County Championship Consultation

Discussion about all aspects of the ECF County Championships.
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Michael Flatt
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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Michael Flatt » Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:33 am

Michael Flatt wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:07 am
If the consultation and remodelling of the ECF competition is not aimed at attracting counties such as those competing in the Chiltern League then, perhaps, the objectives of the exercise need to be restated.

How will the success of the project be judged?
Alex Holowczak wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:22 am
Michael Flatt wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:07 am
If the consultation and remodelling of the ECF competition is not aimed at attracting counties
An interesting leap of judgement. What have I written that gave you that impression?
I've completely lost track of what outcome you are trying to achieve.

Could you, please, restate in simple terms what this exercise is all about?

Roger de Coverly
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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:39 am

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:32 am
What specific eligibility issues?
You are only allowed to play for a county if qualified. That means if Bucks plays Yorkshire, it's doing so with a very much smaller player base. Teams facing White Rose in the 4NCL don't have this problem.

If there isn't a desire to follow the 4NCL and have totally open squads, then at the very least allow a handful of wildcards of players not otherwise qualified.

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Ihor Lewyk
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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Ihor Lewyk » Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:50 am

Post by Alex Holowczak » Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:22 am
Roger de Coverly wrote: ↑
Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:11 am
You don't perhaps think that an inability to recruit anybody who would agree to play has something to do with not enough players?If Yorkshire respondents don't think they have enough players, then the problem goes beyond the size of the county.

Which Yorkshire respondents have said that?

Personally I think tinkering with the County Championship is very dangerous for an incredibly fragile competition. Captains already find it hard to recruit enough players of sufficient strength that are willing to travel large distances for one game of chess. Imagine if they need to travel and end up getting a default because a certain eligibility criteria could not be filled.

Has anybody suggested of rewarding a county for fielding a player of the 'special' category whereby double points can be scored. It will be like playing a joker. If that player scores one then two points go on the scoresheet, half will equal one and nil would still be nil. Counties can still field their normal players instead of the 'special' ones preventing defaults but cannot hope to get the bonus points. The bonus points would ensure players are brought into the special categories that are likely to compete on the boards.

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:55 am

Ihor Lewyk wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:50 am


Which Yorkshire respondents have said that?
Yorkshire hat (mainly) on for this one.

Alex couldn't reasonably be expected to provide names. In theory we should be spoiled for choice in Yorkshire at all levels but our inter club infrastructure is not good and building up a player base is not easy.
Controller - Yorkshire League
Chairman - Harrogate Chess Club
All views expressed entirely my own

Roger de Coverly
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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:56 am

Michael Flatt wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:33 am
I've completely lost track of what outcome you are trying to achieve.

Could you, please, restate in simple terms what this exercise is all about?
I'd guess it started with the observation that only a handful of counties entered the Open competition, being down to six in 2017. I doubt a heavy handed interpretation of the rules over the last few years has helped either.

Here's another radical suggestion. If it's a competition between Union qualifiers whose rules are not controlled by the ECF, why not remove the competition from the ECF and have it run by appointees of the Unions?

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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:00 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:56 am

Here's another radical suggestion. If it's a competition between Union qualifiers whose rules are not controlled by the ECF, why not remove the competition from the ECF and have it run by appointees of the Unions?
This suggestion has been made by David Sedgwick up thread. In the past most consultation has normally begun with the union county controllers although if they were given a more executive role some might delegate it to experienced county captains. The words recipe, for and disaster immediately come to mind.
Controller - Yorkshire League
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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:09 am

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:00 am
The words recipe, for and disaster immediately come to mind.
As opposed to letting the Home Director loose presumably.

But suppose the idea of four protected boards goes through. The SCCU team competition continues as at present, but those involved decline to participate in the ECF's social experiments. They organise a challenge competition against Lancashire and Yorkshire instead. Either that or not bother with summer team chess.

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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by benedgell » Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:22 am

I've just read through the paper. My thoughts (personal opinion, as opposed to speaking on behalf of any organisation):

It seems like the only thing that counties, unions etc agree on in recent times is that the competition is in decline. I don't agree with parts of the paper, but I'm grateful that Alex is continuing to try and improve the competition. Some of the comments posted here have been unduly harsh in their criticism.

It seems proposal 1 is worth at least trialling. If it helps attract more smaller counties, great, keep it. If it doesn't then revert back to 16 boards in each section and just have the same counties playing in each section as present. In the Somerset League we reduced Div 1 from 6 boards to 4 and the next season 2 extra teams entered. Obviously county chess is on a much bigger scale, but I don't see the harm in trialling this proposal for a season.

Proposal 2. It seems like it would need to be a fairly substantial list to have venues that work as midpoints for each potential county match up. Also, where the proposal talks about only adding venues that meet a certain quality threshold, how would the ECF determine whether or not a venue meets the threshold? Would someone have to inspect potential venues in person?

For Proposal 3 I think an average grade is preferable to a fixed grade limit. We use average grade for the grade limited section at the WECU Jamboree, and I think people find it gives them extra flexibility when organising their teams. Anything that makes it easier for counties to get enough players for their teams has to be a good thing.

Proposal 4 is the most controversial. I'm curious how many females actually want to play county chess? Did many reply to the consultation paper? I'm all in favour of encouraging females to play more chess, but I'm not entirely convinced this is something that will get females more enthusiastic about playing chess.

