Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Discussion about all aspects of the ECF County Championships.
raycollett
Posts: 207
Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2008 1:54 pm

Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by raycollett » Sun Jun 29, 2014 9:58 pm

Richard Bates wrote: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
Yes this seems best, but no free for all.

MartinCarpenter
Posts: 2393
Joined: Tue May 24, 2011 10:58 am

Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by MartinCarpenter » Mon Jun 30, 2014 9:40 am

Isn't it currently a free for all in principle anyway?

Start a random club up called county ringers, affiliate to the relevant county (with appropiate fee), run it with no membership cost and sign chosen people up for free. Even enter a team in the relevant league(s) if you feel like you really must.

Its just that the competition (happily I guess) doesn't motivate people to do this. Although it would very easily allow a way for some of the smaller counties to combine if they really wanted to.

User avatar
Michael Farthing
Posts: 1609
Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2014 1:28 pm
Location: Morecambe, Europe

Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by Michael Farthing » Mon Jun 30, 2014 9:49 am

MartinCarpenter wrote:Isn't it currently a free for all in principle anyway?

Start a random club up called county ringers, affiliate to the relevant county (with appropiate fee), run it with no membership cost and sign chosen people up for free. Even enter a team in the relevant league(s) if you feel like you really must.

Its just that the competition (happily I guess) doesn't motivate people to do this. Although it would very easily allow a way for some of the smaller counties to combine if they really wanted to.
It's called 4NCL isn't it? Seems to function OK.

MartinCarpenter
Posts: 2393
Joined: Tue May 24, 2011 10:58 am

Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by MartinCarpenter » Mon Jun 30, 2014 9:59 am

More than OK really :) Counties stuff thus has to be at least a little different.

If the 4NCL didn't exist there'd be much more motivation to do stuff like trying hard to get the smaller NCCU counties playing somehow etc.

David Pardoe
Posts: 1197
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2007 11:29 pm
Location: NORTH WEST

Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by David Pardoe » Mon Jun 30, 2014 1:47 pm

Interesting to see that the counties/union bods are going to have a skype meeting on the 17th July...just before the Brit Champs start...

I hope that a good representation of Union/county reps make the effort to take part and express there concerns and views.. I hope that those who are entitled to speak take there duties seriously, as representatives of the UK chess community, and have a careful think about the issues that they see as important.
Every county and Union will have its own unique situations to deal with....so delegates should write down the concerns and suggestions they have and put them forward constructively.
I`ll just say that many good ideas have been put forward on other `threads` here on these forums, and I hope these get an airing.

I really like the idea of `reasonable flexibility`, to enable as many counties as possible to take part....but a key theme for me is `local players playing in local teams`... this particularly applies to the so called `new chess counties`. I`m not keen on the idea of the `giant mega counties` sucking in all the stronger players so they can just batter the rest off the board. But I understand why some north counties feel pressured into doing this to enable them to compete with the SCCU in the National stages, where they have huge numbers of players available to them. Some balancing mechanisms, such as have been suggested, might help ease the pressures, and encourage more participation....
Just to illustrate one aspect...take the U180 event. It is pointless having 180 teams that consist of players mainly graded between 170 and 180...it means that players graded 160 to 170 are `shut out`. Some balancing is needed to ensure proper representation.

These 16 board matches are a unique event that offer many benefits to chess...not least, the chance to play and gain competitive team experience in big team events, and to play other teams from across your region..
Also, on the social and chess level...a good chance for county and league players to meet up and chat...
Nice to have a good playing venue, with light refreshments...and very good to play matches at a more relaxed rate, where you can actually get down to a proper endgame without resorting to being blitzed off the clock.
The atmosphere at these county matches is unique...electric at times, as players gather round remaining boards in the later stages, check the score sheets, and speculate about the outcomes as the clocks tick down and the final few boards come to a conclusion... moves are made, things change by the minute. And seeing the look of bisbelief on Neils face, as his Notts U160 team were eventually outgunned (in a very close fought battle), by a lively and youthful Manchester team. Long may these duels of the MCCU qualifiers continue...and I hope Manchester can find someone to continue our U160 team...and better still ..perhaps add a U120 team to our county portfolio...

