Dramatic changes in congress performances

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Alasdair MacLeod
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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by Alasdair MacLeod » Fri Oct 30, 2015 7:43 am

I'm glad I'm not the only person to notice certain names winning prizes consistently in non-Open sections while their grade never seems to go up.

Clearly the root problem of this occurring in English tournament chess is the entry fee/prize money structure. Some players just aren't motivated to get better at the game to increase their grade.

I'm reminded of my first (and only non-EDCA) tournament win, the bottom section of a rapidplay nearly 20 years ago. On the one hand I was proud to win but on the other hand I was embarrassed/bemused to be given the same amount of money as the winner of the Open section, GM John Nunn :oops: ....I didn't understand this and 20 years on, I still don't understand it and why it still often happens.

Especially when I shake my head, embarrassed for English chess, reading of some GM coming a hard fought 3rd= winning £7.50 while the winner of the bottom section walks away with £300. There's something fundamentally wrong there isn't there?

Actually thinking about it, in addition to the first tournament win, outside EDCA tournaments I've only ever won one grading prize as well over a 20 year period. You'd think that my grade should still be low but no, it's been a long hard slog to go from 113 to 168. That's the way it should be - motivated to get better at chess and not by money.

The answer is cheaper entry fees and smaller prizemoney in the lower sections with maybe more emphasis on a trophy instead. The stronger a section the bit more it costs to enter and more prizemoney as a result. This should motivate players to try and get better at the game instead of being just motivated by money. :idea: Or to be even more radical - do away with graded sections and just have one Open tournament with grading prizes as well.....

Mick Norris
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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by Mick Norris » Fri Oct 30, 2015 8:21 am

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
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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Michael Farthing
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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by Michael Farthing » Fri Oct 30, 2015 8:47 am

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].

Andrew Bak
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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by Andrew Bak » Fri Oct 30, 2015 8:50 am

How do amateur tournaments in other countries operate?

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Michael Farthing
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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by Michael Farthing » Fri Oct 30, 2015 9:01 am

Ah! An interesting question. I played in the Summer Prague 'B' section in August where the prize fund was derisory - didn't seem to affect numbers. However, I'm not sure how relevant that is: you also have to consider the kudos associated with the game in the country concerned.

MartinCarpenter
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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by MartinCarpenter » Fri Oct 30, 2015 9:08 am

The money thing has always baffled me a bit too :) (Going to get quite risky with comp cheating too of course, although there isn't really enough money for a big worry.).

iirc Bridge rarely hands out prize money for anything - they've got masterpoints to motivate people with instead.

A single field event definitely has issues with only 4 or 5 rounds to work with. Inevitable massive early round mismatches which leaves rather few rounds of interesting games, massive yo-yoing etc. York rapid did it for a fair while and it wasn't great.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Oct 30, 2015 9:15 am

Andrew Bak wrote:How do amateur tournaments in other countries operate?
In a tournament attracting 150 entries, the Dutch would most likely split into an A and B section of about equal size. The boundary would likely be somewhere between 1900 and 2100. The French would be likely to run it as one section with grading prizes. Also the French would likely use their dummy point acceleration method, where they give higher rated players dummy points for the first few rounds of a tournament. This has the advantage of being able to be computer paired.

Weekend tournaments are established in the Netherlands, elsewhere the European norm is for nine round events which are much easier to make work as all one section.

That's my recent experience. Otherwise I've played in German, Greek and Italian tournaments, all of which were all one section. If you happen to notice an ad or a report for a European tournament, more normally it's one or two sections only. What these Opens often have in addition, is local sponsorship, so they can afford titled players without having to raid the entry fees of the lower rated.

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 their 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.

Here's an example of a Dutch tournament.
http://www.leidenchess.com/

Although played in a "Mind Sports Centre", it's really in just the Dutch equivalent of a Community Centre.
Last edited by Roger de Coverly on Sat Oct 31, 2015 8:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

E Michael White
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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by E Michael White » Fri Oct 30, 2015 9:20 am

NickFaulks wrote: Oh no it isn't.
Something you can feel free to opt out of is not a "specific requirement".
You seem to want to regard this as a matter of granular pedantry. Be careful experienced pedants will join in. Where do FIDE laws end and Event rules take over? Or are the two combined regarded as within FIDE laws ?

