Grading of Junior Tournaments

General discussions about grading.
Michael Flatt
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Re: Grading of Junior Tournaments

Postby Michael Flatt » Thu May 25, 2017 8:54 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:I arranged with the UKCC in advance that there should be an explanation of this on the online entry when entering the Megafinals I was organising; saying that the data would be used to make the children ECF members.

I prefer to leave the decision to the parents as to whether players take out ECF Silver membership, which is offered free for one year to those who have not previously been members. Membership has to be paid for in subsequent years so I don't want to impose that ongoing obligation on parents.

By the time of the Megafinals take place (end of March/beginning of May) most of the season has passed and only those progressing to the Gigafinal are likely to have any need of membership.

Of the 43 Megafinals I suspect that only a small minority are ECF graded.

Those taking advantage of the one year free membership are advised to do so at the start of the season.

Alex Holowczak
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Re: Grading of Junior Tournaments

Postby Alex Holowczak » Thu May 25, 2017 9:23 pm

Michael Flatt wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote:I arranged with the UKCC in advance that there should be an explanation of this on the online entry when entering the Megafinals I was organising; saying that the data would be used to make the children ECF members.

I prefer to leave the decision to the parents as to whether players take out ECF Silver membership, which is offered free for one year to those who have not previously been members. Membership has to be paid for in subsequent years so I don't want to impose that ongoing obligation on parents.


With the way I organise my junior events, it is the parents' decision as to whether their children take out ECF memberships. So the parent has the choice - enter the tournament and accept that your child will become an ECF member, or don't enter the tournament.

A parallel is the various leagues or counties that operate MOs. You join the club, and some of the club subscriptions go to the ECF in the form of membership. So the player has the choice - join the club and accept that you'll become an ECF member, or don't join the club.

So again, I don't understand the problem.

Nick Grey
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Re: Grading of Junior Tournaments

Postby Nick Grey » Thu May 25, 2017 9:39 pm

ECF & others make great arrangements for Junior Chess. That is if you are taking on those responsibilities.
I fail to see why in your part of the event you seem to think on not grading.
I'd be annoyed if I was a parent in your section.

Michael Flatt
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Re: Grading of Junior Tournaments

Postby Michael Flatt » Thu May 25, 2017 9:40 pm

In our other junior tournaments we set the entry fee to include ECF grading fees and offer a reduction to ECF members. In these tournaments the players are quite experienced and mostly are ECF members.

In the Megafinal the majority of players are new to tournament chess and are very inexperienced. Often, they have never played with a clock. In the lower sections they are permitted to play without a clock if either player objects to its use.

The entry fee for the Megafinal is set by the national organiser and there is no allowance made for payment of grading fees.

Alex Holowczak
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Re: Grading of Junior Tournaments

Postby Alex Holowczak » Thu May 25, 2017 10:01 pm

Michael Flatt wrote:The entry fee for the Megafinal is set by the national organiser and there is no allowance made for payment of grading fees.

Are you sure? I didn't ask this year because it wasn't a problem I was going to have, but it might be worth asking her for next season.

Michael Flatt wrote:In the Megafinal the majority of players are new to tournament chess and are very inexperienced. Often, they have never played with a clock. In the lower sections they are permitted to play without a clock if either player objects to its use.

I realise it's not the point of this thread, but I think that's a very poor rule.

I can see the reason why you would use clocks in all games. I can see the reason why you wouldn't use clocks in any games. But to give players an opt out creates different rules for different games, and it potentially creates a problem that otherwise doesn't need to exist. We used clocks in all sections at the Warwickshire and Worcestershire Megafinals this year for the first time. I think all of the children seemed to quite enjoy the novelty! So much so, I regret not doing so in previous Megafinals I've organised. As long as you arbit the sections sympathetically (e.g. if a child uses the wrong hand to press the clock), then there isn't a problem. I think it's good to get children into the mentality that playing in a chess tournament means using clocks. Perhaps a bit more back on point, I also think it's good to get parents into the mentality that playing in a chess tournament means it'll be ECF-graded.

NickFaulks
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Re: Grading of Junior Tournaments

Postby NickFaulks » Thu May 25, 2017 10:06 pm

Michael Flatt wrote: In the lower sections they are permitted to play without a clock if either player objects to its use.

This is getting weird. Why are we even talking about submission for grading?

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Grading of Junior Tournaments

Postby Roger de Coverly » Thu May 25, 2017 10:54 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:So the parent has the choice - enter the tournament and accept that your child will become an ECF member, or don't enter the tournament.


What a wonderful example of how to promote chess ! Once it became membership obsessed, the ECF totally lost the plot as far as growing the number of players was concerned.

Roger Lancaster
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Re: Grading of Junior Tournaments

Postby Roger Lancaster » Sat May 27, 2017 10:28 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
What a wonderful example of how to promote chess ! Once it became membership obsessed, the ECF totally lost the plot as far as growing the number of players was concerned.


Of course, the other way of looking at this is to ask whether parents should expect "something for nothing". They already get it, rightly in my opinion, for the first year but why should chess be free on an ongoing basis when other activities cost money?

