Christopher Kreuzer wrote:(2) "Theoretically, a coin will fall Heads 50% of the time. In practice, captains can find they either win or lose the toss a number of times in succession."
I've looked back over the 8 league games I've captained so far this season, and I've lost the toss seven times out of eight! I think I've been doing something wrong, like allowing the opposing captain to make the call regardless of whether it is a home or away match, or switching randomly between heads and tails when calling myself (I think it might be better to always call one or the other, but I never did understand statistics...). The annoying thing is, given that this division of this league is 7 boards, winning the toss does make a difference (4 Whites rather than 4 Blacks).
Presuming the coin being used is a 'fair' one (ie either colour is equally likely to come up), how you call makes no difference: whether you always call heads, always tails or choose at random each time, you will always get a 50% success rate in the long run
. In the 'short run', which unless you play thousands of matches per year is what one season in a local chess league amounts to, pretty much anything can happen - for instance, if one person tosses a coin 10 times it's very unlikely that they'll get all heads, but if thousands of people toss a coin 10 times each, it's almost certain that at least one of them will. The human tendency to look for patterns where none exist lead us to highlight the one instance of 10 heads as an extraordinary occurrence, and ignore the thousands of instance of 5 heads and 5 tails (or 6 of one and 4 of the other, which is almost as likely).
Kevin Thurlow wrote:Back on topic, does Coventry have a central venue? If matches are always Tuesday and your home night is Monday, that could be a problem??
No, each club has its own venue. Most have separate club and match nights.
Kevin Thurlow wrote:Having now looked at the survey, (and well done James), in the Civil Service League it used to be quite common for captains to choose black on one if they won the toss (especially if they were on an even numbered board...) Some teams were ordered so a solid player was on 1, and the more aggressive one on 2. Or board 1 was considered so good he could fend for himself with black!
White might score 56 % on Chessbase, but I did a survey on Civil Service League about 20 years ago, and discovered that in the top division white got about 55 %, in a middle division, white got about 50 %, and in the bottom division, (where players were generally graded in double figures if they were graded at all), white got 45 %. I surmised that as players were graded somewhat lower, they were more likely to blunder, so the one to move first had extra opportunities to blunder... (We had different numbers of boards in each division, and had 8 in division 4, but 6 in division 5, so if someone got promoted, they had to find two extra players, so we were pondering making div 4 only 7 boards, to make it easier for promoted clubs.) But enough people screamed about the possibility of having more blacks than whites, so it was voted down.
Thanks for that - I've always had a hunch that at club level the allocation of colours makes no significant difference to the result, but never had any concrete statistics to back it up. One year my first six league games were three losses as white and three wins as black, but that was primarily because I happened to have had white against the higher graded opponents. Last year I had several outrageous swindles with white - if I'd lost every game I deserved to, my grade based solely on my black games would have been about 20 higher than my white one.
Alex Holowczak wrote: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.
Aha, some sense! Given that it's fairly common for a game of chess to last 50-60 moves and even 100+ is not unknown, I've always thought it better to aim to reach the time control with a reasonable amount of time in hand. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't - I've had some good results from allowing myself more time to think in the endgame, and some appalling ones from blundering in the opening/middlegame due to moving too quickly.