British Championship Congress 2020

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: British Championship Congress 2020

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Sun Nov 03, 2019 8:44 pm

Qualifiers from the Northumbria Masters:

Regulation E: Neil Berry, Max French
Regulation F: Ranesh Ratnesan (after round 9), Armaan Gogia (after round 5). If you think there may be others, let me know!

Ursula Wielgosz
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Re: British Championship Congress 2020 - Sections

Post by Ursula Wielgosz » Sun Nov 10, 2019 1:41 pm

    Many thanks to the Forum members who provided comments to my post in mid-September regarding the two new sections, U100 Over 16 and U110 Over 16, that have been proposed for the British Championships 2020.

    The text of my post was:
    Ursula Wielgosz wrote:
    Wed Sep 18, 2019 11:00 am
    I 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?
    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.pdf

    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.
      Agreed.

      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.

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    Michael Farthing
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    Re: British Championship Congress 2020

    Post by Michael Farthing » Sun Nov 10, 2019 5:30 pm

    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'.

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    IM Jack Rudd
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    Re: British Championship Congress 2020

    Post by IM Jack Rudd » Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:47 pm

    Some more qualifiers under section F, this time from the Hull congress (thanks to this thread for alerting me):

    John Richardson
    Samuel Milson

    Roger de Coverly
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    Re: British Championship Congress 2020

    Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Nov 16, 2019 1:46 pm

    IM Jack Rudd wrote:
    Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:47 pm
    Some more qualifiers under section F, this time from the Hull congress (thanks to this thread for alerting me):
    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.

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    IM Jack Rudd
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    Re: British Championship Congress 2020

    Post by IM Jack Rudd » Sun Dec 01, 2019 2:49 pm

    Steven Jones has just qualified from the LCC Weekender.

    Neil Graham
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    Re: British Championship Congress 2020

    Post by Neil Graham » Sun Dec 01, 2019 5:18 pm

    Roger de Coverly wrote:
    Sat Nov 16, 2019 1:46 pm
    IM Jack Rudd wrote:
    Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:47 pm
    Some more qualifiers under section F, this time from the Hull congress (thanks to this thread for alerting me):
    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.
    It might be helpful if someone actually checked these lists - Margaret Clarke and Joan Doulton are certainly deceased. A thread elsewhere on this forum suggests that the latter would be 106 years old if alive.

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    IM Jack Rudd
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    Re: British Championship Congress 2020

    Post by IM Jack Rudd » Sun Dec 01, 2019 11:57 pm

    Three qualifiers from route F at the London Classic:
    Aaravamudhan Balaji, Martin Walker, Shreyas Royal

    Joseph Conlon
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    Re: British Championship Congress 2020

    Post by Joseph Conlon » Mon Dec 09, 2019 11:02 am

    This may seem a slightly footling question, but anyway it is something that I am curious about on returning to chess as mostly a parent, occasionally an organiser/coach, and even less occasionally a player.

    But anyway: at what point did the British U9 switch to being a 6-round tournament rather than the 7-rounder it was back in the day? Given this age group seems to attract an average of ~70 - 80 children there is a definite disadvantage in having a national championship in which two players could finish with a perfect score.

    The most comparable similar event, in strength and format, the London U10, operates as a 7-round tournament over its two days.

    Alex Holowczak
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    Re: British Championship Congress 2020

    Post by Alex Holowczak » Mon Dec 09, 2019 11:15 am

    Joseph Conlon wrote:
    Mon Dec 09, 2019 11:02 am
    This may seem a slightly footling question, but anyway it is something that I am curious about on returning to chess as mostly a parent, occasionally an organiser/coach, and even less occasionally a player.

    But anyway: at what point did the British U9 switch to being a 6-round tournament rather than the 7-rounder it was back in the day? Given this age group seems to attract an average of ~70 - 80 children there is a definite disadvantage in having a national championship in which two players could finish with a perfect score.

    The most comparable similar event, in strength and format, the London U10, operates as a 7-round tournament over its two days.
    A few years ago when we restructured the Junior tournaments to Under 8/10/12/14/16 to better fit with the equivalent European and World events, as part of the shortening of the Championship from two full weeks to one.

    The Under 9s and 11s were eventually retained, but there was only time for 6 rounds. One year at least one of those were 7 rounds, but it was a disaster in terms of parents constantly changing their mind about whether it was better to take a 0 in the last round of the Under 9s, or 1/2 in the first round of the Under 10s, for example, with which there needed to be overlap to even accommodate them at all.

    Joseph Conlon
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    Re: British Championship Congress 2020

    Post by Joseph Conlon » Mon Dec 09, 2019 12:09 pm

    Thanks; it seems a bit surprising that time constraints are that severe when the U9/U11 events have 2 full days available to them, with no overlap with other junior events.

    A tidying-up at my parents recently re-united me with my scoresheets from the 1988 British U9 (5.5/7, at Blackpool I think). In my memories these games were all decided by blunders and simple tactics; playing through them again the level was higher than I had thought.

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