Victory for the Dinosaurs

Discussion about all aspects of the ECF County Championships.
David Sedgwick
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Victory for the Dinosaurs

Post by David Sedgwick » Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:29 pm

Alex Holowczak has now published his final paper and motions for Council at https://www.englishchess.org.uk/wp-cont ... ouncil.pdf.

The so called diversity proposal and the idea of breaking the link between the Union Qualifying Stages and the National Stages have both been dropped.

It's not an unqualified success. The paper includes "Should the idea be re-visited in future" and "I am of the firm belief that “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” isn’t good enough". It looks as though we may be in for further trouble before too long.

However, so far so good. I'd like to express my appreciation to the considerable number of people who have devoted much time and effort over the last few months to achieving this outcome.

David Sedgwick
ECF Senior Dinosaur

MartinCarpenter
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Re: Victory for the Dinosaurs

Post by MartinCarpenter » Tue Apr 03, 2018 10:56 pm

I still can't understand the fuss about the link from Union qualifying <-> National stages - from where I'm sitting its been essentially broken for a decade or so anyway. Whatever keeps people happy :)

NickFaulks
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Re: Victory for the Dinosaurs

Post by NickFaulks » Tue Apr 03, 2018 11:00 pm

It all seems to depend on whether you are in a part of the country with a functioning Union.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Victory for the Dinosaurs

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Apr 03, 2018 11:04 pm

NickFaulks wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 11:00 pm
It all seems to depend on whether you are in a part of the country with a functioning Union.
The number of counties willing to put up open teams for a summer knock out now seems reduced to just 7. Lancs, Yorks, Surrey, Sussex, Middlesex, Kent, Essex. Only three of the southern teams are allowed to compete, so the SCCU competition acts as an eliminator.

Neil Graham
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Re: Victory for the Dinosaurs

Post by Neil Graham » Wed Apr 04, 2018 8:46 am

Now that the findings have been released I'd like to comment on the proposals and the paper.

My initial post on this concerns the reduction of team size from 16 to 12 in the Under 180, 160 and Under 140 sections. If we look at the Final Stages of the Counties Championship for the past few years I see no evidence that there is a problem with running these sections with 16 players, particularly those in the Under 160 and Under 140 - all the teams have turned up with 16 and indeed as a county which has contested these competitions it has never struck me as a problem with either ourselves or our opponents. The reason for the reduction is that 12 players are easier to find than 16! Well shock horror! I can advise that finding a team of one (possibly me) would be a lot easier as well.

The Under 180 isn't particularly well supported but that is because of an overlap with the Minor Counties (more on that later). This year to date 41 different players have represented Notts in the U160 and 140 competitions (18 and 23 respectively). If we cut down to 12 players I am going to have to advise at least 10 of these players that they cannot represent the county as the ECF has cut down representation. If you look at the grading figures the median is around 130 and the highest number of players fall exactly in these bands where the ECF propose to cut numbers. The first item of the constitution of the BCF is "To encourage the study and practice of chess in England" - how cutting 25% of players from county teams equates to this I have no idea. I will be asking my delegate to oppose this motion.

I have a final point on this. As pointed out elsewhere I am in a unique position in that I organise all the Nottinghamshire county teams at present. I did send off the questionnaire by the due date though I'm fairly certain I identified myself as the match official in charge of the county teams rather than the nominated captain. Had I done so Nottinghamshire would have had three votes which would have turned the pi chart to 45% against (5) against 55% in favour (6). Would we then have this motion on the table?

Mick Norris
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Re: Victory for the Dinosaurs

Post by Mick Norris » Wed Apr 04, 2018 10:15 am

We know that some counties would struggle to field 16 boards in county matches, but might be able to field 12; do we actually know that they would enter a team in the national stages if it were reduced from 16 to 12?

I'm thinking for example of Cumbria, which can manage 12 boards for matches in the NCCU U160; discussions with their players (at the friendly matches we have had) suggested that the sheer distance to play in the national stages would mean that they wouldn't be able to raise a decent team

There's no point cutting from 16 boards in the U160 and U140 if it isn't going to lead to greater entry numbers
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Victory for the Dinosaurs

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:11 am

Mick Norris wrote:
Wed Apr 04, 2018 10:15 am
There's no point cutting from 16 boards in the U160 and U140 if it isn't going to lead to greater entry numbers
If you have a national stage summer knock out, you don't want more than 8 or 9 teams entering. Hence the point of these being Union nominees. It's at Union level where the growth can occur and Unions can already reduce to 12 boards.

Neil Graham
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Re: Victory for the Dinosaurs

Post by Neil Graham » Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:38 am

Mick Norris wrote:
Wed Apr 04, 2018 10:15 am
We know that some counties would struggle to field 16 boards in county matches, but might be able to field 12; do we actually know that they would enter a team in the national stages if it were reduced from 16 to 12?

I'm thinking for example of Cumbria, which can manage 12 boards for matches in the NCCU U160; discussions with their players (at the friendly matches we have had) suggested that the sheer distance to play in the national stages would mean that they wouldn't be able to raise a decent team

There's no point cutting from 16 boards in the U160 and U140 if it isn't going to lead to greater entry numbers
I can't really quote NCCU matters and in view of comments in the past, I hesitate to do so. We did play Cumbria in a quarter-final a few seasons ago (played at Rose Forgrove) so they did enter the national stages that year.

