Mark Howitt wrote:Alex Holowczak wrote:Mark Howitt wrote:It'll be interesting to see who turns up for this event... not wanting to be negative but in general in British championships, southern venues are more popular with quite a few players because it's closer to home.
I've just looked up the entries over the years.
Here are the entries since 2000:
Isle of Man 503
Great Yarmouth 824
If we ignore Isle of Man as a special case, and then rank the others in descending order of the number of entries, then you get
(1) Edinburgh 1009
(2) Scarborough 986
(3) Torquay 963
(4) Scarborough 960
(5) Sheffield 951
(6) Torquay 935
(7) Canterbury 891
(8) Great Yarmouth 824
(9) Swansea 768
(10) Liverpool 742
(11) Millfield 711
There's no evidence there to back up the claim that "southern venues are more popular with quite a few players because it's closer to home"; if anything, this seems to suggest that northern venues are more popular than southern venues!
I was a bit instinctive with my quote- but I'm sure most (British) players prefer the southern location. They were higher enteries in some of those earlier years in the north because the prize money was bigger and the event was open to basically... everyone! (I actually went to 2001 one and was annoyed to see Indian juniors takeaway so many prizes. Reason there were a lot of enteries in Sheffield last year was because of prize money and famous GMs- think there will be less of those this year so probably less people.
You're right that the figures are misleading in that the rules changed after 2003. However, compare Torquay 2002 with Torquay 2009. The loss of the Commonwealth meant a loss of 28 entrants; about 3%. Similarly, Scarborough 2001 to Scarborough 2004 lost 26 entries without the Commonwealth. Again, about 3%. This doesn't account for the difference.
The prize money isn't that big a deal. The numbers in the Championship went down by about 30 when the Commonwealth players were banned in 2003. It had gone 73, 96, 95, 62, (IOM), 62, 68, 68, 76, 78, 86. This is pretty much the difference we see from the loss of the Commonwealth above, so I don't think it'd be too much of a leap to conclude that the prize money was no factor at all. The recent improvement in Championship players can be explained by an increased number of FIDE-rated events from which to qualify.
There's not enough evidence to suggest that Sheffield 2011 generated tons of extra entries, since we don't have a prior British in Sheffield to compare it to. Everyone assumes it helped us to gain entries, but we've no actual data that shows we're right. I'd be amazed if this wasn't right, but still.