Counties Abolished

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JustinHorton
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Re: Counties Abolished

Post by JustinHorton » Thu Aug 05, 2010 4:23 pm

Phil Neatherway wrote:Justin,

The Boundary House is in Oxford Road, Abingdon. It has a very 'lively' atmosphere when there's football on the big screen.
Phil, you're quite right to correct me. I'm thinking of the Berkshire House, a rather better pub. Or at least it was when I knew it.
Last edited by JustinHorton on Thu Aug 05, 2010 4:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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David Sedgwick
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Re: Counties Abolished

Post by David Sedgwick » Thu Aug 05, 2010 4:26 pm

Richard Thursby wrote:Correct me if I am wrong, but at one stage didn't the rule on eligibility via club membership require a player claiming eligibility in this manner to have played for the club in either the current or previous season? Applying this to the case of John Saunders, with life membership of Cambridge University Chess Club, on the assumption that you have not played for the university club recently, you cease to be eligible to play for Cambridgeshire. I notice the current set of rules doesn't include this criterion, so if Cambridge re-enter the county championship then technically you will be eligible, as far as I can see.
Alan Walton wrote:Maybe rule (iii) should say you have physically played for a club within the last 12 months, rather than two month membership.
Richard is correct. After the Cambridgeshire eligibility controversy which John Saunders described up thread, the ECF ruled that you weren't a bona fide member of a club unless you'd played for them within that time period.

Over to Adam to tell us, or decide, whether or not that ruling is still in force.

Richard Thursby wrote:By the way, in more than a decade of playing in the county championships, I have never heard of anyone's eligibility being challenged, with the exception of ungraded players in the grading limited competitions. Does anyone know of any cases?
Not within the last ten years I don't, apart from the Cambridgeshire issue - I can't recall whether or not that was more than ten years ago.

However, about 25 years ago the SCCU had to deal with several complaints to the effect that various players either no longer lived in the county in question or had lived there for less than a month. None of the complaints were found to have any substance. The complainant was the late Richard O'Brien.

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Counties Abolished

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Thu Aug 05, 2010 6:22 pm

When I was at Cambridge, it was almost impossible to play for CUCC. It didn't play in the local league, because it was the local league: you played for your college against other colleges of the university.

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JustinHorton
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Re: Counties Abolished

Post by JustinHorton » Thu Aug 05, 2010 6:25 pm

I seem to recall there was something whereby there were two Cambridgeshire county teams, one students, one not, playing in different competitions. Is that right?
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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Counties Abolished

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Thu Aug 05, 2010 6:29 pm

I think so - we played in SCCU; another Cambridgeshire team played in EACU.

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JustinHorton
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Re: Counties Abolished

Post by JustinHorton » Thu Aug 05, 2010 6:32 pm

So presumably there was also a local club league and never the twain?

Not a healthy situation in my view.
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David Sedgwick
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Re: Counties Abolished

Post by David Sedgwick » Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:24 pm

Brian Valentine wrote:I'm amazed that David, as an arbiter is disturbed by regular rule changes. Last week I umpired 3 cricket matches in three days with substantially different regulations (the same 42 laws were largely unaltered). I'm sure he has similar experiences when arbiting.
I don't dispute that it's appropriate to have different rules for different competitions. I said that it's undesirable to have constant changes, year after year, in the rules of a given competition.

In any case, arbiters and umpires cope - it's our responsibility to do so. Captains and players all too often don't, and problems arise as a result.

Jonathan Bryant
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Re: Counties Abolished

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:48 pm

David Sedgwick wrote:
Brian Valentine wrote:Captains and players all too often don't, and problems arise as a result.
Some years ago a question concerning the rules came up before an away match i was playing in. To support his argument the home captain pulled out a piece of paper and said "the rules say ...."

As the away captain I had to point out to him that what he was quoting wasn't that year's rules and in fact wasn't even the version of the rules that had applied the previous season. He was using the rules of two seasons ago - two changes out of date!

Neil Graham
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Re: Counties Abolished

Post by Neil Graham » Thu Aug 05, 2010 9:09 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Adam Raoof wrote: The point is that those counties might be able to field a team, if there were players available to them from outside their own county under this rule. The 4NCL example may be a distraction; the teams are not county teams, and they can field anyone they like.
In practice though, the Nottingham and Oxford teams are their county teams. Nottingham is not short of players - they would be competitive in the MCCU Open section.
As I've said in this forum on several occasions, Nottinghamshire hadn't been competitive at MCCU level for a number of years and this is why we took the decision to play in the 4NCL. The Notts 4NCL team has always played players from within the county and we have made a policy decision not to "field anyone we like." Notts last won the MCCU Championship in 1983 and last qualified by right as a runner-up in 1991 - at MCCU level we were playing a poor fifth behind Manchester, Warwickshire and Staffordshire and indeed Leicestershire most of the time.

