Is the definition of a Minor county the correct one?

Discussion about all aspects of the ECF County Championships.
Brian Valentine
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Re: Is the definition of a Minor county the correct one?

Post by Brian Valentine » Sat Jul 14, 2012 11:03 pm

The EACU AGM is taking place tomorrow and the nomination numbers for the county championships is not an agenda item. My point about Norfolk is that up until the EACU took up the option to take an Open place (sorry for my loose wording earlier) it was EACU, not SCCU/Herts who dominated the Minor.

One point of interest is that Herts have applied to join the EACU and that is being discussed tomorrow. Apparently it's to do with their U160 team and does not imply that they are leaving the SCCU

Alex Holowczak
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Re: Is the definition of a Minor county the correct one?

Post by Alex Holowczak » Sat Jul 14, 2012 11:12 pm

Brian Valentine wrote:One point of interest is that Herts have applied to join the EACU and that is being discussed tomorrow. Apparently it's to do with their U160 team and does not imply that they are leaving the SCCU
I've been aware of this. I don't see any harm in Hertfordshire U160 joining the EACU. I gather they might even be playing in both Union qualifiers. That's fair enough, but when they get to the national stages, if both take up the nomination, then they can't mix pools of players...

Richard Bates
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Re: Is the definition of a Minor county the correct one?

Post by Richard Bates » Sun Jul 15, 2012 9:47 am

As i alluded to in my first post, you need to decide if this competition is really a "Minor Counties Championship" (which implicitly seeks to define "Minor" and "Major" counties and exclude the latter - good luck with that!) or "a competition designed to give Minor Counties a chance to win" (which is how it is currently set up). You furthermore need to decide if what is important is theoretical player base (the sort of exercise attempted here), or actual player base (ie. base of players eligible and willing to play chess for a County, especially at the national stages). Ie. potential strength or actual strength.

Finally (and this is probably more relevant to the other thread on Sections) you need to decide how to balance the needs of the Unions (where, perhaps outside of NCCU the majority of County Chess is actually played) with the needs of the national Competition - for example I guess the suggestion to replace U160/180 and replace with an U170 would possibly create a problem with the SCCU which would potentially leave many players graded 170-180 without access to County chess. However it is also an issue with the Minor competition because of the point made that Counties like Herts may appear to be "Major" County strength looking nationally, but are very much "Minor" strength locally.

Alex Holowczak
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Re: Is the definition of a Minor county the correct one?

Post by Alex Holowczak » Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:08 am

Richard Bates wrote:As i alluded to in my first post, you need to decide if this competition is really a "Minor Counties Championship" (which implicitly seeks to define "Minor" and "Major" counties and exclude the latter - good luck with that!) or "a competition designed to give Minor Counties a chance to win" (which is how it is currently set up). You furthermore need to decide if what is important is theoretical player base (the sort of exercise attempted here), or actual player base (ie. base of players eligible and willing to play chess for a County, especially at the national stages). Ie. potential strength or actual strength.
Well, I don't need to decide that per se. I see myself as setting up the discussion as far as the issue of Minor counties is concerned. I'm not sure I can think of a better way of doing it than the status quo, but someone else may be able to.
Richard Bates wrote:Finally (and this is probably more relevant to the other thread on Sections) you need to decide how to balance the needs of the Unions (where, perhaps outside of NCCU the majority of County Chess is actually played) with the needs of the national Competition - for example I guess the suggestion to replace U160/180 and replace with an U170 would possibly create a problem with the SCCU which would potentially leave many players graded 170-180 without access to County chess. However it is also an issue with the Minor competition because of the point made that Counties like Herts may appear to be "Major" County strength looking nationally, but are very much "Minor" strength locally.
The suggestion in the other thread was that in order to compensate for the creation of the U170, the Open/Minor expand to 20 boards.

The SCCU's attitude to this would be that it reduces the amount of chess that gets played in the SCCU, therefore it's a bad thing. I tried looking at this from an MCCU perspective, the next Union down in terms of player volume. If we lost the U180, we'd lose two teams, but I reckon all of the other teams would remain intact. We'd have 8 counties playing over 4 more boards in the Open sections, and 6 teams playing over 4 more boards in the Under 120 (to compensate for the U100 that we lose, which only has 2 teams in it). I reckon the net effect of this would be to increase the amount of chess that's played. I don't know if this would be true in other Unions, but I reckon they would be able to maintain their current competitions and adopt the bigger team sizes that flow from it.

