No Comment?

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
James Pratt
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No Comment?

Post by James Pratt » Fri Jun 28, 2019 9:03 pm

I see Charlie Storey, who did the commentary last year, and Simon Williams, who has great following in this domain at large, are both playing in the British in Torquay. Andrew Martin, who they/we relied for so many years, is not going, leaving this spectator a-wondering who is down to do the commentary at this year's British.

Looking back, perhaps we have not been grateful enough to Tim Kett, Ravi Kumar, Bill Hartston, Malcolm Pein, Graham Lee, Bogdan Lalic and good ole Ritson Morry who ushered in a certain ND Short at Brighton 1980. (If there was commentary before that I'd welcome guidance, can't remember any .. ). These and others I forget clearly have not been supported sufficiently with rooms too small, insufficient lighting and even commentary from Germany which is a plan of course but not the greatest spotlight on the live action.

With hundreds of players present surely more needs to be done? :?

Andrew Martin
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Re: No Comment?

Post by Andrew Martin » Fri Jun 28, 2019 9:24 pm

A talking head in Hamburg might be the present and future.

Richard Bates
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Re: No Comment?

Post by Richard Bates » Fri Jun 28, 2019 11:59 pm

James Pratt wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 9:03 pm
I see Charlie Storey, who did the commentary last year, and Simon Williams, who has great following in this domain at large, are both playing in the British in Torquay. Andrew Martin, who they/we relied for so many years, is not going, leaving this spectator a-wondering who is down to do the commentary at this year's British.

Looking back, perhaps we have not been grateful enough to Tim Kett, Ravi Kumar, Bill Hartston, Malcolm Pein, Graham Lee, Bogdan Lalic and good ole Ritson Morry who ushered in a certain ND Short at Brighton 1980. (If there was commentary before that I'd welcome guidance, can't remember any .. ). These and others I forget clearly have not been supported sufficiently with rooms too small, insufficient lighting and even commentary from Germany which is a plan of course but not the greatest spotlight on the live action.

With hundreds of players present surely more needs to be done? :?
Why do you assume there is not a commentary team in place? Maybe even some people who might offer greater insight than showing slavish devotion to whatever the computer is spouting out.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: No Comment?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Jun 29, 2019 9:02 am

Richard Bates wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 11:59 pm
Why do you assume there is not a commentary team in place?
In terms of providing a commentary to be broadcast to the world, an improvised studio at the venue often doesn't work terribly well, as was shown up at Warwick. The set up in Hull rather looked as if it had been designed to act as a cinema, thus relaying from Germany or wherever. Charlie as a live commentator may have been a late decision. He was only talking to the audience in Hull.

In the absence of sponsorship you could imagine budgets are tight. Perhaps then they are just doing the cinema thing.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: No Comment?

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Sat Jun 29, 2019 9:17 am

"Charlie as a live commentator may have been a late decision. He was only talking to the audience in Hull."

He did a good job though, getting people from the floor involved, and not talking down to them.

Mike Gunn
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Re: No Comment?

Post by Mike Gunn » Sat Jun 29, 2019 11:07 am

The (apparent) absence of a commentary team was one of the reasons I didn't go to Hull. (I had emailed the ECF and asked what the plans were and (on receiving no reply) got the message that it was regarded as a low priority.)

Andrew Martin
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Re: No Comment?

Post by Andrew Martin » Sat Jun 29, 2019 11:55 am

The mediocre conditions for commentary in Bournemouth and Llandudno would certainly suggest it was all too much trouble for the organisers.

Angus French
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Re: No Comment?

Post by Angus French » Sat Jun 29, 2019 12:06 pm

Andrew Martin wrote:
Sat Jun 29, 2019 11:55 am
The mediocre conditions for commentary in Bournemouth and Llandudno would certainly suggest it was all too much trouble for the organisers.
I thought the decision had been taken to provide commentary from outside. From the ECF budget for 2017/18: "It is proposed to provide an online commentary service which also be made available a[t] the venue. The whole membership will benefit from this service. Andrew Martin says he will not be continuing the commentary after 2017."

John Reyes
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Re: No Comment?

Post by John Reyes » Sat Jun 29, 2019 12:46 pm

Angus French wrote:
Sat Jun 29, 2019 12:06 pm
Andrew Martin wrote:
Sat Jun 29, 2019 11:55 am
The mediocre conditions for commentary in Bournemouth and Llandudno would certainly suggest it was all too much trouble for the organisers.
I thought the decision had been taken to provide commentary from outside. From the ECF budget for 2017/18: "It is proposed to provide an online commentary service which also be made available a[t] the venue. The whole membership will benefit from this service. Andrew Martin says he will not be continuing the commentary after 2017."
i see in the 2018 budget that £3000 was set for Commentary.

maybe there is a few factors etc that maybe is out of the ECF control, but maybe they are working behind the scenes to find someone who can do the role?
Any postings on here represent my personal views only

Mike Gunn
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Re: No Comment?

