Female Player Rule

Venues, fixtures, teams and related matters.
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Trefor Owens
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Re: Female Player Rule

Post by Trefor Owens » Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:26 am

Geoff Chandler wrote: . . . . . .
(or, as I am beginning to strongly suspect there is a pecking order in this forum
as to can and who can not have opinions).
I am sure that there is a 'pecking order' of sorts but, sadly, this is par for the course for pretty much every online forum - maybe published chess grades make it easier to guess on this site which threads will be popular though.

:D

Richard Bates
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Re: Female Player Rule

Post by Richard Bates » Wed Jan 27, 2010 9:24 pm

I propose the following amendment to the rules:

That teams are required to field a team with at least one male and one female, with a half game point penalty in the match resulting from failure to comply. There will therefore continue to be a presumption in favour of attracting a 'mixed' team, but remove a situation where teams only option is to field an excessively weak bottom board, indeed remove any incentive to so do (4.5:3.5 becomes 4:3.5, and 4:4 becomes 3.5:4 etc).

I believe that the current situation creates a vicious circle, whereby reasonably strong women players are better served by seeking to play on a high/middle board in the lower divisions leaving the top division to pick up what is left, and an excessive advantage created for the few teams able to attract a female player able to command a top division place on merit. What follows on is the situation whereby some women are demanding full expenses, simply to enable teams to avoid defaults. Which in some circumstances actually makes taking a default and the small fine the rational option, which then leaves opponents forking out money to get no competitive game.
Last edited by Richard Bates on Thu Jan 28, 2010 6:57 am, edited 2 times in total.

Peter Rhodes
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Re: Female Player Rule

Post by Peter Rhodes » Wed Jan 27, 2010 11:35 pm

... or you could just place a rule that they could not ask for unreasonable conditions ....

oh ! but then that would then also affect the competitive, top-end of the market where some of our better players reasonably attempt to make a living from chess.

regulations to fix regulations ! this just goes to show that once you start to mess with the market you can never stop !

</end satire>
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Richard Bates
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Re: Female Player Rule

Post by Richard Bates » Thu Jan 28, 2010 7:36 am

Peter Rhodes wrote:... or you could just place a rule that they could not ask for unreasonable conditions ....

oh ! but then that would then also affect the competitive, top-end of the market where some of our better players reasonably attempt to make a living from chess.

regulations to fix regulations ! this just goes to show that once you start to mess with the market you can never stop !

</end satire>
Well yes, writing regulations to deal with the consequences of other regulations never works, which is why such a thing wasn't proposed. Anyway the issue at hand isn't conditions/expenses (unreasonable or otherwise), that is merely a possible consequence of the current regulations.

Expanding on the above proposal, I think it could even work if the penalty was a full game point. This would represent a minor tweak to the current "default" penalty but would in most situations remove the problem of defaults or "token" players on the bottom board leaving opponents without a worthwhile game (possible exception being where a captain was almost certain that they were going to lose on bottom board whoever was selected). The team unable to raise a competitive (assumed female) bottom board under the current regulations, would have the option of picking a non-mixed team needing to win the match 5:3 over eight boards, rather than the present 4.5:2.5 over seven. And nobody goes without a game which contributes to their team's success or otherwise.

Sean Hewitt

Re: Female Player Rule

Post by Sean Hewitt » Thu Jan 28, 2010 9:10 am

The fundamental question is should there be an incentive to play female players at all (where they are not of a strength to merit a place in their own right). There were different views. I got the impression that the 4NCL themselves thought their aim, to improve the state of female chess in Britain, had not been achieved at all. If you believe this then the requirement should probably be scrapped entirely.

But assuming for the moment that you are going to keep some sort of female rule my suggestion at the captain's meeting was a full point "bonus" for playing a female. This is rather similar to Richard's suggestion of a penalty for not doing so, I guess it's largely a matter of taste whether it's a bonus or penalty. I do think that it should be a full point, which has the benefit that it can never be beneficial to play a strong male instead of a weaker female player. It may be no worse to do so, but it wouldn't be better.

The main point is that it incentivises a team to play a female player without heavily penalising those unable to do so. And it removes entirely the situation where a team has a player who doesn't get a game because they have won by default just because the opposition didn't have a player of the correct sex.
Last edited by Sean Hewitt on Thu Jan 28, 2010 1:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Jonathan Rogers
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Re: Female Player Rule

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Thu Jan 28, 2010 12:59 pm

I've given a lot of thought to this over the last ten years but without reaching any particular conclusion. Part of me thinks that it would be an astonishing admission of failure to abandon the woman's board (which is what it is, please let no one be pedantic about that). Also, as some said at the recent captains' meeting, it would appear to be an abandonment of a commitiment to womens' chess.

