Enter Your Local Chess Congress Online!

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Matthew Webb
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Enter Your Local Chess Congress Online!

Post by Matthew Webb » Sat Jan 07, 2012 8:07 pm

This is not an original idea but is however one idea which I like and intend to use. I have therefore prepared this ready to launch on the Yorkshire Chess Association website!

This idea came to me from the fantastic efforts of Sean Hewitt and his team who are behind the e2e4 chess events which we can now enter & pay for online (we can also see who our prospective opponents are which is another plus in my eyes).

Just finding your cheque book or remembering to pick up an entry form has often been a reason for me missing or forgetting about an event I had good intentions to play... I have therefore contacted several congress organisers (within Yorkshire) to ask their approval for me to initiate online entries (including payment) to their events. I've not heard anything back yet so would just like to ask a wider audience what they think about this option? Surely you agree, this can only be a good thing?

Note: Once I've been given the go ahead by anyone of the congresses you will be able to enter it/them online @ http://yorkshirechess.org/

Matty

Ian Kingston
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Re: Enter Your Local Chess Congress Online!

Post by Ian Kingston » Sun Jan 08, 2012 10:08 pm

This weekend's Shropshire Congress had online entry for the first time. If I heard the organisers correctly, 50% of the entries came in that way.

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Matthew Webb
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Re: Enter Your Local Chess Congress Online!

Post by Matthew Webb » Sun Jan 08, 2012 11:06 pm

Ahh - thank you for the feedback Ian! :-)

Malcolm Peacock
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Re: Enter Your Local Chess Congress Online!

Post by Malcolm Peacock » Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:00 pm

I have done online entry for Preston for 3 years now. It was up to about 30% of entries last year. Mostly it works quite well, although there are always a few people who seem to have trouble with PayPals web site and give up and post it instead (or enter multiple times, enter the wrong section, forget to ask for a bye, change their mind etc. - but I guess that happens with postal entries as well!).

Presumably you will charge the same amount for an online entry ? (and so it costs you a bit when Paypal take their cut). I guess if you have a few congresses you might be able to get enough transactions to get it cheaper. I did look for alternatives to PayPal but couldn't find one.

Looks like you are using WordPress? I used Drupal and a shopping cart so one person could enter multiple people, but perhaps that made it over complex. ( http://chess.popmalc.org.uk/enter ) It did mean that the PayPal bit was done for me including getting the IPN back to say that they payed.

Good Luck!

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Re: Enter Your Local Chess Congress Online!

Post by Alex Holowczak » Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:36 pm

Malcolm Peacock wrote:I have done online entry for Preston for 3 years now. It was up to about 30% of entries last year. Mostly it works quite well, although there are always a few people who seem to have trouble with PayPals web site and give up and post it instead (or enter multiple times, enter the wrong section, forget to ask for a bye, change their mind etc. - but I guess that happens with postal entries as well!).
The Birmingham Rapidplay did it for the first time in October, and we got 25% online. I received lots of blank entries from people who had clicked submit, but hadn't filled in the form. I discovered the culprit for this, but he shall remain nameless. :wink:
Malcolm Peacock wrote:Presumably you will charge the same amount for an online entry ? (and so it costs you a bit when Paypal take their cut). I guess if you have a few congresses you might be able to get enough transactions to get it cheaper. I did look for alternatives to PayPal but couldn't find one.
We just put the entry fee up by £1 to cover this. This dramatic financial increase in tough economic times meant that our entries stayed, give or take 1 or 2, exactly the same.

--

The biggest thing about online entry is how easy it makes the tournament to run. You don't have to stand in a bank for an hour while the cashier gets increasingly frustrated as she cashes her 100th cheque. You don't need boxfiles to store the entries in; you can label them in your inbox. You don't need to waste half a tree printing off 1,000 forms and posting them everywhere; another drain on enthusiasm. You can just copy and paste information into a database suitable for Swiss Master, and run the event. No need to write out pairing cards or wallcharts.

Running a congress in the halcyon days of post, pairing cards and wallcharts must have been a right pain to organise.

David Sedgwick
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Re: Enter Your Local Chess Congress Online!

Post by David Sedgwick » Thu Jan 12, 2012 10:04 am

Alex Holowczak wrote:The biggest thing about online entry is how easy it makes the tournament to run. You don't have to stand in a bank for an hour while the cashier gets increasingly frustrated as she cashes her 100th cheque.
Can't you use an automated paying-in machine? I haven't paid anything in over the counter for years.

Admittedly I'm talking about my personal account, not a club or congress account.

Alex Holowczak wrote:Running a congress in the halcyon days of post, pairing cards and wallcharts must have been a right pain to organise.
Not really. In the good old days we didn't have to spend hours answering email queries, or responding to comments on internet forums.

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Re: Enter Your Local Chess Congress Online!

Post by Alex Holowczak » Thu Jan 12, 2012 10:23 am

David Sedgwick wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote:The biggest thing about online entry is how easy it makes the tournament to run. You don't have to stand in a bank for an hour while the cashier gets increasingly frustrated as she cashes her 100th cheque.
Can't you use an automated paying-in machine? I haven't paid anything in over the counter for years.

