Survey of league chess

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James Toon
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by James Toon » Mon Feb 21, 2011 10:34 am

Kevin Thurlow wrote:Also, if someone turns up and starts lecturing the meeting, people vote the other way just to annoy the proposer.
No-one likes to be lectured, that's for sure. But I doubt that people do vote the other way from annoyance. What I've found is that clubs debate the proposals in advance of the AGM – as indeed they should – and mandate their representative to vote in a certain way on the night. You might be able to persuade them personally on the night, if your arguments are very good, but there's no way they can change their club's position at short notice.

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Adam Raoof
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Adam Raoof » Mon Feb 21, 2011 10:57 am

If the idea of choosing the time limit is to satisfy the majority of players already participating in a league, then people will usually vote for the status quo - they are already satisfied with the situation as it stands.

If the idea is to choose a time limit which attracts the majority of players who might be interested in playing league chess, then I think that a game which begins and ends on the same evening is more appealing.
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Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Mon Feb 21, 2011 12:28 pm

"What I've found is that clubs debate the proposals in advance of the AGM – as indeed they should – and mandate their representative to vote in a certain way on the night. You might be able to persuade them personally on the night, if your arguments are very good, but there's no way they can change their club's position at short notice."

My experience at chess AGMs in general is that the players are rarely consulted beforehand. Normally old Harry who has been attending the meetings for the last century turns up and votes against any changes. Possibly the CS clubs are better organised! (I know at least one of them discusses potential rule changes at its frequent committee meetings.) I do recall being on a committee where we instructed the Secretary how to vote and he voted the other way as he was told at the meeting that our club had misunderstood the motion.

At least in the CS League the time control for QP is the reasonably paced 30 in 75, then back 15 minutes, whereas in Surrey, it's 30 in 60, then back 20, which is pretty hectic if you get in an opening where you cannot remember the first 25 moves, i.e. most of them...
"Kevin was the arbiter and was very patient. " Nick Grey

Malcolm Clarke
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Malcolm Clarke » Tue Feb 22, 2011 8:06 am

Interestingly enough I have still got copies of the DHSS Chess Magazine which was am excellent magazine durimg the 1980's and possibly beyond that, as I stopped being a recipient after that.

This mentions the Civil Service AGM of 1988 which I attended. At the meeting quickplay finishes were voted on, but the amended version of a proposal to make quickplay finishes a mutually agreed option was defeated 9-7.

In my three years of playing in the Civil Service League I had one adjudication, and I think you needed to play a minimum of 36 moves for the game to be considered for adjudication. I think the one game I had submitted for adjudication was the type where if we had played six moves fewer the game would have probably been drawn, but if we had played six more moves there would have been every chance that I could have built on my advantage sufficiently to reduce the likelihood of my opponent contesting the adjudication.

I have been involved in the Southampton Chess League in 1988, but believe it was the 21st century when a motion to make quickplay finishes an option was passed at the AGM, although they became compulsory for cup matches to prevent unfinished games delaying subsequent rounds. I think one reason we did not adopt quickplay finishes earlier was that at one AGM a proposal to make quickplay finishes compulsory was rejected, without the proposers of the motion not offering to make them optional as an alternative.

One thing that has worked well in the Southampton league is that even after a finishing time has been agreed, it is obvious that after 20 minutes further play the game will be resolved one way or the other, and there is no problem with the venue shutting up shop, the players then play on for the length of time it takes to decide the game.

James Toon
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by James Toon » Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:47 am

Malcolm Clarke wrote:Interestingly enough I have still got copies of the DHSS Chess Magazine which was am excellent magazine durimg the 1980's and possibly beyond that, as I stopped being a recipient after that. This mentions the Civil Service AGM of 1988 which I attended. At the meeting quickplay finishes were voted on, but the amended version of a proposal to make quickplay finishes a mutually agreed option was defeated 9-7.
I don't recall when quickplay became an option in the Civil Service League but it must have been after 1988. One of the features of this League is that the constituency of voters is very small. Only 15 votes are available at the AGM – one each for the 10 clubs, and one each for five specified postholders on the Executive Committee. Rule changes require a two-thirds majority of those present and voting. In practice this makes it almost impossible to bring about a rule change without the support of the committee members. I'm not sure that this feature has been addressed before but it does strike me as unusual. I expect these rules were drawn up many years ago, at a time when the League had a lot more clubs that it does now.

