Survey of league chess

Discuss anything you like about chess related matters in this forum.
James Toon
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Location: Surrey

Re: Survey of league chess

Post by James Toon » Thu Feb 17, 2011 9:05 pm

Most clubs in the Civil Service League operate from government buildings, so the venue comes free of charge and they could play any night of the week (but probably not at weekends). Against that, government buildings have security arrangements which tend to require advance notice of visitors, including visiting chess players. So it's not a good idea to turn up on the night.

Despite this flexibility, teams in this league only play their home matches on one night of the week.

Malcolm Clarke
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Malcolm Clarke » Fri Feb 18, 2011 9:53 pm

When I played for DHSS in the Civil Service League during the latter part of the 1980's they had six teams, with some playing their home matches on Tuesday's and others on Thursday, but I do not know whether that is still the case.

As far as the debate on colours is concerned I certainly prefer the rules of my own league where the away team have white on odd boards, when there are an odd number of boards. When there is an even number of boards I think you could make a case either way, but I personally do not think the likelihood of defaulting should come into the equation as Jack Rudd appears to suggest.

With respect to Roger De Coverly's reply to my earlier posting listed below I had also heard of similar stories.
I have this recollection of stories about a team (or teams) possibly in the London League who exploited this rule. Their board order was designed to give both the white seekers and black seekers the colours they wanted. It became standard operating practice for the team to assemble in a nearby pub, but to allow time to sink their pints before "hurrying" to the match venue.

Brendan O'Gorman
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Brendan O'Gorman » Fri Feb 18, 2011 11:33 pm

Malcolm Clarke wrote:When I played for DHSS in the Civil Service League during the latter part of the 1980's they had six teams, with some playing their home matches on Tuesday's and others on Thursday, but I do not know whether that is still the case.
DHSS now down to four teams in the Civil Service League but we continue to have more than one home night. We have also added a London League and a London Commercial League side.

Any current or former employees of DWP or its agencies (e.g. Jobcentre Plus) or DH and its agencies (e.g. the NHS) in the Greater London area that might fancy playing for us, please PM me.

Malcolm Clarke
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Malcolm Clarke » Fri Feb 18, 2011 11:57 pm

Hope you get a good response as I certainly enjoyed playing for Costas Clita's team, and we enjoyed a lot of success.

However since I moved out of London in 1988 and am hardly playing any chess as it is. I think the DHSS team I played for was influenced by the fact that I could play on certain nights and not others.

I do recall playing for Derek Stacey's team in the London Commercial League, and recall DHSS joining the London League.

I think that when I played in the Civil Service League teams consisted of 10, 8, or 6 players depending on the division, and I remember two adjudications in particular, one involving myself and the other enabling us to win a cup semi final. I remember quickplay finishes being discussed at the Civil Service Chess AGM, and I expect they are now a lot more prominent in this league.

James Toon
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Location: Surrey

Re: Survey of league chess

Post by James Toon » Sat Feb 19, 2011 12:53 am

Malcolm Clarke wrote:
I think that when I played in the Civil Service League teams consisted of 10, 8, or 6 players depending on the division, and I remember two adjudications in particular, one involving myself and the other enabling us to win a cup semi final. I remember quickplay finishes being discussed at the Civil Service Chess AGM, and I expect they are now a lot more prominent in this league.
[Hollow laugh]
I have been on the losing end of quickplay votes in this League for at least 10 years. Each time the defeat is heavier. There are other players out there who want to make quickplay the preferred option, but their views are not translating into votes at AGMs.

Simon Spivack
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Simon Spivack » Sat Feb 19, 2011 8:48 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:I have this recollection of stories about a team (or teams) possibly in the London League who exploited this rule. Their board order was designed to give both the white seekers and black seekers the colours they wanted. It became standard operating practice for the team to assemble in a nearby pub, but to allow time to sink their pints before "hurrying" to the match venue.
Drunken Knights. The rule was changed to give the captain of the opposing team a choice of colour.

