Counties Championship 2017-18 Graded Sections

A forum for the Midland Counties Chess Union.
Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Counties Championship 2017-18 Graded Sections

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Sat Mar 31, 2018 3:01 pm

To me this shows the biggest problem with the link between the union and national stages. A union stage match is subject to an appeal and the whole process has to stall as a result. A fair few counties are likely to be chomping at the bit waiting for the draw so they can get venues organised, particularly if they're playing in the preliminary stages. There is also the possibility that the appeal may cast its shadow over the national event, rather than simply being an internal union affair.
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Alex Holowczak
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Re: Counties Championship 2017-18 Graded Sections

Post by Alex Holowczak » Sat Mar 31, 2018 4:17 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Sat Mar 31, 2018 3:01 pm
To me this shows the biggest problem with the link between the union and national stages. A union stage match is subject to an appeal and the whole process has to stall as a result. A fair few counties are likely to be chomping at the bit waiting for the draw so they can get venues organised, particularly if they're playing in the preliminary stages. There is also the possibility that the appeal may cast its shadow over the national event, rather than simply being an internal union affair.
I gather some white smoke has risen from a room in Derby, and I can expect information later this evening.

Other things will come out with regard to draw delays, which you'll see when the draw is published.

David Sedgwick
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Re: Counties Championship 2017-18 Graded Sections

Post by David Sedgwick » Sat Mar 31, 2018 9:50 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Sat Mar 31, 2018 3:01 pm
To me this shows the biggest problem with the link between the union and national stages. A union stage match is subject to an appeal and the whole process has to stall as a result. A fair few counties are likely to be chomping at the bit waiting for the draw so they can get venues organised, particularly if they're playing in the preliminary stages.
That is precisely why, until a couple of years ago, the draw was done in January or February on the basis of each Union's number of nominations, with the names to be filled in later.

That system was not changed at the instigation of the Unions.

David Sedgwick
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Re: Counties Championship 2017-18 Graded Sections

Post by David Sedgwick » Sat Mar 31, 2018 10:13 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Sat Mar 31, 2018 4:17 pm
I gather some white smoke has risen from a room in Derby, and I can expect information later this evening.

Other things will come out with regard to draw delays, which you'll see when the draw is published.
If the draw is published, and the "other things ... come out" tomorrow, Sunday 1st April, we may have difficulty distinguishing fact from fiction.

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Counties Championship 2017-18 Graded Sections

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:04 pm

David Sedgwick wrote:
Sat Mar 31, 2018 9:50 pm
Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Sat Mar 31, 2018 3:01 pm
To me this shows the biggest problem with the link between the union and national stages. A union stage match is subject to an appeal and the whole process has to stall as a result. A fair few counties are likely to be chomping at the bit waiting for the draw so they can get venues organised, particularly if they're playing in the preliminary stages.
That is precisely why, until a couple of years ago, the draw was done in January or February on the basis of each Union's number of nominations, with the names to be filled in later.

That system was not changed at the instigation of the Unions.
This was the old skeleton draw that had a number of drawbacks. The main one was - and as I keep stressing - counties do not qualify for the national stages, they are nominated. Counties are not obliged to hold a qualifying competition or nominate in any particular order. This meant that the draw could not be published or in any way confirmed until the end of March. To be fair I am sure no union would have sought to nominate in bad faith but the ECF had to protect the integrity of the competition and prevent them from doing so. Of course, in practice and as union competitions were concluded, county captains were able to infer the pairings and start making arrangements while as controller I was stating that the draw hadn't been published yet, nothing is confirmed etc and just looking like I was playing catch up and not in control of anything.
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Counties Championship 2017-18 Graded Sections

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:49 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:04 pm

This was the old skeleton draw that had a number of drawbacks. The main one was - and as I keep stressing - counties do not qualify for the national stages, they are nominated. Counties are not obliged to hold a qualifying competition or nominate in any particular order.
Why was it difficult to require that Unions declare their hierarchy of nominations? If you've drawn it so that SCCU A are away whilst SCCU B and C are at home, is it a problem that the SCCU declare that the top finisher will be B, the second finisher C and the third finisher A? If C was expected to play a qualifying round, the declarations would likely to be first B, second A, third C.

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Counties Championship 2017-18 Graded Sections

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Sun Apr 01, 2018 12:06 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:49 pm
Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:04 pm

This was the old skeleton draw that had a number of drawbacks. The main one was - and as I keep stressing - counties do not qualify for the national stages, they are nominated. Counties are not obliged to hold a qualifying competition or nominate in any particular order.
Why was it difficult to require that Unions declare their hierarchy of nominations? If you've drawn it so that SCCU A are away whilst SCCU B and C are at home, is it a problem that the SCCU declare that the top finisher will be B, the second finisher C and the third finisher A? If C was expected to play a qualifying round, the declarations would likely to be first B, second A, third C.
It all comes back to the fact that the process for nominations is wholly the responsibility of the county unions. Alex and myself did discuss obliging the unions to declare their qualifying process prior to the start of the event (ie it will be a league with ties being broken etc) which would have enabled us to `lock` nominations.

You could counter argue why it is so difficult to simply allow counties to enter the competition direct? You could impose seedings arising from the union stages and avoiding union vs union pairings in the early stages. You might gain the odd wildcard entry you might not otherwise have had but you don't end up with a fundamentally different competition, What you do gain is a much more streamlined process for entering and doing the draw.
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Counties Championship 2017-18 Graded Sections

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Apr 01, 2018 12:25 am

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Sun Apr 01, 2018 12:06 am
You could counter argue why it is so difficult to simply allow counties to enter the competition direct?
Outside of the NCCU in recent years, there was a League stage as a winter qualifier followed by a summer knock out.

Feel free to attempt to break that, but don't expect the Unions and participants in the winter events to agree to it without a lot of shouting.

A rather less radical approach would be to revisit the process of making the draw and the nominations.

Should the draw be random, or should the top regional qualifiers expect privileges, such as a seeded pairing, a home pairing, a bye or exclusion from a preliminary round?

David Sedgwick
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Re: Counties Championship 2017-18 Graded Sections

Post by David Sedgwick » Sun Apr 01, 2018 12:58 am

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:04 pm
This was the old skeleton draw that had a number of drawbacks. The main one was - and as I keep stressing - counties do not qualify for the national stages, they are nominated. Counties are not obliged to hold a qualifying competition or nominate in any particular order. This meant that the draw could not be published or in any way confirmed until the end of March. To be fair I am sure no union would have sought to nominate in bad faith but the ECF had to protect the integrity of the competition and prevent them from doing so. Of course, in practice and as union competitions were concluded, county captains were able to infer the pairings and start making arrangements while as controller I was stating that the draw hadn't been published yet, nothing is confirmed etc and just looking like I was playing catch up and not in control of anything.
Somehow previous Directors and Controllers operated the old system successfully for decades.

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Sun Apr 01, 2018 12:06 am
It all comes back to the fact that ...
... that previous Directors and Controllers saw it as their duty to maintain the heritage and traditions of the Counties Championships, whereas you and Alex did not.

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Sun Apr 01, 2018 12:06 am
You could counter argue why it is so difficult to simply allow counties to enter the competition direct?
Because the Union Championships, and indeed the Unions themselves, would be damaged by that.

Council will decide the way ahead on 28th April. Meanwhile many of us are looking forward to this year's National Stages, whilst at the same time fearing that they might be the last.

Until last year you were responsible for them. Is it really too much to ask that we be allowed to enjoy them this year without you constantly seeking to undermine them?
Last edited by David Sedgwick on Sun Apr 01, 2018 11:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Counties Championship 2017-18 Graded Sections

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Apr 01, 2018 8:00 am

David Sedgwick wrote:
Sun Apr 01, 2018 12:58 am

Somehow previous Directors and Controllers operated the old system successfully for decades.
I seem to recall the Martin Regan board had some difficulties one year.

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Counties Championship 2017-18 Graded Sections

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Sun Apr 01, 2018 11:31 am

David Sedgwick wrote:
Sun Apr 01, 2018 12:58 am

... that previous Directors and Controllers saw it as their duty to maintain the heritage and traditions of the Counties Championships, whereas you and Alex did not.

Because the Union Championships, and indeed the Unions themselves, are not yours to destroy.

Council will decide the way ahead on 28th April. Meanwhile many of us are looking forward to this year's National Stages, whilst at the same time fearing that they might be the last.

Until last year you were responsible for them. Is it really too much to ask that we be allowed to enjoy them this year without you constantly seeking to undermine them?
I'm quite happy to differ about tradition vs progress in the county championships. I will not accept these accusations that I have an agenda to destroy the county championships. As I have said more than once the role of the controller is an administrative one and I had no authority to alter the format. I played a part in the 2015 consultation paper but had no imput into the current consultation. For what it's worth I disagree entirely with the proposal to require teams to have at least one player from certain demographics.

Alex held a consultation and responses were received. The proposals are, at least in part, based upon these. Would you accept that the views of others are as valid as yours?

If direct entry is introduced the only thing that would fundamentally change is that in the more contested union stages the battle for third place becomes slightly less significant. Others things don't change. You would still have a prestigious union stage competition every year. And later on in the summer teams will travel longer distances to play other counties in a five hour long play game just as you do now. I fail to see what has been destroyed.

I seem to recall a suggestion that the counties championship could become a massive jamboree held over a single weekend and a central venue. This is an example of something that would destroy the county championships.
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NickFaulks
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Re: Counties Championship 2017-18 Graded Sections

Post by NickFaulks » Sun Apr 01, 2018 12:18 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Sun Apr 01, 2018 11:31 am
I'm quite happy to differ about tradition vs progress in the county championships.
Some of us will reject this choice of words. Anyone who opposes "progress" will be labelled a hidebound stick-in-the-mud. In reality. all progress is change but not all change is for the better.
I seem to recall a suggestion that the counties championship could become a massive jamboree held over a single weekend and a central venue. This is an example of something that would destroy the county championships.
This is presumably then an example of a change which you would not consider to be "progress", although its supporters certainly would.

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Counties Championship 2017-18 Graded Sections

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Sun Apr 01, 2018 1:15 pm

NickFaulks wrote:
Sun Apr 01, 2018 12:18 pm
Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Sun Apr 01, 2018 11:31 am
I'm quite happy to differ about tradition vs progress in the county championships.
Some of us will reject this choice of words. Anyone who opposes "progress" will be labelled a hidebound stick-in-the-mud. In reality. all progress is change but not all change is for the better.
I seem to recall a suggestion that the counties championship could become a massive jamboree held over a single weekend and a central venue. This is an example of something that would destroy the county championships.
This is presumably then an example of a change which you would not consider to be "progress", although its supporters certainly would.
That's a fair comment; change and progress are not the same thing (nobody would call Trump a progressive but he was very much the change candidate). My point is that all great competitions need to evolve or adapt over time in order to keep their traditions alive. Sometimes the necessary changes happen naturally, at other times changes are bitterly resisted and fought over. Often there is trial and error involved.

One thing I didn't respond to was David's, `previous controllers managed` dig. It does seem to me that the process for doing the draw for the national stages dates back to the era where union stage matches were reported in printed bulletins and business could only be conducted by post or telephone. In 2018 almost everybody has the internet/ email and expect up to the minute information. The process the controller has to follow seems unnecessarily cumbersome and needs streamlining for the 21st century.

As controller there was another aspect of the job I absolutely hated. After matches were played I had to go through every result and check for violations before applying penalties if necessary (and on one occasion overturning the result). My `reward` for doing so was (perhaps inevitably) angry and at times abusive emails from captains; many of whom had gone to considerable effort to organise a team and get the players from A to B only to fall foul of small print in the rules. Had I ignored the minor violations - and trust me I was tempted - I would probably have been accused of damaging the integrity of the competition. If I look back in anger about one thing it is probably a lingering perception in the minds of many that I am the sort of petty minded jobsworth who enjoys that kind of thing.
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Mick Norris
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Re: Counties Championship 2017-18 Graded Sections

Post by Mick Norris » Sun Apr 01, 2018 2:15 pm

Mick Norris wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 9:13 am
Nominations for the National stages were:

Minor – Lincolnshire, Warwickshire, and Worcestershire
U180 – Warwickshire, Nottinghamshire
U160 – Nottinghamshire and Warwickshire
U140 – Nottinghamshire and Worcestershire
U120 – Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Warwickshire
U100 – Leicestershire and Warwickshire
MCCU website reports
The MCCU nominations for the u120 competition were revised to give Notts a place rather than Lincs as a result of the decision of the disputes committee.
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

Mick Norris
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Re: Counties Championship 2017-18 Graded Sections

Post by Mick Norris » Sun Apr 01, 2018 2:28 pm

Neil Graham wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 9:12 pm
Any suggestions on which three teams might qualify here?
http://www.mccu.org.uk/cm17-18/u120/u120.htm
So, there are now 5 counties tied on 6 points following the appeal; a very competitive section
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