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  1. #16
    CC FIDE Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unrated View Post
    If it was held in Auckland, you would have easily got around 150 or even more . And yes, Quantity trumps the so called Quality ( which is not great at the best of time) any day.
    The biggest Auckland event I could find was the 2017 Zonal which got 140 across both events, and the biggest Auckland Congress was Devonport in 2016 which got 118 across both events. Biggest ever event is the first Queenstown classic (193) which was also a Congress. Of those, the event with the most NZL players was Devonport with 86 (Zonal got 70, Queenstown got 73).

    Events outside Auckland and Queenstown tend to get 50-60 players, although Palmerston North attracted 84 in 2018.

    Realistically, 100+ is hard to get anywhere without a massive prize fund, and even then, you either need Auckland to turn out or a stack of Australians.
    IA Craig Hall

    www.chess.org.nz - Canterbury Chess Club
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  2. #17
    CC FIDE Master
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    As a question for readers, what does success look like? What are the key metrics for Congress? Here are some I can think of:

    • Number of players
    • Number of NZ players
    • Number of non-NZ players
    • Number of titled players/GMs/IMs/WGMs/WIMs
    • Number of players above 2400 (or any other rating)
    • Number of NZ players from rating list top 10/20/30/etc
    • Number or percentage of players from NZ rating list e.g. above 2000
    • Number of female players
    • Number of junior players
    • Number of Maori/PI/other ethnicity players
    • Percentage of entries are females/juniors/ethnicities
    • Average rating of top 10/20/etc
    • Availability/achievement of norms
    • Size of Prize fund
    • Size of First prize
    • Tournament breaks even/makes a surplus
    • Quality of venue


    Which of those are most important? Congress has tended towards size, titled players & norm availability, prize fund and venue quality, but as can be seen from my non-exhaustive list, there are plenty of other metrics available.

    I am looking at bidding to organise Congress in Christchurch in 2021-22. The dates are actually quite awkward once the Rapid is taken into account. Some options for dates are:

    28 Dec - 5 Jan, Rapid 6-7 i.e. Tue-Wed with Rapid Thu-Fri
    30 Dec - 7 Jan, Rapid 8-9 i.e. Thu-Fri with Rapid Sat-Sun
    1-9 Jan, Rapid 10-11 i.e. Sat-Sun with Rapid Mon-Tue (minimum leave days for most but makes the Rapid a bit of an orphan)
    6-14 Jan, Rapid 15-16 i.e. Thu-Fri with Rapid Sat-Sun

    Or something else in between. I lean towards the last because I think having the Rapid on the weekend is a good idea, but there are obviously pros and cons for all options.
    IA Craig Hall

    www.chess.org.nz - Canterbury Chess Club
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  3. #18
    CC Candidate Master slyall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craig_Hall View Post

    I am looking at bidding to organise Congress in Christchurch in 2021-22. The dates are actually quite awkward once the Rapid is taken into account. Some options for dates are:

    28 Dec - 5 Jan, Rapid 6-7 i.e. Tue-Wed with Rapid Thu-Fri
    30 Dec - 7 Jan, Rapid 8-9 i.e. Thu-Fri with Rapid Sat-Sun
    1-9 Jan, Rapid 10-11 i.e. Sat-Sun with Rapid Mon-Tue (minimum leave days for most but makes the Rapid a bit of an orphan)
    6-14 Jan, Rapid 15-16 i.e. Thu-Fri with Rapid Sat-Sun

    Or something else in between. I lean towards the last because I think having the Rapid on the weekend is a good idea, but there are obviously pros and cons for all options.
    Remember that the 3rd and 4th are public Holidays since the 1st and 2nd are on weekends. This makes the start on the 30th quite good since you have only 5 days of leave needed ( Thur 30, Fri 31, Wed 5, Thur 6, Fri 7 ) and most companies will be shutdown for at least the first 2.

