Occasional Format for 1-day and 2-day tournaments

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Occasional Format for 1-day and 2-day tournaments

Postby hgpitre » Thu Aug 30, 2012 8:44 pm

It's great that you don't have to re-invent the wheel, so to speak, in putting on a tournament. That's probably why so many tourneys are regularly run copying the patterns that worked in the past. That doesn't mean that what was done in the past was so good that it should be repeated again, and again. Maybe occasionally a variation should be tried. An experiment, if you will.

I have been writing for a few years to SCC, TCC, and the PCC, asking that they try a different format for two-day tourneys. Have four rounds only and require no more than eight hours at the board each day. They resist this recommendation. Not even a try from these clubs. I have had to show the way at tourneys which I did run successfully at the SCC as Green Tourneys twice, and in Silverdale twice, as Silverdale Beach Hotel Classics with Richard Golden and the help of the chess club from Bremerton. The Kitsap County Club of Bremerton, led by Kris Dietsch and Joe Eversole, have taken this approach in their Oyster Bay Inn Classic in Bremerton, which they are about to hold for the second time. Stories about these events can be found in the following NWC issues:NOV-2008, AUG-2009, DEC-2009, JAN-2010, NOV-2010, and DEC-2011. But the really big city chess club directors just know what's best for their folks, don't they?

They also hold one-day events, called tornadoes, using time controls of game/60, or even g/64. I have recommended to the same three chess clubs that they should have some definite times for lunch breaks, and that they should have in the tournament schedule enough time between rounds to encourage socializing and talking about the games. Again, there is resistance to do this. Some resistance would only be natural. This recommendation does lengthen the tournament day. I recognize that there aren't a lot of players clamoring to be the TDs for these clubs. So the longer day means more work for the small cadre of TDs. The clubs should be training other members to help out in this important task. The current TDs would never say it is burdensome, but then they run the events as usual and control all matters in compensation.

But now I realize maybe they thought I wasn't giving them enough of a guide, that maybe they thought they would have to re-invent the wheel. At last, I found what I'll call the Improved Tornado format. It's already proven and used by a noted group from outside the NW.

Rounds. 11-2:30-5-8pm (G/60 min), or if you don't like that, move up every round uniformly by one or two hours, depending on how early you think your players will arrive for the first round. There is a limit.

What does this schedule do? It allows for a good meal and/or analysis after round one. A short break is available after round two, and a little longer nutrient break is there before the last round of the day. This is a more generous amount of time between rounds than what is given here in the NW. Where did I find this format I so confidently say will lead to better chess conditions for our one-day tornadoes?

The American Open.. A tournament of eight rounds held over four days. They run a three-day option also. It has four rounds of chess on its first day, which would be a Friday. They did it this way last year, and it is scheduled the same way for November, 2012. So yes, they are doing it the same old way, you might say. But no! They tried in 2010 to have the first round at Noon and the other rounds as listed, and they have not continued with that format. This, I want to say, and you can call them up to verify, means that they have found that giving ample time for one meal early in the schedule is very important.

Their event is held at a hotel so maybe they have some advantages that our clubs don't have. It is important to the organizers of the American Open to get it right. They needed to have options beyond half-point byes to attract those who can't play on Thanksgiving Day. They have a prize fund of $50,000 based on 500 players attending. That is a big tourney with a large financial commitment. They want to offer good alternatives to get more players to play in this event which is in its 43rd year.

So don't take it from me. Take it from the organizers of the American Open. If you are a regular player at these tornadoes at either the SCC, TCC, or PCC, and if you would like to play your best chess under this quicker time control, or if you have only one day on the weekend to play, and would like to see more players come to these events, it's up to you. Ask the TDs there to consider what I am laying out here.

Also, please consider volunteering for some tasks at your favorite club. Maybe you can offer to run one of these events in this format. Maybe you can handle the registration and do the first round pairings. Then the chief TDs might not have to arrive until a couple of hours later. This would shorten their day, and they might really appreciate that. All things considered, if the clubs implemented this format occasionally, it would not be much of a change, but it might make things better. Ask the American Open.
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Re: Occasional Format for 1-day and 2-day tournaments

Postby hgpitre » Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:49 am

I hope you will go to http://main.uschess.org/content/view/11901/676 and read there the interesting discussion that comes from Greg Shahade's article for chess life online...

Let's have this happen occasionally in our local events. You have to tell the TDs from your local club and federation that this is what you want in the future..on occasion..
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Re: Occasional Format for 1-day and 2-day tournaments

Postby hgpitre » Mon Nov 19, 2012 3:42 am

Below is the record from the USCF rating reports of the PCC game in 60 tourneys which are held like clockwork every month since around 1998. Good for them.

