County Championship Consultation

Discussion about all aspects of the ECF County Championships.
Roger de Coverly
Posts: 16305
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:12 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 3:52 pm
So instead, juniors in particular will just to continue to play in the 4NCL, where similar rules are already in force, and the County Championship will continue its slow decline, while the 4NCL will continue to increase its participation.
The rules aren't similar in the 4NCL because they only require one special player in 8, rather than 4 in 16. Also in the 4NCL there are no geographic restrictions on recruitment and if that fails there's always the option to bus in a wildcard. Neither of these are allowed in the County Championship.

If I understood the proposals, they would apply both to the Open and Minor County competitions. I would have thought "Minor" counties by definition would be short on players and restrictions on team selection unwelcome.

I don't think the idea of having restricted boards in the County Championships has surfaced before the recent paper with the possible exception of proposals regarding a special status women's board back in the BCF days.

Alex Holowczak
Posts: 8114
Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 5:18 pm
Location: Oldbury, Worcestershire
Contact:

Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Alex Holowczak » Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:16 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:12 pm
Alex Holowczak wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 3:52 pm
So instead, juniors in particular will just to continue to play in the 4NCL, where similar rules are already in force, and the County Championship will continue its slow decline, while the 4NCL will continue to increase its participation.
The rules aren't similar in the 4NCL because they only require one special player in 8, rather than 4 in 16. Also in the 4NCL there are no geographic restrictions on recruitment and if that fails there's always the option to bus in a wildcard. Neither of these are allowed in the County Championship.

If I understood the proposals, they would apply both to the Open and Minor County competitions. I would have thought "Minor" counties by definition would be short on players and restrictions on team selection unwelcome.

I don't think the idea of having restricted boards in the County Championships has surfaced before the recent paper with the possible exception of proposals regarding a special status women's board back in the BCF days.
If you go to the consultation response form I set up, you will see that there is an area to suggest amendments to the proposals as they are put. If you think that your options are worth considering, specifically:-
- There should be 1 "special player" not 4
- There should be no boundaries

Then put those there. Your views may be shared by others, and so that may become the final proposal.

Minor counties are not really short on players, no. It's basically an average grade of 180 competition for teams that don't qualify for the national Open. They still seem to be able to field a team of 16. But again, a viable amendment might be that the team size should be 12 and it isn't played with these rules applying to them. There's plenty of scope for saying this in the consultation.

Of course, people can also just reject them out of hand. That option's there too.

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 16305
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:21 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:16 pm

Of course, people can also just reject them out of hand. That option's there too.
That's what's going to happen unless you can build a consensus. Many counties, mine and the CEO's included have abandoned any interest in county National stages. I don't see much to incite us back.

Andrew Zigmond
Posts: 1345
Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2011 9:23 pm
Location: Harrogate

Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:26 pm

In the Open section, the 16-player teams must include the following:
- At least 1 female player
- At least 1 Under 18 boy
- At least 1 Under 18 girl
- At least 1 Under 11 player

Presumably a team could field a ten year old girl and cover three of the four bases simultaneously. I don't think there is any aversion at present to selecting players from these demographics, merely that there aren't that many to select. On the other hand some counties may be lucky enough to have players from these demographics who can slot into the team naturally, freeing up a 170 strength county team veteran to dispose of the 80 grade female or the inexperienced ten year old on board 15 - to be nobody's real benefit, particularly if they've traveled a long distance for the privilege.
Controller - Yorkshire League
Chairman - Harrogate Chess Club
All views expressed entirely my own

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 16305
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:37 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:26 pm
In the Open section, the 16-player teams must include the following:
- At least 1 female player
- At least 1 Under 18 boy
- At least 1 Under 18 girl
- At least 1 Under 11 player

Presumably a team could field a ten year old girl and cover three of the four bases simultaneously.
Does the document say this, or does it intend that four boards be occupied by "specials".

It's not uncommon that the male U18 player will be top board or thereabouts.