  4. #19
    CC FIDE Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by slyall View Post
    Remember that the 3rd and 4th are public Holidays since the 1st and 2nd are on weekends. This makes the start on the 30th quite good since you have only 5 days of leave needed ( Thur 30, Fri 31, Wed 5, Thur 6, Fri 7 ) and most companies will be shutdown for at least the first 2.
    27-28 are also holidays for many since 25-26 are also on the weekend, so running the traditional Congress per the Tournament Rules (starting on the 28th or 2nd, 9 rounds in this case) would minimise leave further - 28, 29, 30, 31, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Rapid 6-7. Rather depends on how important minimising leave is, compared to how important it is for people to spend New Year with their families before travelling. Minimising the impact on the workers might be important, but not much use if their families won't let them travel.
    IA Craig Hall

    www.chess.org.nz - Canterbury Chess Club
    http://respectrum.nz - Major sponsor

  5. #20
    CC FIDE Master Keong Ang's Avatar
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    Some numbers for NZ Chess Congress participation rates over last 10 years.

    Code:
    Congress Participation										
    										
    Year	Location            Congress (Champs/Open + Major)  NZ Champs/Open              NZ Major		
                                Total   Foreign NZL             Total   Foreign NZL         Total   Foreign NZL
    2010	Greenlane, AKL       76      2      74               28      1      27          48       1      47
    2011	Greenlane, AKL       79      0      79               26      0      26          53       0      53
    2012	Queenstown          148     84      64              148     84      64           0       0       0
    2013	Wellington           54      4      50               18      1      17          36       3      33
    2014	Greenlane, AKL       79      4      75               30      3      27          49       1      48
    2015	Devonport, AKL      115     37      78              115     37      78           0       0       0
    2016	Devonport, AKL      118     32      86               66     21      45          52      11      41
    2017	Wellington           58     12      46               58     12      46           0       0       0
    2018	Palmerston North     82     19      63               38     12      26          44       7      37
    2019	Waipuna, AKL         95     30      65               47     25      22          48       5      43
    2020	Tauranga             64     13      51               36     10      26          28       3      25
    We have never got 150 players in NZ Congress in a decade. Only glitzy and costly 2012, 2015, 2016 NZ Open had more than 100 players and that is due to the increased foreign player numbers.

    NZL player participation is quite stable and predictable. Around 80 if held in Auckland in early January with 20% reduction whenever in late January.
    If held out of Auckland in early January, subtract about 20% NZL participation.
    NZL players seem to dislike playing in Wellington.

    For some context, in December 2019, NZL has only got 245 active FIDE rated players. 150 of whom would probably think they are strong enough to play in Congress. This 150 is effectively the total number of players spread over the whole country to "sell" Congress to. From this point on it becomes trying to figure out how many would "buy" Congress, meaning how many NZL players would potentially participate.
    40 to 50 would be financially able to travel and stay out of town to play in Congress (out of towners who can afford to "buy"). Subtract this 40 or 50 from the 150, then look for the remaining players within commuting distance to Congress venue who can afford the entry fee (within towners who can afford to "buy"). This would give the maximum potential NZL players who would participate in Congress.
    From this maximum potential NZL players who would participate in Congress, subtract potential numbers of players who do not have time to turn up:
    eg.
    Players with family commitments.
    Working adults who may not have time due to work commitments.
    Out of town Juniors who have such working adult parents/caregivers.

    This gives number of potential NZL players available to market any NZ Congress to.
    Hence NZL participation numbers for Congress that have held true for the last 10 years.
    Early January:
    Around 80 in Auckland.
    Around 60 rest of NZ.
    Late January subtract 20% or more. Effectively late January is the Congress time slot for the "retired or idle rich".

    Higher participation numbers usually have glitzy and costly Congress that gets less than 10 extra NZL players. Shows rapid diminishing return on investment in attracting NZL players.

    When NZ Open and NZ Major are separate, it demonstrates price point sensitivity to entry fees.
    NZL players generally accept entry fees that work out to around $10 per round. Slightly more for a pinnacle event like NZ Champs/Open and slightly less for everything else.
    Whenever entry fees are above this price point, NZL players participation tends to be less than expected. Price insensitivity by NZL players in late January "retired or idle rich" Congress indicates the higher socio economic demographic of these NZL players who can be ripped off.

