Survey of league chess

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James Toon
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Survey of league chess

Post by James Toon » Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:37 pm

I recently carried out a survey of league chess in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. I wanted to know about the following:
• the starting time of matches
• how colours are decided
• the period of time before absent players are defaulted
• how games are concluded (e.g. quickplay, adjudication)
• what time controls are used.
I obtained details of 106 leagues, which I think is almost all of them (there are 4 outstanding).

If anyone would like to see the results, these are posted at http://www.cscl.org.uk/survey-of-league-chess.html.

Alex Holowczak
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Alex Holowczak » Thu Feb 10, 2011 6:08 pm

That's some impressive work. It answers the questions I had about whether most leagues choose adjournment or quickplay by default. I always thought there were more quickplay leagues than adjournment leagues, but I'm surprised by how much!

I'm also surprised by how few leagues have the home team as white on odd boards.

Michael Jones
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Michael Jones » Thu Feb 10, 2011 7:08 pm

Thanks for the work you've put into this James, there's certainly some revealing information there. One question I'd be interested in, which you didn't cover, is whether it's more common for all the matches in a league to be played on a fixed night of the week, or for each club to choose which night its home matches will be played on. Coventry operates under the former system, and I know certain league officials consider this somewhat old-fashioned when most other leagues they know of use the latter - but, both as a player and as a captain, I much prefer it the way it is; if chess matches are always on Tuesday, that leaves me free to pursue other activities on other nights of the week without having to miss a session every few weeks because we happen to have an away match against so-and-so who have their club nights on Wednesdays. Captaining a team with unreliable and/or forgetful players is bad enough as it is - I've no doubt it would be much worse if I had to remind them on a weekly basis of not only the venue for that week's match, but also the day.

John Upham
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by John Upham » Thu Feb 10, 2011 7:42 pm

Very interesting work!

I wonder how many other sports allow such a wide distribution of rules and guidelines?

I'd like to see the introduction of adjournments into other sports such as table tennis, squash etc!

If it is a good principle for chess then extend it...
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Ian Thompson
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Ian Thompson » Thu Feb 10, 2011 8:36 pm

John Upham wrote:I'd like to see the introduction of adjournments into other sports such as table tennis, squash etc!

If it is a good principle for chess then extend it...
Some other sports already do adjourn, so it must be a good idea:

Tennis - adjourned if it rains or goes dark before the match is over.
Golf - adjourned if the weather conditions are too bad or it goes dark before the round is completed.
Cricket - adjourned if it rains before the match is over.

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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Alex Holowczak » Thu Feb 10, 2011 8:42 pm

Ian Thompson wrote:Tennis - adjourned if it rains or goes dark before the match is over.
Which was considered a bad idea, so they do things like put a roof on Centre Court. Henman would have won Wimbledon in 2001 without the rain at the start of the 4th set of his semi-final against Ivanisevic.
Ian Thompson wrote:Golf - adjourned if the weather conditions are too bad or it goes dark before the round is completed.
To be fair, those conditions make the game unplayable, so there's little choice.
Ian Thompson wrote:Cricket - adjourned if it rains before the match is over.
Same as golf, really.

Cricket adjourns for drinks, lunch and tea too. Given the duration of a game with such intervals, again, they really need to, or the game's players would have some health problems.

Those sports' adjournments have profound impact upon the game. It can stop momentum (e.g. Henman-Ivanisevic), or save a team from defeat in the case of a time-restricted cricket match.

Richard Bates
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Richard Bates » Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:12 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Which was considered a bad idea, so they do things like put a roof on Centre Court. Henman would have won Wimbledon in 2001 without the rain at the start of the 4th set of his semi-final against Ivanisevic.
Don't be silly. He might have reached the final, although anyone who's ever watched any tennis should know that one set is never a clear indicator of the outcome of the next - especially against a player like Goran (whose reliance on serve meant he would regularly give up in sets once he went a break or two down) - but he'd have still lost to Rafter.
Ian Thompson wrote:Golf - adjourned if the weather conditions are too bad or it goes dark before the round is completed.
To be fair, those conditions make the game unplayable, so there's little choice.
Some would argue that chess is pretty unplayable with no time on the clock. If you believe that the purpose of the clock remains as originally introduced - to regulate play and especially to prevent excessively slow play - rather than to play a fundamentally decisive part in the outcome, then opposing quickplay finishes is entirely logical.

Alex Holowczak
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Alex Holowczak » Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:17 pm

Richard Bates wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote:
Which was considered a bad idea, so they do things like put a roof on Centre Court. Henman would have won Wimbledon in 2001 without the rain at the start of the 4th set of his semi-final against Ivanisevic.
Don't be silly. He might have reached the final, although anyone who's ever watched any tennis should know that one set is never a clear indicator of the outcome of the next - especially against a player like Goran (whose reliance on serve meant he would regularly give up in sets once he went a break or two down) - but he'd have still lost to Rafter.
OK, fair enough. I guess what I meant was, on that Friday evening, Henman had won two sets - comfortably - in a row, and had all the momentum in his favour. When they eventually resumed the day after, all the momentum had been lost. I remember seeing an interview where Ivanisevic said he'd have lost had the match finished on the Friday, but used the extra day(s) to get himself mentally prepared.
Richard Bates wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote:
Ian Thompson wrote:Golf - adjourned if the weather conditions are too bad or it goes dark before the round is completed.
To be fair, those conditions make the game unplayable, so there's little choice.
Some would argue that chess is pretty unplayable with no time on the clock. If you believe that the purpose of the clock remains as originally introduced - to regulate play and especially to prevent excessively slow play - rather than to play a fundamentally decisive part in the outcome, then opposing quickplay finishes is entirely logical.
At the risk of incurring Jack's wrath by taking this thread down the adjournment line... I actually prefer increments to quickplay finishes, for exactly that reason.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:39 am

Ian Thompson wrote: Cricket - adjourned if it rains before the match is over.
If a one-day game and session time runs out, adjudicated by the Duckworth-Lewis method.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:51 am

This is an excellent survey. Is it possible to discuss aspects of the survey, rather than other sports? :)

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:53 am

(1) Are there really only 10 leagues in Scotland, 4 in Wales, 1 in Northern Ireland and 3 in the Republic of Ireland, compared to 88(!) in England? I never knew the differential was so marked. I presume the leagues in Ireland (ROI) are fairly large?

(2) "Theoretically, a coin will fall Heads 50% of the time. In practice, captains can find they either win or lose the toss a number of times in succession."

I've looked back over the 8 league games I've captained so far this season, and I've lost the toss seven times out of eight! I think I've been doing something wrong, like allowing the opposing captain to make the call regardless of whether it is a home or away match, or switching randomly between heads and tails when calling myself (I think it might be better to always call one or the other, but I never did understand statistics...). The annoying thing is, given that this division of this league is 7 boards, winning the toss does make a difference (4 Whites rather than 4 Blacks).

"In another league (Manchester), the first captain to arrive at the venue has the choice of colours."

That's... an interesting option!

(3) "Opponents of quickplay are concerned that many players (generally the older ones) would stop playing in the league if it was adopted. That needs investigation: in the leagues that have adopted quickplay, what effect did that have on the number of players in their league?"

I wish whoever tries to obtain this information a lot of luck!

(4) The conclusions give the characteristics of a typical league. Should uniformity or diversity in such characteristics be encouraged?

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Fri Feb 11, 2011 8:13 am

When I was playing table-tennis, there was the opportunity for a QP finish... If one game (or set if you prefer, in the days when you played to 21) lasted more than 15 minutes, "Expedite" came in, where the server had to win the point on the 13th shot or earlier, else the receiver won it.

Back on topic, does Coventry have a central venue? If matches are always Tuesday and your home night is Monday, that could be a problem??
"Kevin was the arbiter and was very patient. " Nick Grey

Mick Norris
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Mick Norris » Fri Feb 11, 2011 8:15 am

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:"In another league (Manchester), the first captain to arrive at the venue has the choice of colours."
Really?
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Fri Feb 11, 2011 8:32 am

Having now looked at the survey, (and well done James), in the Civil Service League it used to be quite common for captains to choose black on one if they won the toss (especially if they were on an even numbered board...) Some teams were ordered so a solid player was on 1, and the more aggressive one on 2. Or board 1 was considered so good he could fend for himself with black!

White might score 56 % on Chessbase, but I did a survey on Civil Service League about 20 years ago, and discovered that in the top division white got about 55 %, in a middle division, white got about 50 %, and in the bottom division, (where players were generally graded in double figures if they were graded at all), white got 45 %. I surmised that as players were graded somewhat lower, they were more likely to blunder, so the one to move first had extra opportunities to blunder... (We had different numbers of boards in each division, and had 8 in division 4, but 6 in division 5, so if someone got promoted, they had to find two extra players, so we were pondering making div 4 only 7 boards, to make it easier for promoted clubs.) But enough people screamed about the possibility of having more blacks than whites, so it was voted down.
"Kevin was the arbiter and was very patient. " Nick Grey

John Ariss
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by John Ariss » Fri Feb 11, 2011 8:37 am

James,
Firstly congratulations on the survey, very interesting.
I myself play in the Torbay( misnomer really , as it is effectively, South Devon), and the Devon leagues. However if you pm me with the questions you would like asked, I will endeavour to obtain the information you require on the Exeter and district league as I have contacts there and will be arbiting at their congress in a couple of weeks.
You can contact me on Marriottqpr@hotmail.com.
Regards
John

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