Innovations in chess organisation

Discuss anything you like about chess related matters in this forum.
Post Reply
User avatar
Christopher Kreuzer
Posts: 7627
Joined: Fri Aug 06, 2010 2:34 am
Location: London

Innovations in chess organisation

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Sun Oct 31, 2010 9:36 pm

I was reading the post about the ChessPoint service provided in Northamptonshire, and I'm starting a new thread about innovations in chess organisation. The model used by ChessPoint sounds interesting. It reminds me a bit of the thread about chess cafes. Does anyone know of any other models of chess organisation, either in the UK or abroad, that are different from the norms (i.e. not normal congresses, leagues, local clubs or online clubs)?

The earlier post is here: http://www.ecforum.org.uk/viewtopic.php ... 3&start=27

Scott Freeman
Posts: 284
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:42 am

Re: Innovations in chess organisation

Post by Scott Freeman » Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:54 am

Hi Christopher

I have always thought we were something of innovators at CCF for the organisation of our club activities:
* Centrally organised events with fixtures and events controlled by our web site and a weekly email
* A pyramid structured club championship, with over half of the divisions now FIDE rated.
* An internal (mostly) team league with 2 divisions of 8 and annual promotion and relegation. With everyone playing together, this has been very exciting.
* 5 Designated speed chess nights with team league plus rapidplay and blitz individual tournaments
* A FIDE Rated team league (can't believe there are too may of them in the evenings)
* A "World Cup" tournament (as we call it) - basically 3 knock-out tournaments preceded by a group phase (random draw) to decide who plays in which one.
(We have a full size replica (more or less) of the real World Cup)
* Summer tournaments (some FIDE rated) for those who want to play all year round

http://www.ccfworld.com/Chess/ChessClub ... bIndex.htm

All of the above are played on Monday nights, except for the FIDE team league which is played on Wednesday nights.

We have a total active club membership (including both full and associate) of around 130 players, yet only 1 team in the inter-club scene - which is a good indication of how comprehensive the internal structures are. This obviosuly doesn't touch on our congress activities, junior tournaments and school coaching program, but with the structures we have a junior could join CCF, work their way up the club and earn their way into GM norm events, thus the possibility that someone could become a GM without ever playing a game of chess outisde of our venue. Obviously the reality of that statement is not a realistic way forward as external experience is obviously vital, but it is a good "boast" to have.

Tony Robson
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Feb 21, 2008 8:36 pm

Re: Innovations in chess organisation

Post by Tony Robson » Fri Nov 05, 2010 2:27 pm

Scott Freeman wrote:Hi Christopher

I have always thought we were something of innovators at CCF for the organisation of our club activities...
Hi Scott, your post was most interesting, thank you.

You clearly illustrate the strong internal structure of CCF, with an emphasis on developing your young chess talents into strong players without them having to leave your group. This continuity must be an asset.

I note that most of your activities take place on Monday and Wednesday evenings. We find that 90% of those joining the ChessPoint community want their chess in the daytime and weekends, not on weekday evenings. So Saturday is our big day, with the emphasis on coaching at our Academy in Northampton town centre (as you can see from our web site http://www.chesspoint.co.uk).

Our ChessPoints are public venues where everyone can play for free. ChessPoints can be successful (i) if the proprietors are truly supportive! (ii) if we can get individual volunteers (CRB-cleared) in our community to look after the ChessPoints - each "ChessPoint Champion" will turn up at a regular group session each week. Those keen on getting more chess will then come along to the weekend Academy.

Above all else, I am impressed at your strong involvement with local schools. ChessPoint has encountered many problems in reaching schools. We hope that our Youth Chess project (see our web site) will go some way to addressing this issue.

Tony Robson

Michele Clack
Posts: 437
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2008 2:38 pm
Location: Worcestershire

Re: Innovations in chess organisation

Post by Michele Clack » Fri Nov 05, 2010 4:19 pm

The Chesspoint set up looks brilliant. I wish we had it in Worcestershire. How did it get going in Northamptonshire?

Tony Robson
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Feb 21, 2008 8:36 pm

Re: Innovations in chess organisation

Post by Tony Robson » Fri Nov 05, 2010 6:42 pm

michele clack wrote:The Chesspoint set up looks brilliant. I wish we had it in Worcestershire. How did it get going in Northamptonshire?
How did it begin? Please be patient, I shall need to take you back 3½ years and tell you about Tricky Dick's and Sosta Cafe!

Tricky Dick’s
Image
I recall how I used to visit a London coffee bar in the late 1970s where they played chess every night. Happy memories! This venue, 515 Finchley Road, nestling in a small parade of shops in northwest London, has long been a café or restaurant under a succession of different proprietors. In those days it was the Tricky Dick’s restaurant and coffee bar, and remained open each night until the early hours, while the rest of London shut at 10.30 p.m.
I would frequently drop in at Tricky Dick’s for a coffee around 1 a.m. on my way home from working late in London before hitting the motorway north. The customers would be sitting at 3 or 4 tables engrossed in chess while sipping at their cappuccinos. I would not join them at the chessboards – I simply relaxed and watched them play, over a coffee. A magical atmosphere! Maybe some of you "locals" such as Adam Raoof will know of the place?
Of course, people tell me of similar venues in many countries across the globe. But Tricky Dick’s was the one that did it for me.

