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  1. #1
    CC Candidate Master jeffrei's Avatar
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    Australian Schools Championships

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Rout
    I wonder if the time may have come to look at a permanent home for the Australian Open/Championship? Not necessarily a specific building, but at least a city or region.
    1.
    Although I have some sympathy for the argument that the Australian Open/Championships should be in a fixed location, I recognize that there are strong counter-arguments (e.g. some ‘chess tourists’ enjoy seeing a different location every year). What I really don’t understand is why we have the Australian Schools Championships in a different location every year. The event only goes one weekend during the school term, so it’s not as though the majority of attendees will have any opportunity for sightseeing. I think it’d make a lot more sense to have a permanent venue for the tournament in Canberra and just have always have it there. Leaving aside the question of whether the right sort of venue could be found and whether organizers would be willing to take on the tournament, it seems to me that this would be a good solution – for one thing it’d help ensure some continuity in the way the event gets run. Also it’s convenient from a geographic point-of-view. I realize that there is no appropriate city in Australia that is truly ‘central’, but Canberra is surely the nearest thing.

    2.
    More than once I’ve heard the suggestion that Australian junior chess needs a sharply-defined ‘elite’ tournament and a sharply-defined ‘mass-participation’ tournament. I’m of the opinion that the ‘elite’ event should be the Australian Junior Championships (no, that doesn’t mean that it needs to be as puny as it currently is), and that the main mass-participation event(s) should be the interschool competitions within states. All the same, I wonder why serious consideration has never been given to the idea of letting the top two teams from each state represent at the Australian Schools Championships, instead of just the top team. It really seems that schools/parents/kids have a tough time saying no to the Schools tournament...not even putting the Schools tournament in WA in the middle of January could make a dent in its popularity! Why don’t we try to exploit this fact and get more kids involved?
    Last edited by jeffrei; 26-06-2004 at 11:41 PM.

  2. #2
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    I'm sure Perth will be thrilled with that idea. Why not go the whole way, and make the permanent venue Alice Springs?

  3. #3
    CC FIDE Master george's Avatar
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    To Jeffrei,

    The idea of having two teams from each state/territory was advanced for the Schools Final this year to be held ??

    The ACF Council decided that the current situation of having one team from each state in each category would stand with the exception of the home state/territory which could field a second team in any or all categories but only to avoid a bye situation.

    Regards
    George Howard
    ACF President

  4. #4
    CC Candidate Master jeffrei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by george
    The idea of having two teams from each state/territory was advanced for the Schools Final this year to be held ?? The ACF Council decided that the current situation of having one team from each state in each category would stand with the exception of the home state/territory which could field a second team in any or all categories but only to avoid a bye situation.
    Well, I suggested it at the parents/coaches meeting which occurred at the last Australian Schools Championships. Independent of me I've also heard Robert Jamieson advocating the exact same idea.

    I know that David Cordover originally planned to have a 'free for all' Australian Schools Championships in Mount Buller where no qualification was required at all. My suggestion doesn't really bear any relation to that...I'm just pointing out that there is usually more than one good school within a state, and it might be useful to double the number of kids we have involved in this event!

  5. #5
    CC Candidate Master jeffrei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pax
    I'm sure Perth will be thrilled with that idea. Why not go the whole way, and make the permanent venue Alice Springs?
    While Alice Spings may be geographically central, it's not central to Australia's population and it's even less central to Australia's population of chessplaying schoolkids.

    I don't see that Perth would lose out especially badly. Assuming the schools tournament gets run on the cycle Perth-Adelaide-Melbourne-Canberra-Sydney-Brisbane, they still end up catching a plane 5 times out of 6 anyway. When schools chess begins to catch on in Tasmania they'll end up doing it 6 times out of 7! Besides, if tournaments like this are run properly they can generate a profit. It might be possible to arrange some kind of proportional transportation subsidy for representatives not living in Canberra (i.e. WAliens would get the most, NSWpersons the least).
    Last edited by jeffrei; 28-06-2004 at 04:13 PM.

  6. #6
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    This [EDIT: the two team system] was thrashed out a lot in Council when David put it up as his replacement after it was obvious his free-for-all proposal was being strongly opposed.

    The only real dangers of the two-team system I can see are:

    * if you've got only a small number of states sending second teams you could end up with, say, 9 teams for a 6 round swiss, which can lead to some pretty odd Swiss draws at the end of the event.

    * it increases the risk of collusion between teams from the same state.

    EDIT PS - Permanent home sounds OK to me.
    Last edited by Kevin Bonham; 28-06-2004 at 03:35 PM.

