Please turn on javascript in your browser to play chess.
Only Chess Forum

Only Chess Forum

  1. Standard member Amaurote
    No Name Maddox
    25 May '06 19:27 / 1 edit
    I'm currently in the early stages of trying to start chess tournaments in two prisons (inmate-only at a male maximum security prison, staff+inmates at a female remand centre) on behalf of the library, and I'd be grateful for any general advice from members of chess clubs etc. here: I've only ever had limited contact with chess clubs, and my knowledge of protocol, procedure and so on is virtually nil.

    Basic idea requires much more flexibility than a normal tournament since OTB matches are often not feasible (VPs can't play main location inmates, stage II bullies aren't going to be able to play in some cases, ditto DSPD and main prison inmates), and invigilation is going to be a bit awkward - we're there to help with algebraic notation and arbitrate when necessary, but don't have the time or the inclination (we're busy with reading groups, too) to host every game. For the most part inter-wing tournament games are going to have to be correspondence-based, with feedback from Fritz (copyright permitting) - and therein lies one of the problems: I'm keen to use visual representations of positions in the newsletter, but don't want to break any copyright laws - does anyone have any suggestions on this front?

    The other main issue I'm concerned with is the nature of the group stages: I'm keen for as much intra-wing competition as possible to take place OTB, then have the ultimate winner on each wing play the winners of the other wings, before finally graduating to a single final between the two leading players (with play-offs if necessary). Naturally we'll cover all of these games in as much detail as possible, space permitting - but are
    two large groups (we're talking at least ten wings in one of these prisons, with upwards of 12 serious players on some of them) really the best option here? Is there a more logical way of doing this?
  2. Standard member DeepThought
    Losing the Thread
    25 May '06 19:43
    Your best bet looks like a modified Swiss tournament, as you could add extra rules into the way pairings are selected to avoid pairings which involve VPs not playing stage II bullies (what did all that stuff mean?).

    I don't know about the graphical stuff, I assume you want to be able to print out positions for a newsletter. I'm not aware of any free software that does it (anything released under the Gnu licence will allow you to do whatever you want provided you give them a mention), you'll have to look at the T's & C's in the software licencing agreement for non-free software. Failing that you could store all the games on SCID (a free database frontend, it can't print positions though) or just set them up on Winboard/X-board and take screenshots to generate your pictures.
  3. Standard member Amaurote
    No Name Maddox
    25 May '06 19:51 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by DeepThought
    Your best bet looks like a modified Swiss tournament, as you could add extra rules into the way pairings are selected to avoid pairings which involve VPs not playing stage II bullies (what did all that stuff mean?).

    I don't know about the graphical stuff, I assume you want to be able to print out positions for a newsletter. I'm not aware of any free s h) or just set them up on Winboard/X-board and take screenshots to generate your pictures.
    Thanks, this is much appreciated - again, I have no experience at all with calculating ratings, I imagine there's more than one formula for establishing them?

    Yes, we're looking to present graphical representations of critical positions in key games in the free prison newsletter (actually it'll probably just be the library's newsletter, and we're talking a pretty unambitious presentation to begin with).

    My apologies for the jargon, just to clarify: VPs = vulnerable prisoners, typically sex offenders; main location = ordinary prisoners (including Lifers); DSPD = Dangerous and Serious Personality Disorder unit; stage II bullies - inmates found guilty of bullying other inmates who are usually isolated and moved at particular times.
  4. Standard member XanthosNZ
    Cancerous Bus Crash
    26 May '06 00:16
    The first rule of prison chess is no shiving.
    The second rule of prision chess is no biting.
    ....
  5. Standard member Amaurote
    No Name Maddox
    28 Jun '06 21:26
    Okay, slight change of plan here: after I sent the entire team into a collective coma by presenting a plan involving the words "Forsyth-Edwards Notation", "algebraic notation" and most unforgiveable of all, "chess", even Hollow's marvellous FEN design (see http://www.the-flipside.co.uk/forum/index.php?showtopic=374) couldn't persuade them to allow a universal prison tournament: they're concerned that correspondence chess combined with algebraic notation will somehow enable main location prisoners to locate sex offenders within the establishment and work against them - actually, not just main location, but any prisoner with a will to work his malefic powers against another cell-chugger. So that's out.

