THANKS!

Venues, fixtures, teams and related matters.
David Pardoe
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Re: THANKS!

Post by David Pardoe » Sun May 13, 2012 10:03 am

Travel in this country has always been a problem. Thats one reason that county chess struggles for support. Vast Unions, covering huge territories.
Just to take a simple example, lets say that the NCCU suddenly came back to life, (the Roses sorted out perhaps...) and more county teams entered. Could you imagine a match featuring say Northumberland & Merseyside U160 teams, to be played in mid February, on a snowy day on the Pennines. Or East Yorks v Cumbria for that matter.....
A potential captains nightmare...
It was bad enough in the MCCU, til they discovered Newcastle-U-Lyme/Stoke....which eased neutral venue issues for many.
In premier league football they do seem to manage...and Newcastle will do battle with Liverpool, almost regardless of the weather, and the fans seem to get there ok. And they have Sky TV, which fills the local pubs....but many dont think that helps football. Bums on seats at live matches is what fans/clubs want. Only then do you get the full flavour...and atmosphere. Talking of which Sunderland play Man United today...that should be fun. And City take on an unpredictable `in-form` QPR.... Could be two score draws..?
I guess thats what big money backing does for you...

So maybe a north-south split (4NCL leagues) has some practical value...with the Finals held somewhere in the middle.
Its a typical situation where its difficult to please everyone....
But, there`s no denying that theres much going for it......so long may it continue.
BRING BACK THE BCF

Paul Cooksey

Re: THANKS!

Post by Paul Cooksey » Sun May 13, 2012 11:20 am

David Pardoe wrote:Travel in this country has always been a problem. Thats one reason that county chess struggles for support. Vast Unions, covering huge territories.
I disagree with this as a statement of fact. I was listening to David Smerdon commentating on ICC yesterday. He remarked on how many good opportunities there are to play in Europe, compared to Australia. I think that puts travel issues in perspective. England is a relatively small country with a fairly high population density. So we have the huge advantage that strong players from all over the country can play each other with only a few hours travel.

At its heart, the 4NCL is based around a competition for strong players. These players are willing to travel a bit to play varied opposition. Their competition is an event that is attractive to players who might not have the same need to travel (Div3). But if they want to, to enjoy being part of a big chess event, great.

I've nothing against county chess, but by and large it is less attractive to strong players. At the end of the day they vote with their feet.

John Upham
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Re: THANKS!

Post by John Upham » Sun May 13, 2012 11:32 am

David Pardoe wrote:Travel in this country has always been a problem.
Was that true prior to the impact of The Reshaping of British Railways (1963)?
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David Robertson
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Re: THANKS!

Post by David Robertson » Sun May 13, 2012 12:22 pm

Right. Now this seems to have become the Travel Thread, I'll say what I meant to say earlier - before I kicked off about topic-hopping.

First up, and definitive: there are no travel problems for Northern teams, not to Hinckley Island anyway. I'm one of very few in here who has travelled both Northern League & National League venues, so I know of what I speak. It's completely easy to reach HI from the North, and arguably easier than from some other parts of the country. Sitting down last year to play Wessex brought this simple fact home to me. It can't be much fun driving up from Portsmouth on a Saturday morning, but those guys managed it without feeling sorry for themselves. And don't even make me think about the effort involved for players living south of the Thames. And puhleeze, let's hear no balls about the unique traffic problems of the M6, the Manchester orbital, or any other crappy stretch of boring Northern tarmac. It's the same. Everywhere. Move on.

Sunningdale is another matter though. I didn't make that trip this year, having something else on my plate at the time. But we did plan to travel the day before since a 4-hour drive on Saturday morning isn't fair on the drivers (nor the passengers!). That materially raises the costs (in time & cash) of the weekend, not something everyone can afford. For our part, we accept the Sunningdale trip as a reasonable concession to the large majority of players from London & the SE who otherwise travel north throughout the season. And of course, we're keen to play.

Of venues that 4NCL might use more of, perhaps for Div 3, the hotel at Wychwood Park (Crewe) is fabulous. Alas, it may not be large enough for the mob.

[afterthought] I need to offer one further point. We stayed in Daventry for the final weekend last year. That involved a 25-30 min drive each way. Managable generally on Sat & Sun, but we felt under pressure with the early start on Monday morning. We planned well ahead this year to avoid that problem. But other teams will have faced it in our place. Our 'solution' would be to recognise reality, and split Div 3 off from Div 1 & 2, allowing teams to stay in the relevant hotel. Yes, the 'all-in-this-together' principle of the final weekend is compromised. But the principle is already "more honoured in the breach than in the observance"
Last edited by David Robertson on Sun May 13, 2012 1:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Sean Hewitt
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Re: THANKS!

Post by Sean Hewitt » Sun May 13, 2012 1:08 pm

David Robertson wrote:Right. Now this seems to have become the Travel Thread, I'll say what I meant to say earlier - before I kicked off about topic-hopping.

First up, and definitive: there are no travel problems for Northern teams, not to Hinckley Island anyway. I'm one of very few in here who has travelled both Northern League & National League venues, so I know of what I speak. It's completely easy to reach HI from the North, and arguably easier than from some other parts of the country. Sitting down last year to play Wessex brought this simple fact home to me. It can't be much fun driving up from Portsmouth on a Saturday morning, but those guys managed it without feeling sorry for themselves. And don't even make me think about the effort involved for players living south of the Thames. And puhleeze, let's hear no balls about the unique traffic problems of the M6, the Manchester orbital, or any other crappy stretch of boring Northern tarmac. It's the same. Everywhere. Move on.

