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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 2:10 pm 
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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:
Millfield 711
Scarborough 986
Torquay 963
Edinburgh 1009
Scarborough 960
Isle of Man 503
Swansea 768
Great Yarmouth 824
Liverpool 742
Torquay 935
Canterbury 891
Sheffield 951

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.

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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 2:32 pm 
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Alex Holowczak wrote:
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.


The Championship series could also include the Major Open, since if qualification is easier, it just weakens the Major Open rather than leading to an overall increase.

The traditional wisdom was that non-seaside events, or those not obviously in visitor orientated areas did badly for numbers. For Sheffield this was perhaps countered by CJ's efforts to get all the top English players to take part.

From the Home Counties, Sheffield can count as a nearby destination. It's a shorter trip in time than Torquay or even Great Yarmouth. North Shields will be the real test as to the extent that distance matters to English players.


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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 2:49 pm 
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What will be intresting about North Shields will be to see how many players come down from Scotland to play.
If players from the south booked there train tickets early they could have got tickets from Kings cross to Newcastle for about £20 each way

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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 4:16 pm 
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I can speak only of Liverpool (2008) in the context of urban, northern, non-seaside venues. In my view, entrants were 20% below expectations, caused largely by 'special factors' beyond Liverpool's control:

* the 2008 Championships were the first to be held after Smith & Williamson's sponsorship ended; hence, no cash
* the ECF CEO & others resigned in April, leading to some instability;
* the Tournament Director resigned shortly afterwards, causing considerable uncertainty;
* announcements on accommodation shortages were published to the ECF website. There were in fact no shortages of affordable accommodation, but the claim would have caused further uncertainty for some prospective entrants;
* overall marketing was poor (not limited to 2008 though)

The net effect was to depress entrant numbers. In fact, given the circumstances, 742 was not that bad.

But there were local factors in play too, not necessarily Liverpool-specific, but germane to any northern venue:

* local entrant numbers were, in my view, disappointing - 'local' meaning city, city region, and wider NW
* there is simply a smaller playing pool on hand to draw from, both adult & junior
* seaside trumps city in summer; and South trumps North


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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 4:22 pm 
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Roger de Coverly wrote:
The Championship series could also include the Major Open, since if qualification is easier, it just weakens the Major Open rather than leading to an overall increase.


The Major Open went from 93 with the Commonwealth to 90 without in Scarborough 2004. The Major Open has been at about 70odd, Canterbury excepting, ever since.

Roger de Coverly wrote:
The traditional wisdom was that non-seaside events, or those not obviously in visitor orientated areas did badly for numbers. For Sheffield this was perhaps countered by CJ's efforts to get all the top English players to take part.


I'm beginning to wonder about that traditional wisdom.

If you take just the Championship events, post Isle of Man, you get:
Swansea 446
Great Yarmouth 449
Liverpool 426
Torquay 512
Canterbury 493
Sheffield 534

What happened between Liverpool and Torquay?
(1) The Championship entries have gone up by about 10% (clearly Sheffield had plenty of paid-for entries)
(2) The juniors went up by about 10%
(3) The graded championships increased by about 25%
(4) One year later, the Seniors was moved from the morning to the afternoon, and the entries have gone up 40-50%

In the same period, the non-Championship events:
Swansea 322
Great Yarmouth 375
Liverpool 316
Torquay 423
Canterbury 398
Sheffield 417

This time between Liverpool and Torquay:
(1) The AM Opens weren't as popular in Liverpool and Sheffield as elsewhere
(2) The weekender entries have gone up by about 30%
(3) The rapidplay entries went up by about 50%
(4) Major Open virtually the same, apart from Canterbury for some reason

The only thing I can find in the last few years that suggests a link between location and the number of entries is the Week 1/2 AM Opens.

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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 5:00 pm 
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Alex Holowczak wrote:
(4) One year later, the Seniors was moved from the morning to the afternoon, and the entries have gone up 40-50%.


The effect of the successful promotion of sixth form and university chess in the 1960s may be connected as well in that the pool of players able to take part gets bigger every year.

Alex Holowczak wrote:
The only thing I can find in the last few years that suggests a link between location and the number of entries is the Week 1/2 AM Opens.


I could give you a hypothesis for this. At a seaside resort or university campus, a 9.30 am start can just mean a five or ten minute walk after breakfast. In a city centre, you would have to travel at the tail end of the morning peak. On public transport, you wouldn't get any advantage of off-peak fares.


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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 5:14 pm 
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Roger de Coverly wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote:
(4) One year later, the Seniors was moved from the morning to the afternoon, and the entries have gone up 40-50%.


The effect of the successful promotion of sixth form and university chess in the 1960s may be connected as well in that the pool of players able to take part gets bigger every year.


I'm thinking more Fischer-boom years. University students in 1972 will be 40 years older now, so will be about 58-62. So I agree that the Fischer-boom players are now becoming Seniors, and that if I had to make a prediction, the number of entries to the Seniors should go up for a few years.

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote:
The only thing I can find in the last few years that suggests a link between location and the number of entries is the Week 1/2 AM Opens.


