Stewart Reuben wrote:I think the main problem is that now people can play chess on the internet so conveniently. Why bother to go to a drafty school hall? Of course this means that people are still playing chess, but their numbers do not register on the radar screen. I doubt computers are a big over-the-board chessplaying threat. They are simply too strong (but I could be wrong).
Internet chess is probably the main cause of lower numbers, but what we need to impress amongst online chess players are the things they are missing out on with the over the board chess. Getting to know the person opposite you, playing psychological moves to throw your opponent off, the social side of chess.
You don't have any of this with online chess. Plus there's absolutely nothing to stop someone running a chess program like Rybka on a seperate machine and using it to win money online. You simply cannot stop that sort of cheating it's impossible. So in my opinion online chess simply will not work in a competitive environment. Don't get me wrong it has a place to play for the casual player and improving player but not in a competitive arena.
Alex Holowczak wrote:
I agree that there are a lot of youngsters who know how to move the pieces (bar en passent and castling), but that's all that really interests them.
In my experience, older children don't perceive it to be a young children's game, they just think the people who play it are "sad" and "uncool", and as a result have little to no interest in continuing to play it.
Then when most people get to 15 or so, and exams start piling up on the horizon, suddenly they don't have as much time to concentrate on chess. This trend continues when those people discover alcohol and nightclubs, and pack this into their schedules too. Extra-curricular games tend to be the sacrifice amongst non-proficient players. Because chess takes up so much time relative to other sports, it's usually the first to go.
It does have a bad image and many of the people who do play chess are "quirky" and perhaps fit many of the stereotypes but it's the job of our governing bodies to change that image in the media.
When I was playing it as a child it was seen as uncool but fortunately I wasn't so much because I got involved with the football team and got to know the supposed "cool kids" as well. But, when you actually achieve something with it the whole uncool vibe goes (such as representing your county or country) - only a very very small minority of kids hold the opinion of uncoolness.
I'd more agree with your last point. Chess takes far more dedication than most other sports. It pretty much can consume your life very easily simply because of all the reading and competitive play combined. Study, work and other social activities do tend to cut a huge chunk of time out that could otherwise be allocated to chess and the primary reason for cutting time on it is because you simply can't make a decent living out of it without becoming the very best (and not many do that!).