Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Discussion about all aspects of the ECF County Championships.
Sean Hewitt
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Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by Sean Hewitt » Sun Jun 29, 2014 12:27 pm

Kevin Williamson wrote:Graham plays in the Bedfordshire league for Milton Keynes, which is in Buckinghamshire. Northampton also play in the Beds league. Neither Bucks nor Northants currently have a team which play in their Union or ECF competitions, so by depriving these players of the opportunity of playing for Bedfordshire they are prevented from playing Union/ECF County chess all together.
This could be cause and effect. When I enquired of a Northants rep why that county didn't play county chess there any more, his personal opinion was that they couldn't get enough players because too many of their players played for Bedfordshire. So rather than helping Northants players to play county chess, this situation might actually be on the cause that prevents this county from participating at all.

It's all a matter of opinion of course and, as usual, there is unlikely to be consensus.

Ian Thompson
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Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by Ian Thompson » Sun Jun 29, 2014 12:39 pm

The eligibility rules are reproduced in full here:-

C3.1. The qualifications for a player to represent a County in the Championship shall be one of the following:-
(i) Birth in that county.
(ii) Five years’ residence in that county at any time.
(iii) Two months immediate previous and present membership of a club either in or affiliated to that County.
(iv) One month’s immediately previous and present residence in that County.
(v) Present attendance as a teacher or student at a school, college or university in that County.
(i) - (iv) look reasonable to me. (v) is strange. Why should a teacher who works in a county be able to play for it, but not anyone employed in any other occupation in the county, not even a member of the non-teaching staff at the same school?

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Jun 29, 2014 12:49 pm

Ian Thompson wrote:(v) is strange. Why should a teacher who works in a county be able to play for it, but not anyone employed in any other occupation in the county, not even a member of the non-teaching staff at the same school?
For universities, is the borderline between being a teacher and being a student somewhat blurred for post graduates? For schools is it anything to do with boarding schools? But you might expect teaching staff to be locally resident even where the pupils are not.

Brian Valentine
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Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by Brian Valentine » Sun Jun 29, 2014 1:06 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:
Kevin Williamson wrote:Graham plays in the Bedfordshire league for Milton Keynes, which is in Buckinghamshire. Northampton also play in the Beds league. Neither Bucks nor Northants currently have a team which play in their Union or ECF competitions, so by depriving these players of the opportunity of playing for Bedfordshire they are prevented from playing Union/ECF County chess all together.
This could be cause and effect. When I enquired of a Northants rep why that county didn't play county chess there any more, his personal opinion was that they couldn't get enough players because too many of their players played for Bedfordshire. So rather than helping Northants players to play county chess, this situation might actually be on the cause that prevents this county from participating at all.

It's all a matter of opinion of course and, as usual, there is unlikely to be consensus.
It has never been Bedfordshire policy to poach players who could play for another county. Only one Northants club plays in the Beds League and we have offered services to this affiliated club after a long period of Northants not playing union chess. While a number of Northampton players have represented Bedfordshire over the years only two have been long standing regulars.

We would encourage the county rep to get a county captain and re-establish the county team. If travel is a problem the consider joining the EACU - I doubt that was an option when the team folded!

Mick Norris
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Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by Mick Norris » Sun Jun 29, 2014 1:35 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote: With only six teams willing to contest the national stages of the Open, it doesn't feel as if there is a vast amount of unsatisfied demand for county chess.
Misleading stat, as usual :roll:

There are 15 county first teams competing, with the strongest 6 in the Open and the other 9 in the Minor

Only 5 at U180 may be an indication of a problem

9 at U160, 7 at U140, 7 at U120 and even 6 at U100 may indicate there is demand

G Man aren't alone in having players, but lacking captains - we lost ours from this season, and only found 1 yesterday at our AGM, which leaves our first team OK, but not our U160 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

Mick Norris
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Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by Mick Norris » Sun Jun 29, 2014 1:42 pm

Ian Thompson wrote:
The eligibility rules are reproduced in full here:-

C3.1. The qualifications for a player to represent a County in the Championship shall be one of the following:-
(i) Birth in that county.
(ii) Five years’ residence in that county at any time.
(iii) Two months immediate previous and present membership of a club either in or affiliated to that County.
(iv) One month’s immediately previous and present residence in that County.
(v) Present attendance as a teacher or student at a school, college or university in that County.
(i) - (iv) look reasonable to me. (v) is strange. Why should a teacher who works in a county be able to play for it, but not anyone employed in any other occupation in the county, not even a member of the non-teaching staff at the same school?
The proposed removal of "teacher or" in (v) looks fair

Affiliation is a problem for me - Manchester is twinned with St Petersburg, so if we affiliate them and fill the G Man team with Russians (ok, extreme example, but an indication of what might be done)?