This is from the past 28 months, from the most recent, Nov 2012, to the oldest, Aug 2010. In parentheses is the item # for the actual event. I want you to see the number of players participating in each event.

20121117PCCGAME60  (201211179832)
1 Section(s),  10 Players
PCC OCT 2012 G/60  (201210272552)
1 Section(s),  13 Players
SEPTEMBER 2012 G-60  (201209292692)
1 Section(s),  19 Players
PCC AUG GAME 60, 2012  (201208251142)
1 Section(s),  19 Players
JULY GAME IN 60  (201207282262)
1 Section(s),  22 Players
JUNE 2012 GAME IN 60  (201206302472)
1 Section(s),  14 Players
PCCMAY2012GAME60  (201205199542)
1 Section(s),  10 Players
PCC APR 2012 GAME 60  (201204282842)
1 Section(s),  12 Players
MARCH 2012 GAME IN 60  (201203312902)
1 Section(s),  26 Players
PCC FEBG60  (201202258242)
1 Section(s),  22 Players
PCC JAN GAME 60  (201201286982)
1 Section(s),  20 Players
DEC 2011 GAME IN 60  (201112315611)
1 Section(s),  12 Players
NOVEMBER 2011 G-60  (201111262831)
1 Section(s),  16 Players
OCTOBER GAME IN 60  (201110292711)
1 Section(s),  22 Players
PCC SEPT. 2011 GAME IN 60  (201109249351)
1 Section(s),  20 Players
PCC AUG 2011 GAME60  (201108270351)
1 Section(s),  17 Players
PCC JULY GAME 60  (201107301681)
1 Section(s),  29 Players
20110625PCCG60  (201106250131)
1 Section(s),  23 Players
MAY-G-60  (201105218881)
1 Section(s),  14 Players
PCC 20110430G60  (201104301741)
1 Section(s),  19 Players
GAME 60  (201103269421)
1 Section(s),  28 Players
GAME 60  (201102268861)
1 Section(s),  27 Players
G-60  (201101298171)
1 Section(s),  18 Players
PCC DEC GAME 60  (201012184871)
1 Section(s),  18 Players
PCC NOV. 2010 GAME 60  (201011204841)
1 Section(s),  17 Players
OCTOBERG-60  (201010307451)
1 Section(s),  18 Players
20100925PCCG-60  (201009254551)
1 Section(s),  14 Players
20100828PCCGAME60  (201008284721)
1 Section(s),  20 Players


I would say there has been no growth in the number of players in this event over this time period. I would say this event is not getting more popular, in spite of two significant events in the PCC history over this time period, i.e the Centennial Open, celebrating one hundred years of existence of the club, held in August of 2011. A great event with a big turnout of 180 players at the Doubletree Hotel in downtown Portland. And just recently in August of 2012, the US Open held in Vancouver, WA, with a turnout of 530 players, with many players coming from OR, and especially the Portland, OR area.

So undoubtedly, many available, enthused for chess, players know about the club and its offerings. Why don't they play in this easy to attend and participate event in large numbers? I have written to the club officers with some suggestions and offers, but they turn them down, and do not demonstrate an openness to discuss ways for rectifying the situation. They don't see that they have a problem. What do you see?

I don't know what their criteria are. Do they raise money for the overall operations of the club by running events? Wouldn't a better attended event help them reach their goals? What are their goals? How many players attend the club's annual membership meeting, which is where/when they decide on their new leadership? While I wasn't there, I am pretty sure it is about a number you could count on the fingers of your two hands.

My suggestions have been in the direction I have listed previously in my comments, but let me tell it all more clearly and succinctly. And this is for any club in the NWC area.

If you want to run a one-day tournament with game in 60 format, go for it.

The first round should be easy to pair and set up. Do not allow the renewals or purchases of memberships at registration time. Players should do that in advance, preferably on-line. Otherwise they must do this later after the round one game is completed. At a higher fee. Have the players fill in their name, membership #, expiry date, and rating, and pay their entry fee with a form that can be used for the first round pairing by hand. If the organizer is really swift, maybe everything is also put into the pairing program at this time, but this is not necessary to get round one started correctly.

Registration opens at 9:30AM with welcomes, introductions, and other announcements beginning shortly before 10AM with Round 1 to follow immediately. After this game players go to lunch or analyze or do whatever they have arranged for themselves. Round 2 at 130PM. No break after this game unless the game was short and sweet. Round 3 at 3:45PM. Meal break, analysis, exercise, or whatever the players want after this round is completed. Round 4 at 6:45PM. Everything should be finished before 9PM. Several players will have a short final round and be done by 8PM.