Sunningdale is another matter though. I didn't make that trip this year, having something else on my plate at the time. But we did plan to travel the day before since a 4-hour drive on Saturday morning isn't fair on the drivers (nor the passengers!). That materially raises the costs (in time & cash) of the weekend, not something everyone can afford. For our part, we accept the Sunningdale trip as a reasonable concession to the large majority of players from London & the SE who otherwise travel north throughout the season. And of course, we're keen to play.

Of venues that 4NCL might use more of, perhaps for Div 3, the hotel at Wychwood Park (Crewe) is fabulous. Alas, it may not be large enough for the mob.
I agree with all of this. Which begs the question, why do you think there is a distinct the lack of interest in the 4NCL (whether the main event, or the Northern league) from teams in the north?

Mike Truran
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Re: THANKS!

Post by Mike Truran » Sun May 13, 2012 1:29 pm

Comparing notes with Mick suggests we may get eight teams in Div 3 North next season with a bit of luck. So maybe the word is gradually spreading?

Alan Walton
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Re: THANKS!

Post by Alan Walton » Sun May 13, 2012 1:45 pm

Have to totally agree with David here, I find travelling to Hinckley & Daventry no problem at all, and there are plenty off different routes you can take if problems are known (I normally do the A50 from the M1 to M6), I also travel down to Sunningdale the evening before (not the cheapest but only once per year)

I do agree that the 3rd Div should be split away from the top 2 divisions, Hinckley Island just isn't big enough of all the players, and there aren't many easy alternative hotels around (only the premier inn within easy distance, Daventry is too far away in my opinion). We need a hotel rule where the rooms are allocated to the teams downwards from the first division (8 rooms max per team), but that's my only gripe on an excellent league

Mike Truran
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Re: THANKS!

Post by Mike Truran » Sun May 13, 2012 2:41 pm

One of the reasons we did it that way was because it gives the Div 3 teams the chance to see the great and the good in action at close quarters. It wouldn't be too difficult to have split venues for the final two weekends though if that's what people wanted.

Sean Hewitt
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Re: THANKS!

Post by Sean Hewitt » Sun May 13, 2012 2:50 pm

Mike Truran wrote:One of the reasons we did it that way was because it gives the Div 3 teams the chance to see the great and the good in action at close quarters. It wouldn't be too difficult to have split venues for the final two weekends though if that's what people wanted.
Split weekends are a nightmare for any club having teams in Div1/2 and also in Div3. Like us :D

For that reason I'd rather there were no split weekends but, if we have to have them, then as few as possible and as close together geographically as possible. Latimer / Sunningdale was a right pain.

Alan Walton
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Re: THANKS!

Post by Alan Walton » Sun May 13, 2012 2:52 pm

I would agree the best scenario would be to have all divisions at the same venue, but you have been getting the scenario where some teams (in the higher divisions) cannot get all their team rooms at the playing venue (I nearly had a scenario where I had to drop a first team player on the last day due to not having enough rooms, fortunately we arranged juniors to commute from Manchester).

All I am saying is that each team in the top 2 divisions should have a guaranteed 8 rooms, Hinckley is big enough to do this

Mike Truran
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Re: THANKS!

Post by Mike Truran » Sun May 13, 2012 3:04 pm

I suspect both the hotel and the organisers would have a few difficulties administering such a system - and that the Div 3 teams wouldn't exactly be delighted either!

As I said though, it would be relatively easy to have split venues for all weekends if that's what is wanted. And it may well be that if the 4NCL continues to grow such an outcome will be forced on us anyway.

Alan Walton
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Re: THANKS!

Post by Alan Walton » Sun May 13, 2012 3:33 pm

From the difficulties of the last 2 seasons getting hotel rooms for the final weekend it seems like we have passed the point of the size of the 3rd Div and playing at the same venue

The last two seasons there were 44 teams at the combined weekend (minus a couple who pull out), the two seasons before that there were only 32 but we had split divisions, so we didn't have these problems of lack of rooms, was the room availability ever considered when combining the divisions into one venue

Mike Truran
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Re: THANKS!

Post by Mike Truran » Sun May 13, 2012 4:08 pm

Of course it was - as were (and are) all the other variables. The advantages of a single venue (Sean's point, Div 3 teams' wish to see the big guns in action, etc etc) were deemed as valid as the disadvantages of room availability given that Staverton, Daventry and non-Puma/De Vere venues are all within striking distance. The fact that we still have three of the weekends as split venues suggests that there are good arguments the other way as well. So (at the risk of repeating myself) hopefully at least most people get what they want at least some of the time.

LawrenceCooper
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Re: THANKS!

Post by LawrenceCooper » Sun May 13, 2012 5:40 pm

Out of curiousity, how many rooms do Hinckley make available to the 4NCL?

Mike Truran
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Re: THANKS!

Post by Mike Truran » Sun May 13, 2012 6:07 pm

All of them apart from a couple of fairly minor long-term coach trip commitments and a few casual bookings (20-30 rooms or so out of 362).

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