European Championship in Liverpool

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JustinHorton
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Re: European Championship in Liverpool

Post by JustinHorton » Sat Sep 13, 2008 9:16 am

Ah, is it actually European Union rather than just European? I hadn't realised that.
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David Robertson
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Re: European Championship in Liverpool

Post by David Robertson » Sat Sep 13, 2008 11:35 am

Some thoughts on Liverpool (2008) in the light of comments above. I've already commented on the relative strength of this tournament on my own 'blog', see below

http://www.atticuschess.org.uk/forum/ph ... .php?t=423

In summary, if Elo-rating is the sole point of reference, then Liverpool (2008) has a strong claim to be the strongest-ever British tournament. It has a copper-bottomed case to be the strongest Open tournament ever. It's about the same size as Lloyds Bank (1994). That tournament generated c.750 games; Liverpool (2008) will generate 700 games. But the latter is far stronger in the top half if not at the bottom. But whether Liverpool (2008) is the strongest over all is moot. Hastings (1988) was a very impressive 8-player, double-round all-play-all; Philips & Drew (London, 1984) was strong too. If one takes the top-14 from Liverpool (2008) and compares that group with any of these other a-p-a tournaments, then Liverpool wins easily by average Elo-rating. In fact it would be a Category 15, possibly Category 16 tournament; hitherto the best have been Category 13 & 14.

But whatever the Elo numbers say, I'd be getting ahead of myself by some distance if I claimed Liverpool (2008) was stronger than Nottingham (1936) or, for goodness sake, Hastings (1895). Chess metrics experts would certainly disabuse any illusions on that count. Anyway I don't think we should trivialise these magnificent and historic tournaments by reducing the assessment of their quality to mere Elo numbers. Strongest-ever or not, I'm happy to have helped organise with others a fantastic tournament of fighting chess which I hope delights everyone for the benefit of British chess in years to come.

On comparisons with recent Spanish Open tournaments, obviously I don't know the comparative budgets, only my own. But these are some of the constraints I've had to work with:

1) entry is restricted, not to the European continent, but to the member states of the European Union. This is both good news and bad news. 'Good news' because I can exclude zillions of unheard-of Russian and Ukrainian GMs who might otherwise swamp the tournament, hoover up all the prizes, and drive away our struggling 'home' players. 'Bad news' because, in the 2006 event, I had Carlsen for pennies; but being Norwegian, he was ineligible. I tried to play him nevertheless but the ECU put its foot down. Either way, the pool from which I can draw is restricted to the €-zone - which also makes players more expensive. And since it’s been raised, Switzerland isn’t in the EU indeed; otherwise I’d have invited Korchnoi. But Alexandra Wilson is playing partly because she comes as part of a ‘package’

2) accommodation costs in Liverpool are high this year. Hotels are milking the tourism inflows generated by Capital of Culture events. But room prices are high anyway relative to (presumably) off-season Spanish hotels. If I’m told these Spanish events run in high season, I’ll revise my assessment. Alas, Liverpool has no ‘off-season’. Hotels are filled every weekend with either football fans or ‘weekend breakers’. If I could run tournaments Mon-Thurs, it would be far cheaper. An alternative would be to shift tournaments into the University vacation periods. But that doesn’t ease things. Student accommodation is often ‘moth-balled’ over the summer; or it fails my quality test for elite players.

3) finding dates in both the chess and local calendars is awkward. No one gives much help on the matter either. Early September has proved popular: the weather remains mild; and we’ve avoided foreseeable clashes. On the other hand, school term has started so that restricts entry from one priority group - juniors. We’re nevertheless delighted to have Yang-fan Zhou & Peter Constantinou from the England junior squad; the rest were invited. We also have Ali Roy (16) from Scotland, and Tanguy Ringoir (14) from Belgium. No need to mention the celebrity GM juniors, I guess.

4) strong ‘top half’, weaker ‘bottom half’. I think this reflects the fact that Liverpool isn’t London. In an Open tournament of this kind, the bottom 30% or so will be club amateurs. Liverpool’s pool of players is, as one would expect, smaller and probably weaker than one might find in a huge pond like London. I’m glad local amateurs and others get their chance though - ‘for the many, not the few’ and so forth. I’d never want to run a closed elite tournament - unless perhaps one had A & B tournaments. We thought about that for Liverpool (2008) but judged there would be insufficient demand for a ‘B’ tournament; let the Swiss draw sort it out instead. Anyway I’m glad several amateurs from my own club are playing. And I’m impressed Chris Majer, acting CEO of ECF, is playing chess, not just sitting in committees talking about it. We all need to get out there and play more chess even if, were we club cricketers, we’d have long hung up our boots. It’s about setting an example through personal commitment, a modest attempt to staunch the exits from the national chess community. Good for Chris and others, especially those from outside Liverpool who have real cash to find in reaffirming their commitment to the game. In London, by reason alone that many more players could travel in from home, one would expect a tournament of this kind to be bigger, and probably have greater strength in depth.

Finally, the players seem to be enjoying themselves. The playing venue is beautiful; the accommodation we’ve provided is fabulous; and so far, the tournament is running like clockwork. In 2006 & 2007, I spent every day in a state of nervous exhaustion in fear of things going wrong. This year, after the first panics subsided, I couldn’t be more relaxed. This is entirely due to the hugely professional support team we’ve assembled this time. I can get on with stuff I have to do in absolute confidence that snags elsewhere will be sorted out. I’ll say more about this another time.

David
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JustinHorton
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Re: European Championship in Liverpool

Post by JustinHorton » Sat Sep 13, 2008 11:58 am

1. restricted to the €-zone

Ah, not quite.

