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Scottish Champions 2015
When I first saw this claim I thought it was a joke, albeit one in rather poor taste. The repeated claims, and their justification are, to say the least, unconvincing.

Had you managed to win the tournament you would apparently claim that you won everything. The Tournament, the Scottish Championship, the 50+ Senior Championship and the 65+ Championship.

The Tournament and Scottish Championship I can accept, but would you really insist on the two age championships?

Common practise in Scottish events is that nobody can win more than one major prize. This is something that I have been aware of for at least 9 years, and I have only been involved in chess for about 10 years.

You won your first Scottish Championship in 1977, your second in 2005, and you are trying to claim ignorance of this?

I find it rather distasteful that a two times Scottish Champion thinks it worthwhile to claim that he should gain two titles, and an extra £200 for one event.

If I recall correctly, there was a list of what title each participant was eligible for on the wall.

I played as a 'filler' on Tuesday 14th of July, and I clearly recall Alex McFarlane announcing, before play started, that the list was on the wall, and asking that everyone, repeat everyone, should check that they were correctly entered for the appropriate sections. This was the time you should have raised your concerns, not after the event concluded.

To be perfectly honest, this incident has greatly diminished your standing in my opinion.
I am reluctant to enter this debate, and generally avoid these many avoidable issues in our game that seem to continually crop up here on the forum and invoke all sorts of falling out and response. I feel compelled however to comment to the last post directly as I believe it is going somewhere that is entirely separate to what is simply a query with merit.

To respond to Andy directly, and choosing my words very carefully here, your comments about Craig seem a bit overly personal and unfair. Knowing Craig quite well as his club mate I can tell you he is a man of principal when he goes about his business. The issue he has raised absolutely should not be linked in anyway to his standing in the game. By which I mean not just his chess playing achievements, but his overall input over the decades to Scottish Chess as a whole. The many who know Craig well will know he is a man of principals who values fairness and this is clearly what his beef with things is about.

If no one can raise an issue within Scottish Chess on the forum anymore for fear of their standing and integrity being questioned, then we are in a pretty bad place and without freedom of speech.

This is most definitely NOT about money which is a knock on side factor. Craig is retired and always the first one to put his hand in his pocket to buy anyone a drink. If you read Craig's posts again it is quite clear this is nothing to do with money.

Lastly, from following Craig at his many FIDE World Seniors C/Ship and FIDE Euro Seniors C/Ship he has played in over recent years, and his public comments on this very forum about these events, it is quite clear he has strong feelings and issue with the age rules and recent changes. And it should be said for the record at his last FIDE Seniors event after recent changes, Craig opted to play in the more difficult +50 rather than the +65 as he prefers to compete against the best. At the very least he should have had the choice in the Scottish.

So please by all means disagree with Craig, absolutely fine and no problem with that. But lets not question his standing in the game.
IMHO, this is a mess and needs sorting out properly. FIDE has created a problem with Seniors events but we do not have to copy FIDE in our definition of a "senior" player - they could well change their regulations again! There is concern about their decision to designate over age 50 players as being "senior". Age 60+ is favoured.

IMHO, we should distinguish between Scottish titles and prizes. If Declan Shafi or Craig Pritchett had won the integrated tournament outright, then they should have been declared Scottish Champion (as well as Junior or Senior Champion). Logically, Craig was the best scoring senior (ie over 50 or 65) and is the Senior Champion.

For prize money, it should be stated that a player can only win one prize eg either overall prize, grading prize or age group prize. Obviously, a player would receive the higher prize, which normally is the main event prize. If there is to be a 50+ category then there should be prizes for overall Senior Champion and for two age groups ie 50-64 and 65+

However, many congratulations to Neil Berry on a very fine achievement, to Declan Shafi (from TAFCA!) and to Craig - and Colin and Roddy. I was only able to visit the Championship for one day but enjoyed watching on line! Also congratulations to Andy Burnett on his very well deserved award Smile
I find this discussion very depressing on the back of what was a fantastic event Sad however, we are where we are now so....

-The eligibility could have been more clearly stated, but these things happen when relatively few people are doing multiple tasks. From the people I have spoken to about this, the intention was pretty clear.

-Craig Pritchett's integrity shouldn't be in question here at all - he has a legitimate grievance - but talk about taking action/age discrimination laws/standards committees is a bit extreme at this juncture, considering that....

-....this matter really ought to have been raised with the organisers earlier, preferably long before the prize-giving - or at least immediately after the prize-giving - and not here on a public forum. Not giving the organisers a chance to deal with the complaint is completely unfair to them.

