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Leinster leagues format discussion

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  • sodacat11 wrote: »
    It seems perfectly fair to me.
    I'm not sure you understand what the word "fair" means.

    Even Blanch would blanch from the suggestion that a fair Armstrong would have them on top.




  • cdeb wrote: »
    Even Blanch would blanch from the suggestion that a fair Armstrong would have them on top.

    I think that table is really a reductio ad absurdum of sodacat's idea.
    But I do agree with him to some extent; the inevitability every year that Gonzaga will win the Armstrong is diminishing interest in the Armstrong among some players. A more balanced league is in everyone's interest and the fact is that very few clubs can match either their top board power or their strength in depth. Reducing the division to 6 boards might reduce their dominance a bit but soon would lead to three Gonzaga teams in the top division, I guess.

    There are various points not yet made, or only partially.

    1) While other teams may be able to organise some recruitment of promising young players through schools, the established fact now is that many kids are asking their parents to be sent to Gonzaga for its chess club and coaching. Henry Li (who has just won the Dublin rapid BTW) was quoted in a 21 December 2018 article by Sam Collins for the Sunday Business Post Magazine that he identified chess as one of the main reasons be wanted to go to Gonzaga.
    So this is likely to mean that for the foreseeable future they will get the cream of the juniors. (The only exceptions are likely to be those with parents who don't want their kids exposed to the Jesuit ethos of the school.)

    2) Gonzaga have been rather greedy, in that since they have such a strong stream of players they should not be reinforcing it by bringing in other players unconnected with the school. Here are some instances of that.

    a) In some seasons (not yet this year) they have brought in some non-resident players (e.g. Maze, Steil-Antoni) to significantly strengthen their team for some matches, though they obviously didn't need to do that to win the league.

    b) Last weekend they seriously damaged Trinity's chance of a runner-up spot by persuading our number 2 player to go to the 4NCL for them, when he was needed for our team against Kilkenny. I am tempted to view that as sabotage on one side and disloyalty on the other. As a result nearly all our team was playing a board too high, and we had a very weak sub on bottom board. We just have not been able to perform consistently this season but we did draw with Gonzaga A and beat their B team soundly.

    c) Further to 2 and 3, they might have released Conor O'Donnell to play for Trinity for a few seasons while he is studying. This season he is playing top board for Gonzaga B, but he could have had top board last season too which would obviously have benefited his development as well as evening up the league a bit. It would also have meant that Henry Li could be playing top board for Gonzaga B this year instead of languishing around boards 2-4 for the A team.

    d) As already pointed out by someone they poached Killian Delaney from Rathmines a while back also, but maybe Rathmines had been relegated for a season or there was some other good reason for that?

    So I don't entirely disagree with people who have said it is up to other clubs to bring themselves up to Gonzaga's level. Frankly though, with the limited pool of 1900+ players in Leinster, there is little or no chance of that.




  • It would be in everybody's interest to have a much more competitive league, the problem isn't just Gonzaga. having 24.5 poins difference between the top and bottom teams after seven rounds is simply not a healthy situation. It might seem somewhat idealistic but why can't we devise some format where all twelve teams could start every season with a realistic hope of finishing in the top three? A competitive league would attract more players to play in the leagues and could only be good for everyone.
    What is the purpose of the league after all if not to provide enjoyment for the participants? We don't need the league to prove that Gonzaga are far and away the strongest club in Leinster, we all know that just by looking at the rating list.




  • Reducing the division to 6 boards might reduce their dominance a bit but soon would lead to three Gonzaga teams in the top division, I guess.
    I think it's already been shown that teams are more evenly balanced on the bottom boards, so reducing the size of teams would only unbalance things more.