Post by Mike Gunn » Sat Jun 29, 2019 1:06 pm

At Llandudno I remember having the choice of the onsite commentary (with audience interaction, visits from players who went through their games) and (in my hotel room) the offsite commentary which wasn't even particularly knowledgeable about the players taking part. I guess it's all about the budget and what can be afforded but I can't help feeling that investing money in broadcasting properly the (better quality) onsite commentary would be much better publicity for chess in the UK.

John Reyes
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Re: No Comment?

Post by John Reyes » Sat Jun 29, 2019 1:15 pm

Mike Gunn wrote:
Sat Jun 29, 2019 1:06 pm
At Llandudno I remember having the choice of the onsite commentary (with audience interaction, visits from players who went through their games) and (in my hotel room) the offsite commentary which wasn't even particularly knowledgeable about the players taking part. I guess it's all about the budget and what can be afforded but I can't help feeling that investing money in broadcasting properly the (better quality) onsite commentary would be much better publicity for chess in the UK.
I agreed and they must been peoples that know how to do this etc, or local companys in the torquay area?
Any postings on here represent my personal views only

Alex Holowczak
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Re: No Comment?

Post by Alex Holowczak » Sun Jun 30, 2019 12:06 am

This is, of course, no longer any of my business directly. Having read some of the discourse in passing, there have been two grumbles so far:
- There aren't many strong players playing
- There isn't on-site and off-site commentary

There is an element of chicken and egg. You could spend £3,000 on commentary, but then you can't spend it attracting the top players to play in it. You could spend £3,000 on conditions for titled players, but then you can't spend it on the commentary.

There isn't a sponsor this year, so what is the answer if one can't be found? Put the entry fees up? Put the ECF membership fees up? Or carry on with a compromise that does half and half? It is said that a compromise keeps everyone unhappy, and so it shows here: Mike Gunn and Andrew Martin are unhappy money isn't being spent on on-site commentary, and I imagine the top players are unhappy that more money isn't being made available for them either. I suppose the issue does allow the forum to do what it does best - discuss the merits of how best to spend limited money without ever forming a consensus. We've already reached the "Why don't they find a sponsor?!" part of that debate, an idea which has obviously never occurred to anyone before. :?

I always found amusing the comments about "The London Chess Classic manages it." Of course! But the London Chess Classic spends more on the Internet for the on-site broadcast in one year than the British Championship has on venues in total in the last 5 years. It is comparing apples and oranges. Even Hastings receives - well, received? - more money than the British, and now that's gone, you can see the issues befalling it.

Anyway, I'm sure that Adrian and Kevin are doing the best they can with the funds available, and I wish them every success with it this year. I look forward to watching it from afar. :)

Roger de Coverly
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Re: No Comment?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Jun 30, 2019 12:17 am

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 12:06 am

There isn't a sponsor this year, so what is the answer if one can't be found?
Changing the eligibility rules so that hardly any "tourists" can qualify doesn't do wonders for the financing. Setting the rules so that any under 21 who can reach 180 will qualify went too far in the other direction.

Alex Holowczak
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Re: No Comment?

Post by Alex Holowczak » Sun Jun 30, 2019 6:27 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 12:17 am
Alex Holowczak wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 12:06 am

There isn't a sponsor this year, so what is the answer if one can't be found?
Changing the eligibility rules so that hardly any "tourists" can qualify doesn't do wonders for the financing. Setting the rules so that any under 21 who can reach 180 will qualify went too far in the other direction.
There have been a few comments I've seen about people noting the strength of the Major Open, seemingly with some pleasure. This was what people wanted when there was consultation on the matter, and the changes made then have now had the impact they set out to achieve.

Mike Gunn
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Re: No Comment?

Post by Mike Gunn » Sun Jun 30, 2019 11:39 am

Alex while appreciating the financial difficulty it seems to me that the ECF is missing an opportunity here to promote chess. We have experienced and able commentators (Williams, Ward, Trent etc) in the UK and we have (potentially) a great product to promote (the strongest British chess players playing each other to decide the British champion) and yet we fail to promote it in the best way. Doubtless all those other current initiatives to promote chess will bear fruit but we seem to be missing an open goal here.

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