Survey of league chess

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Dean Madden
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Dean Madden » Fri Feb 11, 2011 9:14 am

Great survey. A lot of useful information.

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Gareth Harley-Yeo
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Gareth Harley-Yeo » Fri Feb 11, 2011 11:43 am

Christopher Kreuzer wrote: (3) "Opponents of quickplay are concerned that many players (generally the older ones) would stop playing in the league if it was adopted. That needs investigation: in the leagues that have adopted quickplay, what effect did that have on the number of players in their league?"
The East Glamorgan league changed over to quickplay about 3 seasons ago. This resulted in 4 players refusing to play. Of the four, 3 have since come back to play fulltime whilst the other plays the odd game now and then. On the other side of the coin, many players from out of the area have now signed to clubs within the league. I for one now play for 3 different clubs in 3 different leagues. The reason i can do this is I don't need to fear my opponent sitting there refusing to move, knowing rybka will come to his aid when he goes home and that I will likely have to travel quite a distance to play the remainder of the 'advanced chess' game.

With regard to rating. many of those who'd favour adjournment have seen their rating plummet. This is partly due to some of them refusing to play any quicker and simply running out of time, preferring to play what they consider to be half a game of 'perfect chess' rather than move more quickly. It is also partly due to those who used to rely on an engine to play/suggest their endgame, having now to fend for themselves.

Although the ratings went down for a season or two, they are now starting to rise again as these players have had to learn (for the first time in 30 years for some) endgame technique. This can only be good for the game as a whole in the long term - especially for juniors who will be entering tournaments where a whole game will have to be played!

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:21 pm

Gareth Harley-Yeo wrote:With regard to rating. many of those who'd favour adjournment have seen their rating plummet. This is partly due to some of them refusing to play any quicker and simply running out of time, preferring to play what they consider to be half a game of 'perfect chess' rather than move more quickly. It is also partly due to those who used to rely on an engine to play/suggest their endgame, having now to fend for themselves.

Although the ratings went down for a season or two, they are now starting to rise again as these players have had to learn (for the first time in 30 years for some) endgame technique. This can only be good for the game as a whole in the long term - especially for juniors who will be entering tournaments where a whole game will have to be played!
Is it not simpler to assume that those who were unfamiliar with how to play quickplay suffered in terms of their results because they play better with more time? You say "lost on time" and "unable to be aided by computer". The alternative is that some people do (unsurprisingly) play better when they have more time to think about their moves. Some people can play chess instinctively, while others need time to look more deeply into a position and work out the correct strategy, or calculate tactics (this tends to be the case the stronger the two players are, though strong players can usually play instinctively when needed to outplay a weaker player).

Personally, I try and identify the points in a game that need time spent on them, and then try and identify the right strategic plan, or calculate the tactics that look like they might decide the game. Of course, if my planning runs into a dead-end, or my calculations fail to yield an advantage, I may have to bail out into a different line because I am running short of time.

As for having to play endgames with 15 minutes to complete the game. That's not chess, and you are not learning how to play endgames if you are doing this. Though on a practical level, if the only endgames you ever play are ones where you have 15 minutes to play all the moves, then you are learning to play endgames a certain way, but if you ever end up having to play an endgame with hours on the clock, you will find all the previous 'hurried' endgame play was probably wildly inaccurate and you will get crushed in the longer form of endgame play.

And in terms of improving by playing stronger players, I would say that longer time controls and non-quickplay finishes aid improving players (those who want to reach master strength) because they get the time to think about the positions when playing stronger players, and they need that time. Stronger players can blitz weaker players off the board in a quickplay finish, but again, that's not really chess.

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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Alex Holowczak » Fri Feb 11, 2011 1:14 pm

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:As for having to play endgames with 15 minutes to complete the game. That's not chess, and you are not learning how to play endgames if you are doing this. Though on a practical level, if the only endgames you ever play are ones where you have 15 minutes to play all the moves, then you are learning to play endgames a certain way, but if you ever end up having to play an endgame with hours on the clock, you will find all the previous 'hurried' endgame play was probably wildly inaccurate and you will get crushed in the longer form of endgame play.
Who says you need 15 minutes for the endgame? If the time control is 30 moves in 75 minutes, you're quite at liberty to play them in, say, 45 minutes, leaving 45 minutes for the endgame.
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:And in terms of improving by playing stronger players, I would say that longer time controls and non-quickplay finishes aid improving players (those who want to reach master strength) because they get the time to think about the positions when playing stronger players, and they need that time. Stronger players can blitz weaker players off the board in a quickplay finish, but again, that's not really chess.
If stronger players can beat weaker players because they're both stronger, and know what they're doing, then I don't see what the problem is.

