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.