Alex Holowczak
Posts: 8114
Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 5:18 pm
Location: Oldbury, Worcestershire
Contact:

Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Alex Holowczak » Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:39 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:21 pm
That's what's going to happen unless you can build a consensus.
See Mick Norris's post earlier. This event has hundreds of people with hundreds of opinions about what should happen, more than any other competition I'm involved with. I don't feel it's for a lack of trying on my part.
Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:26 pm
In the Open section, the 16-player teams must include the following:
- At least 1 female player
- At least 1 Under 18 boy
- At least 1 Under 18 girl
- At least 1 Under 11 player

Presumably a team could field a ten year old girl and cover three of the four bases simultaneously. I don't think there is any aversion at present to selecting players from these demographics, merely that there aren't that many to select. On the other hand some counties may be lucky enough to have players from these demographics who can slot into the team naturally, freeing up a 170 strength county team veteran to dispose of the 80 grade female or the inexperienced ten year old on board 15 - to be nobody's real benefit, particularly if they've traveled a long distance for the privilege.
The idea was that the player would tick one box only, and you couldn't use one player to tick all of them - that would defeat the purpose of what we are trying to achieve. But if you had two 16 year old girls, you might reasonably use one as the Under 18 girl and one as the female player.

I don't think that in the Open section, a county would struggle to meet these requirements. I can't see why a county in the Minor would struggle to meet them either. Are there genuinely counties out there that don't have a female player for their team? Or three juniors?
Roger de Coverly wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:37 pm
Does the document say this, or does it intend that four boards be occupied by "specials".
Oh, so you haven't read it? :roll: :(

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 16305
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:45 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:39 pm
Are there genuinely counties out there that don't have a female player for their team? Or three juniors?
If you are talking "Open", you are talking 170 plus. There would be little point in throwing in players graded 100 unless they could be sure of meeting equivalent opposition. Hence why you find female and junior players in the Divisions 3 and 4 of the 4NCL whilst several of the female players in Division 1 are flown in.

User avatar
IM Jack Rudd
Posts: 3524
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 1:13 am
Location: Bideford

Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Sun Dec 31, 2017 7:45 pm

There were 55 players playing in a recent Devon-Somerset match. 0 of them were female, and not very many of them were younger than me.

Brian Towers
Posts: 946
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2014 7:23 pm

Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Brian Towers » Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:30 pm

What a bizarre solution to the stated problems! Presumably the obvious solution was discussed and rejected. What were the reasons for the rejection?

In case it's not obvious to some, currently you have the following sections - Open, U180, U160, U140, U120, U100. Why not add "female" and "junior"? If expected numbers are a problem then have teams of 8 rather than 16 for "female" and "junior".
Ah, but I was so much older then. I'm younger than that now.

Alex Holowczak
Posts: 8114
Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 5:18 pm
Location: Oldbury, Worcestershire
Contact:

Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Alex Holowczak » Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:39 pm

Brian Towers wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:30 pm
Why not add "female" and "junior"? If expected numbers are a problem then have teams of 8 rather than 16 for "female" and "junior".
There already is a junior. It's taking place in February in Lincolnshire. 12 boards, a 1-day Jamboree. But it doesn't solve the integration within adult chess problem, and it didn't happen last year because sadly, no one was willing to organise it.

I considered the idea of a women's only section, but after a bit of research, even teams of 4 would be a struggle for many counties.

Brian Towers
Posts: 946
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2014 7:23 pm

Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Brian Towers » Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:02 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:39 pm
I considered the idea of a women's only section, but after a bit of research, even teams of 4 would be a struggle for many counties.
Some years ago when I was working with a bunch of Americans I mentioned the old English saying "You can take a horse to water but you can't make it drink".

One of them gave me a sideways, look, shook his head and said, "Brian, that's loser's talk. Drag the horse into mid-stream, kick its legs out from underneath, stand on its head, lift up its tail and SUCK!"

Good luck, Alex, (and a Happy New Year) as you try to lift up the tail and suck.
Ah, but I was so much older then. I'm younger than that now.

Nick Grey
Posts: 683
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2011 12:16 am

Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Nick Grey » Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:03 pm

I was hoping for more chess not less. Some disappointment. Anyway I will not be making snap judgement as quite honestly I have got to concentrate on the (un)fair funding settlement for schools. So will respond in February.

I'll try not to think to harshly on what does the ECF do for me. There is enough pressure on parents on activities other than chess from schools and others.

Let's finish with something positive - Happy New Year to everyone!

