Tuesday 1 August 2017

2017 ANU Open - Organisers wrap up

The 2017 ANU Open was interesting from an organisational point of view. Due to various University policy changes, it wasn't clear whether this years event was even going ahead, but eventually it was decided to organise it anyway.
Last year saw around 60 players take part, as did this years event. Oddly, last year saw a larger than expected turnout for the Open (30+ players), with a smaller than usual field in the Minor. It was almost the opposite this year, with only 17 players in the Open, but 40+ in the Minor. If we could have combined the 2016 Open numbers with the 2017 Minor entries, it would have been a great field!
We tried something different with the prizes this year, awarding rating prizes based on W-We (points scored - points expected). While it kind of worked, it is probably something not worth repeating. The two major issues are the field is a little small to make it work, and handling the role of unrated players is tricky. At least one prize ended up being awarded based on final position, simply because every player in the section actually scored less than they were expected to.
One other change was the creation of a Unrated only prize, to deal with the issue of unrated players entering the Minor. This is often a tricky issue, as in most cases a Minor event is the best tournament for unrated players, but not always. Two years ago an unrated player did win the Minor (and the full first prize), but after that the organisers felt it was better to handle it this way. It turned out that one of the players that tied for first (John Adams) was also unrated, but this years T&C's made it clear he could only win the Unrated prize (which he was happy with).
While it is hoped that there will be a 2018 ANU Open, there is some debate about what format it might take. The 60m+10s time limit is a little limiting, and one suggestion is to try a FIDE rated 60m+30s event. A recent rule change means that all players are eligible to play in this event, although games involving players rated above 2200 don't get rated. As the current event is not FIDE rated this may not be a real loss. Of course the schedule would have to be changed, either to 3+2 rounds, or possibly a 1+3+2 6 round event.
Overall it was an enjoyable event, despite the small turnout. We even got some good publicity in the local media, with the appearance of Michael Pettersson MLA in the Minor being newsworthy. The Canberra Times did a nice story, which can be viewed here.