Not everybody is happy about this, as the Telegraph piece makes plain, and why should they be? On the face of it it's exactly the sort of thing that the ECF should be seeking not to do.
Especially when the face of it is Chris Fegan.
Chris Fegan may well have "over 40 years' experience playing and organising chess" but some other people's experience of him is that far from being "welcoming and inclusive" he's a thoroughly unpleasant bully. He's also, quite importantly, an employee of another board member, Malcolm Pein.
So we don't just get two women passed over, for a post you'd expect a woman to head the queue for, in favour of a man, but a man who's beholden to another board member. This is called "jobs for the boys" in more ways that one, and it's the sort of thing which shouldn't be happening.
Now I might get back to the cronyism a bit later - suffice to say, for the moment, that I wouldn't trust Chris Fegan with a job running water into a bucket - but for the moment, let's talk about the appointment of a man per se, rather than the particular man, and what it might tell us about the English Chess Federation and the community that supports it.
Rather than go, at length, into our rather undistinguished history on this subject, I'm going to do this briefly, by making two points. The first is that the president of the English Chess Federation is Dominic Lawson.
Dominic Lawson is a notorious and incorrigible misogynist.
The second is that the English Chess Federation's nominee for FIDE president is Nigel Short.
Nigel Short is a notorious and incorrigible misogynist.
They're also old chums, of course, which would bring us back to jobs for the boys if we wanted to go there, but right now, tell me this:
- would a Federation, or a community, that was genuinely interested in promoting the equality of women, be headed by a man like Dominic Lawson?
- would a Federation, or a community, that was genuinely interested in promoting the equality of women, be supporting a man like Nigel Short?
You know they wouldn't.
And you know that the truth is this, that women are shunted out of the picture in English chess whenever something deemed to be more important comes up, and "something deemed to be more important" is just about everything.
That's a truth that ought to hurt, and if you can't see why, perhaps that explains why you can't see that Chris Fegan's appointment is also perceived as an injury.