Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
The text of my post was:
While waiting for comments to come in, I also attending the ECF AGM and raised my points there and have just had an article on the matter published in the ECF newsletter: https://www.englishchess.org.uk/wp-cont ... elgosz.pdfUrsula Wielgosz wrote: ↑Wed Sep 18, 2019 11:00 amI joined the Forum to raise this specific point as I thought it would benefit from input from the collective memory / experience of this Forum.
While I'm delighted to learn that the 2020 British Championships were able to find a venue after being let down (the difficulty of which should not be underestimated) and understand why it needs to last for two weeks this time, on glancing at the schedule
https://www.britishchesschampionships.c ... 2020-1.pdf I noticed a couple of new categories that had appeared which I would like to understand better. These are the Under 100 (over 16) and the Under 110 (over 16). [For the avoidance of doubt, It's not the grade bit that bothers me (whatever that morphs to next summer), it's the age bit].
The questions I would like to ask you all are:
1. Does anyone know why the age restriction has been put in?
2. Does anyone know if there is a precedent for this (I've looked briefly at the previous years on the BCC site and couldn't see anything)?
3. Does anyone know if there was any consultation prior to making this change? (I entered two Juniors into the 2019 U100 and I wasn't asked my views)
4. Is anyone else concerned about the message this might be giving to Juniors who are just starting out and their parents?
I thought it would be helpful to summarise and respond to points that were raised:
- 1. The change was to protect career grade 100 adults from future chess masters passing through.
Agreed – though some like playing and beating future champions.
2. Nobody likes losing.
3. Juniors are ECF undergraded / not ECF undergraded (the discussion morphed to discussions about junior FIDE ratings which is not relevant to these sections, but which I would agree with)
Hmmm… I would say, on balance, mostly not undergraded. In the 2019 British U100 the January and July ECF grades of the winner and six runners up were:
winner (junior): 81 then 87
second (adult): 98 then 95
second (adult): 97 then 105
second (junior): 97 then 107
second (junior): 94 then 106
second (junior):88 then 101
second (junior):46 then 63
While the above is a small, not statistically significant, sample, there was one outlier junior who was probably undergraded, but the rest probably weren’t. Also, once / if ECF ever instigate monthly gradings some of those that have just crept over the threshold (adult, as well as junior) would be ineligible to play.
4. There are more behavioural problems with juniors /juniors unable to sit still/ juniors and/or coaches and/or parents being obnoxious.
I disagree with this being more of a junior problem. While I accept that juniors jiggle, seniors have their own ticks and annoying habits. Also, while the vast majority of players of all ages are polite and play fair, my children have experienced a small number of juniors who deny touching / moving pieces, when they have, or practice other forms of gamesmanship. Equally, my children have experienced a small number of adults who are rude, insulting, or say derogatory comments, probably intended to put them off. This happened most recently at the 4NCL at Hull last weekend. In 100% of these adult cases, adults who have observed this poor behaviour have reported it to me / my husband and made clear their disapproval. In my experience most chess players are lovely and polite, and behavioural problems are not an age thing.
5. When the current seniors were juniors there was very little training available for them. These days juniors have coaches, doting parents and lots of training.
I found this to be most interesting and illuminating comment. Before responding I would add that the secondary school chess club described by the contributor is identical to that in my daughter’s (state) secondary school today. There wasn’t one when she joined the school a year ago and I campaigned to have one set up. She and her chess friend support it when they can, as it is better than nothing. I am aware of other secondary schools that have better chess provision, but that is not universal, particularly at secondary.
In responding to the point, I accept that there are lots of chess opportunities available to juniors these days. However, the implication was that these opportunities are not equally available to seniors. I would dispute that. There is a wealth of chess training online, much of which is free and there are no age restrictions in place – just a desire to work and learn. I’m equally sure there are chess coaches available for those willing to pay. There does seem to be a fundamental difference between career grade 100 adults and juniors though, the adults don’t seem to want to work to improve, and juniors who do.
6. The existence of the U100 Over 16 does not give a negative impression to juniors because there are other events they can enter.
I fundamentally disagree with this view. Imagine a different scenario, where instead of Over 16, the qualifier for the U100 section was Under 51 on the basis that the Over 50s could enter the Over 50 tournament. There are no juniors there. Surely everyone is happy? Unfortunately, the Over 50 section also attracts lots of very good players, many titled, so our career grade 100 adults would struggle, a lot. The situation is exactly the same for juniors genuinely rated 50 who can’t play in the U100 Over 16 section because they are too young but are eligible for the U120(ECF) and U12(age) categories.
The solution to this issue that I proposed in my article for the ECF newsletter was that the U100 Over 16 section (and its U110 twin) be scrapped and the U100 Open be re-introduced into the programme for anyone with suitable grades to play in. I suggested that for the career grade 100 adults a new category of U100 Over50 be introduced. Those that now comment “it’ll be the same players as Over 16” are probably correct, but the difference is how it presents to juniors and their parents. The new category is for veterans only, in contrast to a category that excludes juniors only.
I am in sympathy with Ursula's post but would like to point out that not everyone at the ECF Council held the negative view of junior behaviour that she raises and there were those that voiced this and pointed to poor behaviour of adults, often worse than their juniors. Still others thought this, but did not clutter up the debate by repeating it. I enjoy playing juniors and don't mind losing to them (though I prefer to win). I also take pleasure in the progress to greatness of juniors that I have previously played. A 'career grade' player more concerned with a grade than with enjoying a challenging game has to my mind chosen the wrong 'career'.
There's now a list of qualifiers at
https://www.britishchesschampionships.c ... s-2020.pdf
It needs to be treated with caution as not every qualification route has been updated. The list of performance qualifiers is however recent, including the Hull and South Normanton Congresses.