Alan Walton wrote:
I do agree with David that the a better regionalisation of the zonal competition could be beneficial
Maybe having areas like the following
1) SCCU would keep the same format as it work perfectly well (3 entries)
2) M62 Corrider - Lancs/Yorkshire/GMan/Cheshire/Merseyside (2 entries)
3) WMidlands - Shropshire/Staffs/Worcestershire/Warwickshire (2 entries)
4) EMidlands - Notts/Lincs/Leics/Derbyshire/Northants (1 entries)
5) North of England - The rest of the NCCU (1 entry)
6) Suffolk/Norfolk/Bedfordshire/Cambridgeshire/etc. (2 entries)
7) Devon/Cornwall/Somerset/Dorset/Hampshire (1 entries)
Gloucester/Hereforshire/Wiltshire/Berkshire (1 entries)
These have been quickly done so pardon some of my geography, but this should significantly reduce the travelling at zonal level which is the main problem at the moment, it also means there could be a better presence at the national stages
But we shouldn't allow counties to merge with other counties, or ask counties to split up, as this defeats the object of the current system of a county championship
Its well worth looking at the counties structures, but for me the key thing is greater particiption....and more particularly, encouraging the participation of more genuine `local` based players in local county teams....and not just bussing in `top guns` from all corners.
Too many counties feel `excluded` because `big brother` dominates to the point where its not worth entering....at least thats how I see things in the NCCU, where currently you have Cumbria, Cheshire, Merseyside, Cleveland, Durham, Northumberland....Tyne & Wear, etc..all sitting on the touch lines, reduced to the role of passive spectators. And then you already have the biggest county merger possible..ie, West Yorks, South Yorks, & East Yorks...all merged to form that giant county called `Yorks`...
So yes, some `merging` of teams (not counties), could be good to enable those counties that are too small to raise teams, to have a better chance to participate.
For example, take counties like Northants, Herefordshire, Cumberland...and others...who have little or no chance of raising a team(s).
The current rules are so lax as regards qualification that many county teams are a mish mash of players from all over the place, so allowing more mergers is just a logical extention.
Take, for example Lancs (and well done to them on winning this years Counties Open section). I see they get a mention in todays Telegraph chess section...!!
How many of those players satisfy the core criteria of currently (a) Living in Lancs, (b) Working in Lancs, or (c) paying council tax to a Lancs council (d) actively playing chess for a genuine Lancs based club....?
Some might even see the Lancs team to a variant of NCL type teams...a collection of players from here..there..and anywhere...?
Yes, people debate these issues...and yes, a little give & take is needed...but the second tier qualifications I think need looking at. Particularly those rules regarding `Leagues`which spread into neighbouring counties.
And allowing long lost soles, who never set foot in a county from one year to another...not good? At least, not good from the purist `county` perspective where `locals` should be given centre stage.
Note also, if you take the current county boundaries, Lancs actually play most of there `home` matches in GMan. Such are the querks of history, and some might say its good to have two counties based in our area.
But the key issue isnt to squabble endlessly over bygone history, but too move forward in a constructive manner. Incidentally, this situation isnt just unique to Lancs & the NCCU, there are many cases across the other Unions? Its not simple to change this and find agreements that counties would buy into.
Yes, I agree the `counties` scene is not bust by any stroke of the imagination, but that does not mean we should not look for improvements that would encourage more counties to participate.
No wonder Alan clears off to Canada to play his chess....very good luck to him.
Some `improvements` have been suggested...hopefully those with an interest will move things forward in a positive manner....
Incidentally.... I wonder if we need a `check-point` on all these threads, where a summary of the best ideas is compiled for action by those with the clout to do something..otherwise such threads just become `hot air`, and nothing gets done. Another summary of actions taken might be useful, to highlight where such threads have resulted in actual positive improvements. Maybe some of these need to appear on the agendas of key chess bodies...