Junior chess in latest ECF board minutes

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
Paul Cooksey
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Re: Junior chess in latest ECF board minutes

Postby Paul Cooksey » Sun Jul 16, 2017 6:39 pm

I don't see the connection

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Junior chess in latest ECF board minutes

Postby Roger de Coverly » Sun Jul 16, 2017 7:02 pm

Paul Cooksey wrote:I still don't understand why the ECF is trying to collect revenue from juniors.


The ECF made an assertion that membership would collect more revenue than Game Fee or any similar pay to play method. Given that Game Fee on purely junior events had previously been de minimis, it had to raise the revenue somewhere and there would be so much more chess if only the evil Game Fee was abolished and replaced by universal membership.

Trainers and coaches make money out of juniors, why shouldn't the ECF?

Paul Cooksey
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Re: Junior chess in latest ECF board minutes

Postby Paul Cooksey » Sun Jul 16, 2017 9:05 pm

I don't have any problem with trainers and coaches making money from chess. For a lot of them I imagine it is a main objective, or one of the main objectives.

But if the ECF has the objective of encouraging juniors to take up chess, I don't see any point collecting money from them, unless it has something to spend it on that is more effective in promoting chess than making it free. I don't see any evidence that it has.

Why not give free silver membership to everyone up to 21? It leaves a big hole in the admin budget admittedly. But that is the tail not the dog.

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Junior chess in latest ECF board minutes

Postby Andrew Zigmond » Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:34 am

As I said earlier in this thread chess is a cheap hobby for juniors compared to some things; even if the ECF demanded a membership from a seven year old entering his first tournament (which they're not) it's actually cheaper than a trip to the cinema and only has to be paid once per year. I also think that when running primary school age chess clubs locally the fee does have to be sufficient to stop parents using it as a cheap childminding service. As long as the organisers are re-investing the surplus in their activities I don't see a problem.

I think we all have our own ideas on how junior chess should be structured and run and, up to a point, there is no right way or wrong way. Also juniors are individuals and what works well with one group might not with another. The key question in this thread following the latest board minutes, is what the ECF might be able to offer in the way of co-ordination and (although this word wasn't mentioned) funding.
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Roger Lancaster
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Re: Junior chess in latest ECF board minutes

Postby Roger Lancaster » Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:53 am

I agree with Andrew and would probably go further in not making this conditional on organisers reinvesting the surplus - I have no idealogical objection to organisers being paid for their work.

Andrew is surely correct in saying there is no uniquely right way of structuring junior chess (although some might feel there are definitely some wrong ways!) and, quite apart from the need to treat juniors as individuals, circumstances will differ from one area to another. I felt considerable sympathy after reading his earlier account of trying to organise secondary school chess locally.

I'm situated in Hertfordshire where things are, I would guess, rather easier. But even here we have our own peculiar problems - for example, Hertfordshire is one of the few counties to retain the 11+ examination which results in many of our 9-year-olds dropping out of chess (typically, for a year or so) to focus on passing the exam. That's entirely reasonable as, in the long-term scheme of things, the 11+ is more important. But, from a chess viewpoint, it's at best a 'lost year' and in many cases the junior, having lost the habit, never returns to the game.

One drawback of a nationally-imposed 'one size fits all' solution is that it will almost inevitably fail to take account of local differences which will be unknown to the national organiser.

Paul Cooksey
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Re: Junior chess in latest ECF board minutes

Postby Paul Cooksey » Tue Jul 18, 2017 7:59 am

I'm more interested in the ECF than junior chess if I'm honest. But I think this goes to the heart of whether it is possible to support local organisations without disrupting them. The previous board seemed to want to do a lot, but was controversial as a result. This boards has a different approach as far as I can tell.

The sort of thing I'd like the ECF to do is have a database of all the schools in England, with contact details and a record of whether they have a chess club. But not really how it sees its role I think.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Junior chess in latest ECF board minutes

Postby Roger de Coverly » Tue Jul 18, 2017 8:19 am

Paul Cooksey wrote:The sort of thing I'd like the ECF to do is have a database of all the schools in England, with contact details and a record of whether they have a chess club.


Perhaps it should offer them membership, non-voting presumably. For events inside schools or between schools, it would make more sense to offer grading services because the schools were members rather than demand that each individual participant was a member or demand a member equivalent fee.

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Michael Farthing
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Re: Junior chess in latest ECF board minutes

Postby Michael Farthing » Tue Jul 18, 2017 11:27 am

That actually strikes me as a good idea, though perhaps it might be seen by some as the thin end of the wedge to the rollback of my namesake's legacy!

