County Chess vs 4NCL

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
John Reyes
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County Chess vs 4NCL

Post by John Reyes » Sat Sep 03, 2016 12:40 am

It is time to drop the county championship?
Has the 4NCl over taken the county chess!

Does players preferred to play county or 4ncl chess?

Will this be ever raised at the ECF?

What people views?
Any postings on here represent my personal views only

MartinCarpenter
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Re: County Chess vs 4NCL

Post by MartinCarpenter » Sat Sep 03, 2016 8:27 am

To some extent, but not totally.

Like Alex said in the other thread its only really NCCU county qualifiers which I'd put on the critical watch list, although the Yorks - Lancs rivalry kind of sustains them a bit. Perhaps followed by the open county K/O competition given how few entries that has got.

Something like the SCCU qualifying competition is doing quite nicely still.

Julie Denning
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Re: County Chess vs 4NCL

Post by Julie Denning » Sat Sep 03, 2016 8:59 am

I certainly hope not!

I see County chess and the 4NCL as entirely different animals, each with its own place and merits. The formats are significantly different. From my limited experience of 4NCL, they provide an excellent opportunity for those willing and able to dedicate themselves for an entire weekend. Costs can mount up once you include accommodation. County chess just demands a half-day commitment and, at least during the Union Stage, a limited travel demand and no accommodation costs. Realistically, County chess is more likely to appeal to a wider ability range, particularly for those of us towards the lower end of the grading list.

Long may each last and be successful.

Julie Denning

David Sedgwick
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Re: County Chess vs 4NCL

Post by David Sedgwick » Sat Sep 03, 2016 10:26 am

Julie Denning wrote:I certainly hope not!

I see County chess and the 4NCL as entirely different animals, each with its own place and merits. The formats are significantly different. From my limited experience of 4NCL, they provide an excellent opportunity for those willing and able to dedicate themselves for an entire weekend. Costs can mount up once you include accommodation. County chess just demands a half-day commitment and, at least during the Union Stage, a limited travel demand and no accommodation costs. Realistically, County chess is more likely to appeal to a wider ability range, particularly for those of us towards the lower end of the grading list.

Long may each last and be successful.

Julie Denning
I agree totally with Julie (for once :) ).

When the 4NCL was established, there was a general feeling that it would impact on the Counties Championships, but not on the National Club Championships. The exact opposite proved to be the case.

I don't believe that the problems with the NCCU Counties Championships have been caused by the existence of the 4NCL. There may be less incentive to solve them owing to the existence of the 4NCL.

MartinCarpenter
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Re: County Chess vs 4NCL

Post by MartinCarpenter » Sat Sep 03, 2016 2:40 pm

The lack of drive in the NCCU stuff is going to be more down to the Yorkshire league, which fits the precise space the SCCU qualifiers that Julie is defending above occupy. 3N makes it all even less crucial I guess. The same Lancashire players who play in 3N play in the Yorkshire league for Calderdale.

Mostly though it isn't that obvious what anyone can do. Yorkshire and Manchester have both been trying fairly hard to heal it for the past few years without any obvious progress.

Nick Ivell
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Re: County Chess vs 4NCL

Post by Nick Ivell » Sat Sep 03, 2016 7:07 pm

These days I prefer 4NCL. No contest.

For many years I played county chess. True, there are no accommodation costs, but at the knockout stage I found I was spending more time travelling than playing. Not a balance I like. And then there are the venues. I accept that the final is generally played somewhere acceptable and serious, but before that stage? Two memories stick in my mind... A match against Yorkshire where I sat for 4 hours without a back to my chair. My back was playing up for weeks thereafter. And then there is the infamous Latvian club in Bradford, where play can be accompanied to the inharmonious racket of Latvian clog dancing. After my last experience there I thought 'enough is enough'.

I accept that 4NCL will not be for everyone. From my point of view, it offers superb venues and the chance to play a proper game of chess. I feel I have put up with dingy venues for too long. As a junior I took them for granted, but now? I'm just too old for it. I may only play a decent game of chess once every year or so but at least 4NCL gives me a chance.

This is my personal view. Of course people will disagree, and this is how it should be.

Jonathan Bryant
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Re: County Chess vs 4NCL

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Sat Sep 03, 2016 7:11 pm

Nick Ivell wrote:I feel I have put up with dingy venues for too long.
I feel the same could be said for (too much of) the chess world as a whole. The reasons you describe for liking the 4NCL are very similar to those that guide me towards e2e4 events when I’m considering entering a tournament.

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: County Chess vs 4NCL

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Sat Sep 03, 2016 7:59 pm

I agree with Nick Ivell's comment. Some county chess venues are (by all accounts) rather lacking but sometimes the players who play in them are the ones who like cheap and cheerful. Ironically if every player in a 12 board match chipped in a tenner that would give £240 which is good money for a Saturday afternoon venue.
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Ian Thompson
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Re: County Chess vs 4NCL

Post by Ian Thompson » Sat Sep 03, 2016 8:11 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:Ironically if every player in a 12 board match chipped in a tenner that would give £240 which is good money for a Saturday afternoon venue.
£10!!! At a county match a couple of years one of the match captains said that the match could be moved to a better venue next year if the home team board fee was increased by £1. That was immediately objected to due to being unaffordable.

Mike Truran
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Re: County Chess vs 4NCL

Post by Mike Truran » Sat Sep 03, 2016 9:09 pm

That sort of nicely sums up the state of English chess.

