Survey of league chess

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Mark Page
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Mark Page » Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:38 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:
But the Birmingham league rules do cater for default times
Birmingham & District Chess League wrote: 13.2 A game shall be lost by default:-
a) if a player shall fail to arrive at the venue for any session of a game before his time allowance has expired.
So this is deliberate, although I don't think I'd like to have to wait 75 minutes before being able to go home / to the bar.

A viewpoint I wholeheartedly concur with, Sean, especially as earlier this season, on my first ever appearance in the Birmingham League, I had to do exactly that. Most definitely not what you want from a 60 mile round trip.

From a competitive and sporting standpoint the Birmingham League is excellent, especially in the very wide diversity of clubs/teams, but 4 of their rules - shown by this fascinating survey to be rather idiosyncratic at best - really bug me:-

1) 75 minutes default time
2) white on odd boards for the home team

and rather inevitably

3) the adjournment option having automatic precedence.
4) there being no compulsion to at least play a 3 hr/36 move first session in games where adjournment will apply.

Still, I guess that by turning out for about half the matches I must have decided that the competitive positives outweigh the rules negatives!

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:55 pm

Mark Page wrote:Most definitely not what you want from a 60 mile round trip.

From a competitive and sporting standpoint the Birmingham League is excellent, especially in the very wide diversity of clubs/teams, but 4 of their rules - shown by this fascinating survey to be rather idiosyncratic at best - really bug me:-
You could add the geographic exclusion rules although mid-Sussex have something like this as well.
Birmingham wrote:that the player
a) resides within 20 miles of Stephenson Place, Birmingham;
b) has a usual place of business or employment within 15 miles of Stephenson Place, Birmingham;
c) is a pupil or teacher at any school, college or university situated within 15 miles of Stephenson Place, Birmingham;
d) has at any time previously played for at least three consecutive seasons for any club affiliated to the League (whether or not such club be currently affiliated) and was registered for such club by reason of any of the qualifications in force at that time;
e) resides or has a usual place of business or employment within 15 miles of the club's club-room.
mid Sussex wrote:3.1 Eligibility for a team To be eligible to play in a team, a player must comply with at least 2 of the following criteria:-

1. Payment of a current season annual subscription to the club;
2. Having their main residence or place of work / education within the County of Sussex (East or West);
3. Having their main residence within 20 miles outside of the East / West Sussex county boundary;
4. Having played at least one full season in an internal club competition in the previous few years; i.e. played and completed the full schedule;
5. Having played at least 40% of matches for the club in two previous MSL seasons in the previous five years;
6. Birth in Sussex.
Would I be right in thinking that elsewhere in the country you are just usually required to be a "member of a club"? This is often left vague as to its exact meaning, so that visiting titled players can be press-ganged into service.

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:57 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote: Would I be right in thinking that elsewhere in the country you are just usually required to be a "member of a club"? This is often left vague as to its exact meaning, so that visiting titled players can be press-ganged into service.
Pretty much. There's no real reason for amateur chess leagues to have rules that are any stricter.

Alex Holowczak
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Alex Holowczak » Tue Feb 15, 2011 12:26 am

Mark Page wrote: From a competitive and sporting standpoint the Birmingham League is excellent, especially in the very wide diversity of clubs/teams, but 4 of their rules - shown by this fascinating survey to be rather idiosyncratic at best - really bug me:-

1) 75 minutes default time
2) white on odd boards for the home team

and rather inevitably

3) the adjournment option having automatic precedence.
4) there being no compulsion to at least play a 3 hr/36 move first session in games where adjournment will apply.

Still, I guess that by turning out for about half the matches I must have decided that the competitive positives outweigh the rules negatives!
I don't really see a problem with 2). The 4NCL has such a rule, and no one is complaining about that! After all, someone has to have white on the odd boards. I don't think it makes much difference who has it.

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Tue Feb 15, 2011 12:49 am

Assuming that a match will be played over an even number of boards, it's probably best for competitive matches if the team more likely to default gets black on the bottom board - and therefore white on odds. In usual circumstances, this will be the away team.