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Adam Raoof
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Adam Raoof » Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:00 am

James Toon wrote:
Malcolm Clarke wrote:Interestingly enough I have still got copies of the DHSS Chess Magazine which was am excellent magazine durimg the 1980's and possibly beyond that, as I stopped being a recipient after that. This mentions the Civil Service AGM of 1988 which I attended. At the meeting quickplay finishes were voted on, but the amended version of a proposal to make quickplay finishes a mutually agreed option was defeated 9-7.
I don't recall when quickplay became an option in the Civil Service League but it must have been after 1988. One of the features of this League is that the constituency of voters is very small. Only 15 votes are available at the AGM – one each for the 10 clubs, and one each for five specified postholders on the Executive Committee. Rule changes require a two-thirds majority of those present and voting. In practice this makes it almost impossible to bring about a rule change without the support of the committee members. I'm not sure that this feature has been addressed before but it does strike me as unusual. I expect these rules were drawn up many years ago, at a time when the League had a lot more clubs that it does now.
Here's a question: is the league bigger than it was 10 years ago, or is it smaller? If it's been shrinking, then you might want to consider choosing representatives who are more amenable to rule change.

I am not opposed to adjournments per se, because there is a place for them as there is for all forms of chess. However we are largely talking about chess in local leagues, between non-professionals, for recreation. The thought that 10 nights devoted to league chess might turn into 20 does not attract most club players with other commitments.

Moreover it is possible, and I only have anecdotal evidence of this, that players will take part in more than one league given the certainty of a quickplay finish, and therefore play more chess.
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Feb 22, 2011 12:17 pm

Adam Raoof wrote:I am not opposed to adjournments per se, because there is a place for them as there is for all forms of chess. However we are largely talking about chess in local leagues, between non-professionals, for recreation. The thought that 10 nights devoted to league chess might turn into 20 does not attract most club players with other commitments.
If I understood James correctly, the use of adjournments isn't very feasible in the Civil Service League, so all the options on the table are already single night ones. The current default is the very traditional one of stopping play during the middle game and deciding the result on the then assessment of the position. The reformers would like to replace this with G/90 or equivalent or even an incremental or delay based move rate.

I'd imagine the ECF directors would be reluctant to poke the wasps' nest, but a motion to Council of a recommendation or edict that adjudication shouldn't be allowed before move 60 might focus adjudication leagues on how out of date their rules had become.

James Toon
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by James Toon » Tue Feb 22, 2011 12:31 pm

James Toon wrote: One of the features of this League is that the constituency of voters is very small. Only 15 votes are available at the AGM – one each for the 10 clubs, and one each for five specified postholders on the Executive Committee. Rule changes require a two-thirds majority of those present and voting. In practice this makes it almost impossible to bring about a rule change without the support of the committee members. I'm not sure that this feature has been addressed before but it does strike me as unusual. I expect these rules were drawn up many years ago, at a time when the League had a lot more clubs that it does now.
I've just checked the League Rules again. I overlooked the fact that all members of the Executive Committee are entitled to vote. There is a maximum of 15 Committee posts (some people hold more than one post). So the clubs have 10 votes, and the administrators have 15 votes. Too many Chiefs and not enough Indians?
Adam Raoof wrote:Here's a question: is the league bigger than it was 10 years ago, or is it smaller? If it's been shrinking, then you might want to consider choosing representatives who are more amenable to rule change.
In 2000, the League had 14 clubs rather than 10, and 250 players rather than 200. So it has been gradually shrinking. I don't know why. The lack of progress on rule changes may be one of the reasons, but there must be others too.

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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:38 am

CS League

"In 2000, the League had 14 clubs rather than 10, and 250 players rather than 200. So it has been gradually shrinking. I don't know why. The lack of progress on rule changes may be one of the reasons, but there must be others too."

