Can anyone tell me why Scarbrough second biggest weekender

Discuss anything you like about chess related matters in this forum.
User avatar
Rob Thompson
Posts: 757
Joined: Wed Jul 15, 2009 12:03 pm
Location: Behind you

Re: Can anyone tell me why Scarbrough second biggest weekender

Post by Rob Thompson » Tue Oct 27, 2009 1:00 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote: Regional or local imitations of the 4NCL are few and far between, the 4NCL concept of team based play at a neutral venue could work at a regional level. In the South, West, Wales, Midlands and East Anglia I don't imagine there are that many players who don't play 4NCL because of the travelling. In the North there may be unsatisfied demand for a 4NCL style regional competition. The Scots already have their own equivalent.
There are very few from the South West who play 4NCL, and this is because of travelling. I think the closest team geographically is Bristol, which is hardly South West, so it's not only the northerners who are left out.
True glory lies in doing what deserves to be written; in writing what deserves to be read.

Jonathan Bryant
Posts: 3253
Joined: Sun May 11, 2008 3:54 pm

Re: Can anyone tell me why Scarbrough second biggest weekender

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Tue Oct 27, 2009 1:19 pm

David Pardoe wrote:I`m glad to see that at least some people are capable of reading a few sentences, without keeling over with exhaustion, after having to concentrate a bit for a few minutes. (I do try to help by putting in some `.......`, which invite readers to stop for breath).
Just to be clear, I spent 11 hours in the Hastings National Chess Library yesterday. I arrived at 9am. I had a 30 minute break at around 2pm and I left about 7:45pm.

It's not lack of concentration that prevents me from reading your posts it's that I don't for bad writing or poor presentation. The latter is is highly correlated with the former in my experience - hence me not wanting to read your posts.

JamesMurphy
Posts: 56
Joined: Tue May 12, 2009 11:54 am
Location: Manchester, UK
Contact:

Re: Can anyone tell me why Scarbrough second biggest weekender

Post by JamesMurphy » Tue Oct 27, 2009 1:24 pm

Ola Winfridsson wrote:Although I sympathize with and deplore the worsening conditions of IMs and GMs, we have to remember that chess, just like football, is only a pastime. In my view, it's only sensible that should be difficult to make a living out of a hobby. I don't mean to sound niggardly, but I'm actually proud of the fact that chess has not got the equivalent of Nationwide Conference where players can make a living out of football in the fifth tier of the national game (albeit a fairly meagre one). Because in that case I would probably even be able to make a living out of chess myself, and considering the deficencies in my game, I'm not sure that'd be a good thing ...
More people interested in chess would bring a huge social benefit. You only have to spend a couple a minutes scouring this board or chatting with a fellow chess players to know that, on the whole, it attracts people who think about what they say and what they do with careful consideration and often have some form of moral compass often a generally good moral compass... Although more money in any sport is more likely to attract the "sort" that most players don't want to meet or play against.

Anyway I fear I am going OTP (off the point)
http://www.jmblogger.com - My blog, chess, film and life
http://www.chorltonchess.com - the Home of Chorlton Chess Club

JamesMurphy
Posts: 56
Joined: Tue May 12, 2009 11:54 am
Location: Manchester, UK
Contact:

Re: Can anyone tell me why Scarbrough second biggest weekender

Post by JamesMurphy » Tue Oct 27, 2009 1:30 pm

Rob Thompson wrote:
Roger de Coverly wrote: Regional or local imitations of the 4NCL are few and far between, the 4NCL concept of team based play at a neutral venue could work at a regional level. In the South, West, Wales, Midlands and East Anglia I don't imagine there are that many players who don't play 4NCL because of the travelling. In the North there may be unsatisfied demand for a 4NCL style regional competition. The Scots already have their own equivalent.
There are very few from the South West who play 4NCL, and this is because of travelling. I think the closest team geographically is Bristol, which is hardly South West, so it's not only the northerners who are left out.
A valid point Rob... I had forgotten about the South West! Goegraphically for those in Cornwall and even the further parts of Devon, trekking up to Birmingham for an afternoon of chess, especially given the current fuel prices can be a costly affair!

Roger you make a valid point about the North lacking any 4NCL type regional competitions. I'm struggling to find any myself! It's simply not possible for many British players to be expected to travel to Europe to play in Fide rated events any more than once a year - given the current climate, weakness of the pound and the fact that modern living often doesn't allow it. More hosted Fide rated events in the UK would be much welcome and would raise the profile of British chess amongst the wider international community
http://www.jmblogger.com - My blog, chess, film and life
http://www.chorltonchess.com - the Home of Chorlton Chess Club

Ola Winfridsson
Posts: 324
Joined: Fri Aug 14, 2009 12:26 pm

Re: Can anyone tell me why Scarbrough second biggest weekender

Post by Ola Winfridsson » Tue Oct 27, 2009 1:35 pm

Only a brief reply, James (since we, as you as say, are straying off topic, for which I'm partly to blame): Yes, I agree with regards to the social benefits of chess, but that's not necessarily an argument for pouring more prize money or direct sponsorship into chess. It's interesting to note that chess interest and club memberships probably was at its height when there were many more unpaid volunteers involved in the game.