Mick Norris
Posts: 6566
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 10:12 am
Location: Bolton, Greater Manchester
Contact:

Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Mick Norris » Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:15 am

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:41 pm
Mick Norris wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:52 am
Council might think that DoHC is too big a remit for 1 person to do properly, and either reallocate part of the job to others, or require more managers appointed for specific tasks
It's not really the point of this thread, but the DoJC Directorship is much, much bigger. It's done by someone in full-time employment who has even less time than me. Yet no one has ever suggested that should be split up.
Some of us think Junior chess should be done differently, but haven't got the strength to have the arguments with those in junior chess who won't change :roll:

Happy New Year
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

Michael Flatt
Posts: 1155
Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:36 am
Location: Hertfordshire

Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Michael Flatt » Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:17 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:41 pm

Firstly, it has been taken into consideration - the paper refers to the Unions being able to run their competitions as they do now. They've no need to adopt the ECF rules at all if they don't want to. They'll have complete independence. This is actually partly driven by the consultation responses, which said this is precisely what they wanted.
Thank you, Alex. I think that statement alone will reassure many people regarding the scope of the current exercise.

Hok Yin Stephen Chiu
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2017 7:52 pm

Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Hok Yin Stephen Chiu » Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:25 pm

I think the anti-reform attitudes that we see from this thread can be summarised by the mentality shown below, of which there are a number of inaccuracies and popular misconceptions that need addressing:
Kevin Thurlow wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 1:59 pm
Artificial ways of producing teams will not help. Even when the 4NCL had been running for a while, you had matches with 7GMs and a female graded 120, against 7GMs and a female graded 110 or winning on default. Sometimes one side had a WGM, so the 120 female plays a 200+ player, which not everyone likes. The players winning on default will give up, the strong players excluded from the team as there is a weak player replacing them will give up, everyone loses. The reasons juniors give up is well-documented - too much coursework, then the current fad for everyone going to University, and then when you get a job, the hours are horrendous. Chess is not welcoming for female players, partly because of some male attitudes. I don't think women's ghetto chess helps. Chess should be open to all and all should be welcome, but it obviously doesn't always happen. Messing with team events is pointless. If you shoehorn a female or junior player into the team, you just get resentment, and as Alan noted, the smaller counties might not have a ready supply of such players. So the bigger and stronger counties get a bigger advantage.
It is correct to recognise the trend of fewer juniors (boys & girls), young people and women playing chess. But, simply saying that *this* is the trend and that it will merely continue, is defeatist and (if I'm so bold) complicit in reinforcing this trend.

Coursework is oftentimes the "well-documented" reason that children give parents (or the reason that parents give teachers), when juniors drop chess. But from my experience it is generally untrue. At the moment, let's look at pre-secondary school kids (U11s), I am a member of the University of Warwick Chess Society, and our members coach chess to U11s weekly (every Friday & Saturday) at a local primary school (Grange Farm Primary) and the well-known Coventry Chess Academy (CCA). At both these places, we have gender parity of the kids attending. By secondary school, the trend moves to many more boys than girls playing (perhaps the girls are getting more coursework than the boys!). In reality, juniors drop chess for reasons of fitting-in at school, this affects girls more than boys, but both see a reduction of interest - certainly fitting-in is more significant than say coursework. This is hardly surprising when kids start to notice that chess is mostly played by old guys, and all of a sudden (especially reaching secondary school) chess becomes seen a 'boy' sport. Perhaps to say that "chess is not welcoming for female players, partly because of some male attitudes" has an element of truth, but fundamentally, there is a lack of female role models in chess at every level, from local clubs, county level, to nationally. This lack of gender parity will simply not help encourage more girls to play chess, regardless of the amount of coursework they have!

Obviously, old guys playing chess is a historic trend; from my understanding, chess was traditionally a 'working man' 's sport played in working men's clubs across the country, and after the economic-political change of the 1980s, working men's clubs were in a decline, and subsequently the uptake of chess went down to. [I was confirmed this by the Director of the CCA - so I take it to be largely true...] The point is that, obviously we can not force quotas of 50:50 male-to-female, or equivalent proportions between adults:children that reflect the national population! But unless, someone is going to suggest how else we should widen participation for juniors (to which I will answer further down), this set of proposals is relatively thin gruel, not some radical "social engineering" programme that some seem to suggest...
Michael Farthing wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 1:52 pm
the decision to try to answer problems with the competition is being used as an opportunity by the Board to engage in social engineering. I believe strongly that is outside the remit of the ECF and is most certainly outside the remit of its Board.
Whilst we should avoid fanning too many conspiracy theories (haha), it's worth noting that these changes would be within the remit of the ECF. If the English Chess Federation's remit is not to increase the number of people playing chess in England - amid a trend of diminishing juniors and women playing chess in England - then one has to remind me what is the ECF's remit?!

