County Championships - time for a change?

Discussion about all aspects of the ECF County Championships.
Neil Graham
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Re: County Championships

Post by Neil Graham » Tue Jun 04, 2013 9:28 pm

Mick Norris wrote:
David Gostelow wrote:Shropshire no longer runs a first team only u140 which is a shame , so over 140 players cant play county chess. When I moved to Shropshire in 85 , most top county players played in all county matchs and though we lossed most, it was something you looked forward too . The Greater Manchester situation was always awkward as doing a round trip of between 180 and 250 miles to get slaughtered was not appealing and thus we had problems with the away years to G Manchester
Under current MCCU rules, you can insist on playing G Man at a neutral venue each year rather than alternate home and away

From our perspective, we always found many opposition captains to be resistant to this before we got the Rule introduced
The journey between Greater Manchester and Nottinghamshire is not an easy one as there is no really good route across the Pennines. After a couple of years where we played at Chorlton and Nottingham both counties have found it extremely easy to play at a neutral venue in the Stoke-on-Trent area.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: County Championships

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Wed Jun 05, 2013 12:20 pm

Am I the only one who thinks the U100 competition is disappointing (to say the least)?

Mick Norris
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Re: County Championships

Post by Mick Norris » Wed Jun 05, 2013 12:29 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:Am I the only one who thinks the U100 competition is disappointing (to say the least)?
No

6 entries, 3 of which have pulled out without playing, for whatever reason, leaving Notts (good luck to them) already in the final, is ridiculous
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

MartinCarpenter
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Re: County Championships

Post by MartinCarpenter » Wed Jun 05, 2013 12:40 pm

Certainly not healthy :)

Still, the idea of trying to get 12-16 U100 players out for a match at a weekend does seem quite optimistic on an a priori basis. You're well past the median of the chess playing population by then so the basic population base isn't high, and you have to presume that they're also naturally rather less interested in chess.

John Swain
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Re: County Championships

Post by John Swain » Wed Jun 05, 2013 12:48 pm

Mick Norris wrote:
Kevin Thurlow wrote:Am I the only one who thinks the U100 competition is disappointing (to say the least)?
No

6 entries, 3 of which have pulled out without playing, for whatever reason, leaving Notts (good luck to them) already in the final, is ridiculous
Without apportioning or implying any blame to particular captains, teams or county associations involved, it might be helpful if we could ascertain whether there are general issues which could be addressed for next season, such as perhaps the degree of flexibility of dates. Comments from Cambridgeshire (U100), Leicestershire (U100) Surrey (U100) Warwickshire (U140) and Yorkshire (U180) could be especially valuable, but also from other counties which have had to default in the recent past.

MartinCarpenter
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Re: County Championships

Post by MartinCarpenter » Wed Jun 05, 2013 2:08 pm

Yorkshire U180 was I think probably down to two things. The first would be having to use a totally new captain this year - the regular U175 captains weren't about this year.

Also serious team instabilities caused by people moving in and out of the grade band on a pretty regular basis. From Yorkshire's team in the final last year 6 would be DQ'd in the January grades and 5 of the top boards were for this year. There's the odd junior in that but not many as two of them didn't make the final. Its just down to people who end up around 180 +- 10 pts each year.

The U175 team was much more stable in terms of personel which must have made it very much easier to organise and captain. I'm not sure if this is a universal experience?

The team vs Lancashire for the internal match was very weak too, although the clashes with 4NCL North and some rearanged Yorkshire league matches won't have helped.

Richard Bates
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Re: County Championships

Post by Richard Bates » Wed Jun 05, 2013 7:14 pm

I dunno. If all other sections adopted the U100 approach then Alex might actually be tempted to continue as National Controller. Only has to do the draw and bill counties for the default moneys! Nice little earner for the ECF at minimal effort ;)

Alex Holowczak
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Re: County Championships

Post by Alex Holowczak » Wed Jun 05, 2013 10:15 pm

Mick Norris wrote:6 entries, 3 of which have pulled out without playing, for whatever reason, leaving Notts (good luck to them) already in the final, is ridiculous
There were actually 7 entries, but one declined nomination. There have since been the three defaults you mention.

David Blower
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Re: County Championships - time for a change?

Post by David Blower » Wed Jun 19, 2013 3:04 am

I'm 95 (grade, not years old) and am certainly interested in playing chess, but just very badly! However my county (Staffordshire) don't have an under 100 team, so I have played in an under 120 match.

And according to the ECF Grading list, 16 others have also played for the county team of Staffordshire who are graded under 100, even though there is no under 100 team! There hasn't been an under 100 team since the grading changes back in 2009.

Personally I think my grade is high enough to compete in an under 120 competition anyway, but what about those graded in the 70s or low 80s.

