Huddersfield & District Chess Association
Tuesday 31st July 2007, 7:30 pm at the White Hart, Holmfirth.
Apologies were received from Mark Shelmerdine [Wakefield], Alec Ward [David Browns], Shane Inglis [Dewsbury].
Present: Bill Lumley, Paul Jackson, John Newsome [Netherton], Roger Tuddenham [Chartist], David Firth, Edgar Priestley, Robert J. Sutcliffe [Huddersfield], Roger Keely, Geoff Peake [Holme Valley].
The President, Bill Lumley, welcomed everyone, thanking them for attending. He drew the meeting’s attention to extracts from the Constitution & Rules:-
“General Meeting Shall consist of the Officers, plus one representative from each Club.
(D) ORGANISATION OF LEAGUES
1. Final composition of Leagues shall be determined by the General Committee after the closing date for entries.”
He said that General Meetings had been unnecessary in recent years but reminded everyone that Robert Sutcliffe had proposed at the AGM that we consider playing Watkinson as home AND away matches, and asked the secretary, Mr Peake, to give an overview of the current fixtures situation.
Mr Peake reported that Wakefield have entered a team in the scratch competition, as well as the Examiner Handicap. Brighouse have withdrawn from the Examiner because of fixture congestion, though wished to stay affiliated and enter the Bill Lumley Rapidplay. Dewsbury have withdrawn from the scratch competition.
There may be a creeping growth of apathy. Its symptoms: an increasing number of defaults, and teams dropping out, shrinkage of leagues and decline of chess generally.
Another problem is where one [or two clubs] dominate, the league may stagnate. There is loss of interest. Weak clubs become disillusioned, frustrated and may drop out. This is a danger.
Planning and organisational skills are paramount. A good plan is needed in the form of the league format and the fixtures themselves. We have to look at the system and decide: Is it suitable ? Is it fit for purpose ? What are the alternatives ? Is there a need to change ?
The Greek philosopher Heraclitis said “There is nothing permanent except change”.
There are 8 different types of chess competition in each of the three time controls - normal play, Rapidplay and Blitz/Lightning [there are different FIDE rules for each time control].
And some of these competitions can be run as All-Play-All or Swiss. These are outlined below
The present format that we have covers 4 of these types of competition. In addition the Holme Valley Chess Tournament is an Individual Handicap League.
Personally, I have never been a fan of knock outs. You lose half the people in it the first round ! I also believe that lightning is a relic that has largely been replaced by Rapidplay.
The present format
The Handicap and scratch alternate from the 3rd week in September, finishing as early as the 6th February 2008. This ends the Handicap / Scratch league season. The remaining 7 weeks until Easter [when the season ends] are shared between Bill Lumley Rapidplay, Individual KO and three weeks of Team KO. No competitions are organised during the summer months.
Questions : Is this format suitable ?
What is the level of demand for chess in the summer months ?
Possible alternatives [I am not advocating these - I’m pointing them out]
1. Move the Team KO and Individual KO to summer [as in the Calderdale League - they also do a Team Lightning]. This would free up 6 weeks. This would allow the scratch to be played on a home and away basis [need 7 extra weeks for this] as long as you started or finished the League a week earlier [later].
2. Keep the same format, but run other competitions —suggest a Rapidplay Individual Handicap league [probably makes more sense than Scratch].
Suppose there are 12 entries - could play 2/3 rapidplay games at each session over a period of 4/5 identified dates [in summer]. The advantage of this is the enthusiasts who are keen to play in the summer months are catered for.
Mr Peake also reported that the proposal below had been received from Mr Tooley
“AnalysisThe current league format provides too few meaningful games againgst opposition of similar ability. Their are too few teams in either competition. Lack of divisions means there is no relegation/promotion interest which creates a rather dull, and, in our case, shrinking, league.The SolutionHave one competition where all teams play 10 games.Devise the fixtures so that, (based on the previous years results), top teams play each other more often than weaker teams, weaker teams play more matches againgst other weaker teams than top teams.Have the main trophy presented to the team who wins most match points - but have another trophy based on a (simple) handicap system for the team who most outperform expectations. Obviously the same matches are counting towards both competitions.In additionIt is a possibility to ensure that teams from clubs that are near each other can be paired together more than those far apart - especially for the weaker teams where this is more likely to be considered important.
