Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Death of a subscription

Congratulations! Well, self-congratulations. Anyway, this made me laugh.

What we're invited to believe here is that Nigel's defection to another federation (a perfectly reasonable move in itself and one I might make myself one day) has something to do with the personage of CJ de Mooi, or is in some way justified by that gentleman's autobiography - which, while it makes no mention at all of the English Chess Federation, does claim that its author once killed a man. Much like CJ's statements while President of the ECF, this is not believeable. The difference this time, perhaps, is that nobody can be found who is gullible enough to believe it.

Cobblers: if anybody was to be concerned about CJ's moral character, the time for that was when CJ was rampaging about Sheffield defaming other ECF officials, or making claims about money that changed every time he made them or, especially, when he saw fit to touch the Federation for a large sum of money which he then distributed to competitors with an absence of documentation.

Because if you were concerned about how an organisation is governed, absolutely the first and most important thing that would alarm you would be gross financial irresponsibility. Wouldn't it?

Yet to my recollection, complaints about CJ from the country's chess professionals were few and far between. (I don't recall, for instance, too many of the contestants who received conditions at Sheffield complaining about the lack of documentation, which you would think they'd need themselves for their own purposes.) To be fair, this didn't distinguish them from the Federation itself, which didn't see these offences as reason to do anything with CJ except beg him to stay on. Nobody declared CJ persona non grata either for his bizarre financial activities or for his having ECF officials' names dragged through the mud by his friends in the media.

However, let's just repeat that this was very serious and that nobody who couldn't spot, back then, from that behaviour, that CJ was a character who shouldn't be within a thousand miles of the organisation, needs to be taken seriously when they invoke his name now.

Curiously, a few days before the Telegraph story appeared, this piece appeared on Nigel's blog, on the subject of raising money for chess. The section that leaps out at you:

Well, Ray's been involved with something for more than 30 years, that something being gross misconduct and worse. But if you can't spot one spiv, why should you be able to spot another?

CJ could, which is why he was cosying up to Ray within a few weeks of taking office. But other people can't, and I'm afraid the reason they can't is that they're paying a great deal of attention to money in the context of people raising it for chess, but no attention at all when it comes to how that money is handled. Which is actually rather the more important question of the two.

As Nigel puts it, it's really very simple. You don't put spivs in charge of your chess tournaments, you don't invite them into your organisation and you don't set them up as examples of what you're looking for. And if you can't spot those spivs when they're doing what they do, please don't pop up years later telling us how concerned you are regarding what one of them plainly hasn't done.

Spare me. Eh.

[Ray Keene index]
[CJ de Mooi index]


Frits Fritschy said...

"Much like CJ's statements while President of the ECF, this is not believeable." Well, that might be right, but see this Dutch newspaper report from yesterday (the story also made it to Dutch tv news): A 36-year old junkie, by the name of Norbert Dichtl, was found dead in an Amsterdam canal in 1988; he had been hit and was still alive before entering the water. The murder has never been solved.
The quoted newspaper is not known for checking-to-death a nice story, but I thought I should mention it, not knowing whether this detail is known at your side of the sea.

ejh said...

Well, thanks very much: I can't view your link but the story, with an OK English translation, is here. I'll remain totally sceptical unless and until there are further developments, but if CJ ends up in the dock I'll happily apologise to everybody who's had more faith in the story than I have. It'd be worth it.