Personally, I think that would lead to a healthier national competition. If the SCCU's objective is to maximise the amount of chess they play regardless of whether any other Union can cope with it, then they're likely to decrease the amount of chess played in other areas at the same time.

Mick Norris
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Re: Is the definition of a Minor county the correct one?

Post by Mick Norris » Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:21 am

Jonathan Rogers wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote:..... The problem may be just the big SCCU counties being in the Minor.
Some would say the problem is that too few slots are given to SCCU teams for the Open. There is no reason why the rules should not change to allow them to nominate four each year, other than it emphasises their dominance of the Open over the last 30 years or so in a way which the other Unions don't wish to acknowledge. The history of these last 30 years is bleak, with several times SCCU only being given two slots, and everyone rightly expecting that the two nominees would then meet in the final, having arguably eliminated their nearest rivals in the SCCU stages.

If a SCCU team is not to win the Open, then you would expect it to be Lancashire or Yorkshire; no one else. This has generally been the case over these last 30 years, save for the occasions when Manchester have got themselves together. So one can easily afford four nominations for SCCU teams unless politics must determine the allocation, or unless we desire so much the prospect of a Somerset or Norfolk upset that we are prepared to allow them qualification ahead of stronger teams "just in case", and/or to give some impression of variety.

(Next week: I join David Sedgwick in a rant about central venues)
Jonathan

I'm not against the idea of 4 SCCU nominations to the Open, but won't you end up in a position where every SCCU county qualifies for either the Open or the Minor?

If so, don't you risk damaging the SCCU qualifier, or is this so competitive as to eliminate that risk?

Edit - list of previous winners here for anyone who hasn't seen it
http://www.englishchess.org.uk/?page_id=16611
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

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Re: Is the definition of a Minor county the correct one?

Post by Alex Holowczak » Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:24 am

Mick Norris wrote:I'm not against the idea of 4 SCCU nominations to the Open, but won't you end up in a position where every SCCU county qualifies for either the Open or the Minor?
This year, Kent declined nomination on the grounds that their Under 180 team qualified, and they didn't think they could put a team out in both. As it happened, their U180 team defaulted...

5 of 6 qualify from the Open in the SCCU anyway into one or the other. I don't see 6 of 6 being a radical overhaul that dramatically alters the SCCU competition.

Richard Bates
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Re: Is the definition of a Minor county the correct one?

Post by Richard Bates » Sun Jul 15, 2012 12:16 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Mick Norris wrote:I'm not against the idea of 4 SCCU nominations to the Open, but won't you end up in a position where every SCCU county qualifies for either the Open or the Minor?
This year, Kent declined nomination on the grounds that their Under 180 team qualified, and they didn't think they could put a team out in both. As it happened, their U180 team defaulted...

5 of 6 qualify from the Open in the SCCU anyway into one or the other. I don't see 6 of 6 being a radical overhaul that dramatically alters the SCCU competition.
Agreed - I'm not sure that the complete abolition of the National stages would necessarily make a significant difference to the SCCU competition ie. it stands as a strong competition in its own right, not just as a qualifier. Anyway it wouldn't have any impact on the debate on this thread, since Herts came 6th out of 6 anyway!

Dragoljub Sudar
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Re: Is the definition of a Minor county the correct one?

Post by Dragoljub Sudar » Sun Jul 15, 2012 5:30 pm

If you qualify for more than one county, as I and many others do, can you play for one county's u160 team and another county's u180 team in the final stages (or in the MCCU stages)?

If a county is affliated to more than union, can it be nominated for the u180 finals by one union and for the u160 by another union, and can the same player play for both of those teams?

Mick Norris
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Re: Is the definition of a Minor county the correct one?

Post by Mick Norris » Sun Jul 15, 2012 6:43 pm

http://www.englishchess.org.uk/?page_id=36#rules

B5. A player may represent a County in one of these Championships only if they have not played in the same season for any other County in any of these Championships in either the Union Qualifying Stage or the Final Stage.
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

Dragoljub Sudar
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Re: Is the definition of a Minor county the correct one?

