Half-point bye ... Why ?

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Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Half-point bye ... Why ?

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:30 am

At last weekend's Harrogate Congress I took a half point bye in the first round. I don't like doing this as I like to get my money's worth but I had a late shift on the friday that, try as I might, I could not swap or get rid of. Had the half point bye option not been available I would not have been able to play and the congress organisers would have had one less entrant and less returns from entry fees.

A good solution would be for more congresses to use the `points mean prizes` system (for lower sections - I appreciate this is not suitable for opens where more games are drawn as a matter of course and more players are dependant on chess for their livelihoods) whereby - using York as an example, 5 points wins £250, 4 1/2 £150 and 4 £50. That way players who choose not to play on the friday are automatically doing themselves out of the running.
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Andrew Farthing
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Re: Half-point bye ... Why ?

Post by Andrew Farthing » Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:32 am

Andrew Camp wrote:2) Having three rounds on Saturday and two on Sunday is possible but that would be very hard on very young players - who we really need to encourage to play the congress circuit
It's not just the very young! I can't be the only not-quite-so-very-young player who routinely takes a half-point bye in round 3 of two-day weekend congresses. Three games in a day is more than I feel capable of playing without losing the enjoyment of the games.

Sean Hewitt
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Re: Half-point bye ... Why ?

Post by Sean Hewitt » Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:47 am

Andrew Farthing wrote:
Andrew Camp wrote:2) Having three rounds on Saturday and two on Sunday is possible but that would be very hard on very young players - who we really need to encourage to play the congress circuit
It's not just the very young! I can't be the only not-quite-so-very-young player who routinely takes a half-point bye in round 3 of two-day weekend congresses. Three games in a day is more than I feel capable of playing without losing the enjoyment of the games.
3 games a day events put me off in general. When I do play such events I always take a round 3 bye.

Alex Holowczak
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Re: Half-point bye ... Why ?

Post by Alex Holowczak » Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:56 am

I'm younger than both Sean and Andrew, and I don't like three games per day either. My brain simply turns to mush by the time I sit down to play round 3, and it's not like there's much in there anyway...

Andrew Camp
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Re: Half-point bye ... Why ?

Post by Andrew Camp » Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:06 am

3 games a day is definitely my least favourite option. It also means games are usually 3.5 hours which is like rapidplay to me. :)

I feel this is one of those issues where we are looking for a middle-ground that has already been found.
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Sabrina Chevannes
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Re: Half-point bye ... Why ?

Post by Sabrina Chevannes » Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:13 am

I like the option of the half point bye. I, like Imogen, used to take them when very young and then stopped when I hit teenage years, but then used to feel cheated when I lost my game! However, as it has been said, you can have three outcomes from that game.

It depends why you are entering the tournament also. I enter these days because I want to play chess - I am not thinking about the prize money as I just want to get back into playing and learn more. I entered a weekend tournament recently in South Lakes and didn't take a bye. I was shattered and ended up getting black against Hawkins in the first round! A 1/2 point bye would have been better. Considering the game went on very late and I felt drained and had to wake up for 9.30am game the next day! I would have much preferred to have taken the 1/2 point bye and been much more prepared for the Saturday. However, if I did take the bye, I would not have learnt from the game like I did.

I also like the flexibility of Sean's tournaments and that he does offer the multiple bye situation. I want to play more, but not always can as I am so busy. This is the same with others. Since Sean lets you take byes in the middle of tournaments, this means you can just play the games you can make. This is great for those who just want to play when they can and I think by Sean doing this, it helps boost chess in general as more people will be playing the game and are happy with the arrangement.

So I think you can look at the bye situation in many ways, but since my main concern is not the prize money, then I don't see a problem with it. I have always played chess because I enjoy the game and want to learn and get better. If I received prize money for my efforts, then that was a bonus, but not the sole reason of playing! And as it has been said, if people think the bye is beneficial and they are being cheated by those taking it, then you take one yourself!

Brendan O'Gorman
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Re: Half-point bye ... Why ?

Post by Brendan O'Gorman » Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:16 am

[quote="Andrew Zigmond"]At last weekend's Harrogate Congress I took a half point bye in the first round. … [text deleted]
With apologies for the lack of relevance to the forum topic, here are some photos of the congress, including one of Andrew: http://tinyurl.com/HarrogatePics2012

Bill Porter
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Re: Half-point bye ... Why ?

Post by Bill Porter » Wed Jul 11, 2012 3:03 pm

Isn't this discussion about chess morality rather than how to improve congresses?
Any player with a real chance of prize money is likely to have a much lower graded opponent in the first round.
If byes were forbidden, a draw offer early on by the stronger player would very likely be accepted.
The stronger player might be happy to keep his grade down ( for grade limited tournaments ) while the weaker player could say 'I scored 1/6 but at least I drew with the winner.'

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Half-point bye ... Why ?

