Too many sections in the County Championships?

Discussion about all aspects of the ECF County Championships.
Paul McKeown
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Re: Too many sections in the County Championships?

Post by Paul McKeown » Tue Jul 17, 2012 10:14 pm

Reading John Upham's old thread does leave one wondering who Berkshire's Incredible Noman is!

Ian Thompson
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Re: Too many sections in the County Championships?

Post by Ian Thompson » Tue Jul 17, 2012 10:15 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.
Presumably, Hampshire effectively have a veto on this, as, without them, there aren't enough counties left to form a viable union, and Hampshire may not wish to leave the WECU. Where would the WECU county championship be left if they did? The WECU championship is already a shadow of what it was 10 or 15 years ago.

Sean Hewitt
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Re: Too many sections in the County Championships?

Post by Sean Hewitt » Tue Jul 17, 2012 10:17 pm

Ian Thompson wrote:
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.
Presumably, Hampshire effectively have a veto on this, as, without them, there aren't enough counties left to form a viable union, and Hampshire may not wish to leave the WECU. Where would the WECU county championship be left if they did? The WECU championship is already a shadow of what it was 10 or 15 years ago.
There is nothing that prevents a county from playing it two Unions. Cambs played in EACU and SCCU for a while I understand, and Herts have this year applied to join EACU (without leaving SCCU).

Paul Cooksey

Re: Too many sections in the County Championships?

Post by Paul Cooksey » Tue Jul 17, 2012 10:20 pm

Ian Thompson wrote: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.
Actually, I think I might have played a game on a low board as a junior away. Possibly Kent. I remember losing an ending the exchange up.

This is vaguely illustrative of my point. Berks isn't particularly weak by most standards. We were competitive with the other SCCU minor counties, and whichever of them qualified did have a good chance in the National stages. But I don't remember us ever being competitive with Middlesex, Cambridge, Kent and Essex who were the strong teams at the time. Why would we be? They are much bigger. Indeed, given the travelling, why would we want to play against them regularly instead of our neighbours?

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

Post by Alex Holowczak » Tue Jul 17, 2012 10:23 pm

Paul Cooksey wrote:
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.
To be fair, turning around to the ECF and saying you're a Union isn't some major process that requires political upheaval. You just say to the ECF that you want to apply as a Constituent Unit, and then let Council decide.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Too many sections in the County Championships?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Jul 17, 2012 10:30 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote: To be fair, turning around to the ECF and saying you're a Union isn't some major process that requires political upheaval. You just say to the ECF that you want to apply as a Constituent Unit, and then let Council decide.
If the participants in the Chiltern matches wanted to take part in the national stages, there are various means by which this could have been achieved without becoming a Union. Agreeing with the SCCU that Oxon and Berks would rejoin and Hants would join for the purposes of the Chiltern competitions would be a method. Then the Chiltern winner would either have a play off with SCCU 2 or 3 or pick up the SCCU 2 or 3 nomination. (I'm assuming Minor Counties). It hasn't happened because there's no particular demand for additional county based late Spring/ early Summer matches.

David Pardoe
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Re: Too many sections in the County Championships?

Post by David Pardoe » Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:51 am

Key to success for any county is having a good active Captain & vice captain to get things organised.
The web makes it much easier these days to build up contacts and establish good communications (provided players read and answer there emails reasonably regularly). And finding neutral venues, via other `local` contacts (its called networking on the web), has also become less of a challenge, but does need to be pro-actively dealt with. Browsing various chess league/county websites can yield lots of useful player information...as can some contact with local Congress organisors.
Some good points have been made...
I`d definately like to see the `old grade bands` restored, and maybe increase the boards to 20, with some additional controls regarding team make-up. For instance, to have a defined structure in the Open section, whereby each team must field at least 7 U180 players, and at least 7 other U195 players, might be valuable, to ensure more `evenness`, and possibly less domination by `big gun` counties. But equally importantly, to ensure that good player representation throughout the grading bands occured. ie, to try to balance out `top loading`, and avoid player exclusion.
Why do they struggle in the NCCU, WCCU, etc to field teams. These are vast rural spaces with patchy transport. The SCCU probably has the best transport links....yet another advantage.
But the other factors are travel, time, and of course, the change in peoples life styles over past 30 years, where society has progressively moved towards a `work-zombey` state, where life outside the workplace has become choked off for many people. Then there is transport and costs, with petrol prices having rocketed over the past 15 years.
The eligability rules are certainly more than flexible enough at the present time. I`d like them tightened in some regards, to stop the `bussing in` of outsiders who have no real connection with chosen counties, never set foot in the foresaid county from one year to another, and therefore are depriving genuine `locals` of a team place. These people are just bussed in to beaf up these sides....its not on. However, if some smaller counties do merge (a great idea), and that adds some extra teams, then this must be a good thing. I`m thinking about counties like Herefordshire, in the MCCU, who might join forces with say Worcestershire.
By the same token, maybe some mega counties, like Yorkshire could be split into `two`, or field two teams per Union. An east-west split might make sence, but its not for me to prescribe there actions.
All sorts of boundary options might be possible to add greater `inclusivity` to the party. eg, the Scottish Border towns might provide an `extra county` for the NCCU, or become part of Northumberland.
Mid Wales areas could be encompassed as part of `Shropshire` perhaps.
I agree that Minor counties should actually be genuine `Minor counties`.
This years Finals showed what this event is all about....some classic battles throughout all the sections created a great Finals day, with lots of razmataz, a fair buzz, and a good old fashioned setting. And much praise to all who gave up there time to ensure it all ran smoothly.
But above all, this event is not about big bucks and prize money, its about some good sporting competition, played in good spirit by players from across the land, who are essentially out for a good days chess. And thats what we got.
Whether a 4NCL style banaza finals, over two days at say the `plush` Barcelo at Hinckley Island, as a `Jamboree format` event, incorporating the current Semi Finals, is a good idea, Im not sure. If it was done, then I`d suggest better prizes (plaques for each player), and much greater regional and National Press publicity, to help promote our noble game, could be beneficial, and hopefully help drive up numbers. We need to remind `joe public` that chess is a game for the common people, not just for geeks & freeks.
.
BRING BACK THE BCF

