Dramatic changes in congress performances

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John Upham
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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by John Upham » Fri Oct 30, 2015 4:41 pm

Stewart Reuben wrote: One problem with chess is that £100 prize is the same as it was 30 years ago.
Possibly more accurate might be:
One problem with chess in England is that £100 prize is the same as it was 30 years ago.
I doubt if your assertion has global truth.
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Richard Bates
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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by Richard Bates » Sat Oct 31, 2015 5:55 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
The only recent experience in the UK of an "all one section" tournament was the rapid play at the London Classic with Nakamura and others participating. That had sufficient prestige value that overcame the reluctance of lower graded players to enter a tournament where there only prospect of prize money was a grading prize and where they could be potentially paired against anyone from a GM to a near beginner.
The King's Head Rapidplay ran successfully for years on a 'one section' format, although they introduced an U150 section last year.

Alasdair MacLeod
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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by Alasdair MacLeod » Sat Oct 31, 2015 9:32 am

Mick Norris wrote:
Alasdair MacLeod wrote: :idea: Or to be even more radical - do away with graded sections and just have one Open tournament with grading prizes as well.....
Alasdair

Feel free to run a tournament and try it - or alternatively, underwrite an existing tournament to cover any losses they make :lol:

This has been tried, and has failed, so congress organisers who want to at least break even stick with a model that works
If I was single with no kids then that would be an interesting project to be involved in. You say that what we have now is a model that works - well, it only "works" if there are that many sharks around :)

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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by Alasdair MacLeod » Sat Oct 31, 2015 9:50 am

Mick Norris wrote:
Michael Farthing wrote:
Mick Norris wrote: This has been tried, and has failed, so congress organisers who want to at least break even stick with a model that works
When? [Serious question, Mick]. [I'm thinking specifically of lower sections].
Manchester congress did this a few years back
Just a sample of one tournament then. But at least that would have revealed which sharks stayed away then :) More seriously, it does tell you a lot about the mentality of some players. I'd rather play in an open tournament where I know players have the same attitude as me - doing their best and trying to get better at chess. In fact I often used to play in a higher section than my grade - you improve by playing against stronger players and learning from it. How do you improve by always being the top seed in a lower section and only playing against weaker players?

Richard Bates mentions King's Head Rapidplay - I'd forgotten about that where I did play in that once. I enjoyed it a lot but I accept there is a downside - playing a much stronger player one round and then a much weaker player in the next round and so on.

Thanks to the others who mentioned how the structure works abroad which is interesting. Is it a culture thing where the English tournament organisers/players are rather eccentric in thinking it's ok to see a GM (or anyone) coming a hard fought 3rd= in the Open section winning £7.50 while the winner of the bottom section walks away with £300?

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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by Mick Norris » Sat Oct 31, 2015 10:00 am

Alasdair MacLeod wrote:
Mick Norris wrote:
Alasdair MacLeod wrote: :idea: Or to be even more radical - do away with graded sections and just have one Open tournament with grading prizes as well.....
Alasdair

Feel free to run a tournament and try it - or alternatively, underwrite an existing tournament to cover any losses they make :lol:

This has been tried, and has failed, so congress organisers who want to at least break even stick with a model that works
If I was single with no kids then that would be an interesting project to be involved in. You say that what we have now is a model that works - well, it only "works" if there are that many sharks around :)
Alasdair

"Works" = at least breaks even - if a congress makes a loss, or specifically continues to make a loss over a few years, it disappears - you may think it is about the players requirements, but from an organiser's POV it is about making sure enough players pay to play to cover the costs
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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JustinHorton
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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by JustinHorton » Sat Oct 31, 2015 10:25 am

Alasdair MacLeod wrote: there is a downside - playing a much stronger player one round and then a much weaker player in the next round and so on.
This was and is the problem with Benasque - with a very large field you can play six or seven rounds before you meet another player with a grade within a hundred points of yours.
Alasdair MacLeod wrote:Thanks to the others who mentioned how the structure works abroad which is interesting. Is it a culture thing where the English tournament organisers/players are rather eccentric in thinking it's ok to see a GM (or anyone) coming a hard fought 3rd= in the Open section winning £7.50 while the winner of the bottom section walks away with £300?
I don't particularly have a problem with this. First, the GM may be on conditions, which may soften the blow. Second, the winner of the bottom section won't be doing that very often, while the GM will expect to come away with a better prize than that more often than not. Third, having this prize in the bottom section may mean more entries, which means more entry money to be recycled to the open section (which is likely to have far fewer entrants). Cut that prize and what actually would be achieved?
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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by Angus French » Sat Oct 31, 2015 11:13 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:It would be an interesting volatility test for players with at least 60 games to compare their performance from their best 30 games with their worst 30. You might alternatively group by event. I don't know whether performances as discussed would stand out as being outliers from the norm.
I was thinking similar: if a player played more than, say, 50 games in a grading period then notional maximum and minimum grades could be derived from the events, comprising, say, 30+ games (but no more than needed to get to 30+), in which the player performed best/worst. This information could then be published with the grading list and used by tournament organisers. Would that be going too far?

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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by Stewart Reuben » Sat Oct 31, 2015 1:59 pm

Surely some players or graders have determined standard deviations over the years?
One amazing variance was a Russian IM at Gibraltar. He played in the U2250 section in the morning and came nowhere. In the afternoon Masters, he gained a GM norm, a 2600+ performance.
There were so many objections to him in the lower sections that I banned him the following year. Suspicious organisers cn always do that.

