This weekend's first St Andrews chess congress is a very well organised and enjoyable affair in a nice venue with ample parking and in easy reach for bus, train and car. In many ways it is a replica of the Gonzaga tournament except that Gonzaga is 5 rounds, not 6 and Gonzaga is FIDE rated.
My personal preference is for FIDE rated tournaments but it is not a major issue. I do however hate playing three games in a day and judging by the amount of byes people took this weekend I am not alone in my views. A five round weekender allows a later start in the mornings and a nice early finish each day. It also makes for better chess because of the more generous time controls and the less games. I am sure that arbiters, tournament organisers and the volunteers who manage the tuck shop would also welcome shorter working days. The only advantage of a 6 round event is that you get an extra game (if you can call the lottery that usually ensues on the third saturday fixture a game).
Some people will say that there is more chance of getting an outright winner over six rounds but I am not sure that that is borne out by results.
They plan on holding the St Andrews tournament every year, which is great, but I hope next year they will change to a five round event.
I'd agree with the 5 over 6, but would prefer if it was 3 on Saturday and 2 on Sunday. Taking away both Friday and Saturday evenings was the main reason I stopped playing tournaments. I used find myself much more exhausted from work for the Friday game than after 2 games on the Saturday.
Most tournaments allow people to take a first round bye if they want to so hopefully you will start playing in tournaments again. The Irish chess scene has never been better than it is at the moment.
Only 2 games per day if you want it FIDE rated which is why some tournaments are 5 rounds.
Well I wouldn't say that's the only advantage but it's probably a main one.
A 5 round event can (should) only accommodate 32 people. while 6 can accommodate 64.
Another one would be a result of a bye from odd numbered tournaments aren't as severe.
I find the time between rounds roughly the same so you wouldn't really do any meaningful prep. The start time is later at a 5 round event while the finish time is earlier (super early if you finish the round earlier). You could nearly have an optional blitz tournament if round 3 started at ~9.30 round 4 at 14.30 would finish at ~18.30.
To me, a break of ~18 hours (18.30 - 9.30- if you took the full allocated time) is just too long.
We have 6 round weekenders for the same reason we have even numbers of boards in the Leinster leagues above division 5 - it's a bit unfair to ask someone to try to win a 5 round tournament with three games as black. Whether fairness is worth sacrificing for the convenience of the elderly and infirm (who are welcome to take a round 4 bye) is a matter of debate.
I hated this option when younger and a bit competitive(, and if I was still young and cheeky I'd retort with taking the round 4 bye to avoid your lottery game ). The issue with travelling byes, no matter which round they are taken, is that depending on the number of players/rounds you can end up taking yourself out of contention immediately. But probably worth considering now I'm old and infirm, and only play for fun. The tournaments do look to have much better attendance in recent years, with a lot of strong young players from multiple clubs.
I have to laugh at this. I have often got four blacks in a six round tournament.
In a five round tournament if one of the potential winners gets three blacks one of them will invariably have been against a much lower rated player in the first round so I don't see where your "fairness" theory comes into it.
Your "elderly and infirm" comment is also stupid, youngsters need their sleep and downtime too.
I doubt you have gotten it in any reasonable sense of the word often. it's statistically low happening and when it does occur, it happens for typically only one player in a tournament.
You are more likely to get 3 games of each colour in a 6 round event. In a 5 round event you will get an imbalance.
If you think Round 1 is irrelevant, then a 6th round has the positive of having a balanced 6th game.
My 'reasonable use of the word often' is derived from the fact that of the four last 6 round tournaments I participated in without taking a bye , I got 4 Blacks in one of them and four Whites in another. In last years world senior championship three of my first four games were as Black. I must just be the "unlucky" player in the tournament that you mentioned
I think that the civilised starting times for the morning rounds and early finishing for the evening ones, the more generous time controls,the possibility of FIDE rating, and the generally better quality of chess (more time for moves and no saturday 3rd game in a day brain malfunctions)considerably outweighs having the same amount of Blacks as Whites.
Someone made the excellent suggestion of having a blitz competition on the Saturday nights for anyone who hasn't had enough chess that day.
I much prefer the 6-rounders myself; played the Munster Championships last month and I did notice the extra round missing.
But the suggestion above is quite interesting in fairness.
Ratings.icu.ie says you've had a 3/3 split in 9 of your last 11 such tournaments? I think that's a fairer view of it.
Personally, I prefer 5 rounders but I play both. I've seen these run a few ways: 1. finishing early on Saturday, 2. starting much later (noonish), 3. somewhere in between. I prefer option 2 as it spaces a little better (prep for round 2 on Saturday morning, an hour to relax/prep for round 3 - finishing around 9 so have another hour to prep for Sunday morning if needs be with the earlier start). All personal preferences obviously and its probably best if all formats are run so you feel you are getting something different from each event (within reason).
I think the ICU calendar isn't far off a new format creeping in as 5 rounders (FIDE rated) did but I'm not sure which direction tournament organisers will go. A few of the options would be:
2 or 3 FIDE rated rapid rounds on the Friday + 4 Classical FIDE rated rounds over the weekend - rated separately but run as one event. Apparently rising in popularity.
9 rounders - spread over 5-9 days, haven't proved popular with Irish tournament organisers thus far with costs being the obvious problem; particularly for 9 day events.
7 rounders (over 5 days) - trying this out for the Irish 50+/65+ in January.
Rapid+Blitz events - rated separately but run as one event similar to the St Louis events.
In the short run - we'll probably see the number of Rapid/Blitz events rise simply because it seems tricky to squeeze too many more weekenders/5-9 day events into the calendar while Sundays and some weeknights would be available for one day events.
This sounds very interesting. Any examples?
This one is probably the most novel alright - I'll try to find some examples and post here when I get a few free minutes.
"In the short run - we'll probably see the number of Rapid/Blitz events rise simply because it seems tricky to squeeze too many more weekenders/5-9 day events into the calendar while Sundays and some weeknights would be available for one day events."
Rapid and blitz are fun but I don't see how anyone can take them seriously and having them rated is just yet another money making device for FIDE. I don't mind if there are more rapid /blitz events as long as it is not at the expense of classical chess.
There is still room for some more tournaments in the calendar. A 9 round FIDE rated tournament at Easter would be very welcome . Galway has yet to announce dates for their tournament. Enniscorthy was very enjoyable when they held it so it would be nice if that was resurrected. My personal favourite is an all play all and in fairness to the ICU it did try to organise one last Easter but the take up was very poor probably due to the distance involved for most people in going to Tralee, hopefully the experiment will be tried again in a more suitable location.