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Junior chess in latest ECF board minutes

Postby Andrew Zigmond » Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:09 pm

Building a database of schools and/ or negotiating a special grading deal for schools is unlikely to solve the main problem which is getting chess activity going in the first place, particularly from age 11 upwards. Where secondary school chess is at its strongest is within private schools who can afford to invest in chess as an activity and (on occasion) actually pay a suitably qualified teacher. In the state sector chess is less likely to happen unless there is a teacher with an interest in running a club. With schools facing budget challenges obtaining chess equipment might be difficult and certainly not a priority.
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Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Junior chess in latest ECF board minutes

Postby Andrew Zigmond » Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:45 pm

I was tempted to add a paragraph about what the ECF could do to help junior chess activity but the board and Malcolm in particular may already be one step ahead of us. It will be interesting to see the management information promised and what ideas he comes up with.
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Paul Cooksey
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Re: Junior chess in latest ECF board minutes

Postby Paul Cooksey » Tue Jul 18, 2017 11:00 pm

I think it is fair to say Andrew is missing my point. I'm also interested to see what Malcolm proposes though.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Junior chess in latest ECF board minutes

Postby Roger de Coverly » Tue Jul 18, 2017 11:00 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:I was tempted to add a paragraph about what the ECF could do to help junior chess activity but the board and Malcolm in particular may already be one step ahead of us.


I've felt for a while that whilst CSC (Malcolm's other interest) does a lot for employment of chess coaches at a low level and to high level coaches to dumb down in the interests of earning a living, it has little or nothing to offer at the amateur level of maintaining a viable population of those taking chess seriously as a pastime or non-physical sport.

Nick Grey
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Re: Junior chess in latest ECF board minutes

Postby Nick Grey » Tue Jul 18, 2017 11:38 pm

A lot of the comments here are not particularly helpful and also agree that they are getting ready for the British which has a large junior element.

For those that are aware of Education & Skills Funding agency over the last few years have moved from a policy aim of funding schools at the average of private schools to the announcement yesterday of a minimum funding level of £4,800 per pupil in a secondary school. No funds for anything that is not part of the education funding act. Oh yes there is the doubling of the specific Primary School PE and sports grant for each school. No where near enough to fund an hour sports per pupil per week. In my primary days we probably had 2 hours a week with the odd primary school competitive match.

Schools will be making big decisions on their budgets and with this on the horizon I suspect they will charge parents or organizers for substantial room hire especially where nndr and premises costs may have doubled in one year. Not least schools will almost certainly be picking up fire insurance and prevention costs and maybe substantial repairs/renewals costs.
Minister announcement in the House on Tuesday.
We will get a bit more detail shortly but that will be after most schools break up on Thursday or Friday most schools had already got parents to write to government about the possibility of their schools losing specific levels of funding.

Education is no longer Government's top priority in public services.

Chess is very expensive for what I have seen - and going back to my secondary school days our materials were the school library and also we used our public library borrowing scheme on chess books - if I had not used mine on a textbook for a certain subject or a novel. We were expected to play for school teams - rugby or rowing, cricket or rowing or cross country and also play for schools chess and bridge teams.

My parents were poor - they still are. They had difficulty paying for school uniform, school kits all available from Harrods.

So if I wanted to play a chess tournament or say go train spotting I would have to save my pocket money and do that. When I was 16 I worked for a local supermarket for 13 hours a week, more so over the summer holidays, also had a wonderful baby sitting service for the local families at an incredibly high rate (nice for me as I had the peace and quiet for my homework and once that was done the opportunity to watch this new media - the video - for watching movies that were stacked on shelves.

On the chess club side we had a foreign junior 17 for the season he also played for another local club in London League (as I do) and also for our CSC 4NCL team. He is not coming back to this country. So we are 1-1 = NIL at this moment. Some of our players do coaching.

Not had a phone call for a few months from a prospective junior membership but then again we play in a pub. Other than approaching local schools and college as well as the university in September there is not a lot we can do.

BCF has a substantial junior legacy and they should in my opinion use this to support juniors and their families. Arguing about grading costs is immaterial in the big scheme of things.

Neill Cooper
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Re: Junior chess in latest ECF board minutes

Postby Neill Cooper » Tue Jul 18, 2017 11:43 pm

Paul Cooksey wrote:The sort of thing I'd like the ECF to do is have a database of all the schools in England, with contact details and a record of whether they have a chess club. But not really how it sees its role I think.

That is a nice idea Paul, but how could we achieve it? As ECF Manager for Schools I have a few hundred schools in my database, out of the 25,000 in the UK. Life is busy, so how can those with more time help me get this data?

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Junior chess in latest ECF board minutes

Postby Roger de Coverly » Tue Jul 18, 2017 11:49 pm

Nick Grey wrote: Arguing about grading costs is immaterial in the big scheme of things.


It isn't directly about grading costs. It's more that the ECF needs to raise money to support its employed office, subsidise International adult (and junior) teams and possibly other national events including the British Championships.

So how and who do you levy for finance?


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