Adjudication: an appeal to holders of congress votes at ECF

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
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Mike Gunn
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Adjudication: an appeal to holders of congress votes at ECF

Post by Mike Gunn » Wed Oct 08, 2014 11:24 am

I am addressing this particularly to the holders of congress votes at Council because I understand that some of you have “been lined up” to support Alex Holowczak’s motion which is attempting to eradicate the practice of adjudication from ECF graded chess. As this issue does not affect congress chess, I am suggesting that you abstain.

Many leagues retain adjudication as an option because a significant minority of players do not wish to play quickplay finishes to their games - for them the quickplay finish spoils their enjoyment of the game.. Adjudication has been a feature of evening league chess for more than a hundred years and was in existence long before the BCF or FIDE came into being. It exists because of the limited time (3 hours or less) available for play. In my own county league (Surrey) possible game finishes include quickplay, adjournment and adjudication. Although about a third of games start off heading for adjudication in the vast majority of cases the result is agreed between the players after the game and the game position is not sent for independent adjudication. In fact less than 10 games a (less than 1% of games actually played in the league) actually go for adjudication each year, so the claim that the process leads to the result of the game being determined by a third party is only true in a very small number of cases.

Please bear in mind that this is an issue on which many players have strong feelings, and I ask you not to impose your view (or personal preference) on those playing league chess.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Adjudication: an appeal to holders of congress votes at

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Oct 08, 2014 11:31 am

Mike Gunn wrote:- for them the quickplay finish spoils their enjoyment of the game
I don't and won't play in Leagues which have compulsory adjudication or adjournments. For me players sitting on a position with half an hour remaining of the session spoils my enjoyment of the game. That said, it's idiotic for the ECF to invent spurious reasons to throw Leagues out of the grading system. Does it know how much membership and Game Fee revenue it would be putting at risk?

John Upham
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Re: Adjudication: an appeal to holders of congress votes at

Post by John Upham » Wed Oct 08, 2014 11:46 am

It amuses me that positions could be sent for adjudication by players unable to demonstrate the required technique to convert them.

When you are not capable yourself why not let a third part interfere and do it on your behalf?

For an adjudicated game between two very strong players why not allow a weaker player decide the game for you?

I recall playing in county matches in which the result could be decided by this nonsense: my captain advised me during the game to "dress up the position" before stopping to allow someone else finish it for me. :shock:

I have great respect for Mike Gunn but on this issue I take the contrary position.

ADJUDICATION IS AN OUTDATED EXAMPLE OF NONSENSE AND DESERVES TO BE SENT TO ROOM 101.

At the very least games decided by a third party should not infect either the grading or rating systems. :oops:
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David Pardoe
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Re: Adjudication: an appeal to holders of congress votes at

Post by David Pardoe » Wed Oct 08, 2014 12:29 pm

I do see a place for adjudications, but I`d prefer this `last ditch` option to kick in after say, at least 50 moves have been played...
To enable this, I`d say if a play rate of 35 in 75 mins were in force, then maybe a `quickplay period` of 15 mins per player should be allowed, where both players need to complete at least 50 moves, before a game can be submitted for adjudication..
Its not perfect, but better than the speed chess lottery shootouts that currently prevail, and would allow players to play a significant amount of chess, into an endgame, before games had to be submitted.
I guess most games are completed well within 50 moves, so you`re only looking at a max of say 5% of games going for adjudication, assuming that a clear agreement cant be reached after the 50 moves.
Maybe also, a player should be asked to demonstrate briefly that he knows how to win his/her game before it can go forward for adjudication....and this would need to be strictly `unassisted`...
BRING BACK THE BCF

Colin Purdon
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Re: Adjudication: an appeal to holders of congress votes at

Post by Colin Purdon » Wed Oct 08, 2014 12:44 pm

Is there any evidence that adjudicated games (or games subject to adjudication, if that is the criterion) provide skewed or inaccurate results for rating purposes? I am no fan of adjudication, but in the absence of such evidence, I see no good reason to exclude them and have less data on which to base ratings.

Graham Borrowdale

Re: Adjudication: an appeal to holders of congress votes at

Post by Graham Borrowdale » Wed Oct 08, 2014 12:52 pm

John Upham wrote:It amuses me that positions could be sent for adjudication by players unable to demonstrate the required technique to convert them.

When you are not capable yourself why not let a third part interfere and do it on your behalf?

For an adjudicated game between two very strong players why not allow a weaker player decide the game for you?

I recall playing in county matches in which the result could be decided by this nonsense: my captain advised me during the game to "dress up the position" before stopping to allow someone else finish it for me. :shock:

I have great respect for Mike Gunn but on this issue I take the contrary position.

ADJUDICATION IS AN OUTDATED EXAMPLE OF NONSENSE AND DESERVES TO BE SENT TO ROOM 101.

At the very least games decided by a third party should not infect either the grading or rating systems. :oops:
John, I respect your view on this, but it is not the same thing. Some players or leagues would like to retain adjudication as a method of concluding a game, when both players agree, whereas the example you quote of county matches of old was in the days when adjudication was compulsory if the game was not finished. I don't remember ever being told to window-dress a position, although I do remember a chapter on the subject in an endgame book by a very well-known author (slightly tongue in cheek if I remember).
I am no advocate of adjudication, and have never knowingly selected it when an alternative was available, but Mike Gunn is simply saying that it has a small place, for a very small number of players, who are probably not very highly graded, probably of a certain age, and just play a bit of chess for a bit of fun. I really don't think the infection is one the grading system can not bear.

Martin Crichton
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Re: Adjudication: an appeal to holders of congress votes at

Post by Martin Crichton » Wed Oct 08, 2014 1:08 pm

Without wishing to divulge my personal view which is pretty obvious, the problem with the posting here suggesting a significant minority (I would suggest that might be wishful thinking from the author of this post) of players want to continue with adjudications is that their opponents (the vast majority) would not.

