Chess/ bridge

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Mark Howitt
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Re: Chess/ bridge

Post by Mark Howitt » Sun Jun 20, 2010 11:50 am

Quite a big problem in chess this.

I remember being in a meeting at Huddersfield chess club. They were discussing the financial loss the tournament had made. Not only were the prizes in the Open section bigger, but the organizer had paid an unexpected extra train fare for a GM who had been given free entry. The GM wouldn't have been able to play if this last minute request wasn't granted.

The Open sections shouldn't be subsidised.

William Metcalfe
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Re: Chess/ bridge

Post by William Metcalfe » Sun Jun 20, 2010 1:02 pm

Bridge players pay more because they get more i was showed a copy of there free magazine recently it would cost at least £5 if it was a chess mag and they get 12 of those mags a year as part of there membership fees.
There must be a lesson there for the ECF if you offer more to members they will happily pay more
As to congresses Minor sections do not lose money [in fact they subsidize the open section] that is why there entry fees are less.
Last time i ran a tournament i let it be known unless enough people played in the open to cover its costs i would drop the open section.It obv worked as all the open players suddenly played.I did not want the other sections subsidizing the open section and made a stand.
I am speaking here for myself and not the NCCU which i am now president of

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Chess/ bridge

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Jun 20, 2010 2:11 pm

William Metcalfe wrote:it would cost at least £5 if it was a chess mag and they get 12 of those mags a year as part of there membership fees.

There must be a lesson there for the ECF if you offer more to members they will happily pay more
Malcolm would charge you £ 44.95 for a year and £ 3.95 for an individual copy. The BCM is £ 42 and £ 4.05. You don't have to rely on the ECF, you could insist that every player in Durham or Cleveland subscribe as a condition of being allowed to play in local events.
William Metcalfe wrote:I did not want the other sections subsidizing the open section and made a stand.
I take it you don't like the idea of people playing chess for a living. It's quite a common attitude I believe.

isaac wallis
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Re: Chess/ bridge

Post by isaac wallis » Sun Jun 20, 2010 3:06 pm

I think the lower sections should subsidise the higher sections, or to be more precise the weaker players should subsidise the stronger ones. I think lower sections should actually be abolished to make way for one big section with a large prize. This would lead to stronger players coming in at the top and some weaker players disappearing.

But why tell me should mediocrity be rewarded. I could take pretty much any weekend congress, but let's take for example Sean Hewitt's recent Sunningdale Congress. In the top section two GMs came 2= and won £100. In the bottom section a 138 won £300. Think about this and it's ludicrous. If 120 players turn up and the second largest amount of money goes to the 90th best player, something is seriously wrong. It has just become the accepted way of doing things, but it needs to be changed.

Doubtless lower-rated players will respond outraged claiming they should play for large sums, but does this nonsense happen in any other sport/game?

Paul Buswell
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Re: Chess/ bridge

Post by Paul Buswell » Sun Jun 20, 2010 3:37 pm

isaac wallis wrote:I think the lower sections should subsidise the higher sections, or to be more precise the weaker players should subsidise the stronger ones. I think lower sections should actually be abolished to make way for one big section with a large prize. This would lead to stronger players coming in at the top and some weaker players disappearing.

But why tell me should mediocrity be rewarded. I could take pretty much any weekend congress, but let's take for example Sean Hewitt's recent Sunningdale Congress. In the top section two GMs came 2= and won £100. In the bottom section a 138 won £300. Think about this and it's ludicrous. If 120 players turn up and the second largest amount of money goes to the 90th best player, something is seriously wrong. It has just become the accepted way of doing things, but it needs to be changed.

Doubtless lower-rated players will respond outraged claiming they should play for large sums, but does this nonsense happen in any other sport/game?
Because if it does not receive occasional reward it will not turn up, and so the top section will not be subsidised. I like to think that once in a long while I can win a few quid; if that daydream is to be stifled I will stop entering.

PB

Peter Shaw
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Re: Chess/ bridge

Post by Peter Shaw » Sun Jun 20, 2010 4:25 pm

isaac wallis wrote:I think the lower sections should subsidise the higher sections, or to be more precise the weaker players should subsidise the stronger ones. I think lower sections should actually be abolished to make way for one big section with a large prize. This would lead to stronger players coming in at the top and some weaker players disappearing.