At the grading limited county events we are as competitive as anyone and have had some excellent runs - this year for example we fielded 60 players on one day in May when we contested four quarter-finals simultaneously. Any county as far as I can see provided they have a competent captain and a committed player-base can make a good thrust at the grading limited county events. I see no need for county "X" to join with county "Y" and as far as I'm concerned the rules on eligibility are perfectly adequate though I will be pursuing the question of ungraded players with a rule change after the dispute that has been reported elsewhere on this forum.

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Re: Counties Abolished

Post by John Foley » Thu Aug 05, 2010 10:14 pm

John Saunders wrote:
I live in Kingston-upon-Thames, which has a postal address with "Surrey" in it but isn't a part of Surrey administratively. Or something equally boring of that sort. I'm not a member of any Surrey club so am I eligible?
John, you are always welcome to play for Kingston Chess Club.

Chris Fewtrell
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Re: Counties Abolished

Post by Chris Fewtrell » Fri Aug 06, 2010 7:56 am

Speaking as a County match captain, I carefully check the eligibility of new players befoe giving them the all clear. It is sometimes difficult to check their history; but better than potentially losing 2 points.

I can only remember a handful of penalties being inposed at SCCU level in the past 10 years; which would suggest captains are reading the rules.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Counties Abolished

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Sat Aug 07, 2010 2:50 am

Pulling together quotes from three posts here.

Justin Horton wrote:
I seem to recall there was something whereby there were two Cambridgeshire county teams, one students, one not, playing in different competitions. Is that right?
I'm not entirely sure of this, but that might have been a historical artifact from the early 1970s when Cambridgeshire dominated the competition due to the very strong players at the university at the time - the university club ended up taking over the running of the county team at that time. The exact details probably varied over the years. I do have a copy of the book "Cambridge Chess" by R. G. Eales which covers county matches from that era in chapter 4, if anyone would be interested in more details.

Jack Rudd wrote:
I think so - we played in SCCU; another Cambridgeshire team played in EACU.
That sounds vaguely familiar. I do also recall there being a sort of second team or U150 side. I played for that team at one point, even after I had gone down. Not sure if I was really still eligible after reading some of the comments in this thread! :D

Justin Horton wrote:
So presumably there was also a local club league and never the twain? Not a healthy situation in my view.
When I was there (1995-1999) there was a city league and a university league (which I somehow managed to run for one year including one of the silliest disputes ever - that might turn up in another thread). All the student college teams were catered for adequately by the university league structure, but for a couple of years a strong city team (ironically mostly consisting of ex-university players who had settled in the city) entered the university league and came close to winning it a few times. They may even have won it at some point, you would have to ask someone who knows the more recent history.

Having said that, there probably was a bit of a divide, but no more so, I don't think, than the normal insular nature of student organisations with the members intent on being students rather than citizens. It would be interesting to know what it is like now and in other university cities (Oxford, Birmingham, London, Manchester, Edinburgh and so on) and whether those university clubs ever fed into or away from the city/county chess scene the way Cambridge University Chess Club did.

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Re: Counties Abolished

Post by Martyn Harris » Sat Aug 07, 2010 9:40 pm

Justin Horton wrote:So presumably there was also a local club league and never the twain? Not a healthy situation in my view.
Last season the Cambridge College League featured 24 seven board teams, including three representing the City club.

In contrast the Cambridge County Association has recently amalgamated with the Huntingdon and Peterborough Association and their combined league featured 11 five board teams. This association also runs a '550 League' for 4 board teams which attracted 8 entries.

The Cambridge City Club is most active in the Bury Area League (a West Suffolk & East Cambs affair) in which they fielded 7 of the 21 four board teams.

Fairly clearly the students would swamp any of the other local leagues if they joined en masse. Further given the relatively short terms at the University arranging the necessary fixtures would possibly be a problem. Finally the rural nature of the area means that transport for the students could be difficult. Consequently I suspect that the students are acting reasonably in playing in their own league rather than any other local one.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Counties Abolished

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Sat Aug 07, 2010 11:44 pm

Martyn Harris wrote:
Justin Horton wrote:So presumably there was also a local club league and never the twain? Not a healthy situation in my view.
Last season the Cambridge College League featured 24 seven board teams, including three representing the City club.

In contrast the Cambridge County Association has recently amalgamated with the Huntingdon and Peterborough Association and their combined league featured 11 five board teams. This association also runs a '550 League' for 4 board teams which attracted 8 entries.

The Cambridge City Club is most active in the Bury Area League (a West Suffolk & East Cambs affair) in which they fielded 7 of the 21 four board teams.

