Friday, 9 April 2021

Some observations from this year's Doeberl Cup

 I am just in the process of finishing up most of the remaining tasks from the 2021 O2C Doeberl Cup, so now is a good time to reflect on the tournament, in my role as the chief organiser.

Overall I thought the tournament went really well. We may have lucked into getting a record size field, but we handled the extra number pretty well. Tournaments were accelerated for the first time (Minor and Under 1200), but this did not seem to cause any 'bad' pairings. However it is fair to say that the while acceleration did deliver single winners in each event (as opposed to ties in the other 2 tournaments), it did not 'narrow' the leading group as much as was expected.

The playing venue was large enough to comfortably handle the extra numbers, although anything above 350 may take up all the available space, even without social distancing requirements. The foyer area was a little crowded for my liking, despite our attempts to manage this space (more on this below). 

Pairings were produced and published quite quickly, and probably faster than when I was the chief arbiter. There were a few issues with bye requests being missed, but the arbiting team fixed those issues quickly. The Brisbane lockdown did not help some of the Queensland players, but we were both able to help them withdraw, and then re-enter the event as necessary.

The chess itself was quite exciting, with the Premier being one of the most closely contested events in recent years. Having 7 GM's certainly made the tournament quite the contest, and the final round saw 8 decisive games on the top 8 boards.

One thing I was pleased to see (and certainly did not expect) was that despite the easing of rules on withdrawals (due to Covid), only a few player pulled out of the tournament before the last round. I had expected a return to the bad old days of 'Sunday night headaches', but was happy to be wrong about this.

For next year we may change a few things, but nothing significant. Renaming the Premier to the Masters is under consideration, just to give it some extra gravitas. While the Blitz remains popular, an increase in prize money is on the cards, in part to attract some of the stronger players. The issue of dealing with the size of the field in the Minor is also under discussion, with a couple of solutions being suggested (more rounds at a faster time control being one of them).

The one disappointment was the behaviour of some young players, or more importantly, the supervision provided by parents. There were a number of issues with children ignoring the club rules, but this only happens if parents aren't being parents. Sadly, attempts by the staff at the results desk to deal with the situation were met with hostile reactions from some parents, which I personally think is unacceptable.  We are in discussions with the Southern Cross Club about how to deal with this, but the most obvious solution is to simply have parents supervise their children in the manner required at a serious chess event.



Anonymous said...

Well done to you and the organisers for making this happen in such challenging circumstances (with the Qld lockdown etc). The players were very well looked after with a great venue and accommodation. I am surprised by your comment regarding hostile parents - I suspect that this year saw a lot of OTB newbies, with attendant newbie parents who have no idea about the seriousness and etiquette. My only gripe (and it is very minor) is that the live games could have been a little smoother as the transmission seems to be quite glitchy.

Are there any photos of the final presentation?


Kevin said...

Shaun, congratulations to you and the team. Despite the record number of entrants (or perhaps because of it out of necessity), this is the best run event event in the country, kind regards Kevin