Chess for seniors: Players’ satisfaction taken seriously!

Chess for seniors: Players’ satisfaction taken seriously!

Just like for the World Championship for Senior Teams in Rhodes last April, the FIDE Director for senior chess, IM Jan Rooze, has carried out a satisfaction survey for players during the latest Senior World Championship in Bucharest, which took place in November.

Actually, as many as 251 participants (69% of all players) gave their opinion by filling out a questionnaire in 3 languages, which again shows that players really care about the quality of FIDE events.

The majority of players in Bucharest marked their satisfaction with the tournament and particularly emphasized the very good playing conditions in a large and comfortable playing hall. However, a significant number of players were less happy and marked their dissatisfaction, particularly with the hotel and its location. This feedback is very valuable, and it helps us make further improvements in future events.

Also, we will continue the practice of measuring player satisfaction by way of a survey for senior events, beginning with the World Team Championships which will take place in Prague.


World Championship for Seniors, Bucharest 2019 Опрос участников /Player Evaluation/ Evaluierung der Teilnehmer
  1. Tournament website (Timeliness and Quality of Information) / Website des Turniers (Rechtzeitigkeit und Qualität der Information)/ Сайт турнира (Cвоевременность и Kачество информации)
  • Good / Gut / Хорошо
  • OK / Нормально
  • Poor / Schlecht/ Плохо
Comments/ Anmerkungen/ Примечания 2.Registration process and payments / Einschreibung und Zahlungen/ Регистрация и оплата участия
  • Good / Gut / Хорошо
  • OK / Нормально
  • Poor / Schlecht/ Плохо
Comments/Anmerkungen / Примечания 3.Transport from the Airport /Transport vom Flughafen/ Трансфер из аэропорта
  • Good / Gut / Хорошо Comments/ Anmerkungen/ Примечания
  • OK / Нормально
  • Poor / Schlecht/ Плохо
Comments/ Anmerkungen/ Примечания 4.Quality of your hotel / Qualität des Hotels/ Качество проживания в отеле
  • Very good/Ausgezeichnet/ Отлично
  • Good/Gut/ Хорошо
  • OK/ Нормально
  • Poor/Schlecht/ Плохо
Comments / Anmerkungen/ Примечания 5.Quality and Variety of Food/ Qualität und Auswahl an Essen/ качество и разнообразие питания
  • Very Good/Ausgezeichnet/ Отлично
  • Good/Gut/ Хорошо
  • OK/ Нормально
  • Poor/Schlecht/ Плохо
Comments/Anmerkungen/ Примечания 6.Access to Internet/ Internet-Zugang/ Доступ в интернет
  • Not applicable for me / Entfällt/ Не пользовался (-ась)
  • Good/Gut/ Хорошо
  • OK / Нормально
  • Poor/Schlecht/ Плохо
Comments/ Anmerkungen/ Примечания 7.Quality of the playing conditions/Qualität der Spielbedingungen/ Качество условий для игры
  • Very good/Ausgezeichnet/ Отлично
  • Good/Gut/ Хорошо
  • Average/Durchschnittlich/ Нормально
  • Poor/Schlecht/ Плохо
Comments/Anmerkungen/ Примечания 8.Overall appreciation/ Gesamtbewertung/ Общее впечатление
  • Very Good/Ausgezeichnet/ Отлично
  • Good/Gut/ Хорошо
  • Average/Durchschnittlich/ Нормально
  • Poor/Schlecht/ Плохо
Comments or recommendations/ Zusätzliche Anmerkungen und Verbesserungsvorschläge/ Примечания и рекомендации Your profile/ Persӧnliche Angaben/ Личная информация 50+ 65+ Male/Mann/ Мужчина…..………… Woman/Frau/ Женщина Your country/ Herkunftsland/ Страна …………………………………
Senior World Championships Bucharest, November 11-24, 2019 SATISFACTION SURVEY Like in Rhodes for the World Championship for Senior Teams in April, players in Bucharest were again invited to rate their satisfaction with the organisation of the tournament and make comments or suggestions. The questionnaire which players were requested to fill out was trilingual: English, Russian and German (see attachment)
  • On a total of 366 participants, as many as 251 filled out the questionnaire. This is a response rate of 69%, which is very high by any standards! For comparison, the response rate in Rhodes was slightly higher with 74%, on a lower total of 210 players.
