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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 1:06 pm 
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Hello,
all over Europe, the majority of the tournaments seems to be Open Tournaments. Especially on the first rounds but also after, there are many games whose outcome is easily predictable: according to the ELO rating system, a 300 rating difference results in 0.85 expected points for the stronger player. I play very often and I can fully confirm that estimate: my rating is 1982, with 1600 - 1700 players I almost always win, with 2200 - 2300 players I always lose. Do you think it is really interesting to play tournaments like these? I think that, especially for the stronger players, it can be quite boring to play games that are so unbalanced, and I know also many weaker players that definitely prefer to play "Minor" Opens.

An obvious and clear-cut solution to that problem would be to play always separated tournaments (ex. open A above 2100, open B between 1800 and 2099, and so on). Many low/medium level players, though, like to challenge strong players, and probably wouldn't like a strict division like that: not to speak of the young and emerging players, who could progress much more slowly. To make tournaments much more balanced, and to preserve at the same time the chance for everyone to challenge stronger players, I suggest the following: Major tournaments could be limited to players that are above a certain rating (let's say 1900) and to players that on the last tournament have performed above that rating (let's say 1900). "Last tournament" can also be replaced with "one of the three last tournaments" or similars.

What do you think about it? When I play chess tournaments, I often think that with a bit more of imagination and flexibility, they could be much interesting and enjoyable.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 1:22 pm 
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Giulio Simeone wrote:
What do you think about it? When I play chess tournaments, I often think that with a bit more of imagination and flexibility, they could be much interesting and enjoyable.


What you describe is the equivalent of the normal British model, look at the e2e4 website for instance. There are no hard and fast rules for the break between the top section and the second. Organisers have been encouraged to adopt different standards. This gives players with ratings at around the cut-off levels a choice of whether to play Opens or Majors without being condemned to one or other.

When you play an Open, it's an occupational hazard to meet an IM or GM. It would be unusual for GMs or IMs to meet players much below 1900 in a British event, even in the first round.

It's quite usual for ambitious players to enter the Open section in an English weekender. For players of 1700 standard, it can be very hard going.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:12 pm 
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I think people play Opens for two main reasons - to win it or to play tougher opponents and try to increase your rating/gain norms whilst improving your play.

Therefore I think whether you like Opens or not depends on what you want to gain from entering the tournament. Personally, I play chess because I enjoy it, not because I can make any money from it, so I always try to enter higher sections if I can, so I can test myself against better opposition.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 2:02 pm 
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Roger de Coverly wrote:
What you describe is the equivalent of the normal British model, look at the e2e4 website for instance.

Well Roger, I took a look at the e2e4 website and, though their formula surely improves the "wild open" formulas, it doesn't exactly match with what I suggested. Actually, it seems that everyone has the right to play in the e2e4 Major tournaments, and this means that on the first rounds 1900-2000 players may well meet totally unexperienced players.

With the formula I suggested, instead, in order to play in a Major Open a player should have demonstrated, at least once, to be able to withstand the tournament level. This doesn't conflict with the right and the wish of everyone to play with strong players, you (you in general) have only to play a good Minor tournament and next time you will play the Major. Furthermore, in this way, players that have done a good tournament are encouraged to soon play other tournaments.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 4:15 pm 
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[quote="Giulio Simeone"] Actually, it seems that everyone has the right to play in the e2e4 Major tournaments, and this means that on the first rounds 1900-2000 players may well meet totally unexperienced players.
/quote]

Inexperienced players may have the right, but apart from aspiring juniors, they usually don't. There's a third section not internationally rated. In practice even that section has mostly experienced if "weak" players. At the last one, my rating of around 2020 got me a junior of around 1800, but one who has played in England squads.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 4:29 pm 
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You are right, in the e2e4 tournaments often there is a section for internationally unrated players, in this way it's a bit better. Around here, instead, often novices and unrated players play in the unique open tournament: last Saturday I was very unlucky and got the only unrated player (displayed in gray)

http://vesus.org/risultati/1deg-festiva ... ma/round2/

However, often there are several unrated players who play in our open tournaments, let's say 10% - 20%, and that's a bit annoying as games are often very unbalanced.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 4:36 pm 
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Giulio Simeone wrote:
However, often there are several unrated players who play in our open tournaments, let's say 10% - 20%, and that's a bit annoying as games are often very unbalanced.