I'd like to see affiliation removed, but I'd also like to see smaller counties than ours allowed to compete as merged entities (Bucks/Northants/Berks, Cleveland/Durham/Northumberland, Cheshire/Merseyside possibly)
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Sun Jun 29, 2014 2:08 pm

In some ways it's a bit of a none issue. The rule is there to prevent teams from playing obvious ringers (if enough people feel that it should be a complete free for all then a motion should be put to Council for the eligibility rule to be removed).

If there is a concern or a complaint over the eligibility of a player then the controller will review the facts and make a decision. If this then goes to appeal the Home Director will either uphold the decision or he won't. That's pretty much all there is to it.
Controller - Yorkshire League
Chairman - Harrogate Chess Club
All views expressed entirely my own

Brian Valentine
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Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by Brian Valentine » Sun Jun 29, 2014 2:28 pm

I'd like to see affiliation removed, but I'd also like to see smaller counties than ours allowed to compete as merged entities (Bucks/Northants/Berks, Cleveland/Durham/Northumberland, Cheshire/Merseyside possibly)
The problem here is that the Unions are made up of county associations and the teams represent those associations. Bedfordshire play more chess at the union stage than they would (in a good year) at the National stages.

County Associations are also a building block to represent members at council. The team matches are often the only place to get member's views efficiently.

Neil Graham
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Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by Neil Graham » Sun Jun 29, 2014 2:31 pm

May I comment on several of the points raised in this thread?

The rules are eligibility are the same as those in the 1992 BCF Yearbook (except that "two years" has now been replaced by "two months"). No doubt if I crawl round the loft to locate an earlier Yearbook, which I don't intend to do, this rule has been in place for much longer than that! The rule has served the competition well - there is absolutely no need to change or indeed tweak it. My guess is that eligibility checks are non-existent and that the Director and Controller rightly assume that the captains ensure all players are eligible to play. The only eligibility question I can ever recall coming up in my many years association with the competition is when Player "A" played for County "X" in the preliminaries and then for County "Y" in the Finals. It was spotted and the appropriate penalty enacted.

I have already said in a previous thread that every county has the capacity to contest at least some of the competitions. We all know that there is a dearth of organisers at every level of chess from club through county and Union and up to national. I have mentioned this for example when ECF elections loom. I am sure that the Manchester Chess Federation could easily enter teams at every level for example U-160, U-140; U-120 & U-100 but as Mick Norris points out above they can't find anyone to captain a side! Manchester has a large and active chess playing community - so consider the problems with those counties who are less organised. I recall a member of this forum complaining last year about chess organisation in Northamptonshire - a county where now eligible players have to resort to playing for Bedfordshire!

If we relax the eligibility rules as suggested by Roger, the event becomes a meaningless free-for-all where, presumably, those with the biggest financial clout attract the best players. It was a pleasure to meet Leicestershire this year and find that they had a grandmaster Mark Hebden on Board One who was prepared to represent his home county. If Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire etc don't wish to play in the County Championship or affiliate to a Union that is their decision.

At the start of the season Nottinghamshire looked at the grades of players in the July 2013 list and decided that we would enter the Minor Counties rather than the Open or the Under 180. We have insufficient players to contest both the U180 and the Minor simultaneously. As regards the Open Championship to play in that you need to be able to field a team with a large number of players graded 200+ and probably an average grade of over 200 to win. Notts are unable to field a team anything like that - the only Midland team to enter was Staffordshire who turned out a quarter-final team with an average grade of 187.5 and then were trounced by Kent who could field a team which had an average approaching the 200 mark.

Finally in respect of Worksop who play in the Sheffield and District Chess Association. Nottinghamshire have not asked any Worksop players to represent the county this year and if we did we would expect the club to affiliate to the Notts Chess Association. Worksop players have played for us in the past and at that time the club did pay an affiliation fee to the Notts CA. Once the finals have been completed I'll give some statistics on the Notts county teams for this year.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Jun 29, 2014 2:52 pm

Neil Graham wrote: If Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire etc don't wish to play in the County Championship
The three counties compete along with Hampshire at 20 boards at both Open and under 150 level. These are double round, so that's six matches, twelve if you make both teams. Travelling is relatively local and you rarely feel as used to be the case when, say, away to Kent that you had made a long journey in a lost cause. There isn't a strong desire to play in weekend matches over the summer, which is why there is no objective to seek entry to the National stages. Many of the top boards already double up by playing 4NCL , for Oxford in particular, travelling to Daventry or Hinckley is simpler than Hassocks, Lewisham or Wanstead.

The usual method of signing ringers from outside the county is to make them legitimate by having them play the odd game for a local club.