Be on time with the start of the rounds, and everyone will appreciate a well-run event. They will know exactly when they have to be there, and they can use the rest of their day wisely, and be at their best when they sit down to play. They will appreciate this, and will be more likely to return for another of these events. Not everyone cares for such a rapid time control, so take steps to make it seem more leisurely for those who do choose to play.

The registration can be handled by responsible members of the club who do not have to direct the entire event so that the tournament day duties can be split up, and not be so burdensome on one or two people.

PCC currently runs this event at such a break-neck pace that they do not allow a player an adequate time to relax, refuel, or analyze between rounds. Their structure may actually be seen, not immediately perhaps, to be unattractive after a few sessions of it have been experienced.

While the games are in progress the players are generally not able to socialize about the things they might like to do, discuss an interesting position, etc. So when do they get to express, or have some fun sharing with their friends and colleagues in this sport? Bring some fun into this format which otherwise is a high pressure operation. Give them at least two solid periods of time in between rounds to do so.

Please feel free to comment on these suggestions in this forum. I'd also like to read some of your comments about the four rounds over two days, occasional tourneys that I have mentioned.
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Re: Occasional Format for 1-day and 2-day tournaments

Postby hgpitre » Tue Dec 18, 2012 8:18 pm

I played in the PCC Winter Open. They had a good turnout of 42 players. A total boosted by three players from BC who travelled 300 miles each way, and me from Seattle, and a number of players from other places, including Corvallis. I didn’t play so well. I have items on which to work. Things I should have known about.

Nevertheless, the weekend was not all a loss. I confirmed several beliefs about these seasonal opens.Let me tell you my freshly encountered complaints about the club.

How many restrooms do they have for the players? One toilet, I believe, with one washbasin. There probably is an effort made to keep it clean, but it is not adequate. Compare it to what you might get when you play at a hotel. There were two girls or young women in the tourney field. I did not like using the facilities, but I had to. And for the girls, I’d say, the space needs vast improvement. And yet I was able to see that the club takes a healthy chunk of the entry fees for putting this on: easily $400 or more.

The arrangements, with hardly any breaks between rounds, are totally inadequate for anyone with a sense of good spirit. I lost my first round game. I thought it had many interesting moments. I would have liked to discuss some of that with my opponent who seemed to be a nice enough fellow. But I will never know anything about him because there was no time for that after the game. On to the next one.

And by the way, round one was 25 minutes late. There are no good reasons for having 40 players, standing around, waiting that long for the first round to begin.

Do the TD’s make accommodations for the players who have a long first round game, the last to finish? Why do the TD’s have to hustle into the next round if the first got started so late? Everything is in their hands. And they don’t really have to follow a schedule.

They did not follow my advice posted earlier here for handling registration in an efficient way, and they allowed for late arrivals to delay the start for others. Bad decisions.

And why did the fourth round start ten minutes late. Not for any good reason, not if you put the players first in your thinking. The pairings had already been made and posted. You may think that is too little to complain about, and it is small, but it cuts into your eating time for a meal before the last round. The club did not deserve their take.

There are many reasons for taking a half-point bye, but a sure signpost that the event is too long is the large number of byes announced before the first round began.

Will I play in the PCC Spring Open? Seems to be organized in the same way as all the seasonally titled opens are. Definitely not.
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Re: Occasional Format for 1-day and 2-day tournaments

Postby MicahSmith » Wed Apr 23, 2014 12:53 pm

Duplicate Post
Last edited by MicahSmith on Tue Jan 06, 2015 9:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Occasional Format for 1-day and 2-day tournaments

Postby MicahSmith » Wed Apr 23, 2014 1:18 pm

hgpitre wrote:Do not allow the renewals or purchases of memberships at registration time. Players should do that in advance, preferably on-line. Otherwise they must do this later after the round one game is completed. At a higher fee.

If a player purchases USCF membership online before the tournament, the affiliate won't get the $3 commission on the membership. Also, some USCF memberships, such as the 3-month and International memberships, are not available online and only available through affiliates so how would players do those in advance?

hgpitre wrote: How many restrooms do they have for the players? One toilet, I believe, with one washbasin. There probably is an effort made to keep it clean, but it is not adequate. Compare it to what you might get when you play at a hotel. There were two girls or young women in the tourney field. I did not like using the facilities, but I had to. And for the girls, I’d say, the space needs vast improvement. And yet I was able to see that the club takes a healthy chunk of the entry fees for putting this on: easily $400 or more.