I think we need to identify the role of league chess. If you want to become a GM, you will need to play stuff like the 4NCL, Hastings, British Championship, where you have the longer playing sessions. If you want a casual game of chess on an evening, in a competitive environment, then league chess is the game for you.

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Gareth Harley-Yeo
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Gareth Harley-Yeo » Fri Feb 11, 2011 1:20 pm

Christopher Kreuzer wrote: Is it not simpler to assume that those who were unfamiliar with how to play quickplay suffered in terms of their results because they play better with more time? You say "lost on time" and "unable to be aided by computer". The alternative is that some people do (unsurprisingly) play better when they have more time to think about their moves. Some people can play chess instinctively, while others need time to look more deeply into a position and work out the correct strategy, or calculate tactics (this tends to be the case the stronger the two players are, though strong players can usually play instinctively when needed to outplay a weaker player).
I'd argue no, many of the 'old guard' would sit there and play no more than 17-18 moves before throwing in the towel and blaming it on quickplay rules. They wouldn't even try to adopt a new way of playing. It was like playing children who'd thrown their toys out of the pram. Once they'd realised that the league was not going to revert back despite their puerile protestations they started to speed up a little. As for the comment regarding more time equal better moves. -I don't think anyone would say to the contrary. What I'm talking about is quickplay vs. an adjournment (half a game of chess).
As for having to play endgames with 15 minutes to complete the game. That's not chess, and you are not learning how to play endgames if you are doing this. Though on a practical level, if the only endgames you ever play are ones where you have 15 minutes to play all the moves, then you are learning to play endgames a certain way, but if you ever end up having to play an endgame with hours on the clock, you will find all the previous 'hurried' endgame play was probably wildly inaccurate and you will get crushed in the longer form of endgame play.
Again, 15 minutes for an endgame isn't ideal. But is 15minutes of playing an endgame unaided not better than an hour with the help of an engine? I've posted before about a former club mate of mine who was rated around 140, in the first season of quickplay finishes he had K+Q v K and could not mate! He used to adjourn almost every game before that season started and never had to learn an endgame. His argument was always that an opponent would always resign rather than going to adjournment as they knew it would not be worth travelling back to finish a game in such a position, especially as he could have looked up how to finish it. This if anything proved to me how distorted the ratings had previously been.

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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by James Toon » Fri Feb 11, 2011 7:55 pm

Mick Norris wrote:
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:"In another league (Manchester), the first captain to arrive at the venue has the choice of colours."
Really?
Yes, really, although the Manchester Chess Federation has more than one rule and I should probably have quoted both. Here is an extract from their playing rules:

"9. STARTING PROCEDURE
Before the starting time the captains shall (if a team captain is not present, team members present must nominate an acting captain)
a) Exchange team lists of seven (or a lower number if applicable to that Division) players and pair them accordingly, where a team knows it is going to default, it shall do so from the bottom board upward.
b) For league matches agree a quickplay finish or an adjournment finish. For cup matches a quickplay finish is mandatory. For league matches where no agreement is possible a quickplay finish shall be played.
c) Agree the rate of play.
d) Toss for colour with the winner taking white on either the odd or even boards.

10. STARTING AND FINISHING
Matches shall start at 7.30pm but may start earlier by agreement. Clubs must state their finishing time, in the handbook, which must be after 9.50pm. Matches or individual games may finish at a different time from that stated in these rules, if agreed during the starting procedure, provided they finish after 9.50pm. If an adjournment finish is played the finishing time must be such that at least 10 minutes are available for sealing moves, arranging dates of resumption, etc. At the starting time:
a) If a captain is not present the other side shall have choice of colour. If both captains are not present the first one to appear shall have this choice.
b) The captains present shall start the clocks. Any delay in starting shall be added to the clocks of the team responsible for the delay."

Rule 9 implies that there will always be someone present who is in the role of captain for each team. It would seem that the Rule 10 provision can only come into play when there is no-one at the venue at the starting time and one of the captains is the first to arrive.

