Nominated Players

Julian Mitchell Adds Support to Simon Haywards Views

19th May 2010

Julian mitchell, speaking on behalf of one of the smaller clubs (Woodpushers) endorses the concerns raised in the previous entry by Simon Hayward:-

I would like to lend strong support to Simon Haywood''s (Brighton CC) post on the MSCL Forum regarding Nomination of Players. I am happy to agree to the proposed change to nominating four players per team. I am however very unhappy about the proposed change in the number of appearances that a player may have for a higher ranking team before they become nominated for that team. This is currently six appearances: the proposal is to reduce this to just two.

Mr. Hayward has written about the problems facing a big club with this rule change. The problems for a small club if anything will be more severe. Woodpushers has recently grown to eleven members (we gained a twelfth player in the last month of the season) which is too many to give all players the amount of chess they are looking to play with one team. So we ran a second team this year, which has suited all our members. Quite simply, we would not be able to run a second team with this rule change. Even in a mathematical utopia where the first team always gets its top four nominated players out to play, you would soon be cannibalising your second team.

To take this season for example, if the proposal had come into effect this year, our second team would have been down to three players with more than half the season to run (on 3rd Feb a fourth second team player played their second match for the first team, with five second team matches still to play). It was not as if our four nominated first team players were dilatory - between them they played two-thirds of the season's fixtures. As all match captains know, substitute players are needed on a regular basis.

Do not support this proposed change. It would cause chaos for clubs large and small. If implemented, I would not be surprised if this proposal were to reduce team entries by up to a third over twelve months. Woodpushers for one would have to go back to the unsatisfactory situation of running one team, because twelve players will not be enough to support a second team - and that just isn't right. I am sure that after sober reflection that this is not the route down which the MSCL wants to go. 

Julian Mitchell, Woodpushers.


Nominated Players:  Simon Hayward Comments on Proposed Rule Changes

6th May 2010

I appreciate the motivation behind the changes to the nominations system. While Brighton and Hove CC would be one of the clubs hardest hit by the changes I support the change to 4 players nominated for each team.

However I cannot support the change to the matches played for higher teams. I can think of several occasions in the last season when a player from a lower team has stepped in at the last moment to fill in for a player who has dropped out at the last moment.
In such circumstances a player would run the risk of being essentially de-selected for their normal team, while having no chance of being asked to play again for the higher team. This seems like a very unfair circumstance.

Also, with the rule on rearranging fixtures suddenly being enforced again after all these years, failure of a club to field a full team will attract a draconian penalty. So we risk being caught between a rock and a hard place, especially near the end of the season.

The changes to the effective nominations rule will make life very difficult for lower rung captains like myself (in all clubs with more than one or two teams) and I urge my fellow captains not to support them.

Simon Hayward

Captain, Brighton & Hove Chess Club 5th Team


Nominated Players:  Ian Comley Responds

11th March 2009

Thanks for the interesting feedback and I have addressed specific points below.

I think it is worth emphasising again that the current rules already place a restraint on team selection for clubs with up to 3 teams. The intention of this rule change is to extend the current restraint in a fairer way for bigger clubs with more teams.

The current rules already constrain clubs with 2 or 3 teams from outlandish team selections. They only allow 1 first team player to play in the second team. If you have five teams the lowest two boards of the third team and the top three boards of the fourth team can play for the fifth team until they become ineligible. That seems unfair. The proposed changes are not intended to  impact smaller clubs at all, quite the reverse. It seeks to place the same restraint on bigger clubs as are already in place for smaller clubs.

In general I am very much in favour of leaving the rules alone. In this particular case I feel the intent of the original rules have become superseded by a change of circumstance ie the emergence of 5th teams. The intent of this rule change is to extend the current restrictions to also apply to fourth, fifth and even sixth teams to restore a level playing field.

I applaud Brightons support regarding this proposal. It is commendable that a club who will be disadvantaged by this rule change are objective enough to be prepared to put the good of the league  before any parochial interests.

Ian Comley

Horsham Chess Club.


Nominated Players:  Further Inputs from Sue Chadwick (Brighton & Hove) and Norman Hawkins (St Francis & Haywards Heath)

6th March 2009

I'm glad there have been some more contributions to this debate as it has been bothering me for some while. The problem for a multi-team club such as Brighton is that captains are continually faced with a moral dilemma: do you pick your strongest possible team, even if that means a stronger player plays 14 times in the league and a new player not at all, or do you try and fix it so that everyone in the club who wants to play in the league can play in a team? I am keen on the latter scenario and I feel we need rules to encourage this rather than having our new and inexperienced members trounced by the old hands at other clubs.