Malcolm Clarke
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Malcolm Clarke » Sat Feb 19, 2011 9:28 am

James Toon's reply to my comments on quickplay finishes in the Civil Service League surprises me a bit. When I played in the competition there were no adjournments, and adjudications are rarer now than they were in the late 1980's. At the Civil Service League AGM I attended I think the vote on quickplay finishes was a close thing, but I am not sure whether that was allow them as an option if both sides agreed or to make them compulsopry.

In the Southampton Chess League quickplay finishes can be used if both sides agree, and they are compulsory for cup matches, so that we know on the night which team proceeds to the next round. We also introduced a new rule this year, that whereas we encourage teams to complete their fixtures by the end of March, if teams agree to rearrange a fixture, and feel that there is no alternative but to play the match in April, we allow this. However we insist on quickplay finishes in such circumstances, to try and avoid adjourned games from these matches delaying the end of the season.

Paul Buswell
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Paul Buswell » Sat Feb 19, 2011 11:21 am

Just an observation: has any note been taken of the distinction between metropolitan and non-metropolitan chess? Adjournments are perhaps feasible in metropitan areras with good public transport, but not elsewhere, unless the player to travel happens to have a car. I sometimes wonder to what extent non-metroplitan chess has suffered from the collapse of available and affordable public transport.

PB

Malcolm Clarke
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Malcolm Clarke » Sat Feb 19, 2011 8:18 pm

Paul - I do think public transport can be an issue in local leagues. In the Southampton League if a player living in the New Forest or Ringwood plays against Andover, with neither player having their own transport an adjournment does present problems.

However the problem we had last season was that of a player who played two league games in April, both of which were important to the outcome of the division, and were adjourned. However the player then had a family bereavement which meant travelling to the Middle East.

In the Southampton League travelling between Southampton, Eastleigh and Winchester where the majority of clubs are located is relatively easy.
When I played in London I played one London League adjournment in Hampstead, and one Middlesex League adjournment at Ealing, and these journeys were no easier than a lot of the journeys by public transport in the Southampton League.

I also expect that those living on the outskirts of South London, would not find the North London clubs that I remember playing against in the Middlesex League easy to get to.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Sun Feb 20, 2011 6:40 am

"James Toon's reply to my comments on quickplay finishes in the Civil Service League surprises me a bit. When I played in the competition there were no adjournments, and adjudications are rarer now than they were in the late 1980's. At the Civil Service League AGM I attended I think the vote on quickplay finishes was a close thing, but I am not sure whether that was allow them as an option if both sides agreed or to make them compulsopry."

Adjournments have been an option in the CS League for some time, but they never became popular and the last one (of I think two) was some time ago. A major problem is that you tend to play in Government buildings and have to provide Security with a list of players in advance, and you need to book a room, and have a key to the equipment cupboard etc. QP is possible by agreement, but is hardly taking over. I think one issue is that the majority of players in the league play only in that league, so just carry on with what they are used to, and just happily play their ten games a year in comfortable surroundings. There have been only four adjudications this season, so QP would not appear to be much of an issue.

And in common with a lot of leagues, people don't want change! Also, if someone turns up and starts lecturing the meeting, people vote the other way just to annoy the proposer.
"Kevin was the arbiter and was very patient. " Nick Grey

Martin Benjamin
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Martin Benjamin » Sun Feb 20, 2011 2:39 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:
There have been only four adjudications this season, so QP would not appear to be much of an issue.
QP is still very much an issue in the Civil Service League for some of us. "Adjudications" (in the formal sense of sending the position to the league adjudicators) are rare now, but sadly we effectively still have as much de facto adjudication as before. The number of games unfinished at the end of a session has not dropped, but instead of sending the position away for formal adjudication, players and captains tend to have a look themselves and then stick the positions on the computer at home and accept its verdict, which is almost certainly going to be the same verdict as that reached by an adjudicator. (It also usually involves a sequence of moves which we can be almost certain would not have occurred over the board between the two players, but I had better not reopen that debate).