Remember...this is not just about the heavyweight divisions of Open/U180 team chess. The great thing about county chess is that it enables county teams to represent there areas at all levels. So I`d strongly urge those counties with non or few teams to look at the possibility of entering a U140, U120, or U100 team...and also a Minor counties team. Captains are key...can we encourage more volunteers to come forward.
Transport can be an issue..so I`d urge county/Union bodies to look at structuring which encourages regional splits...say `east and west` to ease transport issues.

As regards merged counties...its an absolute `must have`...the sooner the better.
And to ensure proper ECF representation, make sure that each party to the merged counties is allocated at least one delegate vote at the ECF AGM.
Examples of `merged counties could be Cleveland and North Yorks...its particularly important that some of the `new chess counties` are given more incentives to actually take part if possible. And yes, it would be good for North Yorks (and others..), to have a seat at the ECF AGM and have a vote....

I`m also in favour of wider (and more structured..) grade boundaries..amongst other options, to help counties with smaller numbers. And for the big south-east block, with its huge population advantages, I`d urge that counties be allowed to enter multiple teams in each/any section..of roughly equal strength, to enable the many players in these areas a chance to participate. It might also help balance out the `handicap` that other Unions and counties face at the National stages, of not having the huge numbers of players to choose from. These measures could take some of the pressure off the `north`, where they feel they need massive armies of county space to choose there players in order to compete.. No point in running competitions where half the country feels its not worth bothering..

But, I`ll make one other point here..its not just about the winning...its also about the taking part.

Neil mentions Manchester as an example of a bustling chess community with lots of players..
Yes, they are...and they do...but they struggle with various issues which can create barriers. We need a chess environment that actually encourages counties to take part...

I`ve made various suggestions (on other threads.) as to how things might be changed...and I agree that change is not always easy and requires some long term thinking....and volunteers willing to carefully consider changes that might be phased in sensibly...

The NCCU problems are an illustration of the difficulties...
No proper Union organisation...little support from member county bodies, who have no county team officials in place in many cases.. Historic problems/baggage...
And a situation where the top two big gun counties are so massive and so dominant that no-one else feels able to take them on....absolutely mad...sad...so huge swathes of NCCU territory have become county chess exclusion zones. This situation screams out for change...but it needs a wholistic solution on a national level, and a set of rules/structures which help to level the playing field.. I`ve made various comments on possible restructuring...I accept this is not easy.

4NCL `north` is not a problem...it could even be part of the solution...but the two competitions can co-exist, and there is room for both to develop, in the interests of our chess playing communities.
Playing a few county matches, some 4NCL, some congress, and some Yorkshire cup chess should be possible..but we do need an influx of new players to our local clubs....and a healthy crop of new volunteers to keep the wheels turning...
So..come on Merseyside..Cheshire, Durham, Northumberland, Cleveland, South Yorks, East Yorks, and others ...join the party. But lets set up a framework that encourages this to happen.
BRING BACK THE BCF

MartinCarpenter
Posts: 2393
Joined: Tue May 24, 2011 10:58 am

Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by MartinCarpenter » Mon Jun 30, 2014 3:06 pm

Can you please calm down about this? The county champs are neither meant to be fair or balanced. That really, truly isn't the point.
And Yorkshire simply is naturally very large.

Leagues do also (nearly) always end up with dominant teams. Look at Div3(N) last season, Div 1 of course. Those are 'fairer' in principle, but not balanced. The Yorkshire league is mostly very nicely balanced but the top three teams managed 27/27 vs the other teams last season.....

Andrew Zigmond
Posts: 1526
Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2011 9:23 pm
Location: Harrogate

Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Mon Jun 30, 2014 3:13 pm

David Pardoe wrote: Examples of `merged counties could be Cleveland and North Yorks...its particularly important that some of the `new chess counties` are given more incentives to actually take part if possible. And yes, it would be good for North Yorks (and others..), to have a seat at the ECF AGM and have a vote....

