Use of Technology at the British Championships

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Michael Flatt
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Use of Technology at the British Championships

Post by Michael Flatt » Thu Aug 06, 2015 12:33 pm

David Clayton wrote:I know it’s been a day or so since this thread discussed the on-line presentation of the event, but this is my considered opinion.

The IT problems associated with the British are not of those individual's failings, it is cultural issue within the organisation of the ECF.

The British Championship is a Chess event with IT slotted into it. Other successful major chess events are IT events that run chess tournaments.

Established organisations find it difficult to adapt to new ideas, implement new inventions and adopt new working practices, the ECF perhaps more so as it relies on volunteers who are able to offer significant periods of their time. Unfortunately, employed people who have their skill sets constantly updated through their work environment find it difficult to commit to lengthy spells away from their employment, which is a commitment for long tournaments.

I am confident however, that eventually, the British Chess Championships will be a successful IT event because the newer organisers, and those of us who understand this, are pushing for the implementation of what is seen as best practice from other successful chess tournaments.
The live broadcasting of games and commentary is becoming an essential feature of all major chess events.

Unfortunately, the coverage of the British Championships is rather mixed; when it works it is marvellous, but when it goes wrong it is dire.

David Clayton's comments (taken from thread following the British Championships, round by round) provides hope for the future.

For some time the post of IT manager has been unfilled and it is is not clear who within the ECF is providing leadership and support on these matters. Perhaps, there is a need for a technology working party to provide support on IT and allied technology.

I am sure that there are sufficient people available that have suitable skills if only there was some way their expertise could be called upon. In planning future events perhaps whoever is leading the event could make an appeal for volunteers with specific skills to assist with the use of technology.
Last edited by Michael Flatt on Thu Aug 06, 2015 1:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Use of Technology

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Aug 06, 2015 12:55 pm

Michael Flatt wrote: In planning future events perhaps whoever is leading the event could make an appeal for volunteers with specific skills to assist with the use of technology.
It's not going to happen when senior arbiters are resistant to the use of technology. Part of modern coverage is to publish pairings as soon as practicable. That's not going to happen if the attitude remains that the pairing board can be discussed in leisurely fashion over dinner.

John McKenna
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Re: Use of Technology

Post by John McKenna » Thu Aug 06, 2015 1:06 pm

Roger, would you please consider changing the title of the thread to - Use Of Technology at the British Ch.
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Use of Technology

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Aug 06, 2015 1:07 pm

John McKenna wrote:Roger, would you please consider changing the title of the thread to - Use Of Technology at the British Ch.
Only the originator can do this (or presumably Jack or Carl).

Michael Flatt
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Re: Use of Technology

Post by Michael Flatt » Thu Aug 06, 2015 1:13 pm

I agree, Roger.

It seems pointless to make use of software that doesn't support the pairing methodology employed for the tournament. It takes valuable time to select the appropriate floats up and down, as well as introducing the potential for mistakes. Secondly, a great many competitors simply do not understand the particular pairing methodology in use at the British.

My observation is that the difference between the British and FIDE systems are more pronounced in the early rounds for those in the leading groups. As the score group reduces in size, and as players are increasingly likely to have met previously, the selection of the float becomes more problematic.

The stark choice is either to pay the software supplier to incorporate the British Pairing System or simply adopt the FIDE system.

MartinCarpenter
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Re: Use of Technology in the British Championships

Post by MartinCarpenter » Thu Aug 06, 2015 1:23 pm

Not absolutely sure if the discussion should be British championship exclusive - there's definitely a discussion to be had there of course but the basic point about priorities/resources does also show in the grading website and I guess maybe elsewhere too.

The limitations probably aren't so easy to get round though. It does all ultimately cost money and peoples time, neither of which are in plentiful supply.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Use of Technology in the British Championships

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Aug 06, 2015 1:35 pm

MartinCarpenter wrote: It does all ultimately cost money and peoples time, neither of which are in plentiful supply.
In some cases, using the technology is simpler and quicker. I briefly looked in at the Blitz tournament in Warwick last Sunday. This was being held in a separate room with the use of a projection screen to display the pairings. The Telford Congress takes advantage of its use of a training room with projection screens to do similar. Junior team events run by Neil Cooper have also used this type of system to keep players informed.

NickFaulks
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Re: Use of Technology

Post by NickFaulks » Thu Aug 06, 2015 1:38 pm

Michael Flatt wrote: The stark choice is either to pay the software supplier to incorporate the British Pairing System or simply adopt the FIDE system.
Is it even possible to program the British system? If it is in use at this Championship I can't backwork it, which is normally an important start.
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Matthew Peat
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Re: Use of Technology at the British Championships

Post by Matthew Peat » Thu Aug 06, 2015 1:39 pm

I think the resource/time issue is a bit of a red herring. IMO It has been more of a rather disrespectful attitude to the on-line audience of the commentary.

