Southern Giga Final

National developments, strategies and ideas.
Richard James
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Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by Richard James » Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:11 pm

Mick Norris wrote: Since it started in 1996, that is presumably long enough to know what difference the UKCC has made to English (junior) chess

In 2012, are we better, worse or roughly the same as in 1996?

Has this been because of the UKCC, despite it, or has it made no difference?
Compared to where we were in 1996, roughly the same.

Compared to the rest of the world, we're much worse off.

Certainly the UKCC has introduced many children to competitive chess, some of whom have gone on to become very strong players, but in principle I think the way we're organising, teaching and promoting chess for young children is wrong. Children who have very supportive and proactive parents will come through and do well, but those who do not have that parental support stand little chance of making progress.

I'd say, though, that the UKCC is a symptom of our decline compared to the rest of the world rather than its cause.

For further information read this article, which was the subject of a thread on here when it was published on the Streatham blog. I sent a copy to both Phil Ehr and David Levens four months ago, but have not received a reply from either of them.

I would suggest that one of our problems is that many of the people involved in junior chess are only interested in the elite players, not what's happening at grass roots level. If you run tournaments what will happen is that the kids who are getting help at home will always beat the kids who are not getting help at home, even though the latter may be just as talented. The kids not getting help will enjoy winning their fluffy mascots in the short term but will quickly drop out.

Having recently returned to RJCC after several years I'm trying to be a lot more proactive in talking to parents, particularly those who are enquiring about membership. From several conversations I've had over the past few weeks I get the impression that there are lots of parents out there who are not very knowledgeable about chess themselves and would love to help their children, but have no idea how to go about doing so.

This is where we need to start. Which is why I'm spending the summer holidays writing a book for parents and teachers.

Peter Sowray
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Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by Peter Sowray » Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:37 pm

I'm puzzled by much of this thread.

Yes, I understand that Mike is not everyone's cup of tea. But his tournament is a superb contribution to our chess scene.

Peter

Sabrina Chevannes
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Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by Sabrina Chevannes » Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:49 pm

I agree with Peter - I think that the event itself is a great way to introduce chess right from the roots. My only criticism is that the arbiting is terrible. Most of the people judging the games do not know the rules and do not explain what they are doing to the children which leaves them very confused.
I, as a spectator have actually been called into judge a game because the "arbiters" didn't know what to do. The 10.2 decisions are always very dodgy and sometimes they add in rules after games have finished based on one person's views and not hearing other sides of the story.

I think if this tournament became a bit more professional, it would be acceptable, but obviously it is difficult due to its vast size.

E Michael White
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Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by E Michael White » Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:23 pm

Sabrina Chevannes wrote: .... the arbiting is terrible. Most of the people judging the games do not know the rules .... .which leaves them very confused......... the "arbiters" didn't know what to do....... The 10.2 decisions are always very dodgy and sometimes they add in rules after games have finished.....
These words could have been said about many ENG adult events. A few more detailed laws for all ENG chess, which FIDE allow for, could combat the skill shortage and improve the playing experience. At least those arbiters who read this forum now know when players are allowed to move.

Neill Cooper
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Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by Neill Cooper » Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:37 pm

Malcolm Clarke wrote:Interesting to have diverging opinions on certain aspects of this competition. I do have after looking at the results taking particular interest in those of the Hampshire players have one question and that is which school does Alex Vanlint who finished first equal in the under 12 boys represent?

He appears in the list as Alex Vanlint (Lanbrook), but when I google Lanbrook I get Lambrook school, Berkshire, but other references to the same player suggests he is at Reading Grammar school.
A year 7 Alexander Vanlint 137 played for Reading School in the National School Semi-Finals. I assume it is another case where UKCC hasn't updated the school affiliation of a players who has moved from primary to secondary school.

Alex McFarlane
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Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by Alex McFarlane » Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:41 pm

I think the quality of arbiter varies from heat to heat. In Scotland there is always a good arbiter available and in the NE of England there is Lara and myself. I do think is is a weakness of the event that a well qualfied arbiter is not at each venue. I would certainly recommensd that each event should have a senior arbiter in attendance.

Neill Cooper
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Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by Neill Cooper » Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:41 pm

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:It can be easy to say it is all out there on various websites, but is there a one-stop site where people can enter a post-code and find out what chess is available within reasonable distances?
I used to use Chingland and then click on the county I am interested in.
But there is now map on the ECF website: go to the home page and on the left is a heading "ECF chess club map" below which is an icon for the map.