It is all my fault about grading restricted tournaments. The 6 round 1965 Islington Open attracted 24 entries. By 1968 it had grown to 170. So, in 1969 I copied a newish American idea. An open and an under 160 major. Now there were 300 entries. 1971 up to about 480 with three sections. Evening Standard London Open 1972 (the successor to Islington in the same place) had 1200. The Novice section had 444 players. I didn't split it in order to have the biggest ever Swiss. 3 players won with 6/6. 1973 1500 players and 9 sections. The numbers then drifted down over the years.
Accekerated Pairings can cope with almost any number of players in an Open with established grades. But large numbers in tournaments for weaker players is unsatisfactory to find a fair winner.

Open Swisses using the Standard Seeded Pairing System can be unpleasant.
1. A large number of mismatches.
2. The bouncing effect for players around the middle. In 2001 the Bermuda Open. Round 1 I played a 1400 player with white and won. Round 2 a GM with black and lost. Round 3 a 1600 player and won. Round 4 an IM with black and lost. Round 5 an 1800 player with white and won. The music then stopped.
Since Acceleration has never been computerised and, moreover, is disliked by some; the organisers have chosen to have more sections wih an upper grading limit.

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Sat Oct 31, 2015 2:13 pm

I've run tournaments with top v bottom and work towards the middle. That tends to dampen down the bouncing effect, at the cost of making the mismatches that do occur more severe.

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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by shaunpress » Sun Nov 01, 2015 10:24 am

Stewart Reuben wrote: Since Acceleration has never been computerised and, moreover, is disliked by some; the organisers have chosen to have more sections with an upper grading limit.
Although failing to guarantee the PNGCF vote for Kirsan at last years FIDE elections cost me my position on the FIDE Swiss Pairings Commission (and the Rules Commission as well), I can still report that FIDE SPP is looking at developing a standardised system of Acceleration. However at this point they are still running up against the problems of how long to accelerate for, and what to do when it stops. It is a work in progress.

On the main topic, Australia used to run all their swisses in single groups, and mainly changed to avoid the problem of having not enough rounds to find an outright winner (Typical Australian weekend events only ran for 5 rounds up until the late 1980's). We have less of a problem with 'sandbaggers' (although there are a couple of well known ones on the circuit), but do occasionally have the unknown overseas player end up in the wrong section. Offering an unrated player prize, which is the only one they are eligible for, usually (but not always) helps.

In some multi-section events we offer free entry to the winner for next years event, but only if they choose to play in the next highest section.

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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by NickFaulks » Sun Nov 01, 2015 10:38 am

shaunpress wrote: I can still report that FIDE SPP is looking at developing a standardised system of Acceleration.
Welcome back, Shaun.

They need to, since otherwise it is possible that from 2017 such tournaments will not be able to provide norms. This timetable sounded quite leisurely when it was discussed in 2013, but it doesn't now and I'm not convinced that it will be met.

Do you know whether they are starting from scratch or adapting some existing software?
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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Nov 01, 2015 11:12 am

Stewart Reuben wrote: It is all my fault about grading restricted tournaments.
Probably not entirely. It had been a long established tradition to divide competitors up into smaller groups, which increasingly were run on a Swiss system. You might have Premier, Challengers, Main, Reserves etc, with sections of the latter running down the alphabet. Also there was Championship, Major Open, First Class, Second Class, Third Class as another naming convention. If there was a difference in the Islington approach, it was that competitors self selected rather than rely on a Congress committee to do it for them. It was a novelty of the large Open Swiss that would face a 200 graded player with a 120, the subdivision of tournaments had previously ensured that it didn't happen. There were "letters to magazines", that such pairings were a waste of time for both players.

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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by shaunpress » Sun Nov 01, 2015 11:22 am

NickFaulks wrote: Welcome back, Shaun.

They need to, since otherwise it is possible that from 2017 such tournaments will not be able to provide norms. This timetable sounded quite leisurely when it was discussed in 2013, but it doesn't now and I'm not convinced that it will be met.

Do you know whether they are starting from scratch or adapting some existing software?
As they are still experimenting with different approaches, it is starting from scratch. Apart from what I mentioned in the previous post, they are also testing different numbers of groups (1, 3 etc) and the number of rounds to accelerate for. There is also the issue of what is a good outcome from acceleration (less mis-matches, more title norms, earlier meetings between top seeds), as opinions on this obviously differ.

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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Nov 01, 2015 11:43 am

shaunpress wrote:There is also the issue of what is a good outcome from acceleration (less mis-matches, more title norms, earlier meetings between top seeds), as opinions on this obviously differ.
The French managed to use existing software and its pairing rules by use of a dummy point system. That's not to say it doesn't create all the problems outlined, to which could be added that acceleration can also give a lower rated player a short cut to being in contention for prize money, whilst facing a lower scoring field than other contenders.

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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Sun Nov 01, 2015 12:36 pm

Alasdair MacLeod wrote: Is it a culture thing where the English tournament organisers/players are rather eccentric in thinking it's ok to see a GM (or anyone) coming a hard fought 3rd= in the Open section winning £7.50 while the winner of the bottom section walks away with £300?
This kind of discrepancy happens in the large European opens too.

At Benasque a few years back I walked away with the 200 euros 'unrated' prize. Ten times what several GMs received for a big tie for (if memory serves) around 10th place. They would have had conditions, mind.

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