Divisions for Future Seasons

Views from Horsham Chess Club

28th March 2012

Ian Comley, Secretary of Horsham Chess Club has responded:


1. Horsham are likely to field 5 teams again next season ie no change

2. The question about 3 or 4 divisions seems to come down to the actual numbers available. In general we would favour more divisions - if only to reduce the likelihood of 3 teams in a single division. I agree with Woodpusher's comments about the desirability of avoiding big mismatches in a division if possible and in general more divisions are likely to accommodate this.

3. In this new world I would expect regular Horsham players to be ECF members as now required. We keenly encourage new members to join us and wherever possible these members will play in the MSL. From time to time we are likely therefore to play some non-ECF players in which case I would expect the club to be responsible for the additional costs and we can make arrangements with individuals if necessary. I am sure that this sort of pragmatic approach will allow the MSL to flourish even if it was a change not everyone welcomed.

Updates March 2012

25th March 2012

Julian Mitchell (Woodpushers) has the following thoughts:

1) It seems quite likely that Woodpushers III: The Undaunted will play next season, who will bring our average age down a bit - largely made up of Christopher Dunworth juniors.

2) No strong views about three divisions or four. Whatever the committee decides. It is good to be quite active, but more active chess players may rue a congested fixture list. As a team of rabbits in headlights in division one this year, I would think we would be delighted to do it all again - you improve your game taking on stronger opposition. However, I can readily see that for the bunny-bashers it can be quite tiresome. (We have the same problem in bridge where their is a large gap between the top four/five of division one and the rest: they have seven team divisions two-up, two down, but just one-up, one down between divisions one & two).

Having said all that, I know that my board one would

a) Quite like to play someone he can beat and

b) Quite like to see the white pieces. With five board teams, an imbalance has been created. Wouldn't it be fairer to minimise the degree of luck in the MSCL and do away with the toss, giving the away team white on odds?

3) I think it would be foolish to stop non-ECF members from playing in the MSCL. Charge the club the fee, who will then make their own arrangements with the non-ECF player.


Sue Chadwick (Brighton & Hove) has also responded:


With reference to your posting on the MSCL website, we are likely to revert to six teams again next season as there seems to be enough interest. Andrew Caswill is especially keen to involve the lower-graded regulars and new members by running the bottom team, be it fifth or sixth, which is a boon to the club and another reason to go back to six. This may favour four divisions as well, so the weaker players aren't so totally outclassed, but that depends on numbers, I know. I wonder if other clubs have any lower-graded players (roughly 80/90ish and below) who, although not currently involved in the league, would welcome a chance to play? I suppose this takes us back into 'junior division' territory, although not by name.

I can't think about the financial quandary until we know the final deal, although personally I'm in favour of universal membership.




25th October 2011


The League retracted from 4 divisions to 3 for the 2010 / 11 season.  From discussion at the AGM in June 2011 there was a general consensus that we should remain at 3 divisions unless there was a significant increase in team entries.  At the time circulating the proposed fixture schedule for the new season, the Fixtures Secretary wrote:-


"If there is a further increase in entries next season* (which, in principle, we hope there might be) the committee believe that a return to a 4-division format would probably be appropriate. To bring this about with a reasonable balance between divisions, some juggling with the normal promotions and relegations is likely to be needed. A likely way that this could be brought about would be to limit promotion from Division 2 to 1 to one team, while still relegating 2 from Division 1. With 2 teams also being relegated from Division 2, but with no promotions into it, the remaining teams, including the new entrants, could then be split into 2 divisions. While any prediction about future season entries is risky, the committee believe that clubs should be made aware of this thinking."


*At the time of writing that, it was understood that there would be a net increase of 2 teams for this season over 2010 / 11.  This was subsequently reduced to an increase of just 1 team due to the late withdrawal of Eastbourne 3.


These thoughts prompted further inputs from others, which provide the basis for raising this as a Forum thread that others may care to add to.


Julie Denning

(Web Editor / Fixtures Secretary)



Counter-Proposal from Julian Mitchell (Woodpushers)

20th September 2011


If the league were to gain another couple of teams next year necessitating a split back to four divisions, instead of your proposed two down from division two and no-one up, I would favour three down and one up, ensuring that the division three champions take their place in division two. Hardly a scenario that benefits Woodpushers, but it would seem fairer to division three. It may all be academic anyway ...



Doug Stevenson (Eastbourne / MSCL Chairman) Also Responds

20th September 2011


To start the debate I think that one of the things that is certain is that there is no straightforward formula that can be applied which takes into consideration relative previous year team performances AND the disappearance of 1st or 2nd division teams AND retain promotions with the appearance of additional teams -

unless you allow division sizes to vary considerably.

Taking all the teams in order and dividing by 3 or 4 can be totally unreasonable and the promotion/relegations would only be determined when you knew the new seasons entrants.

Requiring clubs to register teams earlier would still lead to last minute changes when their estimates of available players proved wrong. In the past, statements of intent on the next seasons promotion/relegations to equalise divisions have had to be abandoned when the entries became known.

I feel allowing the [Management Committee] to make equitable decisions is the best way to maintain balanced division sizes unless the League decides to drop this requirement.