Attention Congress Players

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Ian Stephens
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Re: Attention Congress Players

Post by Ian Stephens » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:06 pm

Hi Sean, My proposal would be to charge an entry fee, then distribute prize fund not on placing but on points scored. From the recent Chester tournament taking the Major results as an example players who attained a 50% score 2.5 pts would recieve £20 each (£30 entry-£10 tournament costs) players who scored 2 pts would receive £16 and players scoring 1.5 pts £12 etc.
Players scoring 3 pts £24, players scoring 3.5 pts £28 and the winners four of them scoring 4 pts each receive £32 etc. any remaining monies (£16 at Chester) attained by no shows or withdrawals could go in to a Grand Prix fund to be played for over the season, This option everyone receives a prize, commensurate to how they have played/scored. I like many play chess for the enjoyment it brings and do not consider the prize fund until after the event and the dust has settled. Nice tournaments Sean, long may they continue!
Ex-President of Liverpool Chess Club, now mere Tournament Controller and Chief bottle washer.

Reg Clucas
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Re: Attention Congress Players

Post by Reg Clucas » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:11 pm

Having a prize fund adds a bit of extra spice to the proceedings (even though the amounts aren't vast and we'll never make a living out of it!). I would like prize money to remain, though the lack of it wouldn't prevent me from entering a congress. Maybe there is room for both types of congress, as others have suggested.

shaunpress
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Re: Attention Congress Players

Post by shaunpress » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:44 pm

The 'low entry, no prizes' format has been tried in Australia on a few occasions, but without success (ie such tournaments have never been held more than once by the same organiser). It seems that players like the opportunity of winning the occasional prize, even if their chances are quite low. And strangely it does not have to be a big prize, just as long as it signifies some sort of achievement. The related factor is that players (Australia at least) are attracted by 'strong' tournaments, in which a reasonable number of highly rated players take part (even if in a different section). Prize money is the attractor for the strong players, while the added status of playing in a 'strong' event is then the attractor for everyone else.
BTW Strong players seem to like the certainty of a guaranteed prize pool, and events in Australia that offered a % prize structure declined very quickly, as fewer players 'risked' entering due to uncertainty of what the prizes actually were, causing a further decline in the prize pool.

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Attention Congress Players

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:02 am

If I'm in the running for overall victory (and that's a pretty big IF) it is nice to be in the money and I think the big weekenders (Blackpool, Scarborough etc) do owe their success to the large prize fund they offer.

Obviously you never know how the Congress is going to go. It may be that I win my first few games at which point I get very competitive. However (as is normally the case) I start badly in which case I relax and just enjoy a weekend at the chessboard (that doesn't mean that I don't play to the best of my ability).

There are quite a few different things that attract me to a Congress. It may be the location and that I can make a holiday out of it. It may be that it's relatively local and I can catch up with chess friends. I may know the organisers and trust them to put on a good event. Or it may be a prestigious event and I'm proud to be a part of it.

The bottom line - I go to a Congress to enjoy a weekend at my favourite game - but if there's money involved it is a bonus.
Controller - Yorkshire League
Chairman - Harrogate Chess Club
All views expressed entirely my own

Keith Arkell
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Re: Attention Congress Players

Post by Keith Arkell » Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:16 am

Hypothetical I know, but if GMs were, for example, paid a regular wage by the government, as is the case in some countries ( Iceland springs readily to mind), then I could honestly say that I would gain far more pleasure playing simply to win tournaments, play good chess and gain ELO points than to win prize money. Unfortunately that isn't the case though...

Mike Gunn
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Re: Attention Congress Players

Post by Mike Gunn » Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:02 am

I support the traditional model with larger prizes in the Open because somebody has to pay for Keith's breakfast ...

Dragoljub Sudar
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Re: Attention Congress Players

Post by Dragoljub Sudar » Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:53 am

and his Boddingtons! The Derby Assembley Rooms' profits fell sharply when the Midlands Open stopped.

When I turn up for round one I like to think that, come the last round, I might still be in with a chance of winning some dosh (to pay for Keith's Boddingtons), even if it's a grading prize, so option 1 doesn't appeal.

Option 2 could distort final rounds. If a player with no money in the pot wants to leave early due to, say, a long drive home, he could concede a draw or loss to his opponent who does have money in the pot, and this could deny another player some prize money.

Having said that, prize money isn't my motivation for entering. It's usually because the congress is local or if I'm away for a weekend with mates and the chess is secondary to the beer (which explains why I've only won 3 out of 50 congresses).

Sean, you could try an experiment. Take a section such as u160, have two tourneys, one using option 1 and the other with a larger fee and prize money. See which one attracts more players. It'll be more accurate than this little focus group.

