County Championship Consultation

Discussion about all aspects of the ECF County Championships.
Alex Holowczak
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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Alex Holowczak » Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:45 pm

Richard Bates wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:11 pm
Yes sorry, meant intra, not inter...

I agree the problem I perceive is not necessarily a solvable problem. Although your example of Warwickshire seems to be more related to the way MCCU structure their competition rather than the ECF stages. Wawrkshie enter the Minor rather than the Open because the MCCU require them to make the choice. Which then, in a possible precursor to what might happen in the ECF stages left Staffs as MCCU champion by default. After which it was perhaps unsurprising that they (Staffs) struggled to retain the enthusiasm to survive.
The MCCU does require a choice between Open and Minor, however, the Minor is actually played to Open rules. There's no requirement for the teams to be under the 180 average - they just do naturally, so they enter the Minor.

David Pardoe
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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by David Pardoe » Wed Mar 21, 2018 11:57 pm

People make the mistake of comparing the 4NCL with the counties championships.
These are two quite different events, catering for differing needs, and with quite different frameworks.
The fact that 4NCL has had good success over several years is a good thing and shows that a certain demand is being met.
It has also had some help from `behind the scenes ` promotionals and other publicity.
Good publicity is vital to attracting support, and I`m sure the 4NCL `north` has benefitted from this.
Is the counties competition really in decline.. I`m not sure. Yes numbers have declined in recent years on the Counties events.
Yes there are probably some nice tweaks that might be applied to the counties events.. I have listed some on other threads previously.
Certainly the captain has his work cut out in the Finals stages, playing possibly 4 matches in just over 3 months, sorting transport, a 16 board team, refreshments, a venue, and equipment.
The fact that venues are sorted for the 4NCL takes some of the headache out of things for that event.
I`d like to see a more flexible approach taken to counties, and one example of this might be to allow the East & West of England Unions to each be allowed to enter a combined county Open team. I`d also favour widening the grading bands to the previous 25 point s
IT needs to be recognised that the Counties events offer some excellent chess playing opportunities, with nice time controls, and a reasonably pleasant day out, barring detours and missed directions en-route, which can cause delays sometimes.
Should the Finals stages be played over two w/e`s instead of the present arrangement.... going for a Jamboree type of format?
BRING BACK THE BCF

Jon Underwood
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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Jon Underwood » Thu Mar 29, 2018 7:06 pm

IM Jack Rudd wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 5:03 pm
David Sedgwick wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 5:00 pm
IM Jack Rudd wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 4:51 pm
I think I can say with some certainty that breaking the link between union and national stages would make almost no difference to WECU teams. Devon already pull out all the stops to try to win the Open and U-160 sections in the region, while only ever entering the U-180 section in the national stages.
Would Devon still enter the U180 Division of the ECF Counties Championships if they had to travel long distances to play matches from October onwards whilst at the same time striving to wim the Open and U180 Divisions of the WECU Championships?
Probably. They only have three local fixtures in total to schedule round that.
Not exactly sure what Jack means by pull out all the stops. We try to enter the strongest team we can, subject to player availability etc, in every competition we play in.

This year we are actually not going for the U180, but the minor counties. The reason is because we now have the players to field a competitive team.

Jon Underwood
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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Jon Underwood » Thu Mar 29, 2018 7:10 pm

Richard Bates wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:17 pm
Under current rules there are a limited number of players who are available for multiple (basically 2)teams. Average grading means that all players are theoretically available for all teams. Which means multiple captains competing for their “services”. More broadly I think that most people like to think of themselves as part of a specific team and are prepared to make commitments/sacrifices as a result. I think average grading undermines that.
I'd have thought any half sensible county can organise themselves so that there won't be any squabbles. If the lower competitions move to average grades I think it is very likely that Devon for example will enter two... the strongest event we are competitive in plus another to give the players we have who would love to play for the country but can't get a look in a go.

