The Silver Rook is the St Albans Club Individual Championship. It is open to all club members.
The competition is run in two stages – a qualifying stage (three qualifying events) and then a knockout stage of quarter-finals, semi-finals and final.
It begins in September and club members may play in any or all of the three first round rapidplay tournaments. The knockout phase takes place in May and June.
It is a requirement that all participants have ECF “Bronze” membership (or higher) so that the club does not incur any fees when the games are submitted for grading.
Each qualifying event is a 4-round Swiss ECF graded rapidplay, 15 minutes + 3 seconds per move, per player.
Qualification will be on the basis of the most grading points gained in the course of the four games of a qualification event.
The number of ECF grading points gained from a game is calculated as: your opponent’s grade, + 50 if you win, or – 50 if you lose. If your opponent is graded more than 40 points above you, then his grade is taken as your grade + 40. Similarly, if his grade is more than 40 points below yours, it is taken as your grade – 40. If a player does not have a rapidplay grade, a slowplay ECF grade will be used instead.
Ungraded players will be given an estimated grade at the start of each qualifying event. Their grading performance for that event will be calculated (using initial estimated grades for any ungraded players they may be paired against). Their estimated grade will then be adjusted, to be the average of the initial estimate and the grading performance.
The qualifying points for all competitors are recalculated once the ungraded players have had their estimated grade adjusted.
If a player receives a bye, the “grade” of the bye is the average grade of the player’s other opponents (limited to within 40 of own grade) during the qualifying event. However if a player defaults a game this scores 0 points rather than counting as a zero-point bye.
If a player competes in more than one qualifying event, their best performance in one qualifier determines their final qualification ranking.
After the three qualification events, the eight players with the highest qualification points will go through to the knockout stage.
Example: Alex Player (ECF grade 110) has the following results in a qualifying tournament: (i) loss vs 160, (ii) bye (no opponent available), (iii) win vs 130, (iv) draw vs 140. His grading points are as follows:
- Loss vs 160 opponent. Points gained = (110 + 40) - 50 = 100 pts,
- Bye (no opponent available). Points gained = (150 + 130 + 140)/3 + 50 = 190 pts,
- Win vs 130 opponent. Points gained = 130 + 50 = 180 pts,
- Draw vs 140 opponent. Points gained = 140 pts.
Alex Player has a total of 140 + 190 + 180 + 140 = 650 grading (qualification) points. If his previous best was 600 qualification points, it would be superseded by this performance.
The eight players contesting the knockout stage are seeded 1 – 8, with seed 1 being the player with the highest qualification points, seed 2 the player with the second-highest qualification points, etc.
The knockout draw is shown below.
|Q1||Seed 1 (W)||S1|
|Seed 8 (B)|
|Q2||Seed 5 (W)|
|Seed 4 (B)||Final||Winner S1||Club Champion|
|Q3||Seed 3 (W)||S2|
|Seed 6 (B)|
|Q4||Seed 7 (W)|
|Seed 2 (B)|
Colours for the semi-finals and final are determined on the basis of higher seed getting their expected colour, on the normal basis of colour alternation. (e.g. if seeds 1 and 5 contest the first semi-final, seed 5 will have white and seed 1 will have his expected black.) The exception for the final will be to avoid one player having 3 games with the same colour.
All knockout games will be slowplay graded.
Rate of play is all moves in 70 minutes + 10s/move, or all moves in 80 minutes if both players agree.
If a knockout game is drawn, or if it is necessary to separate two qualifiers on the same number of grading points, then a further blitz game is played (draw for colours), white has 6 minutes, black has 5 minutes plus draw odds (i.e. if the game is drawn then black is considered to be the winner). Blitz games will not be graded.