Richard Bates
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Richard Bates » Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:40 am

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Mark Page wrote: From a competitive and sporting standpoint the Birmingham League is excellent, especially in the very wide diversity of clubs/teams, but 4 of their rules - shown by this fascinating survey to be rather idiosyncratic at best - really bug me:-

1) 75 minutes default time
2) white on odd boards for the home team

and rather inevitably

3) the adjournment option having automatic precedence.
4) there being no compulsion to at least play a 3 hr/36 move first session in games where adjournment will apply.

Still, I guess that by turning out for about half the matches I must have decided that the competitive positives outweigh the rules negatives!
I don't really see a problem with 2). The 4NCL has such a rule, and no one is complaining about that! After all, someone has to have white on the odd boards. I don't think it makes much difference who has it.
The only sense in which the 4ncl has "home" and "away" matches is by defining the home team to be the team with white on odds. Which is hardly the same thing.

As somebody who only plays away matches in one of my leagues, i wouldn't be very happy about it... :D Generally such a rule is tough on board ones because it means that they will usually have to face their strongest opponents with black.

Alex Holowczak
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Alex Holowczak » Tue Feb 15, 2011 9:20 am

Richard Bates wrote:The only sense in which the 4ncl has "home" and "away" matches is by defining the home team to be the team with white on odds. Which is hardly the same thing.
OK, I meant the first named team has white on odds; you're right it's not the same.
Richard Bates wrote:As somebody who only plays away matches in one of my leagues, i wouldn't be very happy about it... :D Generally such a rule is tough on board ones because it means that they will usually have to face their strongest opponents with black.
Why? They still play half their opponents with white, and half their opponents with black. So what's the problem?

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Gareth Harley-Yeo
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Gareth Harley-Yeo » Tue Feb 15, 2011 9:43 am

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Richard Bates wrote:As somebody who only plays away matches in one of my leagues, i wouldn't be very happy about it... :D Generally such a rule is tough on board ones because it means that they will usually have to face their strongest opponents with black.
Why? They still play half their opponents with white, and half their opponents with black. So what's the problem?
A team playing home is more likely to have their strongest team out. A titled player may be fine with popping down the road to play for his local club but might not have the same interest in travelling to play against a weak team. In this case, if the away team gets white on odds they have a better chance of scoring.

(this has certainly been the case with clubs i've played for in the past.)

Alex Holowczak
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Alex Holowczak » Tue Feb 15, 2011 9:48 am

Gareth Harley-Yeo wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote:
Richard Bates wrote:As somebody who only plays away matches in one of my leagues, i wouldn't be very happy about it... :D Generally such a rule is tough on board ones because it means that they will usually have to face their strongest opponents with black.
Why? They still play half their opponents with white, and half their opponents with black. So what's the problem?
A team playing home is more likely to have their strongest team out. A titled player may be fine with popping down the road to play for his local club but might not have the same interest in travelling to play against a weak team. In this case, if the away team gets white on odds they have a better chance of scoring.

(this has certainly been the case with clubs i've played for in the past.)
OK, but so what? In a 6-board match, both teams have 3 white and 3 black. In Birmingham, you usually get 12 league games, so 6 home and 6 black. So all the effects of colour remain the same throughout the season. So what's the problem?

Perhaps part of the issue is that Birmingham doesn't have as much of a problem with finding players for away matches. By some leagues' standards, our clubs are virtually next door, so there's no problem. (Of course there are some daunting away trips; Tamworth for instance.) Travel tends not to be a problem here; if a player can't play in a match, there's usually another reason for it which would have been equally hampering if it were a home match.

