Worcester Tournament Issue.

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Lee Bullock
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Worcester Tournament Issue.

Post by Lee Bullock » Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:09 am

I have no Issue myself but I am writing this for a friend of mine and hes dad who were both left dumbfounded and upset by the recent u135 Congress.

I have only been in chess for 1 year OTB doing congresses etc but I have spoken to people more experienced and they had never seen this before.

In the 4th round my friend played a long match, it was the longest in hes section and it ended in defeat for him. They handed their score sheet in etc and left to rest up in the analysis room in which I was also with them. Then we went into the hall for the 5th round and amazingly they had forgotten to pair my friend and hes 4th round opponent! I have never seen this in my 1 year so far and I have played every weekend in many tournaments.

Of course they could not be repaired as they had just played each other in the last round. So they were told sorry I think and that they would receive a full point bye? Now to me that's not good enough. They had traveled up that day from Oxford! Not just that but he had not won a game yet and he was aiming to win that last game to finish on a win. He cant get to many congresses and this was only hes 2nd in hes life as an adult! He had been looking forward to this for ages and been preparing etc for months. This totally ruined hes tournament.

Now surely some compensation or money back has to be offered in this instance? Does anyone know if this has ever happened before and what was the outcome and are congresses not liable for this kind of error as entry fee's are paid and surely you expect to be paired each round as a minimum.

Thanks in advance.
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Worcester Tournament Issue.

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:23 am

Lee Bullock wrote:and surely you expect to be paired each round as a minimum.
Something of a minimum requirement, I would have thought.

If somehow the arbiter got the idea the players had withdrawn, it is possibly understandable. If they were using computerised pairings, I would have though such an error impossible.

If it had been applied to a player that I had "sponsored" to take part, I would have been inclined to disrupt the event, regardless of the fact that it had been organised by the ECF CEO.

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Lee Bullock
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Re: Worcester Tournament Issue.

Post by Lee Bullock » Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:52 am

Not sure how the arbiter would get the idea of that when nothing was said to him at all. They had been left out of the next round pairings. I think they somehow paired for the last round before the 4th round even ended. Or they somehow misplaces the 2 pairing cards and did the next round without realizing.

As I say I am not sure if this has happened before or if they are due anything but to me some compensation should be offered. Or at the very minimum half price next years tournament.
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Worcester Tournament Issue.

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:05 am

Lee Bullock wrote:Not sure how the arbiter would get the idea of that when nothing was said to him at all. They had been left out of the next round pairings. I think they somehow paired for the last round before the 4th round even ended. Or they somehow misplaces the 2 pairing cards and did the next round without realizing.
Which is somewhat less than competent and an argument in favour of phasing out manual pairings.

If the players managed to spot this before the 5th round had started, the appropriate arbiter response would have been to change the pairings. I wouldn't like to say that it's unprecedented, but it's not something that regularly happens.

Ian Thompson
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Re: Worcester Tournament Issue.

Post by Ian Thompson » Tue Jul 24, 2012 5:07 am

Lee Bullock wrote:So they were told sorry I think and that they would receive a full point bye? ...

Now surely some compensation or money back has to be offered in this instance? Does anyone know if this has ever happened before and what was the outcome and are congresses not liable for this kind of error as entry fee's are paid and surely you expect to be paired each round as a minimum.
You said your friend had yet to win a game, so I assume he wasn't in the running for a prize. I wonder if the organisers would have given one point byes if either of the players had been in contention for a prize. Doing so would have been very unfair to other players in with a chance of winning something. Repairing everyone would seem to be the only option in that case.

I don't know if this particular error has occurred before, but it's only a few months ago that I got a full-point bye through being erroneously paired against someone who was taking a half-point bye (which didn't bother me at all; I was quite happy with a free point).

Alex McFarlane
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Re: Worcester Tournament Issue.

Post by Alex McFarlane » Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:19 am

I would imagine that the cards of the last remaining game had been put aside whilst the others were sorted and thensubsequently forgotten. I have seen this done several times. It is usually discovered when the bottom board is noticed to be one slot higher than it should be and the draw redone.

In the circumstances described (and remember I haven't heard the other side), it would seem sensible to work up the pairings to see if one could be broken - if you had a 1/2 v 1 then look to see if the 1 could play the winner and the half could play Lee's friend. Even if play had just started this would seem sensible. It is minimum disruption and gives everyone a game. Colourswould have a low priority in this situation. If we were 20 or so minutes into the game I would be much more reluctant to interrupt a game in progress and could well be forced into the action described.

Ian's scenario would be a real problem. I think you would have to do the same but working down. If discovered before play starts then delay the start of all the boards down to the lowest score level concerned. I would still look at minimum disruption rather than the totally correct pairing unless the latter was going to be quicker. It is much more likely that another player would have queried the draw in this case. "Oh, what happened to X?" and the mistake recognised.

I would have thought the worst case scenario would have been to allow both players the opportunity to play again in a graded 'friendly'.

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JustinHorton
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Re: Worcester Tournament Issue.

Post by JustinHorton » Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:44 am

At a tournament many years ago I found myself being given a bye when I had already been given a bye in an earlier round. This struck me as wrong at the time, but my knowledge of the pairing rules was (and is) pretty threadbare.
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Re: Worcester Tournament Issue.

