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 Post subject: What is a congress?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:12 pm 
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Location: Newcastle-u-Lyme
Intuitively we all know the answer; besides the relevant events tend to say 'Congress' on the entry form. And, other than for the purposes of starting an argument in an empty room, do we care? Previously, no, but now, yes.

We are reliably informed that one of the side effects of switching to a membership scheme is an increase in the provision of chess. With tiered membership organisers wishing to provide playing opportunities for grassroots players are going to want to make sure that bronze members are eligible for their competitions.

At what point does an event become a congress? Suppose a local league runs a 5 round individual competition held one game a night on the first Monday of the month Oct - Feb at a fixed venue. Is this a congress? Falling numbers tempt the organisers to try a different approach, so the same competition is now held over a single weekend at the same venue as before. Is it a congress now? Suppose the venue isn't available Sundays, so the competition is extended to six rounds held three each on consecutive Saturdays. Congress?

Is a congress necessarily an individual competition, or can you have team ones? Does the style matter - swiss/all play all/KO/jamboree. We have a two round single evening quickplay team jamboree for teams of four. Congress? Would it be any different if it were longplay played on a Sunday?

Is a congress in some sense an open event? If a large club holds it's club championships over a single weekend is this a congress or can it still be what might be termed a bronze event? Does it make any difference if they invite a few players from outside the club to add interest? Who decides who is a member of the club? - not all leagues demand lists of members to be sent in triplicate to the north pole before the start of the season.

Does size matter? Would 6 players getting together and playing an all play all at one of their houses over a weekend be participating in a congress?

Perhaps more to the point where would you want the line to be drawn between bronze and silver events?


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 Post subject: Re: What is a congress?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:40 pm 
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Posts: 7366
Location: Oldbury, Worcestershire
Martyn Harris wrote:
Perhaps more to the point where would you want the line to be drawn between bronze and silver events?


According to the ECF Articles/Bye-Laws, an affiliated League or Congress is:

A Congress is an event that primarily organises events on an individual basis.

A League is an event that primarily organises events on a team basis.

It seems natural to extend these definitions to the concept of membership.

My answers aren't gospel, but this would be my interpretation:

Martyn Harris wrote:
Suppose a local league runs a 5 round individual competition held one game a night on the first Monday of the month Oct - Feb at a fixed venue. Is this a congress?


No, it's a League-internal event, if you like. Bronze.

Martyn Harris wrote:
Falling numbers tempt the organisers to try a different approach, so the same competition is now held over a single weekend at the same venue as before. Is it a congress now? Suppose the venue isn't available Sundays, so the competition is extended to six rounds held three each on consecutive Saturdays. Congress?


Still no if it's an event closed to the league. Bronze.

Martyn Harris wrote:
Is a congress necessarily an individual competition, or can you have team ones? Does the style matter - swiss/all play all/KO/jamboree. We have a two round single evening quickplay team jamboree for teams of four. Congress? Would it be any different if it were longplay played on a Sunday?


Yes, a congress is an individual competition according to the ECF's Articles/Bye-Laws. Anything played in teams (of greater than 1 :wink: ) is a League. The two-round single evening rapidplay jamboree is a league, so requires bronze.

Martyn Harris wrote:
Is a congress in some sense an open event? If a large club holds it's club championships over a single weekend is this a congress or can it still be what might be termed a bronze event? Does it make any difference if they invite a few players from outside the club to add interest? Who decides who is a member of the club? - not all leagues demand lists of members to be sent in triplicate to the north pole before the start of the season.


The club championship is club-internal, so it's bronze. A club-internal individual event is a type of congress. All congresses that are not internal in some way are silver. The invited outsiders make it a non-club-internal event.

[quote="Martyn Harris"]Does size matter? Would 6 players getting together and playing an all play all at one of their houses over a weekend be participating in a congress?[/quote[

No, that's a congress. Silver or Pay to Play.

--

There are bound to be some loopholes in the above if you think creatively, but using the team = league, individual = congress logic, it should be quite easy to work out.

_________________
April 26-27: National Club Championships
July 12: County Championship Finals Day
July 19-August 2: British Chess Championships


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 Post subject: Re: What is a congress?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:42 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 1:51 pm
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Martyn Harris wrote:
Perhaps more to the point where would you want the line to be drawn between bronze and silver events?


It's by no means clear that the ECF have given any thought to the issue. I imagine it's intended that a five round Swiss or n player all play all, run as a club championship, is within the scope of Bronze. But what if it's an event run at county level? If you run it over a weekend with otherwise the same format, does that make it a Congress?