    NZ Open tends to have punitive entry fee structure to exclude low rated players while ostensibly still remaining "open". Theoretically to increase NZL player norm chances but practically unsuccessful. Meanwhile there is perennial dissatisfaction expressed over the current way to become NZ Champion. Current swiss system NZ Open with invited foreign GMs mixed in should be scrapped.
    Instead there should be an 11 round single round robin NZ Championship composed of players who are automatically and compulsorily selected from the top 12 NZL players by FIDE standard rating who entered to play in Congress. The rest would play in the 9 round NZ Open. There will necessarily be several double round days. Such a Congress would be held in early January with $100 entry fee for NZ Champs/Open for all players. Congress schedule would utilise public holidays and weekends while minimising use of working days.
    I believe this is the Congress format demanded for years by Auckland Chess Centre (practically the organiser of last resort of all official NZCF events other than South Island Champs) if it were to organise a NZ Congress. Guess this is why Auckland Chess Centre has not organised the NZ Congress since. Maybe explains why NZCF seems to be throwing Kasparov Chess Asia Pacific annual grants at any other organiser of NZ Congress. It is an annual financial treadmill reality that NZCF experiences as long as NZCF wants to be able to set the terms for official events.

  6. #21
    CC Candidate Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keong Ang View Post
    Some numbers for NZ Chess Congress participation rates over last 10 years.

    Code:
    Congress Participation										
    										
    Year	Location            Congress (Champs/Open + Major)  NZ Champs/Open              NZ Major		
                                Total   Foreign NZL             Total   Foreign NZL         Total   Foreign NZL
    2010	Greenlane, AKL       76      2      74               28      1      27          48       1      47
    2011	Greenlane, AKL       79      0      79               26      0      26          53       0      53
    2012	Queenstown          148     84      64              148     84      64           0       0       0
    2013	Wellington           54      4      50               18      1      17          36       3      33
    2014	Greenlane, AKL       79      4      75               30      3      27          49       1      48
    2015	Devonport, AKL      115     37      78              115     37      78           0       0       0
    2016	Devonport, AKL      118     32      86               66     21      45          52      11      41
    2017	Wellington           58     12      46               58     12      46           0       0       0
    2018	Palmerston North     82     19      63               38     12      26          44       7      37
    2019	Waipuna, AKL         95     30      65               47     25      22          48       5      43
    2020	Tauranga             64     13      51               36     10      26          28       3      25
    We have never got 150 players in NZ Congress in a decade. Only glitzy and costly 2012, 2015, 2016 NZ Open had more than 100 players and that is due to the increased foreign player numbers.

    I believe this is the Congress format demanded for years by Auckland Chess Centre .

    I guess that answers my earlier question...."demanded"!

    Looking at a few earlier random Congresses:
    98/99 12+24 in Dunedin
    95/96 12+12+40 in Wellington
    93/94 12+12+22 in Invercargill
    91/92 12+52 in Dunedin
    90/91 12+12+60 in Auckland
    83/84 12+98 in Auckland
    80/81 12+55 in Lincoln Uni (near ChCh)
    78/79 12+59 in Wellington
    75/76 12+88 in Upper Hutt
    73/74 12+50 in Nelson

    Much different from today??

    None of those with overseas players, almost no players with FIDE ratings (and FIDE stopped at 2000+ anyway), all with the traditional 26/12-9/1 format, and, as an example, Auckland in 83/84 offering very cheap accommodation at the Hospital Nurses Hostel.
    The availability of school/university dorm accommodation was popular then, cheap, and occupied by all and sundry. No snobbery seemed to exist on expecting 4* hotels. Any playing venues were no worse than today.
    A lot more university age players back then - who could afford the cheaper accommodation and a bit of time away from trying to pay education costs with the summer job. Plus, a lot more NZ businesses closed for that period with compulsory holiday time - a thing of the past.
    Prize money and entry fee were less (though allowing for inflation, not much in it).