Presumably though, you were once that unrated player. The way the system is, unrated players have to play rated players in order to get a rating in the first place!


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 4:56 pm 
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Giulio Simeone wrote:
Around here, instead, often novices and unrated players play in the unique open tournament:


In England, the minimum headcount for a viable tournament is usually around 80, which permits at least three sections. With 34 players, you wouldn't really want more than two. For more than five or six rounds, you'd want a single tournament for pairing reasons. The other difference is that there are no national titles that anyone takes any notice of. So your status is by reference to your national three figure grading. Thus the use of the name "150 attack" for plans involving Be3/g5 against the Pirc/Modern complex.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 5:07 pm 
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Sure I was, in fact I don't say that unrated players have to play only between them. I think that there should be a Major tournament and a Minor tournament for players below 1800 (or similars) and for unrated players. Against a 1800 player an unrated player can make it, against a 2000 player it's more difficult, even though not impossible. Then, if an unrated player is so strong that he is able to perform above 1800, he gets the right to play in the Major tournament.


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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 8:15 pm 
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In the year 1990 I went to Dieren in the Netherlands where the Dutch Open Ch. was being held. The 'Open' (9 round Swiss) was in reality a Masters for 64 players with international (or equivalent national) ratings 2200 and above. There were other sections for lower-rated players.
'Open' in this case meant open to foreign as well as Dutch participants.
This concept extended downwards could result in a Major section 1800-2199 for rated players only and a Minor for those rated below 1800 and all unrateds!?

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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 8:34 pm 
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John McKenna wrote:
This concept extended downwards could result in a Major section 1800-2199 for rated players only and a Minor for those rated below 1800 and all unrateds!?


The Dutch Open is still running and in some respects is an event comparable to the British Championships. It's at the same time of year as well. When I last checked, it had around 4 sections of events that ran the whole length of the tournament as well as shorter events. These still had rating bands similar to those you indicate It's something like the old model for the British Championships or Hastings, where alongside the Championship or Masters you had the Major Open, the "First Class" and the "Second Class". Hastings had "Challengers", "Reserves", "Main A", "Main B" etc.

British and Dutch tournaments are usually segregated by ratings, something less common in France or Germany. I've never totally understood the Italian system as in some way, their system of national titles which goes down to the 1500 level, can determine whether you are even allowed to enter a tournament.


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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 10:53 am 
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So, Dieren remains traditional in the way it divides players into sections. In England similar divisions persist but usually in the form of Open, Major & Minor with further subdivisions as necessary.
Upper limits on sections below Open are strictly enforced. However, there are no lower limits (such as the Dieren Open's no lower than 2200) in force in English events. I wonder why? I've seen it said by some 2200-2400 players that they don't like to play people rated below that range in case they fail to win.

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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 11:20 am 
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John McKenna wrote:
. However, there are no lower limits (such as the Dieren Open's no lower than 2200) in force in English events. I wonder why? I've seen it said by some 2200-2400 players that they don't like to play people rated below that range in case they fail to win.


In practice, players will self select and only enter sections above their grade if they feel they have the necessary ability or ambition.

2200-2400 are players 200+. There aren't enough of them to have more than a handful of tournaments where everyone is at that level, so a weekend open has players 160+. If they really are avoiding players below their level, they would be doing so by playing only in the 4NCL.


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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 2:29 pm 
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John McKenna wrote:
Upper limits on sections below Open are strictly enforced. However, there are no lower limits (such as the Dieren Open's no lower than 2200) in force in English events. I wonder why?

We've had floors in open events in the past.

We don't do it now because there is no need - by FIDE rating the lower sections as well we find that players self select in the way that Roger suggests.


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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 4:57 pm 
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Thanks to Roger and Sean for confirming that inclusive (no lower limits) 'self selection' is the order of the day when it comes to deciding which section to enter. It makes sense to give a wider choice these days.
Just one caveat though - in another thread it has come to light that pairings in some events, held during school holidays, in the British Isles may have been 'tweeked' to accommodate groups of juniors who, it was decided, would benefit from not being paired together if possible! Fair/unfair?

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