So..come on Merseyside..Cheshire, Durham, Northumberland, Cleveland, South Yorks, East Yorks, and others ...join the party. But lets set up a framework that encourages this to happen.
Post deleted as a bit too harsh. But Yorks devolution is not on the agenda.
Controller - Yorkshire League
Chairman - Harrogate Chess Club
All views expressed entirely my own

David Pardoe
Posts: 1197
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2007 11:29 pm
Location: NORTH WEST

Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by David Pardoe » Mon Jun 30, 2014 4:10 pm

Martin...by all means put your alternative proposals forward for improving things, if you have any.
Its not all about Yorks, or Lancs...but it would be nice to see other NCCU counties and others enter the fray, and not just feel banished to the touchlines because of this boringly loaded competition, which gives them zillch chance of doing anything.....so not worth turning up to.??
Is that what you want...events with no real interest that leave half the country feeling excluded..??

And those who think the answer for the NCCU is to bring Gman into the NCCU shambles in a bid to liven things up are probably mistaken...yes, it might give some big shots a buzz, but thats all.

On the other hand, if you just want the SCCU to continue dominating the proceedings, because of the huge population advantages, travel, wealth, etc.....have another yawn on me.

There might well be other options and possibilities, but believe me, things need shaking up if we are to create more interest and participation. And the 4NCL might look like it does everything you want, but the counties event has the potential to offer other choices that could serve UK chess interests well.
PS West Yorks, South Yorks & East Yorks are also big counties in there own right and could make fine additional `chess counties`... .yes, it might take time to re-establish these bases..not an easy task, I accept.
And why not an East & West Sussex teams, perhaps...in the SCCU.
Lets get out of the death spiral.... Durham hasnt even got a County Secretary, nor a County Captain...volunteers wanted..
Martin, you keep saying how Manchester is a hot bed of chess with loads of players...maybe you should take up the vacant post of U160 county captain (non playing)...get some first hand experience of running a team..
Then come back and tell us how easy it all is....
BRING BACK THE BCF

raycollett
Posts: 207
Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2008 1:54 pm

Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by raycollett » Mon Jun 30, 2014 4:34 pm

David Pardoe wrote:the 4NCL might look like it does everything you want,
Some players with families want to devote only one of the two weekend days to chess and overnight hotel stays are too expensive for others. There are places for both types of team tournament. I suspect a major issue for northern teams is distance to travel, especially in the winter months.

MartinCarpenter
Posts: 2393
Joined: Tue May 24, 2011 10:58 am

Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by MartinCarpenter » Mon Jun 30, 2014 4:48 pm

Well also a very good percentage of the Northern population - all of Yorkshire, small bits of Lancs/GM travelling over - is happily playing 11 matches of 8 board Saturday league chess a year in the Yorkshire league :)

If Cleveland/GM(?) really wanted to compete on Saturdays only, they could probably get into the Yorkshire league one way or another. Certainly individual players can and some do. York fielded the odd Stockton based player for a bit a few years back. The travel from GM would be OK for most matches (Sheffield/Leeds/Bradford etc), if a bit much to/from Hull.

This is another reason what David is proposing is such a terrible idea. No one in Yorkshire would have any interest in playing the matches against each other. County chess at least lets us try being friends for a change ;)

David Pardoe
Posts: 1197
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2007 11:29 pm
Location: NORTH WEST

Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by David Pardoe » Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:46 pm

Martin,
I do take your points about Yorks and its current chess commitments...but I still think they might muster some extra teams at various levels by splitting into 2 or 3 groups..
Also, with the current setup, playing home at Bradford, large chuncks of Yorks are effectly excluded from playing anyway... eg...travel from Scarborough to Bradford to play a home game...?? Then consider areas like Richmond in north yorks...to link up with Cleveland perhaps.
Even travel from Hull is a fair run...so having another chess centre at say York, and maybe Sheffield would add more home bases. Also..if the NCCU split the counties events into `East west zones`...West Yorks could play in the west zone... Incidentally, to help this work more effectively, I`d suggest a rule change to National stage qualification, allowing separate qualifiers from any such east and west zones.

