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Richardson/Spens results
OK. I got to say it. Something is seriously wrong when a team forfeits in the Richardson semi-final. Maybe it is just another symptom of chess decline in Scotland (as born out be falling number of weekend events). Or maybe its the event format. My own view is it's a bit of both. Fact - there are less players interested to give up any weekend time to chess in Scotland. So we need a format to engage those of us left. Teams of 8 are too big now for many clubs. It's time to collapse Richardson and Spens into one event. Teams of 5 or 6 should be order of the day. I also think some sort of league/group format would seem worth another look so we all get at least a few games to make it worth paying the entry fee? This year my own club are in the final having played just once - yes just once. At minimum we secure an Euro club spot from winning just one match. OK I'm delighted about that but it can't be right to get this from outcome of just 1 match,
George, I can't disagree with your concerns re forfeiting. The case you refer to is not the only instance this year.

As far as team sizes go I would say that following last season I asked team captains about reducing board numbers and not one of the respondents was in favour of less than 8 for the Richardson. As for the Spens I arbitrarily reduced the board numbers to 5 (as I am entitled to do and which I did for what I considered sensible reasons) but received some criticism for (delivered privately).

Given the history of the two events it would be a shame to lose one by merging, so what to do? A league/group format was suggested last year but one argument lodged against it was that it would be too similar to an existing event - SNCL.

Having said that, I agree with you that to reach a final having played only one match isn't ideal and one match isn't value for the entry fee - especially if eliminated early.

Therefore, any contributions towards a better way would be welcome. I will, in any case, be in touch with the team captains about potential changes for next season.
Also agree with George. Would also throw in the lack of certainty over location/distance and potentially the date is a challenge to many small-medium clubs (perhaps even large clubs too). It makes it difficult to put together a team. Central venues is key to modernising these competitions. Also getting rid of the 'provision of snacks/refreshments' would be a good idea. Doesn't sound a big deal perhaps, but team captains and club organisers need simplicity. Anything otherwise is going to put people and clubs off.

Reducing Spens to 5 players was a good idea, although it didn't improve things much if it all this season. Maybe reducing to 4 might help further. If there was a vote next week on reducing the Richardson's to 6 boards - am pretty sure my club (Dunbar) would vote yes.
If Richardson reduced to 6 boards, 2 players would no longer get a game. They might give up chess.
Better for clubs who cannot raise 8 to enter Spens instead.
Jonathan - the provision of refreshments requirement was removed this season.
Why would you vote for a 6-board Richardson when you weren't able to enter a 5-board Spens?
All play all league system is the way to go, there isn't nearly enough chess in the calendar year as it is so finding free weekends should not be a problem.

8 boards ideally, but clearly some teams struggling so 6 could be considered. Not really similar to SNCL as that is two games a day and most teams don't field their best players, plus a few top sides missing completely or in lower divisions.

Current format is definitely not working.
Sam tried all-play-all league
was scrapped because of defaults
I think that if we were to do an all play all then 6 boards would certainly be better than 8 - the increased number of games wouldn't be feasible for Bon Accord at any rate unless the number of boards was reduced, and I'm sure we're not the only ones. Particularly as an all play all might well be accompanied by a change to a "central" venue for all the games. I can't imagine people giving up chess if they don't get to play board 8 in the Richardson - it's a fun competition but even so...
There are a lot of other competitions where clubs field smaller teams. It's nice having the Richardson over 8. Admittedly, my stance is probably influenced by the fact that I play for one of the teams that doesn't have a problem fielding 8 people - I wouldn't get many Richardson games if matches were over 6 boards, though I doubt I'd give up chess.

That said, there are a good few clubs which can at least usually still put together 8-board teams comfortably. How many more teams would actually enter the Richardson if that requirement was reduced? As Keith points out, it's not as if clubs are queuing up for the Spens.

(I like the quote marks around 'central', Hamish. Does that mean you're worried that we'd end up holding it on an oil rig or something?)
Keith Rose Wrote:Jonathan - the provision of refreshments requirement was removed this season.
Why would you vote for a 6-board Richardson when you weren't able to enter a 5-board Spens?

We (Dunbar) could have entered a Spens team again this season but took a club view not too, there was a variety of factors. It is best summarised by repeating the current format is simply not attractive for many clubs.

I honestly was not aware there was a rule change this season regarding the removal of refreshments until you said it now, but maybe this was advertised and I missed it? I think this change was also a sensible one and a step in the right direction.

I don't want to be seen as being dismissive of competitions but the Spens seems to be on borrowed time to me, that is a personal view. The Richardsons is a more attractive competition. I am wondering if the Spens is suspended or scrapped, and the Richardsons is 6 boards would that perhaps help the Richardsons and also lead to some of the bigger clubs entering 2 Richardsons teams (2 x 6 boards), when before they would have entered 1 x 8 board team.

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