Unanswered letter

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Unanswered letter

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Wed Mar 02, 2011 10:03 pm

Krishna Shiatis wrote:Whilst this is all happening, three of your top juniors have walked away and more may be following.
They may have walked away from the England junior selection process, but they haven't walked away from high-level chess; I've seen Williams at Hastings and Sanders in the 4NCL. This might harm English chances in the World Junior and similar events, but the players themselves are reasonably placed to carry on improving and making names for themselves on the international scene.

Richard Bates
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Re: Unanswered letter

Post by Richard Bates » Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:00 am

I don't get the impression that there's any unanimity in what critics of the current system (the selection process anyway) are arguing. It seems pretty clear, for example, that insofar as their motives are 'selfish' for their own children Krishna and Paul want very different things.

Paul knows that his son has a strong claim to being continually selected simply by being identified as the strongest player in his age group, and feels that the way he has to go about "proving" this for selection is detrimental to his general chess development. He doesn't seem to particularly object to the principle of the ECF limiting selections to events, just the way they go about doing it.

Krishna on the other hand knows that her son has little chance at present of being selected as the strongest in his age group (whatever the selection process) but thinks that since there is now no limit placed on entries by FIDE, he should be allowed to go anyway (independently of ECF support if necessary), since playing in these events will in itself help his chess development.

I would suspect that among the chess community as a whole, there is far more sympathy with the former view, than the latter, although many would take a view somewhere of a mixture of the two (more flexibility in selection procedures, where strength in an age group justified it, but no 'free-for-all'). I think that most would probably take the view that the ECF should offer financial support to anybody deemed worthy of selection, which in itself causes problems for a 'flexible' approach in the present economic climate.

In the context of the current general (although not mandatory) policy of only sending one player per age group there is basically no solution to keep everyone happy. Devising objective criteria outside of selection tournaments is frankly extremely difficult if not impossible. Perhaps in an ideal world you would have a mixture - whereby you send the strongest player when there clearly is a 'strongest player' only resorting the the use of matches and/or tournaments, where there are a few or several viable candidates. But that's not really realistic. And that's without getting into issues like whether you should seek to send the strongest player, or the one most likely to do well. And if say in the U14 you have an U14 and an U13 of fairly equal merit, do you send the U13 because they have more potential or the U14 because they won't have another chance next year?

No easy answers with selection and few IMO would be in favour of ditching selection completely.

Andrew Farthing
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Re: Unanswered letter

Post by Andrew Farthing » Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:22 am

Krishna Shiatis wrote:
Andrew Farthing wrote:(...) there is a clear democratic process for achieving change: (1) put together a persuasive proposal; (2) obtain the required minimum level of support to get the proposal on the Council agenda; (3) convince a majority of voters on Council to vote in favour.

As far as I can see, the biggest barriers to change in practice are that ideas too rarely are taken as far as step (1) and then the proponents of change don't lay the foundations (through lobbying, etc.) before the meeting to build up a groundswell of support so that the proposal gets through step (3). It's normal for people to support the status quo unless they have a sense of dissatisfaction with how things are or a vision of how much better they could be (plus a sense that there is an achievable path to getting there). That does take work, but it's doable. To state the obvious, it won't happen by itself.
Things certainly do not happen by themselves. We need your help and support, but you (as a collective group at the ECF) have let us down. That is how I feel.

It is something which can be easily fixed. It would not cost the ECF any money and compromises could be reached if the people within would only listen and work with us.

I do not think we are asking for the moon (those that have expressed an opinion here), just some support and flexibility at the highest levels.
The point of my comment was that you don't need my (or the Board's) help and support. You do need the support of a majority of voters at the ECF Coumcil, and I tried to explain how to go about that.

The reality is that the Board has debated these issues and expressed its support for the current policy. It seems misguided to seek change by asking the Board to work with you to develop proposals to bring about something with which it appears not to agree.

