County Championship Consultation

Discussion about all aspects of the ECF County Championships.
Richard Bates
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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Richard Bates » Tue Jan 02, 2018 6:23 pm

There are probably lots of (mainly negative) things that can be said about the suggested ideas but I would make a couple of points.

Firstly I think a lot of the hostility is due to what (I think) started off as a consultation to develop ideas/proposals to improve the attractiveness and competitiveness of the County Championship, seems to have turned into a set of proposals on how to use the County Championship to deliver wider objectives of the ECF. And in fact arguably work against the original objectives.

Second a point about trying to implement a 4ncl style “quota rule” - particularly where it relates to women. One can argue the case about what the objectives of the 4ncl rule are/were and whether it actually is successful in achieving those objectives, but in my mind a key point/argument for the rule is that it ensures that there is a critical mass of women players across all teams as a whole. It is surely true that players, particularly younger players, (and actually not just women) are more likely to play in competitions where their peers and or friends are also playing, and that is what is achieved at the 4ncl, especially with the central venue model allowing cross team socialising etc.

I can’t think that anyone not currently attracted to County chess are going to be attracted just because they are guaranteed a spot in the team. Not to mention that those who are interested in, and currently play in, County chess May then find that they can’t play in strength appropriate teams because Open captains are desperate to secure their services. And a lot of the time the Captains will go to great effort to get them into the team only to find on the day they don’t have an opponent.

Finally I expect that many County captains would take exception to the implication that they aren’t seeking out strong women and/or junior players where they would strengthen their teams. Few County captains can afford to take such an attitude given how difficult it often is to get out teams, especially when they don’t want to weaken lower level teams.

The U11 suggestion makes no sense to me whatever. How strong do people expect 11 year olds to be?

Hok Yin Stephen Chiu
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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Hok Yin Stephen Chiu » Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:26 pm

In fairness to those sceptical/in-opposition to these reforms, I guess Michael sums it up... unfortunately there is an issue with such a view.
Michael Farthing wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:19 pm
The requirement for three junior players strikes me as neither a big major incentive for general take-up at junior level nor as a practical means of encouragement to counties to do more. Despite the senexophobic language ( :-) ) that has appeared in this thread on occasion it strikes me as quite unfair to characterise the county selectors as old men with no interest in diversification - they would love to have more players and they would love them to be younger (and female though this post concerns itself with juniors)...

...In Lancashire we are better endowed than Yorkshire and have a variety of up and coming juniors. [Juniors] do get into county teams - but at the level of their ability and as full-members who have earned their place amongst their peers - the rickety old men.
The juxtaposition of (the generally well-intention-ed) lip-service to widening participation across the key demographics, with the mentality that the status-quo is fine - reminds me no less than this following clip from Yes Minister:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhZRDoGZg00

Even if, we don't recognise the irony of all this, there are two further points...

1) It is not sensible to suggest that trying to encourage more women and Juniors into chess by changing the environment of the County Championships at the top level has anti-old men sentiment - namely because the supporters/proponents of the reforms will become old men (in time!).

Does anybody not find it a tad depressing, that this thread is a bunch of adult men debating what do to, in order to make the County Championships a more inviting and vibrant environment for women and Juniors? I fear it reflects the scale of inaction on tackling this trend comprehensively, in the English Chess world over an depressingly extended number of years...

2) 4NCL is cited by some for not being a huge success towards boosting women's participation in chess; the point is that simply having at least one woman in each team for one tournament is not nearly enough - as Brendan kindly pointed out before... And for that reason, having a minimum of 3 juniors is better than 1! (I'm sure the U11 requirement is most contentious, but the two U18 requirements are hardly a subversive "social experiment".)
Brendan O'Gorman wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:22 am
...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.
Roger de Coverly wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:09 am
...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.
The attitudes and trends of Junior/Women's Chess in England need tournaments organisers, league committees, and local clubs across the country to all think 'are we doing our bare minimum to improve the situation?'; so, simply suggesting that the 4NCL haven't single handed-ly revolutionised chess in England is perhaps missing the point...

Nobody is advocating Norwegian-style parliamentary quotas for chess in England, but sometimes, the opposition to these reforms seem like that's what the proposals are! When, in fact, if we even tried to thin down the current proposals, it would not only be unhelpful, but counterproductive.
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Kevin Thurlow
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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:57 pm

"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. "

From my experience, it is generally true! I coached at a local school for a couple of years (recently) and was always getting apologies that people couldn't turn up due to other activities/coursework. Maybe it's different in the Midlands.