David Sedgwick
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Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by David Sedgwick » Sun Jun 29, 2014 3:32 pm

Neil Graham wrote:The rules are eligibility are the same as those in the 1992 BCF Yearbook (except that "two years" has now been replaced by "two months"). No doubt if I crawl round the loft to locate an earlier Yearbook, which I don't intend to do, this rule has been in place for much longer than that! The rule has served the competition well - there is absolutely no need to change or indeed tweak it. My guess is that eligibility checks are non-existent and that the Director and Controller rightly assume that the captains ensure all players are eligible to play. The only eligibility question I can ever recall coming up in my many years association with the competition is when Player "A" played for County "X" in the preliminaries and then for County "Y" in the Finals. It was spotted and the appropriate penalty enacted.

I have already said in a previous thread that every county has the capacity to contest at least some of the competitions. We all know that there is a dearth of organisers at every level of chess from club through county and Union and up to national. I have mentioned this for example when ECF elections loom. I am sure that the Manchester Chess Federation could easily enter teams at every level for example U-160, U-140; U-120 & U-100 but as Mick Norris points out above they can't find anyone to captain a side! Manchester has a large and active chess playing community - so consider the problems with those counties who are less organised. I recall a member of this forum complaining last year about chess organisation in Northamptonshire - a county where now eligible players have to resort to playing for Bedfordshire!

If we relax the eligibility rules as suggested by Roger, the event becomes a meaningless free-for-all where, presumably, those with the biggest financial clout attract the best players. It was a pleasure to meet Leicestershire this year and find that they had a grandmaster Mark Hebden on Board One who was prepared to represent his home county. If Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire etc don't wish to play in the County Championship or affiliate to a Union that is their decision.

At the start of the season Nottinghamshire looked at the grades of players in the July 2013 list and decided that we would enter the Minor Counties rather than the Open or the Under 180. We have insufficient players to contest both the U180 and the Minor simultaneously. As regards the Open Championship to play in that you need to be able to field a team with a large number of players graded 200+ and probably an average grade of over 200 to win. Notts are unable to field a team anything like that - the only Midland team to enter was Staffordshire who turned out a quarter-final team with an average grade of 187.5 and then were trounced by Kent who could field a team which had an average approaching the 200 mark.
As Mike Gunn has mentioned, your views on the eligibility issue were pretty widely shared by those who attended the SCCU Annual Council Meeting yesterday, although we accepted that the special treatment of teachers was something of an amomaly.

On the whole the relevant officers of counties in the SCCU devote their energies to enabling their counties to field successful teams, rather than constantly complaining about the format and the rules. I am very pleased that Nottinghamshire do the same.

In fairness to Buckinghamshire, I should mention that they remain affiliated to the SCCU.

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Sun Jun 29, 2014 3:55 pm

Will removing the "teacher or" clause make any difference at all? You want to play for the county the school you teach at is located? Why not register it as a club?

PeterFarr
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Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by PeterFarr » Sun Jun 29, 2014 5:14 pm

David Sedgwick wrote: On the whole the relevant officers of counties in the SCCU devote their energies to enabling their counties to field successful teams, rather than constantly complaining about the format and the rules. I am very pleased that Nottinghamshire do the same.
Well quite so, from the point of view of an average county player, one hardly notices SCCU officialdom, which proves they do a good job. Thanks to people like David and Mike.

Richard Bates
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Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by Richard Bates » Sun Jun 29, 2014 7:29 pm

IMO the rules on eligibility should be drafted as loosely as possible to enable anyone who feels some sort of affinity to a County to play for them if they wish, without allowing the general free for all which Roger favours. On the assumption that nobody without any connection with a County will not likely have a reason to desire to play for them. At the end of the day this is amateur chess within the context of which one has to rely on, and should expect, some degree of basic integrity from captains and players alike.

And it seems to me that the current rules meet this requirement pretty well. Trying to tighten the rules is unnecessary and counterproductive - not least since I don't think anyone should want a greater focus on what exactly determines County boundaries...

On the other issue - using January grades is a nobrainer - if they are not seen as THE determinant of strength post January then the ECF should abolish them in their present form. (for practical purposes I can however see that people shouldn't become ineligible mid season).

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Jun 29, 2014 7:48 pm

Richard Bates wrote: On the other issue - using January grades is a nobrainer - if they are not seen as THE determinant of strength post January then the ECF should abolish them in their present form. (for practical purposes I can however see that people shouldn't become ineligible mid season).
The simplest rule would say that players were eligible for restricted teams if they had a grade low enough to qualify in either the July or January list. That would mean a modest boost in available players who have been having a poor season. That leaves a question on ungraded players as to whether they are excluded if their January grade is too high. The SCCU rules exclude them, but they could be defined relative to a July estimate.
SCCU rules wrote:(ii) January grades. If a player without a published start-of-season grade acquires an ECF grade in the January list, the January grade will count for eligibility with effect from one week after publication (or earlier if the team captain so chooses). It will supersede any clearance, or refusal of clearance, previously declared by the County Match Controller.
For Minor Counties under 180 averages, why not just use the January list as effectively the competition doesn't start until April? I don't believe any teams in the Union stage are required to stick to average under 180, so the problem of throwing players out of the team is only the same as it is anyway.

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