I explained the steps that need to be taken to achieve change. They needn't take long, but they will never happen at all if they're ignored in favour of simply repeatedly asking the Board to make a change which it has discussed and voted against.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Unanswered letter

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Mar 03, 2011 8:44 am

Richard Bates wrote:In the context of the current general (although not mandatory) policy of only sending one player per age group there is basically no solution to keep everyone happy.
So why not dump the policy?

What are the arguments in favour of the current policy? Make it open, but impose qualification standards which means you don't send players unlikely to finish in the top third.

Alan Walton
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Re: Unanswered letter

Post by Alan Walton » Thu Mar 03, 2011 8:50 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Richard Bates wrote:In the context of the current general (although not mandatory) policy of only sending one player per age group there is basically no solution to keep everyone happy.
So why not dump the policy?

What are the arguments in favour of the current policy? Make it open, but impose qualification standards which means you don't send players unlikely to finish in the top third.
I agree Roger, they can have a policy of sending one fully subsidised individual per age group by means of a qualification/grand prix system, then if any other juniors want to play they just have to pay the full whack, this seems quite simple to me

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Unanswered letter

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Mar 03, 2011 8:59 am

Alan Walton wrote: I agree Roger, they can have a policy of sending one fully subsidised individual per age group by means of a qualification/grand prix system, then if any other juniors want to play they just have to pay the full whack, this seems quite simple to me

I would review even that. It seems to me particularly when events are held in places like Turkey, that the "free" places are in fact financed by the organisers by over charging everyone else including coaches and accompanying people. So you treat the "free" places as contributions to the total cost rather than prizes won by qualifiers.

David Sedgwick
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Re: Unanswered letter

Post by David Sedgwick » Thu Mar 03, 2011 10:59 am

Andrew Farthing wrote:
Krishna Shiatis wrote:
Andrew Farthing wrote:(...) there is a clear democratic process for achieving change: (1) put together a persuasive proposal; (2) obtain the required minimum level of support to get the proposal on the Council agenda; (3) convince a majority of voters on Council to vote in favour.

As far as I can see, the biggest barriers to change in practice are that ideas too rarely are taken as far as step (1) and then the proponents of change don't lay the foundations (through lobbying, etc.) before the meeting to build up a groundswell of support so that the proposal gets through step (3). It's normal for people to support the status quo unless they have a sense of dissatisfaction with how things are or a vision of how much better they could be (plus a sense that there is an achievable path to getting there). That does take work, but it's doable. To state the obvious, it won't happen by itself.
Things certainly do not happen by themselves. We need your help and support, but you (as a collective group at the ECF) have let us down. That is how I feel.

It is something which can be easily fixed. It would not cost the ECF any money and compromises could be reached if the people within would only listen and work with us.

I do not think we are asking for the moon (those that have expressed an opinion here), just some support and flexibility at the highest levels.
The point of my comment was that you don't need my (or the Board's) help and support. You do need the support of a majority of voters at the ECF Coumcil, and I tried to explain how to go about that.

The reality is that the Board has debated these issues and expressed its support for the current policy. It seems misguided to seek change by asking the Board to work with you to develop proposals to bring about something with which it appears not to agree.

I explained the steps that need to be taken to achieve change. They needn't take long, but they will never happen at all if they're ignored in favour of simply repeatedly asking the Board to make a change which it has discussed and voted against.
Krishna,

Having read Andrew's latest comments, I would suggest that you ask Kent Junior Chess Association whether they're prepared to submit a motion for consideration at the ECF October Council Meeting.

They would need the support of others to get it on the agenda, but I wouldn't expect that to be a problem. Through Kent County Chess Association, they could bring the matter to the SCCU Annual Council Meeting in June at first instance.

Debate on here is extremely valuable, but can only achieve so much.

