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Liverpool Quadrangular
#11
A few little thoughts after the tournament.

The U16's were up against a very strong North of England side, probably some way ahead of the Scots on paper. However, the guys played some really good chess and could very easily have come out on top. There were a few premature draws and I think a few of the players were nervous about making a mistake. On the one hand this is obviously good that they are taking pride in playing for their country, but I think they would probably have got at least a point more if they had relaxed a bit and just played the pieces.
I think 5 of the team are eligible for next year, so we should be in with a good shout.

The U12's were flagged up as being an inexperienced group and I think they did really very well. It was noticeable that there were very very few quick games (unlike last year) and the players all seemed to be 'serious'. My impression is that if you looked into the Hall after an hour's play then most of the games would still be going and the Scots would be standing pretty well. That seems to a strong base to build on for future years.

I saw less of the U14's than the other two sides. It seems that Welsh had a very strong side and were some way ahead of the other teams. The Scots did very well to win the race for second place. However, looking at the results it is noticeable that the Scots really pulled in the points on the lower boards and struggled on the top boards. I think that is maybe something that it is worth thinking about going forward.

A very enjoyable event and I look forward to next year.
#12
I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who made the Liverpool Quadrangular such a success this year. Our coaches - Calum, Jonny, Alex, Alastair and Matthew were fantastic with the juniors. While Donald and Paul handled the admin side quietly and efficiently. However, a very special thank you goes to David Congalton who’s organisational skills are second to none!!!! Organising a trip for such a large group, with all of their different requirements, is far from being a simple task. Yet David made it look easy =)

The change in accommodation and meal arrangements this year worked very well and again this was largely due to David’s efficiency in organising this and, of course, he was well supported by Judy.

All of the juniors playing were a credit to Scotland showing a high degree of sportsmanship and a huge commitment to chess. I am sure they had a wonderful experience playing in this tournament and they all will have returned to Scotland stronger chess players.
In life, unlike chess, the game continues after checkmate.........
#13
One of the Scottish players has raised a query about the grades of the English and Welsh players at Liverpool - specifically, about the differences between grades quoted in a couple of my posts above and the grades used for CS grading purposes.

So it may be useful to set out the rules we operate by when dealing with players from outside Scotland: if an opponent has a grade (or more than one grade) we take them in the following order:
1. CS grade (quite a few English players have one, not so many from other countries);
2. FIDE rating;
3. ECF grade;
4. Other national grades.

In submitting the results for grading, I accepted the ECF grades I was given on Saturday for the North players, but replaced four of them with FIDE ratings. For the Midlands players I looked up the ECF grading database, but again replaced three of them with FIDE ratings. And I looked up the Welsh grades on their site, but once again I replaced eight of them with FIDE ratings.

In most cases, the FIDE ratings are not massively different from the national grades, but there are a couple of instances where there is a substantial difference.

For interest, the number of FIDE-rated players in each team was as follows:

U16
Scotland - 5
North - 3
Wales - 1
Midlands - 0

U14
Wales - 6
Scotland - 4
Midlands - 3
North - 1

U12
Wales - 1
rest - 0

I'm not saying there's a causal link, but it's interesting to compare these figures with the final placings of the teams in the three tournaments.
#14
I am hearing some really good things about Liverpool particularly regarding the accommodation and meals arrangements compared to previous years. The coaching and travel arrangements have been complimented too.
I feel it's time to explain the difficult situation the selectors found themselves in for this event. The organisers had moved the event forward a week which meant it encroached into Scottish prelim exam time. Effectively, when I started inviting our U16 picks I was getting knockback after knockback (and rightly so) because their prelims came first. Most of our U16 side was unavailable, we had to make a decision. Should we invite considerably less strong U16 players or move some of our best younger players up? We decided, after some thought, to move the younger players up to both the U16 and U14 teams.
This meant that we would have a fairly weak and inexperienced U12 team but it would also give chances to much younger players (like Ben Volland) to get their first Scotland cap and show what they could do.
It of course can be fairly argued that we should have bitten the bullet and fielded a very weak U16 team but retained a stronger U14 and U12 side.
We had 28 players to select, invite and organise. We had to make a decision with tight time constraints regarding confirmation of our provisional accomodation booking and I leave it for everyone to consider if we made the right one.