And let's not kid ourselves, requiring a minimum of one woman, two U18 year olds, and one U11 is hardly groundbreaking (perhaps groundbreaking compared to complete inaction). Someone will have to provide me an example of which county doesn't have one women and two U18 juniors who plays chess proficiently! And yes, perhaps not every county may find one U11 kid graded 200+ ECF, but all counties will be constrained to the same rule...

Obviously, I mustn't forget that a few helpful souls have reminded us that "the bigger and stronger counties [will] get a bigger advantage" (or words to that effect). Perhaps... though I would like to see that evidence when it happens (I'm personally doubtful of any significant difference). Even if this is were marginally true, insisting that counties have at least one U11 junior in this proposal, will encourage the kid(s) to continue playing chess in a more profound manner than other formats. This proposal ensures there would be at least one U18 Boy and one U18 Girl for the U11 Junior to look up to - as role models in their own team, as well as, many more Juniors in the Championships overall. Incidentally, this is where I can agree with Kevin, "ghettos" don't work, so having women-only and Junior-only Divisions for the County Championships is not the answer.
Alan Walton wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 1:12 pm
perhaps there is something more fundamental the ECF must look at rather than the competition element; perhaps throwing more money at it may be the only option
I then found this from Alan, which was interesting - to say the least!

Yes, there is something more fundamental (and perhaps money could play a role, but it's not critical). I know some clubs have tried and not succeeded, and I know it's not easy, because I've been there before. Last year, as President of Warwick Chess
- alongside the aforementioned Tom Thorpe (Vice President) and Jonathan Robbins (Treasurer) - the Committee was committed to substantially address falling numbers and all the other trends that we've discussing here. In a nutshell, it required a lot of creativity to leave the Society with 130 members, increase the number of teams in the Coventry League that we fielded to five across 3 Divisions, send 7 Teams to the British Universities' Chess Team Championships (which Alex runs, and we also won it), and provide a change in environment where 4 of the current 12 Committee members are women (and we did not force any quotas - besides, a third would be quite an unreasonable quota, considering the demographics of the membership!).

The details of how we changed the club is something I haven't covered here, but we showed that you can increase participation (both generally, and for women) without affecting the 'standard' of play by winning the BUCA Team Championships, and that coursework and student fads were not a barrier to our success.

Some of you may point out that Warwick never resorted to forcing quotas, etc, and we took a 'bottom-up' approach to change the nature, and increase the size, of the membership; whereas opposition to the reforms here, is that somehow the 'Board' is forcing this through in a 'top-down' manner. But, the trend of diminishing numbers of Juniors and women playing chess is unlikely to be reversed by the ECF doing nothing, and expecting individual clubs and counties to independently start a wave of outreach/coaching and PR programmes to encourage young girls and boys to play chess!

What this set of proposals do, is to create an impetus for County Captains across the country to actively look for young boys and girls to play chess, and create a reason to drive clubs in each county to focus on widening participation. To be honest, it isn't nearly that ambitious, because all the reforms do, is ask for one player from each of these demographics to play! Whilst it is hardly a revolution, it will be a positive step in making County chess more inviting environment for young boys and girls to play.

Any attempt to thin down this current proposal will result in this rather entertaining situation, suggested by Brendan!
Brendan O'Gorman wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:22 am
Even then, I can’t help wondering how easy it would be to persuade a female player to travel hundreds of miles in a car to join fifteen male (probably) chess players to play one game of chess in a drab social centre in Wolverhampton. That describes my last county game several years ago (except that I’m an old bloke). It’s an experience I shall never repeat.
All views are my own, and do not represent the official views of any chess organisation that I am part of.
ECF Delegate | Coventry & District Chess League 2017-18
President | University of Warwick Chess Society 2016-17

Post Reply