Media comments on chess

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JustinHorton
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Re: Media comments on chess

Post by JustinHorton » Fri Apr 18, 2014 8:04 pm

Mike Truran wrote:Which bit of 'steal cars, chase and gun down thieves' do you think is inaccurate?
It's a video game, not a catechism.
Mike Truran wrote:Shouldn't we be celebrating the fact that The Times led with chess in an editorial rather than accusing it of 'sanctimonious pomposity'?
Not especially, no. I think we ought to look beyond the temptation just to say "hurrah" when somebody mentions chess - and consider what they're saying about it. if people agree with the editorial - that's fine. But I'd really like to get to that stage.
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

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Re: Media comments on chess

Post by Mike Truran » Fri Apr 18, 2014 8:16 pm

Well, each to their own view I suppose.

Neill Cooper
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Re: Media comments on chess

Post by Neill Cooper » Fri Apr 18, 2014 9:14 pm

Mike Truran wrote:Shouldn't we celebrating the fact that The Times led with chess in an editorial
Of course we should!
Now comes the challenge - how to build on it. Obviously things are going well at primary school stage with both UK Chess Challenge and Chess in Schools and Communities.
But we need to get chess inbedded in secondary schools, like it used to be.
My strategy, as ECF National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator, is to get the schools wanting to be involved in chess, and in particular in Team Chess Challenge. http://www.teamchesschallenge.org.uk/
I plan in due course to take a direct approach, circulating to maths teachers via the UK Maths Trust (UKMT) circulation list.

Paul Douglass
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Re: Media comments on chess

Post by Paul Douglass » Sat Apr 19, 2014 6:27 am

JustinHorton wrote:
Mike Truran wrote:Which bit of 'steal cars, chase and gun down thieves' do you think is inaccurate?
It's a video game, not a catechism.
Mike Truran wrote:Shouldn't we be celebrating the fact that The Times led with chess in an editorial rather than accusing it of 'sanctimonious pomposity'?
Not especially, no. I think we ought to look beyond the temptation just to say "hurrah" when somebody mentions chess - and consider what they're saying about it. if people agree with the editorial - that's fine. But I'd really like to get to that stage.
Oh what a dreary world we live in.

Was it the wrong paper for you? Mr Keene does his superb chess column, fresh full of new material there you know! Ah yes, I think you know that already. Nothing like an biased view! Your views are certainly nothing like biased views, are they?
Paul Douglass

"Every time I win a tournament I have to think that there is something wrong with modern chess." - Victor Korchnoi

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JustinHorton
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Re: Media comments on chess

Post by JustinHorton » Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:56 am

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.
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

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Re: Media comments on chess

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Apr 19, 2014 9:20 am

JustinHorton wrote: But there aren't, of course, and not only do we know it
The 6 million was solid in a manner of speaking, was it not? But it was the extrapolated answer from a survey which asked how many times a year the respondent played chess. Did people count in the six million if they they said once? But that's playing chess in the sense of firing up the engine on your phone or computer for a casual game or even just admitting knowing how the pieces move.

The world total was just an extrapolation from a handful of countries.

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Re: Media comments on chess

Post by Neill Cooper » Sat Apr 19, 2014 6:54 pm

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.

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Re: Media comments on chess

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:10 pm

Neill Cooper wrote: Do you believe that there are 6 million people who have played chess in Britain in the last year?
The context was one of those market research surveys, where they take a smallish sample and presume it to reflect the country as a whole.

If there are 6 million who have played chess, where are they playing? It's not in chess leagues or Congresses or even in school events like the Basman Chess Challenge.

One correlation that used to work is to estimate the number of players from the number of chess sets sold. That's broken now because of playing online, but the numbers playing at chess sites will be countable, if duplicated.

The balance is presumably those playing against an engine on their computer. To make sense of the statistics, you might want a few other games thrown in to place the chess estimate in context. How would it compare to Pet Rescue, Kandy Krush and other games that seem popular? Magic: The Gathering even.

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Re: Media comments on chess

Post by Michael Farthing » Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:52 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Neill Cooper wrote: Do you believe that there are 6 million people who have played chess in Britain in the last year?
The context was one of those market research surveys, where they take a smallish sample and presume it to reflect the country as a whole.

