New Colours Rule

David Fryer Responds to Bernard Cafferty's Comments

11th May 2014 David Fryer has responded to Bernard's comments from the perspective of Crowborough Chess Club:-

It is pleasing to see the forum discussions open again with some very sensible points made by both Peter and Bernard.

Although the colour problems at Crowborough seems at first glance to be only on the top boards of the 1st team that is partly due to team captains becoming aware of the problem during the season and adjusting board orders where players' grades are close. Eg my own colour run in the MSCL was BBBBBWBBWBWW with 3 of my 4 whites manufactured as I was playing below Jon Lawrance who is graded 3 points less than me.

"In my view it is not desirable that board orders are affected by a need to balance colours and I wonder whether this was common practice in other clubs?


"As an aside I would like to explain "on boards 3-5 they called on no fewer than 11 players!" this was due to ;


Our 3 younger 1st team players not being able to play as many games in the second half of the season as the first half.

Our decision to add a 4th team at last knockings to replace a late withdrawal and thereby keeping the balance of team numbers per division.

"If we had simply 'promoted' the top two 2nd team boards to the 1st team we would have ultimately defaulted games in the 4th team due to the lack of eligible players.

" We therefore took the decision to 'spread' the call up to the 1st team across all 2nd team players.

"As it was we managed to meet all our commitments for 4 teams using just 25 players."

David Fryer

(Crowborough Chess Club)

Bernard Cafferty Offers an Alternative View

8th May 2014

Bernard Cafferty is not convinced that this is a widespread concern, but reflects also that a bigger issue was created when team size was reduced from 6 to 5 several years ago.  He writes:

"Peter Kemp speaks of Crowborough One and their board order problem. In fact, his comments apply only to the top two boards. For example, Bob Elliston played in sequence in this season just ended: 3 3 2 4 2 3 2 and David Fryer played 4 5 4 4. In fact, on boards 3-5 they called on no fewer than 11 players! Only one of these 11 played more than four matches, so no scope for a large colour deficit there.

"In my experience, players who can only turn out in away matches are a small minority compared to those who stick to home matches only. There was a much bigger problem over team colour imbalances once the League moved from six board to five. Some teams suffered to a considerable extent with more Blacks than Whites, as Joe Sharp found when captaining Hastings Two who were always struggling against the threat of relegation.

"I sympathise with Peter over his highly unfair run of Blacks, but to my mind he is arguing too much from a particular case to a general conclusion. Surely his plea falls under the category of the old adage that hard cases make bad law."

Bernard Cafferty

(Hastings & St Leonards Chess Club)

Peter Kemp Raises a Concern

3rd May 2014

Peter Kemp is not convinced of the merits of the Rule change that has given the away team "white on odds", rather than tossing a coin at the start of the match.  He wonders whether others support his views, which he expresses as follows:

I have no doubt that there were good intentions to even out the colours with this rule, however it only works if you have a stable team order.  In our club, we have members that play only home games and some that only play away games (surely not an uncommon occurrence).  If these players play on the same board each time they play, then they will get the same colour in every game.  For example, board 1 can only play in away games and therefore receives white in every game, meanwhile the next best player has black on 2 in away games and black on 1 in home games.  This can filter down the team until you have players close enough in strength so that you can swap them around to achieve a fair split.


"In this case, board 2 knows that he has black in just about every game before the fixtures are even published, which to me is much less fair than a 50:50 outcome on the toss of a coin, which may give an excess of blacks sometimes, but at least you have an even expectation of each colour when you turn up for the game.


"To back this up, here are some statistics for our first team players for the season just finished.  The four nominated players at the start of the season played 17 games (all playing at least two games).  Three of the four players (totalling 8 games) had white in every game.  The only player to have a black was me and I had 8 of them!"

Peter Kemp

(Crowborough Chess Club)