn the white pieces,  his opponent did not turn up.


3.5.3  3rd  Team captain’s Report  - Antony Hall


Newly promoted to Division 2, the season was all about the battle to avoid going straight down again. Things started well with the team beating Royston at home. Unfortunately that was to be our only win for some time as several, albeit close, defeats followed. Our problems were twofold:


- Although we could match the opposing teams on the top boards, we were generally outgunned lower down the order.

- We were also hampered by a constant struggle to get players out, with a combination of nominated players not wishing to play league chess this season from the outset, or dropping out. Other players were not always available as we'd originally hoped.


This meant the core of the team was Martin, Antony and Jeremy plus any two available subs from the 4th/ 5th team. (Even then, Antony didn't help matters by going on honeymoon and missing a couple of matches!)


However, I managed to get a full team out for all matches bar one (a last-minute withdrawal due to illness). We fielded 22 subs across all matches.


It was 2 Match Points out of 12 at the half way stage, but we had not played once-mighty Welwyn Hatfield CF 1 at that point, and it became clear that they would be our closest rivals for relegation. We managed to beat them home and away in two very tight matches (both 3-2). This was to prove decisive as we eventually finished sixth (of seven) and avoided the drop.


We ended up with a record of P12 W3 D0 L9, scoring 6 match points and with game points +23.5/ -36.5. On top board, Martin showed that he hadn't forgotten how to play despite several years away from the board, easily holding his own against several strong players.


Individual scores: Martin (5.5/9), Antony (4/10), Jeremy (5.5/11), Brian (0/3), Ali (1/4).


I managed to rotate the W4/5 players and only Simon Charles transferred up after I lost Martin to the 2nd team. Thanks to the following who played up:


Bill Broome (1/3), Avi Baruch (1/4), Simon Charles (2.5/6), Simon Morris (2.5/3), Chris Russell (0.5/4) and Roger Kearns (0/1).




3.5.4  4th Team captain’s Report  -  None



Chris did not leave a report before going on holiday. However, it was reported by Jeremy that a last minute change to the league resulted in an unearned promotion and the team struggled from the outset.The  nominated team was Bill Broome, Avinoam, Simon Charles, Simon Morris,  and Chris Russell, and it was not anticipated by the committee that they would struggle to raise a team. However, struggle they did, requiring the regular services of  Roger Kearns and others, finishing the season with the record of played 12 won 1 drew 1 and lost 10, resulting in relegation back to Division 4.



3.5.5  5th  Team captain’s Report  - Peter Edwards


The problems with the 4th team were nothing compared with those of the 5th team.


Peter,  Roger, Yehuda were the only active nominated players and Yehuda was away for most of the season, and Roger was renominated for the 4th team relatively soon into the season

The 5th team was disbanded after about 3 matches, as it had a captain but no other players.




3.5.6  6th   Team captain’s Report  - David Healey


 The 6th team finished 2nd from bottom – played 14 won 4 lost 1. Most successful were Chris Byrne and Nick Blinko with 7. The 6th were probably the most settled of al lthe teams with 4 members playing in all the games, and with no Thanks to Philip Abbott for driving.


3.5.7   Russell Trophy – Mike Boyce


Watford lost to St.Albans in the semi-final on board count in a 3-3 match.



3.5.8 Sharp Trophy – Antony Hall


We went out in the first round after drawing 3 - 3 at Hoddesdon, despite a default in our favour due to the opposition not realising it was a six-board competition. We outgraded them on every board but our wins came from Boards 5 and 6 whereas theirs came on 2 and 3. The competition rules meant Hoddesdon went through. This was rather disappointing, as we had a good chance of winning this competition, and this is the second season running where we've lost this way.



3.5.9 Under 125  -  Philip Abbott


No report


3.5.10 Under 100


Watford got to final – with only 3 players graded under 100 in the club. winng 2 rounds by drawing 2-2 level on board count. Won boards 2-3, lost 1-4. lost st A in final Only had 3 players under 100.