The system provides the possibility of localising the fixtures (as above) thus making it easier to invite in teams from Halifax, Brighouse, Barnsley, Pontefract and Morley - more attractive from their point of view as well as us if they know they won't be called upon to travel from Pontefract to Holmfirth in the middle of winter.
The fixtures can be arranged to ensure that the more local matrches take place in the worst of the winter and that teams from the same club play in the earlier stages.I have a formula in mind for setting the fixtures. It will be slightly more complicated than the swiss pairing syastem but of course only a small number of people need to worry about learning it. Before I put to an AGM I would have a definite set of rules that anyone interested can try using if they wish.” David Tooley
Also Mr Priestley pointed out that the scratch could be split into 2 divisions with promotion and relegation. However there would be only 4 teams in each division.
Mr Firth liked the idea of 10 matches and suggested the top clubs played each other twice.
Other possible formats for league organisation were discussed, but Mr Tuddenham pointed out that they could not be adopted without changes to the Constitution & Rules, and so must be proposed at the next AGM.
The President asked each person present to give their opinion regarding the possible League formats.
Only Huddersfield supported the home and away proposal.
Mr Newsome suggested that Robert Sutcliffe consulted with Huddersfield members. If they were dissatisfied with the current format they could propose the format that they favoured for next season at the next AGM .
The President said that again, with Summer chess, Huddersfield could propose a competition [Individual or Teams or both] and we could see what kind of response is received from members. This could be run by Huddersfield members as there was a large workload on the secretary, though the secretary could publicise it / publish results etc.
Mr Sutcliffe said that he was sure that Huddersfield could supply 3 teams straight away.
It was decided that the current format would be retained for this season and the proposed fixtures given out by Mr Peake were therefore confirmed.
2. Possible measures to promote the Individual Knock Out competition. [Note that this competition has been amended this season]
The President felt that he was sure that members were fully aware of the Individual Knock Out competition. The same people seemed to enter every season.
It was not felt that changing the venue would help the number of entries.
It was decided to request Club secretaries to be very proactive in seeking entries from their Club.
3. F.W. Brown trophy
After much discussion the proposition by Roger Keely, seconded by John Newsome, that the F.W. Brown trophy be awarded to the HDCA registered player who has the highest grade for his 5 games played in the Huddersfield & District Chess Association annual Rapidplay Congress.
This was passed by 6 votes to 3 votes.
It was noted that this player may be a player who played in the Major or other section.
Also it would probably not be possible to give this out at the Congress, so it would be given at the AGM.
4. Possible ways to use funds to promote chess in the HDCA area.
Mr Newsome reported that successful initiatives [costing £500] had been organised in
the Wakefield area. The idea to give pupils T-shirts had gone down particularly well !
Mr Sutcliffe proposed a Tournament that could be supported by the Examiner.
It was decided that funds could be used to support this, as long as proposals integrated with the work that was currently being done — Nigel Hepworth’s Junior Tournament and the Yorkshire A.G. Sunderland Jamborees, for example.
It was decided that the HDCA would look favourably on supplying finance to support a deserving proposal / initiative by Huddersfield in Junior chess.
5. Woodhouse Cup teams
It was pointed out that the HDCA area Dewsbury, Wakefield, Netherton and
Huddersfield were playing in the Yorkshire chess leagues. Players who were not members of these clubs were asked to support the team of their choice.
The secretary’s absence
It was decided that the secretary should liaise with Mr Tuddenham and Mr Sutcliffe to see what arrangements could be put in place to support members during Mr Peake’s absence on holiday mid-season.
The meeting closed at 9.40pm