Wednesday, June 3, 2009

What looks like an hourglass? Alex.

With a new month comes a new tourney at the local club (Metrowest Chess Club), and for the month of June it is appropriately named the “MCC Summer Solstice Swiss”. Because the club generally attracts 80+ players in a given month, we cater to a standard of 4 section breaks: Open, U2000, U1600 and U1400.

Our third tier section (U1600) fluctuates from month to month between a U1600 break to a U1700 break. Those months where the section break is set to U1700, player participation in this section goes up versus when the section is set to U1600, but at the cost of player participation in the U2000 section, albeit not too much.

Lately our sections look like an hourglass, our top and bottom sections have been “heavy”, whereas our middle two sections fluctuate between medium to light player participation dependent on the 3rd tier’s break.

As for our bottom tier, the reason for such heavy participation is due to a continuous growth of new players to the club on a monthly basis and the lack of player turnaround, i.e. loss of players. Our new players are sticking around and that is good, but not enough of our U1400 players are improving in a timely fashion or getting up the courage to move up a section to offset this particular section’s growth rate.

And, to illustrate recent section breakdowns, here are some numbers:

MCC Swiss w/ U1600 Section

Open Section: 22 players
U200 Section: 17 players
U1600 Section: 8 players
U1400 Section: 26 players

MCC Swiss w/ U1700 Section

Open Section: 22 players
U2000 Section: 15 players
U1700 Section: 15 players
U1400 Section: 25 players

This trend has been somewhat consistent of late and would appear that when our section break for our third tier is set to U1700, player participation among the sections are more evenly dispersed versus when the tier break is set to U1600.

My current thoughts to remedy this trend would be to either keep the section breaks static right now with the third tier break staying at U1700 or if we are to stay with a flux tier model then that flux should apply to both bottom tiers. When we have a U1700 break, our lowest tier will break at U1400, but when we have a U1600 tier; our bottom tier should break at U1300.

I like the flux model and I think that if we impose a flux break for our lowest tier, it will actually help some of our lower rated players improve at a faster rate, exposing them to the better play of higher rated players.