Kevin Thurlow
Posts: 4212
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:28 pm

Re: Can anyone tell me why Scarbrough second biggest weekender

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Tue Oct 27, 2009 1:41 pm

Having spent a week or so actually playing chess, I feel impelled to comment about something.

I don't think 4NCL "serves the interests of 'Watford Gap South'". There are more players from the South playing in 4NCL, but not because it is aimed at them, there are just more players. One thing that put me off playing in the 4NCL (for White Rose, whilst living in Surrey), was that on more than one occasion I drove for hours to reach the venue, then played someone from Surrey. However, I will be back this year playing for the southernmost team.

I agree with Gawain that professional players will not find English weekend Swisses attractive, for financial reasons. I certainly take his point about prizes increasing for lower sections. On one occasion, I won an Open RP with 6/6 and found it didn't cover entry fee + short drive to the venue. Meanwhile the winner of the next section got five times as much, just because the section had more entries. And if the sections had been merged, I think I might have still managed 6/6.

Some congresses do arrange accommodation for GMs, and although Guernsey is a different matter (it's a foreign tournament for a start), at the closing dinner on Saturday, the organiser discovered that GM Korneev was catching the same hideously early flight as me, and politely asked if I would give him a lift. No problem. But, trying to arrange car shares in advance is not so easy. Tournament organisers have enough to do already, and how many players would trust a complete stranger to collect them at the right place and time? One entrant at a Spectrum tournament had a terrible journey after his lift either (a) failed to meet him at the agreed time or (b) the passenger was late.

12 Congresses for £100 - 125? A bit optimistic. I think George Goodwin used to offer a discount for multiple entries, but I reckon most tournaments can't afford too many discounted entries. They are expensive to run, and hard work.

I agree with Scott that you want to attract the top players, as it adds "lustre to the tournament", as an American so called GM put it when demanding an appearance fee. Again at Guernsey, players were delighted that there were three GMS (Tiger Hillarp-Persson and Bojan Kurajica, as well as Oleg Korneev), all of whom are friendly and actually talk to people. And it was worth the entry fee for Kurajica to give me a practical reminder of how useless I am at chess.

It concerns me slightly that Spectrum tournaments (which I help run) frequently don't have an Open. I would like this to change, but the Spectrum ethos is to run friendly events in nice hotels and it is generally the lower-graded players who are happy to fork out for the privilege of playing in decent conditions. They are just playing for fun for the most part, whereas the higher-graded players possibly feel more inclined to worry about winning prizes. Sponsorship is difficult to come by these days. So our events cost money, but you get decent playing conditions, genuine carpets instead of the spit and sawdust of some venues. But it costs more. So how do you balance this? It is like juggling on a seesaw, but perhaps I should stop before my similes go overboard.
"Kevin was the arbiter and was very patient. " Nick Grey

Ola Winfridsson
Posts: 324
Joined: Fri Aug 14, 2009 12:26 pm

Re: Can anyone tell me why Scarbrough second biggest weekender

Post by Ola Winfridsson » Tue Oct 27, 2009 2:02 pm

In other words, most of us amateurs are prepared to put quite a lot of money into our chess, but not necessarily in order to attract big guns to tournaments.

Peter Rhodes
Posts: 246
Joined: Thu Aug 20, 2009 10:53 pm

Re: Can anyone tell me why Scarbrough second biggest weekender

Post by Peter Rhodes » Tue Oct 27, 2009 2:10 pm

It is also rather depressing winning the Open section and finding the player in the Novice won more prize money for his hobby than we did for our work.
I sympathise with you entirely Gawain. I am a Chess Amateur and I play Chess simply as a challenge. The prize money means nothing to me and I would happily play without any such rewards.

However, that's just my personal point of view and I realise there must be Amateurs who do enjoy the prospect of winning money but I am curious as to what kind of proportion of the Chess playing public are actually attracted by these prizes.

Tournament organisers must be the people with the best intuition for how important these prizes are to attracting players. Are there any willing to give some feedback on this ?
Chess Amateur.