Sean Hewitt
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Re: Attention Congress Players

Post by Sean Hewitt » Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:59 am

Dragoljub Sudar wrote:Sean, you could try an experiment. Take a section such as u160, have two tourneys, one using option 1 and the other with a larger fee and prize money. See which one attracts more players. It'll be more accurate than this little focus group.
I think such an experiment would be doomed to fail as the two sections would compete against each other for the same players. As a result, the prize money section wouldn't get enough players to pay its prize money.

The better option is to take an established e2e4 venue such as Gatwick or High Wycombe and try a section or an entire event there. You've a track record of entries against which to compare. So that's what we're going to do. It'll be an interesting test for sure!

Dragoljub Sudar
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Re: Attention Congress Players

Post by Dragoljub Sudar » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:15 am

I don't know about that:

If 50 players entered one section, 30 paying the lower fee and not playing for prizes, and the other 20 paid extra and played for the dosh, would that not be equivalent to tournament A using option 1 getting 30 entrants and tournament B with a higher entry fee getting 20 players? Either system would still have the same no. of folk paying into the pot.

Anyway, it's good to see you're thinking about various options so good luck with your experiment.

Sean Hewitt
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Re: Attention Congress Players

Post by Sean Hewitt » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:50 am

Dragoljub Sudar wrote:If 50 players entered one section, 30 paying the lower fee and not playing for prizes, and the other 20 paid extra and played for the dosh, would that not be equivalent to tournament A using option 1 getting 30 entrants and tournament B with a higher entry fee getting 20 players? Either system would still have the same no. of folk paying into the pot.
No, because some players would happily play in either. By having the events side by side in the scenario you give, you would not know whether you would get nearer 30 players or 50 players when it came to running a stand alone subsequent event.

Phil Neatherway
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Re: Attention Congress Players

Post by Phil Neatherway » Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:08 am

Personally, I'm not bothered about prize money as I so rarely win it! I'm more interested in the other aspects of the Congress, like the venue and playing conditions. So I'm one of the players which would play in either.

If there were no prize money, how would our ever-decreasing number of professional players support themselves?

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Attention Congress Players

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:23 am

Phil Neatherway wrote: If there were no prize money, how would our ever-decreasing number of professional players support themselves?
The simple answer is they wouldn't. Nor would their potential successors amongst the younger players have a financial incentive to improve their play.

Aren't e2e4 already running events without prize money? Last year's Basingstoke and this year's forthcoming Brighton spring to mind.

Alan Burke

Re: Attention Congress Players

Post by Alan Burke » Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:56 am

If players are not to receive any prizemoney for their weekend activity, would the organisers/arbiters also not gain any financial reward (including travel expenses/accommodation) for taking part in the competition ?

If the officials are still going to be given some financial assistance, it seems they can still take part in their favourite pastime for free AND yet still receive payment (either directly or in kind), whereas the players have to pay an entry fee without the opportunity of gaining any monetary reward. (ie The players pay but receive nothing whilst the officials don't pay yet receive something.)

Therefore, would all income at such a "prizemoney-free" event only be used for genuine tournament expenses (venue; ECF/FIDE grading fees; etc) but without any individual gaining any personal financial assistance (either money or in kind) ?

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Attention Congress Players

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:01 am

Alan Burke wrote:If the officials are still going to be given some financial assistance, it seems they can still take part in their favourite pastime for free AND yet still receive payment (either directly or in kind), whereas the players have to pay an entry fee without the opportunity of gaining any monetary reward. (ie The players pay but receive nothing whilst the officials don't pay yet receive something.)
The situations are not truly comparable. The organizers and arbiters are explicitly doing work - albeit work that they enjoy and actively seek out - whereas the players are involved in what is far more of a pure leisure activity.

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Attention Congress Players

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:20 am

IM Jack Rudd wrote:
Alan Burke wrote:If the officials are still going to be given some financial assistance, it seems they can still take part in their favourite pastime for free AND yet still receive payment (either directly or in kind), whereas the players have to pay an entry fee without the opportunity of gaining any monetary reward. (ie The players pay but receive nothing whilst the officials don't pay yet receive something.)
The situations are not truly comparable. The organizers and arbiters are explicitly doing work - albeit work that they enjoy and actively seek out - whereas the players are involved in what is far more of a pure leisure activity.
Or doing their work out of a sense of duty. The organizers and arbiters are giving up their time to make a leisure activity happen; why shouldn't they receive financial reward? This boils down to a previous argument - paid officiials can be held accountable, unpaid volunteers cannot.

And another analogy - if I go to a concert there's every chance that the performers will be doing something they enjoy and are passionate about. By the logic of some I should complain about having to buy a ticket, some of the cost of which will end up in the pocket of the performers.
Last edited by Andrew Zigmond on Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
Controller - Yorkshire League
Chairman - Harrogate Chess Club
All views expressed entirely my own

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