  7. #7
    CC Candidate Master jeffrei's Avatar
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    I must say this thread has been overshadowed by more dramatic events over the last few days. Nonetheless, I KNOW there are lots of regular posters on this board who know a lot more about the Schools tournament than me, or who generally have an opinion about these sort of things. Please come forth with your $0.02! Mr Rout, would you agree that if moving the Australian Open/Championships to a permanent location is a good idea, moving the Australian Schools Championships to a permanent location is surely an even better one?
    Last edited by jeffrei; 28-06-2004 at 04:05 PM.

  8. #8
    CC Candidate Master jeffrei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    * if you've got only a small number of states sending second teams you could end up with, say, 9 teams for a 6 round swiss, which can lead to some pretty odd Swiss draws at the end of the event.
    Well, I'd hope that we could get more than 9 teams! At the absolute least you could make that figure into 10 by chucking in a local team to eliminate the bye. I think that if the event was consistently well-run in the same place by the same people, near-complete representation could be achieved year-in year-out. Consider that at the last Schools Championship in Perth we had a full complement of teams in the Open Secondary, Girls Primary and Girls Secondary. Bizarrely we were missing a Open Primary team from SA, but that was surely an aberration - from my experience at state level I think that Open Primary is the most popular division. Realistically I reckon that under this proposed system you'll always end up operating with either a 12-team tournament or a 10-team tournament.

    I was thinking that it'd be better to lower the time-limit of the tournament from 30 mins to 15 mins (maybe with a 5 second increment), and use the extra rounds to have a round-robin. This makes sense since the state interschool tournaments seem to be almost invariably conducted at 15mins/game. The idea of increasing the time-limit at national level is presumably designed to facilitate better play. From my experience there I'm just not convinced that it's worth it - an awful lot of the kids seem to finish in about 10 minutes anyway! I think they'd get better practice from playing a few more games at a slightly shorter time-limit.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    * it increases the risk of collusion between teams from the same state.
    This is a valid concern, but not a terribly serious one in my books. We can't go in assuming that people are going to cheat, and in any case we often have two teams from the home state in order to fill out the numbers. I think you'd be more likely to see individual players throwing games in a normal tournament than to see kids throwing games in a teams event, where you've got things like school pride to consider - not to mention the teachers looking over your shoulder! What would be really problematic is if we had two teams from the same school representing. It'd probably be best to fix it so that one school can only send a maximum of one team in each division.

    PS: Does anyone know the history of how the 30-minute timelimit came to be adopted? Were state interschools also conducted at this timelimit once upon at time?
    Last edited by jeffrei; 28-06-2004 at 04:16 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffrei
    Mr Rout, would you agree that if moving the Australian Open/Championships to a permanent location is a good idea, moving the Australian Schools Championships to a permenent location is surely an even better one?
    I don't know enough about the event or about schools chess in general to say better, but I'd agree that similar logic applies. The one concern some might have is that the enthusiasm base could turn around more rapidly. But then I think "permanent" would mean continuing rather than irrevocably for all time.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    * it increases the risk of collusion between teams from the same state.
    If you pair the teams from the same state against each other in the first round, this would not be a serious problem.

  11. #11
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffrei
    Well, I'd hope that we could get more than 9 teams! At the absolute least you could make that figure into 10 by chucking in a local team to fill out the numbers.
    That's true. If you're flexible about it and allow time to have either 6 or 7 rounds then 8 is a 7-player round robin and 9 plus a spare team is a 6-round Swiss for 10 teams, which isn't awful.

    Also Tas could be back in the running sometime soon, which will increase the number of teams if it happens. TCA had an offer from Chess Kids to run our currently moribund schools comp, which we accepted (subject to various conditions). It'll be interesting to see what (if anything) comes of it.

    I was thinking that it'd be better to lower the time-limit of the tournament from 30 mins to 15 mins (maybe with a 5 second increment), and use the extra rounds to have a round-robin.
    That sounds OK to me for primary. Not sure about secondary.

    The idea of increasing the time-limit at national level is presumably designed to facilitate better play. From my experience there I'm just not convinced that it's worth it - a lot of the kids seem to finish in about 10 minutes anyway! I think they'd get better practice from playing a few more games at a slightly shorter time-limit.
    Call me a hopeless optimist but I've always hoped that if you gave kids decent time for their games some of their coaches might twig to the idea of teaching them to use it effectively. Rarely seems to happen though. I was so pleased (and surprised) when I saw one of our young juniors actually use 50 mins of a G60 to beat her compulsively blitzing brother who outrated her by 300 points.

    This is a valid concern, but not a terribly serious one in my books.
    I was thinking of the suspected collusion case in the Asian Teams Champs as one recent example.

