NCCU AGM Minutes 2010

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Richard Bates
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Re: NCCU AGM Minutes 2010

Post by Richard Bates » Sun Jul 04, 2010 5:18 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Richard Bates wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote:
No, I know. I just advised him on the rules, and said that he should have played on. It wasn't really a case of sportsmanship; it was a case of agreeing a draw in a clearly non-drawn position. When the draw was agreed, he certainly wasn't losing.
Well if he was prepared to accept a draw then by definition he wasn't trying to win. Sounds like a clearcut case for a legitimate draw claim under quickplay finish rules to me! By agreeing a draw he just relieved the arbiter of the job of reading his mind ;)
Of course. I didn't see why he accepted the draw given that he was winning, both over the board, and on time.
Ah well now you didn't tell me he was an idiot! You could comfortably berate him without even mentioning the clock.

Bit strange that he didn't take the draw at the time of the original claim when he was clearly losing, but there we are.

Ian Thompson
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Re: NCCU AGM Minutes 2010

Post by Ian Thompson » Sun Jul 04, 2010 5:32 pm

Richard Bates wrote:Bit strange that he didn't take the draw at the time of the original claim when he was clearly losing, but there we are.
Perhaps he didn't know that the rules say that his opponent's claim of a draw was also an offer of a draw.

David Sedgwick
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Re: NCCU AGM Minutes 2010

Post by David Sedgwick » Mon Jul 05, 2010 11:37 am

Alex Holowczak wrote:The more I read about this, the more I think the county competition format needs to change.

Complaints are:
The NCCU has no competition
Teams in the MCCU aren't motivated because the "big three" will qualify regardless

So then, get rid of the zonal structure. All teams who enter the County Championship go into a Swiss, and play 5 games over the course of a season. If that proves objectionable, perhaps hold 5 games over a long weekend in a hotel. Use suitable tie-breakers.

After the first season, split everything into divisions of 6 depending on how you finish, so you in effect get a league which is an all-play-all. Promotion/relegation between each division, with new teams starting in the bottom division. If that proves objectionable, you can just have the Swiss if you prefer.

That way:
a) You have to get your best players out at all times
b) There will be no easy games; all counties should find a suitable standard of opposition
c) The NCCU won't have the problem of non-existent county chess

Problems solved?
Sean Hewitt wrote:Sadly not.

I suggested getting rid of the Union stages last year for the same reason as you do now. I was told that the SCCU would vigorously oppose such a suggestion because they value the SCCU county championship titles and would not be prepared to give that up. I don't think anyone values being MCCU or NCCU champions.
You're right about the SCCU position, Sean. I repeat my remarks from higher up the thread.

David Sedgwick wrote:
Andrew Wainwright wrote:The ECF could organise the entire county championship itself and regionalise the early stages as it sees fit.
The SCCU was founded in 1892 and the SCCU Counties Championship was first held in 1893-94. That was a decade before the formation of the BCF (in 1904).

The SCCU Counties Championships continue to thrive to this day. We now have four more teams competing than we did five years ago. SCCU trophies are awarded to the winners of the six Divisions.

There's no way that we'd allow the ECF to abolish our event (and it is our event). If the ECF tried to do so, they wouldn't succeed. What they might well do would be fatally to undermine the ECF competition.
However, I'm confident that the ECF Board and Council won't pursue any such suggestion.
A year ago, the SCCU put forward, and Council accepted, proposals to change the grading limits of the Counties Championships to reflect the new grades, thus leaving the competition essentially unchanged. The proposals were greeted with dire suggestions that they would make life impossible for some Unions and would cause the Counties Championships to collapse.

A year on, what has happened? The 2009-10 competition has been the most successful for some years. The number of nominations for the National Stages was higher then even I anticipated and the number of defaulted matches has dropped significantly.

I'd be delighted if the Lancashire / Greater Manchester issue could finally be resolved. Moreover, if the NCCU and the MCCU feel it appropriate to take steps to improve the Counties Championships within their Unions, by all means let them do so.

However, as far as the Counties Championships overall are concerned, the maxim is simple: IF IT AIN'T BROKE, DON'T FIX IT.

As I mentioned above, the SCCU Counties Championships are over a hundred years old and continue to thrive. They're more than strong enough to see off the current attack on them from the Holowczak and Hewitt Chess Prevention Society.

