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4NCL
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David



Joined: 29 Apr 2006
Posts: 768
Location: Sefton Park, Liverpool

PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, it looks like progress of sorts in establishing incentives for new strong teams to form. At least some people seem to take the point that the current set-up provides mainly disincentives; or at best, a franchise take-over based on 'dead men's shoes'. I'm not convinced by the rapidplay jamboree advocated by JohnS as the solution, but at least it gets the principle established.

As for Richard's points: forgive me, but many miss the mark. The origins of the 4NCL lie in an attempt to mimic the Bundesliga: that is, powerful teams assembled from wherever with whoever. Inevitably this requires a patron/donor/sponsor to fund the 'hired guns'. A few 4NCL teams have travelled this route in the past, and it's been good for British chess. Even those teams without a patron are nothing but composites too. They are not teams in a 'club' sense of the term.

So it makes little sense to complain about cash [where it's available] influencing the make-up of teams. That's how it's been in 4NCL from the start. It's a principal distinction between the old Nat Clubs and the new 4NCL. Hence, where cash strengthens teams, strong teams do not need their time [and money] wasted in winning promotion from Div 3 or 4. If the 4NCL disagrees, it is effectively voting for regression back to the old Nat Clubs, and to a pre-commercial, non-professional form of the game in this country

David
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JohnS



Joined: 05 Jul 2006
Posts: 120
Location: London

PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 12:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Richard wrote:
And it may also be an old fashioned view, but the main selling point of the 4NCL is still the chess. The non-players can "chat" all they want, but the weekend isn't primarily organised for them. Next someone will be suggesting we introduce "Olympiad length games" to prevent the chess getting in the way too much!


Richard - don't get me wrong. Anyone who has read what I've written in BCM will know that I'm completely against the FIDE Olympiad time control. It is completely idiotic in the context of one-game-a-day chess. In fact it is completely idiotic, full stop. Nor would I propose rapidplay for the main 4NCL competition. That would be senseless. But the league should maybe have a look at a complementary rapidplay competition. Not 'instead of' - 'as well as'.

I'm not talking about the non-players chatting - I'm talking about players having a chance to socialise after their games. Tournament organisers need to be wary of giving players too much work to do. One of the strong points about the 4NCL is the chance it gives players to meet up after the Saturday game and socialise. Without that chance, a lot of people would not bother to play. An anecdote... one congress I used to enjoy had a nice spread of rounds over four days, with substantial gaps that allowed you to take a break, tour the countryside, sample the local hostelries, etc. After a break of some years, I contemplated playing there again but found they had added an extra round and set up two solid days of chess, with three rounds of full-length games per day (or three days of two-round chess, I cannot remember now). I'm too old for that sort of punishment and decided to give it a miss. I was told that the regular punters wanted it that way - fair enough - but personally I like there to be more to a congress than just wall-to-wall chess.

As to your other points: I see nothing wrong with clubs bringing in a few hired hands, as you call them. Anything that brings employment to pro chess players can't be all bad. I suppose there might be a slight risk that somebody could hire a super-team for the weekend qualifier, get into Div 1 and then put out a team of nonentities who got thrashed in every match. But what would they gain from that?
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Richard



Joined: 28 Dec 2006
Posts: 66

PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't get me wrong i'm not, by any means, opposing people putting money into teams. I'm simply raising a few issues which cause problems with using "squad strength" or one-off matches/competitions to gain entry into the first division of the league. Now obviously that raises accusations of looking at the negatives rather than the positives, but there would be no point in putting in whole new structures in place if they didn't achieve the desired objectives.

On the one hand there is the chance that a significant sponsor would use it as an opportunity to get a "super team" into division 1, which if it happened would obviously be very good for league publicity (although i think chess in the country is in a far too seriously bad state that a bit of publicity in the chess columns would come close to assisting). At least as likely IMO (unless there were very good prizes on offer), is that such a competition would become populated with sides of second or third division strength at best, who would never-the-less not think twice about taking the opportunity to play in division 1 for a year. And hiring a couple of IMs for the weekend for 100 would probably be sufficient to achieve this.

So, in summary, something like a summer, 4ncl based, rapidplay competition probably has strong merit from the point of view of filling a gap in the calendar during the summer. Whether it is a serious vehicle for "fast track promotion" into the league is another question.

Finally, and apologies for so much negativity, one really has to think through how an extra team appearing "out of nowhere" would be accommodated. The league structure and calendar means it is not possible to temporarily increase or decrease the number of teams in any division (as presumably happened in the example of Atticus entering their local league, above). At the moment you have 3up3down from both of the top two divisions. A new team could only be accommodated by altering to 3down (from the first), 2up4down (from the second). And this is something that would presumably have to be done retrospectively unless bids for "new" teams were taken over a year in advance, which would create a situation where teams thinking they had been promoted at the end of the season, weren't, and teams thinking they hadn't been relegated at the end of the season, being so. This is a SERIOUS obstacle to any such plan as far as i can see.

IMO you would have to be very convinced of the merits of introducing this new team to justify this, which is why i posed questions about the levels of sponsorship and how you objectively assess their strength previously (these are presumably the relevant factors).

ON ONE BRIGHT NOTE (!) I think there was one idea suggested in the above posts which might have some merit (albeit coming up against the problems of "one off competitions" mentioned, but obviously not viewed as major issues by most) and would work with the existing structure - that of having a play off between, say, one of the winners of division 4 and the third promoted team in division 3(/2?) as a route to fast track promotion. I think the div4/div2 playoff would be a step too far, but it would certainly add a bit of needed flexibility if a team could aspire to jump from div 4 (which seems like a bit of an indeterminate competition at the moment) to div 2 in one year.
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Richard



Joined: 28 Dec 2006
Posts: 66

PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Appropro nothing in particular, but do the 4NCL put out a press release these days?
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s262jdd



Joined: 03 Dec 2006
Posts: 53

PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes - the one for last weekend was posted on the 4NCL website a day or so ago.
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Richard



Joined: 28 Dec 2006
Posts: 66

PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

s262jdd wrote:
Yes - the one for last weekend was posted on the 4NCL website a day or so ago.


Are you referring to Nick Pert's report? Interesting and informative though it is, and although a non-expert in media matters, I wouldn't have thought it really fulfils the criteria for a good press release. (which i guess in chess terms is something which writes the chess journalist's report for him - when you'll take any coverage you can get, you don't want to force the journalist to actually have to do any work!)
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