Post by Sean Hewitt » Tue Jul 24, 2012 7:10 am

It wouldn't happen at an e2e4 event of course because we use computer pairings but if somehow it did I would either re-pair as few games as possible to get the two into the round or pair them against each other again. At the bottom end of the event this is not going to cause any problems.

As for compensation - this was a charity event. Any compensation would come out of the charitable donation the congress is making and I don't think that would be appropriate.

Andrew Farthing
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Re: Worcester Tournament Issue.

Post by Andrew Farthing » Tue Jul 24, 2012 7:26 am

I am very sorry that Lee's friend was so upset by the error in the last round pairings. The pairing cards, which related to the last game to finish from the previous round, were inadvertently omitted from the final round draw. Both the arbiter and I apologised at the time and offered two different opportunities to give the players a graded game:

(1) The two players could play each other again in a graded 'friendly';

(2) The players could each play a graded 'friendly' against members of the control/organising team (myself and Andrew Moore).

In each case, the players would be awarded full point byes. We had tried to find a third option, namely to pair one of the players against the spare player from that section (there were none from the others sections) who had already been granted a bye. Unfortunately, he had left the venue immediately and could not be located.

The round had started when the error was realised (and was well advanced by the time it became evident that the spare player could not be located), and stopping games to re-pair various players was not a realistic option.

When the choices above were presented to the players, one of them expressed a willingness to adopt any of them and left the choice to the other. This was Lee's friend, who decided not to accept either option (1) or (2), which would have given him a graded game, but rather simply to leave.

Having apologised at the time, I also e-mailed a further apology to both players the day after the tournament. Lee's friend did not give any indication on the day of how upset he was by the situation, and it was his choice not to play a graded game in the afternoon. However, the error was ours, and Lee's friend had every right to expect to be paired for the final round. I am therefore happy to adopt Lee's suggestion of offering a half-price entry to next year's tournament. I have e-mailed his friend accordingly.

The other player affected replied to my e-mail, saying that he was not upset by the error and that it had given him a chance to watch some interesting games and to catch up with someone he hadn't seen for some time.


There is a summary of the outcome of the tournament in the 'Congress Results' section. We run the Worcester congress to raise funds for charity. This year, a 20% increase in entries and the generosity of many of the players - including one who donated his entire £100 first prize to the cause - allowed us to donate £900 to St Richard's Hospice in Worcester.

I hope that this one unfortunate case of human error does not deter people from trying our event in future. My colleagues and I received very positive comments from many of the competitors, and I would hate for people to be put off by the appearance of a thread called "Worcester Tournament Issue".

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Re: Worcester Tournament Issue.

Post by David Sedgwick » Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:44 am

The British congress scene depends on the efforts of organisers and arbiters who devote large amounts of their time to them, mostly on an entirely voluntary basis.

Mistakes happen. Most players are understanding when those responsible admit to having erred, as in this case.

Alex McFarlane
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Re: Worcester Tournament Issue.

Post by Alex McFarlane » Tue Jul 24, 2012 9:14 am

A mistake was made. Appropriate measures were made to minimise the damage done by this. THe actions of the people involved seem to be in line with what I suggested I (and most people) would have done.

The situation is unfortunate but these things happen.

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Re: Worcester Tournament Issue.

Post by Andrew Bak » Tue Jul 24, 2012 11:44 am

Alex McFarlane wrote:A mistake was made. Appropriate measures were made to minimise the damage done by this. THe actions of the people involved seem to be in line with what I suggested I (and most people) would have done.

The situation is unfortunate but these things happen.
Hear hear!

I don't think this case is indicative of malice or a general poor standard in arbitering, it is just an unfortunate mistake which can easily happen and the arbiters seem to have immediately apologised and tried their best to find a practical solution.

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Lee Bullock
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Re: Worcester Tournament Issue.

Post by Lee Bullock » Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:19 pm

Thanks for your replies guys. And thanks Andrew for that message.

Yeah My friend is very good at hiding hes disappointment. He was too polite at showing how he felt I think.
I think stopping 2 games like Alex said would of been a good idea but I dont know how appropriate that is. For me I would not mind too much. And for someone that said it did not effect the prizes. It did. The player who beat my friend then got a full point bye last round and finished 2nd! So knocked some out the prizes I think or reduced for some others anyway.

And Andrew I think your offer of half price next year is totally the right thing to do and I am sure Sam will be happy with that as hes trip down from Oxford for 1 game did feel a bit much.

Anyway I am sure it will not effect next years congress and overall it was a good event. Maybe an improvement on catering would be nice as the vending machines were not working and there was nowhere to get a drink or food before play each day.
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Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Worcester Tournament Issue.

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:51 pm

I think the organisers did all they could once the error happened. And Andrew Farthing had the decency to come on here and say sorry, which many people would not!

I would think that anyone who has ever run a weekend event would recognise that the odd mistake might happen as the tournament progresses.
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Worcester Tournament Issue.

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:22 pm

Michael J R White wrote: In terms of somebody being left out of the pairings completely, this is the first time I've heard of such a thing, and it doesn't surprise me.
A new one to me as well. Add to arbiters check list - make sure you have as many boards paired as the tournament head count divided by two. As it affected the players in line for second place with a player with 2.5 being left out, one of the players might have queried it.

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