Are Open Tournaments really interesting?

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Alex Holowczak
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Re: Are Open Tournaments really interesting?

Post by Alex Holowczak » Fri May 04, 2012 9:52 am

MSoszynski wrote:And entering the name of one's club on the entry form is neither an "abuse" nor a request; for one thing, it's an indication to the organisers of how to increase players' enjoyment of the tournament, when that's possible.
I don't think that's right. Asking for a club to be listed on the entry form is because of how grading was done in the olden days. In the days before grading codes, having many people with the same name needed some form of disambiguation, and having the player's club was vital. Many congresses still ask for a club on the entry form, but there's no real need for it anymore. I use it just because people like the information.

Most graders presumably still supply clubs when supplying grading files for congresses, but when you think about it, you really shouldn't be. You should only supply a club for completely new players to the system.

MSoszynski
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Re: Are Open Tournaments really interesting?

Post by MSoszynski » Fri May 04, 2012 10:47 am

I don't think that's right. Asking for a club to be listed on the entry form is because of how grading was done in the olden days. In the days before grading codes, having many people with the same name needed some form of disambiguation, and having the player's club was vital. Many congresses still ask for a club on the entry form, but there's no real need for it anymore. I use it just because people like the information.

Most graders presumably still supply clubs when supplying grading files for congresses, but when you think about it, you really shouldn't be. You should only supply a club for completely new players to the system.


What's not right? Declaring the club name serves various purposes.

Alex, I realise that you've already indicated a (strong) disinclination to exercise discretion in the matter (which is pairings) but other arbiters feel differently. We're not talking only about FIDE tournaments here, though even in their case FIDE allows discretion. Presumably FIDE allows it for good reasons, whether or not it's to the precise ends I've been arguing for.

A lot has been said here about the interests and convenience of arbiters, FIDE, and programmers; I wanted to say something about the interests of players, that's all.

Alex Holowczak
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Re: Are Open Tournaments really interesting?

Post by Alex Holowczak » Fri May 04, 2012 11:40 am

I realise your intentions, but you asserted that the raison d'etre for the club being there was to aid with things like this. I don't think that's true.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Are Open Tournaments really interesting?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri May 04, 2012 11:59 am

Wall charts have almost always recorded the club, or sometimes the place of the residence instead. It can help to know where your opponent comes from if you have all of five minutes to prepare and don't have the chance to consult your laptop. There are some openings and styles of play that tend to be associated with particular areas. In days gone by, it would also have helped with correct player identification for grading. I'm not sure there's a single right answer, but disclosures on entry forms might help. An announcement of the use of computer pairings probably means no cooking.

Sean Hewitt
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Re: Are Open Tournaments really interesting?

Post by Sean Hewitt » Fri May 04, 2012 12:24 pm

There is no doubt that a club can be useful to the organiser in identifying the right player from the grading list. I agree with Roger that players find it interesting, if nothing else.

Alex Holowczak
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Re: Are Open Tournaments really interesting?

Post by Alex Holowczak » Fri May 04, 2012 12:59 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:An announcement of the use of computer pairings probably means no cooking.
Our entry form does just that. :D

MSoszynski
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Re: Are Open Tournaments really interesting?

Post by MSoszynski » Fri May 04, 2012 1:50 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:I realise your intentions, but you asserted that the raison d'etre for the club being there was to aid with things like this. I don't think that's true.
I've said that declaring one's club serves various purposes. Let me give two:

1) A player declares one club rather than others or several of which he may be a genuine member. (Which itself has its own motivations.)
2) A player's declaration will be more up to date than the information otherwise available to organisers.

Some arbiters do draw on the declared club information when pairing. Notwithstanding, let's not get side-tracked by the design of entry forms.

MSoszynski
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Re: Are Open Tournaments really interesting?

Post by MSoszynski » Fri May 04, 2012 2:27 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Sean Hewitt wrote:Just to be clear. The FIDE rules do not provide for keeping anyone apart but they do allow wide discretion as long as detailed written description of the rules are provided.

So by all means, keep family members, club members etc apart in round 1, early rounds, players on less than 50% - whatever you like.

But you need to document your rules in a detailed way and publish.

This ensures a level playing field, makes sure everyone knows the rules, and should help to avoid arguments about the legitimacy of the resulting pairings.
This is a detailed written description I'm not prepared to write, and indeed, one that the CAA pairing system doesn't seem to prescribe either. So I avoid it!
The detailed written description need be written only once and applied as desired to all relevant tourneys. The question is whether you think the discretionary rule enhances players' experience of an event and whether you think that enhancement is worth your inconvenience as an arbiter or inputter. I believe that separating clubmates in early rounds has been common in English congresses, and it has indeed been an enhancement. A lot of ordinary club players have a lot of arbiters to whom they should be grateful in this respect - and in many other respects of course.

Sean Hewitt
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Re: Are Open Tournaments really interesting?

Post by Sean Hewitt » Fri May 04, 2012 2:32 pm

In Dublin I paired a Norwegian IM with his WIM wife in round 2. Speaking to them afterwards, neither thought that this was strange or should be deliberatley avoided.

