Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

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

Post by MartinCarpenter » Tue Jul 01, 2014 10:39 am

Greater London quite enormous but thankfully doesn't exist as a unitary county in chess terms :) No cars just goes with inner city living I'd think.

I don't think there's any unified thinking about the grading boundaries for the U160/U180 etc. The same counties that can happily field (near) full strength open teams should be easily able to cope with 20pt boundaries, and could actually quite easily cope with an U185 (U190?!) competition at the top end without overlapping their open teams very much. The smaller counties struggle a bit at times, so it isn't an easy problem.
(Yorkshire's recent struggles with the U180's are a combination of bad luck/organisation :( Def not objective player shortage.).

Graham Borrowdale

Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by Graham Borrowdale » Tue Jul 01, 2014 12:33 pm

David Pardoe wrote:...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...
Please!
How many of those overpaid London big wigs do you think are playing county chess? How many Londoners do you think struggle on the bread line?

The lack of drivers among chess players does always surprise me, though, and I am sure it is not always about economics.

Mick Norris
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Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by Mick Norris » Tue Jul 01, 2014 1:23 pm

Graham Borrowdale wrote:The lack of drivers among chess players does always surprise me, though, and I am sure it is not always about economics.
Yes, it is one of the things hampering our Open team (to which on Saturday we elected as new captain a non-driver :) )

Our U160 team (apart from not now having a captain) doesn't seem too bad, quite a few drivers, but still less than average in the general population I guess
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: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by MartinCarpenter » Tue Jul 01, 2014 1:32 pm

Surely there just isn't that much call to drive in GM? You can live in the city quite easily and the public transport to/from a lot of places is very good. Very good train connections. Its even 'small' enough to walk in/around fairly comfortably.

Its probably one of the very best places in the UK to live and not drive actually. I've noticed (managable) problems from not driving very much more in the NE.

Having said that, not easy to find drivers in York either. It works out OK for our A team but the B team (mostly +-30ish) have really struggled at times.

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

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Jul 01, 2014 1:40 pm

MartinCarpenter wrote:Its probably one of the very best places in the UK to live and not drive actually.
Exactly the same would apply to inner London.

For car owners outside the M25, inner London can be a no go area. So it's easier from my part of the world to contemplate 4NCL matches in Daventry or Hinckley than county matches in South East London.

Graham Borrowdale

Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by Graham Borrowdale » Tue Jul 01, 2014 1:48 pm

Actually I was wondering why the proportion of chess players who drive/own a car seems lower than the general population. Maybe I am imagining it, but it has always seemed to be the case.

MartinCarpenter
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Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by MartinCarpenter » Tue Jul 01, 2014 1:54 pm

I wonder if it is?

Mind you, it is definitely often a problem. Leam Lane (many times consecutive Northumbrian league champs) folded last year - I believe because they ran out of driver(s). Perhaps willing ones in that case as some quite long trips involved. From the league website it looks like they'll be back next season.

Greater London does have the problem with £££££££££ house prices/rents. The big Yorkshire cities are mostly pretty good for not driving too of course.

Mick Norris
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Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by Mick Norris » Tue Jul 01, 2014 6:22 pm

MartinCarpenter wrote:Surely there just isn't that much call to drive in GM?
My experience is that the non-drivers won't use public transport, and no amount of scheduling matches near train stations help (Holmes Chapel, Water Orton, etc)

We play most matches at Newcastle-under-Lyme, which doesn't have a train station, and I only know of 1 player who has gone there by public transport

In Bolton, the proportion of county players who drive is about 70%, the captains then try and say that Oldham/Eccles/Sale/Stockport is handily on our way to wherever we are playing - strangely, when I offer to pick them up at Bolton train station they find someone else to drive them :roll:

I did Syston by train to an MCCU meeting a couple of years ago - 7 trains during the day
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MartinCarpenter
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Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by MartinCarpenter » Thu Jul 03, 2014 2:49 pm

That is a bit markedly rubbish :( Yorkshire often has multiple people being picked up from Leeds/Sheffield station. Easy/cheap places to reach from most plausible places.