    There is a valid question to be asked as to whether the LCU should allow C teams in the Armstrong though. (It should be fine in other divisions as promotion/relegation will naturally sort it out soon enough - but certainly Gonzaga A/B seem unlikely to be promoted/relegated from the Armstrong any time soon)
    1) While other teams may be able to organise some recruitment of promising young players through schools, the established fact now is that many kids are asking their parents to be sent to Gonzaga for its chess club and coaching.
    I think it'd be few enough parents who'd send a child to x school simply because the child wanted to go there. Other factors - educational reputation, cost, location - would be far more important. Chess is only a game, after all.
    It is, however, great that we have a school that is gaining a reputation for chess coaching.
    b) Last weekend they seriously damaged Trinity's chance of a runner-up spot by persuading our number 2 player to go to the 4NCL for them, when he was needed for our team against Kilkenny.
    If your number 2 wants to play for Gonzaga ahead of ye, that's your problem I would have thought.
    c) Further to 2 and 3, they might have released Conor O'Donnell to play for Trinity for a few seasons while he is studying.
    As Conor is hardly under contract at Gonzaga, it makes no sense to say they "might have released" him. This is Conor's decision surely? Besides, Trinity have poached plenty players of their own (from Elm Mount, Rathmines and St Benildus in recent years off the top of my head) - but the aim here should be to develop, not poach.




  • sodacat11 wrote: »
    It might seem somewhat idealistic but why can't we devise some format where all twelve teams could start every season with a realistic hope of finishing in the top three?
    It does sound idealistic. It also sounds contradictory. If an 1800 junior wants to play in the Irish Championships, you call him a spoiled brat and say he should earn his right to play there - even if encouraging juniors would attract more players. (I generally agree with your no-exceptions stance on rating floors FWIW)

    But now, it seems you're happy to give everyone a chance of winning the Armstrong without earning it by handing out bonus points so everyone has a chance of winning, and Blanch suddenly appear top of the league?

    Sounds like you want to have your cake and eat it too.


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  • cdeb wrote: »
    It does sound idealistic. It also sounds contradictory. If an 1800 junior wants to play in the Irish Championships, you call him a spoiled brat and say he should earn his right to play there - even if encouraging juniors would attract more players. (I generally agree with your no-exceptions stance on rating floors FWIW)

    But now, it seems you're happy to give everyone a chance of winning the Armstrong without earning it by handing out bonus points so everyone has a chance of winning, and Blanch suddenly appear top of the league?

    Sounds like you want to have your cake and eat it too.

    Bonus points are not handed out to everyone, a player has to draw or beat a player 150 points higher to earn them.
    Rating floors in individual events has nothing whatsoever to do with trying to make team events more balanced. You keep going way off topic and haven't yet given me one good reason why a more balanced league wouldn't be a good thing.




  • sodacat11 wrote: »
    Bonus points are not handed out to everyone, a player has to draw or beat a player 150 points higher to earn them.
    Rating floors in individual events has nothing whatsoever to do with trying to make team events more balanced. You keep going way off topic and haven't yet given me one good reason why a more balanced league wouldn't be a good thing.
    A more balanced league would be a good thing.

    It's your proposals for achieving which are off the wall, and which are contradictory to previous views that if you want something (to play up a section, or to win a league), then you should work for it.




  • Mod note - thread split out from the main Armstrong results thread




  • cdeb wrote: »
    A more balanced league would be a good thing.

    It's your proposals for achieving which are off the wall, and which are contradictory to previous views that if you want something (to play up a section, or to win a league), then you should work for it.

    Far from being contradictory my views are perfectly consistent. The reason I like strictly observed rating floors is because they are a way of avoiding mismatches and ensuring,as far as possible, more balanced competition.
    The reason I want to change the leagues is exactly the same,
    My bonuse point idea maybe isn't the best way to achieve a competitive league, maybe handicapping is, maybe rating bands for different boards is, maybe restricting the overall rating of a team is,,,,,,,there are many possible solutions. All I am saying is that the Armstrong has becoming boring , predictable and uncompetitive and that a change would be a good thing.




  • Gonzaga are the strongest club in Ireland but far from guaranteed to win the league every year. Last year it was extremely close and came down to the final day or has everyone forgotten? Some of the suggestions are bonkers.

    If clubs want to be able to compete with Gonzaga they have to improve their chess, less time posting on boards and more time coaching/reading a few chess books might be a start! If any clubs out there want to improve and get stronger maybe speak with Gonzaga or a couple of members of their team and ask for advice. I am certain they would be happy to help.

    FYI O'Donnells control expires in 35 years


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  • Gonzaga are the strongest club in Ireland but far from guaranteed to win the league every year. Last year it was extremely close and came down to the final day or has everyone forgotten? Some of the suggestions are bonkers.