I could give you a hypothesis for this. At a seaside resort or university campus, a 9.30 am start can just mean a five or ten minute walk after breakfast. In a city centre, you would have to travel at the tail end of the morning peak. On public transport, you wouldn't get any advantage of off-peak fares.


Well, that's not so clear, because the grade-restricted events - also played in the morning - were unaffected. Just the Open.

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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 5:24 pm 
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Alex Holowczak wrote:
Well, that's not so clear, because the grade-restricted events - also played in the morning - were unaffected. Just the Open.


If you want to win the grade restricted title, you don't have the option of avoiding morning play. North Shields will also have the wild card of International rating. There's going to be more travel involved for most players, as I believe, unlike Torquay, that accommodation within walking distance is limited.


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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 5:39 pm 
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Roger de Coverly wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote:
Well, that's not so clear, because the grade-restricted events - also played in the morning - were unaffected. Just the Open.


If you want to win the grade restricted title, you don't have the option of avoiding morning play. North Shields will also have the wild card of International rating. There's going to be more travel involved for most players, as I believe, unlike Torquay, that accommodation within walking distance is limited.


This is true. Far more is rated in 2012, so drawing comparisons with 2005-2011 will not be easy. The Rapidplay has gained a section too, which should only increase entries. It'll be interesting to see what the effect of all this is in the final numbers.

The problem for the British is that from year-to-year, there are so many changing variables that coming up with a reasonable guess of the final entry total is virtually impossible. But nevertheless fun to do if you've got a spare afternoon. :D

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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 5:52 pm 
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Well, I was thinking of entering, but may not be able to afford it. What is the cheapest possible way of spending a week playing chess at the British? And which grade-restricted events am I eligible for?


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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 5:58 pm 
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Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
Well, I was thinking of entering, but may not be able to afford it. What is the cheapest possible way of spending a week playing chess at the British? And which grade-restricted events am I eligible for?


Your grade is 171, so you can only play in the British U180 as a grade-restricted event. That's in week 1 of the Championship.

You can also enter the Week 1 PM Open - which is FIDE-rated - for half price if you enter the British U180.

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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 6:17 pm 
Chris K ... if you are looking for cheap travel, perhaps I can again display some smugness in informing you of our arrangements - via Megabus from Manchester to Newcastle for £1 per person each way !

Megabus go from and to various locations throughout the country and we have already travelled to Edinburgh, London, Newcastle, Oxford and several other locations all for just £1.


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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 6:34 pm 
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Alan Burke wrote:
Chris K ... if you are looking for cheap travel, perhaps I can again display some smugness in informing you of our arrangements - via Megabus from Manchester to Newcastle for £1 per person each way !

Megabus go from and to various locations throughout the country and we have already travelled to Edinburgh, London, Newcastle, Oxford and several other locations all for just £1.


No catch? Do you have to pay for the loo? Travel insurance as an extra? Baggage fees? :D


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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 6:35 pm 
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Alex Holowczak wrote:
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
Well, I was thinking of entering, but may not be able to afford it. What is the cheapest possible way of spending a week playing chess at the British? And which grade-restricted events am I eligible for?


Your grade is 171, so you can only play in the British U180 as a grade-restricted event. That's in week 1 of the Championship.

You can also enter the Week 1 PM Open - which is FIDE-rated - for half price if you enter the British U180.


Thanks. I think my budget will only stretch to one week of accommodation, if that.


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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 8:51 pm 
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Seaside resorts are a natural choice for a big summer event, but not an exclusive winner..
I`ve said before.. Promotion..promotion..promotion. Positive publicity...
Sheffield got plenty of that, and had enough other ingredients to produce a result.
Did I read that the ECF predicted that Sheffield might lose £2k, but in fact it actually made £4k. If so, that scores as a great result...for which we must give due credit to all who helped make this a winner...including CJ, an excentric `outsider`, figurehead who maybe did not know some of the protocols, but could pull in some big ticket items. But others must take full credit...
One of the other `plus` factors incidentally, is that that part of our northern region is a thriving chess area....and fairly convenient for many northern outposts, from Liverpool, to Newcastle. Carlisle to Humberside, and much of the midland region. An ideal 4NCL northern location...perhaps.
Transport links are pretty good (except the trains on a Sunday morning perhaps).
Sheffield also offers good visitor attractions..and is a stones throw from the glorious Derbyshire Peaks..

As for North Shields...it too has much to offer. For accomodation, the Metro link opens up many possibilities...from Newcastle to Whitely Bay, Tynemouth, etc... The local Ferry from North Shields does indeed mean that players could consider B&Bs at South Shields. I`d guess a typical sea front B&B might come in at under £40 per night (for a double room). Contact the Information Centre for Ferry times (I think they run every half hour), and accom details.
For those who want it/possibly cheaper options...camping and Caravan options might be a consideration.
There is a big site on the sea front at South Shields.

PS. I ought to make it clear that it is a fairly substantive walk from the Sea front at South Shields, through the town centre, and onto the Ferry terminal (via the Market Place). Should be good for walking off that hearty breakfast..!!
Enjoy.....

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