Tournament Structures

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NickFaulks
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Re: Tournament Structures

Post by NickFaulks » Sat Apr 07, 2018 10:15 am

Richard Bates wrote:
Sat Apr 07, 2018 9:02 am
A side point, but I never understand the logic in the often employed practice of restricting performance ("W-We") prizes.
At first I thought, that's because there isn't any. But perhaps organisers recognise that the lower level "W-We" prizes are likely to go to sandbaggers and are trying to keep the higher ones clean.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Tournament Structures

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Apr 07, 2018 10:28 am

Richard Bates wrote:
Sat Apr 07, 2018 9:02 am
Why should a player graded, say, 175 struggle to ever compete for prize money, whereas somebody graded 165 will always be in the opposite position?
The solution to this was demonstrated by e2e4 some years ago. Whilst the 4NCL series of tournaments has copied many of the design aspects of the e2e4 ones, it has mostly stuck with the same rating boundaries. e2e4 on the other hand would set the cutoff for the Open somewhere in the 1850 to 2100 range, varying by tournament. That ensures that no-one is the "wrong" rating band for all the tournaments.

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Michael Farthing
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Re: Tournament Structures

Post by Michael Farthing » Sat Apr 07, 2018 11:07 am

I'd just abolish monetary prizes and award trophies. They last longer.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Tournament Structures

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Sat Apr 07, 2018 11:19 am

"However, what I don't understand is why congresses don't just divide players into groups of roughly equal size and ability levels based on the grade quartiles (if there are going to be four sections) of the entrants ? Why do grading/rating limits of sections need to be specified in advance?"

Someone did try that many years ago, where they said that there would be two sections of about equal numbers. So, if he got 58 entries there would be one section of 30 and one of 28. I think Bruce Birchall experimented with a series of RP tournaments, where he had Open, U160, U110 one month, then Open, U150, U100, the next month etc, with varying limits. I don't think the experiment continued for long, but there may have been other reasons for that. People do sometimes only enter to try and win. I recall an obnoxious brat at the Westminster RPs, graded 110ish, winning the U120 with 5/6 twice in a row, then entering the Minor again the next month. I told the player that the new grading list showed over 120, so they couldn't play in the Minor. There then followed a long debate over whether they actually wanted to play in the Major (which would be too difficult to play in) or would just go home. I suggested that if they were afraid to lose, perhaps they should give up chess! Anyway, they decided to play in the Major and got 4/6.

The varying limits had the benefit that some players were not bottom of the top section for 6 months. We had one guy who was usually 158 ish doing well in the U160, then he got to about 162 and he turned up for one open, got wiped out, and disappeared for 5 months until the next list showed 15X again!

Mick Norris
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Re: Tournament Structures

Post by Mick Norris » Sat Apr 07, 2018 12:34 pm

Organising congresses can be hard work (as you have to deal with chess players, who are very often hard work :lol: )

The object is to make a profit, or at least break even; it is easy for those not risking their own money to criticise those that do (we made a small profit most years at Bury, but were always one big snowfall away from a big loss, and did make a loss at least once)

You get complaints from stronger players if the prizes in the Open are the same as the lower sections, and from weaker players who think they are subsidising the stronger ones

You find that many players don't like being in a section with players very much stronger, so you have an issue with an Open/U150 split, as the 150-160 players don't want to play 200+ players; and with an U120 bottom section as players graded under 50 don't want to play players of 100+

If you have too many sections, you have too much prize money, and struggle to cover your fixed costs like venue hire

Conclusion, if you don't think current structures of tournaments near you are correct, then offer to help so you can give some input, or better still, organise an event yourself
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Tournament Structures

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Apr 07, 2018 12:52 pm

Mick Norris wrote:
Sat Apr 07, 2018 12:34 pm
You find that many players don't like being in a section with players very much stronger
That of itself will make Tim Wall's suggestion of "all one tournament" unpopular.

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Chris Goodall
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Re: Tournament Structures

Post by Chris Goodall » Sat Apr 07, 2018 2:11 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Sat Apr 07, 2018 12:52 pm
Mick Norris wrote:
Sat Apr 07, 2018 12:34 pm
You find that many players don't like being in a section with players very much stronger
That of itself will make Tim Wall's suggestion of "all one tournament" unpopular.
A more mischievous soul than I could make some sort of point about socialism coming off second-best when it encounters human nature.
Chris Goodall, formerly known as Chris Wardle. ECF Grader for the ancient kingdom of Bernicia (or Northumberland and Durham, if you prefer).
Newcastle is not in Scotland!