    What we have now are three atomized tournaments, starting out with a pilot on A wing, where interest is strongest - ironically this is probably going to work out more effectively as a spectacle because it involves virtually no bureaucracy, no filtering, and only the barest of invigilation, with sixteen or so games taking place in the library over the summer school period in early July. We're now actively seeking chess clocks and officer support within the prison - eight inmates have already enlisted despite the most pathetic promotional effort ever (one poster produces eight inmates - compared to an entire prison campaign for reading groups, which produced exactly zip), but chess clocks are expensive, so it may be that we resort to timers. Cheers to Hollow for his characteristic altruism, though - he's wisely decided to let us credit his website to the prison newsletter rather than publicizing his name and address to about five hundred Lifers...
  6. Standard member Amaurote
    No Name Maddox
    08 Sep '06 17:28
    Arranged and organized now: 27th and 28th of this month, 16 inmates with a reserve panel of three, four groups of four, one final taking place on the 28th, and ugly Kid Joe here supervising and making sure the annotations make sense afterwards before feeding the FENs through and inviting feedback from the lads. The hardest bit has been convincing Security: a Senior Officer came in the other day, caught one of the Prison Officer Librarians and said, "What's all this about chess? Sixteen lads in one place? It's just not f------ on."
  7. 08 Sep '06 20:17
    I could see if there were rival gangs or whatever how they could sign up for the chess tournament because they know that someone they don't like is going to be playing and then when they are playing they could all jump him... I dunno, seems like alot of effort could all be for naught if things get out of controll. Your efforts are commendable though and I wish you the best of luck... sadly though I don't think the inmates as a whole will benifit greatly from chess... maybe a couple of them will.
  8. Standard member Amaurote
    No Name Maddox
    08 Sep '06 20:52
    Originally posted by ChessJester
    I could see if there were rival gangs or whatever how they could sign up for the chess tournament because they know that someone they don't like is going to be playing and then when they are playing they could all jump him... I dunno, seems like alot of effort could all be for naught if things get out of controll. Your efforts are commendable though and ...[text shortened]... t think the inmates as a whole will benifit greatly from chess... maybe a couple of them will.
    Thanks, but honestly, there's no chance of that happening - I know most of these lads and they're (in prison terms) placid, intelligent lifers who enjoy playing chess on the wings and Summer School (the boards and sets are all coming from within the prison after I vainly attempted to ask for help from every public library in the County). The only real danger is that some of them will be on Rest In Cell, forget or go on visits without telling us in advance, or that a lockdown will scupper the whole thing - the real hazard in maximum security prisons isn't violence, it's bureaucracy.

    On the subject of benefit, we've justified the project using evidence of the value of chess in improving cognition, reasoning skills and general educational attainment (of which there is some minor and not entirely conclusive evidence), but personally I see it as of more use as an instrument promoting esteem (for yourself and your opponent), concentration/pattern recognition and basic arithmetic - I'm going to see if we can use this as evidence in numeracy qualifications (just as reading groups can potentially be used as evidence in literacy qualifications).
  9. 08 Sep '06 22:18
    Originally posted by Amaurote
    Thanks, but honestly, there's no chance of that happening - I know most of these lads and they're (in prison terms) placid, intelligent lifers who enjoy playing chess on the wings and Summer School (the boards and sets are all coming from within the prison after I vainly attempted to ask for help from every public library in the County). The only real dange ...[text shortened]... s (just as reading groups can potentially be used as evidence in literacy qualifications).
    I will take your word for it and wish you the best of luck!
  10. 08 Sep '06 23:22
    I'm not sure if this will help but I believe on the chessbase website they had at least one but possibly more articles about a prison chess tournament. Maybe you can search on there and get more info.

