Full Version: Scottish Tournaments - bring back the Challengers?
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I believe that Edinburgh FIDE Congress is now the only weekender in Scotland that has a OPEN-CHALLENGERS-MAJOR-MINOR type format. The norm now seems to be OPEN-MAJOR-MINOR.

With pretty much every other event now removing the challengers, there a number of question marks resulting from this situation.

- Has this has been detrimental to Scottish Chess and weekend events?
- Has the decline trend of entrant numbers sharpened as a direct result?
- The wider grading bands are putting some off?
- Some are being forced into playing the Open or a highly rated Major when they would rather not?
- Have the Open events been weakened, and the others to a lesser extent?
- Are players going to increasingly go elsewhere for their weekend congress action? (England/abroad).

Obviously there are congress viability issues here, and one less event means one less set of prize funds. Is this the solution though? How long until the MINOR gets ditched and its just an OPEN-MAJOR format? Will it just eventually be OPEN format for all weekenders. Things look bleak for weekenders?

Would anyone like to see the original format of events that included a Challengers return?
You have hit the nail on the head, Until there are bums on seats then Open - Major - Minor format will prevail
Sadly it comes down to finances. If for example you had 96 entrants for a congress, you could have four sections (including a challengers) of 24 players. Alternatively you could have three sections (without the challengers) of 32 players. There is a difference of eight players say at an entry fee of £25 so a total of £200 per section. That's a lot of money without a sponsor to contribute to the shortfall.
If you then consider that another arbiter may be required to run the challengers and if you can't source one local to the venue, the organiser may have to find one farther afield and pay his/her travel and accommodation expenses plus a fee.
Again, spot on Robin
Oban and Dundee also had four sections this season past.
Alan Jelfs Wrote:Oban and Dundee also had four sections this season past.

I see the next Oban has a Challengers listed, Dundee's organiser KR sent out an email some months ago with some reference to removal of the Challengers and it is just an Open-Major-Minor format on the CS listing for the upcoming October congress.

Upcoming Marymass + Inverness are also both Open-Major-Minor format. The traditional Open-Challenger-Major-Minor is without any doubt now a minority of weekenders.

Worryingly there has been talk recently of the excellent FIDE Edinburgh Congress which adopts the much rarer OPEN-CHALLENGERS-MAJOR-BISHOPS-KNIGHTS type of format, following the trends and significantly downsizing its events.

Andy Howie Wrote:You have hit the nail on the head, Until there are bums on seats then Open - Major - Minor format will prevail

Unfortunately we are increasingly seeing more seats, and less bums. The wider grading bands and reduced event options are speeding up the bum decline. Seems to be a bit of a vicious circle and none of us be it the bums (myself included there) or organisers seem to have the solutions. Perhaps our game is simply just doomed?

I don't think it's all doom and gloom, far from it. Although in the last few years we have lost tournaments in the Borders and Glenrothes for example, great credit has to be given to the establishing of newer (and already popular) congresses at not only Ayr, Inverness and Livingston but resurrecting the Perth congress, all at new and good quality venues.
Should have course also mentioned the new congress at Largs which is going to be right on the esplanade this year overlooking the beautiful Clyde and islands.
Hi Robin. If you look at things from the perspective of those of us in the East, its not a jolly picture at all. Keeping the focus on the overall Scottish Game though, yes those newer events you mention are well run, nice venues etc. But there is decline with newer congresses also. While we all want to see new bum cheeks appear on the seats, it isn't going to happen without some greater intervention from the chess gods. The bums are increasingly doing other things on their weekends regardless of the overall congress quality. The nice large hotel venues are surely not sustainable as the bum decline continues on and on.

The new Largs Congress you mention (good luck to it and all), but it may even be some early evidence that my prediction in my earlier post is correct, in that we are probably headed to a scenario where the trend changes to OPEN-MAJOR-MINOR just becomes OPEN-MAJOR then just an OPEN.

I'd love to be positive too, but I am just not seeing the hope myself. It surely goes far beyond the level of weekend events, and all the way up to grass roots like the increasingly high average age of players and the doomed club chess scenario, where only big or city clubs are okay for the short-mid term.

It must be time for some George Neave style voting polls?

1. Are weekenders doomed? YES/NO
2. Is club chess doomed? YES/NO
I think there is hope but that the main thing is the turnover from schools chess to club chess - the attrition rate is unbelievable . This is probably Bon Accord's biggest strength as lots of juniors are playing in the adult club and it's a "virtuous circle" - the fact that we have lots of juniors on many club nights makes the new ones who do turn up more likely to stay! We have hundreds of kids playing in Michael Hanley's events for example - why aren't there more situations like Edinburgh Chess Club's Tiger Cubs and Bon Accord? Are clubs too adult oriented - only one room and has to be silence because there's club championships games going on every club night? I honestly think this attrition rate might be the biggest problem with Scottish Chess.
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