I am an old player/organizer, but I am open to new ideas - they need to be sensible. I think the proposals are damaging. Consider Surrey (where I currently live, although I am a proud Yorkshireman). Surrey could field Susan Lalic, Akshaya Kalaiyalahan and Koby Kalavannan (I believe) and they would be well above boards 13-15. Any under 11, would probably be on 16. So you have three 170-180 graded players on boards 13-15. What sort of opposition will they face, if any? How long before they decide that giving up a Saturday to win on default or in 15 moves is boring? How long before the opposition gets fed up with losing horribly? Also, I assume the under 11 would have to be transported by his/her parents. Drive two hours, get wiped out (or win on default), go home. I hope that players would be happy with whomever they played but a lot are not.

Obviously, I want more people to play chess - if 10 players (of any age, gender and race) graded 20 walked into my club next Monday, I would be delighted!

Roger de Coverly
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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:59 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:57 pm
Consider Surrey (where I currently live, although I am a proud Yorkshireman). Surrey could field Susan Lalic, Akshaya Kalaiyalahan and Koby Kalavannan (I believe) and they would be well above boards 13-15.
Surrey (CCF if that counts) have an 8 year old player with a grade of 146. There's another with a grade of 129.

Chess in primary schools has been running for how long? At least 30 years surely. So where are the 40 year olds who were taught chess at 10 in their primary school?

Alan Walton
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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Alan Walton » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:07 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:59 pm
Kevin Thurlow wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:57 pm
Consider Surrey (where I currently live, although I am a proud Yorkshireman). Surrey could field Susan Lalic, Akshaya Kalaiyalahan and Koby Kalavannan (I believe) and they would be well above boards 13-15.
Surrey (CCF if that counts) have an 8 year old player with a grade of 146. There's another with a grade of 129.

Chess in primary schools has been running for how long? At least 30 years surely. So where are the 40 year olds who were taught chess at 10 in their primary school?
At 42, I am one of these; playing for 3Cs I have seen well over a hundred juniors give up mainly because of study and work; and the reason isn’t to do with quotas or not getting selected for county chess; back in the late 80s the GMan 3rd Team was purely run in promoting juniors and female players; when my dad ran the U175 team in the early 90s we had many juniors including Ruth Sheldon

So if anything we have been going backwards; it is more about social attitudes rather than organisational problems
Last edited by Alan Walton on Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Hok Yin Stephen Chiu
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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Hok Yin Stephen Chiu » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:08 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:57 pm
From my experience, it is generally true! I coached at a local school for a couple of years (recently) and was always getting apologies that people couldn't turn up due to other activities/coursework. Maybe it's different in the Midlands.
In danger of veering off topic (out of my own doing), I think my point is not that it is categorically untrue, obviously there is an element of truth that coursework takes up kids' time, but so does spending hours on social media and video gaming! When I suggested 'it' was untrue, I am challenging the notion that the 'well-documented' reason is in fact the real reason. To which, I think the real reason that both boys and girls (especially the girls) drop chess at secondary school is more to do with fitting-in at school (or even at university).

Perhaps there are potential sticking points (evident by a couple of outraged voices earlier in this thread!) regarding the U11 requirement, which could be revisited, but the general jist is in the right direction - I think your questions would be well worth asking before the 5th February deadline :)

--
Roger de Coverly wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:59 pm
Chess in primary schools has been running for how long? At least 30 years surely. So where are the 40 year olds who were taught chess at 10 in their primary school?
Sure, but I think that alone is not enough, local chess clubs should be driving this by reaching out to local primary schools, to create a clear link/pathway for kids to move on local clubs as they grow older. Anyway, I think Andrew is right that this perhaps is moving towards another existing thread (viewtopic.php?f=2&t=9434&start=45)!
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MartinCarpenter
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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by MartinCarpenter » Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:35 pm

Hok Yin Stephen Chiu wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:26 pm
Does anybody not find it a tad depressing, that this thread is a bunch of adult men debating what do to, in order to make the County Championships a more inviting and vibrant environment for women and Juniors? I fear it reflects the scale of inaction on tackling this trend comprehensively, in the English Chess world over an depressingly extended number of years...
Oh it definitely does that, but there's also some stuff specific to county chess. It has been steadily losing prestige and my impression is that the big majority of the people still playing are doing it as much out of habit as anything else.

The consequence of this is that the county championships in practice really is a competition for old men, with teams drawn from fragile, heavily change resistant, player bases. There probably is a non trivial risk of any sorts of (remotely) radical change breaking the competition, although it won't last more than 15-20 years without it.

