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View Full Version : Should arbiters be paid with tips?



Grant Szuveges
04-07-2010, 12:21 PM
What have the following proffessions all got in common?

Waiters in America
Taxi drivers (particularly in America)
Safari guides in southern Africa
People working on cruise ships (not sure what you call them)
Bouncers in Amsterdam

Answere: As well as the wage they get paid, they also collect tips.

In Amsterdam, when you leave a club or pub, you give the bouncer a coin or two if you think that they have done a good job (ie. not beating people up etc). And in southern Africa (Botswana, Namibia, South Africa etc), many Australians and others get paid a small wage yet suppliment this with tips at the end of a 3 or 4 day safari....

The important theme, is that all of these people do a better job because of the tips that they may or may not get.

Now, lets talk about chess....

For whatever reason,chess seems to have enormous trouble attracting arbiters - not just at my club, but all through the scene. Therefore, I suggest the following:

The arbiter gets a small fee from the club and at the end of the tournament, the players can also tip the arbiter (if they have done a good job that is!).... The way to do this, is that the hat is passed around at the end of the tournament and people put the money in - either in an envelope or in cash. This way the arbiter doesnt know how much each player put in....

For a Saturday Allegro at MCC (starts 2pm and finishes at 6.30pm or 7pm), if I was playing, I would be happy to tip a good arbiter $2 or $3. Now if 20 players did the same, then the arbiter would get $40-$60 for that afternoons work..... For a 9 round Monday night event (one game per evening), I would be happy to tip $10 or $15. If 20 players did the same, the arbiter would get $200-$300 in tips..... As an arbiter, I would be happy to work for tips if it was the done thing in chess....

Who is this good for?

1. The arbiter - they get more money if they do a better job

2. The club - they dont have to pay as much and will get a good arbiter

3. The players - they will get an arbiter who is working hard to do a good job

Potential problems?

The main problem I see, is that chess does not have a culture of tipping. This culture would have to be built into chess over a period of time... One chess player told me a story about a cruise he went on where about a third of the guests tipped, and the other third (the chess players) had no idea..... But, if it means that we get good arbiters regularly, I would be happy to do it.

Does it diminish the role of the arbiter? I dont think so. If they get more money in the end then surely it helps their cause.

Does it make people respect the arbiter less? No, I dont think so.

Does it potentially corrupt the arbiter? Probably - but then the arbiter can probably be corrupted anyway. Eg. With tipping, someone can say "Oh, you favoured my opponent in the dispute because I didnt tip you enough last tournament" (not that the arbiter would know that because the tips would be anonymous) but then again there is nothing stopping people accusing an arbiter of bias anyway.....

In any case, I am keen to try to roadtest this idea and trial it in an upcoming tournament if someone wants to be an arbiter.....

Im not trying to Americanise Australian chess, and Im not even sure whether this idea is even a good one - although I am very keen to hear what other players and arbiters have to say about it. Give me your opinions people!!! Im very keen to hear them!

WhiteElephant
04-07-2010, 02:13 PM
I think arbiters are very underpaid (but so are club officials and organisers - if they are paid at all). I would be happy to pay a larger entry fee if that increase was allocated to the arbiter. I think club tournament entry fees are generally quite modest.

However, I am not sure if a tipping system would be practical - good in theory but just can't envision it in reality. Apart from the difficulty of getting chessplayers to change their habits, there are other things to consider - should you feel bad if you don't tip, why should you tip if others are not, what if you can't afford it - things that may not sit well in Aussie culture.

Just a few of my thoughts but the idea of channeling more funds to arbiters is a noble one.

Kevin Bonham
04-07-2010, 03:29 PM
If the tipping idea is to be tried then the only way I can think to make it work would be to have a tin where people can place tip money secretly. Of course this takes away from the warm inner glow of personal tipping but I would be very concerned about the arbiters being paid tips and knowing those tips had come from specific players.

I think it is better to pay arbiters a flat fee and if necessary increase entry fees to cover. But when refereeing small club tournaments I would never dream of collecting a fee anyway. It's something I do voluntarily for the sake of the game, and I take fees from those events that can really afford to pay them.

Paul Cavezza
04-07-2010, 05:52 PM
Tips are natural when someone is underpaid to do a difficult job (as in the examples you've listed above).