Nevertheless, that attack is sad. Both of you have excellent track records in establishing and promoting new, innovative and valued events. Why don't you concentrate your energies in building on your achievements, rather than seeking to destroy successful events run by other people?

Sean Hewitt

Re: NCCU AGM Minutes 2010

Post by Sean Hewitt » Mon Jul 05, 2010 12:20 pm

Personalising the discussion does you little credit David and usually is the sign of someone losing the debate. I certainly don't want to destroy any event (it's an absurd suggestion) and although I cannot speak for him I doubt that Alex does either.

The fact of the matter is, whilst the County Championship thrives in the South, where all counties are substantial in size (as previously demonstrated, apart from Berks, Bucks and Oxon) and can therefore compete in the existing competitions the same cannot be said elsewhere. In the North there is no county event to speak of and , to a lesser extent, the Midlands and West where counties have to lose teams at one level in order to field a hybrid team at the next level.

If we want a National County Championship, rather than a Southern event with a few foreigners from North of Watford thrown in then these problems need addressing. For me, I'm not particularly concerned as I think the 4NCL is a far more meaningful competition.

Alex Holowczak
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Re: NCCU AGM Minutes 2010

Post by Alex Holowczak » Mon Jul 05, 2010 12:35 pm

David Sedgwick wrote: However, as far as the Counties Championships overall are concerned, the maxim is simple: IF IT AIN'T BROKE, DON'T FIX IT.

As I mentioned above, the SCCU Counties Championships are over a hundred years old and continue to thrive. They're more than strong enough to see off the current attack on them from the Holowczak and Hewitt Chess Prevention Society.

Nevertheless, that attack is sad. Both of you have excellent track records in establishing and promoting new, innovative and valued events. Why don't you concentrate your energies in building on your achievements, rather than seeking to destroy successful events run by other people?
From what the NCCU have been saying though, the NCCU section of the County Championship is broken. So while the rest of us may have perfectly fine Championships (the MCCU is similarly thriving), how do we solve the NCCU problem?

Richard Cowan
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Re: NCCU AGM Minutes 2010

Post by Richard Cowan » Mon Jul 05, 2010 12:52 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:From what the NCCU have been saying though, the NCCU section of the County Championship is broken. So while the rest of us may have perfectly fine Championships (the MCCU is similarly thriving), how do we solve the NCCU problem?
Not sure I see what the problem is Alex...?
Currently it's not much of a competition - but we have others anyways! If there was such an appetite for more chess from other counties (like Durham/etc.) then they'd enter wouldn't they?
I mean, you could make it so Yorkshire, say could enter 2 teams, but what point would that serve? Only 2 teams would go through to the nationals anyways, so makes little sense to compete with your own county! Having, say, 2 Yorkshire teams go through would not really improve the championship as there would no longer be representation from Lancashire. Vice versa if Lancashire were to enter 2 teams...
I don't see what the problem is...

Alex Holowczak
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Re: NCCU AGM Minutes 2010

Post by Alex Holowczak » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:26 pm

Richard Cowan wrote: I don't see what the problem is...
The fact that Lancashire and Yorkshire get into the National Stages regardless because they have no competition?

David Pardoe bemoans the state of the County Championship in the NCCU, and has proposed (at least on here) splitting Yorkshire into four (amongst other things). I assumed that this feeling was shared throughout the NCCU.

Alan Walton
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Re: NCCU AGM Minutes 2010

Post by Alan Walton » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:49 pm

Alex,

David Pardoe's views are totally his own, nobody in the NCCU wants to split the counties up

My view is if the NCCU allowed GMan to join the NCCU, this would be an instant fix in to improving competition

The majority of players in GMan want to join the NCCU, this was agreed at the last AGM, unfortunately certain NCCU people blocked it, David Pardoe is only speaking personally about the MCCU/NCCU and not for the majority of GMan

Richard Cowan
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Re: NCCU AGM Minutes 2010

Post by Richard Cowan » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:52 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:The fact that Lancashire and Yorkshire get into the National Stages regardless because they have no competition?
If that's where most of the (best) players live, then there's not much you can do about it!

