Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hat Trick for Ex Kiwi

From time to time I've been checking in on the just concluded Aussie Juniors Championships. Final results are now in. The big dog to emerge is another blow-in, from New Zealand, who showed the field how it's done, FIDE master Bobby Cheng. With a score of 10/11, the kid Cheng looks to have just mauled the rest of them.

For Cheng, the Aussie Juniors title is yet another special notch to his World Youth U12 title last year as well as the Arlauskas Medal (Australian Junior Player of the Year for 2009). Congrats to him.

Lastly, I have to say that tournament organisers really ought to pay attention to the event's official website. It's simple, clean and has most of the crucial info right on the homepage. Quite surprising that a chess organisation in that part of the world could produce something like that.


Anonymous said...

Are we looking at the same website?

I actually found this website very difficult to navigate, both when looking during the tournament and to see the final results.

During the tournament, to see the current scores you had to guess what round number they were up to, and select "standings" from a drop down menu. Drop down menus are really annoying when there is plenty of room for two separate buttons to click. No crosstable is available, and if you want to see an individual players results, the only way is to locate them in one of the pairing lists and then click their name.

It is good that the game is viewable straight from the results page though.

I am still unable to work out all the title winners from looking at this page - isn't that the first thing anyone wants to find?

The other problem with the website is that there were a lot of mistakes with results, as the info didn't come directly from the Swiss perfect/Swiss manager files. Also, the results were often not updated for some events until a day after the games.

I would actually say that this is one of the most annoying webpages to find results on that I have seen for a while. The 2010 Australian Championships, where they just put the results on chess-results, was much better - why try to develop a new way to present information on results of chess games, when there are so many great ones already? Chess-results has way more features, is easier to navigate, and would be faster to upload results to - seems silly to invent your own inferior method.

Kevin Bonham said...

A drawback of using chess-results.com that was noticed by the Aus Champs organisers was that it would only permit you to have two tournaments showing at once. That's fine for an Aus Champs style tournament where there is a clear hierarchy of events and so you can just put up the most important two, but in the Australian Junior which has four tournaments you simply can't effectively declare two of them more important than the others.

Anonymous said...

Chess-results.com allows as many sub-tournaments as you want - look at the Commonwealth Championship in Singapore for an example. The Australian Championship people must have been doing something wrong to only put two events on ches-results.com.

Anonymous said...

Yes Kevin, of course chess-results allows multiple events - why on earth did you listen to the Australian Championship organisers. Talk to the experts at the Sydney International. Or don't you talk to Brian Jones because he is critical of ACF?

Kevin Bonham said...

Well it wasn't actually me who was deciding how to do our website coverage (aside from what I was posting on Chesschat), so it's not as if my limited awareness of the issues the Aus Champs organisers had with chess-results had anything to do with it not being used.

Of course, had we posted draws on chess-results we would have run into the same issue everyone runs into if they host results on any third-party site, which is that it limits sponsorship exposure. That is why I cut back on the immediate posting of round-by-round results and pairings on chesschat once the official site was processing them promptly. Yes there are plenty of other templates out there that can be used but Ross was particularly keen to come up with something with new and interesting features, especially the ability to play through games from the results page.

As for the cheap shot about Brian Jones, I am happy to listen to Brian on any issue he actually has a clue about, a very large number of ACF-related issues (especially ratings) having been demonstrated not to fall into this category. ;)

Once again I do request that anonymous contributors on this blog get names (indeed I think AR should ban all anonymous commenting). It is helpful to us in evaluating feedback to know how much of it is coming from independent commentators and how much (and I suspect the post commenting about Brian Jones is a case in point) is coming from familiar suspects hiding behind anonymity.

Anonymous said...

I think the problem with trying to design your own way of presenting results was that those designing it had little or no experience with this type of tournament. It probably would have been better to look at other tournament websites and make sure yours included all of their features too. It may also have helped to ask regulars at this event what they generally look for on the results page.

Then again, it's always good to try to invent new things - this one maybe didn't go as well as hoped though :)

I guess this is all just stuff to think about for next time - I personally would love to see the Australian Champs or Open in Tassie one day soon! Escape the summer heat! But if that occurs, I'd definitely consult some more experienced organisers about these issues - adults aren't usually as forgiving as kids about problems like this :S

Anonymous said...

I agree with every Anonymous post in this thread. Bonham quit while you are behind. You dont have to win every arguement. The Aussie Juniors website this year was just pathetic.

Kevin Bonham said...

And more anonymous posts! Post 7 in the thread is completely bereft of substance or evidence and could well be trolling from one of the usual grudge-harbouring suspects. There is no guarantee the person making it has even looked at the website at all, as opposed to just trying to be annoying. Perhaps another anon post will appear denying that the author is just a troll, but there is no reason to take such denials seriously, and that's the problem when you don't put your name to your comments.

Concerning post 6, having just acted as effective secretary to the webmaster for the past few weeks ( ;) ) , as well as getting plenty of feedback during the day to day running of the event, I think I have a very good idea based on direct experience of what juniors and their coaches actually primarily want from online coverage, and I'm not entirely sure the author of post 6 does. Then again, it would help in that regard to know whether the author of post 6 is also the author of post 1, and that's another problem with anonymity.

