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Congresses - playing for fun or profit?

Posted: Tue Feb 26, 2008 11:22 pm
by Chris Stratford
As Huddersfield's Congress approaches, myself and another club member were kicking around ideas about ways of improving what we already feel is a fine, but obviously not perfect event, and pondered on the possibility of possibly running two a year.
On the prospect of implementing the latter idea, I mused on the matter of prize money and wondered whether it would be worth testing the water to see if people would be interested in playing in a congress with no prize money but a subsequently very low entry fee.
Essentially, we would look to ensure that we, as a club, did not make a loss, but feel it might encourage people to participate who might otherwise be put off playing in such an event because of the cost.
Has anyone on the forum either held such a congress, or undertaken any market research to see if such an event would be viable?
On another matter concerning congresses, several people have suggested to me that they feel the optimum level for the lowest section is 100 and below. Our Minor event is currently 120 and below, and some players have said they would not consider entering because they view the gap in ability between 80-90 graders and 110-120 graders as daunting.
Again, any comments and/or experiences would be warmly received.

Re: Congresses - playing for fun or profit?

Posted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 3:03 am
by Nigel Wright
In the last 2 years, I have been graded 98 and 97. U100 is what I like, because it puts me against people of very similar strength - and I have never won an U100 tournament. Some of my fellow teenage friends have always viewed 100 as being ridiculously strong, but that may be down to their lack of experience, or deluded misconceptions of the grading system?

To sum up, U100 is good :)

Re: Congresses - playing for fun or profit?

Posted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 2:47 pm
by Charles W. Wood
Chris Stratford wrote:As Huddersfield's Congress approaches, myself and another club member were kicking around ideas about ways of improving what we already feel is a fine, but obviously not perfect event, and pondered on the possibility of possibly running two a year.
On the prospect of implementing the latter idea, I mused on the matter of prize money and wondered whether it would be worth testing the water to see if people would be interested in playing in a congress with no prize money but a subsequently very low entry fee.
Essentially, we would look to ensure that we, as a club, did not make a loss, but feel it might encourage people to participate who might otherwise be put off playing in such an event because of the cost.
Has anyone on the forum either held such a congress, or undertaken any market research to see if such an event would be viable?
On another matter concerning congresses, several people have suggested to me that they feel the optimum level for the lowest section is 100 and below. Our Minor event is currently 120 and below, and some players have said they would not consider entering because they view the gap in ability between 80-90 graders and 110-120 graders as daunting.
Again, any comments and/or experiences would be warmly received.
Hi Chris

as you may know the Renaissance Academy now runs 6 events a year on a swiss Grand Prix format, and have kept all costs as close to the bone as possible. It works for the under 25 year olds, BUT (theres that word again) I think that a portion of chess players who go to congresses are only there for the prize money. (not all though). So you might end up with a great event thats not quite as big.

Its a great idea, I've put it at the back of my head for now to think on further later, please make sure you imform the forum of your level of success if you try it.

:D

Re: Congresses - playing for fun or profit?

Posted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 6:25 pm
by Chris Stratford
I guess there must be a proportion - how big, I wouldn't want to guess - of congress entrants who are after the prize money, but at best the prize winners are likely to offset the cost of travel, entry, meals etc plus have a bit left over for the latest must-have chess book.

My Mastermind specialist subject being the same as Sybil Fawlty''s - The Expletive Obvious - no one is going to become wealthy playing in weekend congresses so I would think the vast majority are playing for the love of the game. And the more chess events available for people to play for the love of the game, so much the better, say I. I'll certainly keep you posted, Charles, should we undertake such an event.

Thanks, Nigel, for the input re 100 grading. As a 115-120 during the Fischer boom days of '72-'74 who, a year and a half after returning to the game, is struggling to get my grade into the high 80s I share the view that 100 is a darn good grade!

I also think there is another huge leap in ability from 100 to 120 and so 60-80 graded players know the chances are they will lose their first couple of rounds in Minor events with a cut-off at 120, and that can be off-putting, whereas they will hope for the occasional good result against the 100 grader.

Re: Congresses - playing for fun or profit?

Posted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 7:34 pm
by Charles W. Wood
Chris Stratford wrote:I guess there must be a proportion - how big, I wouldn't want to guess - of congress entrants who are after the prize money, but at best the prize winners are likely to offset the cost of travel, entry, meals etc plus have a bit left over for the latest must-have chess book.