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Wed Jul 11, 2012 3:30 pm

Bill Porter wrote:Isn't this discussion about chess morality rather than how to improve congresses?
Any player with a real chance of prize money is likely to have a much lower graded opponent in the first round.
If byes were forbidden, a draw offer early on by the stronger player would very likely be accepted.
The stronger player might be happy to keep his grade down ( for grade limited tournaments ) while the weaker player could say 'I scored 1/6 but at least I drew with the winner.'
This assumes that all congress entrants are chasing the prize money and are looking for ways to manipulate the system in their favour. A minority may well do this and that's their privilege - one careless move over the board and it all backfires anyway. Most players go to congresses for a social weekend and if fortune smiles on them and they come away with a prize (and anything less than first and second prize probably won't cover the entry fee, transport and accomodation anyway) that's a bonus. As stated above there are many legitimate reasons why a player may not be able to play on the friday evening and a half point bye seems reasonable.
Last edited by Andrew Zigmond on Thu Jan 17, 2013 12:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Alex McFarlane
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Re: Half-point bye ... Why ?

Post by Alex McFarlane » Wed Jul 11, 2012 3:46 pm

A two day congress often means a quicker rate of play (suiting these pesky youngsters!). In some cases it can even mean a different rate of play on the Saturday and Sunday.

THe two day event doesn't even save the organiser that much money as the setting up often has to be done on the Friday evening.

As the number of Friday byes increased I gave a lot of thought to this problem but failed to come up with a solution. I rejected the idea of a 'Busy Person' get in where those who like the slower time and a Friday could play and those who couldn't could meet for three games on the Saturday and the two events come together for rounds 4 and 5. I don't think its feasible but if anyon else wants to try it please let me know what happens.

Alan Burke

Re: Half-point bye ... Why ?

Post by Alan Burke » Wed Jul 11, 2012 6:14 pm

So, the concensus of opinion seems to be to retain the half-point bye for those who want it. However, nobody has yet made any adverse comment about any such prizewinners receiving slightly less than those who have competed the full 5 rounds - indeed, the only responses have been that merit can be seen in such a suggestion.

Those players who enter events not for the money would of course have no reason to disagree with the idea as they would not be bothered if they took a half-point bye and then got a lesser payout than a co-winner who has taken part in the full event.

My suggestion is merely to try and give some reward to those who take part in the entire tournament.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Half-point bye ... Why ?

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Wed Jul 11, 2012 6:19 pm

Maybe have an extra prize for scoring 100%, rather than penalise those who take draws, whether over the board or by byes?

Clive Blackburn

Re: Half-point bye ... Why ?

Post by Clive Blackburn » Wed Jul 11, 2012 6:39 pm

Alan Burke wrote: Therefore, in trying to encourage competitors to actually play the game and if withdrawing this half-point facility and treating any such absentee as a loss is felt not to be viable, suppose any eventual winnings by these players are reduced by at least 1/5th and distributed amongst the other prizewinners ?
I have to say that I don't understand this at all. Not everyone can play every game for a variety of reasons.

If a player who has voluntarily dropped half a point ends up in the prize money anyway then good luck to them!

There is certainly no need to make things even more difficult by imposing a limit on their prize money.

Also, when somebody takes a half point bye that is one less game to be graded, so easier all round! :D

Bill Porter
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Re: Half-point bye ... Why ?

Post by Bill Porter » Wed Jul 11, 2012 6:49 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Bill Porter wrote:Isn't this discussion about chess morality rather than how to improve congresses?
Any player with a real chance of prize money is likely to have a much lower graded opponent in the first round.
If byes were forbidden, a draw offer early on by the stronger player would very likely be accepted.
The stronger player might be happy to keep his grade down ( for grade limited tournaments ) while the weaker player could say 'I scored 1/6 but at least I drew with the winner.'
This assumes that all congress entrants are chasing the prize money and are looking for ways to manipulate the system in their favour. A minority may well do this and that's their less privilege - one careless move over the board and it all backfires anyway. Most players go to congresses for a social weekend and if fortune smiles on them and they come away with a prize (and anything less than first and second prize probably won't cover the entry fee, transport and accomodation anyway) that's a bonus. As stated above there are many legitimate reasons why a player may not be able to play on the friday evening and a half point bye seems reasonable.
I think you missed my point.
To clarify, I am in favour of 1/2 point byes in general.
I would think very few players would consider a half point in round 1 better than a whole point.
one careless move over the board and it all backfires anyway.
I agree there is a danger it will backfire.
If the stronger player is black, he blunders on move one and his opponent declines his draw offer black is in real trouble.

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Re: Half-point bye ... Why ?

Post by Sean Hewitt » Wed Jul 11, 2012 6:52 pm

Alan Burke wrote: However, nobody has yet made any adverse comment about any such prizewinners receiving slightly less than those who have competed the full 5 rounds - indeed, the only responses have been that merit can be seen in such a suggestion.
I think this is an over complex solution to a non-existent problem.

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