Admittedly I'm talking about my personal account, not a club or congress account.
Apparently not; I was instructed by the Treasurer of the organisation that I had to fill in deposit forms and take them to the bank, hand them in at the cashier.

Even for my personal account, I don't really have a preference for the machines. I just look at the machine queue and the counter queue, and pick the shortest!
David Sedgwick wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote:Running a congress in the halcyon days of post, pairing cards and wallcharts must have been a right pain to organise.
Not really. In the good old days we didn't have to spend hours answering email queries, or responding to comments on internet forums.
I don't think that's so bad. It's at least vaguely interactive. By contrast, writing 100 names onto wallcharts in grade-descending order, then making sure all the PINs match up on pairing cards and wallchart, before some Polish guy from my Uni rings me up asking to enter and pay on the day, buggering up my hitherto perfectly sorted-by-grade players that I've been writing out for the last few hours... I just find tasks like that particularly onerous and mind-numbing.

If I compare the Birmingham Rapidplay (for example) with the BUCA tournament, the latter is far easier to organise. All I have to do for the BUCA event is write an entry form, put it on the website, e-mail it to interested parties and SUs, mention it on Facebook a few times, take the entries, and make sure the money ends up in our account (they pay by electronic transfer). I don't have a single hard copy of any document relating to the tournament! By contrast, I'll shortly be united with 1,000 entry forms, 200+ printed envelopes and stamps (all of which I need to find space to store), find a free day to fill everything and post them to everyone, write pairing cards and wallcharts, AND do all of the above tasks that I have to do for the BUCA event.

Happily, the Rapidplay is using computer pairings and wallcharts from now on, because the Organiser managed to persuade his Chief Arbiter. :D

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Matthew Webb
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Re: Enter Your Local Chess Congress Online!

Post by Matthew Webb » Fri Jan 13, 2012 7:22 pm

Well it appears trying to shift entries online is certainly a helpful added extra if nothing else! I would certainly find publishing results on the Yorkshire website much easier if I had a soft copy of all the entries.

With that said I've set up my entry form emails to automatically submit via Outlook (using VBA) the details of the email into MS excel which adds each entry into a small database. I can then ensure grades are correct (V-Look up) and Membership discounts are credible (once I get a list of member names + numbers). I've not run this whole process through in practise yet but I've tested it multiple times. I'm therefore hoping to cut down some what on the arduous, repetitive tasks facing many congress organiser.

I must say though, my respect for the organisers has grown considerably! :)

Thank you to all who have responded - I've only ever heard negative things about this forum but my first experiences of it have be rather pleasant. :D
Last edited by Matthew Webb on Fri Jan 13, 2012 8:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

David Sedgwick
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Re: Enter Your Local Chess Congress Online!

Post by David Sedgwick » Fri Jan 13, 2012 8:08 pm

Matthew Webb wrote:I've only ever heard negative things about this forum but my first experiences of it have be rather pleasant. :D
As so often happens, a minority of unpleasant threads and posts tend to obscure a large number of positive and constructive ones.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Enter Your Local Chess Congress Online!

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Fri Jan 13, 2012 8:15 pm

David Sedgwick wrote:
Matthew Webb wrote:I've only ever heard negative things about this forum but my first experiences of it have be rather pleasant. :D
As so often happens, a minority of unpleasant threads and posts tend to obscure a large number of positive and constructive ones.
We should be able to vote the good threads up and the bad ones down to increase or decrease visibility. I think all we get at the moment is very active or long threads flashing in the index menu. Voting individual posts up or down might not improve matters...

Richard Thursby
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Re: Enter Your Local Chess Congress Online!

Post by Richard Thursby » Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:45 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:
The Birmingham Rapidplay did it for the first time in October, and we got 25% online. I received lots of blank entries from people who had clicked submit, but hadn't filled in the form. I discovered the culprit for this, but he shall remain nameless. :wink:
It should be fairly simple to validate the form on submit. Depending on your website's underlying technology, there is likely to be at least one forum member who can give you help setting it up if you need it.

Malcolm Peacock
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Re: Enter Your Local Chess Congress Online!

Post by Malcolm Peacock » Tue Jan 17, 2012 5:41 pm

Matthew Webb wrote: With that said I've set up my entry form emails to automatically submit via Outlook (using VBA) the details of the email into MS excel which adds each entry into a small database. I can then ensure grades are correct (V-Look up) and Membership discounts are credible (once I get a list of member names + numbers). I've not run this whole process through in practise yet but I've tested it multiple times. I'm therefore hoping to cut down some what on the arduous, repetitive tasks facing many congress organiser.
When my users submit, it goes straight into the (mysql) database, (which they can view on the web) and then when they pay in PayPal, I get the IPN update and mark that record as payed (I get emails as well as a backup). Its a pity that everyone doesn't enter online, as then I wouldn't need to manually merge the postal entries in so that I can check the grades and membership.

Would it not be a good idea, if one day, there were a site where any congress could be entered, each person would have a login id so it would remember their address and ecf code, it could send them email reminders about up coming congresses and we would get cheaper PayPal costs through having more transactions. It would check grades and memberships, and output a file to be read directly into whatever software you use to run the congress...

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