I think the main and obvious reasons are that fewer people are based in London and those that are based there frequently work such long and anti-social hours, (unlike the old days), that they don't have time to play. Isn't league membership generally dropping? The Surrey league is shrinking, even though the rules have been changed to make it easier to get teams out. I wonder if "lack of progress on rule changes" is one of the reasons. If proposals are regularly voted out, the majority do not see them as progress. I spent years trying to get rules changed in various leagues, and it was very frustrating, but if you lose the vote heavily, you have to accept it.

QP finishes arrived in CS Leagues as an option in 1993, and I offered QP finish in every match I played, and there were not a huge number of acceptances...

Roger said "I'd imagine the ECF directors would be reluctant to poke the wasps' nest, but a motion to Council of a recommendation or edict that adjudication shouldn't be allowed before move 60 might focus adjudication leagues on how out of date their rules had become."

That would be interesting... The league might just cave in, or they might say "no" and save lots of money on Game Fee etc. Not everybody is obsessed with grades. I imagine the ECF Directors would have much more sense than to interfere in a league like that!

As I said before, I think most players in the CS league do not play elsewhere, and mainly play chess because they, er..., enjoy it.

When I started playing in the CS League, ties in the league and KO competitions were still split by play-off matches, and I persuaded them to accept Game Points and Board Count, luckily just before a three-way tie in one division of the league (so the sceptics were quite grateful then). So changes happen.

James also said, "I've just checked the League Rules again. I overlooked the fact that all members of the Executive Committee are entitled to vote. There is a maximum of 15 Committee posts (some people hold more than one post). So the clubs have 10 votes, and the administrators have 15 votes. Too many Chiefs and not enough Indians?"

Or you are giving votes to those who are interested in the running of the league? There are two ways of looking at it.

The CS League is now much better than it was when I started playing in it - the rules are much improved, there were a lot of other problems then (with cheating etc.), which seem to have gone away.

Obviously, the league can still be improved, I think people just get irritated if there are wholesale rule changes proposed every year.
"Kevin was the arbiter and was very patient. " Nick Grey

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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Alex Holowczak » Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:56 am

Kevin Thurlow wrote:When I started playing in the CS League, ties in the league and KO competitions were still split by play-off matches, and I persuaded them to accept Game Points and Board Count, luckily just before a three-way tie in one division of the league (so the sceptics were quite grateful then). So changes happen.
We use Board Count for our Trophy matches, and have a playoff between tied teams in the league. I like the idea of promotion/relegation/Championship playoffs; I prefer them to gamepoints! (Which can be problematic if you have defaults.)

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Wed Feb 23, 2011 6:18 pm

James Toon wrote

"I've just checked the League Rules again. I overlooked the fact that all members of the Executive Committee are entitled to vote. There is a maximum of 15 Committee posts (some people hold more than one post). So the clubs have 10 votes, and the administrators have 15 votes. Too many Chiefs and not enough Indians?"

Er, according to the CS league website at http://www.cscl.org.uk/00handbook-leaguerules.html (so you put it there!)

"3. The League shall be governed by a Council composed of a Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, and Senior Recorder, all of whom shall be elected at the Annual General Meeting which shall be held in May, together with one representative nominated by each affiliated Club. Eight members shall form a quorum.

4. Any member of an affiliated Club may attend a General Meeting but only members of the Council may vote. A member of the Council is only entitled to one vote, but Officers of the League i.e. Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, and Senior Recorder, may additionally exercise one mandatory vote if they also represent their Club."

So certain Committee post-holders (5 of them) have a vote each and each club (10 of them) has a vote, so the Committee (even if they agreed with each other) cannot dominate the meeting.
"Kevin was the arbiter and was very patient. " Nick Grey

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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Alex Holowczak » Wed Feb 23, 2011 6:22 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:James Toon wrote

"I've just checked the League Rules again. I overlooked the fact that all members of the Executive Committee are entitled to vote. There is a maximum of 15 Committee posts (some people hold more than one post). So the clubs have 10 votes, and the administrators have 15 votes. Too many Chiefs and not enough Indians?"

