2012 National Stages

Discussion about all aspects of the ECF County Championships.
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Alex Holowczak
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2012 National Stages

Post by Alex Holowczak » Fri Mar 30, 2012 11:42 am

The draw, complete with Counties, has been published at: http://www.englishchess.org.uk/?page_id=36

Sean Hewitt
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Re: 2012 National Stages

Post by Sean Hewitt » Wed Apr 11, 2012 11:59 am

I see there are defaults already. Why do counties accept a national stage nomination only to default?

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Re: 2012 National Stages

Post by Alex Holowczak » Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:37 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:I see there are defaults already. Why do counties accept a national stage nomination only to default?
There has in fact been another default in addition to the one shown there.

Kent U140 have defaulted against Yorkshire U140. This is the second Kent team to default a match thus far.

David Sedgwick
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Re: 2012 National Stages

Post by David Sedgwick » Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:44 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:I see there are defaults already. Why do counties accept a national stage nomination only to default?
I think there's only one default so far, although I accept that that's one too many. However, if a team has to default, it's surely better that it does so sooner rather than later.

I think the problem is that, during the Union Qualifying Stages, team captains understandably concentrate on those stages. The interval between knowing they've qualified and having to accept or decline nomination is quite short. What tends to happen is that it's only when they start trying to raise a team for the Preliminary Round or the Quarter Final that they find that they've got problems.

It would help, I think, if team captains circulated their players with the dates of the National Stages as soon as they are announced in October. We've discussed elsewhere on the Forum the desirability of the dates also being published in the ECF Calendar, thus assisting congress organisers to avoid clashes.

Edit: The above was written before I saw Alex Holowczak's post. I'm appalled that there's been a second default by Kent.

Sean Hewitt
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Re: 2012 National Stages

Post by Sean Hewitt » Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:49 pm

Thanks for your response David.

I wonder how we can improve matters because it may well be that other teams would have taken the nomination accepted by the defaulting county. As it is, 16 players who wanted a game are left without one and the defaulting county faces a £50 fine.

I'm sure most counties understand the level of undertaking in accepting a nomination but do all?

Krishna Shiatis
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Re: 2012 National Stages

Post by Krishna Shiatis » Wed Apr 11, 2012 2:00 pm

David Sedgwick wrote:
Sean Hewitt wrote:I see there are defaults already. Why do counties accept a national stage nomination only to default?
I think there's only one default so far, although I accept that that's one too many. However, if a team has to default, it's surely better that it does so sooner rather than later.

I think the problem is that, during the Union Qualifying Stages, team captains understandably concentrate on those stages. The interval between knowing they've qualified and having to accept or decline nomination is quite short. What tends to happen is that it's only when they start trying to raise a team for the Preliminary Round or the Quarter Final that they find that they've got problems.

It would help, I think, if team captains circulated their players with the dates of the National Stages as soon as they are announced in October. We've discussed elsewhere on the Forum the desirability of the dates also being published in the ECF Calendar, thus assisting congress organisers to avoid clashes.

Edit: The above was written before I saw Alex Holowczak's post. I'm appalled that there's been a second default by Kent.
Hi David and Alex,

There are a number of reasons why I think this has happened and it is not the fault of the teams. There are the above reasons given by David, but in addition, there are other factors.

Kent does field a number of juniors who have exams at this time of year and they would not have known the dates of these rounds until just recently. This means then that the team becomes depleted quite quickly if they need to study. In addition, it is summer/spring and hence far more likely that the younger ones have other activities booked compared to winter.

It certainly would help if the dates were known earlier and circulated to all the players, as then the team captains could ensure that they have a full team for the relevant days.

The Kent team captains have been trying very hard to raise a team as I have seen the e-mails. It is not something that they have done lightly to default.

Kind regards,

Krishna

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Re: 2012 National Stages

Post by Alex Holowczak » Wed Apr 11, 2012 2:10 pm

Krishna Shiatis wrote:Kent does field a number of juniors who have exams at this time of year and they would not have known the dates of these rounds until just recently. This means then that the team becomes depleted quite quickly if they need to study. In addition, it is summer/spring and hence far more likely that the younger ones have other activities booked compared to winter.

