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Thread: 5.6 Ending the Membership Extension

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    Default 5.6 Ending the Membership Extension

    The CFC did decide to end the membership extension beginning November 1st, 2020. The voting members from Manitoba Ken Einarsson and John Remillard sent us a letter on this topic. This is cut and pasted from an attached Word Document.



    Vlad: The Manitoba Chess Association (MCA) is inquiring about the decision to reinstate membership dues in light of COVID-19. The MCA strongly believes that for the health and safety of all chess players, membership dues should continue to be deferred until we hear from the various medical authorities that it is safe to get back to as close to normal business practices. We realize that the business model of the Chess Federation of Canada (CFC), the MCA and other provincial associations will potentially be devastated until we return to normal business practices. The return to normal business practices should only occur after seeking and obtaining provincial medical board approval and clearance to return to past practices.

    A couple of points on re-instating membership dues:

    - By reinstating the membership dues, we believe a bad message is given to the chess player at large as they are also facing financial hardship as well. If the re-instatement of fees are because financial difficulties of the various associations, we should not go to the membership but look to other means such as Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) if we qualify.

    - Re-instatement of the membership to us looks like a cash grab in tight times, as we believe right now the “value for money” aspect of the membership is not there and we must wait until this aspect is properly re-established. We then must strategize how we can bring back our past memberships:

    - You can indicate that we do have some on-line tournaments but this is not at the same level of activities of pre-COVID. We believe that it will be quite difficult to get back the chess player after COVID as they might have moved onto other safer options in their opinion.

    -
    There have also been some in person tournaments as well, although we consider this unsafe at this time. To get the buy in of the chess player the CFC should develop a minimum set of protocols/guidelines/policy statement for the organizers to follow if the tournament is to be sanctioned by the CFC. This might also be the norm after COVID, as organizer might have to develop a “COVID safe plan” which talks about the sanitization of chess equipment, spacing of boards, maximum number of participants in the tournament etc. Then the question would these plans be submitted to the CFC so the tournaments from the organizer can be considered as a CFC sanctioned event? At the next governors meeting, the MCA would like the membership fee issue be an item for discussion at the meeting by all the governors.
    Last edited by Vladimir Drkulec; 12-13-2020 at 01:26 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vladimir Drkulec View Post
    The CFC did decide to end the membership extension beginning November 1st, 2020. The voting members from Manitoba Ken Einarsson and John Remillard sent us a letter on this topic. This is cut and pasted from an attached Word Document.



    Vlad: The Manitoba Chess Association (MCA) is inquiring about the decision to reinstate membership dues in light of COVID-19. The MCA strongly believes that for the health and safety of all chess players, membership dues should continue to be deferred until we hear from the various medical authorities that it is safe to get back to as close to normal business practices. We realize that the business model of the Chess Federation of Canada (CFC), the MCA and other provincial associations will potentially be devastated until we return to normal business practices. The return to normal business practices should only occur after seeking and obtaining provincial medical board approval and clearance to return to past practices.
    We really cannot return to normal business practices at this time. We do have people playing CFC chess online. If we cannot collect memberships then we will likely have to look at rationalizing services and perhaps shutting down until after vaccines become largely available. We realize that we are not ready to go back to normal but we do have a new normal where we have many players playing in CFC events online. We are going to suffer losses but we will have to start aiming for a new normal where we can at least continue to exist.


    A couple of points on re-instating membership dues:

    - By reinstating the membership dues, we believe a bad message is given to the chess player at large as they are also facing financial hardship as well. If the re-instatement of fees are because financial difficulties of the various associations, we should not go to the membership but look to other means such as Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) if we qualify.
    So far we do not qualify because of the way we are structured, though this boggles my mind somewhat. We will have to continually check as the program changes are made to see if we do qualify. In any case, in the best case if we did qualify we could get a $10,000 grant and a $30,000 repayable loan through this program. This $10,000 will keep us going for two months.



    - Re-instatement of the membership to us looks like a cash grab in tight times, as we believe right now the “value for money” aspect of the membership is not there and we must wait until this aspect is properly re-established. We then must strategize how we can bring back our past memberships:
    Cash is the lifeblood of every business including the CFC. One thing that we have instructed Bob to do is work on collecting receivables which includes rating fees and CFC memberships collected but not yet remitted to the CFC. If we can collect on those sums we can continue operations for several more months.


    - You can indicate that we do have some on-line tournaments but this is not at the same level of activities of pre-COVID. We believe that it will be quite difficult to get back the chess player after COVID as they might have moved onto other safer options in their opinion.

    -
    There have also been some in person tournaments as well, although we consider this unsafe at this time. To get the buy in of the chess player the CFC should develop a minimum set of protocols/guidelines/policy statement for the organizers to follow if the tournament is to be sanctioned by the CFC. This might also be the norm after COVID, as organizer might have to develop a “COVID safe plan” which talks about the sanitization of chess equipment, spacing of boards, maximum number of participants in the tournament etc. Then the question would these plans be submitted to the CFC so the tournaments from the organizer can be considered as a CFC sanctioned event? At the next governors meeting, the MCA would like the membership fee issue be an item for discussion at the meeting by all the governors.
    There is no doubt that we are going to take a multiyear hit from the COVID pandemic. It may be late into 2021 and possibly 2022 before we can hope to return to some semblance of normal. It is not realistic to expect that we can continue to supply services and pay a salary to Bob Gillanders who is essential to continuing to operate without any income coming in. At some point we may qualify for some government assistance but it will be somewhat limited.