I think the main outcome were this proposal to be introduced would be to make captain's jobs much harder in organising teams, which would ultimately lead to less teams entering competitions.

For proposal 5 I took scoring 1 to mean it wouldn't make me any more likely to play, as opposed to the principal of FIDE rating sections.

For Proposal 6 are there enough free weekends to run a national competition parallel with the union competitions and not clash with anything significant? Given the choice would unions spread their competitions out significantly in order to leave some weekends free to organise teams for a parallel national competition? Maybe I'm wrong on this, but I worry that Unions will see this as the ECF trying to muscle out their traditional events, and will stick rigidly to their events as presently scheduled.

Personally I would prefer A2 over A1, owing to the reduced travel time.

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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Alex Holowczak » Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:24 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:30 am
If there's an intent to persuade Berks or Bucks to reenter even the SCCU competitions, the contemptuous dismissal of eligibility issues says quite a lot.
It's not my job to persuade anyone to enter the SCCU competitions. I understand the SCCU think they've tried that in the recent past, but not succeeded. No doubt Michael Flatt can provide chapter and verse.

But again, I think you're a lone voice in the wind, to some extent. No one else has complained about it at all; or at least, no one put it in the questionnaire responses. I have to put forward proposed solutions to the problems that many people are telling me are problems, and not just one person.

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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:34 am

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:24 am
no one put it in the questionnaire responses.
I don't think there was a question about eligibility or wildcards to respond to.

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Ihor Lewyk
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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Ihor Lewyk » Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:46 am

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:55 am
Ihor Lewyk wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:50 am


Which Yorkshire respondents have said that?
Yorkshire hat (mainly) on for this one.

Alex couldn't reasonably be expected to provide names. In theory we should be spoiled for choice in Yorkshire at all levels but our inter club infrastructure is not good and building up a player base is not easy.
OK. Maybe I should ask it another way. Why has Alex singled out Yorkshire respondents. (Plural) When he has checked the existing participating counties should not be affected as they have plenty of players available. Yorkshire may have plenty of players available but they may be below 120 strength at the moment. Does it need spelling out that shoving a youngster in against a 180+ player might actually do them more harm than good.

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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Alex Holowczak » Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:54 am

Ihor Lewyk wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:46 am
Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:55 am
Ihor Lewyk wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:50 am


Which Yorkshire respondents have said that?
Yorkshire hat (mainly) on for this one.

Alex couldn't reasonably be expected to provide names. In theory we should be spoiled for choice in Yorkshire at all levels but our inter club infrastructure is not good and building up a player base is not easy.
OK. Maybe I should ask it another way. Why has Alex singled out Yorkshire respondents. (Plural) When he has checked the existing participating counties should not be affected as they have plenty of players available. Yorkshire may have plenty of players available but they may be below 120 strength at the moment. Does it need spelling out that shoving a youngster in against a 180+ player might actually do them more harm than good.
I'm not able to disclose the individual names of respondents, because none of those who submitted responses were informed that their individual responses were to be made public at the time they submitted them.

I "singled out" Yorkshire, I think only once unless I've missed something, because I was reporting that some of the big counties are having problems with the number of players in a team. Yorkshire is, by far, the most populous county in England. So if they can't recruit 16 players as easily as they'd like, what hope the smaller counties? Hence the proposals to reduce it.

I don't see it as "shoving a youngster in against a 180+ player" at all. Andrew is also probably right that Yorkshire ought to have rich pickings in this regard, so while I haven't looked the grades of your players up individually (and of course, in many cases because they're not on the ECF list which makes it harder), I confess that I rather thought Yorkshire wouldn't just have < 120 players available for selection in those areas.

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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Alex Holowczak » Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:57 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:34 am
Alex Holowczak wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:24 am
no one put it in the questionnaire responses.
I don't think there was a question about eligibility or wildcards to respond to.
The first questionnaire was based on things that people had anecdotally mentioned as problems in the past. So no, it didn't.

The second questionnaire was based on things that people said were problems in the first questionnaire.

You remain the only person to have mentioned this as an issue. I've no problem at all with including a motion along your lines to go to Council in April, but I would want to know it was an issue that more than one person had before doing so.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:01 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:54 am
I don't see it as "shoving a youngster in against a 180+ player" at all.
Well you should, because that's the proposal you are making. A handful of counties may have 180+ players in all of your 4 special categories. Those that do will scatter their players in the regular board order. Those that don't will be fielding players who are outclassed.

David Sedgwick
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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by David Sedgwick » Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:08 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:56 am
Here's another radical suggestion. If it's a competition between Union qualifiers whose rules are not controlled by the ECF, why not remove the competition from the ECF and have it run by appointees of the Unions?
Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:00 am
This suggestion has been made by David Sedgwick up thread. In the past most consultation has normally begun with the union county controllers although if they were given a more executive role some might delegate it to experienced county captains. The words recipe, for and disaster immediately come to mind.
I haven't commented further on this thread since the post to which you refer, as I feel that I should first contact Alex privately about his "Shame on you, David" post. Indeed I owe Alex an apology for not having found the time to have done that already.

But, rest assured, I shall be back in due course to refute what both he and you have said.

Happy New Year to all.

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