Puller Trophy – played in and won for first time in 20 years. 4 round Rapid play accelerated Swiss – top 4 players counted Venkat Roger, Iman,   Venkat, Andrew, Ed came joint top. Roger and Simon also contributed, plus Simon. Beat St Albans. Royston did not defend.


3.6 Juniors -Chris Byrne


Chris was not present and did not submit a report. The current status of the junior section was not known. Last season we had been informed that Chris could not commit to opening for the juniors, and Jeremy had turned down a couple of enquiries, only to discover that Chris was in fact running a junior section with about two children Roger Kearns offered to  do something if we can get a second volunteer, but none was forthcoming so it was decided to leave this open until Chris’ intentions are known.

(post meeting note – at the end of the evening Ian Whyte offered to assist Roger).


4. HCA Matters


Roger Kearns  has attended a couple of HCA exec meetings, but could not answer questions on the new grade boundaries for the KO competitions. It was reported that the  U-150 lost to Warwickshire, and that in the Open section, Herts won the minor counties competion, beating Leicestershire in final. It was also reported that Steve Law’s e2-e4 league reporting website will be moving to a moving to revamped hca site. (post meeting note – as of 10-10-2009 that had not happened).


5. Election of  Officers


President   Barry Morris

Secretary  Jeremy Taffel

Treasurer  David Healey

Tournament Secretary Mike Boyce

Publicity Officer  Antony Hall

HCA Rep Roger Kearns (proposed Jeremy, seconded Mike), Nem Con.


Juniors – left open.


Match Captains

1st, Mike Boyce

2nd  Barry Morris

3rd team – Antony Hall

4th Team  Open

5th Team David Healey


Russell Trophy – Mike Boyce

Sharp Trophy – Antony Hall

U-125 – Open (Phillip Abbott will be approached to discover his availability).

U-100 – David Healey


6 Presentation of Trophies




7. Books Beheathed by G. Davies



Jeremy had a list of the books which was distributed around the meeting. It was agreed that he’d bring them to the club to sell.


8 Website


The future of the chessclub website was discussed. Currently there are two sites, the old sit and . The newer site had not been updated for nearly two years, and discussions with Mark Sparrow indicated that he was unlikely to regain his interest in the club. Jeremy had updated the tripod site in September/October 2008, and was prepared to keep it current. It has the advantages of being free and easy to maintain, but contains advertising (easily supressed by Adblock), and is not the primary Watford Chesclub link from other sites  whereas the other site would require purchasing from Mark, and yearly ongoing hosting. In addition, the HCA league reporting functionality was now provided by Steve Law, and would need removing, and all of the more chatty info, and the embeded games would require moving from the one site to the other. Its biggest advantages are the domain name, and the fact that most of the other chess sites now linked to it. 


The third possibility of paying a nominal web hosting fee to lycos for the tripod name, to get the ads removed and a better domain name (e.g.  was also briefly discussed.


After some discussion it was agreed that the club really did not want to spend money on the website, and it was agreed to stick with the tripod site. Simon Charles proposed that we let Mark know that we don’t wish to buy his site.  This was seconded  by Iman Khandaker. Voting was for 8 against 2 abstained ?


9.  5 Minute Games and General Noise


Jeremy explained that during the season there had been several cases where home and visiting players had been disturbed by noise levels. The room is less than ideal with no soft furnishings to absorb noise, and the following were suggested:

a) 5 minute matches should not be played in the main room when matches are ongoing.

b) Players finishing their game should be mindful that other games might be reaching a climax, and should be careful not to make a disturbance, either by analysis with their opponent, or by clearing their sets away.

c) Voices carry from outside the room – please go through and close both sets of doors before conversing. 



10. Any Other Business


Simon Charles announced that he attended Peter Munday’s funeral  as a representative for the chessclub. He was thanked by the rest of the club for that.



The programme for September was confirmed as:

8th September 10 minute Tourney

15th   Simultaneous – probably Jerry Rudge V Watford

21st    TBA ( either Simultaneous – Andrew Stone V Watford, or an all-play-all 5 minute session).

28th Cheshire St Albans




There being no further business, the meeting was declared closed at 21:50.


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