Players playing above their sections in congresses

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benedgell
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Players playing above their sections in congresses

Post by benedgell » Wed May 27, 2009 1:30 pm

I was playing in a congress recently and having taken a bye on the Friday night, turned up on Saturday morning to discover I was paired as white with an opponent graded 49 points lower then me. Now I understand why my opponent would want to play in a higher section, so as to get the chance to play much stronger players, but in strictest terms he shouldve been in the section below. My question to congress organisers is how do you decide which section a player should be in if they wish to enter a section higher then their grading?

Mick Norris
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Re: Players playing above their sections in congresses

Post by Mick Norris » Wed May 27, 2009 2:40 pm

You ask them if they have entered the wrong section by mistake - if they say no, you let them play in the higher section
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Andrew Wainwright
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Re: Players playing above their sections in congresses

Post by Andrew Wainwright » Wed May 27, 2009 3:05 pm

Who does it hurt if lower graded players decide to play in higher sections or Open Sections? I am a relatively low graded player but enjoy playing in Opens against strong opposition. I have never had anyone ask me if I am in the wrong section and think it is insulting to ask an opponent this question, particularly in an "Open" Section.
If you outgrade your opponent then beat him, if he beats you or takes half a point then he has proven why he is in that section!

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Adam Raoof
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Re: Players playing above their sections in congresses

Post by Adam Raoof » Wed May 27, 2009 3:42 pm

My question to congress organisers is how do you decide which section a player should be in if they wish to enter a section higher then their grading?
There should be no bar to players having ambition!

I would never force anyone to play in the lowest section possible, but I might advise them appropriately if I thought they had misunderstood (as they often do) the meaning of the graded sections. New players without a grade sometimes think that they have to play in the Open section, and I would counsel them against that ;-)

Kasparov advised players hoping to improve to alternate between tournaments in which one expected to do very well, and those in which one would expect to struggle... practice, and a little ego-boost!
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Matt Harrison
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Re: Players playing above their sections in congresses

Post by Matt Harrison » Wed May 27, 2009 4:25 pm

Rapidly improving juniors often play up to gain experience against better opponents. My son has done that from time to time at tournaments. But I have noticed that a few junior players seem to do it time after time, even when they score very badly and perform below their grade. I think it's important that people who expect to improve get used to winning against people of their own standard and below, not just losing with the odd draw or win against better players.

Jonathan Rogers
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Re: Players playing above their sections in congresses

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Wed May 27, 2009 4:50 pm

In retrospect (not having played a tournament in over ten years) one of my best results must have been at Upminster in the 1980s (which has now morphed into the Ilford Congress, as I understand it) when I made 3/6 against a group of 160s and 170s.

Which was not bad for an eleven year old with a grade of 102.

I even had 3/5 and was amazed that so many strong players were watching my game in the last round. Later on, when I would try to impress people, I would generally fail; but at this age, when I had no idea of the effect I was having, things would go very well. I was however old enough to appreciate that the 166 who withdrew after losing to me in round two (overpressing, of course) was a complete ****.

No one had suggested at any point that I should have played in the Minor section instead (as far as I am aware, though my father took all the decisions back then). I actually think that upcoming juniors should always play the highest section, assuming they might be capable of getting at least one point. The best way to deal with difficult pressurised games in the future is not to accumulate experience through last round defeats on the top board in Minor competitions, but simply to become as strong a player as quickly as you can. Strength - that helps a lot!

I have not read everything Kasparov has written on this, but my impression from "My Great Predecessors" was that he only troubled to win the World Junior because it was essential for him to get further invitations and to make sure that the Soviet authorities had no excuse for conferring their favours on another (i.e, a less likely rival to Karpov). He understood the practical necessity of winning things better than Botvinnik, but I think that he may have shared Botvinnik's views on this not being the best thing for the development of his chess.

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Re: Players playing above their sections in congresses

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Wed May 27, 2009 5:51 pm

benedgell wrote:... in strictest terms he shouldve been in the section below.
This perhaps is where your error is located.


I've always taken the grading limits to refer to a handicap system i.e. "no one above this number may enter". I see no reason to assume that anybody "should" play in any section unless barred for reasons above. Presumably your tournament organiser felt the same otherwise s/he'd not have let the person play in your section in the first place.


{edit: ooops don't know what happened here - I'll clean it up}
I don't play in tournaments very frequently now but when I did I would almost always go for the higher section if the upper limit of the lower one was less than 10 points more than my grade at the time - nothing todo with being a promising junior since I was neither. Just, I think, a fairly sensible choice.
Last edited by Jonathan Bryant on Thu May 28, 2009 5:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Matthew Turner
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Re: Players playing above their sections in congresses

Post by Matthew Turner » Thu May 28, 2009 8:15 am

I think Ben's point was this. He had paid something like £25 to enter Frome congress, which has 5 rounds, with one on the Friday night. Like many players, Ben took a bye on Friday night and found himself facing a weak player on the Saturday morning. This meant he was effectively paying £25 for 3 games, which is maybe quite a lot. I have some sympathy for this point of view and this seems to me to be a reason why congresses are moving away from the 5 games over three days format.

Andrew Wainwright
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Re: Players playing above their sections in congresses

Post by Andrew Wainwright » Thu May 28, 2009 9:53 am

"This meant he was effectively paying £25 for 3 games."