NickFaulks
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Re: Grading of Junior Tournaments

Postby NickFaulks » Sat May 27, 2017 10:50 am

Roger Lancaster wrote:Of course, the other way of looking at this is to ask whether parents should expect "something for nothing".

This started as a discussion of a Megafinal. Perhaps I'm confused, but doesn't an organisation independent of the ECF organise and charge for that? What does the ECF add, other than a tax? What is the "something" that they are getting for nothing?

I can see why the ECF might wish to make a charge to cover the incremental cost of grading the results, which I suspect would be very small. They also might consider waiving these fees. As an adult member, I would consider that a better use of my own membership fee than, for instance, financial support of the national team.

Alex Holowczak
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Re: Grading of Junior Tournaments

Postby Alex Holowczak » Sat May 27, 2017 8:15 pm

Roger Lancaster wrote:
Roger de Coverly wrote:
What a wonderful example of how to promote chess ! Once it became membership obsessed, the ECF totally lost the plot as far as growing the number of players was concerned.


Of course, the other way of looking at this is to ask whether parents should expect "something for nothing". They already get it, rightly in my opinion, for the first year but why should chess be free on an ongoing basis when other activities cost money?


These events aren't intended to "grow the number of players". The people they might attract are already chessplayers, probably playing chess on a weekly basis in schools and/or junior clubs.

Therefore, grading junior tournaments is a neutral exercise in terms of growing the number of players. I will accept, however, that the players in clubs and schools are harder to count if they don't appear in some sort of a list.

Gareth T Ellis
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Re: Grading of Junior Tournaments

Postby Gareth T Ellis » Sun May 28, 2017 11:40 pm

Michael Flatt » Thu May 25, 2017 4:10 pm

I've been considering whether or not it is worth sending my recent Megafinal for ECF grading.

With an entry of 200 players where very few are ECF rated, let alone ECF members, I calculate it would cost around £360 for the event, based on the current game levy.


Michael, very few Megafinals are graded, they aren't worth doing. Clocks aren't used in alot of the lower sections and an ECF arbiter isn't always at each event.

Gareth T Ellis
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Re: Grading of Junior Tournaments

Postby Gareth T Ellis » Sun May 28, 2017 11:57 pm

Roger Lancaster » Thu May 25, 2017 4:21 pm

it makes it more difficult for juniors to get graded in the first place if junior organisers run lots of events which are ungraded.


The important questions are:

When is a grade of any importance to a junior ?
For who's benefit is it that a junior is graded ?

Most junior chess is deliberately ungraded, especially until they start playing more seriously and have a reasonable understanding of the game.

Roger Lancaster
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Re: Grading of Junior Tournaments

Postby Roger Lancaster » Mon May 29, 2017 1:15 pm

Gareth T Ellis wrote:
Roger Lancaster » Thu May 25, 2017 4:21 pm

it makes it more difficult for juniors to get graded in the first place if junior organisers run lots of events which are ungraded.


The important questions are:

When is a grade of any importance to a junior ?
For who's benefit is it that a junior is graded ?

Most junior chess is deliberately ungraded, especially until they start playing more seriously and have a reasonable understanding of the game.


Answer no 1: In part, the importance is psychological that it's a symbol of attainment and a comparitor against peers. But, perhaps more importantly, grades are used as measurements to determine whether juniors are strong enough for various purposes such as participation in J4NCL and exemption from pre-qualifying in various LJCC events. At my club, where the number of juniors wishing to join invariably exceeds the number of places available, it's something we'd take into account. I don't select county junior teams but I imagine it's a factor there too.

Answer no 2: It seems to follow from the above that, if a junior is ambitious at club/county/tournament level, he or she will be hindered by the absence of a grade. Grades also benefit organisers in being able to make choices between juniors.

LawrenceCooper
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Re: Grading of Junior Tournaments

Postby LawrenceCooper » Mon May 29, 2017 1:30 pm

Roger Lancaster wrote:Answer no 1: In part, the importance is psychological that it's a symbol of attainment and a comparitor against peers. But, perhaps more importantly, grades are used as measurements to determine whether juniors are strong enough for various purposes such as participation in J4NCL and exemption from pre-qualifying in various LJCC events.


The J4NCL doesn't allow ungraded players to play without providing evidence of strength so any grade, even in single figures, is useful for a player to take part, even if it's only to be included in the reserve games.

Neill Cooper
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Re: Grading of Junior Tournaments

Postby Neill Cooper » Mon May 29, 2017 4:11 pm

Having promoted grading and ECF membership at my secondary school there are now over 80 graded pupils with 50 being ECF members. However, even in the secondary school context there are a couple of problems which can arise:
1) The Silver Free membership is great to get players to become ECF members but the following year can be an issue when they have to pay to continue playing graded chess. Presumably at near year's Megafinals Alex H will have to charge an excess of about £10 for each entrant who is not an ECF member.
2) Grading is good and appropriate if players can have a positive grade. However, there are some events where the median grade would be zero or less. I think that it could be counterproductive to grade these competitions.


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