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Feb 20, 2011 5:49 pm

Martin Benjamin wrote: The number of games unfinished at the end of a session has not dropped,.
That's the real objection to the culture of adjudication, that games don't get much beyond move 40. If you proposed a rule which said the time limit was to be 60 moves in 90 minutes before adjudication, would the anti-quick play lobby continue to object? If they did, they are really showing their inability or unwillingness to play at a faster rate than a move every two and quarter minutes on average. To my mind a "180" player who never plays past move 40 isn't as strong as one who plays to a finish every game. It's a shame there isn't a way of flagging the grades of players who only ever play in adjudication leagues as being of lower value.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Sun Feb 20, 2011 6:08 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Martin Benjamin wrote: The number of games unfinished at the end of a session has not dropped,.
That's the real objection to the culture of adjudication, that games don't get much beyond move 40. If you proposed a rule which said the time limit was to be 60 moves in 90 minutes before adjudication, would the anti-quick play lobby continue to object? If they did, they are really showing their inability or unwillingness to play at a faster rate than a move every two and quarter minutes on average. To my mind a "180" player who never plays past move 40 isn't as strong as one who plays to a finish every game. It's a shame there isn't a way of flagging the grades of players who only ever play in adjudication leagues as being of lower value.
Is that not similar to players who are strong in the middlegame and win most of their games before reaching an endgame, and players who are weak in the middlegame but gain a lot of points in endgames? A player's strength can vary depending on the type of position, just as some players vary in playing strength depending on the time controls and methods used, but that is no reason to flag up the differences. What would be good is to have the full details of a player's grade available (who they players, and when, and whether adjudication was used) - that would allow others to work out whether the grade is an accurate one or not. But even then, you have no way to know if results were influenced by time trouble, losing on time, or needing to get a result for a team competition.

Martin Benjamin
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Martin Benjamin » Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:46 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
If you proposed a rule which said the time limit was to be 60 moves in 90 minutes before adjudication, would the anti-quick play lobby continue to object?
As far as the London Civil Chess League is concerned, the answer is "yes", because I have proposed this and it has been rejected. I have also proposed an incremental time control guaranteeing at least 60 moves in a 3 hour session with adjudication at the end, which was rejected even though it had to be agreed by both players (i.e. 36 moves in 90 minutes with adjudication remaining the default), and the AGM has also rejected a modest increase in playing speed (from 36 moves to 42 moves in 90 minutes). I hope I am representing the views of those opposed to change fairly when I write that the objection lies in the fear that any change is the first step in an inexorable move to a QP finish, and a belief that any increase in speed will result in an unacceptably poor quality of play.

I have for several years been on board 1 or 2 for my team, and most of my opponents agree to a QP finish. However, with my grade plummeting this year, next season could see me on a lower board where QP finish agreements are rare. If this happens, I shall be in a quandary, as I like to support those who put so much effort in to keeping evening chess afloat - and the London Civil Service Chess League committee are to be commended - but I also want to finish my game in an evening.

James Toon
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by James Toon » Mon Feb 21, 2011 10:25 am

Martin Benjamin wrote:I hope I am representing the views of those opposed to change fairly when I write that the objection lies in the fear that any change is the first step in an inexorable move to a QP finish, and a belief that any increase in speed will result in an unacceptably poor quality of play.
I think Martin is right about that. What is frustrating is that so many of the opponents of quickplay have little or no experience of what it's actually like. I have played lots of games with quickplay and lots with adjudication, and I don't believe there are significant differences in the quality of play. Long thinks are difficult to manage in either form of the game – and at our level, they may not add a great deal of value anyway.
I have for several years been on board 1 or 2 for my team, and most of my opponents agree to a QP finish. However, with my grade plummeting this year, next season could see me on a lower board where QP finish agreements are rare. If this happens, I shall be in a quandary, as I like to support those who put so much effort in to keeping evening chess afloat - and the London Civil Service Chess League committee are to be commended - but I also want to finish my game in an evening.
Martin is too good a player to play down the order for long. In any event I hope that he will continue to turn out against the Home Office & Justice Chess Club. Two-thirds of our members prefer quickplay. Also, we are now trying to match our quickplay players against similar-minded opponents – as far as this can be done while still playing in order of playing strength.

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