Er, according to the CS league website at http://www.cscl.org.uk/00handbook-leaguerules.html (so you put it there!)

"3. The League shall be governed by a Council composed of a Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, and Senior Recorder, all of whom shall be elected at the Annual General Meeting which shall be held in May, together with one representative nominated by each affiliated Club. Eight members shall form a quorum.

4. Any member of an affiliated Club may attend a General Meeting but only members of the Council may vote. A member of the Council is only entitled to one vote, but Officers of the League i.e. Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, and Senior Recorder, may additionally exercise one mandatory vote if they also represent their Club."

So certain Committee post-holders (5 of them) have a vote each and each club (10 of them) has a vote, so the Committee (even if they agreed with each other) cannot dominate the meeting.
But...

40. No addition to or alteration in these Rules shall be made except by at least two-thirds support of the members of the Council present and voting at a General Meeting.

So the 10 clubs still need 1 of the post-holders to agree with them.

Simon Spivack
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Simon Spivack » Wed Feb 23, 2011 6:47 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:
James Toon wrote:In 2000, the League had 14 clubs rather than 10, and 250 players rather than 200. So it has been gradually shrinking. I don't know why. The lack of progress on rule changes may be one of the reasons, but there must be others too.
I think the main and obvious reasons are that fewer people are based in London ...
From http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=2235
There were 7.8 million residents in 2009, an increase from 7.3 million in 2001
It is commonly believed that the office of National Statistics understates London's population. I accept that the chess playing population has shrunk, though.

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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by James Toon » Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:16 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:James Toon wrote

"I've just checked the League Rules again. I overlooked the fact that all members of the Executive Committee are entitled to vote. There is a maximum of 15 Committee posts (some people hold more than one post). So the clubs have 10 votes, and the administrators have 15 votes. Too many Chiefs and not enough Indians?"

Er, according to the CS league website at http://www.cscl.org.uk/00handbook-leaguerules.html (so you put it there!)

"3. The League shall be governed by a Council composed of a Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, and Senior Recorder, all of whom shall be elected at the Annual General Meeting which shall be held in May, together with one representative nominated by each affiliated Club. Eight members shall form a quorum.

4. Any member of an affiliated Club may attend a General Meeting but only members of the Council may vote. A member of the Council is only entitled to one vote, but Officers of the League i.e. Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, and Senior Recorder, may additionally exercise one mandatory vote if they also represent their Club."

So certain Committee post-holders (5 of them) have a vote each and each club (10 of them) has a vote, so the Committee (even if they agreed with each other) cannot dominate the meeting.
Kevin
You haven't mentioned Rule 6:
"6. The Council shall appoint an Executive Committee consisting of the Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, Senior Recorder, Grader, Tournament Controllers, and up to five members of the League to be appointed at the Annual General Meeting. Members of the Executive Committee shall be ex-officio members of the Council. Four members of the Executive Committee which must include at least two of Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer, shall form a quorum. An auditor shall be appointed at the Annual General Meeting, and will not be a member of the Executive Committee."

The important provision here is this: "Members of the Executive Committee shall be ex-officio members of the Council." If you count all the Committee posts they add up to 15. Because they're members of the Council, they can vote. Between them they have 15 votes (and another 5 votes if the specified postholders use up a club vote as well).

If nothing else, this exchange has shown that the current wording of the Rules is not as clear as it might be.

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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Thu Feb 24, 2011 8:14 am

"The important provision here is this: "Members of the Executive Committee shall be ex-officio members of the Council." If you count all the Committee posts they add up to 15. Because they're members of the Council, they can vote. Between them they have 15 votes (and another 5 votes if the specified postholders use up a club vote as well).

If nothing else, this exchange has shown that the current wording of the Rules is not as clear as it might be."

True - in my 35 years (it feels so much more) of attending the meetings, para 3 has been taken to be the rule. Easy to fix - delete, "Members of the Executive Committee shall be ex-officio members of the Council." from rule 6.

We did a major overhaul of the rules recently, partly to simplify them, but all 15 seem to have missed that.... (Not that there are usually as many as 15 Committee members.)
"Kevin was the arbiter and was very patient. " Nick Grey

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