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Minutes from the 2019 UCU AGM

With the election of Officers and the awarding of the league prizes and the looking back over the chess year to our many successes.

UCU AGM – Saturday 25 May 2019

Maynard Sinclair Pavilion, Belfast. 6:30pm to 7:30pm.
16 Members present: Neil Gardner, Michael Sheerin, Evan Elwood, Andy Boal, Gary Johnston, Andrew Todd, Geoff Hindley, Martin Donaghy, John Bradley, Martin Kelly, Dexter Harris, Cathal Murphy, Robert Lavery, Ross Harris, Mark Newman and Brendan Jamison (minutes)
Apologies: Adrian Dornford-Smith (Treasurer) and Rian Mellotte
1. Previous Minutes
Mark Newman read out the minutes from the previous AGM held in June 2018. Proposed by Ross Harris, seconded by Robert Lavery. Minutes passed without amendments.
2. UCU President’s Annual Review
Ross Harris delivered the following address to the meeting:
First of all, I'd like to thank all the members of the committee for the tremendous amount of work they have put in, which has resulted in a fantastic year for chess locally. We have seen some exciting new projects, the further expansion of tournaments around Ulster, the continued development of children's chess, and the UCU continues to be in a financially stable position.
The most significant change in the UCU this year happened just before the start of the season when we re-affiliated with the Irish Chess Union. Already we are seeing the benefits of this union
1) We now have our league and all tournaments rated by the ICU. This is of particular benefit to those local players who play around Ireland, but also to juniors who need an ICU rating to compete internationally.
2) It is easier for our local arbiters to achieve norms for their National Arbiter title. We now have 2 people in Ulster with this NA title, and hopefully 2-3 more will achieve it next year.
3) It is much easier for us to run FIDE rated events, and indeed the Ulster Championships will be FIDE rated later this year.
4) We will be hosting The Irish Junior Chess Championships in April 2020, which is a wonderful opportunity for our junior players to test themselves against the top players from around Ireland.
5) We are planning to run an extension of the Irish Junior Coaching Programme in Belfast. This will allow more of our juniors to avail of this excellent scheme.
Our tournament director and league controller Brendan Jamison has put in an incredible amount of work this year -
1) his planning and organisational skills ensured we had an exciting
and well run league. He has also carried out a thorough update of the league rules for the 2019/2020 season.
2) We saw new rapidplay tournaments in Portrush, Enniskillen. Armagh, Lisburn, Bangor and Newry. This was following through on our plan to spread chess more evenly across Ulster
3) There were 16 tournaments in total throughout the year, which gives our members a fantastic variety of events to play in.
4) Brendan developed and ran a UCU arbiters training programme which 7 People have taken part in. Adam Rushe should be the first graduate from this programme at the end of this weekend.
5) There have been 3 FIDE rated events this year with many more planned for next year, including the Ulster Championships. Mark Newman has again excelled himself with his dedication and drive to promote and run children's chess in Ulster.
1) The monthly children's chess at Methody has again proved a great success, with many of our juniors now developing on to play in Adult leagues and tournaments.
2) Mark also ran a chess course in Stranmillis College for trainee teachers. These teachers have used these skills to start chess clubs whilst out on placement.
3) November saw National Chess month, an initiative to increase the number of children playing chess in primary schools. This will now be an annual event.
4) On 7th June Mark runs the end of year prize giving for children's chess in parliament buildings in Stormont. This is a brilliant way to celebrate the success of our top junior players.
5) The Primary School All Ireland Championships will be held in Dublin on the 11th June. Strandtown will be representing Ulster, captained by Strand player Dexter Harris.
On top of this, Mark runs many tournaments throughout the year and is a very active member of the committee. So many thanks to Mark for his commitment and hard work.
The 24th March saw the launch of the UCU Women's Development Programme. This was held at the Strand Cinema and included a screening of the film The Queen of Katwe. 15 people signed up for the programme which involves monthly coaching sessions. Funding has been secured to pay for a trophy for the first Women's Ulster
Championship which will be held in 2020.
Damien Cunningham once again organised the simultaneous display, this time against Luke McShane. Luke took on 29 players, winning 27, drawing one and losing one. It was a fantastic experience for all involved.
Special mention should also go to a few more people - Adrian Dornford-Smith and Robert Lavery who work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the ratings, websites, live boards and generally all things techy run smoothly. A lot of this work goes unseen, but without it the UCU couldn't function.
Evan Elwood who has quickly become an integral part of the UCU committee attending every meeting, taking part in the arbiter training, and volunteering for the role of vice league controller.
Geoff Hindley for his continued role as trophy officer. David McAllister for his role as UCU Historian and also for helping with the development of the New League rules.
Hopefully next year we will continue to see growth in chess locally with new tournaments, new players, the first women's Championship, and the hosting of the Irish Junior Chess Championships on 3rd to 5th April 2020.
3. League Prize Ceremony:
UCU League Controller Brendan Jamison presented the board prizes and league awards for each of the three divisions.
Div 1 Champions: Strand 1, presented with Silver King + 7 individual miniature trophies for each team member. Captain: Brendan Jamison. Team of Calum Leitch, Daniil Zelenchuk, Ross Harris, Modestas Razbadauskas and David Hill.
Div 2 Champions: Northern Lights, presented with John Strawbridge Cup + 7 individual miniature trophies for each team member. Captain: Pat McKillen. Team of
Nick Pilkiewicz, Stephen Wood, Martin Donaghy, Bernard McCaughey and Paddy Maguire.
Div 3 Champions: Bangor 2, presented with no Plate (not returned by 2017 winners QUB 3) but 8 individual miniature trophies were awarded to each team member.
Captain: Samuel Todd. Team of Jonny Brown, Mark Seidman, Tony Redden, Nigel Telford, Gary Johnston, Ben Toogood and Sam Bowman.
BOARD PRIZES - miniature shields
Div 1
1. David Houston (Ballynafeigh)
2. Calum Leitch (Strand)
3. John Bryars (Belfast South)
4. Modestas Razbadauskas (Strand)
5. John McKenna (Belfast South)
Div 2
1. Nick Pilkiewicz (Northern Lights)
2. Stephen Wood (Northern Lights)
3. Paul Hanna (Belfast South)
4. Norman McFarland (Belfast South)
5. No qualifiers
Div 3
1. Jonny Brown (Bangor)
2. Dexter Harris (Strand)
3. Gary Johnston (Bangor)
4. No qualifiers
5. Andy Boal (Ballynafeigh)
Tom Clarke Grand Prix Trophy – this will be presented after the City of Belfast
Championships are completed as this is the last event in the grand prix.
4. Financial Report:
Ross Harris presented the report by UCU Treasurer Adrian Dornford-Smith. As at 23 May 2019, combining the bank balance with petty cash, the UCU has £3,878.73.
This is an increase of £1,096.72 since the previous year which was £2,782.01 on 14 June 2018. This increase was attributed to an increase in the number of paid
members in the 2018/2019 season.
The 2018/2019 financial report was proposed by Mark Newman, seconded by Evan Elwood. The majority of the members passed the report.
5. Administrators’ Reports:
UCU League Controller Brendan Jamison outlined his plan for a shorter league in 2019/2020 to allow for the team rapidplay championships to be held over the last
third of the league season on club nights (approximately 4-5 weeks). There will be two matches per night with each team having 30 minutes each on their clocks. The
team rapidplay championships were previously held in February 2016 and February 2018 and will now be scheduled for Feb/March 2020.
In terms of the standard classical league, the new league rules are now doubled in length and viewable on UCU site. Brendan urged all members to read the new rules
to get up-to-speed before the new season begins mid-October.
6. Proposed Resolutions: None
7. Election of officers:

Post Name Proposer Seconder
President/Chair Ross Harris John Bradley Andy Boal
Secretary Brendan Jamison Ross Harris Gary Johnston
Treasurer Adrian Dornford-Smith Martin Kelly Andy Boal
League Controller Brendan Jamison Gary Johnston Michael Sheerin
Vice-League Controller Evan Elwood Ross Harris Andy Boal
Tournament Director Brendan Jamison Robert Lavery Evan Elwood
Vice-Tournament Director Adam Rushe Andrew Todd Evan Elwood
Ratings Officer Robert Lavery Ross Harris Andy Boal
Youth Development Officer Mark Newman Andrew Todd Geoff Hindley
Child Protection Officer

Acting Officer

Mark Newman

Trophies Officer Geoff Hindley Gary Johnston Michael Sheerin
Woman’s Development Officer Karina Kruk Mark Newman Ross Harris
Funding Officer Barney McGahan Evan Elwood
UCU Historian David McAlister Ross Harris Cathal Murphy
Election of non-portfolio members of the board.
Name Proposer Seconder
Neil Gardner (Lisburn Chess Club) Brendan Jamison Ross Harris
Andy Boal (Ballynafeigh Chess Club) Ross Harris Robert Lavery
Rhys McLean (Strand Chess Club) Michael Sheerin Martin Kelly
8. A.O.B.
Neil Gardner expressed his gratitude to Brendan Jamison for travelling to Lisburn to run two events at the club in 2019: a Lisburn v Armagh match and a Lisburn Blitz
and Bullet Championships. More recently the club hosted the Steve Scannell Simultaneous and plans to enter a team in the league in the new season.
Mark Newman issued a massive thanks to Ross Harris and Brendan Jamison for all the voluntary hours of work they put in every week to keep the union running.
Brendan summarised his initiative of the Arbiter Training Programme that began in January 2019 and will run for 12 months. There are currently 7 members in training
and they will soon be rolled out to run future events. Evan Elwood is the first to pass his arbiter’s exam and this was met with a round of applause.
prize1 prize2
prize3 prize4
prize5 prize6
prize7 prize8
prize9 prizes
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