Should there be a separate British Women's Championship?

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benedgell
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Should there be a separate British Women's Championship?

Post by benedgell » Fri Feb 26, 2016 10:35 am

At the moment the British Women's Champion is decided by the highest place female entrant in the Open Championships. Last year that meant 5 women competing and there was only one game played between 2 females. Indeed the winner played against no females at all. In the 2013 Championships there were also 5 female entrants and I don't believe there were any games played between 2 females (for the 2014 results my virus- checker flashed up a warning about the results page :? ).

I think ahead of the 2017 Championships the ECF should look at whether this is the best way of deciding the Women's Champion.

I think the ECF should either replace the English Women's Championships event they ran last year with a British Women's event this year, and remove the Women's Championship title from the Open Championships, or run an entirely separate all- play- all event alongside the British Open Championships.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Should there be a separate British Women's Championship?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Feb 26, 2016 10:52 am

benedgell wrote: I think the ECF should either replace the English Women's Championships event they ran last year with a British Women's event this year, and remove the Women's Championship title from the Open Championships, or run an entirely separate all- play- all event alongside the British Open Championships.
If you go back in time to the 1980s, there was always a separate Ladies Championship. It was abolished and absorbed into the main British Championships. The reason? The women had become good enough to challenge not only for WIM and WGM titles, but also IM and GM titles. They needed to face the appropriate field to have a shot at these.

If the ECF reinstated separate competitions, it would be an admission that British chess had become so weak that the Norm opportunities given by an open competition were no longer relevant.

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Michael Farthing
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Re: Should there be a separate British Women's Championship?

Post by Michael Farthing » Fri Feb 26, 2016 11:04 am

Let us suppose a separate competition? How many entrants would it get?

Well, maybe five on the above figures, but perhaps easier entry conditions would attract more women who would not otherwise enter?

On the other (very big) hand perhaps quite a few of the current women entrants to the British Championship (maybe, say, five) would continue to enter the British Championship because, after all, it is a stronger and more prestigious tournament open to men as well as women. Which would mean that the women's 'champion' would hardly feel she had genuinely earned a title suggesting she was the strongest woman player in the land.

Perhaps the five who last year entered the Joint British Championship should be consulted about what they would do and what they would like to see? This is quite a novel idea, I know: most of the comments on women's chess, both here and elsewhere, comes almost exclusively from men.

I know Ben this has been an issue of interest to you for some time - but seriously - why not ask those five: it shouldn't be too difficult to do and I think you have the status within the ECF for it to be seen as a legitimate and valuable enquiry from an influential Council member.

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Should there be a separate British Women's Championship?

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Fri Feb 26, 2016 1:06 pm

Chevannes, Hegarty and Richards can all be found on Facebook; they're in my friends list.

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David Shepherd
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Re: Should there be a separate British Women's Championship?

Post by David Shepherd » Fri Feb 26, 2016 1:24 pm

I think yes ask the 5 that played last year, but also ask the players that played in previous years but didn't play last year, and also the top "x" many female players from the British grading lists (including FIDE British) - so not just English. Consult those that have a reasonably active rating. If about 10-20 positive replies can be obtained then it should provide an indication of the way forward. Any survey should be as creative as possible - so for example different levels of prize money, different formats/options.

An alternative idea to a survey (although a survey is probably better), might be to have a separate women's Championship alongside the "open" British, with say a grade floor of 160/170 (and FIDE, Scottish etc. equivalent). Entrants would then automatically transfer to the main "open" British if less than a set number of entries are received (but giving the women the option to withdraw if they don't want to transfer). This would provide proof of the demand for such an event with a fall-back option. So in effect if there are enough strong women who want to compete in a separate event, that event is held and if there are not the required numbers, it defaults to being held as pat of the "open" Championship.

NB The grade limits should be in terms of FIDE grade with domestic equivalents, given it is the British rather than English Championships.

Brian Towers
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Re: Should there be a separate British Women's Championship?

Post by Brian Towers » Fri Feb 26, 2016 4:23 pm

I thought the Polgar sisters demonstrated 30+ years ago that the way forward for women in chess is to break out of the ghetto not climb back in.
Ah, but I was so much older then. I'm younger than that now.

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Should there be a separate British Women's Championship?

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Fri Feb 26, 2016 4:33 pm

Michael Farthing wrote:Let us suppose a separate competition? How many entrants would it get?

Well, maybe five on the above figures, but perhaps easier entry conditions would attract more women who would not otherwise enter?
So far, I count 49 women who have qualified for the next British. The problem probably lies elsewhere.

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Re: Should there be a separate British Women's Championship?

Post by NickFaulks » Fri Feb 26, 2016 4:40 pm

Brian Towers wrote:I thought the Polgar sisters demonstrated 30+ years ago that the way forward for women in chess is to break out of the ghetto not climb back in.
You're right. Female players aspiring to a 2600+ rating are probably better off restricting themselves to open events.

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David Shepherd
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Re: Should there be a separate British Women's Championship?

Post by David Shepherd » Fri Feb 26, 2016 4:44 pm

I think the figure of 49 is quite deceptive though as many of those are no longer significantly active players. I suspect if you went through the list and worked out which of those have played even 11 rated games in the last year (I only picked the figure as the British is 11 rounds), the figure would be much lower.

Edit I had a quick look through the list - I think the number playing above 11 games in the last year is about half the total (also I agree there are 49 on the list - but two names are duplicates, and Dagne Ciuksyte doesn't seem to appear, although I assume she qualifies?), so about 23 or 24 pre-qualified who have played over 11 games in the last year. I think the total qualifying from events in the year is nil.

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Michael Mkpadi
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Re: Should there be a separate British Women's Championship?

Post by Michael Mkpadi » Sat Mar 19, 2016 6:45 pm

I think Gibraltar Open is a brilliant tournament and I think the blueprint for inclusive gender chess tournaments. The segregation of chess played by women is reinforcing old stereotypes and not challenging them. The Womens US championships has not advanced the cause for women but detracted from it. The discussion becomes about equal prize money and broadcasting, when it should be one event with prizes best placed male and female which ever is not winner of the open. So if a woman wins the open the best placed male player will get a prize....that is only fair to the men ;)
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Martin Regan

Re: Should there be a separate British Women's Championship?

Post by Martin Regan » Wed Apr 20, 2016 8:55 pm

To the original question. Yes yes and yes.

As for those who argue that joint tournaments are the way forward. We have those now. Works well doesn't it.

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Should there be a separate British Women's Championship?

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Wed Apr 20, 2016 10:16 pm

Though I vaguely recall it being done away with at the end of the 1980s because that was what *women* players wanted??
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Should there be a separate British Women's Championship?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:42 pm

Matt Mackenzie wrote:Though I vaguely recall it being done away with at the end of the 1980s because that was what *women* players wanted?
You recall correctly. It was what those players who could plausibly obtain Norms towards titles wanted, players of lesser strength who could "make up the numbers" in a female only event were forced sideways into various male dominated events. Did it result in any overall reduction in female participation? Quite possibly. Did it result in a number of female players gaining titles and a stronger Olympiad team? Almost certainly.

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