But of course that is over simplistic. Everyone wants to promote women's chess. But to abandon the womens' board is not to abandon women's chess - it is just to say that the current arrangement is not promoting it properly. And indeed, if you are a woman, much of your 4NCL experience will be winning points for your team by default.

And there cannot really be any doubt that the womans' board has failed to promote the strength of womens' chess. My favourite question: since the 4NCL started in 1993, how many English women players have been newly discovered who since achieved ratings over 2200? This might provoke an interesting discussion on this forum but we know already that the exact answer, whatever it might be argued to be, is catastrophically low, and indeed lower than the number which applied in the previous 17 years before the 4NCL, between 1976-1993. And contrast that answer with just about any other country ....

Alex Holowczak
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Re: Female Player Rule

Post by Alex Holowczak » Thu Jan 28, 2010 2:13 pm

I don't think female chess players need to be "promoted", they already have much better promotion than the male equivalents.

Perhaps most young female chess players don't need to improve as a junior, because they can get to the standard where they win most of the time much more easily than boys can. Take the UKCC, where a girl graded ~ 150 on the new system would be unlucky not to get ~ £100 prize money each year, facing very little competition on the way, plus a hoard of trophies. Conversely, a boy graded 150 would be lucky to get through the Gigafinal. If more girls played, the standard would probably rise as a result.

I don't think the 4NCL is going to discover any new female players. Such is the standard of the 4NCL that there's not going to be anyone unheard of playing for them. Does the prospect of seeing women in the 4NCL motivate others in English chess to take up the game? I doubt it. I don't think it generates enough publicity. I bet a significant number of club players aren't aware of the 4NCL, let alone non-players. It may generate publicity within the chess-playing community, but that won't get new players to take up the game.

All of which seems to make having a board for female players pointless.

Peter Rhodes
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Re: Female Player Rule

Post by Peter Rhodes » Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:03 pm

I think there is another clearer and simpler way of looking at this.

... is it the job of the 4NCL to be involved in public policy ?
That is the fundamental question.


I would guess that the answer to this question will be equally contested on both sides.

Some would say "yes - it is the job because the 4NCL is a national organisation that should ensure there is equitable treatment amongst all chess players".

Others might say "no - such questions of policy should be addressed elsewhere".

But fundamentally - this is what it comes down to.
Chess Amateur.

Geoff Chandler
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Re: Female Player Rule

Post by Geoff Chandler » Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:07 pm

Hi Jonathan,

"And indeed, if you are a woman, much of your 4NCL experience will be winning
points for your team by default."

What is the ratio of these defaults, is it alarmingly high?
If so then perhaps this question should have been addressed earlier.

I'm in favour of any idea being given a trial fun and you can see the idea behind it
but as someone stated earlier, chess is an equal game, women are just
as good at it as men. They should be there on merit or because they really
want to play. Not dragged along to sit opposite an empty board to claim a point.

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Ben Purton
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Re: Female Player Rule

Post by Ben Purton » Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:16 pm

As a captain of 2(3) sides. And former captain of a almost entirely professional team. I can safely say I quite like the added dimension the female player rule brings to the 4NCL. Personally Geoff no offence your not part of the 4NCL so why you should have strong negative views I cannot really understand you must be pretty bored wherever you are(Im at work).

I considered spending around £70-100 last weekend as Selina my lady player was not sure about playing. Do I dislike having this expense potential? Not really , it was always fun trying to get a extra special lady player to give your team the edge. At the end of the day if you want equal average ratings, no sex rules, complete equality in the league then I suggrest you play the North Korean league.


Personally I like the differences that the rule brings, Its an added dimension and the fact is there would be less women at the 4ncl without it.

Kind regards

Ben

The female player idea takes place in quite a few areas, such as I believe the varsity match also adopts this process.

Th
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Alex Holowczak
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Re: Female Player Rule

Post by Alex Holowczak » Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:34 pm

Ben Purton wrote:Personally Geoff no offence your not part of the 4NCL so why you should have strong negative views I cannot really understand
His views aren't negative. Besides, he's entitled to them wherever he comes from.
Ben Purton wrote:I considered spending around £70-100 last weekend as Selina my lady player was not sure about playing.
Sounds like being dragged along, rather than being willing to play, then? Would you have made as much effort to ensure a player played had they not been female (i.e. if the rule hadn't been in force)?
Ben Purton wrote:At the end of the day if you want equal average ratings, no sex rules, complete equality in the league then I suggrest you play the North Korean league.
Why would it be equal if there were no women playing? The men aren't all rated the same.
Ben Purton wrote:Its an added dimension and the fact is there would be less women at the 4ncl without it.
Wouldn't they find homes in Division 3 teams (or whatever) if they were that interested, which is in some cases, a more appropriate standard, i.e. they play players of similar strength?
Ben Purton wrote:The female player idea takes place in quite a few areas, such as I believe the varsity match also adopts this process.
Yes, it is. I don't like it in that either, for exactly the same reason. Those reasons are why the BUCA tournament won't have a female-player rule, and indeed why no tournament I ever organise for it will.