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    Re: Vlad - CFC letter
    You replied on Thu 2020-11-26 8:00 PM


    Ken Einarsson <Email redacted>


    Thu 2020-11-26 7:09 PM

    Hi


    We do agree that COVID is bringing a lot of entities to the brink of financial ruin. A lot of clubs which existed prior to COVID may not exist after COVID. Even us we will survive but are unsure of our status after COVID. As currently we have space at the University through their community outreach program. After COVID we are unsure how they will re-invision their program as their first priority will be the safety of their students.


    It is just we believe that we believe that we cannot fully rely on the chess player as they are also facing hardship as well. Possibly we can come with some form of shared concept where the chess player pays partial and we find other funding sources.

    On Thu, Nov 26, 2020 at 2:11 AM Vladimir Drkulec <> wrote:

    Hello Ken and John,



    We can certainly make this letter part of the discussion in the COVID section of the meeting. I don't think there is any expectation that people will suddenly start holding tournaments, but we are having junior online events and FIDE events where the players are required to be members and we can at least stop the bleeding a bit. If we extend the deadline any further we will probably need to start pulling money out of the foundation funds in order not to run out of money this coming year. Running out of money means going out of business. We still have to pay FIDE and pay Bob's salary with or without any revenues. Collecting some of the receivables will also prolong the time before we need to tap foundation funds.



    So far it doesn't appear that we qualify for any of the current relief programs from the government, though I find this surprising. In any case, those programs provide $10,000 in grants and $30,000 in loans which we would still have to pay back and pay interest on. The grant would buy us a month and a half if we were eligible. We will probably still get about $10,000 or so from the foundation.



    Vlad





    From: Ken Einarsson <>
    Sent: November 25, 2020 11:53 AM
    To: John Remillard <>; Vladimir Drkulec <>
    Subject: Vlad - CFC letter


    Vlad


    Here is a letter from both governors for Manitoba which we would like to discuss at the next governors meeting.

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    Finding other funding sources would be wonderful but I don't think realistically that we can hope for someone to step in and pay a portion of the membership fees.

    I would be interested in what others think.

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    Given that most of our activity has been online and Quick rated, many players are opting to purchase tournament memberships for $8 adult or $4 junior, there is no financial burden for players.
    The BCCF announced the end of free membership extentions about a month ago and there have been no complaints that I am aware of.
    Paul Leblanc
    Treasurer, Chess Foundation of Canada
    CFC Voting Member

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    It is unrealistic to expect players to pay CFC dues when they are not playing. You may be able to collect from online national championships but I suspect the revenue involved is not worth the effort. The CFC should reduce its expenses to the absolute minimum and seek a loan or perhaps a grant from the chess Foundation. The Chess foundation is there to support the CFC I can think of no better use than for it to help the CFC financially in this time of crisis.
    Les Bunning

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    We don't expect players to pay CFC dues when they are not playing but there are people playing. It does not make sense to shut down totally as we might be looking at a lump payment of six months pay and then we aren't offering any services anymore. We are in a tough place but if everyone is getting vaccinations we should be able to get back to normal in 2022 with the possibility of an enhanced normal because of our experience of moving online.

    We have about $55,000 in cash on hand. I believe that we have receivables that should be collectible which push the crisis out as much as a year. We have to push more aggressively into online play but before that is possible we need to get a handle on online cheating and allegations real and unfounded of online cheating.

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    I realize this is likely "out-there", "crazy", etc. but since we're in a crunch, we need to throw ideas around. That said, could the CFC create its own profitable "online" chess playing platform when considering the competition of Chess.com, Lichess, and numerous others ? In business, the guy who has the best widget wins (ie. it would have to be a "really" great playing platform).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lloyd Lombard View Post
    I realize this is likely "out-there", "crazy", etc. but since we're in a crunch, we need to throw ideas around. That said, could the CFC create its own profitable "online" chess playing platform when considering the competition of Chess.com, Lichess, and numerous others ? In business, the guy who has the best widget wins (ie. it would have to be a "really" great playing platform).
    I have no doubt that it is possible to create a playing platform but we do not have the numbers, the personnel, or the capital to create a successful playing platform to compete with the big guys.

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    Anyone who had a valid CFC membership on Mar 1, 2020 received an 8 month extension to their membership. I think our best offer to our members would be to sell memberships, until further notice, with a bonus of 6 months added on - in other words a regular membership would be for 18 months. Financially, I don't think simply extending the memberships again is a good plan.

    The new normal for 2021 is online chess and in-person matches or 4 player round-robins.

    Fred McKim
    CFC Treasurer

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