If organisers are prepared to add dummy games to an all play all to make it a Swiss and arbitrage the rating fees, creative minds will be at work. If you want to run an event without requiring membership, you might actually want it classified as a Congress, since you only have to charge £ 6 payable to the ECF rather than £ 12.

(edit) Congresses run by league or county organisations have arbitrage opportunities. You revive the old concept of county individual membership. Every player in the Congress has to be a member of the County organisation, but it's automatic if you play in the league or county team and free, or a nominal charge if you play in the Congress. Therefore you have an event internal to the County. That's good news for attracting local league players, if they are already Bronze members, since no additional cost, but bad news for outsiders since they now have a surcharge of £ 12 on their entry fee, rather than £ 6. (/edit)


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 Post subject: Re: What is a congress?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 1:23 pm 
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I made the point to Alex H on Friday (in jest I hasten to add) that I could have made entry to e2e4 events open to members of e2e4 chess club only and then be charged fees for my congresses as internal club events. I could have offered said membership for free, or for a nominal £1. Of course, we didn't to that and hopefully common sense will continue to prevail but I think Martyn's question highlights the need for better and clearer definitions.


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 Post subject: Re: What is a congress?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:04 pm 
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Or no definitions at all, and let players decide what ECF membership benefits they want. Define the benefits, not the events!

But don't get me started...


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 Post subject: Re: What is a congress?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:01 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 07, 2009 12:15 am
Posts: 83
Location: Newcastle-u-Lyme
Alex Holowczak wrote:
According to the ECF Articles/Bye-Laws, an affiliated League or Congress is:

A Congress is an event that primarily organises events on an individual basis.

A League is an event that primarily organises events on a team basis.

It seems natural to extend these definitions to the concept of membership.


I see nothing natural in the extension at all. The ECF bye-laws were put together for purposes current at the time of creation; defining silver membership as needed for congress play was put forwards as a means of minimizing costs to league-only players by upping those for the presumed more committed congress player. What evidence is there that the two were thinking of 'congress' in identical ways? Further, definitions that use 'primarily' are hardly of much use for determining the dividing line, since by implication they admit other possibilities. For example, whilst there may be good reason for wanting the BUCA championships to be bronze (unless they are FIDE rated), a competition run on similar lines for general teams might reasonably be considered a congress. The line for team events might be between representative teams (league) and purpose-built ones (congress) even if the purpose built ones carry apparently representative names. i.e. for team events 'forget the bit about bona fides' = congress.


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 Post subject: Re: What is a congress?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:23 am 
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Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 4:18 pm
Posts: 7366
Location: Oldbury, Worcestershire
Martyn Harris wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote:
According to the ECF Articles/Bye-Laws, an affiliated League or Congress is:

A Congress is an event that primarily organises events on an individual basis.

A League is an event that primarily organises events on a team basis.

It seems natural to extend these definitions to the concept of membership.


I see nothing natural in the extension at all. The ECF bye-laws were put together for purposes current at the time of creation; defining silver membership as needed for congress play was put forwards as a means of minimizing costs to league-only players by upping those for the presumed more committed congress player. What evidence is there that the two were thinking of 'congress' in identical ways? Further, definitions that use 'primarily' are hardly of much use for determining the dividing line, since by implication they admit other possibilities. For example, whilst there may be good reason for wanting the BUCA championships to be bronze (unless they are FIDE rated), a competition run on similar lines for general teams might reasonably be considered a congress. The line for team events might be between representative teams (league) and purpose-built ones (congress) even if the purpose built ones carry apparently representative names. i.e. for team events 'forget the bit about bona fides' = congress.


Given there is only one definition of a congress and a league in the Articles/Bye-Laws, which other definition should the ECF use?

There is no good reason for wanting the BUCA Championship to be bronze. If we were silver, everyone would have to pay £6/head unless they were already silver members or above. However, a sizeable chunk of our players will already be at least bronze members via their leagues. If anything, it's more costly for us to be treated as bronze, rather than silver.

Our reaction to the news it'd cost a lot more? A proposal to continue to grade the event, and to charge £12 to register a non-member for a team was passed 11-4 on a hand count at our AGM. It would have been even more conclusive with a full vote. So there will be no harm done.

_________________
April 26-27: National Club Championships
July 12: County Championship Finals Day
July 19-August 2: British Chess Championships


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