The two most important things to players and coaches by far are knowing who the player is playing next, and knowing what that player has played in their previous games with colours the same as in that game. We made sure we had both these items online (somewhere or other) within reasonable time - in most cases very quickly - and were praised for the speed with which we were getting PGN online by a very experienced and highly qualified coach. We did not receive one single complaint from anyone with a stated connection to the event about not having crosstables up on the site, for example. Perhaps this is because they could be found on Chesschat - I don't know; I'm just pointing out that the only criticism we received on this score came from anonymous internet posters whose connection to the event, if any, is unknown. Likewise for many of the other feature-related issues raised on this thread.

Sure, there's plenty of room for improvement next time and adding more features based on experience from this time (and most of the problems we had this time occurred early in the event and can be easily avoided in future). But it's clear that the expectations of those commenting online (and with no established role relevant to the event) are quite different from those actually involved with the event directly. That's not to say their expectations are irrelevant, but our primary focus at our first attempt at such an event was making sure we provided services to the entrants.

And furthermore, we now have a largely ironed-out system that has a particularly neat feature that most Australian tournament websites have lacked (direct view of game straight from the results page) and that can be used again in the future.

Once again, I request that posters on this thread use their names - I might respond to anonymous feedback myself (and flame it if it has even a whiff of troll about it, of course), but I won't be bothering our webmaster, who I'm pretty sure doesn't read here, with any relaying of a single word of it.

Anonymous said...

I have nothing against Dr Bonham. The reason I post anonymously is that I work for a living and dont have time to get involved in an email war. Maybe if i were fortunate enough to be an academic i would be able to post my name and discuss chess matters until the cows come home. I went to the website a few times and had the same fustrations that the first anonymous poster had but didnt bother to mention anything because the organiser were probably doing their best with the resources they had and it didnt really concern me personally. When i read the first post in this thread i sympathised with the poster as i had the same experience.

Kevin Bonham said...

Well this latest anonymous post (#9 in thread) is a bit odd in quite a few respects. It suggests that the author is the author of at least one of the anonymous posts (other than the first one) but it doesn't make it clear which one(s). It suggests that I am an "academic", which is actually false, a common error (don't let the HRA webpage fool you, if that's where you got that from). It refers to an "email war" when in fact I very rarely take online exchanges to email unless the other party asks me to (and even then, not always) and when I have no intention of starting a "war" with anyone who is offering reasonable feedback in an accountable fashion, whether publicly or otherwise. And we get the "work for a living" excuse when the fact is you can still find the time for such things while working full-time if you really want to (been there done that). Even managed to find time to hose down a few silly people about ratings during rare spare moments while working 16 hours/day (sometimes more) on the Australian Junior, so my response to anyone invoking wage-$lavery can only be along the lines of "diddums" :)

The nub of it is, of course, "it didnt [sic] really concern me personally." If Anon post 9 is the same Anon as Anon post 6 then this shows the gap between their situation and their speculations about the desires of "regulars at this event".

Or on the other hand (and the rate of spelling error is certainly consistent with this) perhaps Anon post 9 is Anon post 7 trying to backpedal from the previous intemperate post, but since they don't use a name or even a consistent anonymous handle, how can we even tell which Anon they are and in which light to interpret their comments?

And this is, of course, a problem with completely anonymous posting again, another reason why it should be disallowed on this blog and every other remotely serious blog in the universe, and another reason why I do not accept any excuse whatsoever for posting on here simply as Anonymous. If you just don't want people knowing your real name then sign up an account (would take you less time than writing the previous post) and use a consistent anonymous handle.

Anonymous said...

Anon posts 7 & 9 and this post are the same person. I am not having a go at you. Actually i meet you in Melbourne ten years ago when you qualified for the Australian Championships and you seem rather switched on at the time. Keep up the good work Kevin. You just need to know that you have lost this battle about the website. The website is rubbish but thats ok just look at the NSWCA website which is an absolute disgrace. Nobody is poking blame and all efforts are appreciated as it is all volunteer work. As for the spelling mistkes i apologise i dont have your esteem education but thank God i have been given a voice through this site and my final words are the website is one of the worst efforts i have seen in a while.

Kevin Bonham said...

OK, so in post 11 we have someone who claims he/she is not having a go at me, but who addressed me by my surname alone and stereotyped my arguing patterns in post 7 (and is still doing the latter), tried to misrepresent me as a sinecure-bludging academic and email warrior without checking his/her facts on either score in post 9 and still continues to post as Anonymous despite me repeatedly demonstrating why anon posting is confusing, lazy, unaccountable and silly.

Anon 7/9/11 suggests that I am losing some battle about the website but the perception that I am even engaging in that battle as he/she imagines it is a miscomprehension. If I was interested in getting into the battle he/she seems to think I am getting into, I would have responded in detail to post 1 and countered or commented on many different points.

Instead, my first two posts mainly discussed one issue: my perceptions of potential problems of using chess-results (or similar external sites) as an alternative. My first post on that matter was in error but the points in the second haven't been countered by anyone.

Even in my third post (made after Anon 7/9/11 started this mistaken narrative about my intentions) my main intention was to point out the disconnect between the expectations of those who are following from a distance and those who are most directly involved, because whatever else can be said I think we had a much better feeling for the latter than the author of post 6 gives credit for.

Oh, and it was eight summers ago, not ten. And at the risk of being really pedantic, there is no God to thank, so you should really be thanking AR and blogger.com for your ability to comment here. ;)