Richard Bates
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Re: Too many sections in the County Championships?

Post by Richard Bates » Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:39 pm

I`d definately like to see the `old grade bands` restored, and maybe increase the boards to 20, with some additional controls regarding team make-up. For instance, to have a defined structure in the Open section, whereby each team must field at least 7 U180 players, and at least 7 other U195 players, might be valuable, to ensure more `evenness`, and possibly less domination by `big gun` counties. But equally importantly, to ensure that good player representation throughout the grading bands occured. ie, to try to balance out `top loading`, and avoid player exclusion.
So you oppose player exclusion, unless the players are unfortunate enough to be too strong.

BTW a significant number of the venues used in the SCCU couldn't accommodate 20 boards.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Too many sections in the County Championships?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:46 pm

David Pardoe wrote: For instance, to have a defined structure in the Open section, whereby each team must field at least 7 U180 players, and at least 7 other U195 players, might be valuable, to ensure more `evenness`, and possibly less domination by `big gun` counties.
.
That might make a plausible if more complex rule for the Minor Counties, but an Open has to be unrestricted to be worthy of the title. Requiring n players of up to a certain grade will always favour teams with a large pool of players simply because they can more easily optimise team strength.

If you really want to give smaller counties a chance, you have to allow wild cards, namely to allow teams to bus in friends of a friend, hopefully 200 plus.

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

Post by Alex Holowczak » Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:52 pm

Richard Bates wrote:BTW a significant number of the venues used in the SCCU couldn't accommodate 20 boards.
How did they manage when the number of boards actually was 20? When was it reduced to 16?

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

Post by Paul McKeown » Wed Jul 18, 2012 10:02 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:When was it reduced to 16?
BCF either 1987-88 or 1988-89, SCCU sometime between 1995-96 and 1999-2000. I'll try to narrow it down for you.

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Re: Too many sections in the County Championships?

Post by Alex Holowczak » Wed Jul 18, 2012 10:04 pm

Paul McKeown wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote:When was it reduced to 16?
BCF either 1987-88 or 1988-89, SCCU sometime between 1995-96 and 1999-2000. I'll try to narrow it down for you.
That's good enough. I actually thought it was much later than that!

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Too many sections in the County Championships?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Jul 18, 2012 10:12 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote: That's good enough. I actually thought it was much later than that!
#

The National stages could be fewer boards than 20 even in the 1970s. Probably it was a Union thing, so SCCU vs NCCU would only be 16.

Essex, Middlesex, Kent and Surrey used to play 75 board matches against one another in the sixties era. Even Bucks and Berks could muster 50 playing at the same time. But there were hardly any any weekend Congresses and no rapid-plays.

Mike Gunn
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Re: Too many sections in the County Championships?

Post by Mike Gunn » Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:04 am

Just to add to what was said above about Chiltern county participation in the national stages. During the time I was on the SCCU exec we made two offers (separated by several years) to nominate a Chiltern county team for the national stages but neither offer was taken up. I am not entirely clear by the meaning behind the phrase "SCCU politics" used above but the SCCU has tried to facilitate participation by a Chiltern county in recent tears, not prevent it!

Jonathan Rogers
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Re: Too many sections in the County Championships?

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Thu Jul 19, 2012 1:30 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Paul McKeown wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote:When was it reduced to 16?
BCF either 1987-88 or 1988-89, SCCU sometime between 1995-96 and 1999-2000. I'll try to narrow it down for you.
That's good enough. I actually thought it was much later than that!
A combination of my good memory and slightly dodgy brain suggests the 1996/7 season

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