  • Whereas players rated the organisation in Rhodes very highly in all areas, results in Bucharest were more mixed. Whereas most respondents rated the organisation very good or good, the survey also showed that too many players were unhappy, mainly with the quality of the hotel (10%), the quality and variety of meals (13%), the registration process (11%) or access to the internet (26%). Moreover, many players added critical comments, mostly in these same areas (see separate attachment).
  • At the same time, players rated very highly the playing conditions, with 51% rating them "very good”, and 37% “good”. This was due to a spacious and well lighted playing hall, with comfortable seats. On the other hand, the limited number of boards for analysis and no real analysis room was found unacceptable by many players, and it is clear that this should be an explicit requirement by the Events Commission for future tournaments.
  • Due to this high satisfaction with the playing conditions, together with good scores for the website (timelines and quality of information) and for the shuttle bus service from the airport, the overall rating for the tournament may be called satisfactory with 24% “very good” and 51% “good” (i.e. 75% in total). However, this is below Rhodes (45% very good + 49% good = 94% in total), and below the standard we must set ourselves (see below).
  • Unfortunately, as is overwhelmingly shown in by the Player Comments (see separate attachment), particularly the location of the hotel (in a very unpleasant environment, far from the city centre, near shabby industrial buildings and a noisy road) drew many critical comments and poor ratings. Consequently, players had hardly any opportunity for walks or relaxation, which was made worse by a 15 Euro price per day for access to the swimming pool or sauna. This should be marked as unacceptable, particularly when it concerns seniors who are obliged to stay in the organisers’ hotel for nearly 2 weeks.
  • The requirement for players to pay their accommodation in cash to the organiser instead of to the hotel, and the chaotic handling thereof, drew a lot of irritation by players.
  • It should be mentioned that representatives of the Romanian Chess Federation (and particularly Messrs Dobronauteanu and Danilov) did what they could to compensate for some shortfalls in the organisation.
As a conclusion, recommendations are as follows:
  • Expectations from players should be high on the agenda for future senior events, and the Events Commission will issue more detailed specifications regarding this. Moreover, it will strictly review and evaluate their implementation.
  • The results of the satisfaction survey (which should be standard for any FIDE tournament for seniors) should be included in the overall assessment of the tournament.
  • For any future tournament, an important goal must be the undoubted satisfaction of players, to be expressed by an overall rating of 90% (based on the combined scores of “very good” and “good”). At the same time, complaints or “poor” ratings by players (as was the case for 10% of players concerning hotel quality, 13% for hotel meals, 11% for the registration process and 26% for the internet) may not be downplayed, and must be given the highest attention, both for setting tournament requirements and for their evaluation.
  • As the practice of payments for accommodation (payments to be made to the organiser instead of to the hotel, the requirement of cash payments, full payments on day one, often non-returnable) often causes irritation with participants and may sometimes raise questions, it is recommended that the Events Commission draw up a crystal-clear policy in this area, more in line with normal hotel practice.
Jan Rooze Senior Chess Director December 8, 2019