Michael Jones
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Michael Jones » Thu Feb 17, 2011 6:31 pm

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:(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).
Presuming the coin being used is a 'fair' one (ie either colour is equally likely to come up), how you call makes no difference: whether you always call heads, always tails or choose at random each time, you will always get a 50% success rate in the long run. In the 'short run', which unless you play thousands of matches per year is what one season in a local chess league amounts to, pretty much anything can happen - for instance, if one person tosses a coin 10 times it's very unlikely that they'll get all heads, but if thousands of people toss a coin 10 times each, it's almost certain that at least one of them will. The human tendency to look for patterns where none exist lead us to highlight the one instance of 10 heads as an extraordinary occurrence, and ignore the thousands of instance of 5 heads and 5 tails (or 6 of one and 4 of the other, which is almost as likely).
Kevin Thurlow wrote: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??
No, each club has its own venue. Most have separate club and match nights.
Kevin Thurlow wrote: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.
Thanks for that - I've always had a hunch that at club level the allocation of colours makes no significant difference to the result, but never had any concrete statistics to back it up. One year my first six league games were three losses as white and three wins as black, but that was primarily because I happened to have had white against the higher graded opponents. Last year I had several outrageous swindles with white - if I'd lost every game I deserved to, my grade based solely on my black games would have been about 20 higher than my white one.
Alex Holowczak wrote:Who says you need 15 minutes for the endgame? If the time control is 30 moves in 75 minutes, you're quite at liberty to play them in, say, 45 minutes, leaving 45 minutes for the endgame.
Aha, some sense! Given that it's fairly common for a game of chess to last 50-60 moves and even 100+ is not unknown, I've always thought it better to aim to reach the time control with a reasonable amount of time in hand. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't - I've had some good results from allowing myself more time to think in the endgame, and some appalling ones from blundering in the opening/middlegame due to moving too quickly.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Feb 17, 2011 6:43 pm

Michael Jones wrote:No, each club has its own venue. Most have separate club and match nights.
In most of the country, I would think it unlikely that many clubs would be able to open twice a week. This would either be on the grounds of expense or unavailability. Rooms in Community Centres are often in use every night by different groups.

Richard Bates
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Richard Bates » Thu Feb 17, 2011 6:45 pm

Michael Jones wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote:Who says you need 15 minutes for the endgame? If the time control is 30 moves in 75 minutes, you're quite at liberty to play them in, say, 45 minutes, leaving 45 minutes for the endgame.
Aha, some sense! Given that it's fairly common for a game of chess to last 50-60 moves and even 100+ is not unknown, I've always thought it better to aim to reach the time control with a reasonable amount of time in hand. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't - I've had some good results from allowing myself more time to think in the endgame, and some appalling ones from blundering in the opening/middlegame due to moving too quickly.
I personally am more surprised at the assumption which seems to flow through these debates that it is normal for endgames to be reached after 30 moves!

Mick Norris
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Mick Norris » Thu Feb 17, 2011 6:54 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Michael Jones wrote:No, each club has its own venue. Most have separate club and match nights.
In most of the country, I would think it unlikely that many clubs would be able to open twice a week. This would either be on the grounds of expense or unavailability. Rooms in Community Centres are often in use every night by different groups.
In the Manchester league there are a few clubs with 2 nights, my own club Bury has opened on 2 nights for over 25 years, but I agree it is not common
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

Michael Jones
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by Michael Jones » Thu Feb 17, 2011 7:03 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Michael Jones wrote:No, each club has its own venue. Most have separate club and match nights.
In most of the country, I would think it unlikely that many clubs would be able to open twice a week. This would either be on the grounds of expense or unavailability. Rooms in Community Centres are often in use every night by different groups.
One club also plays in a different league, and uses different venues for the two - presumably because the same one isn't available on both nights; another tries to arrange for their teams either to be all at home or all away on a particular night, so they only need the venue every other week. As a university club, we had certain disadvantages relative to other clubs in that the high turnover of players each year made it difficult to run, but we did have the one considerable advantage of free use of the university rooms.

William Metcalfe
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Re: Survey of league chess

Post by William Metcalfe » Thu Feb 17, 2011 8:26 pm

Darlington has 2 club nights we run 6 teams so some play on a Monday night and some on a Wed night
I am speaking here for myself and not the NCCU which i am now president of

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