Susan Lalic wrote:I agree with your last sentence. However, I had twins in the U-9 girls event and they both played with clocks for the second half of the tournament. Mike sometimes waits to see if clocks are necessary i.e. if any players are on the slow side. Some children have never played with clocks and it can be a bit daunting for the younger ones.
I thought the standard of the Controllers was fantastic on Sunday: A couple of IMs and a couple of very experienced teachers who certainly know the en passant rule.
I'll ask Chloe again about the clocks, it might be that they transferred some from the bottom boards of other sections for later rounds of the under 9s once they were confident that the more experienced players had worked their way up to the top boards.
Do you really think that some children find playing with clocks daunting? I would have thought that anyone who had qualified for the Gigafinal would have used them before. I must admit that this is a subject where I seem to be in the minority, I like to see clocks used as early as possible, even with under 7s in their very first tournament, but most people I speak to about it think that clocks are at best a waste of time with the very young children.
Who were the IM controllers? I saw David Archer (not an IM), who is a very experienced controller and organiser, but I didn't recognise anyone else. Often in large junior events (i.e. events for a large number of juniors, rather than events for large juniors) the most experienced controllers are put in charge of the older age groups, whereas I think you have more "interesting" disputes and upsets with the less experienced children. For example Mike Basman is always asked to look after the top row (boards 1 and 2) in EPSCA team events but I think he would be much more useful on boards 19 / 20, sorting out positions where both sides are in double check and no-one can remember whose move it is.
I made the "en passant" comment because one of the Oxfordshire under 10 girls took a pawn e.p. in her game only for it to be disputed by her opponent, who had never seen such witchcraft on a chessboard before. The Oxfordshire girl expected it to be sorted out by the controller, but unfortunately she didn't seem to be very sure of the rule herself and had to call for a second opinion.