My Mastermind specialist subject being the same as Sybil Fawlty''s - The Expletive Obvious - no one is going to become wealthy playing in weekend congresses so I would think the vast majority are playing for the love of the game. And the more chess events available for people to play for the love of the game, so much the better, say I. I'll certainly keep you posted, Charles, should we undertake such an event.
Maybe have a questionaire (small one at your next event) why they chose to come to that tournament. It might work.

Re: Congresses - playing for fun or profit?

Posted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 8:12 pm
by Chris Stratford
Thanks, Charles. We were planning that after canvassing the views of an elder statesman who was playing at the Doncaster Congress and suggested the same thing.

We have a month before our congress and hopefully that will give us the time to prepare a questionnaire and have it printed up. If there are any questions you feel we should be asking - and to which the answers may be useful to you - please speak up.

In fact, it strikes me you might be filling it in yourself given your proximity to Huddersfield. Can we expect to see you at the Ukrainian club?

If memory serves, the entry from Bradford-based players was a little disappointing last year. I can't remember the conclusion we drew, but I did try to rally the troops and get a reasonable Huddersfield presence at the Bradford Congress come last September.

Re: Congresses - playing for fun or profit?

Posted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 8:31 pm
by Charles W. Wood
Chris Stratford wrote:Thanks, Charles. We were planning that after canvassing the views of an elder statesman who was playing at the Doncaster Congress and suggested the same thing.

We have a month before our congress and hopefully that will give us the time to prepare a questionnaire and have it printed up. If there are any questions you feel we should be asking - and to which the answers may be useful to you - please speak up.

In fact, it strikes me you might be filling it in yourself given your proximity to Huddersfield. Can we expect to see you at the Ukrainian club?

If memory serves, the entry from Bradford-based players was a little disappointing last year. I can't remember the conclusion we drew, but I did try to rally the troops and get a reasonable Huddersfield presence at the Bradford Congress come last September.
Sadly I can't be at you've event as I have a tournamnet that day, but as for Bradford players, I think alot of them struggle toward the end of the chess year with motivation. Its been a big year this year though so I'll mention it at the BDCA committee meeting tomorrow, the new found enthusiasm could effect the amount coming. Can but try eh! :)

Re: Congresses - playing for fun or profit?

Posted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 8:51 pm
by Chris Stratford
Thanks for that, Charles. And good luck with the event you're going to instead.

Maybe my enthusiasm will wane in future years, but having been away from the board for so long - because of professional and family commitments - I want to play as much as possible before I am called to that big chess board in the sky.

I'd play competitive chess every day if I could - although I have no enthusiasm for playing against Fritz on a regular basis, using the program mainly for storing games and running them through the analysis mode.

Re: Congresses - playing for fun or profit?

Posted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 11:46 pm
by Bill Wilson
Chris Stratford wrote:I also think there is another huge leap in ability from 100 to 120 and so 60-80 graded players know the chances are they will lose their first couple of rounds in Minor events with a cut-off at 120, and that can be off-putting, whereas they will hope for the occasional good result against the 100 grader.
I agree with the above, I'd suggest that a U120 tournament should have a Grading prize available for U95.

The only tournament I've not attended due to money was one which dropped 3rd place, paying only 1st and 2nd. I know that 3rd is usually shared and often pays less than your entry but i feel it's no fun to play when you don't have a chance of winning anything. Even if i come away with £2.50 I'll be happy that i won something :)

Re: Congresses - playing for fun or profit?

Posted: Thu Feb 28, 2008 9:55 am
by Charles W. Wood
Hi Carl,

I'm not going to an event, I'm running the second round of the Antonio Fattorini Grand Prix. Sadly the same Sunday as your weekend event. Can't miss everything, :oops: . I don't think we clash on entrant types as mine will all be under 25's and from the very local area.

As you can see from Bill's comments some people do go for the money. The Late and Great Steve Webster only ever went for the money, but enjoyed himself while he was there, but the money factor encouraged him to go far and wide to enter congresses. I however have never won a bean, so I only go for the fun aspect, my favourite congress is still Doncaster. Having said that I've never been to the Huddersfield event so dates permitting I be there next year, and I'll bring some of my lot with me. Deal?