Jon Underwood
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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Jon Underwood » Thu Mar 29, 2018 7:31 pm

Richard Bates wrote:
Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:32 pm
Anyway from a personal perspective I think the biggest problem with the current arrangements is the way that teams are forced to choose between the minor and Open championships. I think there is a serious problem when the Open Championship appears to be struggling for teams whilst the Minor seems to be very popular. When the reason seems to be an (unjustified and unambitious view IMO) view that they can’t compete. Essentially arguing that the Open competition is suffering because the theoretically stronger counties are making a commendable effort to field strong teams) If it could be arranged I think the competition would be significantly enhanced if the Minor was a plate competition of some description.
This feels like a rather metropolitan viewpoint. I find it hard to see how it is unambitious for the likes of ourselves (Devon) to avoid the Open. Undeluded more like. How could we fail to appreciate that we are not going to beat a county with three to five times our population more than once every century or so, much less three matches on the trot? We know perfectly well we are not going to be competitive and asking people to travel hundreds of miles in the expectation of losing is going to put them off playing ever again.

At present we don't have a single 200+ player - our two strongest residents play for other counties - but even if Jack and Keith Arkell ever decided to defect (and I would be thrilled) we would still not have a prayer in the Open.

That said I take my hat off to the Cornish. They turn out around 3/4 of the strongest players in the county, time after time, travelling more than anyone else in the whole country, in the almost certain knowledge that they will be comfortably duffed up when they get there. It's just the honour of representing Cornwall that motivates them, that and the quest to beat Devon every 20 years or so (some lad called Adams helped them do it back in the eighties). A fair number of our players are similarly proud to play for Devon but like most people they need a sniff of victory within a human lifespan.

Paul Cooksey
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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Paul Cooksey » Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:39 pm

Just from the consultation point of view - I have argued before that the Country Championship should be run independently of the ECF. I'm probably in the minority. But even if it is to remain an ECF competition - is it really necessary to have rule changes on the Council agenda?

Roger de Coverly
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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Mar 31, 2018 2:22 pm

Paul Cooksey wrote:
Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:39 pm
But even if it is to remain an ECF competition - is it really necessary to have rule changes on the Council agenda?
The proposals have yet to be published, but they may be radical enough to require approval from numerous stakeholders. The current ECF competition is a summer knock out based on counties being nominated by the Unions. The proposals may exclude the Unions and ask for direct entry.

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Sat Mar 31, 2018 2:54 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Sat Mar 31, 2018 2:22 pm
Paul Cooksey wrote:
Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:39 pm
But even if it is to remain an ECF competition - is it really necessary to have rule changes on the Council agenda?
The proposals have yet to be published, but they may be radical enough to require approval from numerous stakeholders. The current ECF competition is a summer knock out based on counties being nominated by the Unions. The proposals may exclude the Unions and ask for direct entry.
In theory the rules of the County Championships are the responsibility of the Home Director. However a few rules have been imposed by council over the years and therefore can't really be removed or altered without council's consent. It would also be foolish of the Home Director to make fundamental changes without giving council the final say.

Paul - who do you think should run the county championships? I'm curious.
Controller - Yorkshire League
Chairman - Harrogate Chess Club
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David Robertson
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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by David Robertson » Sat Mar 31, 2018 8:46 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Sat Mar 31, 2018 2:54 pm
Paul - who do you think should run the county championships? I'm curious
AGON

Michael Flatt
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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Michael Flatt » Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:10 am

Following the consultation the proposals to be presented at the ECF Finance Meeting have turned out to be quite modest:

1. Reduce the number of boards from 16 to 12 in the u180, u160 amd u140.
2. Scrap the Minor Counties section
3. FIDE rate the u180 section.

