Open Letter Regarding Maine Chess Player of the Year

04.24.11 Roger Morin brings up some issues and questions about this year's MECA Player of the Year competition. Take a read and let us know what you think. We are interested in hearing from you.

To the MECA Board,

I was checking the events page and noticed a rather unusual tournament coming up and sanctioned by MECA as a player of the year event. The May 14, 2011 Southern Maine Community College event is the event in question. It is an incredible 14 rounds (it says 7 but playing each other twice is 14 rounds). All the other tournaments are 4 or 5 rounds. I, for one, was unaware that the directors could have such latitude. A 14 round event unbalances all the other towns and favors anyone playing in that tournament. This imbalance means that a Portland player doesn't have to drive to Houlton or even Bangor to win player of the year; while the northern players must go to Portland to have a chance.

The eight towns chosen below are the best breakdown possible and quite fair, but a 14 round Portland open is not in keeping with the intent of choosing the player of the year.
The system is to encourage players to travel to different places...southern players can now feel free to play only in Portland.

It raises the question of what is going to happen to the downeast event; how many rounds is that going to be? There needs to be a unified system to choose a deserving winner and this isn't it.

PI/Houlton Open - January 29/30
PI/Houlton Open - February 19-20
All Saints Winter Warm-Up - February 26 (Open Section) - Bangor
Maine Closed Championship - April 9-10 (Augusta area)
Portland Open - May (Portland) Championship - June (Waterville)
Downeast Open - July (Portland area)
Eastern Maine Open - October (Orono)

And now for a brief comment on the Maine Championship. A sincere congratulations to ALAN SCHALK for a great performance. Only in my dreams do I score 5-0.

I'd still like to see a four round tournament. Eight players took byes in round three. That says a lot about its effectiveness. Last year Lucas McCain only needed 4 rounds to become Maine Champion. This year so did Schalk. A fifth round is not necessary whereas 4 rounds would make a much more comfortable event. Tie breaks can be used to have a clear winner as well as a co-champion if needed. In 2009 when six players tied for first, there would have been only 4 ties with four rounds.

I'm sure that all MECA board members want what is good for Maine chess. Congratulations to all for your work and dedication.

Roger Morin April 20, 2011


I concur with Roger Morin. I do favor a playoff between northern Maine and southern Maine Champs. It would increase rivalry in the state as well. It would also make it easier for players to attend. I for one have a vehicle problem and it is difficult for me to attend tournaments. I also have some very serious health problems which limits my time to attend tournaments. Therefor, I cannot attend long tournaments due to health. If I could have attended the state championship I would have, but a 14 round tournament is crazy!!! A 5 round swiss maybe (G60) is as far as I would go. I consider myself a fairly good player, but for me to go to Augusta is a 4 hour drive one way, and after playing chess all day driving home is exhausting. MECA needs to have a committee to do Grand Prix tournaments for out of state players to attend as well. I do feel however that Maine State Championships should be for Maine residents only!!! Maine should at some point in time have a national tournament once a year. That's not too much to ask for. It should be in central Maine so it is fair for everyone to be able to get there. I would suggest Bangor because of the airport, convention centers, hotels, restaurants, and event centers and the water front!!! It would be about 2 hours for me to get there and about 2 hours from Augusta.

I do like Malov's idea with a south and north champoinship with a match playoff sponcered by meca...roger

I agree with Roger on the Player of the Year tournament selection process. It is very hard for people living 3 to 5 hrs away from an event to make a commitment for 14 rounds. On the matter of having 4 rounds instead of 5 for the Maine Championship, I am not in agreement. I think 5 rounds could be more important as more people participate. Perhaps some thought could increase participation. Why not allow players from other states? I live in Vermont and can not remember seeing any events held in Maine that are worth Grand Prix points. Vermont has at least 2 or 3 a year.

In the interest of uniformity and fairness I would suggest that only 1-day, 4-round tournaments be considered for the MECA Player of the Year scoring or offer a maximum of 4 points for wins and 4 points for games actually played (by pro-rating points for events over 4 rounds) with byes not counting. This would level the field for qualifying tournaments by equalizing the events regardless of format.

I concur completely with Roger's observations. I personally will not be able to attend this event, as a result of my daughter's marriage. However, due to the time control, I would not have attended anyway, being old and slow. This is a young man's event. That said, I would suggest a maximum number of points available at any one tournament (say 5 wins). This would not interfere with a tournament director's development of an event while not creating the imbalance of value of of each of the other tournaments (the exception might be the State championship).
I would also suggest that there be a more widespread reporting of results and standings after each event. The purpose of such an award is to stimulate chess playing in the State of Maine and create excitement and attendance at each tournament. There will be no such excitement if no one knows anything about it.
All in all, I'm excited about the future of chess in this state as a result of the efforts of this board. Keep on with the good work.

Roger's point is well-taken.
I think fewer rds. in that
one makes sense. With the
price of gasoline, it might
be wiser to temporarily
designate a South player of
the year and a North player
of the year: I suppose a
play-off match just to deter-
mine the best player for the
year could then be in the

Andy graciously replied to me. (Unfortunately there is something that is not clarified in the scoring of the competition. As in the past quick-rated events are only worth 1/2 of a regular rated event. Sorry for the miscommunication.)

Thanks Andy for this clarification....Roger



I agree, 14 games is way too much and not fair to northern players but I feel always that I cannot participate in most events that are almost as far as New York city, or much less to Boston in two hours. I can drive down to nyc in 6 hours, the same it takes me to get to Fort Kent.
A city or town in the middle of Maine would be fairer for most events.

It is a well written, objective, letter that makes a valid point.

For what it's worth: 1. In the past such an event as the quick chess tournament with so many rounds had games weighted as only .25 valus for CPoTY. Not sure if this will be the case this year. 2. Had I defeated Alan in the last round of the recent state championship if would have resulted in a 3 way tie of 4 points each for the title between Alan, Matt and myself.

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