For a note about the grade boundaries - I just checked to see what the current grades of the Yorkshire U175 team which won back in 2008/9 were now. That was a decent team but far from overwhelming. Really should have lose the semi to Middlesex. Average ECF grade then was ~161, in the new grades that's up to ~176.

Nothing to do with juniors that :) Just what the new grades have settled down to. On the June '13 grades there's one player 186, one 185, 6 between 184 and 180, one 179, one 171 but often >180 so only really 6 you could count as regulars for an U180 team.

Only one of those players has been a regular for the county open team this year and I think 2 appearances from others on low boards in the semi. That's quite a few players cut out of things really, especially as quite a lot of them had been regulars for the U175's before it all got shuffled.

Of course its totally different for the smaller counties, and thus not easy.

Martyn Harris
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Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by Martyn Harris » Thu Jul 03, 2014 8:46 pm

Mick Norris wrote:We play most matches at Newcastle-under-Lyme, which doesn't have a train station, and I only know of 1 player who has gone there by public transport
Indeed Newcastle does not have a station, but as it is only 2 miles from Stoke-on-Trent station and with options of using the regular bus service, taxi or Shanks' pony to bridge the gap, this is hardly a big deal. Indeed for those with easy access to Piccadilly or Stockport the journey is simple, quick and comfortable.

Unfortunately there do seem to be many players around who feel that if they condescend to agree to play for you they are entitled to be ferried door to door in return.

David Pardoe
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Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by David Pardoe » Thu Jul 03, 2014 9:44 pm

Firstly...how to encourage a wider range of entries, and more counties to take part...I`ve made a few suggestions earlier (..and on other threads)..... .and let me emphasise that these are targeted at all groupings.
Too much focus in these discussions is about the top dogs...Open, U180 and Minor Counties teams.
We need to encourage the lower tier groups, i.e., U160, U140, U120 & U100 groupings, where more counties should consider taking part.
I`ve made some points on this, such as widening the grading boundaries back to 25 grading points. To compliment this and add balance to the grading representation, I`ve suggested having more structure within the grading boundaries, to ensure a better spread of players , i.e...its no good having all these grade groups just top loaded by the big hitter teams, which means that chunks of the players at the lower end of these bands get excluded from playing. One option might be to insert an averaging rule that says, for instance, that in the U180 section each team must field players averaging no more than 168 on the bottom eight boards. This would ensure that each team had at least 2 or 3 players in that lower quartile. Similarly, for the U140 section, you could insist that the lower eight boards must not average above 128... This would help with spreads, add balance, ensure wider player representation, reduce top loading, and open up the competitions, so that a greater number of counties are encouraged to join in...

This is not particularly aimed at incentivising our big mega counties, its about encouraging the wider county community to take up the challenge...

Another issue is about the switch between the qualifier stages and the National stages, and the problems/challenges that brings.. It could be that we need to look at the restructuring of the Finals stages
I particularly hope that the discussions open up to include County Captains, who probably know at first hand what actual issues are faced.
Combining the Semi-finals & Finals into one big Jamboree event, played over two days at Birmingham University might be a possibility...allowing teams to bring in different players for the two days if they wished.
This, for one thing, would allow the Preliminaries and Qtr Finals to be spread out over a longer period.
At the bottom of this, you need good organisation at all levels...Union, County and league/club...volunteers are key, and captains, with good contact lists and support from local clubs/players.
Maybe we also need to look at other issues, such as prizes, and publicity, to try to ensure that the regional Press give the Finals more coverage, with pictures and stories, background, news and games, for local interest across our regions. Counties and the ECF need to give this some attention if we are to attract new players into the game and help boost numbers at our local clubs.

