Too many sections in the County Championships?

Discussion about all aspects of the ECF County Championships.
Paul Cooksey

Re: Too many sections in the County Championships?

Post by Paul Cooksey » Wed Jun 27, 2012 8:50 pm

Filling time during halftime, distributing players evenly including juniors, you'd set Open, <170, <132, <116 and <96

Paul McKeown
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Re: Too many sections in the County Championships?

Post by Paul McKeown » Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:29 am

If there is a problem with the national stages, why not make the national stages 10 or 12 boards per team, all matches at one (or two) central venue(s). This should make it easier for smaller counties to raise teams to compete in the national stages, whilst using centralised venues for all the stages of the national competition would avoid Mick Norris's problem of costs of room hire.

I personally dislike the idea of a non-centralised venue for the final, although some from the southern counties seem to be lobbying for it, but I wouldn't be averse to a "northern" and a "southern" venue for the earlier national stages.

I do think the 16 board teams are rather unwieldy and I would strongly suspect that they discourage some of the smaller or shire counties from participating. If it were reduced to 10 boards, say, the larger/stronger/metropolitan counties might be compensated by allowing multiple teams to enter a particular national division. Surrey, Essex, Middlesex, for example, could all easily enter two U140, U160, U180 or Open teams, if they desired, depending on where the "bulge" of their playing population lay.

I like Paul Cooksey's grading bands, but would adjust them slightly to 170, 140, 115 and 90. I think the hardest division for any county to field teams is the Open division, therefore easing the cut-off for the first grading limited team makes sense. As 170 is very close to 160, drop the U160 division altogether, but make the gap a little wider (30 points) to the next grading limited division.

Open, U170, U140, U115, U90. Any use?

Also, agree strongly with the idea of barring "major" counties from entering the Minor counties competition, just because they had a bad year. Major counties entering the minor division subverts the ethos for that competition.

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Re: Too many sections in the County Championships?

Post by Paul McKeown » Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:32 am

One final point: a well connected, organised captain with good support from his or her county organisation can work wonders. I remember, for example, Buckinghamshire doing very well under Syringa Turvey ten or twelve years ago, although Bucks is a county which Roger cites as not really being interested in county chess.

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Re: Too many sections in the County Championships?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:45 am

Paul McKeown wrote: I remember, for example, Berkshire doing very well under Syringa Turvey ten or twelve years ago, although Berkshire is a county which Roger cites as not really being interested in county chess.
Bucks, not Berks.

Our best result was second in the SCCU in 2000, followed by reaching the semi final and losing to Yorkshire, which was almost the last time the team was at full strength. We relied on a squad of around 20. When for various reasons, that had reduced to 10, the team was withdrawn.

We had reached the final of the Minor Counties the year before, losing to Herts. The only previous entries had been in 1983 losing in the Minor Counties final to Sussex and winning in 1981 against Devon 2. So with just four outings in over thirty years, there's no expectation of playing summer County chess.

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Re: Too many sections in the County Championships?

Post by Paul McKeown » Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:50 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:Bucks, not Berks.
Already corrected.
Roger de Coverly wrote:Our best result was second in the SCCU in 2000, followed by reaching the semi final and losing to Yorkshire, which was almost the last time the team was at full strength. We relied on a squad of around 20. When for various reasons, that had reduced to 10, the team was withdrawn.

We had reached the final of the Minor Counties the year before, losing to Herts. The only previous entries had been in 1983 losing in the Minor Counties final to Sussex and winning in 1981 against Devon 2. So with just four outings in over thirty years, there's no expectation of playing summer County chess.
Roger, why did Bucks suddenly re-appear about 1999? That team managed a lot in a short period. Would 10 board teams help?

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Re: Too many sections in the County Championships?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:19 am

Paul McKeown wrote: Roger, why did Bucks suddenly re-appear about 1999? That team managed a lot in a short period. Would 10 board teams help?
The team had been re-established before that, it wasn't until 1999 that we got any results. The original drop out was for the same reasons as the later ones. It's very pointless fielding an open team if you have to field 120 players in it, particularly for away matches.

10 board teams would look too much like club or 4NCL teams. From the perspective of a smaller county, the biggest problem with the Union and national rules is the eligibility requirement. If you had someone motivated to build up a strong and willing team, their skills are wasted in the counties event because of the restrictions, not present in the 4NCL, on who you can recruit.

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Re: Too many sections in the County Championships?

Post by Paul McKeown » Tue Jul 17, 2012 8:22 pm

Hmmm. Roger's contributions to an earlier Berks/SCCU thread tend to suggest that Roger's point of view regarding Bucks/Berks participation in county chess are not necessarily shared by all.

