JustinHorton wrote:Of course if I were to take the Times piece seriously I would say "what's the problem - there's already six million people playing the game in the UK and six hundred million worldwide".
But there aren't, of course, and not only do we know it, but if we hawk around that editorial any sceptical observer is going to say "hang on - that piece is nonsense in several ways".
This strikes me as obvious.
I think that this attitude is at the heart of the malaise in English chess.
Do you believe that there are 6 million people who have played chess in Britain in the last year?
They say they did, but some (many?) chess players say it was not "proper chess" - perhaps they did not know all the rules. So it should not count. But as far as those surveyed were concerned it was a game of chess. It is no wonder so many of these chess players do not want to mix with organised chess which can so disparage them.
The problem is more than just the response to the survey results. It happens in personal contact as well. When I asked some younger people why they gave up competitive chess they said it was because you were made to feel stupid when you were weaker than other players. Why were card game festivals popular? - because even if you are a novice and do not properly know the rules you are made welcome and can still enjoy it.
As chess players we need to learn to respect players of all abilities. An important part of my approach to running a school chess club is that the weakest players are important and need to be treated with respect. I think that is an important component of why the chess club now has over 150 members - even if some of them will still set up the board wrongly.
We should be pleased that 25% of 18 to 25 year olds say that they have played chess in the last year, and make them welcome in any and every context.