ECF to refuse to grade Games?

General discussions about grading.
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Michael Farthing
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Re: ECF to refuse to grade Games?

Post by Michael Farthing » Thu Jul 17, 2014 11:34 am

Well I quite like that. When you say 'notionally' does this mean that you wouldn't have an intermediate time control?

Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF to refuse to grade Games?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Jul 17, 2014 11:50 am

Michael Farthing wrote: When you say 'notionally' does this mean that you wouldn't have an intermediate time control?
You could have one, but I would be inclined to say not, even if it increases the risk of players trying to get from move 30 to move 60 in about two minutes. If players like to leave for home early, having an intermediate time control encourages this by moving game crisis points earlier.

There are various possibilities if you did have one. 30 in 60 followed by 30 in 30 or perhaps 40 in 80 followed by 20 in 10. That might be a bit fast for the second phase, so 40 in 75 followed by 20 in 15.

If like Surrey, it's an "options" league then make the options G/90, 60/90 with adjudication or 60/90 followed by an adjournment at 40/60. If anyone said those choices would have little practical impact on most games other than to make players move more often, I would agree with them. It was my practical experience of adjudication based chess that it discouraged the adoption of long main lines, if you were playing for a win at least. If playing for a draw against a stronger player, they perhaps gave the best chance by reducing the number of moves you had to play by yourself.

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David Shepherd
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Re: ECF to refuse to grade Games?

Post by David Shepherd » Thu Jul 17, 2014 12:00 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:"Before the game the players have to agree on whether the session ends with a quickplay finish, the game is adjourned or sent for adjudication. (In detail the away player offers 2 of the 3 and the home player chooses, so each player is guaranteed at least their 2nd choice and nobody is forced to accept the finish they want least.) Somewhere between 30% and 40% of games end up heading for adjudication but in the vast majority of cases the game result is agreed between the players (and captains) and only a small number (<10) is sent to the adjudicator each year."

And because of the eminently sensible system outlined by Mike, many people will accept adjudication as it is preferable to adjournment. So there are not 30 % of people liking adjudication.

Added to that, if you force people into a time-limit they don't like, they might stop playing, and that would not be sensible.
I think one of the problems under the Surrey system is that I am forced to accept that if my opponent wants a game that ends in adjudication then that is what happens :(. So the rules as I understand them are that if an adjourned game runs through the second session then it is adjudicated. So I have to offer my opponent the choice of quickplay or adjudication(delayed or otherwise), and he can offer me the choice of either adjudication or "delayed adjudication" (adjournment followed by adjudication). I would prefer the rules to specify that following an adjournment the second session ends in a quick play finish, or even is adjourned again.

As the rules stand I can not avoid adjudication so that is the default position which I think has to be wrong, the rules should be changed so that the default is that the games are played to a finish.

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John Saunders
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Re: ECF to refuse to grade Games?

Post by John Saunders » Thu Jul 17, 2014 1:05 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
It didn't use to be legal under the grading rules because they had a maximum "pace of play" rule. That was abolished at least ten years ago, by which time league AGMs not dominated by the gamesmanship advocates had already switched to quick-play finishes.
Since you seem to think it is OK to describe the motive of people who support adjudication at AGMs as "gamesmanship", perhaps we might reasonably balance the 'cui bono' argument by examining the motives of those who express such a strong preference for QPF. Given that QPF effectively transforms a longplay game into rapidplay or even blitz, we might not be surprised to find that someone whose rapidplay grade is consistently higher than their longplay grade is so volubly pro-QPF...

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: ECF to refuse to grade Games?

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Thu Jul 17, 2014 1:21 pm

To be fair, that works the other way around as well. I play worse at faster time controls than when adjournment is an option. I prefer quickplay to adjudication, but adjournment has always been my preferred option when available, purely to avoid messing things up in a blitz finish at the end with only five minutes left. This explains why my rapidplay grade has (usually) been lower than my slowplay grade. So I completely understand those who play better in quickplay finishes advocating for that option.

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Re: ECF to refuse to grade Games?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Jul 17, 2014 1:31 pm

John Saunders wrote: Given that QPF effectively transforms a longplay game into rapidplay or even blitz, we might not be surprised to find that someone whose rapidplay grade is consistently higher than their longplay grade is so volubly pro-QPF...
I'm not sure I see the point. I don't play any chess that isn't play to a finish, either by quick-play or increment. My grade isn't affected by the rules of leagues I don't play in and that I would refuse to play in. I play just 5 graded rapid games a year, so it's just measured on how I do in the one tournament.