:lol:

Re: Congresses - playing for fun or profit?

Posted: Thu Feb 28, 2008 3:00 pm
by Chris Stratford
Deal, Charles. We plan to hold it on the last weekend in March year-on-year so I'd say it's fairly safe to mark it in your diary now.

By the way, re the free chess sets for schools, have you had any contact from the Yorkshire Post (I'm deputy sports editor on the paper). Obviously this is a news story rather than sports, but if you think it might be useful to receive some publicity then let me know and I will see if I can encourage our news chaps and chappesses to write something. Can't promise a piece will be written - but I can promise to try to get a piece written.

Re: Congresses - playing for fun or profit?

Posted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 12:28 am
by Charles W. Wood
Chris Stratford wrote:Deal, Charles. We plan to hold it on the last weekend in March year-on-year so I'd say it's fairly safe to mark it in your diary now.

By the way, re the free chess sets for schools, have you had any contact from the Yorkshire Post (I'm deputy sports editor on the paper). Obviously this is a news story rather than sports, but if you think it might be useful to receive some publicity then let me know and I will see if I can encourage our news chaps and chappesses to write something. Can't promise a piece will be written - but I can promise to try to get a piece written.
See you next year, As for the Yorkshire post, any and all help would be great. I've had a couple of articles in the education section. Gerry Suttcliffe MP (Sports Minister) is doing a great piece giving the first 10 Sets to a school in his constituancy (can't spell, sorry) I'm trying to get all areas to do the same. I hope all do. Yours and Roberts help would be nice. :D

Re: Congresses - playing for fun or profit?

Posted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 5:03 pm
by Greg Breed
Returning to the original point of the thread...
Chris Stratford wrote:On the prospect of implementing the latter idea, I mused on the matter of prize money and wondered whether it would be worth testing the water to see if people would be interested in playing in a congress with no prize money but a subsequently very low entry fee.
Essentially, we would look to ensure that we, as a club, did not make a loss, but feel it might encourage people to participate who might otherwise be put off playing in such an event because of the cost.
I doubt you'd get a big haul without prize money, even with a small entry fee. I do believe that a lot of people (the majority even, including myself) play for the love of the game, but having a goal like prize money helps give motivation and can help justify the cost of travel and/or accommodation. If you don't win any you can still say that you had fun playing but didn't play well enough to win. If you win enough games to come first and get nothing for it then it's an anticlimax. I don't think it would work.
Chris Stratford wrote:On another matter concerning congresses, several people have suggested to me that they feel the optimum level for the lowest section is 100 and below. Our Minor event is currently 120 and below, and some players have said they would not consider entering because they view the gap in ability between 80-90 graders and 110-120 graders as daunting.
The current County levels are best in my opinion. A 25 point grade gap between sections is the best playing field but is almost always impractical, hence the use of grading prizes. U100 should be the lowest section. How many sections depends on how many participants are expected. More prize money usually equals more participants which equals more revenue too. Kinda "catch 22".

How's this for sections?:-

U100
-U75 GP (grading prize

U140
-U125 GP

U175
-U150 GP

Open
-U175 GP

The majority of entrants are usually graded between 110 and 130 so the U140 will be the biggest section.

Re: Congresses - playing for fun or profit?

Posted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 5:04 pm
by Greg Breed
Chris Stratford wrote:Again, any comments and/or experiences would be warmly received.
Alternatively you could try a handicap system. All are based on the difference in grade relating to some kind of handicap for the stronger player. There are various ways of doing it:

- Time differences.
.....I usually organise the club Xmas, end of- and beginning of- season events and one of them is a handicap using this method. It makes for enjoyable chess where the stronger player is forced to play with less time than the weaker player.

- Piece reduction.
....Simply a pawn or more taken from the stronger player dependant upon the grade gap.

- Point differences.
.....Using percentages for expected outcome like the Scottish ELO system so a win or a draw against a stronger player rewards more than for a weaker player. If a strong player beats a weaker player that is expected so they get a small percentage or none at all if the grade gap is too large.

Re: Congresses - playing for fun or profit?

Posted: Sun Mar 02, 2008 12:03 pm
by Charles W. Wood
Scottish ELO system? Wow!! :lol: did they just jump forward, how different is it the rest of the worlds ELO systems. :shock: