Discussion Group open to all players in the Mid Sussex Chess League.
All comments are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official or majority view of the player's own chess club.
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1st August 2008
David Fryer responds to the query regarding the point of play by which the decision on QPF or adjudication must be made in his proposal:-
To answer Duncan's question my thinking behind 'Before white makes his second move both players may agree' is that it is not uncommon for one player to arrive after the clocks have started and when he does arrive the other player may have wandered away from the board. To avoid a time disadvantage to a player at the board it seemed useful to make this rule. I cannot claim originality for this as I pinched it from league rules that I could find on the web.
There may be other subtleties like this that I have missed and that is one of the reasons why I was suggesting a sub committee to look at the rules.
25th July 2008
Reading the forum for the first time since the AGM it was pleasing to
see so much sensible comment. It has not been so pleasing to hear of the
out of hand dismissal of having a working party concerning quick play
finishes and other comments that were made. The league belongs to all
27th June 2008
Matthew Britnell continues the debate, drawing on the comments already made by bothe David Fryer and Sue Chadwick:-
David Fryer is to be thanked for proposing detailed rule amendments enabling an element of QPF if individual pairings chose. I think however he was a little quick to reject Sue Chadwick's idea, which has more mileage than he supposes. One possibility, if we took up Sue's idea, would be to require clubs, if we ran it as an experiment for a season or two, to only enter the 'Finish on the Night League' if they also pledged to enter their usual team or teams in the current MSCL. So the Finish on the Night League would be an extra, not a subtraction from a club's existing commitments and would I think answer the charge of divisiveness. At the risk of sounding a divisive note myself however, might it be not be time to knock the Knock Out Cup out to free a bit more time for clubs to enter such a new league? The KO Cup is of course already in a finish on the night format so in a sense that would be entirely appropriate. And I say that as the captain of Lewes Chess Club's KO team, which continues to support the KO Cup while many other clubs do not.
Anyway, all that wasn't may main reason for writing! I think David was right to feel aggrieved that the MSCL AGM wouldn't even entertain the setting up of an official working group to look into QPF options. I don't think however that those of us who favour change should simply go back to riding our own hobby horse preferences - as I was in danger of doing myself just a minute ago! That won't get us anywhere. Clearly one major impediment to change is the fact that those of us who want change seem not to want to agree amongst ourselves. One has only to review the contributions to this Forum over the last few months to see that there are as many proposals as contributions and as yet no one proposal that a significant number of the rest seem to want to get behind. There's no reason why, even without the sanction of the MSCL AGM, that those who favour some form of finishing on the night shouldn't get together and hammer out an agreed format. This could then be submitted to the MSCL AGM next year as an agenda item knowing not only that a lot of time and effort had gone into it, but that it already had a significant groundswell of support within the league. I for one would like to contribute to such a group: would anyone else? David, would you be prepared to co-ordinate and lead it?
Lewes Chess Club
Quickplay Finishes: A Proposal
15th June 2008
As he undertook to do at the recent AGM, David Fryer (East Grinstead, Crowborough and Uckfield Chess Clubs) has made the following proposal for clubs to consider:-
As requested at this year’s AGM I will be sending to the League Secretary (once I have club approval) the following proposed rule changes for the season 2009/2010 to be considered at next year’s AGM.
These rule changes are aimed to provide the players (if they both agree) with the option of playing to a quickplay finish. This provides ample time for all club officials to discover their members views on this issue.
Because of the multitude of different options suggested by members not least on this forum I had hoped that a working sub-committee could have been setup by the league to assess the different options and to propose a rule change. However this was summarily dismissed at the AGM so these changes are my own best attempt and I would ask that any clubs who wish something different submit amendments to the league secretary in a timely fashion so that everyone can consider the options before next year’s AGM.
I agree with Ian Comley that we should avoid any possibility of fragmenting the league and would be worried about creating a separate quickplay finish division for this reason. But I must disagree with Ian that there were only 8 adjudications last season. This is a myth as I would estimate from the matches that I have been involved in that of the 725 games played last season that at least 100 games were adjudicated by Fritz.
Proposed Rule Changes
The following changes to rules 7.2, 7.3, 7.4,8.1,9,9.1 and additional clauses 7.5 and 7.6 are marked in blue.
7 Time controls
7.1 Clocks Clocks must be used in all games.
7.2 Time controls: division 1 In Division 1 matches, including play-offs between Division 1 teams, at least 3 hours must be allowed for play, and unless 7.5 applies the time control shall be 42 moves in 1 hr 30 min and 7 moves per 15 minutes thereafter.
7.3 Time controls: other divisions In other matches at least 2 hrs 40 min must be allowed for play. If at least 3 hours is available, then the time control shall be as above with the option of 7.5, but for shorter matches it shall be 40 moves in 1 hr 20 min and 7 moves per 15 minutes thereafter with no 7.5 option.
7.4 Additional time controls Both clocks should be turned by 15 minutes for each additional 7-move time control played.
7.5 Quickplay finish Before white makes his second move both players may agree to play under the following time control; 30 moves in 60 minutes with all (remaining) moves in 30 minutes. Upon this agreement the clocks shall be adjusted accordingly by adding 30 minutes to each player’s clock. After completion of blacks 30th move the clocks should be turned back by 30 minutes.
7.6 During the quickplay phase of the game If the player, having the move, has less than two minutes left on his clock, he may claim a draw before his flag falls on the grounds that his opponent is making no effort to win the game by normal means, or that it is not possible to win by normal means. He shall stop the clocks and both players shall record the position. If the players do not agree then the claimant’s opponent will be awarded 2 additional minutes and the game continued. Should the same player claim a draw for a second time before his flag falls and the players do not agree then the game shall be discontinued and each club submit a claim in accordance with 9.1
8 The playing session
8.1 Before play begins Immediately before a match, team captains shall: (1) exchange names of team players; (2) toss for colours, the winner's team taking either White or Black on the odd-numbered boards; (3) agree and announce to all participants: (a) the time controls and if applicable explain the option of a quickplay finish , (b) the agreed finishing time, (c) any arrangements for interruptions that could involve stopping clocks.
9 Adjudication including Quickplay Finish claims
9.1 Submitting games for adjudication Team captains should make reasonable efforts in the eight days following a match to agree the results of any unfinished games. If agreement on any such game cannot be reached, then each club must submit forthwith to the Adjudication Secretary of the Sussex County Chess Association: (1) a copy of the final position and with regard to a quickplay finish the position of the first draw claim, with all relevant facts, and the club's claim; (2) the adjudication fee, and (3) a stamped addressed envelope.
7th June 2008
Ian Comley (Horsham Chess Club) weighs into the debate with a plea to be cautious before leaping into such a fundamental change over which views are so divided:-
I have read through the entire discussion and was
interested by the views expressed which are clearly strongly held on
both sides and which splits many clubs straight down the middle.
2nd June 2008
Sue Chadwick (Brighton & Hove CC) suggests a way forward might be to set up an additional division or competition with QPFs to gauge just what support there is amongst the clubs for this:-
An interesting AGM was held last night but the QPF issue was not a topic on the formal agenda, although it was on the informal one and I think remains an issue for the league as a whole. However, thinking about it, and in view of a quite definite and passionately felt division of opinion, I am left wondering if the idea of an experimental QPF division isn't such a bad one. It would run alongside the current league and would be an additional opt-in competition for any clubs wishing to put up a team or teams. Playing in either competition would not disqualify anyone from also playing in the other. Would there be any interest from the clubs in doing this? I feel fairly confident there would be enough interest among Brighton players for us to be able to put together at least one QPF team. What do other clubs think? If this works and enough people were in favour we could seek to formalise the arrangement at the next AGM.
16th April 2008
Another view favouring a trial of an option for QPF or adjudication, or (if clubs had clocks that could handle it) a Fisher Time Control .....
No matter how long it is debated a definite answer won't be reached. I don't think that there is a perfect way to decide a 3 hour "match game". I define a "match game" as one where the time allocation is sufficient that a player can play close to his/her level of ability. Adjudication gives the sufficient time allocation but the game may only be half complete, whereas QPF ensures a complete game but not a sufficient time allocation per move in a long game. So it is a matter of personal preference as to which is best.
While it is useful to have a forum on the website, it won't give a definitive vote of the majority preference. Or in case of QPF which time controls should be adopted as again there are various options. Also I don't think AGMs give a representative view of all the League participants, as to whether there is a majority for or against QPF. I doubt that every team representative takes a poll of all their players, and even if everyone did, votes cast would n't necessarily represent the outcome of a one player one vote poll. Obviously those attending the AGM should have discretion to take account of the debate and be influenced in how they cast their vote, but I suspect quite a few vote according to their personal preference alone.
So I think the best way to gauge the wishes of the League's players, would be to introduce a QPF option on a trial basis for a year or so. On the suggested basis of a QPF only if both players agree or otherwise adjudication, which seems to be the standard compromise in several Leagues including Kent and Surrey. During the trial period the boards where QPF is used to be noted on the Match Card. So that some basic statistics can be drawn up.
If QPF is agreed by Captains at a team level for all boards we still won't be any the wiser if the majority of League players prefer QPF or adjudication. In any case whatever the Captains agree there are likely to be unhappy players in most teams who strongly favour the option not chosen. I daresay most Clubs have difficulty getting volunteers to be Team Captains and putting them in a position of having to choose and whichever way will upset some team mates, won't help.
In any case I don't see what is wrong in giving individual players a free choice. People are giving their own time to play and so should be allowed to choose the option that will maximise their enjoyment. Although the compromise favours those who prefer adjudication at least there is reasonable prospect for those who prefer QPF that they will play someone like-minded.
In my view a better option than QPF is a Fisher Time Control. Unfortunately at present it would seem only a few Clubs have sufficient DGT clocks for match use. This method eradicates the draw claim options of QPF rules and so the game is played to normal rules until the end. As the essence of the timing system is to give an additional amount of time after each move is played, there is a possibility of an overrun beyond 3 hours. However I think a rate of play could be devised that would minimise this except in very rare exceptional cases to the 10-15 minutes that unfinished games are usually discussed at the end of a session currently. In any case provision could be put into the rules as an option for Clubs with DGTs by agreement with their opponents.
8th April 2008
A Canadian perspective
Dear fellow chessplayers,
As a relatively new member of the mid-Sussex chess league I have had almost two full years of experience with the adjudication procedure. I have played serious chess in tournaments and team events in Canada over a period of 40 years so I will give you my international perspective.
First of all let me say that I have been involved in 5 adjudications over the last two years and that they have all been personally "successful": 2 wins and 3 draws. Adjudication has been fascinating as a new experience to me because it has the benefit of allowing the player to analyze the position (or let Fritz do the work!) in deep detail. In this respect, it supplies some of the pleasure to be had from correspondence or internet chess. Adjudication also removes the possibility of time pressure blundering and mad last second time scrambles. It effectively represents an idealized model of what the game should continue to be were it taken over by masters. I humbly submit that this is not what most chessplayers really want. Also proponents of adjudication should be logically consistent and have one player seal a move as in an adjournment.
Even though adjudication has been favourable to me as far as results are concerned I much prefer a quick play finish solution for reasons mentioned by other forum contributors previously. First of all the QPF let the players control their own destiny. If a player has used up a condiderable amount of time reaching the time control before the QPF period starts then that is his responsibility: suck it up and get on with it! Secondly, having external adjudicators or software decide how the game should have been won, lost or drawn prevents the players from using some of their chess expertise. When does a good endgame player get to show off his knowledge of winning R+P vs R ending? And how about the ability to play accurately and quickly in final time pressure?
Adjudications went out of style in the late 1960's in Canada and all tournaments, team and individual matches held there are now subject to quick play finishes. I hope the mid-Sussex chess league can adopt a suitable format of QPF for its games. We would all (eventually) be winners.
Crowborough chess club
3rd April 2008
Two further contributions:
Following the various suggestions already posted, I would like to proffer the following compromise. The League could specify that matches should start at 7.30 p.m. and finish at 11.00 p.m., giving an extra half-hour's playing time. There could then be a first time control of 35 moves in 75 minutes, which is the standard for Kent League matches. This would mean exactly the same time per move as the present 42 moves in 90 minutes and leave 30 minutes per side for the rest of the game (the Kent League has only 15 minutes, with very few problems). Many games would therefore be completed with an average of about 2 minutes per move. The later finish (a mere 15 minutes compared with most matches starting at 7.45 p.m. currently) should make little difference, since there would be no need of analysis at the end of the session, and no need for the recording of positions with a view to home analysis and possible adjudication. And another persuasive factor: match results would be known the same evening, which would probably mean fewer delays in getting them posted on the website.
Hastings & St Leonards
2nd April 2008
Duncan Badham adds his views ...
Quickplay Finishes: The Debate Continues ...
Matthew Britnell elaborates on his ideas:
I tried to made clear as concisely as possible my view in the second paragraph. By insisting players reach a certain stage of the game by a fairly early time control, i.e. broadly speaking the mid to late middle game, it still leaves sufficient time for the rest of the game to be sensibly paced. Of course, a last minute scramble by players who have managed their time poorly can never be ruled out, but it is far less likely than in some of the other proposals that have come forward. I suggested 28 in an hour plus 40 minutes for game. Compare that to David Fryer's suggestion: 36 in an hour and a quarter and then 15 minutes for game. Potentially, one could be trying to cram a lot of moves into that last 15 minutes (which, presumably, is what is intended). But I think this approach does little to address the fears of those who are on balance inclined to stick with the present arrangements but who can see the appeal of getting the match completed on the night. My proposal, of allowing players a generous amount of time in which to complete the game once the first time control had been reached, would hopefully avoid if not on every occasion eliminate the worst excesses of a QPF. Mine is just one more idea for consideration and it does admittedly assume a slightly longer playing session than David's proposal: if the choice nevertheless came down to the status quo or David's proposal, without hesitation I'd still go for the latter.
Lewes Chess Club
... While John Herbert urges a degree of caution ...
Irrespective of the merits of a Quickplay finish I do not think it would be wise to introduce too sudden a change on this point. I think that more than 'one or two' older players would choose not to play in the League if this were to happen. However there is a compromise which may largely or partly satisfy both parties : before the start of a match the two captains could decide whether to have an adjudicated finish or a quickplay one for the whole team.If either captain preferred adjudication, then adjudication it would be. This could be tried for a season or two, with the situation being reviewed at the end of this time.
Eastbourne Chess Club
I think we're getting overly sidetracked by the debate about the merits of a quickplay finish. The fundamental question we should be asking ourselves is: do we want to finish on the night? Surely the answer to that has got to be "yes", and therefore we should look at a variety of feasible time controls, not all of them involving quickplay finish. Looking at it this way avoids polarizing the debate between proponents of adjudication and proponents of QPF. If we can get a broad agreement on the desirability of finishing on the night, it ought to be possible to adopt a time control that meets reasonable concerns about QP finishes.
I'm in favour of all games finishing on the night, and having a single time control schedule to which all submit but I'm not necessarily in favour of QPF. I think (as was said below) we should adopt controls modelled on the current Knock Out Cup arrangements i.e. 30 moves in an hour plus half an hour each for game. Or something broadly similar, depending on the total amount of playing time preferred. To be consistent with our current playing speed I'd go for 28 moves in an hour plus 40 minutes for game. The point is, by insisting players reach a time control in what is usually the middle game, it still leaves plenty of time to consider one's end game moves, and should, unless one's time management has been spectacularly bad, avoid a scramble at the end.
If we argue that QPF is the only way of avoiding adjudications/Fritz, those who want matches to finish on the night risk driving those who might consider sensible alternatives to adjudication/Fritz into an argumentative corner meaning that no change will occur. On the other hand, it's not really on for one or two of the latter to threaten to withdraw from competitive chess if we do change. What about those of us playing 'under protest' at the moment?!
Lewes Chess Club
[ Ed. Not sure I quite follow Matthew's argument in places. Surely, if we are to guarantee finishing on the night, then unless play is allowed to continue without a final cut-off time, some form of quickplay finish is inescapable?]
Quickplay Finishes: Further Views and a Proposed Compromise
I am, on balance, a supporter
of quick play finishes. The arguments are many and varied, for example
it has been noted how frustrating it is to have to sac a queen to avoid
losing on time in a clearly one position. While I sympathise with this
and hope we all try to play in the spirit of the game, we all, in the
heat of the moment, fail to do so on the odd occasion. But those who
some may regard as not playing in the 'spirit' may well argue that the
whole point of clocks is that time becomes part of your resources and so
in such an event a draw is the fair result. The debate rages on. My,
possibly rather English compromise, is that Q.P.F.s may be played if,
and only if, both players agree. The default position would be
adjudication, if for instance that it is forgotten to have the
discussion regarding time limits. Clocks therefore would be set up as
now by the home captain and only reset as stated thus ensuring the
default position. This may not be ideal but what is? So why not
experiment with this for a season or two?
The arguments in favour of QPF are:
Duncan Roy (Brighton & Hove)
Quickplay Finishes: ... And Another Against
6th February 2008
As a Bit Part Player, I shall certainly take note of the opinions of the League's Senior Players. My own view is that I'm not sure that I want to slog away for most of the match and then have it turned into a bit of a lottery at the end with Quickplay. However, my own grade isn't something I loose sleep about, but I would have thought this approach would not be very welcome with 'Senior' Players and 'Young Hopefuls'.
We shall see, but if there was to be change, then I personally believe the most sensible approach would be to increase the rate of play, say to 50 per 1.5 Hours, as already highlighted by Robert Elliston.
We'll certainly get the views of all our Club members before the AGM.
Norman Hawkins (Haywards Heath)
Quickplay Finishes: Another Vote In Support
30th January 2008
What people need to consider is whether adjudicated games, which involve computer analysis and the verdict of outside parties (sometimes -- twice in one year in my experience -- involving the absurdity of split decisions) should in all equity be graded. In my view, grades should reflect only definitive OTB results. If this nettle were grasped, the support for adjudication would surely evaporate.
Joe Sharp (Hastings &St Leonards)
Quickplay Finishes: The Debate Continues
27th January 2008
David Fryer Rejoins The Fray ....
I believe that the last time this subject was voted on at an AGM was 5 years ago and in that time it is possible that players' views have changed.
Mine certainly have. 5 years ago I was concerned about QPF disputes but as players have become used to the rules of the quick play finish and how to manage the clock accordingly these disputes have reduced and any that do occur could be considered by what is now the adjudication committee possibly with clubs paying a fee similar to those currently paid for adjudications.
Surely the main argument against adjudication is that it is not chess between the two players. Yes sometimes a QPF can dissolve into a farce with both players extremely short of time but is this any worse than the sight of a player material up reaching 42 moves and immediately stopping play to wait for adjudication!
I am sure every player has at sometime or other won or lost a game in the ending where if it had been adjudicated at 42 moves the result would have been reversed.
I remember winning a game on adjudication against Richard O'Brien in the MSCL where my winning move 43 was incredibly obscure and it would have been extremely unlikely that I would have found it over the board. Is this fair?
David Fryer (East Grinstead)
... while Phil Stimson Adds A Further Counter-View:
I have come to play chess in the MSL precisely because QP finish became the norm in the league I previously participated in. I find the QP finish adversely affects the quality of my play and completely randomises any endgame that you wish to play. On 2 occasions I have had to sac my queen against a solitary pawn to eliminate all material and achieve a draw to avoid losing on time in a totally winning position. Opponents don't resign completely lost positions but try to blitz you out. Ok you may spend time on home analysis and find a good continuation, but generally on resumption you are out of your own analysis within a few moves - far fewer moves than you have in your favourite prepared opening variations.