I suspect that what is really needed is a fully detailed paper, listing various options, objectives, challenges, etc...to see what the various counties think. This could be presented at various AGMs and feedback taken.
A questionaire, calling for views on a whole range of options might also be worth doing...
BRING BACK THE BCF

Mick Norris
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Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by Mick Norris » Fri Jul 04, 2014 9:11 am

Martyn Harris wrote:
Mick Norris wrote:We play most matches at Newcastle-under-Lyme, which doesn't have a train station, and I only know of 1 player who has gone there by public transport
Indeed Newcastle does not have a station, but as it is only 2 miles from Stoke-on-Trent station and with options of using the regular bus service, taxi or Shanks' pony to bridge the gap, this is hardly a big deal. Indeed for those with easy access to Piccadilly or Stockport the journey is simple, quick and comfortable.

Unfortunately there do seem to be many players around who feel that if they condescend to agree to play for you they are entitled to be ferried door to door in return.
I agree with all of that - indeed I'd go further and say that the extended tram network, or trains from Bolton, make linking up with a train to Stoke straightforward for those who don't live in the city centre or Stockport

The player who does use public transport also managed to get to Redworth Hall by that method for 4NCL
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MartinCarpenter
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Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by MartinCarpenter » Fri Jul 04, 2014 9:46 am

That's a good effort from Manchester to Redworth hall! I did it but rather easier starting from Darlington :) I'd hope a few people took the train to the Buxton leg at least?

Having checked the time/cost of return trains from Picadilly to Stoke I'd have expected a good percentage of the players to go by train by active choice. Simply a much nicer way to travel than being crammed into a car for an hour. Clearly I'm a minority!

With the York teams in the Yorkshire league we do mostly drive but nearly always from a central pick up point.

Mick Norris
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Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by Mick Norris » Fri Jul 04, 2014 11:02 am

MartinCarpenter wrote:That's a good effort from Manchester to Redworth hall! I did it but rather easier starting from Darlington :) I'd hope a few people took the train to the Buxton leg at least?

No :roll:
MartinCarpenter wrote:With the York teams in the Yorkshire league we do mostly drive but nearly always from a central pick up point.
That's a step forward, we seem to have got there for the Manticores (e.g. train from Sheffield to Stockport to be picked up) but less so for county
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Neil Graham
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Re: Union Reps Skype Meeting 17/July

Post by Neil Graham » Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:21 pm

To return to the topic and to answer, briefly, some of the points raised by David Pardoe.

You can submit questionnaires and obtain as much feedback as you want. Organising a county team (or teams) depends on having a competent volunteer in place to run a side. In the MCCU there were seven Under 140 teams in 2012/13 which reduced to three in 2013/2014. You can't say that all the Under 140 players suddenly disappeared from Derbyshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Leicestershire - simply I guess that there was no-one willing to do the job. No doubt there are enough Under 140 players in the Manchester Chess Federation to raise a competitive team but I guess that there was no team in 2013/14 because no one wished to take on the responsibility. Without wishing to hark back to the default of the Yorkshire Under 180 side, I had a look at the Yorkshire July 2013 list and I counted 80 eligible players with a grade between 160-179 and that just covered names from A to L; by that time I'd decided that to extend the count any further would be pretty pointless. As has been mentioned elsewhere, not a problem of players but one of finding someone to organise a team.

Anyway back to the eligibility rules. The current rules which have been in place for at least 20 years are perfectly adequate and I presume enforceable. The only question is the removal of "teacher" from Rule C3.1(v). A number of people have queried why this is in and having given some thought to this I am of the opinion that it should remain. Firstly I doubt whether there are more than a couple of players, if indeed any, who might be in the finals with this qualification. Where a county team has a number of juniors playing it makes great sense for them to be accompanied by a teacher. Indeed with CRB regulations which weren't in place until the more recent past, I think it would be irresponsible to delete this part of the rule.

Finally I did laugh at the suggestion that someone with an "affinity" with a county might be eligible. That would equate to throwing the current rules out of the window and letting absolutely anyone play with no qualification criteria whatsoever. There was a character in "Last of the Summer Wine" who claimed to be a descendant of Robin Hood - no doubt he could be included in the Nottinghamshire side if he played chess!

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