Personally, being champion of the NCCU or even national county stages doesn't really do it for me. It's nice of course, and it's a game of chess (which I always try and turn up for), but there's not that much incentive apart from this...
It's more important for me that York do well in the Yorkshire league... I mean, no sub-division of Yorkshire is going to compete with it realistically is it?

Personally, I would be far more interested in a 9-ish round FIDE tournamnent over a week or long bank holiday taking place in the north - a la Hastings / Paignton / Uxbridge. This would provide more interest and would be more beneficial to northern chess than putting effort into most other things (like improving the NCCU internal competitions, which I don't believe there's much stomach for anyway), particularly if we could get juniors involved. But we can't all have what we want! Although the Northern 4NCL is a good step in this direction - I hope it gets good support!

Alex Holowczak
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Re: NCCU AGM Minutes 2010

Post by Alex Holowczak » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:59 pm

Richard Cowan wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote:The fact that Lancashire and Yorkshire get into the National Stages regardless because they have no competition?
If that's where most of the (best) players live, then there's not much you can do about it!
I completely agree! However, people seemed to be complaining about it, so I put forward a suggestion to get around the problem. I then get told I'm anti-chess. :?

Scott Freeman
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Re: NCCU AGM Minutes 2010

Post by Scott Freeman » Mon Jul 05, 2010 2:10 pm

I have spent the last few years trying to work out what the unions actually do that is essential for chess, aside of the running of the county championship regional stages. I maybe doing them a dis-service with my conclusions, but I must confess that I do now feel the time has come where we might consider whether it is time to work directly from the counties to the ECF and pension off the unions completely. After all, each county has a rep that can attend ECF meetings, yet they all have reps to their union body which also has a rep to represent the counties that are already represented......!

In understanding why the SCCU would want to hold on to what they have, one must appreciate that they have a very good structure in of themselves, but that is of course the problem to the rest of the country as I understand it from reading this debate. I agree that there needs to be a change to the national structure of the county championships if it is to be run for the benefit of the whole of England's counties, as opposed to just the south-east. I still feel that it could be done in some form of regionalised first phase, but with the ECF appointed controller directly allocating the zones at the start of each season once entries are received - so that Kent don't have to play Cumbria in the opening round (for example - I don't know if Cumbria have a team (!), but you know what I am saying!).

Controversial? Yes! But when has anyone expected anything esle from me? :D

Simon Spivack
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Re: NCCU AGM Minutes 2010

Post by Simon Spivack » Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:41 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:Personalising the discussion does you little credit David and usually is the sign of someone losing the debate.
I can't deny that David mentioned names; nonetheless, I read David's comment as a play on Sean's "Down with the chess prevention tax". I doubt any perceived malice was intended.

In the following, I confine my remarks to the Open Section, this is due to my ignorance of what happens elsewhere.
Sean Hewitt wrote:If we want a National County Championship, rather than a Southern event with a few foreigners from North of Watford thrown in ...
The national stages are not played in the south! A long standing grievance of some in the south is that two southern teams frequently have to travel north to play each other. One could argue that the national stages of the County Championship are for the benefit of the MCCU, for the finals are played in the Midlands; furthermore, there are far more qualifiers from the Midlands than is justified by playing strength.

I am open to correction, presumably from Richard Haddrell, assuming he has the time, for my anecdotal impression is that there are fewer defaults at the SCCU stages of the Open section than there used to be, say twenty years ago. Thus I suggest that the SCCU stages are better now than in the past. There is less travelling involved than previously and the teams are smaller, being of sixteen boards, as opposed to twenty. I should like the playing session to be a little longer, but one can't have everything. The one game a day format suits me. My opponents have been of comparable strength. Finally, the team I play for has an excellent captain and we have a good spirit, despite the disasters of the last winter.

I echo David's comment that the SCCU part works well, why wreck it? One way to make Yorkshire and Lancashire work to qualify, rather than just saunter through, would be to hold a jamboree for both the Midlands and the Northern unions. This could also sidestep the Greater Manchester - Lancashire dispute. One could have three qualification spots for the MCCU/NCCU, three for the SCCU and one each for the WECU and the EACU.

