Friday, 7 June 2013

NCF's National Chess Teams Selection Process




1. BACKGROUND

The first national team was formed in 1994 and represented the country at the Moscow Olympiad. Ever-since, a team has been sent to the Olympiad. This team participated in the Open section meaning it was open to all, including female players. However, it was not until 2006 when the NCF sent a Women’s team to the Olympiad. And although a Women’s team was selected the following Olympiad, it could not participate due to a lack of funds. The team made a welcomed return at the 2012 Olympiad.

In addition to the Olympiad, two teams were selected in 2007 and 2011 to partake in the All Africa Games held in Algeria and Mozambique, respectively. These were in the Open sections.

On the junior front, a top South African School visited Namibia in 2008 and played against top local juniors. The following year, Namibia’s top juniors went to South Africa and participated in a schools tournament.

Although not a team event, leading Juniors took part at the World Junior Chess Championships in Slovenia in 2012.

Clearly, in the 22 years of the NCF’s existence, international participation for our Junior players has been almost non-existent. And without the juniors, our chess future is doomed! Hence the idea of forming national teams at all levels.


2. OBJECTIVE

There are several objectives to be achieved with the formation of national teams.

2.1 Improve Women’s Chess
The NCF Exco has taken a deliberate step to energize women’s chess. In so doing, the Executive hopes to attract more female players and retain the current members. Leading women’s players are already active as a team in the Namsports Premier Chess League.

2.2 Groom and prepare future stars
Players need to be exposed to international play and standards at an early age. This will indeed enable them to be more competitive when representing the country at prestigious international events.


2.3 Compete with other countries

When the “real” national team plays against quality opposition on a regular basis, it will improve our players’ strength; enable our players to acquire international ratings; put our players in a position to get titles; uplift the image of Namibia abroad.

2.4 Turn chess into a local force
With good international performances comes recognition of chess as a major sport in Namibia. This would in turn make the sport attractive for Government and other stakeholders to invest and grow the sport.

2.5 Prestige
We need to give prestige to various teams so as to make it attractive for young players to strive for. Only a selected few will represent the country and each of our top players should aim to be in that fortunate clique.

3. FEDERATION’S TEAMS
Five (5) teams will be registered under the NCF and all but the President’s Team will be eligible for national colours, depending on the tournament they partake in.

3.1 Lower Junior Team
This team comprises players in the Under 8 – Under 14 range and can be mixed (both sexes). The team will be selected as follows, following the National Junior Closed Championships:
4 age-group winners + 4 players (could be from any age-group) selected by the National Coach, assisted by the President. These 8 players form the core of the team. In addition, 4 reserves will be chosen to train with the squad.

3.2 Upper Junior Team
This team comprises players in the Under 16 – Under 20 range and can be mixed (both sexes).
The team will be selected as follows, following the National Junior Closed Championships:
3 age-group winners + 3 players (could be from any age-group) selected by the National Coach, assisted by the President. These 6 players form the core of the team. In addition, 4 reserves will be chosen to train with the squad.

3.3 Women’s Team
The women’s team has no age-restriction and caters exclusively for female players.
The team will be selected as follows, following the Namibian National Championships:
In the event of a round-robin tournament (10 players or less): Top 4 players plus one player from a Selection Tournament to be played at a later stage.
In the event of a Swiss-system tournament (more than 10 players): Top 3 plus two from a Seletion Tournament to be played at a later stage.

3.4 President’s Team
This is a developmental side comprising talented players, preferably but not necessarily, under the age of 25. It should act as a feeder team to the national team. This team will be selected by the President in close co-operation with the National Coach. Some of the pointers include general chess attitude, talent, commitment, ambition and possibly interviews.

3.5 National Team (Open)
The crème de la crème. This team is open to both sexes and will represent the National team at the all major international competitions.
The team to represent Namibia at the 2014 Olympiad will be selected as follows:
Top 3 from the 2014 Namibia National Championships, Winner of the Selection Tournament and One player selected by the NCF Executive Committee. The Selection tournament, to be played after the National Championships, will consist of the following players: Top 8 players (excluding top 3 who qualify automatically), 4 selected by President plus National players from the past two Olympiads.