In Russia - according to a Russian colleague who plays chess here - they have a "women's board" at school and junior levels, which is a bit of a running joke in Russian chess (apparently). Often, the female players are either begged to play, or the board is defaulted (sometimes mutually). The last thing that the 4NCL wants is the same situation to develop, where all the women play on the bottom board in division 1, or never turn up. (Although it sounds pretty near to it now, judging by posts here.)

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Ben Purton
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Re: Female Player Rule

Post by Ben Purton » Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:54 pm

Sounds like being dragged along, rather than being willing to play, then? Would you have made as much effort to ensure a player played had they not been female (i.e. if the rule hadn't been in force)?


- is this from your extensive experience with women alex.

In fact it was not , if i dont have selina, i then have to ask a 2200+ player who can command such conditions.

Your complaining that women can demand more money, Im saying that in professional chess it will always be the people with the money who have the stronger teams.

My friends in Russia? well I have not heard of such stuff myself but against your extensive experience outdoes me

Ben
I love sleep, I need 8 hours a day and about 10 at night - Bill Hicks
I would die happy if I beat Wood Green in the Eastman Cup final - Richmond LL captain.
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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Female Player Rule

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:05 pm

*looks at most recent round of 4NCL*

Division One women playing above board 8:
Jana Bellin (ADs)
Sophie Tidman (Oxford 1)
Aly Wilson (Jutes of Kent)
Jovanka Houska (WGHK 2)

Division One women who played on board 8, but could legitimately have played higher:
Harriet Hunt (Pride & Prejudice)
Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant (WGHK 1)
Doreen Anderton (ADs) - in fact, ADs were playing her on too low a board, to give their lowest-rated player a game.
Natasha Regan (Barbican 2)

Division One women who couldn't have played above board 8:
Sabrina Chevannes (Cambridge University 1)
Ingrid Lauterbach (Barbican 1)
Meri Grigoryan (Guildford 1)
Lucia Fidiago Fernandez (White Rose 1)
Maria Yurenok (Betsson.com)
Amy Milson (Pandora's Box Grantham)
Corinne Mountford (Poisoned Pawns 1)
Julie Wilson (South Wales Dragons)

Division One teams who defaulted board 8:
Guildford 2

Ian Thompson
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Re: Female Player Rule

Post by Ian Thompson » Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:23 pm

IM Jack Rudd wrote:Doreen Anderton (ADs) - in fact, ADs were playing her on too low a board, to give their lowest-rated player a game.
I think there is an error in the 4NCL results - her rating should be 1634 (converted ECF grade of 123), not 2141 (no idea where that came from; not a FIDE rating), so she was on the correct board. In any case, you shouldn't count her in your list because Jana Bellin also played for them on a higher board. If a team fields more than one woman, the lower ranked one is obviously not playing to satisfy the female player rule.

Richard Bates
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Re: Female Player Rule

Post by Richard Bates » Thu Jan 28, 2010 7:27 pm

Some summary thoughts

1) Some people are incapable of understanding the difference between criticising a principle and the practical application of attempts to uphold that principle. For example, I support attempts to encourage more women to participate in the 4ncl, and improve, and support the principle of incentivising captains to pick women in their teams. However I criticise the way the current regulation operates in practice, which seems to me to serve neither the interests of women players, nor any male players affected by the defaults which result, and serves to undermine the competitiveness of the league (due to the advantage that teams with "strong" women players have).

2) Comparisons between the 4ncl and the varsity match or similar are misleading. The expansion of the 4ncl to 3 divisions means that women, not just the best, can command a place on merit, if not always in the top division. This is very different to the early days of the 4ncl when there was only one division and the rule had much more logic behind it. I'm not sure what point Jack was trying to make - just seems some numbers without purpose, which can be used to support either viewpoint.

3) However enthusiastic, I suspect that some people may find that they are not suited to running university sporting organisations unless they can moderate their views.

4) Last but not least - this seems to be a debate which can go nowhere unless the views of those most directly affected by the regulation are incorporated. Has anyone attempted to properly canvass opinion among the female chess community?

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