Matthew this point of view is dismissive to the point of insulting. Can a player who is graded 40points below his opponent not give him a reasonable game? Is this beyond the realms of possibility?

Two of my club members recently played in the Open at Amersham. Their grades are approx 120ECF and 150ECF. The 120 player scored 3.5/7 and the 150 player scored 2.5/7 but beat a 200+ player in round 2. Not only did he beat him but I have seen the game and he crushed him.

In my own personal experiences also I played at York in the Open section a couple of years ago and scored 2.5/5 and won a grading prize. I was graded approx 120-130 and all my opponents were 160-180. I never expected to get in the top 3 and take any prize money but was delighted to be able to show that I could mix it up with the higher graded players and take a grading prize.

My personal opinion is that if you dont want to run the risk of playing someone in round 2 that lost in round 1 then turn up and play round 1!

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Re: Players playing above their sections in congresses

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu May 28, 2009 10:06 am

found himself facing a weak player on the Saturday morning
Ben's Saturday morning opponent at Frome is a regular in Opens in the south-west and has plenty of (mostly losing) experience at that level. I beat him (with difficulty) in the first round at Exmouth in 2001 and drew with him at Torbay later the same year. I imagine he would have a higher grade if he had a higher grade. In other words his performance may be a bit better than 129 but he's held down by the 40 point rule in not getting full credit for the odd decent result.
why congresses are moving away from the 5 games over three days format.
Friday evening rounds are a rarity in the south east area and have been for years, but seem to be more common in the West, Midlands and North. West of England events in particular are more national/regional in character than purely local with players from out of area doing the chess tourist thing. So if you are travelling 2 or 3 hours, it can make sense to travel Friday afternoon and get Saturday night off. If it's an event in the south east, you're probably travelling an hour round the M25 or similar and commuting from home. You would only want to do this twice, on the Saturday and Sunday when traffic is lighter and you avoid being potentially stuck in a Friday evening jam.
Last edited by Roger de Coverly on Thu May 28, 2009 10:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Adam Raoof
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Re: Players playing above their sections in congresses

Post by Adam Raoof » Thu May 28, 2009 10:07 am

This meant he was effectively paying £25 for 3 games
I sometimes feel like this when I turn up and find I am playing a Grandmaster in the first round.

However, I know that if I enter an Open this is likely. The stronger players know that they are entering an Open tournament, and could face any standard of opposition. And look at this positively: correct technique against weaker opposition is just one of the skills that separate the titled players from the 170 players...like me!

Seriously, if players felt strongly about the subject they could petition organisers to make the section 'for players 'graded 160 and over only'. We do recognise that the problem exists. Only the other day a certain Russian Grandmaster was complaining that he had to play a weak player in the Open section of Golders Green... and later he complained that one of his opponents had the cheek to offer him a draw ;-)
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Matthew Turner
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Re: Players playing above their sections in congresses

Post by Matthew Turner » Thu May 28, 2009 10:24 am

Adam,
I certainly don't feel strongly about it. I was just trying to explain where I thought Ben was coming from. All of us (and often our opponents) have had the experience of of winning a game quickly and thinking what am I going to do for next 4 hours in (insert name of crumby town). I personally think an Open means an Open and everybody has an equal chance to take their chance.

E Michael White
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Re: Players playing above their sections in congresses

Post by E Michael White » Thu May 28, 2009 10:28 am

It seems to me the problem arises from how the draw is done for round 2, when some players have round 1 byes. There does not seem to be much consistency among arbiters who deal with this situation differently. Things would be better if there were an ECF method to do the draw for weekend tournaments.

I am not much of an expert on this but a good bet seems to me to be to put ½ point bye players into score groups 1 or 0 depending on whether they are in the top or bottom half of the whole section based on grades, on the grounds that that is where they would probably be had they played round 1. Of course this wouldn’t work where arbiters do one of those artistic hyper-accelerated draws.

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Re: Players playing above their sections in congresses

Post by benedgell » Thu May 28, 2009 10:54 am

I want to explain my first post. I in no way intended to insult lower graded opponents, or my opponent from the specific game, and apologies if it came off as such. I entered the tournament knowing full well that when it comes to players entering above their sections its at organisers discretion. I accept that completely, and in fact had a decent, hard- fought game with my opponent. My question was intended to ask congress organisers how they decide when it comes to people who could play in a lower section, wanting to play in a higher section.

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Re: Players playing above their sections in congresses

Post by Adam Raoof » Thu May 28, 2009 11:17 am

My question was intended to ask congress organisers how they decide when it comes to people who could play in a lower section, wanting to play in a higher section.
OK! Most of the time I don't think about it, I only check to make sure they are eligible for that section. Then if I notice they have entered the Open and they are eligible for, say, the Amateur Under 100, I check with them to see if they really intend to enter a higher section, or whether they have ticked the wrong box, or misunderstood the grading system, or just to make sure they are not suffering from sunstroke. Then I let them!

I don't think anyone takes real offence at your question, Ben - it comes up quite often. And Matthew's point about having time to kill after a quick game is another thing that comes up frequently. As I've said elsewhere on this forum, tournaments don't lay on that many side events these days, so it can be a very long day if you have a quick game, whether you be winner or loser. Can I just say that Golders Green has a lovely park and a town centre right on the doorstep? ;-)
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