National Club Chamionship - what is the point?

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
MartinCarpenter
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Re: National Club Chamionship - what is the point?

Post by MartinCarpenter » Mon Apr 28, 2014 2:29 pm

I agree about Div3 of the 4NCL being a little bit of a mess in some ways with how very wide the strength of the teams is. It certainly doesn't really cater very well for U150/125's.

They look like events that you could imagine growing enough to have regional events and maybe a final on the same sort of format. It'd be very ambitious to try that just now of course.

Richard Bates
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Re: National Club Chamionship - what is the point?

Post by Richard Bates » Mon Apr 28, 2014 8:07 pm

Jonathan Rogers wrote: What a boring farce the Hackney v Watford matches appear to have been, were they not at least a little bored by the time they played each other for the fourth time in one weekend, with there being no doubt about the winner before even the first round started?
Fortunately there are many people who find playing chess interesting in itself, regardless of the competitive framework in which it is played. So feel free to make whatever valid comments you like about the viability of the competition, but I don't see why you should assume we were all 'bored'.

Actually we were favourites, but i'm not sure we were 14-2 favourites (although we are perhaps a bit undergraded on the January list). It wasn't 12 GM Wood Green vs 5 man Cavendish! :oops: I think Alex got the format slightly wrong though - 4 round Scheveningen with round 4 match as the tiebreaker should have been round 4 competition decider with the 4 round Scheveningen as the tiebreaker ;)

Richard Bates
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Re: National Club Chamionship - what is the point?

Post by Richard Bates » Mon Apr 28, 2014 8:56 pm

On a more serious note I don't know if it would be possible to attract more clubs to the Open, and i don't know what sort of numbers we are talking about for people to consider it "worthwhile" (the Open being being read the last rites several years ago when it barely had a dozen entries - this would be undreamt riches in every section now!). However i suspect that to even contemplate any more a bit more thought on entry deadlines/conditions would have to be used. Paradoxically being extremely 'flexible' on entry deadlines (late entry date a week before, and entries allowed up to a couple of days before) works against the competition because everyone will 'wait and see' on entries and then decide against when few are forthcoming. And obviously very late entries by definition work against the possibility of producing strong/representative teams because there will be limited availability.

It might make more sense to have an entry deadline significantly beforehand with entries encouraged on the basis that they can be cancelled with entry fees refundable unless entries by the deadline reach a certain conditions eg. a pre-determined number of entries or something. This deadline would also be early enough that any hotel bookings made can be cancelled. If any of the entered teams are prepared to plough on regardless (subject to there being at least two entries!) then they could do, and later entries could still be allowed (perhaps at a higher fee, but not really necessary as the conditionally allowed withdrawal is the main mechanism for discouraging these. You might not even want to discourage late entries at this point).

It might have been different if this format had been tried several years ago when there were enough regular entries to keep ploughing on, but once clubs have got out of the habit of entering you lose that "we'll enter because we always enter" core.

Finally clearly holding the event next to a 4NCL weekend isn't ideal. It might make more sense to target earlier in the chess year ie. August-October, if June/July dates are deemed unsensible. The fact that in many respects the format is very similar to the 4NCL rapid (which is hardly overburdened with entries) is perhaps indicative of what can realistically be achieved though.

Jonathan Rogers
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Re: National Club Chamionship - what is the point?

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Mon Apr 28, 2014 9:14 pm

Richard Bates wrote: ... (the Open being being read the last rites several years ago when it barely had a dozen entries - this would be undreamt riches in every section now!) ...
I don't recall anyone calling for the abolition of the Open when it was in double figures - which, I feel quite sure, would have been back in the 1990s. But it's been down to 5-6 or so since about 2004, and 2-3 since about 2008, roughly, so certainly people have for several years been looking askance at the almost religious determination of the ECF to salvage it.

(The Open reminds me of cartoon that Hans Ree used to refer to, involving a man bringing a piece of steak to a vet and asking whether there is still hope!).

Poor Cavendish! I hadn't heard about that.

Richard Bates
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Re: National Club Chamionship - what is the point?

Post by Richard Bates » Mon Apr 28, 2014 9:36 pm

It's like a version of pass the parcel/musical chairs. We're all holding out for the chance to keep the trophy ;)

Incidentally on trophies - it was noticeable how many of the main trophies in the various National Club sections are, well, plates. Somewhat undermines the nomenclature of the Plate competitions i would have thought :? :D

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Re: National Club Chamionship - what is the point?

