Old Chestnut

Discussion about all aspects of the ECF County Championships.
Roger de Coverly
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Old Chestnut

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Apr 09, 2019 12:39 am

Those who organise county matches at the national stages or those who vote on the rules of the competition need to aware that a proposal of thirty years ago has raised its head yet again.

To quote from the ECF's April newsletter
The two main items for me are the DoWC Budget and also a motion in respect of the County Championship. As an ECF flagship event, the participation of females in the County Championship is woeful and we need to change this situation. I am proposing that in the final stages of the Open section all teams must play at least one female. I have also had discussions about flexibility in the implementation of rules regarding the 'pool of women' that Counties can approach to make the new regulation easier to comply with. If we do not take action to improve the situation then we are paying lip service to increasing and supporting regular women's participation in English chess. The 4NCL have had a similar rule in their competition for years – the ECF should be emulating this.
If he is proposing that the ECF abandon the eligibility requirements for the County Championships, that's arguably a good thing although controversial. The 4NCL eligibility is just one of money. Female players can play regardless of birth, residence or membership qualifications. It's just a matter of paying the fee for "bussing them in".

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Old Chestnut

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Tue Apr 09, 2019 11:03 am

Are the County Championships regarded as a "flagship event"?

I would have thought a lot of teams are struggling to field teams so female players would be welcome if they wanted to play. There will be reactionary captains of course.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Old Chestnut

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Apr 09, 2019 11:12 am

Kevin Thurlow wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 11:03 am
I would have thought a lot of teams are struggling to field teams so female players would be welcome if they wanted to play.
It was proposed for the national "Open" competition, so participation of any players under 160 can be a little pointless.

Jon Underwood
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Re: Old Chestnut

Post by Jon Underwood » Tue Apr 09, 2019 3:58 pm

I'd have thought any of the teams who might be competitive in the Open section could find a strong female player, but below that level it would just mean less teams entering.

NickFaulks
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Re: Old Chestnut

Post by NickFaulks » Tue Apr 09, 2019 4:49 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 11:03 am
There will be reactionary captains of course.
If "reactionary" means "reluctant to select a player for the county team who has never had the faintest connection with that county", then I would have to support them.

Mick Norris
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Re: Old Chestnut

Post by Mick Norris » Tue Apr 09, 2019 5:37 pm

Jon Underwood wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 3:58 pm
I'd have thought any of the teams who might be competitive in the Open section could find a strong female player, but below that level it would just mean less teams entering.
Not necessarily one that qualifies for that county :roll:
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Old Chestnut

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Apr 09, 2019 6:36 pm

Mick Norris wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 5:37 pm
Not necessarily one that qualifies for that county
The proposed rule is that you can "bus in" or even fly in a female player from anywhere, no eligibility questions asked.

Neil Graham
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Re: Old Chestnut

Post by Neil Graham » Tue Apr 09, 2019 7:18 pm

This is drivel. I take it that the proposer hasn't organised a county chess match ever.

Since 2013 according to some statistics passed to me, I have organised 138 county matches. All the players have been eligible to play for the county and everyone has been selected on merit based solely on their grades. Last year 105 players represented Nottinghamshire; 98 male and 7 female.

I now have five county matches to arrange in the county quarter-finals. Instead of making up ridiculous rules the proposer might like to assist in finding some 70+ players, organise a series of venues and pay for them, find transport for the teams, sort out equipment for these matches, arrange for provision of refreshments and so on and so on - in other words do some proper administration instead of bringing discredited policies back to Council after they've been rejected in the past.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Old Chestnut

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Apr 09, 2019 7:31 pm

Neil Graham wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 7:18 pm
bringing discredited policies back to Council after they've been rejected in the past.
from https://www.englishchess.org.uk/wp-cont ... y-2019.pdf
CF tabled a proposal to mandate a female player in each of the Open County first teams in the National Stages of the County Championships. AH pointed out that previous consultations had indicated that there was a majority against this proposal and that Council had specifically rejected it.There was general support for this recommendation to be considered again and CF agreed to draft a resolution for consideration at the April Council.

Richard Bates
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Re: Old Chestnut

Post by Richard Bates » Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:21 pm

I don’t really understand the point of the proposal, it would be interesting to know what the views of female players are (in the sense of indicating that there is a barrier to their participation in County chess that this proposal would remove). WhenAlex H brought such a proposal forward (along with one on juniors) he I think tried to argue that it would encourage Counties to increase development work to produce something of a potential supply chain, but seemed somewhat unconvincing given the struggles counties even have to get out white middle aged males.

I don’t see the comparison with 4ncl really works either. There are obvious pros and cons of 4ncl policy,but one of the main arguments in its favour I think (particularly in the early years when it was generally harder for female players to get into a team somewhere on pure strength grounds) was that it tried to combat the issue of females participating in events and potentially having very few or no other women present - even more of a potential barrier in events like the 4ncl which have a strong social aspect. I don’t see how this really works in the context of County chess which have less of a social aspect (compared with 4ncl and/or tournaments) and when generally there are only two teams participating.

