I’m still not sure if I’ll be allowed to go for the WSC, but anyway this is the (playing) schedule that I have set up for myself irregardless of whether I qualify:
– Practice at JGCC/ TPY (TPY unlikely) whenever free (min 4 games), perhaps with 1 week break every 3 weeks
– Practice at any other Scrabble gathering (depends on the occasion and how long it stretches, but hopefully 1 game every 1.5 hours spent)
– Practice at every rated tournament (obviously depends on army schedule, but I should be at least free for the upcoming JGCC mini)
– Organise one practice or tournament at Signature Park (no tournaments in October, perhaps this will be a good time)
I would probably relax the first two points if I find out I’m not permitted to go for the WSC.
There’s been some debate about the WSC qualification criteria (probably almost resolved), but I’m wondering a bit about the WYSC qualification criteria, which can be seen here.
As it was in 2006, the qualifying criteria was a little stricter, requiring a minimum rating of 1600 and 32 games played (between 1 May to 31 October 2006). I remember struggling very hard to qualify, eventually jumping into the 1600+ zone right before the end of the QP. As you can see, I was bungling here and there (if you look at my positions in the tourneys) during that year, and it wasn’t easy for me to qualify (though I thought I might have been a little underrated at that time in the 1500+ zone), especially since I was rather new to SA.
The current criteria is a little different and perhaps easier – it requires a 1500 rating and a minimum of 16 games played (note: QP states “any time before 31 October 2009”, which could mean 2008, 2006 or 1999!). I find this a little too lax though – a requirement of 16 games means someone inexperienced could just qualify by playing 2 minis. If the current criteria was applied to 2006, I would have hit the mark pretty early, and I could have stopped playing by the July mini even though I was at that time very inexperienced (which would definitely make me a bungler at WYSC 06).
I believe the extra effort I put in in 2006 was very beneficial to me – although it did not make me a good player, it gave me some of the necessary fundamentals – calmness while playing, tile tracking and time management. It allowed me to witness the standard of Singaporean masters, giving myself a target to strive for. I don’t believe I would have achieved all these without playing the Nationals or the individual minis in 2006.
Yes, my purpose of writing this is to suggest change. My suggestion is not to alter the rating criteria as I feel it is high enough to ensure a decent-enough pool of qualifiers (this is unlike 2006 where we had 5 spots and the average qualification rating was probably 1700+ – hence 1600 was alright). I feel, though, that more games should be required to qualify – perhaps at least 32 or even more games.
It might be valid to say that since 56 games are needed to qualify for the WSC (at the moment), 16 games for the youth competition might be justified; but I think qualifying for the WSC requires much more experience than 56 games within the QP. For one, the qualifier would probably be high rated, which would require a period of time (i.e. more than 56 games) to achieve (unless he’s a low rated National Champion, which is again rather unlikely). For the WYSC though, it is very possible to hit 1500 within 16 games, with some prior experience on ISC (which does not give one the fundamentals of playing in real life).
In fact, I believe it is justifiable to demand at least one Division B major’s worth of experience from the WYSC qualifiers. The WYSC is not a short tournament (not as gargantuan as Causeway though), and some stamina is required. Though there are less games in Division B majors, at least there are more games there than a one-day mini.
Another suggestion would be to set a definite time for the QP, perhaps tied closely to the WSC QP (for easier administration). I don’t have a specific suggestion for this but I think “any time before 31 Oct 2009” is too long a QP. Personally, I played 51 games within the QP (not even a year) in 2006, including a 16-game major. Even though there are less tourneys now, there are still many chances to get at least 32 games in about a year.
The current qualifiers at this point of time all meet my proposed criteria, though I do know of someone who’s trying to qualify on 16 games. Perhaps it would be good to introduce a more rigorous criteria for the next few years.