Value for Money

Here is the text of a statement issued today by the Egregious Chess Federation:

The Board notes with regret the decision of Alex McFarlane not to offer his services as Chief Arbiter of the British Chess Championships 2012 and to withdraw from all future ECF activity. His services will be missed by players and officials alike.

Mr McFarlane’s decision comes as a result of his dissatisfaction with the ECF’s response to the incident that took place prior to the prize-giving of the 2011 British Championships, which led to the ECF President, CJ de Mooi, not presenting the prizes.

The Board is sorry that its actions in this matter have not been satisfactory to Mr McFarlane, but it stands by the approach adopted and the decisions taken and cannot in good conscience apologise for them.

The Board’s position has consistently been as follows:

• A line was drawn under the original incident with the publication of the ECF’s statement on the day after the prize-giving, which included apologies by President CJ de Mooi and Senior Arbiter Lara Barnes and an acceptance that there had been a misunderstanding;

• The ECF stated (and restated) its confidence in, and support for, the officials involved;

• The ECF stated categorically that any allegations of bigotry or homophobia published after the incident were entirely without foundation;

• The ECF would not comment on individual expressions of opinion by third parties concerning the incident, but, given the categorical statement above, its rejection of any specific allegation of bigotry or homophobia was clear.

The position of Mr de Mooi, with the agreement of the Board, has consistently been that the statements made on the day after the incident represented an agreement to draw a line under the matter. As a consequence, he has refrained from any further public comment on the incident and this remains his position.

An offer by a third party to mediate between Mr McFarlane and the ECF Board was given serious consideration. After considerable discussion, the Board reached the conclusion that there was no prospect of the mediation process achieving success, given what was being asked of Mr de Mooi and the Board. Under the circumstances, the Board reluctantly took the view that it would be acting in bad faith to continue the process and advised the mediator that it would not be proceeding.

This matter has been the subject of a lengthy and time-consuming correspondence between the involved parties. It is deeply regrettable that a more amicable resolution could not be reached, but it is the considered view of the Board that this correspondence must now close.

The arrogance and contempt for its volunteer workforce shines through in characteristic style, but it has opened my eyes to the fact that the Egregious bunch are actually offering a remarkable, value-for-money service.


As Cynthia Payne realised, for years now, large sections of the British establishment have been willing to pay substantial sums of money, in order to spend their leisure hours being abused and humiliated by a bunch of old women. Now they can enjoy such treatment free of charge, merely by offering to work as unpaid volunteers for the Dear Leader and his nauseating bunch of Caissic hangers-on.

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