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Spiny Norman
04-02-2007, 06:57 AM
I agree we are trying to change the prize culture away from chess for cash, so that we are not only rewarding strength, we are also rewarding loyalty to our club.
I think any attempt to "reward loyalty" is laudable, but thought I would share with you some of Croydon's experiences in this regard, as we have just recently made some changes to our approach because of these experiences.

When we originally started a couple of years ago, we decided initially that we wanted to be a different sort of club to the other big clubs around us (e.g. Box Hill and Dandenong), so as to cater to a different kind of chess player ... we felt that those who wanted to compete for prize money would be well catered for at those other clubs.

So we set up our tournaments:
- with a $10 entry fee (cover trophies and rating fees)
- no cash prizes

We also set up our Club Championship as an 8-player round-robin. Qualification was based on a "Grand Prix points" system. Each tournament through the year (blitz, allegro, classic, fischer random, etc) was allocated a certain number of points per game won (1/2 for games drawn):

- blitz: 1 pt (5 mins/game)
- allegro: 2 pts (15 mins/game)
- classic: 5 pts (60+ mins/game)

The top 8 points winners at the end of the year were eligible to play off for the club championship. We gave this system a run for two consecutive years, but have now dropped it for the following reasons:

- complicated to administer
- complicated to communicate (explain "how" and "why" to members)
- discriminated against recently joined members
- discriminated against some of members generally speaking

Those last two points were the main problem. Our intent was to reward loyalty, however in practice what we found was that genuine people of good will were "kept out" of the club championship. We also found that some members in good standing simply didn't turn up to the club during the 7 weeks of the club championship because they weren't assured of a competitive game.

As of this year (new system adopted at our AGM last week) we have changed it to:
- club championship is a Swiss format
- all club members (even recently joined) can enter
- only those who joined prior to 1st July can win the official title

I suspect that we may drop that last proviso, as again, I suspect now that we will just end up discriminating against genuine members. I also suspect that our "fear" that someone might turn up at the last moment, join, and win the title, then disappear, well, its probably not a rational fear.

Its kind of like the question of whether you should run a legal system in such a way as to ensure that you catch/jail/punish all offenders even at the risk of punishing an innocent man, or whether you run it in such a way that you do not catch/jail/punish an innocent man even at the risk of letting a guilty man go free.

Now that's approaching loyalty from an administrative/structural perspective. There is another approach that we have been running in parallel to the (failed?) structural approach, and it is all about personal relationships and investing in people.

We work really hard on creating a very positive environment. We encourage people verbally. We "reward them" verbally for any action they take which supports or strengthens the club, by praising them (not just privately, one-to-one, but in front of others). We encourage them to play chess at other clubs, without being fearful that we will "lose them" ... by setting our regular meetings on a Thursday (BHCC=Tuesday/Friday, Dandenong=Wednesday) we ensured that they could play elsewhere AND play at Croydon without anyone feeling insecure.

That's my take on "loyalty" after just 2 years of chess administration. I would welcome feedback about loyalty (especially if you have actually tried your ideas and the idea worked well!).

Recherché
04-02-2007, 08:10 AM
Can't offer you any thoughts from a club administration perspective, but I thought I'd say that I really like the approach you've taken. I'd play there myself if it was locationally accessible. :)

MichaelBaron
05-02-2007, 10:12 AM
My attitude to loyality is simple. People should be encouraged to spend more time at the club, by providing them with a nice, enjoyable environment. If a club is full of friendly people who shower every day and are generally nice ppl to interact with. I am sure the membership list is going to grow on an ongoing basis.

Why reward loyalty? If I am having a great time at a Club it is a reward in itself. As for memebers who do make extraordinary contribuitions, I guess its nice to give them at least a mention on the club honour board.


Some time ago, there was a certain official at a certain club who was "harassing" memebers into making donations to that club. Luckily, he is no longer involved in the Club's administration and the club is now under significanlty better management.

There is something that many people fail to understand: If you keep running around asking ppl for $10 donation etc., it is not going to make the chessclub sustainable! Instead of asking memeber to provide them with a fish, the club should learn how to fish!

A much simpler strategy for achieving sustainability is to run various events and to ensure that say 20% of all entry fees collected goes towards the club!

One thing that amazes me is lack of chess related activities in most clubs. I think Canterbury CC is currently the only chess club (please correct me if I am wrong, cause I may be (and I sincerely hope it is the case) wrong) that runs chess lecture series! This could be a great event as well as a great fundraiser. I am sure that many of the stronger players would not mind delivering some lectures to the fellow club memebers for a nominal fee (in fact, that fee they could also donate to the club if they are in a good mood on the day) as long as they are asked nicely.