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Re: Too many sections in the County Championships?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Jul 17, 2012 8:48 pm

Paul McKeown wrote:Hmmm. Roger's contributions to an earlier Berks/SCCU thread tend to suggest that Roger's point of view regarding Bucks/Berks participation in county chess are not necessarily shared by all.
They are shared by enough players to make it unlikely that a competitive team could be formed. As I said in the original thread, taking 120 or 130 graded players to Catford or Charlton to play players rated 40 or 50 points above them is a pointless activity particularly when you have done it several times before.

Alex Holowczak
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Re: Too many sections in the County Championships?

Post by Alex Holowczak » Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:18 pm

Paul McKeown wrote:Hmmm. Roger's contributions to an earlier Berks/SCCU thread tend to suggest that Roger's point of view regarding Bucks/Berks participation in county chess are not necessarily shared by all.
I was approached by one captain who wanted to play a player from Buckinghamshire next season in the County Championship, on the grounds that he was actually eligible for the county in question. He wondered if playing for Bucks in the Chiltern League precluded him from this. Of course, it didn't.

You are correct that not all in Bucks agree with Roger on this issue, therefore. On the other hand, there's rarely 100% agreement on any issue. One SCCU captain has risked life and limb my daring to thank me for holding the finals in Leicester, because it saved him the job of arranging a venue. :shock:

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Re: Too many sections in the County Championships?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:32 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote: He wondered if playing for Bucks in the Chiltern League precluded him from this. Of course, it didn't
At least one player appears both for Bucks and Herts and has done for years. A number of players would have dual qualifications, I am one of them and I don't mean Berks as the other county.

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Re: Too many sections in the County Championships?

Post by Alex Holowczak » Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:54 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote: He wondered if playing for Bucks in the Chiltern League precluded him from this. Of course, it didn't
At least one player appears both for Bucks and Herts and has done for years. A number of players would have dual qualifications, I am one of them and I don't mean Berks as the other county.
Absolutely. There are several players I know of in the Chiltern League who want to play county chess, so play for non-Chiltern counties in it.

Paul Cooksey

Re: Too many sections in the County Championships?

Post by Paul Cooksey » Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:58 pm

Paul McKeown wrote:Hmmm. Roger's contributions to an earlier Berks/SCCU thread tend to suggest that Roger's point of view regarding Bucks/Berks participation in county chess are not necessarily shared by all.
This is true of course, and I'm not sure what the majority view is. But personally I tend to agree with Roger.

I played for Berks in the SCCU competitions in the late 80s and 90s. I remember some very heavy defeats away at Cambridge and Middlesex particularly, and worse than that, matches where we defaulted a lot of boards. If you know a good result is a 15-5 loss, it is difficult to invest in the team.

The Chiltern competition seems much more sensible to me. Much less travel and games against teams of approximately similar standard. No chance of entering the national stages, due to the SCCU politics of course. But then, judging by the number of defaults in the national stages, they are not universally attractive to the teams that do qualify either.

To my mind, many people enjoy playing county chess. A single long game, at a weekend, with low cost, is a valid format. But I don't think there is much competition for the titles. Most counties could field a team capable of challenging for the title, and most don't.

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Re: Too many sections in the County Championships?

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Tue Jul 17, 2012 10:02 pm

Paul Cooksey wrote: The Chiltern competition seems much more sensible to me. Much less travel and games against teams of approximately similar standard. No chance of entering the national stages, due to the SCCU politics of course. But then, judging by the number of defaults in the national stages, they are not universally attractive to the teams that do qualify either.
It's not only SCCU politics, it's also Chiltern politics. The ECF would be perfectly happy for the Chiltern Counties to declare themselves a Union, and would then accept nominations from said Union for the national stages. So far, they have not done so.

Paul Cooksey

Re: Too many sections in the County Championships?

Post by Paul Cooksey » Tue Jul 17, 2012 10:05 pm

IM Jack Rudd wrote:It's not only SCCU politics, it's also Chiltern politics. The ECF would be perfectly happy for the Chiltern Counties to declare themselves a Union, and would then accept nominations from said Union for the national stages. So far, they have not done so.
OK. No significant criticism of the SCCU was intended. But I'll say ECF politics too then, since it insists on Union nomination.

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Re: Too many sections in the County Championships?

Post by Ian Thompson » Tue Jul 17, 2012 10:08 pm

Paul Cooksey wrote:I played for Berks in the SCCU competitions in the late 80s and 90s. I remember some very heavy defeats away at Cambridge and Middlesex particularly, and worse than that, matches where we defaulted a lot of boards. If you know a good result is a 15-5 loss, it is difficult to invest in the team.
On the other hand, if you'd been playing for Berkshire in 1986, you'd have a Minor Counties Championship shied at home to show for your efforts.

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