4NCL NORTHERN LEAGUE

Venues, fixtures, teams and related matters.
Alex Holowczak
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Re: 4NCL NORTHERN LEAGUE

Post by Alex Holowczak » Sun Dec 20, 2009 9:52 am

Reading is the biggest town in England (at least, in the modern sense of the word "town"). I don't really see how it's "in the middle of nowhere", it's a big enough place in its own right.

Ben Hague
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Re: 4NCL NORTHERN LEAGUE

Post by Ben Hague » Sun Dec 20, 2009 10:22 am

Alex Holowczak wrote:Reading is the biggest town in England (at least, in the modern sense of the word "town"). I don't really see how it's "in the middle of nowhere", it's a big enough place in its own right.
The venue is about 7 miles outside Reading. It's only called the Reading venue because that's the nearest town of any size.

When the 4NCL was played in Birmingham I found that the Saturday nights in the Birmingham pubs were a definite highlight, and the hotel bars are a far inferior experience. I find that being ripped off for crap beer spoils the evening to the extent that it's just not worth it. I could spend the evening studying chess, but that would be much easier at home, with my books, computer, database and so on.

Sean Hewitt

Re: 4NCL NORTHERN LEAGUE

Post by Sean Hewitt » Sun Dec 20, 2009 12:47 pm

I guess the question is, do you want a venue that's great for playing chess and offers cheap accommodation but is relatively remote OR do you want a venue that is city centre based but for which you would undoubtedly need to pay a premium either via higher room rates to stay overnight or via higher entry fees for teams to cover increased hire charges (or quite possibly, both).

Mike Truran
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Re: 4NCL NORTHERN LEAGUE

Post by Mike Truran » Sun Dec 20, 2009 1:42 pm

That's right. Out of town locations = more people staying at the venue = happy hotel/conference centre = free venue in return. City centre locations = more people staying and eating/drinking elsewhere = less revenue for the hotel/conference centre from room bookings, catering, bar takings = less chance of a free venue. In the latter event, entry fees would have to go up. At a conservative estimate, if venues charge us £1,000 a day (and the Paragon in Birmingham was demanding £5,000+ a day when it reneged on its agreement with us a few seasons back), that would mean close to a £200 increase in entry fees.

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Re: 4NCL NORTHERN LEAGUE

Post by Mike Truran » Sun Dec 27, 2009 12:59 pm

Ten teams have already expressed interest of varying degree in entering a Northern League, which feels like not a bad start in a short time. I will aim to publish a list of potential entrants once it has firmed up a little more.

Thank you to all those who have shown interest so far, as well as to those who have contributed to the debate on the forum.

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: 4NCL NORTHERN LEAGUE

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Mon Dec 28, 2009 9:43 am

There might also conceivably be interest in this from teams in danger of relegation from Division Two. (White Rose 2 are the team I had in mind.)

Andrew Wainwright
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Re: 4NCL NORTHERN LEAGUE

Post by Andrew Wainwright » Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:00 am

Jack

Perhaps a little disrespectful to White Rose 2 to dismiss them as being "in danger of relegation" after only 2 matches where they narrowly lost both 3.5-4.5?

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: 4NCL NORTHERN LEAGUE

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Tue Dec 29, 2009 5:44 pm

Andrew Wainwright wrote:Jack

Perhaps a little disrespectful to White Rose 2 to dismiss them as being "in danger of relegation" after only 2 matches where they narrowly lost both 3.5-4.5?
I wouldn't say it's disrespectful to suggest that a team who've lost both their first two matches are in danger of relegation, particularly not when a quarter of the league gets relegated every year. There is, of course, a long way to go.

Ben Hague
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Re: 4NCL NORTHERN LEAGUE

Post by Ben Hague » Tue Dec 29, 2009 6:08 pm

Mike Truran wrote:That's right. Out of town locations = more people staying at the venue = happy hotel/conference centre = free venue in return. City centre locations = more people staying and eating/drinking elsewhere = less revenue for the hotel/conference centre from room bookings, catering, bar takings = less chance of a free venue. In the latter event, entry fees would have to go up. At a conservative estimate, if venues charge us £1,000 a day (and the Paragon in Birmingham was demanding £5,000+ a day when it reneged on its agreement with us a few seasons back), that would mean close to a £200 increase in entry fees.
This argument does seem to make sense, but I know we have played at various city centre venues without any obvious increase in costs, e.g. West Brom, Coventry, Nottingham (ignoring Paragon and Birmingham Moat House Grand as they were clearly special cases). Have things changed since then, or was there some other mechanism to cover the extra costs?

Sean Hewitt

Re: 4NCL NORTHERN LEAGUE

Post by Sean Hewitt » Tue Dec 29, 2009 6:43 pm

Ben,

My guess is that those city centre hotels took a punt and hoped to see a large number of players staying, eating and drinking in the hotel.

