Results of the recent voluntary survey …

… conducted at the recent Caplin Hastings International Chess Congress

Overall, how would you rate the Congress?
Excellent – 43; Very good – 29; Good – 4

What did you like about the Congress? (top answers)
The venue – 24; Well run – 20; Friendly atmosphere – 5; Equipment – 5

What did you dislike about the Congress? (28 single answers)
Too many juniors – 2

How organised was the Congress?
Extremely organised – 28; Very organised – 36; Somewhat organised – 6; Not at all organised – 1 (office girl should do better next time)

Please note that the answers below are those of the Congress Chairman and do not necessarily represent those of the Congress Committee …

Was there any information that would have been helpful to know before the event?

Q Can you include the shortest walking route from town centre?
A Agreed

Q Clearer information on ECF discounts?
A Our pricing structure for the tournaments were confusing – 22 percent of players paid the wrong entry fee. This will be simplified next time.

Q Graded sections?
A It is our intention to introduce these next time.

Q Location of commentary room?
A We felt that this was well signed.

Q Put the programme online?
A We will look at this idea.

Q ECF rules on phones?
A We believe that these are made clear in both the entry form and the programme.

Q The venue is not accessible from the footpath?
A Agreed. Will make this clearer next time.

Q I will not always have an office job (office girl)
A Will make this clearer next year..

Q Which of the following do you use?
Twitter 16; Facebook 33; Instagram 14; Snapchat 3; Twitch Mixer 6; Email 65; None 2

Q Why did you attend the congress?
To play chess 14; Played before 11; Live locally 10; Strong tournament 4

Any other comments, including those from comments book …

Get a better mike for announcements
Agreed, it can be unclear.

Can you check results section on the website – I think the PM groups are wrong?
I believe these are now correct.

If possible try to organise the next event so it finishes before the start of term
It is difficult – realistically the earliest we can start the event is on the 28th December. Starting before this date, travel restrictions would make it impossible for some competitors to play. In order to have a nine-round norm opportunity tournament it means it has to run to the 5th of January and maybe into term time.

Final round to start earlier
Although it would be desirable to start the last round earlier, there are numerous problems with this. Firstly, we run both morning and afternoon tournaments  The morning tournaments end at 13.30 which allows 45 minutes before players start play in the afternoon. It would not be desirable to have the Masters starting before 13.30 as this would result in players coming in during play and the inevitable noise that would be caused. Again, we would not to be able to start the afternoon tournaments before 14.15 and would therefore have the same problem with noise. We believe we already have the best solution.

Am I the only one who feels there are too many low rated juniors potentionally using this event as a stepping stone which the Masters was not meant to be?
Please do not single out juniors – there are also low rated adults in the Masters. However, to answer your question, the Masters is an open tournament and we derive most of our income from lower graded players who pay on average, if rated under 2125, £116.00 to play. Without these players we would not be able to offer the appearance fees or the prize fund.

Possibility of six round tournament?
This really depends on the calendar

Longer breaks between rounds?
Please see answer to question five.

Public transport on 27th December is always a problem. Would be great to start the Congress a  day later or does that cause a problem with the venue?
The venue may be a problem, however the real reason we start on the 28th is to maximise the public holidays within the Congress. This means players need to take less time off work. To start later would also go into term time.

Introduction of more prizes and sponsors to enlarge the event?
We have a new sponsor this year, Caplin Systems Ltd., which helped increase the entry to the Masters by about 50 per cent. Next time it is our intention to restructure the event and have bigger prizes.

Games commentary should have been better supported
Firstly can I say Chris Ward does an excellent job with the games commentary.  However, it is down to the individual.

The John Logie Baird pub in the town centre was well-attended by chess players. Maybe a deal could be worked out with them?  Something to look into. We used to have a deal with various pubs and restaurants in the town some years ago.

Could it be made quieter outside the playing hall?
Arbiters and organisers make every effort to keep things quiet including a personal touch and numerous signs.

Simplification of entry leaflet
I completely agree and this will be done next time.

Can we have a nine-day tournament in the afternoon along with the Christmas and New Year?
We have one, the Masters. Next time we will be trying to build up the Christmas and New Year tournaments. Until we do that, a nine-round event is not included in our plans.

Did I get a roller-coaster ride with the accelerated pairing – rounds 1 – 7.  No-one between 1924 and 2420!
Sorry, what can I say? Sometimes you are at the mercy of the draw.

Lessen the number of withdrawals by introduction of £50 fine
It is somewhat difficult to enforce. People withdraw for lots of reasons – death, illness, public transport failure, accommodation falling through. A £50 fine would be hard to enforce if they have withdrawn and gone.   

I regret the demise of manual pairing
So do I but I guess that’s progress.

Split the Masters into higher and lower graded sections making 2 tournaments of 9 days
If you wish to split the appearance fees and prize money this would be the way to go. The bottom third of the Masters is where three-quarters of our income comes from.

More funds for the minor tournaments
This is something we are already looking into for next year

Put commentary on-line
This is something we tried about four years ago and is something we will look at again. However this may not be for next time as we are already looking at a lot of other changes

More money for the office staff?
You are getting enough money as it is (I believe this was put in by one of the office girls). I have to say they did a great job during the Congress.

It would be good to have all sections FIDE rated
We are considering having the top sections of the Christmas and New Year FIDE rated.

All arbiters and controllers to wear standardised tops?
I like the idea but it has cost implications. Maybe we can implement that over a period of time.

Why not have a veterans grading prize?
Something to look into. However with sections based on 16 to 20 there is a limited scope for increasing the prize fund, but we are looking into changing the structure.

Flowers on the arbiters’ desk?
I have some very nice Venus Fly Trap plants.

White cotton tablecloths on top 4 tables?

Paper cups not plastic?
This is a matter for Horntye Park, however we will suggest it to them.

Scrap Christmas and New Year prizegivings
This is already under consideration

Install a new hand dryer in mens’ locker room
This will be passed on to Horntye

National flags in the Masters?
These are already shown on the table name cards.

Name cards in the Weekend Open?
There is a logistics problem here. There is very little time between rounds to rearrange cards in three sections, and therefore we have opted not to do this.

Congress merchandise to be introduced?
Something to be looked into …