    I just remeber that boards were set up and several public chess players, masters+ came to the prison and gave simuls there.

    That way it was the prison as a team vs the outsiders at chess.

    I don't know what type of prisoners you have and i'm not saying anything bad but,

    Chess is War, and you don't want prisoners starting wars amongest themselves

    There will always be sore losers and winners and in a prison enviroment that might not be the best thing when it's prisoners vs prisoners.

    Nothing against the prisioners though
  11. 09 Sep '06 03:00
    Here you are Sir:

    http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=816

    Maybe that might help you out.
  12. Standard member Amaurote
    No Name Maddox
    09 Sep '06 09:47
    Originally posted by RahimK
    Here you are Sir:

    http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=816

    Maybe that might help you out.
    Ha, great article, thanks for that, Rahimk - they seem a pretty modest bunch on the whole (one of them conveniently forgot to mention another player who is his deadly nemesis when I was hunting down inmates with an interest and talent for chess), slight difference from that penitentiary in that
    gamestations and playstations (PS1s) are available and chess is not as enviably widespread as that. I'm hoping this promotes interest exponentially, and simuls and contacts with outside chess clubs would be very interesting, but right now I'm more worried about our lack of chess clocks - I'm setting time controls at 30 moves in forty minutes, but it looks like I'm going to have to beg, borrow or steal some stopwatches because there's been no response from the County.
  13. 10 Sep '06 14:49
    Originally posted by Amaurote
    Ha, great article, thanks for that, Rahimk - they seem a pretty modest bunch on the whole (one of them conveniently forgot to mention another player who is his deadly nemesis when I was hunting down inmates with an interest and talent for chess), slight difference from that penitentiary in that
    gamestations and playstations (PS1s) are available and chess ...[text shortened]... to beg, borrow or steal some stopwatches because there's been no response from the County.
    http://chess.cern.ch/tournaments/robin.en.shtml

    Thats a link that should make round robin tournaments easy to pair

    http://www.enpassant.dk/chess/softeng.htm#ELORATER
    A few programs on there which will keep track of ratings and caculate them.

    Hope it helps

    As for the time, although this is not a perfect idea if you dont get any chess clocks or stop watchs you could just give the players 2 mins per a move using a normal clock. Once two mins has passed on the clock they have to move and then its the other players move and so on. Far from perfect but might work
  14. Standard member Amaurote
    No Name Maddox
    10 Sep '06 15:04 / 1 edit
    Many thanks for that, Bedlam, your advice is as valuable as ever - the last bit especially, I think we'll be working with very little in the way of materiel. Funnily enough, we might be stealing some of the sets from the DSPD - the Dangerous and Severe Personality Disorder units have more cashflow and the inmates there have jazzier chess sets than the main location lads!
  15. 10 Sep '06 19:29
    Originally posted by Amaurote
    Ha, great article, thanks for that, Rahimk - they seem a pretty modest bunch on the whole (one of them conveniently forgot to mention another player who is his deadly nemesis when I was hunting down inmates with an interest and talent for chess), slight difference from that penitentiary in that
    gamestations and playstations (PS1s) are available and chess ...[text shortened]... to beg, borrow or steal some stopwatches because there's been no response from the County.
    Clocks are always a problem. This depends on how many clocks you will have and how many players but what about pairing up players into teams of 2,3.

    That way they can practise democracy and get to know each other better. As long as they get along though.

    Other options could be to get a few of the stronger players giving simuls. or if you could get some outsiders. Then usually if there is a clock problem you do it this way.

    When the person gets back to your board you have to move. This way clocks are not required. With many of the simuls that is what they do. Polgar's huge simul. was the same way. So the person moves, goes to the next boards...and when he comes back to your, you have to move.

    But i think the best way was already mentioned. Get a couple big digital clocks, stopwatch type so everyone can see them and then set them to a timer, and when it beeps, everyone has to move.

    When are you think of starting this thing?