I would cease to play in a league that enforced a QP finish. Surely the league exists to encourage people to play competitive matches, not discourage them.
The Surrey League has adequate provision for anybody's preference by eliminating the worst choice preference for both sides be it QP, adjournment or adjudication. Thus players are able to decide between themselves how they want to finish on the night and nobody is forced into an option they abhor.
Phil Stimpson (Horsham)
Quickplay Finishes: Mixed Views From Horsham CC Members
24th January 2008
Two votes against ....
In recent years, quickplay finishes in MSL league games have twice been proposed at AGMs and decisively rejected. On the second occasion, there had I think been only seven adjudications the previous season, and the very efficient league treasurer of many years informed the meeting that he would cease to play league chess if they were adopted. There is already a dirth of key officials!
I totally agree with Feliks.To add to his objections:
1. Who is going to arbitrate the inevitable disputes? The team captain may very well be playing the game in question.
2. How long is the game going to last? The suggestion of a 2 hour game followed by a QPF isn't proper chess, just rewarding superficiality. And after a 3 hour game how late might we get back from Eastbourne?
Finally before any such radical change can someone make the case for the change rather than just some random straw poll.
.... and one in favour:-
I would like to add my support to the
quickplay finish idea. The 17th piece on the board should be
the clock, not Fritz. Games that are decided by clever use of
the clock (by forcing your opponent into time pressure) are more
valid in my opinion than those decided by the computer - no
matter what errors may occur in the QPF it is still 'your'
victory/draw/loss rather than the computer's or the adjudication
Quickplay Finishes: More Views
22nd January 2008
Crawley carried out a straw poll amongst our members at our last club evening and found 100% support for QPF, around two thirds of our members were present. Personally, I would prefer to see the KO cup rate of 30 moves in an hour and then a 30 minute per side QPF rather than the 15 minute per side rate suggested by David Fryer. Hopefully something can come of this at the AGM.
Jim Graham (Crawley)
I write to denounce the idea of quickplay finishes in the MSL. I have experience of this in the Middlesex league: 30/75 + 15 minutes each. It is quite bad enough there: the short point is that it utterly randomises the game.
Just try it -
a] after a day's work;
b] after a journey back from work in London, or from somewhere similarly distant from your home;
c] after a further journey to some Antarctic outpost laughingly classed as 'Mid-Sussex', such as Worthing or Eastbourne.
Feliks Kwiatkowski (Haywards Heath)
The adjudications were markedly reduced when the number of moves was increased from 35 to 42.
I suggest a further increase to 50.
So 35 moves in 75 minutes and additional 15 moves in 15 minutes.
Robert Elliston (Crowborough & Adjudications Secretary)
(Sue Chadwick, Brighton & Hove)
19th January 2008
Consider the spectators: who wants to watch games slowly drag to an uncertain halt until everyone trudges home not knowing whether the match was won or lost? The post-match analysis is a dreary process in which the players abdicate from their games, talk about what they might have done and then let Fritz do it better. I think quickplay finishes would de-mystify matches and involve the rest of the club on what could become exciting match nights, instead of damp squibs with nothing worth waiting for.
Brighton and Hove CC
Should the League Introduce Quickplay Finishes to Avoid Adjudications?
(David Fryer, East Grinstead)
17th January 2008
In the modern age of fast time controls is it not about time the MSCL finally bit the bullet and introduced quick play finishes and abolished adjudications.
The statistics may show very few actual adjudications however this ignores all those unfinished games agreed without resort to the official adjudicator but are still effectively adjudications.
The QP finish may have its problems but at least its chess played between the two combatants.
I would suggest a time control of 36 moves in 75 minutes and 15 minutes to finish.
It would be interesting to know the current opinion on this old thorny issue by MSCL players.
East Grinstead CC