Post by Alex Holowczak » Mon Apr 28, 2014 9:53 pm

Richard Bates wrote:Incidentally on trophies - it was noticeable how many of the main trophies in the various National Club sections are, well, plates. Somewhat undermines the nomenclature of the Plate competitions i would have thought :? :D
"I thought you had the trophy for the Intermediate Championship, not the Intermediate Plate?", I asked on Saturday as Leamington returned their Championship trophy. It was only bought three to four years ago, so I don't know if the old one was full, lost, stolen, melted down...

MartinCarpenter
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Re: National Club Chamionship - what is the point?

Post by MartinCarpenter » Tue Apr 29, 2014 9:33 am

One interesting thing that occured to me last night, is that the Yorkshire leagues just started an event with a fairly similar format. Inviting the teams that won the various leagues to play. Not a massive entry (6 teams), but then only 9 leagues, and some of those are quite small.
(Roping in the Manchester/Cleveland leagues could I suppose be a viable potential option.).

2 days in July, I rather doubt if anyone stayed over.

4 man teams to keep it rather more balanced, especially with the stronger teams not going all out each match. Rules, http://yorkshirechess.org/champion-of-champions/ ; report here: http://yorkshirechess.org/champions-challenge-report/ .

Not sure if that offers any hope or not for the NCC really but anyway :)

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Michael Farthing
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Re: National Club Chamionship - what is the point?

Post by Michael Farthing » Tue Apr 29, 2014 10:23 am

MartinCarpenter wrote:One interesting thing that occured to me last night, is that the Yorkshire leagues just started an event with a fairly similar format. Inviting the teams that won the various leagues to play. Not a massive entry (6 teams), but then only 9 leagues, and some of those are quite small.
(Roping in the Manchester/Cleveland leagues could I suppose be a viable potential option.).

2 days in July, I rather doubt if anyone stayed over.

4 man teams to keep it rather more balanced, especially with the stronger teams not going all out each match. Rules, http://yorkshirechess.org/champion-of-champions/ ; report here: http://yorkshirechess.org/champions-challenge-report/ .

Not sure if that offers any hope or not for the NCC really but anyway :)
I was wondering if a format such as the old Sunday Times schools competition might have potential, which chimes in with this approach. The competition was a schools knockout but with the country divided into 'zones' so that in the early rounds there was no big travelling to do. A school then winning a zone would then be much readier to travel at the inter-zone stage to follow up early success. The zones did not follow pre-determined geographical lines so there was a possibility to design them to fit the entry. A similar idea, perhaps using a Swiss format at both stages, would provide a local challenge with perhaps a greater incentive for clubs to continue to the final stages.

I realise that this idea may seem foolhardy - trying to have regional heats when there is currently hardly any entry at all, but surely the cycle of dismal entry needs to be broken somehow. I did look at this year's competition, playing with the idea of getting my fellow club members interested, but my honest reaction was, "Even if we won, is it a trophy worth having with such an entry?". Well, we wouldn't have refused it, but it wasn't worth a journey to High Wycombe.

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Adam Raoof
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Re: National Club Championship - what is the point?

Post by Adam Raoof » Tue Apr 29, 2014 10:30 am

http://youtu.be/5Ay5GqJwHF8

Keep up the good work.
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Michele Clack
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Re: National Club Chamionship - what is the point?

Post by Michele Clack » Wed Apr 30, 2014 11:32 am

Many thanks to Dave Alex and the rest of the team for all their hard work. We thoroughly enjoyed the event although we could have played a little better. But then you can always say that about chess! It was a bit of a trek but not too bad and it's a good chess venue. The advantage was the number of southern teams tempted but yes it could be off putting for teams farther north than us. We are lucky being very close to the M40 so it only took a couple of hours . The 2 bottom sections are really good for a club like ours where our top player is 180ish but most much lower. We will certainly look at putting 2 teams together next year.

The problem with the open section and even the one below it, is that there aren't so many really good players. I wonder if you might consider loosening the criteria for these to include anyone who has ever been a fully paid up member and competed for a club for say 3 seasons in the past? This would make it easier to put teams together, still with ties to the club, and possibly lead to some fun reunions!

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