On a total of 251 questionnaires filled out, 83 respondents (i.e. as much as 33%) added written comments to their ratings. As most people are rather reluctant to make written comments (particularly when language can be a barrier), we must take all these comments very seriously.

Both critical and favourable comments are shown, with number of comments in brackets.



55 critical comments in total

Hotel location not ideal (2) poor location (6) location too isolated (1); unacceptable environment (7) hotel location in an industrial area (6) unattractive location (6) inappropriate neighbourhood (2) noise and bad air from a busy road (9); hotel too far from the city centre (9); disappointing location/ unpleasant surroundings/ awful surrounding/ nowhere to walk safely/ surroundings like a slum/ poor location

“Location incomparable with Bled 2018”(1)

Unreliable taxi services near the hotel (2)/taxi drivers ripping you off (2)

Prostitution visibly active in the hotel (3)

“A hotel in an industrial area should not be chosen for a major FIDE event”(1)

“Why didn’t the organiser stick to the Oradea venue (which won the tender)?”(1)

One player from England left the tournament after week 1, because of his great dissatisfaction with a large number of items, including the poor service standard in the hotel, as well as its “ghastly” location.


Access to swimming pool/sauna at 15 Euro/day is unacceptable (3)

Rooms far too hot in the first week; air conditioning could not be switched off; windows could not be opened without excessive noise; rooms too cold in week 2

In total 22 comments concern poor access to the internet; as a reminder, 60 players called the internet access in the hotel “poor”


Cooked food often cold or tepid (6)

Insufficient variety of food (6)

Not enough food variety for Muslim players (1)

Tables in restaurant miserable and badly serviced; no saucers for coffee or teacups; messy availability of forks and knives (4); clean cutlery difficult to find (1)

Lunch and dinner far below standard (1)

The food was “average” (1); the quality of food was “poor” (1)


Personnel of the hotel unprofessional and not respectful (2)

“The staff was lovely, very helpful and eager to practice their English” (1)

Unfriendly and mostly careless staff in the restaurant (2)

Service at the reception desk far below standard (2)

Poor cleaning of rooms (4); bad smell in the bathroom (1)

Service at the reception desk far below standard (2)

Too much noise from nightclub for at least 2 nights (2)


“Registration process absolutely not acceptable” (1)

Chaotic organisation of payments for accommodation to the organiser; only cash payments accepted (9), with ATM overloaded (4)


Excellent playing conditions with good chairs and tables (4)

“Excellent, spacious and comfortable playing hall” (1)

“Playing conditions: the best so far!”(1)

No place to analyse, too few boards for analysis (6) with missing pieces for several days (3) no analysis room (2) “unacceptable” (2)

Smoking area too far (2)

Tournament information was messy (2) and difficult to understand (2)

Air conditioning in playing hall not used effectively: initially too hot, later too cold (3)

Playing hall insufficiently ventilated (2)

Pairing redone twice because of errors in results (2)


No Spanish translation for website and announcements (3)

The organising team did the job but did not care much about participants (2).

The organisers were helpful (1)

“I really appreciate the organisers for running this great chess event”.(1)

Excursion on the rest day poorly organised (2)

Players should not be forced to stay in the organiser’s hotel (2)

There should be full and half board options available (2)

9 rounds is enough for seniors (2); 9 rounds for women is better because of limited number of participants (2)

“A blind or disabled player must be given an assistant at world level events” (which was not the case in Bucharest).(1)


“I know it is difficult to please everyone but the location of the hotel should be better in the future. You have no option but to stay in the FIDE approved hotel, so the situation should be like a holiday, pleasant surroundings and catering for all diets. If you aren’t going to offer a choice for accommodation (and it is expensive!), you really should do a lot better. (player from England who gave an overall rating of “good”)

Location of the hotel made it a poor experience. Please remember that the prize money is completely irrelevant to most of us. We just want a nice event to play in. (player from New-Zealand who gave an overall rating of “poor”)


JR 8/12/2019

Here are the Romanian Chess Federation's comments on the main topics of the survey

By choosing this location, organizers targeted to provide everything in one place: board, accommodation and playing venue for all participants (which in the past did not happen in FIDE Senior events). The excellent playing hall was another argument, plus short and prompt transfers from the airport.

Even if to get to the city center there is a 5km straight road, the hotel's neighborhood is indeed unattractive and this is the main criticism showed by the survey. We didn't estimate this impact on the players, but we planned to compensate the position in the outskirts of the city by offering 3 free city tours, including visiting of the Parliament.

Regarding payments, as it was written in the regulations and as participants were instructed in all the correspondence, the first option was the bank transfer as many did for all the amount, while others have chosen to pay the balance on site by cash. Important to mention that all amounts paid in cash were against receipts. It should be a future recommendation for organizers of individual events, to have a POS at the venue. Making payments directly to the hotel is not an option in any case, as the organizers have to sign a contract with the hotel and take responsibility for all situations that may occur. Prepayments to the hotel are to be done with many months before the event, there are other amounts due as organizing fees.

Pool and sauna were extra services provided by the hotel. Prices for accommodation with full board were competitive and all participants were benefiting of various free offers such as free coffees & teas in the playing hall and other free activities such as the blitz tournament with no entry fee, wines offered and wine testing.

