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  1. #1
    CC Candidate Master
    Join Date
    Jan 2011

    Question Informal Survey: Playing at tournaments

    This is an informal survey. Perhaps it'll all come to nothing but I hope some of it may give us some insight to factors that affect someone's decision. If you don't want to post it in reply to this, send me a private message and I'll post it without your name.

    This came to mind as a few weeks ago someone I know tweeted asking for the top 3 reasons affecting/preventing them from attending a conference.

    What are the top 3 factors preventing you from playing at a tournament?

    This is about someone's decision making process as opposed to picking on any tournament or tournament organisers. So please feel you can be frank.

  2. #2
    CC Grandmaster ER's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Melbourne - Australia
    Hi LNah

    As someone who has played and still plays in tournaments overseas, interstate (I am a Melbourne resident) country Victoria as well as local tournaments let me list my reasons of preventing me from entering certain tournaments be they weekenders or longer events.

    1) Lack of comfort. Interstate, country Victoria or overseas tournament venues have to be located close to my hotel. (I take special care of that myself). Accommodation also has to be of certain standards acceptable to my preferences. In this category let me add lack of nearby facilities such as restaurants, places of interest, and of course sightseeing areas.

    2) Overloaded tournament scheduling. Playing three tournament games daily is definitely not my cup of tea. That's the reason I am playing in weekenders (such as MCC events) where I can get a bye in the late evening round. I find absolutely perfect for my liking tournaments such as the Aus Open or the Aus Champs. One and some times two games a day OK with me.

    3) Unfriendly, inhospitable, rude organisers, officials and fellow players!

    In general terms in regards to Melbourne tournaments Noble Park Chess Club provides an ideal set up for me. Their tournaments are held on Saturday afternoons. Starting at around 3:00 PM gives you plenty of time to relax after lunch, as well as being able to go home early and enjoy your Saturday evening. Only problem here is that their events coincide with the very popular and extremely useful MCC's Saturday Allegros but hey you can't have your pie and eat it too!!! . Similarly with Box Hill Chess Club and Northern Star Chess! Once a month the former and once a quarter the latter they stage their afternoon Allegro style tournaments which I enter whenever I can. If I think of anything else I might add at some later stage!
    Last edited by ER; 27-07-2014 at 05:04 AM.
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  3. #3
    CC Grandmaster
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Melbourne, Australia
    1) Early morning/afternoon starts
    2) Location is not convinient
    3) Poor prize-money
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  4. #4
    CC Candidate Master
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Negative things for me, prize money dependent on entries, tight schedule of rounds so that next round due to start at the end of the previous round, no tea and coffee facilities, car parking not available at venue or too costly nearby.

  5. #5
    CC Grandmaster Garvinator's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    1) Early morning starts
    2) Individual monster swiss tournament format
    3) Cramped tournament venues

  6. #6
    CC Grandmaster Desmond's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    The island
    1) Time. Tournaments are structured in such a way as to take up the whole weekend, and if it is a long weekend to take up the whole long weekend. It is very difficult for me to justify this when I have other things competing for my time. If I could play on the Saturday but not the Sunday (or vice versa), or play a round each day and skip the rest that would be more suitable. However the tournament structures do lend themselves to this.
    2) Cost. Again, difficult to justify with respect to other things competing for my money, Eg I can take the whole family out for the day for the cost of 1 entry to a chess tournament. Needing to join the state association to play exacerbates this.
    3) that's it really
    So what's your excuse? To run like the devil's chasing you.

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  7. #7
    CC Grandmaster Sir Cromulent Sparkles's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    1) Time availability.
    2) Cramped venues.
    3) Diversity of opponent.
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  8. #8
    CC Candidate Master heligan's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Most of the comments above don't apply to NZ events. It would be useful to hear from more locals!

    Seems to me that people only play in events they can readily get to without having to pay for accommodation. Driving from Auckland to Tauranga and back in a day to play in the Bay of Plenty Rapid seems insane to me, but quite a few people do it. One might conclude that parking is therefore critical (and therefore that those who ran up substantial parking ticket fines at the Wellington NZ Congress due to the 2 hour limits for miles around will be thinking very hard before returning to that venue...). Parking is generally OK at Auckland venues but traffic is not; I wonder how many are discouraged by events (such as the North Island) that require commuting through peak hour traffic during the week. (That's certainly something I would not want to do - and thanks to the dreadful public transport system, there is no other option from where I live).

    Personally, I do try to support events if I can, but frankly I am not interested in paying money for travel and accommodation for an event with an unpleasant time control (60+10 springs to mind...) or an unpleasant schedule. I play chess for fun; playing Friday night and three games on a Saturday is not an option, and if the organisers insist on only one bye then I won't bother entering if it involves travel/accommodation expense as well. I'm not sure how many people that applies to! Seems to me that people with full working weeks would like a little time off at weekends - and kids have homework to do as well as chess (watching them try to catch up on it in the analysis room...).

    Seems to me that events where the prize-money is distributed over a large number of people (by means of grading prizes) are more popular than those where only the top guys get the cash. Since we don't have any professional players to support, perhaps that is the way to go, to increase attendance?

