2014 Annual General Meeting Minutes

Held at: Butlins Bognor Regis, 1st March 2014
Chaired by: Jon Diamond (President)

The meeting opened at 7:47pm and those present were asked to sign the attendance sheet.

[1] Election of tellers

Martin Harvey and Martin Solity were appointed tellers.

[2] Minutes of the 2013 AGM

The minutes were accepted.

[3] Matters Arising

There were no matters arising from the minutes.

[4] Officers', Membership Secretary's and Auditor's Reports

Written reports were received from the President, Secretary and Treasurer, and the Membership Secretary and Auditor.

President's report

Jon presented his President's report. He regretted that not as much progress on the three 2014 priorities (recruitment and retention, youth development, and outreach) had been made as would be wished.

Membership numbers still showed a slight decline. Focus had been on encouraging existing University clubs. Setting up new clubs was harder than in the past. Martin Harvey asked how many university clubs were known. Colin Maclennan said there were about half a dozen. He thought that the key problem was that some clubs were not recognized by their university and so were not able to to recruit at Freshers' Fairs. Jon asked tournament organisers to encourage entrants who were not BGA members to join.

Regarding youth development, John was pleased to report on Alison Bexfield's work in Letchworth and that Martin Harvey had created a new club in Manchester.

There had been outreach at exhibitions. Jon highlighted Ben Murphy's efforts at London Anime. English language access to the "Hikaru No Go" manga series might attract students. Some money was available and so this year, collaboration with the Japanese to "scatter lots of attractive things to kids to get involved with Go" looked worthwhile.

Jon reminded the meeting of the availability of banners to take to events and that new ones could be created quite cheaply if special ones were needed.

Jon thanked Pat Ridley and Jil Segerman for their excellent work on the British Go Journal and the Newsletter, and Tony Atkins for all he did. The meeting applauded loudly. Pat had announced he would retire at the end of the year and so someone was needed to take over as Journal Editor.

The website had a new members' area. Jon asked for comments on what is/should be included.

An online tournament registration system is available for tournaments that do not have their own. Tournament numbers are slightly up, including a reinstatment of Birmingham and a new South London teaching day event.

There had be a number of player development activities. The Sasakawa Foundation had provided some funding for Michael Redmond to attend the last Congress, and Chizu Kobayashi was hoping to arrange for some young players to go to Japan in future.

The Shodan Challenge had been reformed as the Online Support Group under Billy Woods.

The meeting applauded Andrew Kay winning the British Championship for the second year in a row.

Farewell to David Ward and T Mark Hall who had both died in December. T Mark had left substantial funds in trust although details were still to be resolved. The trust's purpose was to encourage young players (eg. bursaries to visit far east); to investigate setting up something like the previous London Go centre; and to store his library of books and pictures until a suitable permanant home could be found for them.

Finally, Jon thanked Fred Holroyd, who was retiring from Council, and to everyone involved in running the BGA for their continued help. The meeting applauded.

Treasurer's report

Toby Manning presented his Treasurer's report and the 2013 Accounts. Finances were very healthy, net assets were around £26,000. There had been a substantial surplus of more than £3000, attributed to the previous increase in subs; ceased production of the printed newsletter; Roger Huyshe restarting the bookshop; and sponsorship of an Oxford/Cambridge match by wbaduk.

Toby recommended no change to subscriptions or levy rates. He believed there was a shortage of manpower rather than money.

Due to the earlier than usual AGM, the auditor had not yet finished scrutinising the accounts. He recommended that the accounts should be approved (subject to a satisfactory and clean auditor's report) rather than calling an EGM. Paul Barnard proposed a motion to accept the accounts with this proviso, seconded by Fred Holroyd. The motion passed nem con.

Jon noted that the T Mark Hall trust would have separate accounts which would probably not appear in the BGA accounts. Martin Solity asked if it was a problem that creditors and debtors were much bigger. Toby said it wasn't. He explained that creditors were due to lots of subscriptions having been paid in advance and that Roger Huyshe had financed the bookstore from his own pocket. Debtors figures were due to payment timing issues such as public liability insurance now being paid at a different time of the year.

Membership Secretary's report

Paul Barnard presented his Membership Secretary's report. Total numbers were down by a few percent but it was unclear why. Andrew Kay asked what effect the previous raising of rates had had on membership. Paul thought there had not been much effect at all.

[5] 2013 Accounts

Covered under Treasurer's report above.

[6] Election of Officers and Auditor

position candidate
President Jon Diamond
Treasurer Toby Manning
Secretary Jonathan Chin
Hon. Auditor Phil Beck

All candidates were elected unopposed.