    I think you'd be more likely to see individual players throwing games in a normal tournament than to see kids throwing games in a teams event, where you've got other things like school pride to consider - not to mention the teachers looking over your shoulder!
    I'd certainly hope teachers would put state parochialism aside. I agree throwing's more likely in individual tournaments, I've seen that in junior events a few times.

  12. #12
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jay_vee
    If you pair the teams from the same state against each other in the first round, this would not be a serious problem.
    Excellent idea. Problem solved.

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    Having two teams from the one school would seem to be a high probablity from SA secondary competition. St Peters is far and away the strongest chess school in SA, there teams finished 1st, 2nd and equal third last year and I would not be surprised if something similar happens this year. Also regarding the lack of a primary school team last year I seem to remember the team withdrew very late and there was no time to organise a replacement.
    Scott

  14. #14
    Account Suspended jenni's Avatar
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    Jeffrei

    You did raise the issue of two teams per division at the parents and coaches meeting in Perth. There was some support for this but the majority wanted it left the way it is. Cordover wanted this for Mt Buller and there has been some fairly robust discussion on the matter. Basically the majority of states wanted it left with one team only. (With the host state putting in a second if necessary).

    While I think it is more than possible to get 2 teams per state in some divisions, it would be all but impossible in others and so the scenario of having a comp with numbers that are too big for a round robin, but too small for a swiss draw is distincly possible. Perth did not have a full complement, as the ACT was missing a Girls High Schools. There have been times when only 4 teams have competed in the Girls High Schools.

    Now that Perth has experienced the schools comp, it will be interesting to see whether they will send teams apart from the open High Schools. If not we will definitely be looking at small numbers of teams in some divisions.

    Many people felt that a round robin was as fair as you could get and had no desire to move away from this.

    I think you are correct - the fact that so many school teams were prepared to make the trip to WA is very exciting. However to me the most exciting thing is the large number of school teams that are competing at the grass roots level. Wouldn't it be really exciting if Victoria could get the 8,000 children competing that NSW has?

    The history of the time controls - it is not 30 minutes and never has been.

    Grame Gardiner picked a time control for the first ASCC in 1998. There was an extensive debate about the time controls. Digitals were very new then and many people were not using them and were not used to time increments. The ACT propsed using 15 minutes, as that was what our schools comp ran on and many others as well. South Australia ran theirs at 45 minutes. There was a vote on the issue. There were 3 votes in favour of 15 mins (me, Jeff Suptut and another random person). Everyone else voted in favour of long time controls. 40 min plus 10 sec for the primary and 55 minutes + 10 secs for high schools.

    I have to admit I have become a convert to the longer time controls as it has had an enormous impact on improving the quality of the chess played by juniors in the ACT.

    We still have our schools comp as 15 min games - for the majority of kids that is all you want and you want mass participation and fairly lightweight chess. However we have a rule that the top 2 teams at the finals can go inot the playoff. Also any team with 2 ACF rated players can challenge to go into the playoff. The playoffs are run at the same time controls as the ASCC.

    We have found over time that a team that wants to "prepare " for the playoff will start playing at an adult club. Both in order to get a rating so that they qualify to challenge and also to improve their "long" time control ability. If we had the schools comp as 15 min, we would lose the necessity for children to make the next "step". Part of the reason why the ACT has so many ACF rated juniors, is because of this policy. Some of these juniors have gone on to become really good players.

    I really don't know why we have to try and turn the ASCC into a different animal. It is working really well the way it is - parents, coaches and schools seem to be pretty happy with it. However that is not to say that your idea isn't good. I said this to Cordover many times - I can see that a big schools comp could be a great idea. Maybe having smaller teams - perhaps pairs? Would certainly make it easier to get some really strong combinations in all divisions. Allow a large number in each division - or what about having a year 3/4 divison, year 5/6, year 7/8 etc. This one could be run at 15 min chess.

    Thus we would have 2 different schools comps, catering for different types of chess. One would be small and elite and requiring high levels of skill. The other big and fast and furious with the sort of chess that probably appeals to more school kids - just needs someone to start it. I think it is always dangerous to take a successful format and say - Ok rather than do the hard work of establising a new comp, I'll just take this other one and turn it into what I would like to see. you often end up with something that no-one is happy with. Rather leave the successful one alone and start the new format and end up with two different, but equally succesful comps.

  15. #15
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    Excellent idea. Problem solved.
    I believe this was the solution implemented to help prevent collusion between soviet players in the zonals and interzonals. I believe Fischer was involved so it would probably have sometime in the late-60's early-70's. Perhaps someone remembers the details better than I.
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

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