To sum things up: I am loyal to my local swimming pool, because i love swimming there. I am local to the local VegieBar because i love the food there. I am also very tempted to make some sarcastic comment about being loyal to a girl/guy and the reasons ppl are loyal but i would rather not say it since it is a family-friendly server :hmm:

So why would someone be loyal to a chessclub? Is it because the Club occupies the important place in their lives, or because it is their "social responsibility" to support it?

eclectic
05-02-2007, 10:36 AM
On reading these posts the first thing that came to mind was:

How can you talk about loyalty to a club when you are allowed to be a member of more than one?

MichaelBaron
05-02-2007, 12:53 PM
On reading these posts the first thing that came to mind was:

How can you talk about loyalty to a club when you are allowed to be a member of more than one?

Well the more chess clubs you are loyal to, the better I guess :hmm:

Spiny Norman
05-02-2007, 07:59 PM
How can you talk about loyalty to a club when you are allowed to be a member of more than one?
In my universe Loyalty does not require Exclusivity. I think people are quite capable of supporting Croydon Chess on a Thursday night, and another club on another night. Others mileage may vary.

eclectic
05-02-2007, 08:08 PM
In my universe Loyalty does not require Exclusivity. I think people are quite capable of supporting Croydon Chess on a Thursday night, and another club on another night. Others mileage may vary.

So which club do multiple club membership people support on Winter Interclub nights?

Basil
05-02-2007, 08:33 PM
So which club do multiple club membership people support on Winter Interclub nights?
I think the issue is repeat business. Not exclusive repeat business. A bit like sharing one's time between all family members.

bergil
05-02-2007, 09:33 PM
So which club do multiple club membership people support on Winter Interclub nights? I'm a member of three chess clubs and if push came to shove would always play for Parramatta but if possible I will play for the others.

Last year I played in WSCP under 1600 for Ryde Eastwood so they had a full team and was captain of the Under 1400 for Parramatta, Then I played Under 1400 for Parra in the NSWCA grade matches and played as a reserve for Campbelltown in the Under 1600.

Spiny Norman
06-02-2007, 08:26 AM
So which club do multiple club membership people support on Winter Interclub nights?
Skaro, you've hit the nail on the head ... yes, that might be a situation where exclusivity is the ONLY option ... Loyalty may be a strong factor in encouraging the player to play for one club at the expense of another. (assuming that factors such as: can they get a place in a team at both clubs? if they can, do the scheduled matches clash? and so on, are not major inhibitors).

If someone were a member of our club, and a member of another club, and each club were putting a team in the same division of Interclub, and if that player were invited by both clubs to play ... then I expect their sense of Loyalty would probably guide them and would be an indicator to the clubs where the player's primary Loyalty really lay.

antichrist
06-02-2007, 08:41 AM
Frosty, is this stuff you brought in from your church's training manuel?

rob
06-02-2007, 02:07 PM
One thing that amazes me is lack of chess related activities in most clubs. I think Canterbury CC is currently the only chess club (please correct me if I am wrong, cause I may be (and I sincerely hope it is the case) wrong) that runs chess lecture series! This could be a great event as well as a great fundraiser. I am sure that many of the stronger players would not mind delivering some lectures to the fellow club memebers for a nominal fee (in fact, that fee they could also donate to the club if they are in a good mood on the day) as long as they are asked nicely.
The Metropolitan Chess Club also has chess lectures - delivered by Tristan Boyd (in December) and Peter Roza (in January). I trust that you were referring to Australian Chess Clubs (including WA).

MichaelBaron
06-02-2007, 02:59 PM
The Metropolitan Chess Club also has chess lectures - delivered by Tristan Boyd (in December) and Peter Roza (in January). I trust that you were referring to Australian Chess Clubs (including WA).

Actually, I was referring to Victorian only cause i have little knowledge of club life in other states. Its great to see Metropolitan CC going strongly:clap:

Basil
06-02-2007, 03:09 PM
We (all of us) won't be able to reach accord on this matter unless we agree on the definition of loyalty in this context. The emerging concept of absolute loyalty does indeed have its advantage (as described above) - but a limited advantage IMO.

It also brings a disadvantage. Less competitive chess, less expenditure in membership fees, less social connection and fewer rated games etc..

Desmond
06-02-2007, 03:27 PM
It's all well and good for someone who has nearby access to a 24/7 chess facility to talk about loyalty. For those whose nearby clubs only operate for 3 or so hours a week it is another matter.

Garvinator
06-02-2007, 03:42 PM
Having members playing at different clubs, while still being loyal to their 'main' club does bring two advantages:

1) New ideas from seeing how other clubs do things, or re-inforcement that your main club is doing things 'best'.

2) Playing against different pools of players, which helps to spread rating points around.