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Gareth Harley-Yeo
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Re: Unanswered letter

Post by Gareth Harley-Yeo » Thu Mar 03, 2011 12:13 pm

Richard James wrote: I have been particularly impressed by Paul Sanders’ postings both here and on other threads. He expresses his views in a calm and measured tone and points out, quite rightly in my opinion, that we are lagging a long way behind the rest of Europe.
I’d like to echo these comments. Carol and Krishna would do well to follow Paul’s example of how to express an opinion without attacking (yes I will use that word again) people who hold differing opinions to themselves.
Krishna Shiatis wrote: With regard to your comment "I sincerely hope your attitudes on this forum don't cause any undue negativity towards your children." Like Carol, I am not sure what you are implying here, perhaps you would like to expand further. I hope that it is not a veiled threat. That would be inappropriate.
“A veiled threat”? What a ridiculous comment. I have little interest in neither yourselves nor your children. Please sit back for a moment and consider the following – You are both highly motivated to see your children succeed at chess, this is to be commended. It’s the way you go about changing things that could do more harm than good. If you chose to put forward your concerns in the manner Mr Sanders has then I’m sure you’d receive a great deal of support, just as Sean has began showing through genuine interest in his cause. However, if you choose to go around telling people to grow up will attract nothing but negativity towards yourselves and your causes. Ultimately you could alienate people who might otherwise support the changes you want pushed through. People are far more likely to dig their heels in and oppose change simply people they don’t like the attitude of those wanting to bring about the change.

No, chess shouldn’t be a popularity contest, and the good of juniors should come above the personalities of parents, but manners cost nothing.

Bullying will get you nowhere in life, especially on a forum full of intellectuals.

Sean Hewitt

Re: Unanswered letter

Post by Sean Hewitt » Thu Mar 03, 2011 12:21 pm

Gareth Harley-Yeo wrote:Bullying will get you nowhere in life, especially on a forum full of intellectuals.
Who are you calling a intellectual? :lol:

LozCooper

Re: Unanswered letter

Post by LozCooper » Thu Mar 03, 2011 12:28 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:
Gareth Harley-Yeo wrote:Bullying will get you nowhere in life, especially on a forum full of intellectuals.
Who are you calling a intellectual? :lol:
I assumed he was being ironic :?

Jim Wadsworth
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Re: Unanswered letter

Post by Jim Wadsworth » Thu Mar 03, 2011 1:08 pm

PaulSanders wrote: Isaac would very much like to play for England again, and we would think it a great honour. I would not like to prescribe a selection policy. It's our job to help Isaac get strong enough to give some foreigners a pasting if the ECF decides he can represent his country.

However I would suggest that any policy would be stronger if it offered a diversity of routes so that what works best could be discovered and encouraged.
Would be great to see Isaac back involved.

This debate, or versions thereof, has been running for ages and I am not convinced we are making much progress (hope I am wrong). I don't think my own views have changed very much since this rather lengthy post of about 4 months ago in a different strand on essentially the same topic. http://www.ecforum.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=7&p=43443

In particular on selection process I said "...Personally I would strongly prefer a different approach, one which leverages FIDE and/or ECF ratings to publish in advance definitive qualifying standards, and then the application of some well-informed judgement. To the extent that there was a large number of players meeting the qualifying standard for the relevant age group by the cut-off date, then I would look at a range of different data sources including results between the players and against common opponents at high quality long play events (preferably Majors and Opens). I would also look at trend data bearing in mind that young players develop at different rates. And then I would apply some judgement via an experienced and independent selection committee.....

....whose decisions would no doubt immediately be met with howls of protest amongst those who disagreed….I don't know the full history because I am too new to all this but I think that is exactly what happened in the recent past and was a contributory factor in Peter creating the current, very transparent process."


On reflection, I have moderated my views a bit. Now tend to think that the simplest thing to do is to offer places to all players who meet the given qualifying standard, and to not bother with a selection committee. Quick, simple, clear, cheap. Would allow different players to follow the "right" paths for themselves - some playing lots of junior chess, others focusing on adult events etc. BTW I would calculate the qualifying standard based on likely performance rating needed to achieve top third or maybe top half placing in the relevant events.


About the only other things that have changed since my original posting are that (a) Matthew is now an U12 (in FIDE terms); and (b) he is now playing a lot less junior chess in favour of playing in more adult congresses. For similar reasons as espoused by Paul: to aid/accelerate his chess development. That said, Matthew has played in a couple of this season's JRGP events and will be turning up to this weekend's world trial.