I don't see how this raises the possibility of corruption at all- as you've said having a bucket for some coins on the way out of the tournament hall. Why not I say? People can tip if they want, I think the younger players will be used to it. Arbiting is a thankless job, if you can make it more attractive to people it could take a bit of the strain of club comittees constantly trying to find good arbiters.

ER
04-07-2010, 06:43 PM
Tipping arbiters is an absolute disgrace and as such a crappy suggestion!
It makes arbiters look like two bob buskers or beggars.
I am not talking about unethical dealings here because they can occur by personal approaches with or without open or discreet tipping.
It just makes the whole thing look cheep and silly.
Clubs make enough money out of our donations, (by the way Trevor have you inscribed my name on the DGT clock I donated to the BHCC yet?) memberships and entry fees!
Having said that, having a collection box for other purposes / needs of Clubs is perfectly ok.

Basil
04-07-2010, 06:50 PM
Doing the right thing and being seen to do the right thing.

Everything else comes second. Next issue please ;)

Paul Cavezza
04-07-2010, 07:35 PM
Good day Mr. Renzies! How are you? :P (Hope to see you at the blitz next Sunday!)

I Disagree with what you've written above- I think it's a nice thing for players to recognise the often thankless task arbiters do. Whether you think it's charity depends on the mindset of people giving 'tips'- if it's done in the spirit of recognising people doing a tough/underpaid job (I have no idea what arbiters are paid but arriving before everyone else and leaving after the last awful, drawn, stubborn end game has finished, dealing with agro players and depressing situations... isn't all that nice) then it's fine.

I would not be tipping anyone out of charity but out of gratitude personally. The last tournament I played in at the MCC I think Marcus Raine was doing the arbiting after a long search and he didn't look like he was particularly enjoying it! These people are often volunteers as well so I think it's a nice thing they should have their trouble recognised by the playing field voluntarily.

Paul

jhughes
04-07-2010, 07:45 PM
Tipping arbiters is an absolute disgrace and as such a crappy suggestion!
It makes arbiters look like two bob buskers or beggars.
I am not talking about unethical dealings here because they can occur by personal approaches with or without open or discreet tipping.
It just makes the whole thing look cheep and silly.
Clubs make enough money out of our donations, (by the way Trevor have you inscribed my name on the DGT clock I donated to the BHCC yet?) memberships and entry fees!
Having said that, having a collection box for other purposes / needs of Clubs is perfectly ok.
Somehow I don't think of chess clubs as over payed organisations.

Basil
04-07-2010, 07:51 PM
I Disagree with what you've written above- I think it's a nice thing for players to recognise the often thankless task arbiters do.
It is a good thing to recognise the work that arbiters do. However, this particular method of thanking is out of the question. The reason is that first and foremost, an arbiter is in a position of authority and is someone who interprets and applies rules. In this their primary capacity, it is not appropriate for them to receive tips.

Desmond
04-07-2010, 07:58 PM
Not to mention that, in general, chess players are tighter than a fish's bottom.

Oepty
04-07-2010, 07:58 PM
Having said that, having a collection box for other purposes / needs of Clubs is perfectly ok.

I agree with this.
Scott

Oepty
04-07-2010, 08:02 PM
It is a good thing to recognise the work that arbiters do. However, this particular method of thanking is out of the question. The reason is that first and foremost, an arbiter is in a position of authority and is someone who interprets and applies rules. In this their primary capacity, it is not appropriate for them to receive tips.

I agree with this. I also wonder how many arbiters would be comfortable with taking money in this way, it just opens the door for allegations which would probably make the job more difficult than the money is worth.
Scott

ER
05-07-2010, 12:00 AM
Good day Mr. Renzies! How are you? (Hope to see you at the blitz next Sunday!)
G'day Mr Cavezza and welcome back! :P Yes the 90% or so chances I had to play on Sunday are now 99%+ , so I will see you there!



I Disagree with what you've written above

That's democracy!


I think it's a nice thing for players to recognise the often thankless task arbiters do.

We do already. Handing them some spare change is some sort of public humiliation.



Whether you think it's charity depends on the mindset of people giving 'tips'- if it's done in the spirit of recognising people doing a tough/underpaid job ...

depends on the mindset of people receiving tips as well. I wouln't give a tip to a cop, to a judge or to a social worker. It's against their code of practice as well.



(I have no idea what arbiters are paid but arriving before everyone else and leaving after the last awful, drawn, stubborn end game has finished, dealing with agro players and depressing situations... isn't all that nice) then it's fine.