And it takes two to tango :)

I understand and respect that there are some players that want to continue playing part games of chess (adjudications etc). They could perhaps take up postal chess? It should suit those players that would prefer a more leisurely time control.
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Adjudication: an appeal to holders of congress votes at

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Oct 08, 2014 1:22 pm

Colin Purdon wrote:Is there any evidence that adjudicated games (or games subject to adjudication, if that is the criterion) provide skewed or inaccurate results for rating purposes?
The BCF grading system was adjudication based from its inception back in the 1950s and I don't think there have been many suggestions that the ranking order it produced was randomised by the adjudication process. It might have been biased towards awarding higher grades to certain playing styles.

It's not that measurable, but players unable to play endings or long periods of a game accurately but quickly, are not going to be found out if all their games are artificially terminated by move 40.

If the ECF proposal goes through, Surrey could devise a rule where there's still a three way choice between finishing on the night, perpetual adjournments or adjournments where the resumption isn't fixed, but the players, their match captains or even a person appointed by the County will attempt to reach agreement on a result without resumption.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Adjudication: an appeal to holders of congress votes at

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Wed Oct 08, 2014 1:43 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:It's not that measurable, but players unable to play endings or long periods of a game accurately but quickly, are not going to be found out if all their games are artificially terminated by move 40.
This is true, but a similar argument can be made against quickplay finishes:

i.e. Players unable to play endings or long periods of a game accurately but at a reasonable time limit over several sessions if need be, are not going to be found out if all their games are artificially terminated by having to speed up in a quickplay finish.

Quickplay finishes make it difficult to develop real skill in the endgame. I think the real divide in chess playing circles is first of all between those who want to finish the same in a single session and not have to return to continue playing (i.e. Quickplay and Adjudication vs Adjournment), and then between those who want to finish the game between two players rather than deferring to a computer assessment (Quickplay and Adjournment vs Adjudication).

I happen to think the Surrey League approach, though seemingly complicated at first, manages to get the balance right between choice and forcing one approach on all.

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John Saunders
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Re: Adjudication: an appeal to holders of congress votes at

Post by John Saunders » Wed Oct 08, 2014 1:55 pm

I am in total agreement with Mike Gunn's original post and also with Roger de Coverly where he says that "it's idiotic for the ECF to invent spurious reasons to throw Leagues out of the grading system". This is really just another example of a federation (in this case national rather than international) trying to foist an arbitrary and ill-considered rule upon its affiliated members, when local organisers are much better placed to decide what works best for them. FIDE is bad enough; we don't need Nanny ECF aping its undemocratic methods.
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Adjudication: an appeal to holders of congress votes at

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Oct 08, 2014 1:58 pm

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:Quickplay finishes make it difficult to develop real skill in the endgame.
I don't really see why, as in many endings it's more whether you know or recognise the method or pattern than analysis. It's really only a debate for those playing chess in traditionalist areas, which includes London. All of the thousand or so games I've played over the last ten years have been under quickplay or increment conditions. The length has varied between the three hours of leagues and the seven hours plus of some tournaments and the 4NCL.
Christopher Kreuzer wrote: I happen to think the Surrey League approach, though seemingly complicated at first, manages to get the balance right between choice and forcing one approach on all.
It defaults to allowing the gamesmanship of ceasing to play, since if you don't want an adjournment, you can be forced into adjudication.

Jonathan Rogers
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Re: Adjudication: an appeal to holders of congress votes at

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Wed Oct 08, 2014 2:01 pm

I share John U's general opposition to adjudications - and once I acted as an adjudicator in a completely unfathomable position which directly decided the Essex league.

But - I can see that wishing to get rid of adjudications on the grounds of skewed gradings is not very compelling. Surely, as Mike says, the number of games decided in this way is minimal, and the number of games where the adjudicator gives a different verdict from what would have happened in any event is even smaller. The people affected are mainly those just playing for fun, and there is very little "public interest" in making them conform to higher standards against their wishes. So, as said above, why not allow it (and grade it) when both parties agree but have rapidplay conclusions where there is disagreement? Or is that what already happens in the leagues concerned?

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Re: Adjudication: an appeal to holders of congress votes at

Post by Angus French » Wed Oct 08, 2014 2:05 pm

There’s no need for the ECF to impose a solution. Let the leagues and the players decide.

If there’s a default option for an adjudicated finish and the majority of players prefer quickplay, let the default be changed.

If opposing players prefer adjudication, allow them to choose it.

Attempting to impose a solution from on high is divisive and unnecessary. It risks disenfranchising leagues and players.

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Chris Goodall
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Re: Adjudication: an appeal to holders of congress votes at

Post by Chris Goodall » Wed Oct 08, 2014 2:09 pm

John Upham wrote: I have great respect for Mike Gunn but on this issue I take the contrary position.

ADJUDICATION IS AN OUTDATED EXAMPLE OF NONSENSE AND DESERVES TO BE SENT TO ROOM 101.
I think you and Mike may be at cross purposes. You seem to be implying that congresses ought to be able to vote on the adjudication question on the grounds that they're likely to take your side. I'm no great fan of adjudication either, but if it gets binned thanks to the votes of parties with no legitimate interest in the question, that would be a hollow and undemocratic victory.
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Rob Thompson
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Re: Adjudication: an appeal to holders of congress votes at

Post by Rob Thompson » Wed Oct 08, 2014 2:23 pm

Just as a member of parliament from Cornwall votes on matters primarily affecting those in Northumbria, for example, so congresses vote on matter affecting leagues. I don't see why this is a problem.
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