See: https://www.englishchess.org.uk/wp-cont ... ouncil.pdf

1. As commented in the sister Dinosaur thread, it seems difficult to justify cutting player numbers in those sections where county chess is most healthy.
2. The Minor Counties section is something of an anomaly and doesn't easily fit with the Open and grade limited structure of the competition.
3. FIDE rating the u180 seems simply designed to raise revenue to the ECF by requiring players to upgrade to the more expensive Gold membership band.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:16 am

Michael Flatt wrote:
Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:10 am

2. Scrap the Minor Counties section
Unless the U180 is made into an "average" under 180, this excludes higher graded players from counties unwilling to enter the Open. Eligibility rules prevent them from transferring to one of the handful of counties likely to enter an Open team.

Michael Flatt
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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Michael Flatt » Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:32 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:16 am
Michael Flatt wrote:
Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:10 am

2. Scrap the Minor Counties section
Unless the U180 is made into an "average" under 180, this excludes higher graded players from counties unwilling to enter the Open. Eligibility rules prevent them from transferring to one of the handful of counties likely to enter an Open team.
In the SCCU we don't run a Minor Counties section. We nominate up to two Open teams that didn't receive nomination for the ECF Open competition.

This year we only had one team accept and they would have happily played in the Open had there been a fourth place available to the SCCU.

The Minor Counties is the only section with a limitation on average team grade. So, providing there are enough entrants to make a worthwhile competition there is a case for retaining it.

I don't recall any discussion in the consultation document justifying it being dropped.

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:49 am

As I have said before I remember the year the minor counties featured a team with Mark Hebden on top board crashing out in the quarter finals. It is a significant competition in its own right and attracts more entries than the technically more prestigious open (which in turn allows more variety of opponents year on year). I personally think the fact that the Open only now attracts teams from two of the five unions makes a mockery of a supposedly inter union championship.

The idea of scrapping the minor counties and amalgamating it with the Open has been mooted previously, along with the possibility of a grade limited plate for first round losers. It met with a hostile reaction, primarily from MCCU counties who felt they would not be competitive in the Open due to a lack of strength in depth.
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Neil Graham
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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by Neil Graham » Fri Apr 06, 2018 2:19 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:49 am
As I have said before I remember the year the minor counties featured a team with Mark Hebden on top board crashing out in the quarter finals. It is a significant competition in its own right and attracts more entries than the technically more prestigious open (which in turn allows more variety of opponents year on year). I personally think the fact that the Open only now attracts teams from two of the five unions makes a mockery of a supposedly inter union championship.

The idea of scrapping the minor counties and amalgamating it with the Open has been mooted previously, along with the possibility of a grade limited plate for first round losers. It met with a hostile reaction, primarily from MCCU counties who felt they would not be competitive in the Open due to a lack of strength in depth.
Yes I remember that year - Notts played Leicestershire in the MCCU East Midlands Zonal, then in the MCCU knockout stage and finally in the ECF semi-finals and beat them on every occasion despite Mark being on top board.

In their last MCCU match a fortnight ago, Notts faced Worcestershire with the winner going through into the Minor. Notts (average grade 171) were comprehensively beaten by Worcs (average grade 161) - we took a pounding on the lower boards. Of course we were some players short but even so it's impossible for our county to field a team with an average exceeding 180. I compared our team agst Worcs with the Yorkshire team who played in last year's final. Just two Nottinghamshire players out of the 16 would have made the Yorkshire side.

The best way to run the Open is as an all-play-all between the two top SCCU Counties and Yorkshire & Lancashire over the Quarter Finals/Semi-Finals/Finals weekend. The Minor is a popular and stand-alone event - it shouldn't be scrapped.

MartinCarpenter
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Re: County Championship Consultation

Post by MartinCarpenter » Mon Apr 09, 2018 3:48 pm

The proposal isn't to *scrap* it - rather it is (essentially) to make the minor counties teams play one match vs the full open teams before slipping into the minors.

A nice challenge and maybe 1 time in 10 you might win.

Whether anyone really wants the resulting round of extra chess in summer I'm not sure.

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