Peter Sowray
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Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by Peter Sowray » Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:53 pm

Before we give the arbiters a good kicking, it seems to me they have an impossible job here. Of course, there are a lot of inexperienced young players at large junior events such as the Gigafinal. But a bigger problem is the appalling behaviour from adults (parents, coaches, team managers, etc.) that occurs far too often. A detailed knowledge of 10.2, whatever that is, is not going to help defuse these situations.

As the premier junior competition, I would like to see the UKCC set a tone here. Their marketing emphasises the very large cash prizes on offer, but says little about the standards of behaviour that are expected. I have in mind something like Susan Polgar's "Win with grace, lose with dignity" mantra, which I'm sure is aimed as much at the adults as the young players.

Alan Burke

Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by Alan Burke » Thu Jul 19, 2012 9:46 am

I think that the comment of " ... the arbiting is terrible. Most of the people judging the games do not know the rules" does need to be qualified to some extent as that indicates that over 50% of those acting as arbiters throughout the entire tournament (Megas, Gigas, Tera) have no knowledge about any of the laws of chess.

Actually, as a whole I cannot make any judgement on that fact but can only refer to our local Megafinal where those who officiate are either qualified arbiters to some extent or are very experienced players/coaches from 3Cs who compete at a fairly high standard - therefore to say they do not know the rules is decrying their ability, whilst the Northern Gigafinal has also used several of the same people as arbiters.

Therefore unless arbiters have been observed at every individual event throughout the UKCC it seems a bit OTT to criticise "most" of the officials.

However, quite often throughout sport in general, spectators and players expect the very best performance from the official in charge even though the playing ability of those competing is far from excellent. Again, I will give the football scenario - two local teams playing on the local park often do not have the skill, ability and fitness to play the game to any decent level yet they will constantly criticise the referee if he makes the slightest of errors and fully expect him to be up to the standard of a Premiership official.

Similarly in the UKCC, yes, perhaps those officiating in some of the Megafinals are not up to McFarlane/Barnes standard but neither are the players up to Adams/Short standard. The further up the chess ladder the players progress then the more knowledgeable officials they will encounter.

Neill Cooper
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Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by Neill Cooper » Thu Jul 19, 2012 5:37 pm

Peter Sowray wrote:I'm puzzled by much of this thread.

Yes, I understand that Mike is not everyone's cup of tea. But his tournament is a superb contribution to our chess scene.

Peter
I agree with you Peter. Yes, lots of players drop out from chess after having played in UKCC. But the same happens with primary school chess clubs, junior chess clubs etc. I don't think many have actually been switched off chess by UKCC, just gone on to do other things. Despite the popularity of UKCC there are still vastly more children who never played chess than those who have played and then given up.

The real problem is we do very little to attract teenagers to play chess. One positive thing I notice at the Surrey Megafinal is that there are always newer players in the 15 to 18 year old section, who have taken up chess as teenagers, playing alongside those who have been there for the past 10 years. (Actually, some did play chess at primary school, gave up chess for a few years, and then take it up again.)

Stewart Reuben
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Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by Stewart Reuben » Fri Aug 03, 2012 12:42 pm

I haven't read the whole of this thread. My attention has only recently been drawn to it.

1. For 500 children you need a minimum of 800 sq.metres in one hall that does not have columns. Somewhat more is needed for an open event.
2. For 500 players there should be a minimum of 5 arbiters plus 1 chief arbiter. At higher levels it should be 10. For a children's event you also need some people to look after them.
3. The UKCC has not damaged English chess. Indeed the very reverse. Mike Basman is to be applauded.
4. The 4NCL is also great. Again applause, particularly for Mike Truran.
5. All activities play the numbers game. We introduce all children to music. For some it will become an abiding passion, for others not. My father said, 'Education is never wasted.'
6. Whenever new activity is started it is important to consider the objectives.
7. I have never studied the UKCC Rules. From what I have been told (hearsay is always dangerous) I dislike the system where unfinished games are 'adjudicated'. Any good arbiter should be able to assess a position, not just count up the pieces. I realise right at the start there are no arbiters in the DUKSCC. That is no reason not to have good rules at the gigafinal.
8. Richard James is quite right. English junior chess has fallen behind some other countries because of how our society works.

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