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 19271
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: Can anyone tell me why Scarbrough second biggest weekender

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Oct 27, 2009 2:28 pm

JamesMurphy wrote:More hosted Fide rated events in the UK would be much welcome
Many of the weekend opens in the south now have an internationally rate top section (or two). Blackpool which was one of the first internationally rated opens has now dropped the idea. Scarborough isn't internationally rated either.
Rob Thompson wrote:There are very few from the South West who play 4NCL, and this is because of travelling.
A quick check on the AA route planner gave about the same time to Birmingham (3 hours) from Exeter, Bournemouth and Maidstone. There've been South Coast and Kent based teams since almost the start of the 4NCL. In chess terms (WECU), the south west stretches further east than Basingstoke.
Kevin Thurlow wrote:t concerns me slightly that Spectrum tournaments (which I help run) frequently don't have an Open. I would like this to change, but the Spectrum ethos is to run friendly events in nice hotels and it is generally the lower-graded players who are happy to fork out for the privilege of playing in decent conditions. They are just playing for fun for the most part, whereas the higher-graded players possibly feel more inclined to worry about winning prizes.
It's strange that the e2e4 events (Uxbridge, Amersham etc.) with broadly the same approach of using a "conference centre" hotel should attract a different demographic whereby the Open gets so many entries that accelerated pairings have to be used, whereas the lower sections are relatively thinly supported.

I suppose what e2e4 does that Spectrum does not :-

(1) invited GMs - ones who do not complain about pairings for preference
(2) 90 30 move rate which is a novelty for many of us
(3) 1 2 2 structure for weekends rather than 0 3 2
(4) International rated and British Championship qualifier.

They are not all plus points necessarily but they do seem to have attracted more of the top 1000 or so than the Spectrums.

Scott Freeman
Posts: 284
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:42 am

Re: Can anyone tell me why Scarbrough second biggest weekender

Post by Scott Freeman » Tue Oct 27, 2009 2:44 pm

I can only give brief insight from Coulsdon which, being a non-profit making company as opposed to a team of volunteers, may have a slightly different slant to others. Our aim is to run events, cover my meagre salary (and it is meagre!) and the cost of the event (prizes, hall hire, equipment, paperwork, computers, etc). But as someone said in another post elsewhere on the forum, I am able to do as much as I do because I am full time. Yet although so many people say what a fantastic job we do, there are others who won't come here, becaue they (incorrectly) perceive that we are trying to screw money out of the chess world. Oh, if only they knew! There are probably others that that tag canned be pinned to, albeit that I have no problem with anyone making an honest living out of chess if they are doing good.

I regularly have players who say to me "put a big prize fund up and you'll get more entries" as if that is going to solve to on-going problem of why tournaments generally are seeing a slow decline in entries. It simply is not the case for the majority but it would be for some. I remember the first tournament we ever ran where, despite my expressed concerns beforehand, it was decided to put up a total £1,000 prize fund for our very first rapid play (I think it was November 1995). We had an entry of around 50 players. Then I was personally blamed by a player (well known for complaining so I am told) when the prize fund was cut in a couple of grade ranges (not my decision - and I believe he still holds it against me). Several years later, with a much lower prize fund, we still sometimes get close to 50 players. There may be some truth in the argument of bigger prizes but there are too many other issues that come into play as well as the prize fund.

From an organiser's point of view, you have to understand that there is little "loyalty" in chess circles in my experience. If there were, then all of our members would come to us at Easter and not the SCCA event. And the SCCA will look at their non-CCF members and ask why some have come to us instead of them. It's life! Players go where and when it suits them and many issues account for this. Money is just one. Family issues, football (well for me and a few!), personal preference of certain events, where have their friends gone, time controls, playing conditions, do they like the arbiter.....? I am sure more could be added. The simple fact is that an organiser without sponsorship cannot afford to put up a big prize fund and give what we would all like to give. If you make the fund too low, that puts others off. And what is the attraction of any company to put large sums of money into chess? I don't see it.

We had to look at how many entries we were getting and make sure the tournament ran financially OK with that. Surely that's sensible. But I still had certain players beating on about the prize fund. So now we have gone (in principle) for a pro-rata type prize fund depending on entries. We don't have advertised graded sections any more but set sections the night the events when we know the balance of players who have entered. It works financially and works very well logistically - in fact our first long play event this season went like a dream. But it won't be to everyone's tastes.

But you still have players phoning up and asking who has entered as they will then make the decision whether they are going to enter based on who else has entered. When I am speaking to these people, I am half tempted to refuse to tell them as in some ways I don't like the reasons for them asking, but that's what makes them tick and they probably won't enter anyway if I don't tell them. So you have this chicken and egg problem as well. Believe we, whatever you do, you are going to upset someone!