Robin.
#15
Its good to know everyone had such a good time, produced some good results & very well organised by David & his helpers.

robin moore Wrote:I am hearing some really good things about Liverpool particularly regarding the accommodation and meals arrangements compared to previous years.
Robin.

If you are making comparisons you should also point out that for parent & child it was £218 this year where as last year, current managements first year it was £160 & prior to that £130. So on that basis one might expect it was better.
#16
Jacqui Thomas Wrote:Its good to know everyone had such a good time, produced some good results & very well organised by David & his helpers.

I did very little in the way of organising as the majority of it had already been done by a number of others, including Robin. I simply went down to try and make sure that everything at the accommodation went okay (not entirely succesfully) and to run any errands that were required such as lunches, so that the juniors, parents, coaches and others could concentrate on the chess and making sure the kids were okay.

I'd be quite happy to take the credit but it's really due to all of the others who worked away quietly in the background making sure that everything went as smoothly as possible. Paul, Donald, Robin, Judy, Linda, all contributed immensely to the organisation pre-tournament and along with the coaches, accompanying adults and the young people made the weekend what it was.

Jacqui Thomas Wrote:If you are making comparisons you should also point out that for parent & child it was £218 this year where as last year, current managements first year it was £160 & prior to that £130. So on that basis one might expect it was better.

The cost of the event is certainly something that should be reviewed. There are advantages to how this year's event was organised but the downside is that it did cost more than last year (and obviously the year before that) for one adult and one junior. This was mainly down to the accommodation cost and for some this meant that they would pay around about the same as last year, where there was more than one junior or more than one adult in a room, if that makes sense.

To reduce the cost to around £65 per person would mean either finding really cheap, self-catering accommodation or subsidising the cost per person from the International budget. This is perhaps a strategy decision similar to the discussion elsewhere on what the adult budget should be spent on.

It's really a question of what is best for the young people involved and their families. Ideally, I would like to see this event or a similar one cost nothing to those attending (especially the players), as I would for all events where someone is selected for their country. However, with limited funds I'm not sure if this is possible. It is, though, one of my objectives for the future to somehow find the income to do this, on some sort of scale.
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#17
David G Congalton Wrote:The cost of the event is certainly something that should be reviewed. There are advantages to how this year's event was organised but the downside is that it did cost more than last year (and obviously the year before that) for one adult and one junior. This was mainly down to the accommodation cost and for some this meant that they would pay around about the same as last year, where there was more than one junior or more than one adult in a room, if that makes sense.

To reduce the cost to around £65 per person would mean either finding really cheap, self-catering accommodation or subsidising the cost per person from the International budget. This is perhaps a strategy decision similar to the discussion elsewhere on what the adult budget should be spent on.

It's really a question of what is best for the young people involved and their families. Ideally, I would like to see this event or a similar one cost nothing to those attending (especially the players), as I would for all events where someone is selected for their country. However, with limited funds I'm not sure if this is possible. It is, though, one of my objectives for the future to somehow find the income to do this, on some sort of scale.

David, the increase in the cost of the event this year is mainly due to a group of parents. Last year the accomodation at the Liverpool Youth Hostel was basic and non too clean. There was a general consensus of opinion that the parents would be happy to pay extra to have cleaner, more comfortable accomodation. Because of this some parents got together and block booked rooms at the Premier Inn in West Derby, Liverpool, as an alternative (with the permission of the IJD of course =) ). We all feel that this alternative has proven to be very successful.

It would be great to have some sort of financial subsidy for junior events as many of them are very costly and I am afraid to count up how much money I have spent on Andrew and Kirsty's chess this year =o (and I know a lot of other parents who are in the same postion). However finances are tight for everyone. I know you are doing a lot of work looking into potential income for chess and I wish you every success with it.
In life, unlike chess, the game continues after checkmate.........
#18
Linda McCusker Wrote:
David G Congalton Wrote:The cost of the event is certainly something that should be reviewed. There are advantages to how this year's event was organised but the downside is that it did cost more than last year (and obviously the year before that) for one adult and one junior. This was mainly down to the accommodation cost and for some this meant that they would pay around about the same as last year, where there was more than one junior or more than one adult in a room, if that makes sense.

To reduce the cost to around £65 per person would mean either finding really cheap, self-catering accommodation or subsidising the cost per person from the International budget. This is perhaps a strategy decision similar to the discussion elsewhere on what the adult budget should be spent on.