    If clubs want to be able to compete with Gonzaga they have to improve their chess, less time posting on boards and more time coaching/reading a few chess books might be a start! If any clubs out there want to improve and get stronger maybe speak with Gonzaga or a couple of members of their team and ask for advice. I am certain they would be happy to help.

    FYI O'Donnells control expires in 35 years

    it was only close because Gonzaga got penalised three points . Even then the result was never really in doubt




  • There is a way to "balance" the league [i.e. every team equal chance of winning], essentially similar to handicapping in amateur golf where teams start on a negative score, and while fine for a friendly league (e.g. it's what we'll be using in our next club rapid), I'd disagree with it in a proper competition. What would happen with relegation for instance?

    The competitive flaw with a bonus point system as proposed, is the Gonzaga could win every game 8-0 and still end up not winning the league. It's not in anyway similar to rugby's which was mainly introduced for in game excitement. The equivalent in chess would be the stronger player giving draw odds.

    Gonzaga are essentially like Dublin in football at the moment, a few years ago neutrals thought it would be nice to see them finally win, and now they just can't stop. As with all dominant teams their time will pass. It's up to everyone else to catch them.

    That said I don't like they idea of A/B teams in the same division, especially the top one. A club split could be an option for such situations so Gonzaga B players who worked hard to get there don't lose out [a la AC and Inter - albeit without the disputes].




  • Another proposal: A and B teams (or A, B, C, etc.) have to be balanced by rating, according to some rule along the lines of the 150-point rule.

    E.g., take the initial declared A and B teams, write them out as a list, with 1 -> A team board 1, 2 -> B team board 1, 3 -> A team board 2, and so on. Now ask does the resulting list satisfy the 150-point rule? If not, redo the team assignments. (Or make it 100 points, or whatever.)

    For this season, the Gonzaga A and B declarations wouldn't satisfy the 150-point version, but it would suffice to move one of David Murray, Killian Delaney, or Henry Li (2205, 2203, 2201 respectively) to the B team (I think).

    Regardless of competitiveness, shouldn't higher rated players be playing on higher boards anyway?




  • That's an interesting suggestion. I presume once the squads are agreed, the 150-point rule can be operated normally by each team? So in this game - http://www.chessleague.net/chessorg/leinster/match.php?org=1&lid=103&fid=6909 - Jack Killane is legitimately on board 4 for the As, even though that's 150+ points higher than boards 2 and 3 for the Bs. However, on rating order, he would have started as 2, which would then be fine.

    The question then is whether the rule proposed is one which is tailored towards the current, unusual, situation. If, say, St Benildus were to have two Heidenfeld teams next season, and we wanted to target promotion with the As while being happy to let the Bs get experience even if it meant relegation, would we still have to split the teams' strength as above?

    Should some rules apply only to the Armstrong because it's more prone to domination (you can't dominate the other leagues; the best you can do is yoyo)




  • cdeb wrote: »
    That's an interesting suggestion. I presume once the squads are agreed, the 150-point rule can be operated normally by each team? ...

    Yes, that was the intention.
    cdeb wrote: »
    The question then is whether the rule proposed is one which is tailored towards the current, unusual, situation. If, say, St Benildus were to have two Heidenfeld teams next season, and we wanted to target promotion with the As while being happy to let the Bs get experience even if it meant relegation, would we still have to split the teams' strength as above?

    Should some rules apply only to the Armstrong because it's more prone to domination (you can't dominate the other leagues; the best you can do is yoyo)

    This is all still just a suggestion. But for the sake of argument, yes, let's say it applies only to the Armstrong.




  • Sooner or later a team would refuse promotion from the Heidenfeld, so they'd keep winning it each year instead of causing their club to implode with a double relegation from the Armstrong. We're not all able to split our strength in the Armstrong and still be competitive.




  • zeitnot wrote: »
    Another proposal: A and B teams (or A, B, C, etc.) have to be balanced by rating, according to some rule along the lines of the 150-point rule.