The World Senior championship has some particularities and difficulties and for setting up the event, it is desirable to have a thorough discussion in EVE Commission in order to determine standards and good practices in organizing it: calendar of registrations and prepayments, how to ensure efficient communication, reaction and feed-back before and during the event - as, very often, information is not properly reaching/getting to participants, critical aspects to take care of, needs and expectation for players from 50 to over 80 y.o, and also to evaluate the proper length of the tournament (9 or 11 rounds).

RCF considers this satisfaction survey created and managed by Mr. Jan Rooze a very useful tool and a good ground to further improve events' framework.


World Championship for Senior Teams Rhodes 2019 SATISFACTION SURVEY
  • During the World Championship for Senior Teams which was held in Rhodes from April 15 to 25, 2019, players were invited to rate their satisfaction with the organisation and make comments or suggestions. The questionnaire which players were requested to fill out was made up in 3 languages: English, German and Russian.
  • On a total of 210 players, as many as 156 players filled out the questionnaire. This is a response rate of 74%, which is very high by any standards!
  • Moreover, the tournament organisation was highly rated, with 45% of respondents rating it “very good”, and 49% “good”.
  • The survey included specific questions on hotel quality, quality and variety of food, quality of the playing conditions, access to the internet, transport from the airport and the process of registrations and payments. Each of these items was rated good to very good by participants.
  • The purpose of a satisfaction survey is to set proper standards for future events, with Rhodes providing an excellent benchmark. At the same time, it allows players to make comments or suggestions, or formulate the criticisms they may have.
  • In spite of the excellent rating for Rhodes, players indeed raised a number of criticisms, and they must be taken seriously.
  • A full summary of these comments, suggestions and criticisms is joint separately, and will also be forwarded to the organiser. However, the main criticisms concerned a cramped tournament room and noise from the adjacent area, as well as too limited space and boards for analysis.
Jan Rooze May 9, 2019


Comments, suggestions and criticisms

It should again be emphasised that the overall evaluation of this tournament is extremely high, and based on the response of 74% of players.

Admittedly, the criticisms below have each time been made by very few people – on a total of 210 players, of which 156 responded to the survey. However, we must value every criticism as it may be the tip of an iceberg. Moreover, we should treat every feedback from players, and certainly the negative ones, as an extremely valuable input to future events. Finally, players who gave their feedback will appreciate to be taken seriously – and hopefully come back.

(number of responses between brackets)

·        Airport pick-up

70 Euro too expensive (2)

No pick-up (1)

Late pick-up (1)

Bus too small (1)

·        Registration process and payments

Annoyance with currency issues Euro/£ (2)

Long queue for payments at arrival (2)

·        Hotel

Hotel prices too high (4) – which may have discouraged other teams or players

Why full board as the only option? (2)

Why forcing players to use organiser’s hotel? (2)

Hotel change for some teams not appreciated (4)

Amanthus hotel: poorly trained staff (1); no public lift to some areas

Often noisy in main restaurant (1)

Unattractive location of hotel (1); unpleasant beach (1)

·        Internet

Total complaints: 6, of which 4 in Amanthus Hotel

·        Playing Room

Cramped (13); too much noise outside the playing room (9)

Analysis room too small/too few boards (4); should be separate (1)

Recommendation to have no carpets in playing room re. allergy (1)

Opening/closing of curtains disturbs play (2)

Noisy water container in at least one place (2)

·        Miscellaneous

Change of timing (from May in Heraklion) commented by some; this may have discouraged others to take part

April unattractive for this location; why not later in spring or in summer?

Why change the timing for R9? (2)

Some problems with live transmission (1)

Prize fund should be increased (2)

Create a new category 75+ (2)

Category 50+ is “wrong” because these are no seniors (1) -

Drop the word “senior” from the event’s name as it puts off 50+ (1)

Why no other locations besides Germany and Greece?-e.g. France-Spain-Italy (2); also locations outside Europe suggested (2)

Why a time control 40/90? when 30/90 would be better for seniors? (2)

Proposal of special prizes for best performance of players above 90, above 80 and above 75 (1)

No “spouse programme” for partners (2); no adequate tourist information in the hotel (1)


 JR/May 9, 2019