NCCU AGM Minutes 2010

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David Sedgwick
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Re: NCCU AGM Minutes 2010

Post by David Sedgwick » Mon Jul 05, 2010 6:35 pm

David Sedgwick wrote: 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.......Why don't you concentrate your energies in building on your achievements, rather than seeking to destroy successful events run by other people?
Alex Holowczak wrote:I put forward a suggestion to get around the problem. I then get told I'm anti-chess
Sean Hewitt wrote: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.
Simon Spivack wrote: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.
Thank you Simon.

It was nevertheless quite wrong of me to question Alex's and Sean's motives. I'd like to apologise.

Let me restate my views:

1. The Counties Championships as a whole are in pretty good shape. I don't understand why Alex and Sean perceive a need to make radical changes. There are other aspects of the ECF, and of English chess generally, which are in far greater need of attention.

2. Alex's alternative model seems like the 4NCL Mark 2 to me. We already have the 4NCL proper for those, including Sean, who prefer a competition organised along such lines.

3. Of the 58 teams which were nominated for the National Stages of the current competitions, 17 were from the SCCU. Of the 14 teams which have qualified for the Finals this coming Saturday, 6 are from the SCCU. That doesn't sound to me like "a Southern event with a few foreigners from North of Watford thrown in".

4. If there are problems with the Counties Championships within the MCCU, the NCCU, or any other Union, then those problems are best addressed within that Union rather than from on high. The general tenor of the comments since I last posted has strengthened my belief in that view.

5. The SCCU Counties Championships have a long and proud history and continue to thrive today. They should be retained in their present form as an integral part of the ECF Counties Championships.

I feel I've now had my say, so I don't plan to post any further on this subject unless substantial new argument is put forward.

Alex Holowczak
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Re: NCCU AGM Minutes 2010

Post by Alex Holowczak » Mon Jul 05, 2010 7:23 pm

David Sedgwick wrote: 1. The Counties Championships as a whole are in pretty good shape. I don't understand why Alex and Sean perceive a need to make radical changes. There are other aspects of the ECF, and of English chess generally, which are in far greater need of attention.

2. Alex's alternative model seems like the 4NCL Mark 2 to me. We already have the 4NCL proper for those, including Sean, who prefer a competition organised along such lines.
It was just an idea. I don't mind the current format at all.

I like putting forward alternative ways of running competitions, to see whether or not they are more successful. If they're not, fair enough - go back to the old way. If they are, then you've made an improvement. I don't see any harm in this.

If we started the County Championship in 2010/11 as a brand new idea, would we do it the way we do now? This is true of the UK, if we started it now, we certainly wouldn't have an unelected Head of State. I'm not a republican, though.

So, I like the traditional format, but I like to speculate about alternative ways of doing it.

David Sedgwick
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Re: NCCU AGM Minutes 2010

Post by David Sedgwick » Mon Jul 05, 2010 7:46 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:I like putting forward alternative ways of running competitions, to see whether or not they are more successful. If they're not, fair enough - go back to the old way. If they are, then you've made an improvement. I don't see any harm in this.
It's a risky strategy. The danger is that the new way proves to be unsuccessful, but you can't then recreate what you had before.

When the 4NCL started, people predicted that it would damage the National Club competition. It did. Nevertheless, there was a big net gain; the 4NCL has been far more successful than the National Club ever was.

However, things would look very different if the 4NCL hadn't lasted
.
Alex Holowczak wrote:If we started the County Championship in 2010/11 as a brand new idea, would we do it the way we do now?
It's hard to conceive of an alternative universe in which there had been County Associations for over 100 years, yet no-one had ever suggested they should compete in a Counties Championship. That of course explains why the Union events are older than the BCF itself.

However, if the situation were to be as you postulate, I'm not sure we'd do things very differently. The counties would probably be divided regionally into groups and and some sort of organisational structure would be established to run each regional group. There would then be a debate about whether these regions could evolve into semi-autonomous bodies which might perhaps be called "Unions".

It's interesting to note that within FIDE precisely this sort of debate is currently raging about the extent of the autonomy that each Continental Organisation should have to determine the format of its own competitions and otherwise to regulate its own affairs.