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: County Chess vs 4NCL

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Sat Sep 03, 2016 9:27 pm

Mike Truran wrote:That sort of nicely sums up the state of English chess.
Well yes and no. The fact that this thread is about the 4NCL eclipsing the county scene is one thing. The success of 4NCL and E2-E4 events shows that there are players who are prepared to pay for superior conditions.

That said, at club and county level the majority of players are war babies and baby boomers who have spent much of their chess playing lives paying full subscriptions and team fees while the World War II generation got a discount. In 2016 they claim their discount, reasonably up to a point but they don't have a younger generation coming up to provide that platform of full fees.
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MartinCarpenter
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Re: County Chess vs 4NCL

Post by MartinCarpenter » Sat Sep 03, 2016 9:54 pm

To be fair, people are often paying quite a bit in terms of travel costs for county matches.
(Which in a way makes it even sillier not to pay a little to tie down a good venue but whatever!).

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: County Chess vs 4NCL

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Sat Sep 03, 2016 10:15 pm

MartinCarpenter wrote:To be fair, people are often paying quite a bit in terms of travel costs for county matches.
(Which in a way makes it even sillier not to pay a little to tie down a good venue but whatever!).
You have to travel to play in the 4NCL or a congress though. And that's assuming you don't stay over.
Controller - Yorkshire League
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David Pardoe
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Re: County Chess vs 4NCL

Post by David Pardoe » Sun Sep 04, 2016 12:17 am

As has been said... its not a good idea to compare County chess and 4NCL. Both can provide very good chessing days out and cater for different tastes/requirements.
Yes, sometimes county venues can be cheap and cheerful, but they certainly don't need to be.

Many players who play league chess put up with the most basic rat holes... often because they are cheap, and clubs are trying to cater for all types... working on lowest common denominator. Secretaries, who obsess about balancing books to a penny each year, instead of maybe building in some reserve for future needs. So many clubs exist on this `breakeven` approach. ..then, if they have a bad year for some reason, they have no `reserve` to tide things over. Keeping things `cheap` to attract the maximum club membership could well prove counter productive
I really think it would pay the chess community to come out of this zombie mentality, but its not always easy to find suitable venues, where travel and costs and facilities are satisfactory.
To county captains, I would just say that it pays to do some web research, particularly when choosing neutral venues.
There are many things that county chess could do to improve its offerings, if folk are prepared to put in the effort... and county ,Union, league and the ECF should co-operate more effectively..
And changing the framework, rules, and conditions are all possible...but can take time and effort to achieve.
I`d suggest that county chess should be run by a separate `council` or group, made up of delegates from each Union (2or 3 per Union), who could consult over the web about rule and structure changes, produce papers for discussion, and seek web approval for changes. One of the biggest problems in chess, apart from volunteers, is that everything seems to hang on AGMs, where nothing moves for years.
We need a more streamlined approach...but still to exercise due care over moving forward.
#Neil Graham has often complained of `apathy`, and he has a point..

As a basic product, County chess has a lot to offer in my view. Having good `County`/ Union organisers to set up and run the competitions and motivate/encourage the local counties groups to participate and give there positive support is vital.
County captains are always in demand.. this is not a overly demanding job these days, with lots of web information available. One key point is to get started early. Last minute arrangements can go badly wrong, particularly if you`re trying to chase players on the eve of a match.
I`d say that each county team needs a captain and deputy, who can work together and get things organised. Effective communication is important.

Incidentally, there are similar issues facing 4NCL.. ie, players can be very picky about venues and travel. You get a fair few who don't mind `local` matches, (where they dont have to stay at hotels), but are `out` the minute any bigger travel distances are involved.
My message is to be a lot more positive about our chess offerings..

We spend far too much time complaining about things, and not enough appreciating the things that are good.
Every County and Union body faces different challenges, and its up to the whole community to consider these, and look at reasonable and flexible ways of addressing these. Sometimes this could give rise to rule changes, or structural changes...and our bodies must be alive to this and not live in a straight jacket that chokes off the parties...
One example.. Yorkshire is actually three counties (or Ridings)... why not allow more of these flexible arrangements, to create more effective chess groupings. I can see the possibility of 4 major chess groups in the NCCU which could transform there counties events. Not easy..
Some Unions, like West of England, and East of England, should be allowed to enter a `combined counties teams` in the top sections, ie, the Open, Minor Counties, and U180 sections.
Playing 3 or 4 county matches per season (Qualifiers), should not be too demanding over a 6 month period.
To achieve success, I believe that county teams need a pool of about 30 or so players, with say 10 - 15 being regulars, ideally. Many counties should be able to muster at least a couple of county teams...
BRING BACK THE BCF

Roger de Coverly
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Re: County Chess vs 4NCL

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Sep 04, 2016 1:41 am

David Sedgwick wrote: When the 4NCL was established, there was a general feeling that it would impact on the Counties Championships, but not on the National Club Championships. The exact opposite proved to be the case..

I'm inclined to think eligibility rules played a part. The rules for the National Club made a deliberate attempt to rule out an organiser building a squad for the specific purpose of winning the competition. Outside of the London League, recruiting 6*GM is just overkill for local leagues and potentially destructive of the local competition.

There's no automatic right to play in a county team. but in practice a certain amount of creative eligibility has usually been tolerated.

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