Fairly clearly the students would swamp any of the other local leagues if they joined en masse. Further given the relatively short terms at the University arranging the necessary fixtures would possibly be a problem. Finally the rural nature of the area means that transport for the students could be difficult. Consequently I suspect that the students are acting reasonably in playing in their own league rather than any other local one.
Fascinating statistics. I must confess I never even managed to visit the venue for the Cambridge City Club. Is it still in the same place as it was in the mid-1990s? I don't know how big it was back then, but it sounds like it has grown in size.

I'd love to compare your stats to when I was a student, but I'd only be able to provide stats for the number of players in the university league, and even then only reliably for the year I ran the league. I also have a very vague memory of submitting the results to the local grader for grading, so clearly I managed to keep some records of what happened...

Ah, here we go, two folders of various issues of the Cambridge University Chess Club bulletin (called 'Dragon'). Flicking through the issues it is possible to dig out the numbers for two seasons to give an idea of the number of players playing in a university league like this.

*(1) In 1986 there were 6 divisions with a total of 52 teams, all playing over 5 boards (I won't calculate the number of games played as the number of teams in each division varied, but that is a minimum of 260 players).

*(2) In the 1997-8 season there were 3 divisions with a total of 25 teams and 5-board matches (i.e. a minimum of 125 players) with 470 games scheduled to be played and 368 that were actually played (with 102 games defaulted, probably because some students had better things to do than play chess).

So what does this all have to do with county chess? Well, unlike Martyn Harris's post above, I can't provide the corresponding stats for the Cambridge County Association in 1986 and 1997-8, but I think it is clear that small counties with large universities will always see this sort of imbalance. As I said in an earlier post, it would be interesting to see whether and how other counties with large and active university leagues utilise those players, if indeed they do.

It is sometimes difficult, as Martyn said, to arrange for students to travel to rural venues and play outside of term time, so maybe it is not always practical to have students playing regularly in local leagues as well as or instead of university leagues (let alone playing in the county championships), but it is certainly possible. In London, I think students would join local clubs and play in the London League (or the other leagues in and around London). But London might not be a good example here, as it is not rural and not small, and supplies players for several different counties.

I've also been reading up on BUCA (British Universities Chess Association), including a thread on these forums from 2009. It would be interesting to see how many of the players from the BUCA member universities play county chess or local league chess. It is possible there is much more or less overlap than people think, and it feeds into thoughts about the route people take from junior and/or schools chess to university chess to local league and/or county and/or congress chess.

[Better stop there, I might hit the 60,000 characters limit! :lol: ]

Eoin Devane
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Re: Counties Abolished

Post by Eoin Devane » Sun Aug 08, 2010 12:20 am

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:I've also been reading up on BUCA (British Universities Chess Association), including a thread on these forums from 2009. It would be interesting to see how many of the players from the BUCA member universities play county chess or local league chess. It is possible there is much more or less overlap than people think, and it feeds into thoughts about the route people take from junior and/or schools chess to university chess to local league and/or county and/or congress chess.
Here in Oxford we field three OUCC teams in the local league, and we seem to have trouble doing that at times. :oops: I really don't know how Cambridge manage to have enough players to have such an active College league. We do have and inter-College event, but we run that just as a four-board-team Sunday rapidplay event, and even then only around a dozen teams seem to enter. To be honest, I like the situation as we have it, as I feel that we really are an integral part of the local chess scene, rather than a separate entity. Over the last few years, we have contributed a number of players to the County and 4NCL teams, although it has declined a little recently as we've been going through a bit of a barren patch with fewer keen players joining. The 4NCL teams do contain a fair core of ex-University players.
Martyn Harris wrote:Further given the relatively short terms at the University arranging the necessary fixtures would possibly be a problem. Finally the rural nature of the area means that transport for the students could be difficult.
These are quite correct, in my experience. The Oxfordshire League runs from September to April, meaning that we have two 8 week terms into which to fit usually 12 or 14 league matches plus at least one cup match per team. When you consider that it's hard to play in the first week of the academic year as we don't know yet which new players have arrived, it adds up to around one match a week for each of three teams. And half of those are away, to which we have to travel (usually) by public transport - journeys of up to an hour. So it is quite tough, and this has lead to several defaults in that past few years, which is disappointing but difficult to avoid. We actually had to cut down from four teams to ease this difficulty. That said, we have been helped by a very accomodating league committee and the helpful attitude (offering us lifts from bus stops etc.) of other clubs. I would hope, in all areas with Universities who are interested in working with the local association, that this would be the approach. At the end of the day, there are benefits to be gained, namely: making the league more active, encouraging the next generating of club players, getting players for County teams and potentially access to venues for Congresses.

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