I finished my posting back in November with a bit of a plea for moving the debate on from the minutiae of selection policy to the more strategic topic of long-term development. I would repeat that plea. IMO, development policy and approach is way more important than debating who goes to one or two particular tournaments, however prestigious. I would like to think that whoever is the next JD has putting in place a proper development strategy for juniors (and not just for the strongest players) at the top of his/her to-do list.

Finally, to reiterate the point I made back in November - happy to contribute. Contacts available via http://www.bjca.org.uk.


[Subsequently edited to correct my own lousy grammar in the original version...doh]
Last edited by Jim Wadsworth on Thu Mar 03, 2011 2:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Krishna Shiatis
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Re: Unanswered letter

Post by Krishna Shiatis » Thu Mar 03, 2011 1:53 pm

Alan Walton wrote:
Roger de Coverly wrote:
Richard Bates wrote:In the context of the current general (although not mandatory) policy of only sending one player per age group there is basically no solution to keep everyone happy.
So why not dump the policy?

What are the arguments in favour of the current policy? Make it open, but impose qualification standards which means you don't send players unlikely to finish in the top third.
I agree Roger, they can have a policy of sending one fully subsidised individual per age group by means of a qualification/grand prix system, then if any other juniors want to play they just have to pay the full whack, this seems quite simple to me
I agree too and I think that this would appease many parents.

LozCooper

Re: Unanswered letter

Post by LozCooper » Thu Mar 03, 2011 1:58 pm

Jim Wadsworth wrote:
I finished my posting back in November with a bit of a plea for moving the debate on from the minutiae of selection policy to the more strategic topic of long-term development. I would repeat that plea. IMO, development policy and approach is way more important than debating who goes to one or two particular tournaments, however prestigious. I would like to think that whoever is the next JD has putting in place a proper development strategy for juniors (and not just for the strongest players) at the top of his/her to-do list.

Finally, to reiterate the point I made back in November - happy to contribute. Contacts available via http://www.bjca.org.uk.
If anyone wants to ask me for help/advice on what tournaments they or their children should play in etc I am happy to offer my opinion or try and recommend tournaments, coaching etc as required. Feel free to make contact if you see me at any events in the future eg World Trial, Blackpool, Uxbridge, 4NCL in March.

Krishna Shiatis
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Re: Unanswered letter

Post by Krishna Shiatis » Thu Mar 03, 2011 2:04 pm

David Sedgwick wrote:
Krishna,

Having read Andrew's latest comments, I would suggest that you ask Kent Junior Chess Association whether they're prepared to submit a motion for consideration at the ECF October Council Meeting.

They would need the support of others to get it on the agenda, but I wouldn't expect that to be a problem. Through Kent County Chess Association, they could bring the matter to the SCCU Annual Council Meeting in June at first instance.

Debate on here is extremely valuable, but can only achieve so much.
Thank you David. I do appreciate that you are trying to help. It certainly does give us a path to follow if we had the time and energy to go through this lengthy process.

There is a part of me just asking, that this is not the United Nations, this is chess, it is supposed to be fun and we are supposed to be helping our juniors. Is there surely not a simpler, less time-consuming route?

Roger D C, Alan Walton and many others have presented perfectly reasonable solutions. Can we just not mandate it at the highest level?

Sean Hewitt

Re: Unanswered letter

Post by Sean Hewitt » Thu Mar 03, 2011 2:10 pm

Krishna Shiatis wrote: Roger D C, Alan Walton and many others have presented perfectly reasonable solutions. Can we just not mandate it at the highest level?
Yes, you can.
Krishna Shiatis wrote: It certainly does give us a path to follow if we had the time and energy to go through this lengthy process.

There is a part of me just asking, that this is not the United Nations, this is chess, it is supposed to be fun and we are supposed to be helping our juniors. Is there surely not a simpler, less time-consuming route?
But this is the route that you must follow if you want to do it. Like it or not, that is what you need to do if you want to 'mandate it at the highest level.'

Only you can decide if you have the time and energy to follow the change through. Personally, I would have thought that it would be less time and effort than has been put into debating the merits on this forum.

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