It certainly would help if the dates were known earlier and circulated to all the players, as then the team captains could ensure that they have a full team for the relevant days.
The dates of the rounds were published as late as January on the ECF's Counties Championship page, but they could quite easily have been worked out from the rules of the competition last September. The dates of these rounds are fixed, and they always fall between April-July. So the problem of juniors not being available - one I sympathise with - is not a new problem that has suddenly appeared in 2012. They would have known about this based on experience in previous years.
David Sedgwick wrote:I think the problem is that, during the Union Qualifying Stages, team captains understandably concentrate on those stages. The interval between knowing they've qualified and having to accept or decline nomination is quite short. What tends to happen is that it's only when they start trying to raise a team for the Preliminary Round or the Quarter Final that they find that they've got problems.
Perhaps Union matches shouldn't be scheduled so close to the 31st March deadline? If the SCCU (for argument's sake) scheduled their Union matches to end at the end of February, there would then be 4 weeks in which to work all this out. I understand that some Unions were still playing qualifiers on the last weekend before the deadline.

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Re: 2012 National Stages

Post by David Sedgwick » Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:23 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:Thanks for your response David.

I wonder how we can improve matters because it may well be that other teams would have taken the nomination accepted by the defaulting county. As it is, 16 players who wanted a game are left without one and the defaulting county faces a £50 fine.

I'm sure most counties understand the level of undertaking in accepting a nomination but do all?
All I can usefully say at the moment is that I've raised similar points privately and asked for the matter to be discussed at the SCCU Annual Council Meeting on Saturday 14th July.

Alex Holowczak wrote:The dates of the rounds were published as late as January on the ECF's Counties Championship page, but they could quite easily have been worked out from the rules of the competition last September. The dates of these rounds are fixed, and they always fall between April-July.
Your last sentence is not quite correct. The Director has the right to vary the dates until 31st October.

This season the dates were confirmed by the then Controller on 11th October and were published on the SCCU website. I thought they were also published on the ECF website at that time, but I could be mistaken. Obviously they should have been so published.

Alex Holowczak wrote:Perhaps Union matches shouldn't be scheduled so close to the 31st March deadline? If the SCCU (for argument's sake) scheduled their Union matches to end at the end of February, there would then be 4 weeks in which to work all this out. I understand that some Unions were still playing qualifiers on the last weekend before the deadline.
There aren't enough Saturdays in the season for us to do that. We are the victims of four successes: our own, and those of the 4NCL, e2e4 Chess and the London Chess Classic. If you look at our fixture list at http://www.sccu.ndo.co.uk/fixt.htm, you'll see that we're either playing or avoiding a clash on every available Saturday.

That is why the SCCU strongly opposed the suggestion a couple of years ago that the deadline for nominations should become earlier than 31st March.

The only possibility would be to start in September, but experience has shown that captains have difficulty in raising teams then, as people are still on holiday at the time the captains need to contact them. When the ECF Counties Rapidplay Championship was held in late September in 2010 and 2011, several counties reported that this was a problem.

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Re: 2012 National Stages

Post by Alex Holowczak » Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:51 pm

David Sedgwick wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote:Perhaps Union matches shouldn't be scheduled so close to the 31st March deadline? If the SCCU (for argument's sake) scheduled their Union matches to end at the end of February, there would then be 4 weeks in which to work all this out. I understand that some Unions were still playing qualifiers on the last weekend before the deadline.
There aren't enough Saturdays in the season for us to do that. We are the victims of four successes: our own, and those of the 4NCL, e2e4 Chess and the London Chess Classic. If you look at our fixture list at http://www.sccu.ndo.co.uk/fixt.htm, you'll see that we're either playing or avoiding a clash on every available Saturday.

That is why the SCCU strongly opposed the suggestion a couple of years ago that the deadline for nominations should become earlier than 31st March.