The key thing in all this is a lack of chess organisers at a local level. I'll quote MCCU because I have more knowledge of that. Staffordshire first team collapsed in a heap following David Anderton's retirement as captain. The neighbouring county to Nottinghamshire easily has enough players to raise very competitive teams at U160 & U140 level but no-one will volunteer to be a captain (advertised on their website) - so consequently no teams. Dropping down team numbers from 16 to 12 will have no effect except to deprive those players who do want to play of a game of chess.

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Victory for the Dinosaurs

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:42 am

Well obviously I congratulate the dinosaurs on their victory. From a personal point of view I thought the diversity proposal was a mistake and in truth I could take or leave the direct entry proposal. Why? Because a fair few of the unions have effective direct entry anyway (not just the NCCU) and if the SCCU/ MCCU want to impose internal silos for the sake of tradition I suppose who are we to stop them? I still think the change caused by direct entry would only have been cosmetic but it is what it is.

But I am pleased I'm not having to waste any more of my time on the county championships when my time is far better spent trying to attract new players to the game and creating opportunities for them to play. The dinosaurs are obviously more than capable of looking after themselves.
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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Victory for the Dinosaurs

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:54 am

(WECU has already cut its regional stage matches in the U-160 to twelve boards, incidentally. Most of the counties find finding 28 players on one day challenging enough, let alone 32.)

Neil Graham
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Re: Victory for the Dinosaurs

Post by Neil Graham » Wed Apr 04, 2018 12:09 pm

Can I now move on to a second discussion point from Alex's paper?

The 4NCL is held up as a shining beacon of success whereas county chess is designated as a floundering failure. To quote "the 4NCL is 20% bigger than five years ago whereas the County Championship is at best stable. Why is one growing and the other not? What can the County Championship do to be part of that growth?"

If we were comparing like for like I could well understand this but, of course, we're not. The first thing I would ask is how many players have played in the 4NCL this year and have many have played in the Union stages of the Counties Championship? I would hazard a guess (without counting) that the latter exceeds the former by a substantial amount. I have some figures for Nottinghamshire - 100 Nottinghamshire players have played county chess this year of which just 15 have played 4NCL. So which appears to be more successful?

In the 4NCL the growth quoted has taken place from foreign teams such as Gonzaga, Alba, Manx Liberty who would have no interest in the Counties Championship and also multiple teams such as Barnet Knights, Brown Jack and so on. For players in the Under 140 grading bracket there is little that the 4NCL offers against the Counties Championship. Where the 4NCL scores heavily is the opportunities for high rated players and those of master standard and above to play in excellent conditions with the prospect of norms; a look at the Open/Minor Section of the Counties Championship reflects the paucity of really top class players. So let's not mix the two up!

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Victory for the Dinosaurs

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Apr 04, 2018 1:24 pm

Neil Graham wrote:
Wed Apr 04, 2018 12:09 pm
The first thing I would ask is how many players have played in the 4NCL this year and have many have played in the Union stages of the Counties Championship?
There are 1364 registered 4NCL players as of today. It doesn't mean they all will play. So 1000 plus is the benchmark headcount.

A number of those taking part in the 4NCL don't have a Union stage county team to play for.

Jon Underwood
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Re: Victory for the Dinosaurs

Post by Jon Underwood » Wed Apr 04, 2018 1:56 pm

There doesn't seem to be that much left in the proposals. I've asked our delegate to vote against them all.. Especially the one which apparently abolishes the minor counties. If that happens it is very likely that Devon will drop to zero entries next year as I won't be captaining a team to drive a few hundred miles for certain defeat.

Jon Underwood
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Re: Victory for the Dinosaurs

Post by Jon Underwood » Wed Apr 04, 2018 2:14 pm

IM Jack Rudd wrote:
Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:54 am
(WECU has already cut its regional stage matches in the U-160 to twelve boards, incidentally. Most of the counties find finding 28 players on one day challenging enough, let alone 32.)
It's cut to 12 when the captains agree but can be 16 - this year's Devon vs Cornwall U160 was over the full 16 boards. Usually the match is held on the same day as the first team match but this year we agreed to do something different as otherwise Cornwall first team uses a lot of players from the U160s.

John Reyes
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Re: Victory for the Dinosaurs

Post by John Reyes » Wed Apr 04, 2018 4:07 pm

Neil Graham wrote:
Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:38 am

I can't really quote NCCU matters and in view of comments in the past, I hesitate to do so. We did play Cumbria in a quarter-final a few seasons ago (played at Rose Forgrove) so they did enter the national stages that year.

The key thing in all this is a lack of chess organisers at a local level. I'll quote MCCU because I have more knowledge of that. Staffordshire first team collapsed in a heap following David Anderton's retirement as captain. The neighbouring county to Nottinghamshire easily has enough players to raise very competitive teams at U160 & U140 level but no-one will volunteer to be a captain (advertised on their website) - so consequently no teams. Dropping down team numbers from 16 to 12 will have no effect except to deprive those players who do want to play of a game of chess.
I found that some organisers are so stuck into the past, that they don't want any young people helping them out and that why after 3 years, I thinking why should I bother going to their agm, as i feel that i won't be needed
Any postings on here represent my personal views only

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