It's really a question of what is best for the young people involved and their families. Ideally, I would like to see this event or a similar one cost nothing to those attending (especially the players), as I would for all events where someone is selected for their country. However, with limited funds I'm not sure if this is possible. It is, though, one of my objectives for the future to somehow find the income to do this, on some sort of scale.

David, the increase in the cost of the event this year is mainly due to a group of parents. Last year the accomodation at the Liverpool Youth Hostel was basic and non too clean. There was a general consensus of opinion that the parents would be happy to pay extra to have cleaner, more comfortable accomodation. Because of this some parents got together and block booked rooms at the Premier Inn in West Derby, Liverpool, as an alternative (with the permission of the IJD of course =) ). We all feel that this alternative has proven to be very successful.

It maybe that the new accommodation has worked well enough & therefore everyone satisfied to use that method again. Please be aware though that The Nightingale Lodge is under new management & was the venue we used in 2008-2010 at very good rates & although again basic it did have better facilities than 2011 hostel & had a very functional kitchen & a very nice atmosphere to boot. We were able to keep the costs down due to doing self catering & getting a good deal at the Nightingale.

My concern on both the Glorney & Liverpool events this year is the fact that the players did not all pay the same amount to attend & this is maybe something that David can look at for the future as there should not be any variances/different prices as that makes it discriminatory. Costs need to be a prime concern as these events need to be available to all that achieve the honour of being invited to attend. The last thing that should happen is making attendance an exclusive thing for those that can afford it & yes any sponsorship would be ideal but a lot of us have been saying that for a long time & I cant see it happening with funds needed elsewhere for the sensory boards & Commonwealth events.

Maybe the junior budget needs to reviewed as to how it is spent.
#19
Jacqui Thomas Wrote:Please be aware though that The Nightingale Lodge is under new management & was the venue we used in 2008-2010 at very good rates & although again basic it did have better facilities than 2011 hostel & had a very functional kitchen & a very nice atmosphere to boot. We were able to keep the costs down due to doing self catering & getting a good deal at the Nightingale.

Certainly an option that should be looked at, alongside other suggestions already made.

Jacqui Thomas Wrote:My concern on both the Glorney & Liverpool events this year is the fact that the players did not all pay the same amount to attend & this is maybe something that David can look at for the future as there should not be any variances/different prices as that makes it discriminatory.

I'd have to check on the Glorney. As for Liverpool, I calculated the costs having been given the relevant information. The only difference in price paid was due to the accommodation and I attempted to price this as fairly as possible and did so by room and not per person. So if one adult and their child travelled and stayed in one room they paid the same for the room as two adults and one child sharing a room.

Given the accommodation used I'm not sure how else I could have done this without penalising those travelling with more than one adult or one child who would effectively be paying part of somebody elses room.

I stand by the costs for Liverpool and believe that I used the fairest method for all, so have to disagree with there not being any price differences, on this or any other similar occassion.

Jacqui Thomas Wrote:Costs need to be a prime concern as these events need to be available to all that achieve the honour of being invited to attend. The last thing that should happen is making attendance an exclusive thing for those that can afford it .

I agree cost should be one of the prime concerns and did what I could to ensure that Liverpool was not an "exclusive event".

Jacqui Thomas Wrote:& yes any sponsorship would be ideal but a lot of us have been saying that for a long time & I cant see it happening with funds needed elsewhere for the sensory boards & Commonwealth events.

Saying and doing are different things. So I'm not going to say much, other than I don't share this pessimistic view.

Jacqui Thomas Wrote:Maybe the junior budget needs to reviewed as to how it is spent.

I alluded to this before and believe this is a strategy decision for the IJD and the CS board, giving due consideration to the views of the membership.
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#20
Some feedback from Liverpool from parents...

Premier Inn- "Perfect". "So much better than in previous years". "Excellent staff".

Breakfast and lunch- "Perfect"

Saturday evening meal- There was a problem with the seating and timing but food has been described as "first class".

Coaching- "Excellent". Matt, Calum and Jonathan came in for particularly high praise.

The one thing no-one has mentioned to me so far is costs. Obviously costs are important but everyone seems to have been happy to pay more for a much higher standard of food and accomodation.

One definite negative is that many parents felt that we shouldn't have played people up into older agegroups, Murad, Lennart, Declan etc. I accept the sole responsibity for that decision but as I have mentioned in an earlier post we were in a difficult situation with regard to the Scottish prelim exams.

Robin.


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