And so to the first “ChessPoint”…
Image
Fast forward 30 years, I am strolling through Northampton town centre. I pass this café Sosta in Abington Street and immediately have a "Finchley Road" moment! That was my inspiration for the “ChessPoint”, a community venue where members of the public could simply turn up and play chess free of charge, with sets provided by the management.

Tony Robson

Michele Clack
Posts: 437
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2008 2:38 pm
Location: Worcestershire

Re: Innovations in chess organisation

Post by Michele Clack » Fri Nov 05, 2010 10:24 pm

Wonderful. How did you take your idea forward? How did you find funding for what now appears to be a big organisation? Do you think that this is a model that could be rolled out across the country?

Tony Robson
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Feb 21, 2008 8:36 pm

Re: Innovations in chess organisation

Post by Tony Robson » Wed Nov 10, 2010 10:59 pm

michele clack wrote:...How did you take your idea forward?
So we started at Sosta Cafe (now renamed Cafe del Sol, by the way). We provided the management with 3 things:
1. 4 chess sets
2. 2 chess clocks
3. The ChessPack - a lever arch file with 30 double sided A4 matt laminated pages, covering the history of chess, famous players, and a coaching section. This is of interest to the non-chess playing public, seasoned chess players, or beginners.
We arranged a 2 hour group session there every Monday morning from 10:00 till 12:00, when 3 or 4 of us would turn up, sip coffee, and play. We built a small group of other interested indivduals who would join us from time to time.

After a few months at Cafe del Sol, we wanted to look further afield and learn the kind of public venue that might make a ChessPoint. So we tried to get going in a variety of different venues. A library, a sports centre, an old people's home, a museum, a concert hall foyer, the town hall, the local university, the local hospital, a Working Men's Club, a hotel, various community rooms, &c.
In every case, there were problems:
(i) We might be asked to pay to use the venue - in this case, we simply stopped going there.
(ii) The venue might object to us using the venue at certain times.
(iii) They might object to us talking while we were playing.
(iv) They might argue that they could not spare tables or seats for our use.
(v) They would not want to look after the chess sets &c for us!

Our broad conclusion was that each of these places was potentially a successful ChessPoint. But put simply,
(a) It needed support from the management.
(b) We needed one or two ChessPoint Champions to keep the chess going week on week.
(c) There needed to be a range of promotional tricks so that the public would know about the place and come along.

In different ways, we have found that about half-a-dozen of the ChessPoints have really worked, but in widely differing ways.

If you have a venue in your town that you either use in this way, or you think that might work as a "ChessPoint", please tell me about it and maybe we can discuss it in a lot more detail.

Michele, you did ask some further questions, but hey - one question at a time please!!

Tony Robson

matt_ward
Posts: 418
Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:20 pm

Re: Innovations in chess organisation

Post by matt_ward » Thu Nov 11, 2010 6:45 am

Hello,

I must confess I've never had the chance or opportunity to join a cafe that simply hold chess every week day, however their is a indian restaurant in which I sometimes go to have a curry with people, and look at some chess they don't mind.

But I guess unless you know someone personally it's rude to do so otherwise to go in a restaurant to look or play blitz before you eat.

Matt.

Tony Robson
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Feb 21, 2008 8:36 pm

Re: Innovations in chess organisation

Post by Tony Robson » Sat Nov 13, 2010 9:53 pm

matt_ward wrote:...I guess unless you know someone personally it's rude to do so otherwise to go in a restaurant to look or play blitz before you eat.
Matt.
Matt, if you use the place fairly regularly (there was an Indian restaurant in Swiss Cottage, London we used to visit EVERY week) then maybe you could just give them a chess set to look after for you behind the counter, to save you having to bring one with you every time. If they think it will secure them business, they might well be delighted to do that for you. Then on the back of that, you could start inviting other chess colleagues to come along and ask to borrow the set before a meal ... and so on...
Tony Robson

Frank Kamau
Posts: 34
Joined: Fri Oct 22, 2010 5:39 pm

Re: Innovations in chess organisation

Post by Frank Kamau » Sun Dec 05, 2010 1:42 pm

A thread about Chesspoint. :D I was talking to someone today who was interested in learning chess (a beginner beginner if there is such a word) and mentioned a couple of places he could look and get free coaching and Chesspoint was featured.

It would be great if the likes of Chesspoint and other grassroot chess development models also introduced a way of feeding into mainstream ECF chess. At the Cole Trophy held recently, promising youngsters from Chesspoint didn't attend for reasons I will not go into. If my memory serves me correctly, the tourneys at London back in the day featured promising youngsters who could wipe established oldies off the floor and by playing in graded events they did get official ratings.

I don't watch much football for my sins :lol: but don't the football academies feed into mainstream football and this is why you hear of Man U or Chelsea tussling for youngsters?
Taking chess in the Midlands a level up!

Post Reply