It did however take years of facing down at AGMs those unable to play chess relatively quickly to get to that state.

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Re: ECF to refuse to grade Games?

Post by James Toon » Thu Jul 17, 2014 1:34 pm

The Civil Service League has carried out a phased withdrawal from the adjudication system.

Until the end of 2012/13, adjudication was the default but a quickplay finish was available if both players agreed in advance. In recent years, fewer than 10 games a year were sent for adjudication. (Rather more than that will have been unfinished at the end of the session but then decided between the two teams.) The minimum number of moves before adjudication had risen from 36 to 42 (in 90 minutes), but this does not seem to have made a difference to the number of games sent for adjudication.

In 2013/14 the arrangement switched so that finishing the night was the default unless both players agreed in advance to adjudication. It helped that the League provided at the same time for the finish on the night option to use an incremental time control rather than QPF where suitable digital clocks were available (most clubs had these by last season).

In order to ease the transition, the League implemented a procedure for identifying players' preferences (finish on the night / adjudication / neutral or unstated). Captains were required to exchange team lists in advance, with the preference listed on each board, with a view to matching preferences by limited changes to the board order where this could be done within the overall requirement to field players in order of playing strength. This created another layer of administration but seems to have worked smoothly in most cases.

The identification of preferences showed that of the 176 players taking part last season, about 49% preferred to finish on the night, 17% preferred adjudication, 17% were neutral, and 17% did not state a preference. Players were allowed to change their preference once during the season. About 10 players switched, mostly towards finishing on the night; this may have reflected experience of using the incremental time control.

The League also increased the fee for an unsuccessful adjudication claim from £7.50 to £15.00.

Following all these changes, no games were sent for adjudication in 2013/14 although the option was still available.

For 2014/15, the League has undergone a modernisation process with a fundamental restructuring. As part of this, adjudication will no longer be available. All games will finish on the night, using an incremental time control where possible.

It remains to be seen what effect this will have on the participation of the adjudication minority. A small number of players may leave, but my impression is that most will continue.

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John Saunders
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Re: ECF to refuse to grade Games?

Post by John Saunders » Thu Jul 17, 2014 1:34 pm

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:So I completely understand those who play better in quickplay finishes advocating for that option.
So do I, but I take a less indulgent view of them when they describe the opposing argument as advocating "gamesmanship".

I am fully in agreement with Kevin Thurlow when he writes "if you force people into a time-limit they don't like, they might stop playing, and that would not be sensible." I have myself written before on the subject. Is it really necessary to exhume all those arguments again?
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF to refuse to grade Games?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Jul 17, 2014 1:50 pm

John Saunders wrote: So do I, but I take a less indulgent view of them when they describe the opposing argument as advocating "gamesmanship".
The final straw on that was a game in the Thames Valley League. It was a difficult to reach away match on a Friday evening. The opponent and myself rattled out 30 moves in around 60 minutes each and then play came to a halt for the next half hour at his move. It was in the days when the choice of adjudication or adjournment was at the end of the session and the player electing to play had to travel. So I could have called their bluff and tried to use the thirty minute advantage in the second session, but I didn't. Stopping play because you have reached the time control is a time-honoured piece of gamesmanship in British chess which increments and quick-play finishes have mostly done away with.

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Re: ECF to refuse to grade Games?

Post by Michael Flatt » Thu Jul 17, 2014 2:02 pm

So, what are the origins of adjudicated finishes?

In a game between two players how can it continue to be justified to conclude a game with the assistance of a third party?

In modern times isn't an adjudicated finish tantamount to cheating (i.e. no longer gamesmanship)?

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John Saunders
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Re: ECF to refuse to grade Games?

Post by John Saunders » Thu Jul 17, 2014 2:04 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
I'm not sure I see the point. I don't play any chess that isn't play to a finish, either by quick-play or increment. My grade isn't affected by the rules of leagues I don't play in and that I would refuse to play in. I play just 5 graded rapid games a year, so it's just measured on how I do in the one tournament.

It did however take years of facing down at AGMs those unable to play chess relatively quickly to get to that state.
Since you are unaffected, why do you always weigh in on these adjudication/QPF arguments? Why not let other leagues deal democratically with their own decisions, which might involve any number of local factors of which you may be unaware? And why describe the pro-adjudication lobby as advocating 'gamesmanship?