I think the bathroom is adequate but we will work to make it even better. Also, a second bathroom has recently been installed which I think is more than adequate.

hgpitre wrote:And by the way, round one was 25 minutes late. There are no good reasons for having 40 players, standing around, waiting that long for the first round to begin.

They did not follow my advice posted earlier here for handling registration in an efficient way, and they allowed for late arrivals to delay the start for others. Bad decisions.

PCC has a great new website with online registration (pdxchess.org). This should help get tournaments started on time.

hgpitre wrote:I have been writing for a few years to SCC, TCC, and the PCC, asking that they try a different format for two-day tourneys. Have four rounds only and require no more than eight hours at the board each day.

hgpitre wrote:The arrangements, with hardly any breaks between rounds, are totally inadequate for anyone with a sense of good spirit. I lost my first round game. I thought it had many interesting moments. I would have liked to discuss some of that with my opponent who seemed to be a nice enough fellow. But I will never know anything about him because there was no time for that after the game. On to the next one.

There are many reasons for taking a half-point bye, but a sure signpost that the event is too long is the large number of byes announced before the first round began.

Do the TD’s make accommodations for the players who have a long first round game, the last to finish? Why do the TD’s have to hustle into the next round if the first got started so late? Everything is in their hands. And they don’t really have to follow a schedule.

I think the intervals between rounds could be improved. You can ask for extra time off if you have a game that goes long. We will work to make this more clear.

We could make the tournaments four rounds but I think having it be 5 rounds makes things more flexible. It allows people to play 5 rounds or play 4 rounds and take a bye. Another advantage of having 5 rounds with 3 rounds on Saturday and 2 on Sunday is that players who can't make it on Sunday or out of town players who don't want to stay overnight can still come on Saturday and get 3 games in. Also, for two day tournaments that are only one section like the Gresham Open and Harmon Memorial (when it is in Portland), it might be necessary to have 5 rounds to make sure you don't have more then 1 perfect score.
Last edited by MicahSmith on Sat Jan 10, 2015 9:47 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: Occasional Format for 1-day and 2-day tournaments

Postby hgpitre » Wed Aug 13, 2014 9:38 am

Hi Micah,

I see on the US Chess Forums on chess tournaments..that you have a wide-ranging set of interests in chess and tournament organization.. and you have been putting into action your support for chess tournament by doing so at the Portland Chess Club..

One thing that I got out of reading one of the discussions that you started.. was that.. Blitz tournaments with a time control of 3, +2, i.e. game in 3 minutes with 2 seconds increments, would be superior all-around for chess, the players and organizers.. with the acknowledgement that occasionally a game might take longer than 10 minutes....than the 5-0 blitz that most folks play.....and I'd like to see you push for that change in the your area.. i. e. Portland, Vancouver, and anywhere else you roam to.. Surely, players have digital clocks for this by now...

Did you also infer that from the comments of a couple of other experienced organizers?

HG
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Re: Occasional Format for 1-day and 2-day tournaments

Postby MicahSmith » Thu Aug 14, 2014 4:33 pm

hgpitre wrote:Hi Micah,

I see on the US Chess Forums on chess tournaments..that you have a wide-ranging set of interests in chess and tournament organization.. and you have been putting into action your support for chess tournament by doing so at the Portland Chess Club..

One thing that I got out of reading one of the discussions that you started.. was that.. Blitz tournaments with a time control of 3, +2, i.e. game in 3 minutes with 2 seconds increments, would be superior all-around for chess, the players and organizers.. with the acknowledgement that occasionally a game might take longer than 10 minutes....than the 5-0 blitz that most folks play.....and I'd like to see you push for that change in the your area.. i. e. Portland, Vancouver, and anywhere else you roam to.. Surely, players have digital clocks for this by now...

Did you also infer that from the comments of a couple of other experienced organizers?

HG

I like G/3+2 or G/3;d2 Blitz since it is still fast like 5+0 but it avoids the time scramble with the pieces flying everywhere at the end like can happen in 5+0 Blitz. Several experienced organizers/players that posted in that thread run/like 3+2 Blitz. We are likely going to have G/3;d2 Blitz once a month at the PCC starting in September. We will do it after the "Quad 45" tournament, which usually takes place on the third Saturday of each month. HG, it would be great to have you come down for the "Quad 45" and G/3;d2 Blitz sometime. We give sufficient time off in-between each round of the "Quad 45" like you like. It would also be great to see you post on the USCF forum.
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