But why tell me should mediocrity be rewarded. I could take pretty much any weekend congress, but let's take for example Sean Hewitt's recent Sunningdale Congress. In the top section two GMs came 2= and won £100. In the bottom section a 138 won £300. Think about this and it's ludicrous. If 120 players turn up and the second largest amount of money goes to the 90th best player, something is seriously wrong. It has just become the accepted way of doing things, but it needs to be changed.

Doubtless lower-rated players will respond outraged claiming they should play for large sums, but does this nonsense happen in any other sport/game?
I agree with this. As a 190 player I don't have much chance of winning a prize at a weekend congress since I am nearly always too high for to qualify for a grading prize, and there is usually enough titled players there to take the main prizes. There isn't too much wrong with this, as an amateur player I shouldn't be expecting to win big prizes at congresses. I play five or six congresses a year and win a prize roughly every couple of years, this seems reasonable.

However there are players graded below 160 who seem to win a prize almost every weekend, and some of them have been doing this for years. This seems like a crazy state of affairs to me. Why should they have so much more chance than me to win a prize?

Richard Bates
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Re: Chess/ bridge

Post by Richard Bates » Sun Jun 20, 2010 5:13 pm

William Metcalfe wrote: As to congresses Minor sections do not lose money [in fact they subsidize the open section] that is why there entry fees are less.
Last time i ran a tournament i let it be known unless enough people played in the open to cover its costs i would drop the open section.It obv worked as all the open players suddenly played.
So let me get this right.

A load of players who wouldn't otherwise have played, decided that they would in fact play because you issued a threat that unless they did so the tournament wouldn't happen?

What a bizarre conclusion to draw!

"Open" tournaments (in reality top sections in multi section congresses) are always less likely to make money for obvious reasons. They are, by definition, elitist. Most people entering them will have little chance of winning (especially if really strong players are attracted). They draw their players from a smaller potential pool. And furthermore many players eligible for them will have to take into account the fact that their expected return from the tournament net of costs needs to be positive before deciding to play. So they require higher prize funds, and sometimes conditions, to get players.

But ultimately open sections are the one section of congresses both potentially deserving of subsidy (because chess can never thrive unless it thrives at the top, and an incentive for improvement should always be encouraged) and with the potential to attract weaker players to the congress as a whole. The Open section is also a potential source of publicity for a congress. The press are far less likely to be interested in a congress without an Open/Elite section.

If an organiser can't see this then they should just be honest and not bother attempting to run an Open section at all.

Eric Gardiner
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Re: Chess/ bridge

Post by Eric Gardiner » Sun Jun 20, 2010 6:33 pm

I also agree with the points made by Isaac Wallis, Peter Shaw & Richard Bates. In my opinion, players in a Minor section should see the presence of an Open section - no matter how small - as an opportunity to learn from watching stronger players. Similarly, amateur players in Opens should see the presence of titled players as a learning opportunity and not resent those titled players getting some financial support. If you make the prizes larger in the grade restricted sections than in the Open sections (as happened at at least one congress I attended this season) some players won't be motivated to improve. In fact some players of my standard might be motivated to throw away a few games to be eligible for the Major section! (Just in case anyone looks up my recent results on the Yorkshire site I will add that my poor results were not deliberately planned on my part :oops: )

As Isaac Wallis asks: is there any other game or sport where mediocrity is rewarded? Perhaps a better way would be to abolish cash prizes for grade-restricted sections and just award trophies? For example, I play competitive badminton (very poorly) and as far as I'm aware there are only trophies and no cash prizes awarded for amateur competitions.

Arshad Ali
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Re: Chess/ bridge

Post by Arshad Ali » Sun Jun 20, 2010 7:02 pm

isaac wallis wrote:I think the lower sections should subsidise the higher sections, or to be more precise the weaker players should subsidise the stronger ones.
Sentiments like this prompted the French Revolution (along with "Let them eat cake").