If there are 6 million who have played chess, where are they playing? It's not in chess leagues or Congresses or even in school events like the Basman Chess Challenge.

One correlation that used to work is to estimate the number of players from the number of chess sets sold. That's broken now because of playing online, but the numbers playing at chess sites will be countable, if duplicated.

The balance is presumably those playing against an engine on their computer.
Err.. Well in 1958 they missed out of the statistics me (aged 5) playing with my dad in the front room. My dad had never played in a club, or a league or a congress or online. I suppose that doesn't happen anymore?

If you tried to assess the number of people who played scrabble last year by examining the size of scrabble clubs people would think you were crackers. How is chess different?

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Re: Media comments on chess

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:50 pm

Michael Farthing wrote: If you tried to assess the number of people who played scrabble last year by examining the size of scrabble clubs people would think you were crackers. How is chess different?
I don't think it is, but if you wanted to know how much interest there would be in a Scrabble world championship, you would look first to the clubs. But without a context 6 million is just a number in the air. Using the same methodology what would be the total for Scrabble, Bridge, Monopoly etc ?

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Michael Farthing
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Re: Media comments on chess

Post by Michael Farthing » Sat Apr 19, 2014 9:18 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Michael Farthing wrote: If you tried to assess the number of people who played scrabble last year by examining the size of scrabble clubs people would think you were crackers. How is chess different?
I don't think it is, but if you wanted to know how much interest there would be in a Scrabble world championship, you would look first to the clubs. But without a context 6 million is just a number in the air. Using the same methodology what would be the total for Scrabble, Bridge, Monopoly etc ?
The Times wasn't interested in world championships. The context was made absolutely specific and referred to the number of people who played chess. The number interested in world championships was never mentioned and probably had never occurred to the article writer: even less the number interested in the politics of FIDE :D

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Re: Media comments on chess

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Apr 19, 2014 9:25 pm

Michael Farthing wrote: The context was made absolutely specific and referred to the number of people who played chess.
Six million is an estimate of the number playing chess. By context I mean that you should use the same sampling method to find parallel estimates for Bridge, Backgammon, Scrabble, Grand Theft Auto etc. You then know whether "six million" and "six hundred million" are impressive or not.

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Re: Media comments on chess

Post by Ian Kingston » Sat Apr 19, 2014 10:35 pm

I've just spotted this on the Radio Times website: Tom Baker: “I didn’t like K-9 at all”

There's a still of K-9 playing chess against the Doctor. The board is (of course) the wrong way round.

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Re: Media comments on chess

Post by Neill Cooper » Sat Apr 19, 2014 11:06 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Neill Cooper wrote: Do you believe that there are 6 million people who have played chess in Britain in the last year?
The context was one of those market research surveys, where they take a smallish sample and presume it to reflect the country as a whole.

If there are 6 million who have played chess, where are they playing? It's not in chess leagues or Congresses or even in school events like the Basman Chess Challenge.

One correlation that used to work is to estimate the number of players from the number of chess sets sold. That's broken now because of playing online, but the numbers playing at chess sites will be countable, if duplicated.

The balance is presumably those playing against an engine on their computer. To make sense of the statistics, you might want a few other games thrown in to place the chess estimate in context. How would it compare to Pet Rescue, Kandy Krush and other games that seem popular? Magic: The Gathering even.
Yougov is a reputably market research organisation who will have taken a reasonable sample size and demographic spread.

I would imagine that most of the chess players were using the free software on their phones, tablets and computers. Others will be using free chess servers such as that on yahoo. Some will be playing on physical chess sets at home against family members.

I would imagine less played chess than Candy Crush and the like, but still 6 million British people played chess last year! A small fraction of those who played informal games will go on to start playing more formally and in due course may start playing graded games. We should give them all the support and encouragement we can in this progression.

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Re: Media comments on chess

Post by Matt Fletcher » Sat Apr 19, 2014 11:26 pm

These are the results of the UK YouGov poll

The 6m is 12% of the adult population who have played chess either against a person or a computer in the last year. Interestingly there are another 28% who have played at some point in their adult life, but not in the last year.

This gives some detail of the "worldwide" methodology (actually only UK, US, India, Germany and Russia)

The India numbers in particular are quite odd in that they are based on 1000 people who are intended to be representative of the online population in India, fully 70% of whom apparently play chess at least once a year.

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