Anyway, fundamentally the question has to be: do women want (in principle) to play County chess, if so what are the barriers (if any) to them doing so (either active - captains for some reason are refusing to pick them despite their availability, or passive - it is not an attractive enough proposition and could be made more so) and does the proposal do anything to address these barriers.

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Old Chestnut

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Tue Apr 09, 2019 10:45 pm

While I support the reasoning behind the proposal I think it is deeply flawed for several reasons.

a) the proposal does not specify what the penalty will be for non compliance. Is it the loss of the match or just the loss of a game point? Also the proposed relaxing of eligibility rules (again not specified in detail) might lead to existing strong female players being head hunted and possibly even paid for their services. While this would be good for the female players concerned it wouldn't achieve the ultimate goal of increasing female participation.

b) applying the rule to the open only achieves relatively little. Generally only five or six counties contest this section and the more contested minor counties is not affected. Interestingly the proposal might actually sit better in the context of the minor counties as it provides an opportunity for improving female players and the average grade rule means that they can be compensated for elsewhere.

I do wonder if this might be a shrewd political move by the Director of Women's Chess who can say he has put forward a proposal to increase female participation in chess, only for reactionary men to push it back.
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Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Old Chestnut

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Wed Apr 10, 2019 8:45 am

"If "reactionary" means "reluctant to select a player for the county team who has never had the faintest connection with that county", then I would have to support them."

Me too - but I was thinking more of the correspondence chess captain for a county (not Surrey) who put 3 of the 4 women playing on the bottom 3 boards of the bottom team (despite their ratings). The 4th woman was married to a first team player so also played for the first team, but there was a suspicion that the husband played both games.

I was being polite, but basically I agree with those who have been less polite!

Ian Thompson
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Re: Old Chestnut

Post by Ian Thompson » Wed Apr 10, 2019 11:19 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 6:36 pm
Mick Norris wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 5:37 pm
Not necessarily one that qualifies for that county
The proposed rule is that you can "bus in" or even fly in a female player from anywhere, no eligibility questions asked.
... or several of them if you wish.

So the moderately strong female player who meets the normal eligibility criteria doesn't get to play because the team captain knows a much stronger female player who has no connection with the county.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Old Chestnut

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Apr 10, 2019 11:34 am

Ian Thompson wrote:
Wed Apr 10, 2019 11:19 am
So the moderately strong female player who meets the normal eligibility criteria doesn't get to play because the team captain knows a much stronger female player who has no connection with the county.
As a minimum eligibility requirement, perhaps that the player(s) concerned have to meet to eligibility requirements for competing in the British Championship. That would at least thwart an attempt to import some other country's Olympiad team.

Even the 4NCL doesn't insist on a female player below the first division and its divisions 2 and 3 where participants in the counties championship also play.

Jon Underwood
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Re: Old Chestnut

Post by Jon Underwood » Thu Apr 11, 2019 6:34 pm

Richard Bates wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:21 pm
I don’t really understand the point of the proposal, it would be interesting to know what the views of female players are (in the sense of indicating that there is a barrier to their participation in County chess that this proposal would remove). WhenAlex H brought such a proposal forward (along with one on juniors) he I think tried to argue that it would encourage Counties to increase development work to produce something of a potential supply chain, but seemed somewhat unconvincing given the struggles counties even have to get out white middle aged males.

I don’t see the comparison with 4ncl really works either. There are obvious pros and cons of 4ncl policy,but one of the main arguments in its favour I think (particularly in the early years when it was generally harder for female players to get into a team somewhere on pure strength grounds) was that it tried to combat the issue of females participating in events and potentially having very few or no other women present - even more of a potential barrier in events like the 4ncl which have a strong social aspect. I don’t see how this really works in the context of County chess which have less of a social aspect (compared with 4ncl and/or tournaments) and when generally there are only two teams participating.

Anyway, fundamentally the question has to be: do women want (in principle) to play County chess, if so what are the barriers (if any) to them doing so (either active - captains for some reason are refusing to pick them despite their availability, or passive - it is not an attractive enough proposition and could be made more so) and does the proposal do anything to address these barriers.
I see no reason why the barriers to women playing county chess would be any different to men. There are just so few of them and forcing open teams to include a female player is just leaving it a bit late in player development really - nobody is going to target training another female for 10 years on the off chance they might make it to 180+ (quite apart from anything else they will probably head off to university and then gravitate to one of the big urban areas).

We've got a couple of teams in the county championship this year and there are three female players over 100 eligible. One (150 -odd) works on Saturday, one (120-odd) is at uni in Edinburgh and the other (120 odd) might be able to play but would be significantly outgraded on the bottom board for the second team. Hard to see how asking someone to complete a tokenistic 200+ mile round trip to be thrashed will encourage them.

I don't suppose we are atypical.

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