Alex Holowczak
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Re: NCCU AGM Minutes 2010

Post by Alex Holowczak » Mon Jul 05, 2010 8:05 pm

David Sedgwick wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote:I like putting forward alternative ways of running competitions, to see whether or not they are more successful. If they're not, fair enough - go back to the old way. If they are, then you've made an improvement. I don't see any harm in this.
It's a risky strategy. The danger is that the new way proves to be unsuccessful, but you can't then recreate what you had before.
Perhaps.

Recently, I offered to organise the ECF Under 18/13 County Championship in 2010/11 that Neill ran successfully last Sunday. The format would have been altered though; the most radical of which was that there would be no jamboree and rapidplay mini-matches instead. I was told that they preferred someone to come forward and run it the traditional way. This surprised me, given that this year the ECF didn't run it until someone offered to do it for them (who made it clear he wouldn't do it next year). So I wonder whether it'll be organised at all next season - I hope it will.

For me, it wasn't so much the organisation of the ECF Under 18/13 County Championship, but the opportunity to run something - that seemingly won't get organised otherwise - and offer something different to the tried and tested jamboree. I made it clear that it could be on a trial basis. The rationale for this was that Joe Parent needs explaining what a jamboree is (without ever really understanding), but anyone can understand "we lost 5-1 to Berkshire". The fact it needed to be rapidplay to incorporate this probably didn't help its cause (even though the NYCA is rapidplay, and it's more successful). In my favour was the fact that I'm based somewhere in the middle, unlike Neill who is based near London.

For me, it's more "nothing ventured, nothing gained".

Sean Hewitt

Re: NCCU AGM Minutes 2010

Post by Sean Hewitt » Mon Jul 05, 2010 8:15 pm

Alex,

Sadly that's the ECF for you. You wouldn't believe what I offered them and they turned down flat!

I would suggest you go ahead and run you event as a privateer - you'll probably have a more successful event as a result.

Heck, I'll even sponsor it!!

Alex Holowczak
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Re: NCCU AGM Minutes 2010

Post by Alex Holowczak » Mon Jul 05, 2010 8:26 pm

I'm not sure there needs to be a third junior county event to flood the junior county chess scene. Besides, if no other option is forthcoming, then I may get an e-mail...

Alan Walton
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Re: NCCU AGM Minutes 2010

Post by Alan Walton » Mon Jul 05, 2010 8:51 pm

Alex,

When I was playing U18s (17 years ago) there was a single round "long-play" tournament, with a regional qualifier and a national final (jamboree)

There was also a 5 round team "rapid-play" where you play the entire opponents team

Each of these were over 12 boards and all finals we played invariably in the Midlands

Alex Holowczak
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Re: NCCU AGM Minutes 2010

Post by Alex Holowczak » Mon Jul 05, 2010 8:58 pm

Alan Walton wrote:Alex,

When I was playing U18s (17 years ago) there was a single round "long-play" tournament, with a regional qualifier and a national final (jamboree)

There was also a 5 round team "rapid-play" where you play the entire opponents team

Each of these were over 12 boards and all finals we played invariably in the Midlands
There is now just the Final, held as a 2-round Jamboree in the U18, and a 4-round rapidplay Jamboree in the U13.

The competition you suggested as a "5 round team "rapid-play" where you play the entire opponents team", is basically what I was proposing, but it'd be over 6 boards, not 12. I hoped this would encourage smaller counties to enter, and the big ones could just field > 1 team.

Alan Walton
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Re: NCCU AGM Minutes 2010

Post by Alan Walton » Mon Jul 05, 2010 9:02 pm

From what I remembered in 1993 when GMan won the inaugural one there were about 12 teams in the U18, with Richmond and Surrey splitting into two separate squads.

There were also and U12 competition as well which had about 10 teams

It was held in Stoke-on-Trent. I thought that this was a good entry, but it was my last year so I don't know what happened after that

David Sedgwick
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Re: NCCU AGM Minutes 2010

Post by David Sedgwick » Mon Jul 05, 2010 10:31 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:
David Sedgwick wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote:I like putting forward alternative ways of running competitions, to see whether or not they are more successful. If they're not, fair enough - go back to the old way. If they are, then you've made an improvement. I don't see any harm in this.
It's a risky strategy. The danger is that the new way proves to be unsuccessful, but you can't then recreate what you had before.
Perhaps.