Post by Dragoljub Sudar » Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:11 pm

Thanks Mick. The rules seem say that the open, u180 etc is one championship and the minor counties is a different championship:

A1. The Championships shall be established in Divisions dependent on the grades of players; Division 1 having no upper grade limit, Division 2 under 180 grade, Division 3 under 160 grade, Division 4 under 140 grade, Division 5 under 120 grade and Division 6 under 100 grade. There will also be a “Minor Counties Championship” (MCC).

They seem to suggest that although I won't be able to play next season for Notts in the u180 and for Derbyshire in the u160 (say), I will be able to play for Notts in the U160 and for Derbyshire in the MCC. I might do this next season if Notts don't enter the MCC.

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Is the definition of a Minor county the correct one?

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:23 pm

Dragoljub Sudar wrote:Thanks Mick. The rules seem say that the open, u180 etc is one championship and the minor counties is a different championship.
All seven events are different championships, but they're all subject to rule B5:
The County Championships rules wrote:B5. A player may represent a County in one of these Championships only if they have not played in the same season for any other County in any of these Championships in either the Union Qualifying Stage or the Final Stage.
(emphasis mine)

The bolded phrase refers to all the championships referred to in A1, including the Minor Counties Championship.

LawrenceCooper
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Re: Is the definition of a Minor county the correct one?

Post by LawrenceCooper » Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:35 pm

Jonathan Rogers wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote:..... The problem may be just the big SCCU counties being in the Minor.
If a SCCU team is not to win the Open, then you would expect it to be Lancashire or Yorkshire; no one else. This has generally been the case over these last 30 years, save for the occasions when Manchester have got themselves together.
Let's not forget Staffordshire :D

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Re: Is the definition of a Minor county the correct one?

Post by Sean Hewitt » Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:39 pm

LawrenceCooper wrote:
Jonathan Rogers wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote:..... The problem may be just the big SCCU counties being in the Minor.
If a SCCU team is not to win the Open, then you would expect it to be Lancashire or Yorkshire; no one else. This has generally been the case over these last 30 years, save for the occasions when Manchester have got themselves together.
Let's not forget Staffordshire :D
Or Leicestershire :D

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Is the definition of a Minor county the correct one?

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Mon Jul 16, 2012 10:20 pm

Was discussing this topic with some other Middlesex players, and the following was pointed out:

(1) The recent history of the Middlesex Open team is that it fizzled out twice during the late 1990s and early 2000s, the most recent reincarnation entered the Open in 2007-08, reached the final that season, and won it this season (as we should all know by now!). But it was effectively a Minor team in terms of strength when it re-entered, and only really built up to Open-winning strength in the last few seasons.

(2) The question about the Minor Championships is really whether it is a consolation prize for those unable to compete effectively at both Open and U180 level (i.e. field both 1st and 2nd teams at the normal level), but who can compete at a level somewhere in-between (depending on where in the team re-building cycle they are); or whether the Minor is a competition for counties that are never able to really challenge in the Open (effectively a second-tier 1st team competition)?

Another way to put the above: What constitutes the 1st and 2nd team competitions and how does a Minor competition fit into this? Are the Open and Minor the 1st and 2nd teams competitions? Or are the Open and u180 the 1st and 2nd team competition? If the Open and U180 are the 1st and 2nd team competition, care should be taken when using statistics to propose grade boundary adjustments, as the statistics don't really reflect those willing and able to play for a team. Ditto when considering what the grade average limit should be for the Minor.

Anyway, some points that may add to the discussion. It should be noted that some counties are naturally stronger in some grading bands than others, and only the largest counties are really able to compete effectively at two or more levels (not always the Open and next level down). This might affect things as well.

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Is the definition of a Minor county the correct one?

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Mon Jul 16, 2012 10:24 pm

Christopher Kreuzer wrote: Another way to put the above: What constitutes the 1st and 2nd team competitions and how does a Minor competition fit into this? Are the Open and Minor the 1st and 2nd teams competitions? Or are the Open and u180 the 1st and 2nd team competition?
That might depend on where you are. In WECU, the Open and u160 are the 1st and 2nd team competitions.

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