User avatar
Rob Thompson
Posts: 757
Joined: Wed Jul 15, 2009 12:03 pm
Location: Behind you

Re: Can anyone tell me why Scarbrough second biggest weekender

Post by Rob Thompson » Tue Oct 27, 2009 3:36 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Rob Thompson wrote:There are very few from the South West who play 4NCL, and this is because of travelling.
A quick check on the AA route planner gave about the same time to Birmingham (3 hours) from Exeter, Bournemouth and Maidstone. There've been South Coast and Kent based teams since almost the start of the 4NCL. In chess terms (WECU), the south west stretches further east than Basingstoke.
Does the South West not stretch beyond Exeter then? It's probably pushing 4 hours from Plymouth, and that's without even entering into the wild land that calls itself Cornwall :lol: Also, i believe some of the weekends are in the South East, which is considerably closer to those in Maidstone than those in Exeter, for example.
True glory lies in doing what deserves to be written; in writing what deserves to be read.

Eoin Devane
Posts: 517
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2009 5:21 pm
Location: Cambridge

Re: Can anyone tell me why Scarbrough second biggest weekender

Post by Eoin Devane » Tue Oct 27, 2009 3:49 pm

As a player, I, like Peter, play just for fun and for the challenge. Indeed, I have only ever won any money on one occasion. :(

However, I appreciate that, understandably, a lot of players who are much better than I am are concerned about prize money, as they actually have some chance of winning it! We set our prize funds in advance, based roughly on the success of recent events, and try to make sure that the pecuniary rewards for a high finish are what the players deserve in all sections, and that top prize winners will make a substantial financial gain from the event. My view is that the Open is where the highest standard of chess is, and so should also be where the greatest reward is.

User avatar
Anthony Higgs
Posts: 74
Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2008 8:31 pm
Location: Cloud Nine

Re: Can anyone tell me why Scarbrough second biggest weekender

Post by Anthony Higgs » Tue Oct 27, 2009 3:58 pm

Rob Thompson wrote:Also, i believe some of the weekends are in the South East, which is considerably closer to those in Maidstone than those in Exeter, for example.
This year and last, the only 4NCL venue close to being described as southeast is Sunningdale (Ascot). I live in central Sussex and this venue is 1hr 15mins away in normal traffic. The majority of venues are in the Midlands - Daventry/Hinckley/Staverton etc which are all between 2hrs 30mins - 3hrs journey for me.
http://www.horshamchessclub.org.uk - ECF Club of the Year 2010

isaac wallis
Posts: 36
Joined: Sat Jul 25, 2009 7:32 pm

Re: Can anyone tell me why Scarbrough second biggest weekender

Post by isaac wallis » Tue Oct 27, 2009 8:03 pm

Not necessarily true Martin. In fact frequently the lower sections play for more money (often for a lower entry fee too) after the prizes in the top section(s) are reduced due to lower entries. This apparently happened at the Metropolitan Congress last weekend though I'm unsure of the precise details.

Alex McFarlane
Posts: 1561
Joined: Sat Aug 02, 2008 8:52 pm

Re: Can anyone tell me why Scarbrough second biggest weekender

Post by Alex McFarlane » Tue Oct 27, 2009 8:23 pm

The two most successful congresses in England in terms of entries are Blackpool and Scarborough. Both give £500 first prizes in all sections and as a result attract large numbers. Both also of course have the advantage of popular venues.
Having spoken to a few GMs I am under the impression that a first prize of circa £2000 would be needed to attract a significant number of them to compete (or of course conditions).

Incidentally, offering no prize money but reasonable trophies to the grading restricted events would have very little difference to the entry fees that most congresses have to charge, perhaps reducing them by no more than a third, if that. Hall rental is normally a very significant aspect of the budget. Weekend hire is approaching 4 figures in some areas. Hotels can give deals but only if room occupancy is guaranteed and few congress organisers are willing to take this financial risk.

There are perhaps surprisingly few ‘amateur’ players who are willing to support the professional players. Without having kept records I would guess that players who complain about subsidising the elite by a proportion of their entry fees going to the Open as opposed to those suggesting this is the best way forward is about 4 to 1. This anti-GM feeling has been increasing in recent years. There is a catch 22 situation in that the less prizemoney or incentives there are the fewer GMs compete, but the fewer GMs who compete the less support for their plight is acknowledged by the grass roots player. The ordinary players are then less inclined to be willing to support the GMs. “Why should part of our entry fee go to subsidise these prima donnas?” is becoming an increasingly common comment made.

I have tried to find local players willing to put up titled players for events. Believe me this is not an easy task. Adverts have little or no success. Only personal approaches work and usually these are only agreed reluctantly and are seen as repaying a favour for the amount of chess I have organised/controlled for them. Even when accommodation is found, you still have the worry that everything will go well and that both parties will get along.

Finally, the organisers of Scarborough would like to thank the many players who have expressed their gratitude for our efforts.

Post Reply