But, as I said...its not just about Yorks...maybe them staying as one single unit works best....( certainly for the `Open` team), but at the expence of creating a massive `counties` chess exclusion zone in the north...?
But then you need to consider all the other northern counties where chess has become a no go job.
It would be good if some means of incentivising these areas could be found...
Two key things here...one is volunteers to fill posts (like county captains), ...second and equally important is putting chess back on the map. ie, our whole chess scene needs an injection of new blood. The old Fischer generation is slowly fading...although numbers at last weekends Sheffield Congress were pretty fair. And a good venue at King Edwards GS proved popular, although its extremely hilly round those parts, so the lunch time walk proved an uphill struggle for some
BRING BACK THE BCF

Andrew Zigmond
Posts: 1526
Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2011 9:23 pm
Location: Harrogate

Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Mon Jun 30, 2014 6:48 pm

David Pardoe wrote:Martin,
I do take your points about Yorks and its current chess commitments...but I still think they might muster some extra teams at various levels by splitting into 2 or 3 groups..
Also, with the current setup, playing home at Bradford, large chuncks of Yorks are effectly excluded from playing anyway... eg...travel from Scarborough to Bradford to play a home game...?? Then consider areas like Richmond in north yorks...to link up with Cleveland perhaps.
Even travel from Hull is a fair run...so having another chess centre at say York, and maybe Sheffield would add more home bases. Also..if the NCCU split the counties events into `East west zones`...West Yorks could play in the west zone... Incidentally, to help this work more effectively, I`d suggest a rule change to National stage qualification, allowing separate qualifiers from any such east and west zones.

But, as I said...its not just about Yorks...maybe them staying as one single unit works best....( certainly for the `Open` team), but at the expence of creating a massive `counties` chess exclusion zone in the north...?
But then you need to consider all the other northern counties where chess has become a no go job.
It would be good if some means of incentivising these areas could be found...
Two key things here...one is volunteers to fill posts (like county captains), ...second and equally important is putting chess back on the map. ie, our whole chess scene needs an injection of new blood. The old Fischer generation is slowly fading...although numbers at last weekends Sheffield Congress were pretty fair. And a good venue at King Edwards GS proved popular, although its extremely hilly round those parts, so the lunch time walk proved an uphill struggle for some
With respect David you're not involved in Yorkshire chess and, contrary to your confidence, you have no idea of the situation on the ground. The reason Bradford is used for home matches is because it's relatively central and easily accessible by both car and public transport. Perhaps more importantly the venue is free. For last season all the County captains were based in Bradford or Leeds so it was inevitable that the matches would be held local to them.

There is quite a bit of work to do in Yorkshire to rebuild the infrastructure around County Chess. At present we're not in a position to enter teams in most of the national stages, let alone devolve into seperate counties (which would need to be constituted and seek entry to the NCCU before anything else could be done) as you keep lecturing us to do.

One point I would make is that volunteers will do things their own way. If you want things done your way ...
Controller - Yorkshire League
Chairman - Harrogate Chess Club
All views expressed entirely my own

MartinCarpenter
Posts: 2393
Joined: Tue May 24, 2011 10:58 am

Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by MartinCarpenter » Mon Jun 30, 2014 7:18 pm

Also it has to be said that the vast bulk of the population (and so chess players) in Yorkshire is within ~30 minutes of Bradford/Leeds.

N Yorkshire proper doesn't have many people and consequently few clubs. Andrew's club (Harrogate) looks to be just furthest north for the Yorkshire league (with help from Ilkley iirc?). Scarborough have improved to managing a team in the York league in recent years, but not huge numbers.

Its only really Cleveland - who have devolved of course - and Hull/Humberside who are out on a limb. Of course 20 years ago Hull could almost have reasonably tried to win the county champs all by themselves :) Not that strong chess wise nowadays. Some of their keener players travel anyway.

Definitely not many extra people to involve. You'd only split if you were going to try and explicitly balance strength somehow, but we've got other competitions for that.

PeterFarr
Posts: 575
Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2013 11:20 pm
Location: Horsham, Sussex

Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by PeterFarr » Mon Jun 30, 2014 9:41 pm

David Pardoe wrote:
On the other hand, if you just want the SCCU to continue dominating the proceedings, because of the huge population advantages, travel, wealth, etc.....have another yawn on me.