    Back then the common view was that Aucklanders didn't travel (except the top few) as they had enough opportunities locally. Maybe still true?

    I think the data shows not much has changed.....
    Michael F

  7. #22
    CC FIDE Master
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    I wouldn't put the Auckland late January reduction at 20% since it's only been run once then, and had the Trundle and Oceania Youth preceding it, as well as a junior event during it, all of which very likely impacted numbers to some extent. I used NZL as an easy marker for working out locals vs non-locals, but it's also worth noting that there is a small contingent of local NZ players registered to other federations as well as dual NZ citizens overseas (primarily Australians for this discussion) who are NZ players for the purposes of eligibility for NZ champion.

    All that said, Keong's analysis is excellent, and it comes back to decisions about what the best metrics actually are.

    Something I've noticed as an organiser is a difference between attracting locals and travellers - locals (in Chch at least) are price sensitive to the entry fee (as their principal cost), but travellers are higher for bigger prize funds (since their main cost is accommodation), which usually require higher entry fees to fund, so trying to balance that can be difficult and frustrating. At least Congress provides a lower cost tournament to help offset that issue. The last Christchurch Congress (2001-02) got 50 players, so not a great turnout but was about average outside Auckland at the time. Attracting budget-conscious travellers is mostly a matter of having hostels/backpackers and cheap motels in walking distance.

    In terms of budget, cost of conditions for IMs/GMs/Arbiters for accommodation is around $1000 each if they are willing to share a room or $2000 each if not. Flights are additional - $400 - $600 round trip from Aus, $1000 - $2000 from elsewhere. A big reason to hold 2019 and 2020 Congresses in mid-January was to tie in with the Trundle which paid for the travel.

    4 star hotels usually cost around $1000/day as tournament venues, so that's another $9,000 to find from somewhere, plus the Rapid. Add in conditions as above and you're looking at up to $20,000 before prizes and anything else money has to be spent on. With 100 or so paid entries at $200 average, essentially the sponsorship has to cover the prizes.

    Limiting conditions to players is doable, and playing somewhere cheaper sounds like an option but the sheer size of Congress makes that hard - the playing area should be at least 2m2 per player, and for my planning, I have to be able to cope with 100 players, but might only get 60, so I have to find at least 200m2 plus a decent size analysis room/area. There are not many venues in Christchurch of that size in a reasonable location and with the adequate second room and parking, so options are limited, and unlikely to cost less than $1000/day.

    Just a taste of what goes into planning Congress...
    IA Craig Hall

    www.chess.org.nz - Canterbury Chess Club
    http://respectrum.nz - Major sponsor

  8. #23
    CC Grandmaster Tony Dowden's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craig_Hall View Post
    As a question for readers ...

    I am looking at bidding to organise Congress in Christchurch in 2021-22 ...

    28 Dec - 5 Jan, Rapid 6-7 i.e. Tue-Wed with Rapid Thu-Fri
    30 Dec - 7 Jan, Rapid 8-9 i.e. Thu-Fri with Rapid Sat-Sun
    1-9 Jan, Rapid 10-11 i.e. Sat-Sun with Rapid Mon-Tue ...
    6-14 Jan, Rapid 15-16 i.e. Thu-Fri with Rapid Sat-Sun ...
    I prefer the first option starting on Dec 28, thanks.
    Fischer visiting Tal in hospital - Curašao 1962

    "You must take your opponent into a deep dark forest where 2+2=5, and the path leading out is only wide enough for one." - Mikhail Tal
    "My favourite piece is the one that wins" - Bobby Fischer

  9. #24
    CC Candidate Master
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    Interesting...Australian entries for their Congress in Sydney.. would suggest NZL is doing very well given the population of Sydney alone exceeds the whole of NZL

    Champs entries - 2018 34, 2020 19 at present
    Reserves - 2018 100, 2020 88 at present
    Classic - 2018 65, 2020 47 at present
    Michael F

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