Synopsis of discussion

Adding a Scholastic Section to regular MCC events

Prepared by Alan Hodge

As of  03-31-00


1.  Expected attendance: Peter Lee estimates up to 20. There are 30-40 kids in his Wednesday group. We should also make Jefferson Woods aware of it; he has a program in another school. Also there are other kids out there, such as the Karman boys, who have played at the club before and might be attracted back by the "early evening" time control. We could advertise in other schools and through people known to have contacts (e.g., Larry Eldridge, Derek Slater). Given this pool, 20 seems to be a reasonable prediction for turnout.


2.  Trial: We organize and advertise tournaments for June, July and August. (Need to determine when school closes and opens to determine start and end dates.) If June and July are "successful," then we should consider extending into September, also as a trial, to determine whether it is feasible to hold this event during the school year. (Perhaps only during alternate or selected months? But that's fodder for future discussion.) See alternative suggestion at end.


3.  Start time: 7:30 The advantages of this are four: (1) Common registration process. (Also allows me to continue helping with registration as I have in the past, which eliminates the "drain on volunteers" issue.) (2) Noise issue minimized for kids and adults if events begin at the same time. (3) Allows kids and parents to attend the study group. (4) Allows people in scholastic section to call in for byes on same basis as players in regular event. An earlier start time would mean an earlier deadline for call in byes, which means double duty picking up phone messages for byes. An earlier start time interferes with all of the above. A later start time gains us nothing but causes a later end time, which is contrary to our objectives.


4.  Separate room: The kids should play in a separate room to minimize disruption and crowding in the main room. Using the skittles room is a good solution, since setting it up for the scholastic section also sets it up for adult skittles, and few adult games will be completed before the scholastic section ends.


5.  TD presence: I would expect to be the usual TD for the scholastic section. This means I am in the room with the scholastics once their round begins. If I am not playing in the regular event, this is not an issue. If I am, I suggest that we solicit and encourage the cooperation of my opponent to play in the room with the scholastics (with the normal, long time control, of course). I wouldn't think that we would need to enforce this with a policy, but we might be prepared for that just in case. The alternative, if my opponent objects to playing in the room with scholastics, is that I would take a bye, causing someone else to be paired out (because generally I don't play in the regular event unless I am needed to even up the pairings.)


6.  Coverage for me: While I expect to attend regularly, I know I will miss one to three Tuesdays this summer around July 4th. Peter Lee or Tony Gavelis are logical choices to back me up (a propos Mike Barry's question), but I don't know of their availability. Also I don't know whether either is a certified TD. So the club must be prepared to address this issue. (Kappy will also be out during this period for the US Open.) (See also alternative suggestion at end, which eliminates the problem at least for July 4.)


7.  Entry fee: I suggest $10 per event (one event per month) for non-MCC members, $5 for MCC members. I would be happy with $5 for everyone. I assume USCF membership will be required, which will add some cost for the parents. Regular entry fees should not be charged: see prizes. (See also alternative suggestion at end.)


8.  Prizes: No cash prizes. Trophies should be awarded to some number of players (tbd) at the end of the summer reflecting participation for all three events. A modified "POTY" scheme might work: .5 point for a bye (absence), 1 point for playing (and losing), 1.5 for a draw or paired-out bye, 2 for a win. Trophies awarded based on total point accumulation for the summer.


9.  Clocks: The current number of club clocks (and possibly sets) might be inadequate to support the scholastic section, since some are regularly used in the main event and I suspect few scholastic players will own clocks. The club might therefore need to purchase additional clocks. (Should we purchase now-standard digital clocks and use the older analog clocks for the scholastics?) Whatever of the scholastic entry fees that is left after purchasing trophies should be used to defray the cost of additional club equipment. We should also confirm with Peter what equipment he could contribute (lend) for the scholastic to use.


10.  Time control: I like the G/30 option best for these reasons. Peter's kids have only 30 minutes total to play a game, and most of them are done well before the half hour is over. Giving most of these kids a time control longer than G/30 will have absolutely zero impact on the length of their games. Also, G/30 gets the round over at 8:30 or so, which is positive, especially for the younger kids. Finally, if playing time is limited to an hour, it increases the odds that some kids (and their parents) will attend the study group; whereas a longer time control (perceived as longer games even if kids don't actually play any longer) might discourage study group attendance out of consideration for the entire time spent at the club. G/30 lets families invest two hours and do both the study group and a game. G/45 is the next best option obviously, but I think it is unnecessary (additional time unlikely to be used) and contrary to our objectives (early end time, study group attendance). Anything over G/45 should not be considered.


Given that the proposed range is K-9, another alternative might be possible. Depending on attendance (numbers and age distribution) we could attempt two sections, with the time control for the older kids being longer, but I would reserve this for a mid-program adjustment if participation justifies it.


Finally, it is a reasonable expectation that "serious" players who want (and would take some advantage of) a longer time control (such as Nik Konovalchuk) are likely to play in the regular ("adult") event in any case.


11.  Rules and Conduct: Standard club rules and policies would apply, with the particular addition that parents would not be allowed in the room with the scholastics while games are going on. Forfeit policy would be as normal, both with respect to calling the club to notify of absences and with respect to penalties. Standard rules and etiquette would apply, i.e., touch-move, dispute resolution, although I suggest that we should encourage kids to announce check (to avoid illegal move claims against players who might not recognize check unannounced). (Other opinions?)


12.  Communication: The most pertinent rules and conduct standards should be written up and not only given to every parent but also reviewed before the beginning of the first round (and selectively in later rounds as appropriate). Rules and standards regarding byes, forfeits, calling the club, touch-move, recording results, and determination of trophy winners should definitely be written up. (Other particular points?)


13.  Parents games: Arrangements can be made for parents to play recreational or rated games among themselves (not in the scholastics room) with the scholastic time control. There would be no charge for these games.