2. if I’m told these Spanish events run in high season

In the specific instance of Benasque, no: rather the opposite in fact, because it's in los Pirineos, and therefore the high season is the winter when there's ski-ing. In general, though, yes, very much so: but that's probably as much of an advantage to the organisers as a disadvantage, because there's a tournament circuit, which runs (roughly) May to September, largely though not entirely in Catalonia. I'd guess that it's perfectly possible for a titled professional in receipt of conditions to spend their summer going from one tournament to the next - in fact last year I seem to recall there was a coach laid on to take the GMs from Benasque (which not in Catalonia, but is close) to the next tournament in Balaguer, near Lérida/Lleida. I would imagine that what one loses in high-season hotel fees, one gains in the reduced cost of getting the players there, a larger pool of players to choose from, and a higher entry rate.

3. student accommodation is often ‘moth-balled’ over the summer; or it fails my quality test for elite players

or indeed any players, as anybody who entered a certain South Wales international tournament three summers ago (from which I withdrew without playing) would have seen. I don't hold this against the organisers (and my withdrawal was largely due to illness rather than the shocking accommodation) but given that most players aren't going to win a penny, it's that sort of thing which determines whether people come again, or whether they stay away.
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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: European Championship in Liverpool

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Tue Sep 16, 2008 1:17 am

Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant has a very good chance of a GM norm: by my reckoning, 1/2 with a 2463+ opponent in round 9, or 1½/2 with any opponent in round 9 should do it.

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Re: European Championship in Liverpool

Post by David Robertson » Tue Sep 16, 2008 8:48 am

The GM norm is in the bag: Keti's been drawn against Ulf Andersson. That's as good a certain draw as she'll ever get. Poor Ulf, great fighting player once, but he can't hack it any more. I predict a draw in 10

David

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JustinHorton
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Re: European Championship in Liverpool

Post by JustinHorton » Tue Sep 16, 2008 8:51 am

Well, she's got the black pieces against Ulf Andersson today. Who might be amenable to a draw. Or might be amenable to winning an endgame in 110 moves that must surely have been a draw at some point....

Were there problems with the online transmission yesterday? I couldn't get the middle set of three to display (using IE7) and then when I came home, the bottom set wouldn't display (using Firefox) although it was pretty much all wrapped up by then anyway. Didn't spoil my enjoyment.

Edit: ah, I see I'm not first on this. It might be worth mentioning that Andersson still outgrades her by a fair few points: his rating has of course declined in recent years, not least because he's been ill. (I recall he took a zero-point bye, due to illness, before dispensing with me in a tournament last year.)

I also think Jack, by 1/2, meant "one out of two", so she'd still need a draw in the following round too, no?
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Carl Hibbard
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Re: European Championship in Liverpool

Post by Carl Hibbard » Tue Sep 16, 2008 9:11 am

There was a performance issue yesterday purely down to load - this might have affected you earlier in the day as it did peak at around 700,000 requests an hour which is somewhat less than is has been over the last few days...

The bottom of the three boards looks like a problem on-site to be honest although Dave would need to clarify
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Re: European Championship in Liverpool

Post by John Upham » Tue Sep 16, 2008 9:18 am

Carl,
What is the server architecture? Is there a single server and what is it? Perhaps some SLB is required?

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: European Championship in Liverpool

Post by Carl Hibbard » Tue Sep 16, 2008 9:41 am

John Upham wrote:Carl,
What is the server architecture? Is there a single server and what is it? Perhaps some SLB is required?

John
I do have some clue to be honest :roll:

It is a only shared hosting solution but naturally there is more than one server already - to be honest for "free" it is the biggest solution I am happy to provide (without using a dedicated box...) and at a peak of 1.1 million requests an hour anything is going to struggle

It needs around 1 gig of bandwidth and around 6 million requests during the 2pm to 7pm period

If there are still performance issues then please post to here and I will look at providing an alternate link
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Carl Hibbard
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Re: European Championship in Liverpool

Post by Carl Hibbard » Tue Sep 16, 2008 10:51 am

John Upham wrote:Carl,
What is the server architecture? Is there a single server and what is it? Perhaps some SLB is required?

John
This has become more of an issue all of a sudden and we will be attempting to broadcast from alternate equipment today

:shock:
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JustinHorton
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Re: European Championship in Liverpool

Post by JustinHorton » Tue Sep 16, 2008 10:58 am

Semaphore? Smoke signals? Carrier pigeons?
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Carl Hibbard
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Re: European Championship in Liverpool

Post by Carl Hibbard » Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:14 am

JustinHorton wrote:Semaphore? Smoke signals? Carrier pigeons?
Alternate servers and all before 2pm with a bit of luck...
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Carl Hibbard
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Re: European Championship in Liverpool

Post by Carl Hibbard » Tue Sep 16, 2008 2:10 pm

It's working so fingers crossed

The boards 14-21 on board three is a problem on site (not web...) and is probably issues with the third laptop on use on site

I will continue to monitor today :wink:
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Carl Hibbard
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Re: European Championship in Liverpool

Post by Carl Hibbard » Tue Sep 16, 2008 2:44 pm

Carl Hibbard wrote:It's working so fingers crossed

The boards 14-21 on board three is a problem on site (not web...) and is probably issues with the third laptop on use on site

I will continue to monitor today :wink:
Also seems to be resolved...
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David Clayton
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Re: European Championship in Liverpool

Post by David Clayton » Tue Sep 16, 2008 2:51 pm

It is looking OK recording here at the venue. How about out there?

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