I am so sorry that you feel this way. I understand that it must be frustrating for you as you have a son who plays (and plays very well) so I can't share that feeling, but watching on as a coach and as someone who really cares about junior chess in this country, it is a real shame to see how static junior chess has become. I wish that people would stop talking and fighting about everything but actually get something done.
That open letter to the ECF attracted a lot of attention on this forum so I am surprised that your issues have not been dealt with yet as it was a very long time ago that was written. However, we have new people on the board now whom I am sure will be much more responsive to the parents as they are an extremely important part - as without them, who would take their children to these tournaments? Who would give them the support they need? I just hope others realise this soon. However, I am just one person and cannot change things by myself unfortunately and the support just isn't there
With regards to the Junior 4NCL, I am on my way there now. It is a shame that people have been put off this event as one of the main organisers, Claire Summerscale, is a former Junior Director and a very good one at that. She obviously has lots of experience running successful junior events.
This weekend we have GM Nick Pert coaching, which is free of charge when you enter your team - This is an excellent opportunity for the juniors. Nick is a renowned coach, having helped some fine juniors with their success (e.g. Felix, Peter).
In order to try and raise the profile of this tournament, I will be personally inviting some of the top juniors in our country to form teams in Division One which has a top prize of Â£300. The event will be FIDE rated and will ensure quality games each weekend if all the top juniors are there. I hope that this will allow team-bonding between the players so our leading juniors will be able to work together with their peers, which can aid as preparation for future England trips. Sometimes it is nice to bounce ideas off your teammates. Also, they can get to know our best coaches, so that when they do go on England trips and represent our country, the coaches will already be familiar with their games, making the process a lot easier and better.
I have ran these ideas past the Junior Director, who thinks it is a nice idea so for the January and March weekends, I hope that the J4NCL will be looking very strong indeed. I am also doing the same with the English girls, forming a female team, as I believe they can take on the boys
Division two will be a step down - so those who do not want to play FIDE rated games, or prefer to play a shorter time limit. I will also personally invite some teams for this. These will be the players who may not be in their top 10 in their age group, but who clearly are playing a lot and enjoying the chess and want to play more.
Division three is for anyone - whether you are a beginner, or have played for a while but not played in many competition, this is the division to play in! The games are faster so you can fit more in and there is always a coach on hand so you can ask them anything in between the rounds. This weekend, that coach will be me
I hope this system will target all tupes of juniors and I know that Mike, Claire, Alan and the rest of the J4NCL team really want to focus on providing QUALITY coaching for the juniors. The fact that it is at no extra cost to the entry fee is amazing and I think that this league could build up its prestige again if we just give it a chance.
Please, parents and organisers, forget about the past and what hasn't been done, if we can give these events a chance and all work towards a positive future for junior chess, then we can fight this and make things good!!
P.S - I have brought chess for tigers with me to read! So those who have donated for that, thank you