As many players do seem keen to play more league matches than their team has scheduled, I wondered what would happen if we reduced the divisions to three, split 13/13/12, encouraging loyalty to one team through having more fixtures to play. But, as Julie helpfully pointed out, this would increase the number of fixtures over all from 162 to 222. So, if you want more chess, this is the way to go! A knock-on effect would probably be that clubs would enter fewer teams so in fact the increase in fixtures would not be quite so huge. But the temptation to play for two or even three teams, as happens at the moment, would not be so great.

Failing this rather radical approach, I tend to be in favour of Ian Comley's proposal.

Sue Chadwick
Brighton and Hove


With respect to the recently suggested changes in the numbers of nominated players per team, I prefer it left as is. The reason being, that it gives us more flexibility and therefore more ability to field teams on the dates designated. Take this matter too far and I believe that it would ultimately force some clubs into reducing the number of teams they could enter. And that would be detrimental to the League as a whole.
This point also makes me think that as it comes from one of the larger clubs, albeit with the best intentions, that the larger clubs are not always aware of the difficulties in running smaller clubs. Difficult in fact for the smaller clubs not to be bullied by the larger clubs. So the Hawkins Gambit for 2009 is let's go for '1 Vote, 1 Club' at future AGM's ! ............A very difficult motion to get passed by it's very nature !! '
Norman Hawkins, St F&HHCC.


Nominated Players

2nd March 2009

Two responses have come in already to Ian Comley's input that initiated this topic.  Firstly, from John Herbert of Eastbourne:;

I agree with Ian Comley that players are allowed by present rules to play too many games for different teams within their Club in the same season.I think the simplest way of dealing with this,if this is view is shared by the majority of Clubs, is to limit the number of matches in which a player can play.For example, the limit on someone playing all games in Divisions 2, 3, and 4 might be 11. At present the total could be 13 or 14, even with a balanced fixtures list.
John Herbert ( Eastbourne )


Also, from David Fryer of Uckfield:

I used to get very hot under the collar about this subject especially when as captain of East Grinstead 1 about 10 years ago we were trying to gain promotion from Division 2 and kept bumping into second teams which were scarcely discernible from their first teams.
However as time has gone by my views have changed. We should simply be encouraging as much chess as possible and if a keen player wishes to play 20 games a year in the Mid Sussex League then why not? Especially if it avoids defaults.
Clubs themselves should be careful as striving for best results can mean excluding lower rated players from playing in the league and ultimately this is counter productive.
The current rules are good enough to prevent outlandish team selections and the rest should be up to the individual clubs to decide their own team selection policy.
I think there still remains an issue with regard to 1st teams and Division 1 and my radical view is that if a 1st team wants to play in Division 1 it should be allowed to and if that means a higher number of teams in Division 1 than other divisions then fine. Any first team faced with relegation from Division 1 should have the choice to stay in Division 1 in the same way that a second team can under the rules refuse promotion from Division 2.
David Fryer


Nominated Players:  Call for Debate

26th February 2009

Ian Comley (Horsham) seeks to start a discussion on the possible need to review the rules on nominated players:-

I would like to propose a tidy up of the nomination rules for the next AGM as I don't believe the current rules have the effect that they were originally introduced to do.

I think that the rules aim to:
  1.         1.  Ensure that players play for the team in which their grading places them. 
  2.         2.  Allow the bottom player of the higher team to play in the team below if they are unavoidably short of a player.
The current rules were not written at a time when clubs had five teams. If a club has five teams it need only nominate 13 of the expected 25 players. This has the effect of leaving the bottom two boards of the third team and the whole of the fourth team eligible to play for the fifth team. Being able to play six times for a higher team before becoming ineligible for a lower team acts as almost no restraint. Depending on how the fixtures land and the impact of bad weather etc it means that players could play all or almost all their games for the lower team before they become ineligible.

I would propose two changes to 4.1.1 and 4.1.2 to have the effect:
  1.         1.   Nomination of the entire team for every team except the bottom team.
  2.         2.   Only the bottom player of the higher team can play for the immediately lower team ie only board 5 of team 3 can play for team 4 (and not team 5).
  3.         3.   Automatic eligibility rule applies having played the fourth game for the higher team .
The effect of these changes will have minimal imapct on the way we are currently applying the rules but it is necessary to prevent the sort of contention which occurred only a few seasons ago. Only 3 players have played more than 4 games for a higher team this year and I know that one of these was caused by the sudden and unexpected absence of a player due to work commitments midway during the season.  [Ed.  the number of players now subject to Rule 4.2.2 has increased since Ian's comment was drafted.]

I would welcome peoples view on this approach and can suggest the specific wording once I feel that I have understood any particular concerns about this approach....

Ian Comley
Hon Sec Horsham Chess Club