Elsewhere on these fora Roger de Coverly has remarked that he doesn't care to play for a team that is going to be a whipping boy. While this was only one of his objections to playing county chess, it seems to me that this particular problem can be tackled at union level with "minor" (I've never been that keen on this terminology, although "less populous" is a mouthful) counties only playing each other. Thus the "Chiltern" counties could be given the SCCU "minor" qualifying places for the national stages (none of the six SCCU teams can plausibly be termed "minor"). If they choose not to exercise this right then the south will be unrepresented. Similarly, the MCCU/NCCU counties who believe they are outgunned could play amongst themselves in a separate jamboree. If a "minor" county has an outstanding captain, then it should be allowed to play with the "major" counties at union level, without having to qualify.

Brian Valentine
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Re: NCCU AGM Minutes 2010

Post by Brian Valentine » Mon Jul 05, 2010 4:17 pm

David Sedgwick wrote:However, as far as the Counties Championships overall are concerned, the maxim is simple: IF IT AIN'T BROKE, DON'T FIX IT.

As I mentioned above, the SCCU Counties Championships are over a hundred years old and continue to thrive. They're more than strong enough to see off the current attack on them from the Holowczak and Hewitt Chess Prevention Society.
While all this may be true, the SCCU has evolved. The weaker (no offence intended) peripheral counties have decamped to the EACU and the Chiltern league. And maybe there is a story here for those non rose NCCU counties.

Michele Clack
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Re: NCCU AGM Minutes 2010

Post by Michele Clack » Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:29 pm

hold a jamboree for both the Midlands and the Northern unions.
Hang on there. Who said that the counties in the MCCU want to give up their competition. At the moment a lot of people are happy to play in these matches and like Simon some of us rather like just playing one game in a day. There is also the added attraction of having a crack at Warwickshire the strongest county by far in the area. Worcestershire isn't strong enough at open level to have much chance of winning the national stages but we have been runners up in the Old u100 section and come close in the one above occasionally. The lower teams have also given opportunities for juniors to get some experience.

Why would we want to swap that for a hectic weekend possibly travelling more than a hundred miles up north. We are about 100 miles from London and 160 from York.

David Pardoe
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Re: NCCU AGM Minutes 2010

Post by David Pardoe » Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:54 pm

Alan..you are entitled to your opinion, based on what suits you...I`m entitled to mine.
I definately prefer the MCCUs more inclusive competitions, where several counties can get involved, with realistic prospects, over the NCCU event where the entire spectrum of qualifier events has become a slogging match between the two heavyweights (Yorks & Lancs)------, with everyone else reduced to spectators. If you think thats a good model, I reckon its you thats on your own...apart from those who just want to join the NCCU to reduce travel, and join in the annual slogging match.
Yes, resolving certain boundary issues would also help.
Yes, Yorks is 3 counties wrapped into one. By having two teams..east & west, it would at least give both halves a fair crack of the whip. Theres a fair case for the South Yorks boys to have there pitch...with Sheffield, Huddersfield, Barnsley, Rotherham, etc..and other South Yorks towns quite capable of presenting teams in the various sections. But those are not as important as creating a situation where all or some of the other counties felt they could join in. And a competition, based in Yorks, giving them permanant `home` advantage?? I think you`ll find more than a few people dont really rate that as the best format.
But I can see why it appeals to you....a big hitters event right on your doorstep in the Open section.
As Ive said, with a few structural changes, I reckon things could be much improved for all.

And yes, I also think the new 4NCL North competition could offer some good possibilities and hope more groups will club together and put up some teams. Im guessing this event will attract entries from teams rated between 150 - 220 ish on top boards. The Sheffield League, Lancs leagues, Yorks, Merseyside league, Manchester, Stockport/Cheshire Leagues, maybe Middlesbrough, Newcastle...to name but a few, might well have the resources...we`ll see.
Maybe even congress based teams could enter..
As for the SCCU competitions...they look to be in rude health, thanks no doubt to sterling efforts from there organisors, but also to the great populations they have, and no shortage of good transport networks.
The present allocation of places to Unions at the Nationals does not seem too bad....and those who query the role of the Unions maybe need to get involved and attend the Union meetings to see what really goes on. They all keenly seek volunteers and some fresh blood to move things forward. One problem is that many of these bodies have difficulty communicating effectively with the various constituent parts.....remoteness & detatchment lead to lack of connection, and therefore lack of participation.
BRING BACK THE BCF

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