When the hoped for numbers didn't materialise they probably either turned the 4NCL away the following year or asked for a steep rental / guaranteed minimum which the 4NCL couldn't afford.

And hence none of the hotels you mention are 4NCL venues anymore!

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Re: 4NCL NORTHERN LEAGUE

Post by Mike Truran » Tue Dec 29, 2009 8:26 pm

Sean is right. West Brom and Coventry wanted to raise bedroom rates and charge for playing space respectively. West Brom contacted me a year or so ago asking if we would consider returning on the previous financial arrangements, but didn't reply to my tentative expression of interest in reopening discussions. Coventry never contacted me again after telling me they wanted to start charging for playing space. Nottingham is still on the list of potential venues, but although they have enough bedrooms the 4NCL outgrew the playing space they have available to accommodate us.

Both De Vere and Barcelo give us free playing space and commission on bedroom bookings. As things stand, they offer the 4NCL the best financial deal available based on what I have been able to negotiate. They both (and unlike some other hotels) seem to have understood the point about not killing the goose that laid the golden egg.

Andrew Wainwright
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Re: 4NCL NORTHERN LEAGUE

Post by Andrew Wainwright » Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:06 pm

Hi Mike

Any news on this exciting project?
My squad continues to come together well and there is no doubt that we will be entering a team, if I get more interest then perhaps 2 teams.
My concern is that not many of us yet have FIDE grades as there is a lack of opportunity in the North to play in FIDE rated events (a reason why I am extremely happy to see that S.Hewitt is running a FIDE event in Warrington soon).
In the absence of FIDE grades we therefore only have our ECF grades to rely on at present. As the 4NCL is the premier level of team chess in England clearly we should only be encouraging the strongest players to take part. However, I do notice that in the current division 3 the strength of teams does vary considerably.

What ECF grading level do people suggest is a "minimum requisit level" for playing in the 4NCL division 3?

Is it a waste of the other teams time if a team allows 120s, 130s, 140s, 150s to play in their team?

I would be very interested to hear opinions on this from those who currently play in the 4NCL as I have received differing view points so far when I have discussed this with people.

Ola Winfridsson
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Re: 4NCL NORTHERN LEAGUE

Post by Ola Winfridsson » Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:29 pm

Andrew Wainwright wrote:However, I do notice that in the current division 3 the strength of teams does vary considerably.

What ECF grading level do people suggest is a "minimum requisit level" for playing in the 4NCL division 3?

Is it a waste of the other teams time if a team allows 120s, 130s, 140s, 150s to play in their team?

I would be very interested to hear opinions on this from those who currently play in the 4NCL as I have received differing view points so far when I have discussed this with people.
Since the current division 3 is a big Swiss, I don't see why it should be a waste of time for other teams you field a team with players in the 120-150 bracket, Andrew (in fact, there are several 150/160 players in the 2nd division as well!). The beauty of a Swiss is that you tend to settle at your (in this case the team's) own level after the initial rounds. In other words, I don't think there's much risk of them being consistently outgunned or not providing a good enough challenge for the opposition.

On the contrary, I think they'll greatly enjoy the experience and I certainly don't think they'll feel out of place.
Last edited by Ola Winfridsson on Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

J T Melsom
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Re: 4NCL NORTHERN LEAGUE

Post by J T Melsom » Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:31 pm

On the subject of playing strength , I must admit that I was somewhat nervous about accepting an invite to represent sides in the 4NCL precisely because I have felt some way short of an appropriate quality threshold. However, I was then surprised at my first weekend at the number of similar strength or indeed weaker players. I suspect that somewhere along the line there has been a shift from quality to quantity, and this is most marked in Division 3. To some extent encouraging participation must be good for the finances and for the ambience, and why stop people playing, but it didnt have quite the exclusivity or prestige I'd expected.

Mike Truran
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Re: 4NCL NORTHERN LEAGUE

Post by Mike Truran » Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:03 pm

Andrew, the 4NCL Northern League project continues to make progress and we currently have expressions of interest from around 15 teams. No doubt some of these will fall away, but equally teams that have not expressed interest so far will no doubt come forward in due course. I aim to get entry guidelines out (along with those for the rest of the 4NCL) towards the end of Q2.

There is something of a problem with FIDE ratings inasmuch as (as Sean and others have pointed out), in non-all play all events like the 4NCL only games against FIDE rated opponents count for grading, and you have to play nine FIDE rated opponents over a two year period to get a FIDE rating - which is why Sean's northern based FIDE events are good news in helping northern players get FIDE ratings. So I envisage the 4NCL Northern League building up over a period of time until there is a "critical mass" of players with a FIDE rating who will in turn enable other players to obtain FIDE ratings.

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