I use to keep club colleagues apart in the Leicestershire County Championships until the comment was made that the County Championships was the only opportunity that team mates had to play competitive games against each other! Now, we make no such attempt.

Alan Walton
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Re: Are Open Tournaments really interesting?

Post by Alan Walton » Fri May 04, 2012 3:00 pm

I have to admit playing club mates isn't the most desirable thing, but I don't think you should ever change a pairing specifically because of it, who knows the knock on effect by artificially changing pairing to accommodate this in future rounds

I have travelled abroad on a couple of occasions and played club mates, once in Amsterdam and the other this year in the Dublin tournament Sean mentioned, both these games were full on fighting chess

In local tournaments it has become the norm that I play club mates (one year I played Adam Ashton in every congress we entered), and the attitude should be to win whoever you play

MSoszynski
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Re: Are Open Tournaments really interesting?

Post by MSoszynski » Fri May 04, 2012 3:02 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:In Dublin I paired a Norwegian IM with his WIM wife in round 2. Speaking to them afterwards, neither thought that this was strange or should be deliberatley avoided.

I use to keep club colleagues apart in the Leicestershire County Championships until the comment was made that the County Championships was the only opportunity that team mates had to play competitive games against each other! Now, we make no such attempt.
Sean, the great thing is that you sought feedback for your practices and didn't act simply on convenience or because "computer says no!". Whether you'd get the same answers from English club players in weekend congresses is something I doubt, though of course I could be wrong about this established practice regarding clubmates. Let's both agree that the opinions of players have to be sought (not assumed) alongside the opinions of organisers and arbiters, who are well represented in this forum.

Alan Walton
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Re: Are Open Tournaments really interesting?

Post by Alan Walton » Fri May 04, 2012 3:28 pm

Isn't the main reason players don't like playing club mates is that the stronger players perceives he loses his advantage because the weaker club mate knows more about his game, than an equivalent player, and vice versa regarding the weaker player

I reckon any other sport where individuals meet (nationally or internationally), their club or nationality is never a factor

We really should have one set of rules and no deviation from these, which for one Sean's e2e4 seem to follow

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Are Open Tournaments really interesting?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri May 04, 2012 3:44 pm

Alan Walton wrote:Isn't the main reason players don't like playing club mates is that the stronger players perceives he loses his advantage because the weaker club mate knows more about his game, than an equivalent player, and vice versa regarding the weaker player
If you play in the same team and analyse together, there may be secrets which are not yet ready for disclosure. More of a problem at the highest level obviously when you get the player and coach/second relationship. If anything it's the people from other clubs in the same league that you meet all the time.

Paul Cooksey

Re: Are Open Tournaments really interesting?

Post by Paul Cooksey » Fri May 04, 2012 3:54 pm

I don’t completely agree with Alan. Personally, I do approach tournaments in the same way he does. I imagine that his view is pretty mainstream amongst open players, who are used to playing in a relatively restricted pool. But maybe Mr Soszynski’s view is more common amongst players in lower sections. Perhaps there is an argument for treating different sections differently.

I wonder if there is also an argument for treating different rounds differently? In this example:
Alex McFarlane wrote:We have already established that Swiss Master does not always do as it should. It has been programmed to follow FIDE procedures from B onwards. Unfortunately this means that it can do stupid things such as floating two people down from a score group that it cannot pair rather than change the downfloat into that group.
In the FIDE system if we had joint leaders A (colourBWBBWW) and B (-BWBWW) then the program will not pair AvB but will instead downfloat both players, even if this a full point downfloat.
I’m not sure if the downfloat is so stupid. It certainly is if round 7 is the last round, but if there are 11 rounds, maybe not. The players will be paired later if they are still leading, with a better colour sequence.

I think there are fairly well understood models for how many rounds you need to establish x places accurately. Maybe it is ok cook the pairings when there are still enough rounds left to still determine the prizes fairly, but not later? I guess the common "bye in rounds 1-3 but not later" is a similar concept.

Ian Kingston
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Re: Are Open Tournaments really interesting?

Post by Ian Kingston » Fri May 04, 2012 4:19 pm

For me, the only problem with playing against a club mate in a congress (or league match) is the risk of never hearing the end of it if I lose. I am, of course, far too polite to boast (much) when I win.

There can be good reasons for keeping players apart in certain types of tournament. For instance, in NSPCA Under 11 training events we often avoid early clashes between siblings and players from the same school because the coaches want to see how players fare against new opponents. I have software that can do this easily. There are no prizes at stake, the tournaments are ungraded, and selection for the county team is never based on a single event, so the negative consequences are minimal.

In general, though, I don't like artificially meddling with the draw, whether I'm a player or an organiser. The poor old Swiss system isn't really designed to cope with anything other than finding the winner of a tournament, and the potential for awkward pairings later in the tournament is reason enough, in my view, to avoid the practice.

In the unlikely event that I ever have to pair a tournament in which the Kosintseva sisters are playing I might consider tweaking the draw a little :wink:

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