I think there is also a general issue of players not even been aware of county chess.

David Blower
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Re: County Championships - time for a change?

Post by David Blower » Wed Jun 19, 2013 3:09 am

Just to comment on the opening posters post, I certainly think its a good idea to have the adjacent grading competitions on different weekends.

John Swain
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Re: County Championships - time for a change?

Post by John Swain » Mon May 26, 2014 3:39 pm

A number of comments on the Quarter Finals thread make me think that the ECF should review County Chess in a root-and-branch way:

http://www.ecforum.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=6527

Travelling sometimes long distances for a single game is clearly not what many players relish, judging from the low entries for several sections and difficulties raising teams/captains.

I have two suggestions.

First, we ought to set up regional competitions on a Saturday or Sunday where two or three games on a Swiss format, perhaps with an hour each on the clocks, could be played. A leisurely start time of, say 11.00 a.m. would still permit two more rounds with a "traditional" finishing time of about 6.00 p.m. The highest-placed teams would then proceed to the National Finals which could be organised on a similar basis. Thus just two Saturdays or Sundays a year might be needed.

Secondly, the timing of county matches needs to be adjusted. Playing the Quarter-Finals on 17 May and the Semi-Finals on 14 June is a very effective way of excluding juniors with GCSE and A Level exams. If we really want to encourage the participation of juniors, the Finals should be in March/April at the very latest.

Sean Hewitt
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Re: County Championships - time for a change?

Post by Sean Hewitt » Mon May 26, 2014 4:35 pm

John Swain wrote:First, we ought to set up regional competitions on a Saturday or Sunday where two or three games on a Swiss format, perhaps with an hour each on the clocks, could be played. A leisurely start time of, say 11.00 a.m. would still permit two more rounds with a "traditional" finishing time of about 6.00 p.m.
I suspect this would put most people off, including myself. Can't imagine many fancying or valuing what is effectively a quickplay format.
John Swain wrote:Secondly, the timing of county matches needs to be adjusted. Playing the Quarter-Finals on 17 May and the Semi-Finals on 14 June is a very effective way of excluding juniors with GCSE and A Level exams. If we really want to encourage the participation of juniors, the Finals should be in March/April at the very latest.
This is an eminently sensible suggestion.

Mick Norris
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Re: County Championships - time for a change?

Post by Mick Norris » Mon May 26, 2014 5:00 pm

John Swain wrote: the timing of county matches needs to be adjusted. Playing the Quarter-Finals on 17 May and the Semi-Finals on 14 June is a very effective way of excluding juniors with GCSE and A Level exams. If we really want to encourage the participation of juniors, the Finals should be in March/April at the very latest.
It absolutely crippled the G Man team against Notts (and affected the U160 to a lesser extent), so agree completely on the dates

The SCCU and MCCU qualifiers, however, do last quite a few months, so not sure what can be done unless you scrap the preliminary round?

Another idea would be not to have all the finals/semis/quarters on the same day e.g. have U100, U140, U180 one day, and U120, U160, Open/Minor another to allow for counties that need to have players in more than 1 team
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

John Swain
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Re: County Championships - time for a change?

Post by John Swain » Mon May 26, 2014 5:23 pm

Mick Norris wrote:
John Swain wrote: the timing of county matches needs to be adjusted. Playing the Quarter-Finals on 17 May and the Semi-Finals on 14 June is a very effective way of excluding juniors with GCSE and A Level exams. If we really want to encourage the participation of juniors, the Finals should be in March/April at the very latest.
It absolutely crippled the G Man team against Notts (and affected the U160 to a lesser extent), so agree completely on the dates
I did wonder where all the Manchester GS and other talented juniors from the Manchester area were. On the other hand, if they'd all been available, your average grade might have been over 180 and therefore too high for the Minor Counties!

Sean Hewitt
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Re: County Championships

Post by Sean Hewitt » Mon May 26, 2014 5:24 pm

John Swain wrote:Without apportioning or implying any blame to particular captains, teams or county associations involved, it might be helpful if we could ascertain whether there are general issues which could be addressed for next season, such as perhaps the degree of flexibility of dates. Comments from Cambridgeshire (U100), Leicestershire (U100) Surrey (U100) Warwickshire (U140) and Yorkshire (U180) could be especially valuable, but also from other counties which have had to default in the recent past.
I'm not sure why comments from Leicestershire are valuable in this regard, but here goes!

Leicestershire intended their u100 team to be a junior team. When the first match was lost 12-0 that policy was rethought and the it changed to become and mixed adult / junior team. The remaining matches saw a more competitive team fielded and I feel sure that Leicestershire will enter again next season. No boards were defaulted during the season.

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