Recently, I offered to organise the ECF Under 18/13 County Championship in 2010/11 that Neill ran successfully last Sunday. The format would have been altered though; the most radical of which was that there would be no jamboree and rapidplay mini-matches instead. I was told that they preferred someone to come forward and run it the traditional way. This surprised me, given that this year the ECF didn't run it until someone offered to do it for them (who made it clear he wouldn't do it next year). So I wonder whether it'll be organised at all next season - I hope it will.

For me, it wasn't so much the organisation of the ECF Under 18/13 County Championship, but the opportunity to run something - that seemingly won't get organised otherwise - and offer something different to the tried and tested jamboree. I made it clear that it could be on a trial basis. The rationale for this was that Joe Parent needs explaining what a jamboree is (without ever really understanding), but anyone can understand "we lost 5-1 to Berkshire". The fact it needed to be rapidplay to incorporate this probably didn't help its cause (even though the NYCA is rapidplay, and it's more successful). In my favour was the fact that I'm based somewhere in the middle, unlike Neill who is based near London.

For me, it's more "nothing ventured, nothing gained".
There's a big difference between experimenting with a new format for a one-day event, which is what you're suggesting here, and altering the entire format of a season-long competition, as you were previously suggesting should be done with the Counties Championships.

As I said before: if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

However, despite Neill's efforts, the ECF Under 18/13 County Championship seems pretty broke to me. Witness the fact that certain sections had to be combined this year.

So I'd have been in favour of giving your ideas a try.

David Sedgwick
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Re: NCCU AGM Minutes 2010

Post by David Sedgwick » Mon Jul 05, 2010 10:34 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:I would suggest you go ahead and run you event as a privateer - you'll probably have a more successful event as a result.
Isn't that exactly what the 4NCL have done (with the Junior 4NCL)?

Neil Graham
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Re: NCCU AGM Minutes 2010

Post by Neil Graham » Mon Jul 05, 2010 11:53 pm

Alan Walton wrote: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
I don't want to comment on the question of GMan and the NCCU but I must take issue with the comments on GMan improving the competition in the NCCU. How do you work that one out? There is no competition in the NCCU where county chess is dead - there was a one day jamboree this year with just Yorkshire and Lancs competing played over 12 boards over the whole gamut of qualifying events. Probably one Cumbria team turned up. So the Counties/Minor/U-180/U-160/U-140/U-120/U-100 was reduced to a few boards between Lancs and Yorks. The SCCU are rightly proud of their comprehensive county programme and there is little wonder they don't want to change things but at the moment apart from the MCCU who have reasonable fixture list (even here Northamptonshire seem to have thrown in the towel), county chess is moribund. I cannot believe that the likes of Durham, Cheshire, Northumberland. Merseyside & Cleveland can't be competitive in at least the graded sections.

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: NCCU AGM Minutes 2010

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Tue Jul 06, 2010 12:09 am

WECU also have a reasonable fixture list - Cornwall, Devon, Gloucestershire, Hampshire and Somerset compete in the first team competition. What we don't have is any connection between the internal WECU events and the qualifiers for the later stages.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: NCCU AGM Minutes 2010

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Tue Jul 06, 2010 8:08 am

"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."

And those who make comments like that should first check whether such people have first hand knowledge of the workings of their Union!
"Kevin was the arbiter and was very patient. " Nick Grey

Alex Holowczak
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Re: NCCU AGM Minutes 2010

Post by Alex Holowczak » Tue Jul 06, 2010 9:26 am

Neil Graham wrote:(even here Northamptonshire seem to have thrown in the towel)
I think their County Association has been disbanded.

At the Finance Meeting, in a list of the associations which had lapsed, the Northamptonshire CA was listed as no longer being part of the Federation. I assume that this is due to being disbanded; the other explanations are that they didn't pay their fee in time, or simply don't want to be in the Federation.

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