The weaker players are playing with their own lot and want a fair crack at winning prize money by competing with their peers. They emphatically do not want to subsidise stronger players, whose games they mostly do not understand anyway (and don't have the time to watch as they're engrossed in their own battles).

isaac wallis
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Re: Chess/ bridge

Post by isaac wallis » Sun Jun 20, 2010 7:44 pm

So in a major shock, the strong players agree with me, the weak players don't. You obviously think it perfectly fair that if you entered a weekender with say Richard Bates in the top section, playing to a level you can't even dream of, that you should walk off with more money than him by beating a few weak club players.

If there are say five prizes at a weekender they should go to the five players who play the best chess. The problem with the current system is that it has been around so long it is just accepted. It shouldn't be.

Of course people want what benefits them the most. But that's not what it's about. It's about what's right, and lots of money for mediocrity is wrong.

William Metcalfe
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Re: Chess/ bridge

Post by William Metcalfe » Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:12 pm

so what was i supposed to do run a open section for 5 players is that what you strong players are saying.I really love that kind of logic.
Why should every other section cover the costs of the open section we live in a free market economy if open players are not prepared to come out in numbers why should every other player in the congress subsidise them.
I am speaking here for myself and not the NCCU which i am now president of

Alan Walton
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Re: Chess/ bridge

Post by Alan Walton » Sun Jun 20, 2010 10:57 pm

I few years ago Manchester tournaments experimented with one big open, and I remember (in rd1) playing some perennial major/minor player who always seems to be winning prizes in every tournament he entered. He complained that he wouldn't have entered if he known he would be playing a 170+ player, thereafter Manchester tournaments reverted back to the old system, and ironically the said player has won money since.

The problem is that tournaments need the weaker players to subsidise the open, but unfortunately nobody has got the balance totally right.

Weaker players don't want to get beat easily, but strong amatuer players want the chance to win to maybe win a major prize, what we need is very good prizes available for these players in open swiss tournaments, say £200 to the best players under a certain grading section, and then a similar prize for those between 200-180. Once someone has the bottle to organise this and it works then chess in this country will improve

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Chess/ bridge

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:25 am

William Metcalfe wrote:so what was i supposed to do run a open section for 5 players is that what you strong players are saying.I really love that kind of logic.
You structure the tournament so that the top 16 players are in the top group. If declaring the grade limits in advance is an issue, don't do it. Alternatively set the grade limits so you get the right number of players. If you have so few strong players that 150 gets you into the top section, then so be it.

Arshad Ali
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Re: Chess/ bridge

Post by Arshad Ali » Mon Jun 21, 2010 1:09 am

Peter Shaw wrote:However there are players graded below 160 who seem to win a prize almost every weekend, and some of them have been doing this for years. This seems like a crazy state of affairs to me. Why should they have so much more chance than me to win a prize?
Those are players way stronger than 160 who are careful to drop every game where there's no prize money involved. I daresay some of those <160 players have a true playing strength of close to 190. It's lack of scruple of certain individuals rather than an inherent flaw of the idea of rating sections.

If you don't have prizes for rating sections, many of the weaker players will just not bother entering -- there has to be some incentive. A 138 player knows he has a snowball's chance in hell of winning a prize if there are no sections and there are 15 or 20 players >170. On the other hand, he has a chance in a section restricted to players < 140 or even <150. Organisers know this full well -- hence the sections and the rating prizes.

As for "mediocrity," it's a subjective issue, very much in the eye of the beholder. A 195 player plays more accurate chess than a 145 -- but then again he is probably a mediocrity compared to FIDE titled players. We don't expect ECF 90 players to subsidise ECF 145 players -- why then should a 145 subsidise a 195? The 195 isn't exactly a Keres or a Tal bedazzling us with immortal games of incandescent brilliance, whom we might feel inclined to support for the cause of chess.

John Cox
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Re: Chess/ bridge

Post by John Cox » Mon Jun 21, 2010 1:39 am

Bridge is a much wealthier demographic and tends to occur in nicer venues. Mind you, I'm not convinced the entry fees are much less, bearing in mind that they are often quoted for a pair or team of four.

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