Mick Norris
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Mick Norris » Fri Feb 11, 2011 9:34 pm

James

Yes, I do know the MCF rules

The rules are toss for colour, but if one team has no-one present, they are considered to have lost the toss
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by James Toon » Fri Feb 11, 2011 9:44 pm

Mick Norris wrote:James

Yes, I do know the MCF rules

The rules are toss for colour, but if one team has no-one present, they are considered to have lost the toss
Mick is right, the rules do say that; but they go on to say that if both captains are absent, the first one to appear shall have the choice of colours. I haven't come across this provision anywhere else. Maybe it was a response to a local incident. It would be interesting to know.

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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Mick Norris » Fri Feb 11, 2011 10:08 pm

James

All our rules are responses to local incidents, that is why taken as a whole they don't make sense!

I could try and change this, but I've got better things to do
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Sat Feb 12, 2011 11:48 pm

James Toon wrote:I recently carried out a survey of league chess in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Something I forgot to ask when I first read about this. Could I ask if this was done on your own initiative, or whether there was any official (i.e. ECF) involvement? Either way, it would be interesting to see what additional surveys could/should be done like this, and by whom. Some surveys might be pointless, and others will throw up unexpected results. To stick to this topic, do you have plans to do any other surveys like this?

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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by James Toon » Sun Feb 13, 2011 9:48 am

I did this on my own initiative - there was no official involvement. I suppose I was interested in the operation of these issues in one of the leagues I played in, and I wanted to see how they were handled elsewhere. As it happens the survey has generated some new information for the quickplay vs adjournment / adjudication debate - namely that quickplay is the mandatory or default option in 80% of leagues, and that must mean something.

I don't have any plans for further surveys at the moment, but I can see how the idea might be taken up officially and used more often to inform decision-making. I expect the ECF has its own decision-making structure but there may be situations where wide consultation is desirable.

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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Richard Bates » Sun Feb 13, 2011 10:31 am

On QP/Adjournment etc, the survey fails to draw what is IMO a fairly fundamental distinction between leagues where the decision is taken (whatever the default option) at board level, and leagues where the decision is taken at match level (ie. once agreed, same format for all boards).

Incidentally, how did you classify the London League, since in the top division it has BOTH default QP AND default Adjournment?

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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Feb 13, 2011 10:58 am

James Toon wrote:namely that quickplay is the mandatory or default option in 80% of leagues, and that must mean something.
From a forty year perspective, the major fault of "traditional" leagues was the adjudication at a low number of moves, which in some cases meant adjudication of positions which were barely out of the opening. From that viewpoint, the adoption of adjournment in the style of the London League was the lesser evil. Adjournment too has now mostly fallen by the wayside, you can cite scheduling difficulties as well as travel issues and pausing the game for analysis as reason for its lack of popularity.

One of few remaining "traditional" leagues is the mid-Sussex at http://www.midsussexchess.org.uk/ . If you navigate to their forum you will notice that they've got as far as allowing a finish on the night but only where both players agree. This was in the teeth of fierce opposition from traditionalists.

I cite the London League because forty years ago, it was near unique among leagues in having adjournment sessions. I think in those days, it was 30 moves in one and half hours, followed by 20 an hour. Adjudication could be insisted on at move 60 ( or was it 50?).

Paul Buswell
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Paul Buswell » Sun Feb 13, 2011 2:40 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
One of few remaining "traditional" leagues is the mid-Sussex at http://www.midsussexchess.org.uk/ . If you navigate to their forum you will notice that they've got as far as allowing a finish on the night but only where both players agree. This was in the teeth of fierce opposition from traditionalists.
In the top division the two teams from Hastings & St. Leonards have played 40 games so far against other clubs (8 matches of 5 boards). In only one game of those 40 have both players opted at the start for QPF rather than adjudication.

Yes, you read that figure the right way round.

PB

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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by John Upham » Sun Feb 13, 2011 3:09 pm

Paul Buswell wrote: In the top division the two teams from Hastings & St. Leonards have played 40 games so far against other clubs (8 matches of 5 boards). In only one game of those 40 have both players opted at the start for QPF rather than adjudication.

Yes, you read that figure the right way round.

PB

Paul,

What is the age profile of the players referred to?
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