Friday, August 17, 2012

Ladder Challenge Reservations – I Mean, Member’s Reservations about the Ladder Challenge

Every tournament, regardless of format, needs players. Not everyone is playing in the LCCC Ladder Challenge. That is a shame really. Most members are - and that is great!

But let’s try to list and then analyze some of the reasons someone may not wish to participate:
1. “I don’t want to have to maybe play everyone in the club. I just want to play certain people in the club.”
2. “I don’t want my chess results posted ANYWHERE for ANY reason.”
3. “I don’t like to play with any pressure of any kind.”
4. “I don’t want to have to [challenge/accept a challenge] from a much [stronger/weaker player] than I am.”
5. “I’ll end up on the [top/bottom] of the LADDER and remain there anyway. What is the point?”
6. “I don’t like to [use a chess clock/write down moves].”
7. “I don’t [like/understand] the Ladder rules.”
8. “I [can’t/don’t] attend often enough and all my Ladder rung gains will get wiped out.”

Now let me comment on each Ladder reservation:

1. Nothing anyone can do about that. I don’t think the government has mandated forced chess playing – yet. But, you are missing out big time.

2. Thru - 5.

These are all ego driven excuses and should be dropped like a hot iron. It is a GAME folks. Have fun. In a week or two – or 100 years from now, what will your result of your ladder game on a given night affect? Upsets happen, errors happen and blunders happen. So what? Get’em next time – or don’t – whatever!

Learn from your losses, savor your wins, but enjoy the challenge, the friendships and our beautiful game of chess - not your results.

If I was the second coming of Bobby Fischer and rocketed to the top of the Ladder – and no one could beat me – I would enjoy the status and mentor all the challengers that lost to me. I would go over the games with them and help them in their chess growth. But that is just me.

I might even have the TD to put me back on the bottom after I reached the top, so I could challenge people I did not play on my last climb. But again, that is just me.

6. You don’t have to use a clock. Most players will accommodate your wishes. The players that don’t – don’t play them (they will win the challenges against you however) and don’t challenge them. You will have others who will play by your request. It certainly is not a show stopper. If it becomes prevalent, maybe we change the rule where the challenger decides whether to use a clock or not. MAYBE. But I doubt it will be an issue. Writing the moves of your game is always optional.

7. You can’t learn the rules if you are not using them. The Ladder TD or others can explain them to you multiple times if necessary. And as far as not liking them, you really should be ON THE LADDER to even worry about it. Your opinion would matter a great deal more if you were being affected by the rules directly. All possible improvements will be considered, but the purpose of the Ladder Challenge is to have a simple, easy way for all the players to play all the players in the club – and the Ladder accomplishes that – if players get on the Ladder.

8. If you inform the Ladder TD that you will be gone for a period of time, your spot on the Ladder can be frozen. Challengers can skip you and go “5” up for challenges in the interim. Now, you will drop as people below you beat people above you, but that is life on the Ladder. But you won’t be dropped off or have to start completely over – unless you miss your return date.

Are there any other reasons for Ladder avoidance that I can squash? Let me know in the comment section and I will be glad to do so.

This article is for every player for every chess club with a Ladder Tourney: Your club needs you and your chess game needs you – on the Ladder!

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