UK players that I talk to regard a FIDE rated as a cut above an event only ECF graded, such as an English League and expect the laws and rules to be closer to vanilla FIDE laws without many or preferably no Event rules. I guess this is because they don't want to shell out £200 - £300 to play in a FIDE rated event to have the experience spoiled by a phone going off at the next board, which they will see as affecting their concentration during difficult calculations. I guess most of these players would be happier if the Laws only allowed the mobile opt out for L4: level events.

What upsets players most is if the laws/rules for an event are unclear and left to the arbiter. In the UK most active arbiters are above average age and nearly all senior arbiters are over 60 and therefore deafer than the players trying to concentrate and do not understand the effect of a mobile going off. When mobiles are discussed members of the RTRC over 60 should not be allowed to vote !
Last edited by E Michael White on Fri Oct 30, 2015 9:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Oct 30, 2015 9:32 am

E Michael White wrote:
UK players that I talk to regard an event that is FIDE rated as being a cut above an event only ECF graded, such as an English League and expect the laws and rules to be closer to vanilla FIDE laws without many or preferably no Event rules.
The general expectation remains that in a Congress, you lose if your phone rings whilst leagues are more lenient. FIDE rated tournaments may have additional rules about where your phone can be situated although not all events go beyond the "no sound" rule. What should be enforced in every event is that under no circumstances do you have a right to use a phone, tablet or computer during a game in the sense of going beyond switching it off if someone tries to call or send a text.

Mick Norris
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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by Mick Norris » Fri Oct 30, 2015 9:51 am

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
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JustinHorton
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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by JustinHorton » Fri Oct 30, 2015 10:17 am

Thne biggest open in Spain is, I believe, Benasque. I count more than four hundred players in a single section.

(I don't know that this is a transferable model to UK weekend congresses, in fact I'm pretty sure it isn't, but just for information.)
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Oct 30, 2015 11:22 am

I'd be inclined to think the way to equalise the entry fee v prize money cross subsidy, would be to set the lower bound for the Open at a level which would attract getting on for fifty entries. Below that, don't have a specific number of sections, but divide up the players into sections with narrow grading bands of around 20 players each. Prize money can then be proportionate to entry fees.

I'm not suggesting that it would be welcomed, least of all by lower graded sandbaggers. Open players might not welcome the lowering of the implied minimum entry standard.

NickFaulks
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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by NickFaulks » Fri Oct 30, 2015 11:41 am

E Michael White wrote: UK players that I talk to regard a FIDE rated as a cut above an event only ECF graded
Maybe so, and that is indeed my own view. All I am saying is that organisers should not hide behind "we really don't want to be so nasty about it but FIDE give us no choice". That is a lie.
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Michael Farthing
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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by Michael Farthing » Fri Oct 30, 2015 12:20 pm

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
Thanks Mick. I would be interested to see the effect it had on entries if this is available anywhere. [I suggest privately rather than clogging up the forum - this is of specific interest to me; there are plans afoot].

Stewart Reuben
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Re: Dramatic changes in congress performances

Post by Stewart Reuben » Fri Oct 30, 2015 4:32 pm

Socially we are used to there being cash prize money even for young children in chess tournaments. The only other sport I have heard of where juniors get cash prizes is table tennis. On the other hand, Bridge has derisory sums for tournaments and gets quite large numbers participating. There are very few poker events where there is no money at all involved. I have a local pub where the entry fee is £5 to the poker and the prizes are the sum of the fees.
David Bronstein did suggest that there be no prize money in professional chess. Just start money and that would depend on one's status.

I believe the prize money sort of validates one's result. Thus. 'I won a chess tournament last weekend'. Yawn, 'oh yes'. 'I won £100'. 'Oh, that's interesting'.
One problem with chess is that £100 prize is the same as it was 30 years ago.

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