And why not an East & West Sussex teams, perhaps...in the SCCU.
1) Middlesex is the only SCCU county with a big population advantage, although the peculiarities of London life considerably dilute the benefit - too many alternatives and probably much less sense of a county identity. Check the population facts: Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and Warwickshire (incl. Birmingham ) have far greater populations than any other SCCU county. You might argue that a lot of Manchester people play for Lancashire - but that only means that Lancashire too joins that club of big counties.

2) How does wealth impact county chess? It's amateur and cheaper than almost any other sport or recreation. Otherwise how come the expensive 4ncl has done so well growing the Northern section?

3) Geography - maybe the distances in the North are greater, but the traffic is less - though I'll admit that travelling trans-Pennine in the Winter is not nice. How is SCCU geography more favourable than that of the MCCU though? - only because Greater Manchester is in it is there a difference. I do have sympathy for Yorkshire; with such a big area it must be difficult to organise. The West Country counties are the ones that really have the difficult journeys.

4) East Sussex and West Sussex have only ever been administrative constructs: Sussex people are Sussex people. also Sussex is generally the 4th or 5th best SCCU county, (though we do better than this from time to time, we have never won the county championship, unlike the multiple wins of our neighbours) so cutting it in half would only benefit the counties that are usually stronger - I.e. it would have the reverse of your intended impact. The idea is completely ridiculous and would effectively destroy county chess in Sussex. So that's "why not".

David Pardoe
Posts: 1197
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2007 11:29 pm
Location: NORTH WEST

Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by David Pardoe » Tue Jul 01, 2014 12:36 am

Peter...
London alone has a colossal population of about 10 million people...that's nearly 20% of the entire UK national population...and growing fast as it tries to suck in yet more workers. The south east led job creation economy definitely favours that zone...
I used Sussex purely as an indicative possibility...maybe east and west Middlesex, or north and south Middlesex might produce better groupings...whatever splits produce workable numbers...

But the wealth issue definitely has a bearing.. In the north, transport is a big issue for many players and teams.
When we organise county matches (or even local club/league matches), its amazing how many players don't have cars, so finding drivers is a critical issue. Also, many players really find budgets so tight that giving up an away day to chess is a genuine struggle.

As for 4NCL..yes, the northern section has put in a great effort to turn out, despite significant difficulties/challenges, and I salute the northern/midlands captains and organizers + arbiters, who have got together to make things happen. A truly excellent effort, and I hope the competition structures can be improved to encourage even more new teams to enter. The venues are generally very good, and offer decent room discounts...but even these are a financial challenge to many in the north, who struggle on the bread line, thanks in no small part to those rich overpaid London big wigs, earning stupefying bonuses for wrecking this country`s economy...but that's another story...and I`ll not mention overpaid footballers.

Talking of 4NCL reforms, I have commented on this on the 4NCL threads...(See Future Options...), many options look possible. A grand finals weekend of some description in Hinckley/Daventry is a must, I believe when all parties come together for the final showdown...and enjoy a good social 3-day festival of chess...and a chance to see our top tier GMs/IMs in action. More variety of venues for Divs 1 and 2 I`m sure would also help.

Returning...
Another point is about grading boundaries...we in the northern quarter generally favour widening these boundaries (back to 25 points), to give captains greater chance to pull together viable teams and encourage greater competition. In the SCCU they play loads of county chess, I believe, and have an abundance of players wanting to play, ...such that narrowing the grade boundaries to provide more chess was deemed very popular in SCCU territory. So, presumably this underlines the fact that much greater numbers of players are available in that quarter.

I didnt say that geography in the Midlands was a particular problem...but it is a challenge, thats why they have opted for `east` `west` splits. I`d actually favour rule changes that allowed separate qualifiers from each of these regional events to go forward to the National stages...it might even help bridge the gaps that are starting to appear in the `byes` department of the Finals stages.
Yes, such splits could well help the NCCU where the Pennine barrier is a major hurdle..
BRING BACK THE BCF

Post Reply