    E.g., take the initial declared A and B teams, write them out as a list, with 1 -> A team board 1, 2 -> B team board 1, 3 -> A team board 2, and so on. Now ask does the resulting list satisfy the 150-point rule? If not, redo the team assignments. (Or make it 100 points, or whatever.)

    For this season, the Gonzaga A and B declarations wouldn't satisfy the 150-point version, but it would suffice to move one of David Murray, Killian Delaney, or Henry Li (2205, 2203, 2201 respectively) to the B team (I think).

    Regardless of competitiveness, shouldn't higher rated players be playing on higher boards anyway?

    Good idea! Your last point is very salient too, if high rated players didn't play on low boards it would solve the problem of imbalance in the league.




  • The problem is not that Gonzaga is so good its everyone else is spending to much time crying and not playing fighting chess.

    Clubs need to get better organised and pick players who want to play each game.Someone told me many years ago if you team captain does not lose 30ELO points each year he is not doing a good job. Tim is giving out that one of his players was not available to play at the week end. Simple answer play the game early. Fixture lists come out in early September, its not something that sneaks up on you at the last minute. Same about this playing chess on Feb 14th, this again has been known since last September.

    Many moons ago there use to be a competition where the weaker team got extra points based on the rating difference. This may have been run under the Brannigan moniker. This took place in the 70's or 80. It was a six man team competition.

    Please remember that you are not forced to play in the league. The Armstrong has been on the go fro a long time so it must be doing something right. The only change that I would like to see is that a club can only have one team in the top division. This change might encourage some movement of players to other clubs in order to play at a higher level.




  • Kilmokey wrote: »
    The only change that I would like to see is that a club can only have one team in the top division. This change might encourage some movement of players to other clubs in order to play at a higher level.
    I'm not sure I agree with that. If Benildus get promoted, should I have to move club to play in the Armstrong? People in general have an affinity for their clubs; it's not like getting a transfer in football. And if B teams are blocked from promotion and players decide to stay with their clubs, then as noted above, you'll get a case where the Heidenfeld starts being won by the same clubs each year too.

    I think this comes back to the difference between clubs strengthening organically (i.e. developing players) and inorganically (i.e. bringing players in from other clubs). The former would be much better for the game in general and should be what's encouraged.




  • Kilmokey wrote: »
    Many moons ago there use to be a competition where the weaker team got extra points based on the rating difference. This may have been run under the Brannigan moniker. This took place in the 70's or 80. It was a six man team competition.

    The De Loughrey Memorial, 1978? That was over 8 boards, though.
    Kilmokey wrote: »
    The Armstrong has been on the go fro a long time so it must be doing something right.

    Yes.


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  • Kilmokey wrote: »
    The Armstrong has been on the go fro a long time so it must be doing something right. .

    Racists, burglars, murderers, terrorists, drunk drivers and reality tv producers have all been on the go for quite a while now. Must they all be doing something right too?




  • An utterly daft comment which has nothing whatsoever to do with the point.




  • sodacat11 wrote: »
    Racists, burglars, murderers, terrorists, drunk drivers and reality tv producers have all been on the go for quite a while now. Must they all be doing something right too?

    OK, how about "The Armstrong has been around *and generally successful* for a very long time, so there must be some positive aspects that bring people back year after year." ("And let's not change those aspects.")




  • cdeb wrote: »
    An utterly daft comment which has nothing whatsoever to do with the point.
    Yes, intentionally so, just like saying that something has merit just because it has been around for a long time.




  • In my experience things that are around a long time generally do have merit hence the reason they have been around.

    On a separate point about Gonzaga dominance to date, its nothing special as Kevin Barry, Dublin and Phibsboro have all done 4 in a row, while Sackville did 6 in a row.




  • Kilmokey wrote: »
    In my experience things that are around a long time generally do have merit hence the reason they have been around.

    On a separate point about Gonzaga dominance to date, its nothing special as Kevin Barry, Dublin and Phibsboro have all done 4 in a row, while Sackville did 6 in a row.

    There are hundreds of examples of enduring things that are bad, sometimes people are just too unimaginative or lazy to improve them.

    Just because other clubs dominated the Armstrong doesn't mean that it is a good thing. The Heidenfeld this year is a much more exciting league than the Armstrong, just as well as I will probably be playing in it next season.


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