Again, this was a great event which I wouldn't like to see over-shadowed by this dispute. Hopefully Craig and the organisers can resolve this thing between themselves (and let us know the outcome!)
Andy McCulloch Wrote:Common practise in Scottish events is that nobody can win more than one major prize. This is something that I have been aware of for at least 9 years, and I have only been involved in chess for about 10 years.
I agree with this and think that Craig is being very petty indeed. He should be more angry with himself for not trying to find a win in his last game. Given what was at stake, a wee bit of risk should perhaps have been accepted in order to try and create a win.
Even if Craig had won his final game, it would not have changed anything. He played every game to conclusion eg he did not agree short draws like in Round 5 when one game lasted only 3 moves Sad
It looks like an error has been made, as even if there was a notional 'one prize' rule in mind then as Alan B said Craig should have been awarded the 50+, the bigger of the two wins in terms of status. It is, after all, a championship.

Andy McCulloch wrote:

"Common practise in Scottish events is that nobody can win more than one major prize. This is something that I have been aware of for at least 9 years, and I have only been involved in chess for about 10 years."

I think the 'common practice' is to follow what's said on the entry form, from which:

Scottish Titles Champion £750
Senior 50 (aged 50 before 01/01/2016) £200,
Senior 65 (aged 65 before 01/01/2016) £200

(As aged 50 clearly means over 50 etc) Craig is both 50+ and 65+.

If someone can win both the Title and Senior prize (didn't Roddy win both in Helensburgh), there is no obvious reason why a say, 66 year old can't win the over 50 and over 65. I don't think rules should be made up.

Craig, what have the organisers said - and have you thought about the appeals committee?
Re Seniors debate:

You can win 2 prizes and indeed 2 titles as well - Neil won 2 cash prizes and would have rightly won both titles had he finished first overall. (Well done Neil by the way! , very popular winner and I had to admire both players going all out for the win, I thought Keti had the edge early on so a lot of pressure on Neil)

Looks like this was the first year for the new over 50's Category and whilst the entry form suggests that its not age banded 50 to 64 it makes far more sense to do so. Its a bit like grading prizes if you state u2000 u1800 u1600 then the u1600 cannot sweep all 4 grading prizes even if you out performed everyone as an u1600. The prizes are also usually the same so why would you want to risk playing up a band if you had that option.

Also looking from other direction if you had under 21, 18 16 14,12 sections and the u12 was best he or she surely cannot claim all 5 titles trophies and cash?

There is a difference with age and it would seem to make sense to have the option of playing in a different section other than "easier" section assigned. Craig may well have opted for the over 50 but that should have been an option at the start not when the results are known.

If, as it appears, the form was simply not clear enough then that is not Craig's fault. However he could have clarified it during the event. Perhaps he should have been given the choice of title, but that could have changed who won the other title, so that does not seem like an ideal solution so I think the result should stand.

Congratulations to all winners and thanks to organisers for an excellent tournament.
Alan Borwell Wrote:Even if Craig had won his final game, it would not have changed anything. He played every game to conclusion eg he did not agree short draws like in Round 5 when one game lasted only 3 moves Sad
Would he not have shared the Scottish Championship Title with Mr Berry had he won the final game??
Admittedly he could still be faced with the same scenario regarding the over 50 and over 65 prizes.
Chess Scotland Statement

There has been some confusion over the Senior Prizes at the Scottish International Open and Championships.

The concept of having a Senior 65 and a Senior 50 title were not thought through fully. Chess Scotland and Tournament Director Alex McFarlane apologise to all concerned, especially Craig Pritchett, for this misunderstanding. Craig finished a half point ahead of all other senior players.

It was intended that there should be two prizes awarded but clearly it was not fully appreciated that the Senior 50 has greater status than the Senior 65 title.

There is a title of Junior Champion, with the top youngster of the opposite sex being awarded the title of Boy or Girl Champion as appropriate. A similar strategy should be adopted for the Senior event.

The highest finishing player over 50 will be awarded the title of “Scottish Senior Champion”.

Subsequently the title of Senior 65 or Senior 50 will be awarded to the highest appropriate person who is not Scottish Senior Champion.

In the case of the “Scottish Senior Champion” title being shared by players above and below the 65 threshold then these players will be entitled to call themselves Scottish Senior Champion and no further titles will be awarded.

This procedure recognises the desire for two awards whilst apportioning appropriate kudos regardless of age ‘category’.

This will be applied retrospectively to this year’s event.

Chess Scotland is therefore pleased to announce that Craig Pritchett is the overall 2015 Scottish Senior Champion and that Colin McNab and Roddy McKay share the Senior 50 title.

This statement will also appear on the CS website when possible.

Alex McFarlane

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