The only possibility would be to start in September, but experience has shown that captains have difficulty in raising teams then, as people are still on holiday at the time the captains need to contact them. When the ECF Counties Rapidplay Championship was held in late September in 2010 and 2011, several counties reported that this was a problem.
It is interesting that the SCCU avoids the congresses in Brighton and Blackpool. The MCCU only avoids the 4NCL, and possibly the Warwickshire Championship. Here is the equivalent grid: http://www.mccu.org.uk/cmatches/fixtures.htm

Even there though, games were being played right up until the penultimate weekend.

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Re: 2012 National Stages

Post by Alex Holowczak » Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:17 pm

David Sedgwick wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote:The dates of the rounds were published as late as January on the ECF's Counties Championship page, but they could quite easily have been worked out from the rules of the competition last September. The dates of these rounds are fixed, and they always fall between April-July.
Your last sentence is not quite correct. The Director has the right to vary the dates until 31st October.
OK, fair enough; a slight exaggeration on my part.
David Sedgwick wrote:This season the dates were confirmed by the then Controller on 11th October and were published on the SCCU website. I thought they were also published on the ECF website at that time, but I could be mistaken. Obviously they should have been so published.
I wasn't in post then, and I wasn't paying attention to such things. I've no idea if they appeared on the ECF website, to be honest.

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Re: 2012 National Stages

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:30 am

"It is interesting that the SCCU avoids the congresses in Brighton and Blackpool."

Brighton is in SCCU.
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Re: 2012 National Stages

Post by Alex Holowczak » Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:14 am

Kevin Thurlow wrote:"It is interesting that the SCCU avoids the congresses in Brighton and Blackpool."

Brighton is in SCCU.
I'm aware of that, but there are lots of other congresses within the SCCU that aren't avoided. For example, Imperial College, e2e4 Gatwick, and more Rapidplays than you can shake a stick at. So why so keen to avoid Brighton and Blackpool? If Blackpool, why not Scarborough?

By contrast, the MCCU avoids none of these, but the matches get played. It would be impossible to do otherwise in places like Greater Manchester, which has that many local congresses that they're impossible to avoid.

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Re: 2012 National Stages

Post by David Sedgwick » Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:47 am

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Kevin Thurlow wrote:"It is interesting that the SCCU avoids the congresses in Brighton and Blackpool."

Brighton is in SCCU.
I'm aware of that, but there are lots of other congresses within the SCCU that aren't avoided. For example, Imperial College, e2e4 Gatwick, and more Rapidplays than you can shake a stick at. So why so keen to avoid Brighton and Blackpool? If Blackpool, why not Scarborough?

By contrast, the MCCU avoids none of these, but the matches get played. It would be impossible to do otherwise in places like Greater Manchester, which has that many local congresses that they're impossible to avoid.
We avoid Blackpool (if we can - it's not always possible) because we were specifically requested by some counties to do so. To the best of my knowledge no such request has been made regarding Scarborough - and we too can't avoid everything.

e2e4 Gatwick was avoided, except at U120 level (and one rearranged match). However, a number of matches clashed with the recent e2e4 High Wycombe event, which had not been announced when the fixture list was drawn up. The matches got played, but there were an unusually high number of defaults in individual games (mostly notified in advance, fortunately).

I don't attach any blame to anyone for this, but I think it demonstrates that the approach we adopt in the SCCU is broadly correct for us.

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Adam Raoof
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Re: 2012 National Stages

Post by Adam Raoof » Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:51 am

County matches frequently clash with Golders Green dates. This is one reason why I can't play county chess regularly!

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Re: 2012 National Stages

Post by Mick Norris » Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:01 am

Alex Holowczak wrote: By contrast, the MCCU avoids none of these, but the matches get played. It would be impossible to do otherwise in places like Greater Manchester, which has that many local congresses that they're impossible to avoid.
Actually, G Man avoids Blackpool as well as 4NCL, and at Open level at least, Scarborough, British Rapidplay and Preston - we only play Saturdays, but would have to avoid Sunday Rapidplays at Bolton, Bury, Stockport and Manchester too
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