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Chris Goodall
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Re: Tournament Structures

Post by Chris Goodall » Sat Apr 07, 2018 2:32 pm

I do feel the pain of those stuck on the wrong side of a grading limit, though. Try winning any prizes with a grade of 183! I'd submit that players of my standard are in a uniquely rubbish position relative to players graded 83, because a) it took more time and effort to get to this level in the first place, b) getting better (so we win Opens) is much harder, and c) getting worse (so we win Majors) attracts much more notice.
Chris Goodall, formerly known as Chris Wardle. ECF Grader for the ancient kingdom of Bernicia (or Northumberland and Durham, if you prefer).
Newcastle is not in Scotland!

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Tournament Structures

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Sat Apr 07, 2018 3:01 pm

Chris Goodall wrote:
Sat Apr 07, 2018 2:32 pm
I do feel the pain of those stuck on the wrong side of a grading limit, though. Try winning any prizes with a grade of 183! I'd submit that players of my standard are in a uniquely rubbish position relative to players graded 83, because a) it took more time and effort to get to this level in the first place, b) getting better (so we win Opens) is much harder, and c) getting worse (so we win Majors) attracts much more notice.
A post of yours that I can fully relate to - and agree with!
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

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Chris Goodall
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Re: Tournament Structures

Post by Chris Goodall » Sat Apr 07, 2018 5:03 pm

Matt Mackenzie wrote:
Sat Apr 07, 2018 3:01 pm
Chris Goodall wrote:
Sat Apr 07, 2018 2:32 pm
I do feel the pain of those stuck on the wrong side of a grading limit, though. Try winning any prizes with a grade of 183! I'd submit that players of my standard are in a uniquely rubbish position relative to players graded 83, because a) it took more time and effort to get to this level in the first place, b) getting better (so we win Opens) is much harder, and c) getting worse (so we win Majors) attracts much more notice.
A post of yours that I can fully relate to - and agree with!
We can't even live vicariously through getting other people to play chess, because serious improvers want a better coach than a 183, and beginners don't come back after we've wiped them out 18 times in a row.
Chris Goodall, formerly known as Chris Wardle. ECF Grader for the ancient kingdom of Bernicia (or Northumberland and Durham, if you prefer).
Newcastle is not in Scotland!

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Tournament Structures

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Sat Apr 07, 2018 6:34 pm

"Organising congresses can be hard work (as you have to deal with chess players, who are very often hard work )"

I cannot let this go unremarked...

Absolutely right!

Graham Borrowdale
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Re: Tournament Structures

Post by Graham Borrowdale » Sat Apr 07, 2018 8:24 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:
Sat Apr 07, 2018 6:34 pm
"Organising congresses can be hard work (as you have to deal with chess players, who are very often hard work )"

I cannot let this go unremarked...

Absolutely right!
Don't forget, most chess organisers are also players...

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Tournament Structures

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Sat Apr 07, 2018 11:06 pm

"Don't forget, most chess organisers are also players..."

No argument there - it is actually not that usual for players to be totally annoying, but I understood the sentiment, which I'm sure was intended humorously.

When arbiting, I try to be sympathetic as I know that players can be fairly stressed!

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Michael Farthing
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Re: Tournament Structures

Post by Michael Farthing » Sun Apr 08, 2018 9:17 am

I recently learnt a lot from an arbiter that I know sufficiently well to talk to informally about such things and I was expressing a certain dismay at the hoo-hah surrounding a minor rule infringement. (I am not giving details because it is sufficiently unusual as to be identifiable).

"Well, xxxxx clearly felt strongly about it so I had to act"

"Had it been me I wouldn't even have involved the arbiter..." I blustered.

"And I should just have walked away" he replied.

Eric Gardiner
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Re: Tournament Structures

Post by Eric Gardiner » Sun Apr 08, 2018 9:29 am

I do apologise if my questions were seen as critical of tournament organisers - they were offered as a simple suggestion to eradicate the problem of some sections having far fewer competitors than others. Yes it would mean that (most) players wouldn't know in advance whether they were going to be in the top, middle or bottom of a section (and thus to be able to reliably assess their chance of winning a prize) but I think this is a good thing. I appreciate it would be unpopular with those seeking a regular income from winning Minors, Intermediates etc. :wink:

Richard Bates's suggestion of larger performance prizes is also interesting, as is Michael Farthing's suggestion of trophies (isn't this what most amateur sporting competitions do?) ... although you would have to feel sorry for those who've won 300 congresses and have no space left in their house for more trophies :D !

I'm willing to accept that the established model is best from a purely business viewpoint. You please the majority of the players/customers and the less satisfied players who have to play in the Open are in a minority. However, it does discourage some players from improving (as some have commented, it's better to be graded 165 rather than 175). Rather than increasing the congress profit, Tim's motivation appears to be more to do with getting weaker players to interact with stronger players and thereby improve and this sounds a worthy aim to me.

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