  9. #9
    CC Grandmaster Adamski's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Penrith, NSW
    Quote Originally Posted by road runner View Post
    1) Time. Tournaments are structured in such a way as to take up the whole weekend, and if it is a long weekend to take up the whole long weekend. It is very difficult for me to justify this when I have other things competing for my time. If I could play on the Saturday but not the Sunday (or vice versa), or play a round each day and skip the rest that would be more suitable. However the tournament structures do lend themselves to this.
    2) Cost. Again, difficult to justify with respect to other things competing for my money, Eg I can take the whole family out for the day for the cost of 1 entry to a chess tournament. Needing to join the state association to play exacerbates this.
    3) that's it really
    Same 1 and 2 for me. 3 is inconvenience of location
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  10. #10
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Jan 2004
    A bit of a hazard of this being a predominantly AUS-centred forum; although this question is posted in the NZ section a lot of the AUS players have responded.

    I'll do the same, but noting that I am an AUS player:

    1) High accommodation or travel costs. I like to be able to stay in budget accommodation where I basically get a room to myself and don't have to pay for too much else. For local tournaments I like to be able to spend little enough on going to the tournament that I will make a profit if I win the tournament outright. Playing in a tournament where even outright 1st costs me money is a turn-off.

    2) Overcrowded schedules. I don't mind lots of rounds in one day but I need substantial breaks between rounds. Events with fastish time controls where I play a long and exhausting game and then have to back up for another 10-15 minutes later are very annoying. Late night finishes followed by early morning starts ditto.

    3) Overheated (or in summer, poorly cooled) venues.
    Last edited by Kevin Bonham; 29-07-2014 at 09:12 AM.
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  11. #11
    CC Grandmaster Capablanca-Fan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Atlanta, GA (formerly Brisbane, and before that Wellington, NZ)
    Although my last serious chess for ages was in Australia, most of my real serious chess was in NZ. I would also agree that early morning starts are a turn-off. There also has to be a reasonable chance of being able to cover expenses. Quite a few NZ events involved two or a few more sharing a hotel room quite close to the venue.
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  12. #12
    CC Candidate Master
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    As someone who mostly has to travel to events and who considered playing in the recent North Island Championship, which was poorly attended, my three are:
    1. insufficent lead in time for publicity by organisers. By the time entry forms with round times were available for the NI champs, the cheapest flights had gone. This is a perennial problem for NI & SI events (except when I organise, in which case I either don't play or don't have to travel, but I try to make it easier for those that do by putting out entry forms at least 6 months ahead), which are usually foisted on the organising club, who reluctantly do the work at the last minute.
    2. Ease of travel and accommodation: The NI Chp venue was a long way from the airport and accommodation, making for an expensive taxi bill for those coming from afar who can't bring a car. It was also far away from potential tourist activities, in case the chess goes badly and you want to spend time looking around (best tournament ever for this was Kaikoura 2008).
    3. Low prize money. This isn't particularly relevant to me financially, as I almost never win anything or it is insignificant compared to the cost. But decent prizes attract good opposition, which makes the expense worthwhile. The recent NI chp had low prizes and few very strong players. I don't need to spend so much for a chance to meet the same level of opposition.

    I don't meant to single out the North Island Championship or its organisers - they probably did the best job they could, in that clubs don't seem to bid for these events a year or more out like they used to, and so an Auckland Club has to step in with no sponsor close to the event date when there are no other offers. But it was an example of all three reasons from my point of view.
    Last edited by Qbert; 29-07-2014 at 10:55 AM. Reason: add link to Kairoura event

  13. #13
    CC Candidate Master Hasimir's Avatar
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    Jul 2014
    In no particular order: transport, time and funds. Seeing some of the other responses, though, I'd probably add venue complaints to the mix if I actually attended.
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  14. #14
    CC FIDE Master
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    For me, it's a matter of juggling leave and family priorities. Since I normally attend (and/or organise) 1-3 events per year as an Arbiter, I rarely have enough leave remaining, either from work or family, to attend other events as well.

    Back before that was an issue and I just played (and wasn't married...), the main factor that deterred me from attending events was cost. If we had a group going from Canterbury CC, that would defray costs significantly, and it would be a more enjoyable experience for the camaraderie as well. If not, I probably couldn't afford to go alone, especially if it was in the North Island which meant I had to fly.
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  15. #15
    CC Candidate Master slyall's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Auckland, New Zealand
    3 reasons to miss events:

    1. Value for time. If I have to take days off work or travel then I'd like to get as much quality chess as possible. 2 games a day is about right here. For things like the North and South Islands I'd also prefer they include weekends to save me taking 2 extra days of holiday.

    2. Don't feel like spending the whole weekend playing chess. Any non-rapid is going to take up 90% of whole weekend. Sometimes I feel like a break and having a quiet time. Probably not something organisers can do much about.

    3. Not decently advertised well in advance. Multi-day tournaments should have location and dates all up at least 2 months in advance. I need to book time off from work and book accomidation close to the venue.

    However I don't care much about:

    1. Entry fee - One night of accomidation or flight is going to be much greater than any entry fee. Similarly a $20 extra or cheaper doesn't make much difference in deciding if I'll play the tournament.

    2. Prizes - I'm not expecting to win or even place. The odd grade prize is nice but is rarely going to cover my entry fee, let alone lunch, petrol or anything else.

    3. Start times - ~9:30 seems to work even if I'm flying or driving a long way. Allows 6 rapid or 2 long games and finished by 6pm


    Transport options. Travelling from Auckland to Hamilton, Taurange or Palerston North (or vice versa) is pretty hard and expensive. Perhaps having a place for people to advertise for/with rides might help?

    Maybe spread a tournament across two weekends so as to get 6-8 rounds instead of squeezing 5 or 6 into a one weekend.

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