[7] Election of Ordinary Council Members

position candidates
Council members Brian Brunswick
Roger Huyshe
Colin Maclennan
John Collins

Only four nominations had been received.

Jon briefly outlined the responsibilities of ordinary Council members and asked the meeting to send him suggestions for members that he could approach. In particular, someone was needed to cover the tournament organiser role.

All candidates were elected unopposed.

[8] Consideration of Proposals Received

No proposals had been received from members. Council had no proposals.

[9] Any other business

title match

Andrew Kay noted that the title match had been reduced from best of five to best of three. He proposed that this be changed again to: best of three or alternatively best of five if the players agree. Nick Wedd seconded the proposal.

The proposal was discussed. Toby noted that none of Council was likely to be involved in the title match or even Challengers' League and so wanted the thoughts of those directly involved. Against the proposal he noted that a lot of administrative work was involved.

Richard Hunter asked if online broadcasting of some games could be skipped. Toby pointed out that broadcasting was not a given. Referee and venue would always be required. Paul Barnard asked now many people watched the broadcasts; Nick Wedd had observed peaks of around 100 people. Martin Solity thought it was important to have a clear default position. Andrew Kay explained that for people who didn't agree the default would remain a three game match.

The proposal was passed with one abstention and none against.

  • DECISION: The title match should be three games except that if both players agree, it will be extended to a best of five match.

T Mark Hall legacy - decision making process

Sue Paterson observed that some very large decisions about T Mark Hall's legacy would be made in the next couple of years. She wondered about the process of making those decisions and asked how BGA members would be canvassed for their views on questions such as whether there should be some form of London Go centre.

Toby had been in discussions with his sister who specialised in probate law. He thought that something like a company limited by guarantee would emerge as the structure for looking after the money. Others using this structure included the English Chess Federation and the English Bridge Union. He did not expect the membership would be consulted about this structuring but that, subsequently, opinions would be canvassed on how to spend the money.

Richard Hunter asked if London had been specified as the location for the Go centre. The secretary quoted from the will: research to find a permanent London Go centre which would be open most afternoons and/or evenings. Jon noted that someone might be employed to do this research and that consultants/advisors would be necessary if the idea went ahead.

Electronic-only version of Journal

Paul Barnard reminded the meeting that the membership renewal form had a question about receiving an electronic-only version of the Journal in future with an implication of reduced membership fees. He had received around fifty positive responses and wondered if this was enough to go ahead.

Pat Ridley observed that an electronic journal provided opportunities to do new things. It need not be just a copy of paper but could, for example, include interactive game reviews.

Jon agreed that there was an expectation of a reduction in fees if the Journal went electronic-only but wondered how the extra time and effort needed to produce more than just a pdf version should be factored in. Nick Wedd asked what the marginal cost of production of extra copies was. Pat thought it was about £1.50 including postage.

Jon asked for opinions on whether to now implement the policy of not sending paper copies to people who opted out and if a reduction should be offered. Paul thought there should be a reductoin and suggested about 10%. Jonathan Chin noted that Usenix had a paperless option but did not offer a discount. Richard Hunter observed that some organisations offering paperless billing charged extra for people who opted to receive paper bills. He also asked about the effect on costs of changing the amount printed but concrete figures were not immediately available. Alistair Wall thought it might be useful to continue printing some copies for publicity. Jon noted that it would be possible to use a print-on-demand service but this would be quite expensive. Andrew Kay thought a nominal reduction should be offered as an incentive for people to save the BGA money. Jon proposed to do more "market research". Martin Solity pointed out that there was not just one rate of membership. Jon said he would be surprised if some form of electronic-only option was not available by the next AGM.

Jon thanked Yogi for the evening entertainment. Martin Harvey thanked the committee. Jon asked for a vote of acclamation for the Congress organisers: Tony Atkins, Toby Manning, Sue Paterson and Paul Smith.

The meeting closed at 8:58pm.


John (Yogi) Allen; Tony Atkins; Paul Barnard; Louise Bremner; Jonathan Chin; Chun Kit Lee; Jim Clare; Jon Diamond; Francisco Divers; Helen Harvey; Martin Harvey; Fred Holroyd; Richard Hunter; Roger Huyshe; Andrew Kay; Philip Leung; Colin Maclennan; Toby Manning; Ben Murphy; Sue Paterson; Pat Ridley; Martin Solity; Alistair Wall; Michael Webster; Nick Wedd

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