Some are not the most pleasant characters themselves. They don't do all the job by themselves since they are helped by Club officials and other players, they aren't excluded of being stubborn and agro themselves. I don't know how much they are getting paid either but they don't do it for free. Maybe (and I emphasise maybe) those who might do it for free are usually Club officials who aren't qualified / competent for the job.


I would not be tipping anyone out of charity but out of gratitude personally.

I have no problems with that


The last tournament I played in at the MCC I think Marcus Raine was doing the arbiting after a long search and he didn't look like he was particularly enjoying it!

None forced him to do it! I'ts up to the Club (s) to make sure they have someone available to do the job.


These people are often volunteers as well so I think it's a nice thing they should have their trouble recognised by the playing field voluntarily.

Ideas such as the above, nice and humanistic as they sound, belong to the past. In order to promote Chess in the modern world one has to gradually abandon the community-drop-in-non profit-organisation approach.

In here you will find a rough estimation of how much it costs me to be an active part of the Chess community these days.

http://www.chesschat.org/showthread.php?t=10586

I know it's not much but for whatever it's worth I expect some value for it. Having amateur / volunteer arbiters shuffling silly cards to decide my next round's opponent and having to thank them for that in the end is definitely not on.

Nowadays, we are lucky to have professionals running $100s of Ks of Chess related business. I don't believe that people like Mssrs Sandler and Cordover who run such business and have shown an active interest in the future of the administration of our sport should be left out of discussions like this. I would also love to hear from the arbiters themselves. After all they are the ones who should decide either way.

Having said all that, I, being a part of the bridging generation ie those who have seen the past but have accepted the future, still love the old style tournaments, organised by the local chess personalities who do their best to attract new players and teach the juniors the best they can. But I am happy to see that they, themselves, have accepted the new style of administration, use computers, and engage professionals in order to improve their services.

I hope that passing the hat around for improving the arbiters' pay isn't one of them!

Carl Gorka
05-07-2010, 01:45 PM
Personally I wouldn't tip an arbiter because:

a) at a local club event they should be volunteering their time for free.

b) at a GP or title event, they should be getting a fair price from the organisers.

As a local club arbiter, I expect nothing for what I do. It is just a way that I can give back something to the game that has given me so much.

Kevin Bonham
05-07-2010, 01:52 PM
I'd be interested to know if anyone else here has actually been tipped for running a tournament. It has happened to me at least once - a player gave me their entire ratings prize.

ER
05-07-2010, 05:02 PM
Personally I wouldn't tip an arbiter because:

a) at a local club event they should be volunteering their time for free.

b) at a GP or title event, they should be getting a fair price from the organisers.

As a local club arbiter, I expect nothing for what I do. It is just a way that I can give back something to the game that has given me so much.

I agree to all of the above, provided that in a) as in b) they should be qualified or at least competent enough to do so!

Aditionally...

Without diminishing the value of other club tournaments, MCC events are usually amongst the stronger - if not the strongest - in the country.
As such, and that's strictly my opinion, special care should be given to have professional (or as close to professional as possible) arbiters being involved.

In an ideal world (Europe comes to mind) central and local authorities, in co-operation with Clubs organise arbiter seminars producing a No. of officials every year!

Another negative aspect of Club officials acting as arbiters is that of open tournaments resulting in some non - club members feeling not so comfortable.

Club officials acting as tipped arbiters in such tournaments would be even worse.
Club officials acting as tipped arbiters in tournaments they also participate as players would be a (bad) joke!
Coming back to the original question. Arbiter tipping? Thanks but no thanks!

FM_Bill
01-10-2010, 12:49 PM
I'm with Jak and FireEater on this one.

Also, how much do I tip an arbiter to get that easy last round pairing?

Get paired as white in the last round?

Decide the dispute in my favour?

Get the bye, if I am near (but not at) the bottom?

Ignore my mobile phone going off?

Not tell me to record the moves?

Players may (and do) argue with the arbiter regarding all pf the above.

Or perhaps the arbiter penalizes players for not giving tips.

Tips are generally for one person providing a service to one person, not to a whole crowd.

Arbiters are not always very unpaid. NSW had (still has??) a policy of paying arbiters 10% of the entry fees. In a large tournament (e.g. an Australian open with 200+ players) , this is serious money for what is frankly a cushy job.

Compare say with fruit-picking. Very hard work for very little money.