Most of the problems with the online broadcast have cropped up near the beginning of the sessions. Despite acknowledging these problems relatively quickly, there has been a reluctance to interrupt the commentators to fix the problem. Yesterday was a case point when the echo experience by on-line viewers from the off made the commentary incomprehensible. The fix (which appeared to take all of a minute) was only applied during the mid-session break over 90 minutes later.

I'm only a humble individual grateful for the free-access to what has been really instructive and entertaining commentary but what would a potential sponsor make of it??

Mick Norris
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Re: Use of Technology at the British Championships

Post by Mick Norris » Thu Aug 06, 2015 1:45 pm

Michael Flatt wrote:
David Clayton wrote:I know it’s been a day or so since this thread discussed the on-line presentation of the event, but this is my considered opinion.

The IT problems associated with the British are not of those individual's failings, it is cultural issue within the organisation of the ECF.

The British Championship is a Chess event with IT slotted into it. Other successful major chess events are IT events that run chess tournaments.

Established organisations find it difficult to adapt to new ideas, implement new inventions and adopt new working practices, the ECF perhaps more so as it relies on volunteers who are able to offer significant periods of their time. Unfortunately, employed people who have their skill sets constantly updated through their work environment find it difficult to commit to lengthy spells away from their employment, which is a commitment for long tournaments.

I am confident however, that eventually, the British Chess Championships will be a successful IT event because the newer organisers, and those of us who understand this, are pushing for the implementation of what is seen as best practice from other successful chess tournaments.
David Clayton's comments (taken from thread following the British Championships, round by round) provides hope for the future.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank Dave Clayton and those newer organisers for giving up their time, so those of us at home can enjoy coverage of the British, very useful for those of us without the time, or simply too far away, to visit onsite

I wonder whether the problem lies with the older organisers, and indeed whether it might be a good idea to change the ECF people who might be the problem? I have no idea how you might do this though
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Use of Technology at the British Championships

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Thu Aug 06, 2015 1:47 pm

Tournament Director/UTU Swiss seems to have programmed the British system to some extent. I don't know how well it does it.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Use of Technology

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Aug 06, 2015 1:50 pm

NickFaulks wrote:
Is it even possible to program the British system? If it is in use at this Championship I can't backwork it, which is normally an important start.
UTU chess, formerly Tournament Director for Windows, will generate CAA pairings. I believe it will do Dutch Swiss pairings as well.

http://www.utuswiss.co.uk/

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Adam Raoof
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Re: Use of Technology in the British Championships

Post by Adam Raoof » Thu Aug 06, 2015 1:55 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
MartinCarpenter wrote: It does all ultimately cost money and peoples time, neither of which are in plentiful supply.
In some cases, using the technology is simpler and quicker. I briefly looked in at the Blitz tournament in Warwick last Sunday. This was being held in a separate room with the use of a projection screen to display the pairings. The Telford Congress takes advantage of its use of a training room with projection screens to do similar. Junior team events run by Neil Cooper have also used this type of system to keep players informed.
We now do this at Hampstead Congresses to display pairings and crosstables and to encourage players to follow the event online. At Kings Place rapidplay we will be adding live streaming next year to the live in-house commentary and extending the number of live games you can follow on the net. This is only possible thanks to Dave Clayton and the ECF.
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Use of Technology at the British Championships

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Aug 06, 2015 1:58 pm

Mick Norris wrote: I wonder whether the problem lies with the older organisers, and indeed whether it might be a good idea to change the ECF people who might be the problem? I have no idea how you might do this though
The voting membership on the ECF council elect the Board who appoint the Championship manager, who in conjunction with Home Director and the rest of the Board organises and manages the Congress, including appointments at detail level.

It won't get discussed unless someone rattles the cage at an AGM. The introduction of 3pm starts, reduction of session length to five hours and the cutting of Senior tournaments to six rounds have all been put through without a Council discussion.

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Re: Use of Technology at the British Championships

Post by benedgell » Thu Aug 06, 2015 2:19 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Mick Norris wrote: I wonder whether the problem lies with the older organisers, and indeed whether it might be a good idea to change the ECF people who might be the problem? I have no idea how you might do this though
The voting membership on the ECF council elect the Board who appoint the Championship manager, who in conjunction with Home Director and the rest of the Board organises and manages the Congress, including appointments at detail level.

It won't get discussed unless someone rattles the cage at an AGM. The introduction of 3pm starts, reduction of session length to five hours and the cutting of Senior tournaments to six rounds have all been put through without a Council discussion.
With respect, if someone I represented directly asked me to raise this at one of the ECF meetings I would have. No one did, so I didn't. Equally if a vote-holder asked me to proxy for them and also asked me to raise any of those issues on their behalf I would.

If these are issues you want raised at a council meeting, ask your ECF representative to raise them.

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