It is also just a bad environment to introduce juniors to - the 4NCL is vastly more suitable in a few ways. Clear cut friendly, welcoming teams for them to play in, some of their peers present, much better playing conditions etc.

Great work with Warwick uni chess club :) Nice to see it thriving.

John Reyes
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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by John Reyes » Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:24 pm

I have to agreed with Alan Walton and also Hok Yin Stephen Chiu Comments

I feel that the 4ncl is a bit like the PDC of chess and that the county championship is like the BDO of chess

the trouble is that maybe the county championships should be done in Zoned area, so it will first stop the G Manchester/Lancashire talk as Lancashire don't want to play ball, as every year I heard that there the only county to get all those teams into the national finals - heard that every year

also maybe you could play it on an 12 board team, as it is a lot easy to find 12 then 16 players
Any postings on here represent my personal views only

Alex Holowczak
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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Alex Holowczak » Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:39 pm

John Reyes wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:24 pm
the trouble is that maybe the county championships should be done in Zoned area, so it will first stop the G Manchester/Lancashire talk as Lancashire don't want to play ball, as every year I heard that there the only county to get all those teams into the national finals - heard that every year

also maybe you could play it on an 12 board team, as it is a lot easy to find 12 then 16 players
If you read the consultation and go to the form to reply, then you will find that what you've just written are two of the proposals.

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:54 pm

I've responded to the new questionnaire. On at least one question, I've chosen one option for the same reason that many people seem to be choosing the opposite option.

Nick Grey
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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Nick Grey » Sun Jan 07, 2018 5:08 pm

I think Alex has a difficult job based upon some conflicting objectives within ECF's objects. Important to give responses but also get counties and unions to get views too and feedback to them.
We also ought to try to rule out some of the motions because of a likely limit on the time for this at the next Council meeting.
Generally, counties will play their best players. They encourage women and children. But there are other activities as well as chess activities going on for the days in the County Championship. I spend much of my time at County matches with the parents of juniors. Yes I stopped playing chess when my children were younger as I never had the time.
I can see issues with having 4 boards in the Open with the current limits. I think it is fair to say that some of those may lead to less fide rated games. At least on ECF the stronger player is playing for 10 ECF points. I cannot see any problem with having one Female or junior but not at the being unable to enter a team on the day. That is crazy for those that want to play.
The under 11 seems strange - even our Current GMs spent their times playing in grading appropriate teams in their junior years.
Average grades puts a complexity on selection which will overlap teams a bit more than currently does. But honestly widening the graded limited sections to 25 points may help. I'm quite happy with the basis is the previous August ECF list.
Reducing to 12 boards will mean less chess so please weigh that up against charges to pay for venues. Not withstanding some of the SCCU defaults seem to be because of a conflicting local tournament in their area which they would rather play in than play away.
On a big proposal for having an Open league of 6 teams it may take a while for that to even out with representative teams from the stronger Counties.
Our current system does have some advantages - having the knockout national stages involving longer trips builds a team spirit and it is a bit like the Champions League or FA Cup or even FA Trophy- and the same teams do not win the competition every year.

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Michael Farthing
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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Michael Farthing » Sun Jan 07, 2018 6:01 pm

One advantage it seems to me of the 12 board proposal is that it makes feasible transport in a single minibus which may have cost advantages but also is useful for cementing team relationships. Our u160 team uses a minibus but the u140s go in dribs and drabs by an assortment of cars and I usually arrive and dont know which players are the opponents and which are my own team! When my grade once rose a little I was catapulted into the 160s and felt much more a part of it all.

Neill Cooper
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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Neill Cooper » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:35 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:57 pm
"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. "

From my experience, it is generally true! I coached at a local school for a couple of years (recently) and was always getting apologies that people couldn't turn up due to other activities/coursework.
School coursework has now been abolished and so can no longer be a cause of not playing chess. Also, with the abolition of modules, it is now very rare for pupils to sit any GCSEs exams before year 11. Whether we will see any more of them playing chess is another matter.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:43 am

"School coursework has now been abolished and so can no longer be a cause of not playing chess. Also, with the abolition of modules, it is now very rare for pupils to sit any GCSEs exams before year 11. Whether we will see any more of them playing chess is another matter."

Yes I know - but it applied at the time and "my" school still has compulsory "activities", so many of the potential players had a choice between football and chess for example.

Probably the only way you might get more chess players at secondary level would be to close down the internet.

Alex Holowczak
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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Alex Holowczak » Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:20 am

Kevin Thurlow wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:43 am
Probably the only way you might get more chess players at secondary level would be to close down the internet.
The Internet exists in France and Germany, but the equivalent problem appears not to. So I think there's more to it than that.

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