The phrase I have set in bold reads like another cheap shot. I fear it hints at a lack of understanding or empathy for those who might not play as well or as often as you. As a strong player myself (at least in the context of local league chess), I too felt myself to be disadvantaged occasionally by weaker players who were adept at reaching the move 30/35/36 time control with a position that couldn't be adjudicated a loss, but I took the view that such local leagues existed as much (if not more) for players whose only chess was the occasional league match rather than for more committed chess players like myself, and accepted it as a sort of tax on my grade. Of course, it occasionally cut the other way: I recall playing Julian Hodgson in the Surrey League once and him pushing me through three or four additional time controls by playing instant chess in order to avert this scenario.

Since writing the above, I note your subject emendation to 'time-honoured piece of gamesmanship'. Is this your way of withdrawing the jibe? OK, I accept the offer.

I also note your hostility to FIDE zero tolerance on other threads. I happen to agree with most of that. But shouldn't you try to work on your own zero tolerance to adjudication? Adapting the words of an infamous t-shirt: "some people like adjudication. Get over it."
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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: ECF to refuse to grade Games?

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Thu Jul 17, 2014 2:08 pm

Michael Flatt wrote: In modern times isn't an adjudicated finish tantamount to cheating (i.e. no longer gamesmanship)?
No, because it's within the rules of the competition as written. Cheating is defined as breaking the rules in order to gain an unfair advantage.

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Re: ECF to refuse to grade Games?

Post by Michael Flatt » Thu Jul 17, 2014 2:16 pm

Yes, it is currently allowed in the Laws of Chess.

It also used to be permitted to write down your move before playing it on the board.

Could FIDE's action in disregarding the results of adjudicated games be the first step in outlawing them entirely?

Isn't adjudication something left over from an earlier era?

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Re: ECF to refuse to grade Games?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Jul 17, 2014 2:28 pm

John Saunders wrote: But shouldn't you try to work on your own zero tolerance to adjudication?
I could live with a move rate of 60 moves in 90 minutes followed by adjudication Could the adjudication leagues live with playing that quickly, and if not, why not?
Michael Flatt wrote:So, what are the origins of adjudicated finishes?
.

They pre-date the invention of chess clocks. It was for games unfinished when the premises had to close. Once chess clocks became available, you could have play to a finish in a finite time, but outside of 5-minute chess, there was little adoption of it. There may also have been a presumption that chess clocks were not universally available.

In the 1960s, the two week Whitby Congress ran an evening Swiss where you played one game a weekday evening with an hour on the clock. This was just considered as novelty chess. Congresses started adopting play to a finish or even just a Whitby style one day event in the early 1970s. There may have been earlier events than Whitby.

The grading rules would have an effect. The presence of Congresses with quick-play finishes forced the BCF to modify its grading rules, along with the first sightings of 10.2 style rules to prevent completely ridiculous results. For reasons only known at the time, there was still a concept of a maximum pace of play, so I think 40 moves in 90 minutes with 30 minutes to finish was allowed, but all the moves in 120 minutes wasn't.

Again because of the grading rules, league rates were 30 in 75 or 36 in 90. Initially the attempt to thwart the move 30 hand sitters concentrated on the introduction of adjournment as a non-adjudication option. For once the BCF perhaps lead the way, by introducing quick-play into the county rules, thereby exposing non-Congress players to the delights or horrors of finishing games for themselves. This lead to a renewed impetus to sweep away adjudications and adjournments which was successful in large parts of the country, except bizarrely in London and some surrounding areas.

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Re: ECF to refuse to grade Games?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Jul 17, 2014 2:35 pm

Michael Flatt wrote: Could FIDE's action in disregarding the results of adjudicated games be the first step in outlawing them entirely?
FIDE rules on rating only ever applied to International Chess, which has never had adjudication as a standard feature. With the extension of FIDE's rating system down to 1000, it starts to overlap with national and local events, so you do get a clash of rule sets. Whether right or wrongly, the BCF/ECF gave up having its own set of rules some years ago, but if it had maintained them, it would probably have to had grandfathered adjudication as being a practice that pre-dated both FIDE and for that matter the BCF. I would advocate retaining it, if you must, but making the minimum number of moves 60, say, for over the board play. Correspondence chess still relies on adjudication for slower events.

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