Women at chess clubs

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David Blower
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Women at chess clubs

Post by David Blower » Sun Jun 22, 2014 6:27 pm

Our current membership of 18 is all male. So how do we attract (I wanted to use a different word than that) women to the club. They are clearly under represented at our chess club.

stevencarr

Re: Women at chess clubs

Post by stevencarr » Sun Jun 22, 2014 6:40 pm

It is a scandal that the number of female players seems to be smaller than ever ( at least as far as I know)

I would be willing to bet that if you take measures to increase the number of female members to your club, the measures you take will also attract an even greater number of new male chessplayers - as a byproduct.

But I wish I knew what could be done to get more people into chess clubs.

Chess is booming on the Internet, with sites with millions of members, but how to get them to play in clubs?

David Blower
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Re: Women at chess clubs

Post by David Blower » Sun Jun 22, 2014 7:00 pm

I am aware of the potential of making our chess club seem like a "dating agency." I do not intend to do that, but of course I am aware of the social side of it.

stevencarr

Re: Women at chess clubs

Post by stevencarr » Sun Jun 22, 2014 7:05 pm

David Blower wrote:I am aware of the potential of making our chess club seem like a "dating agency." I do not intend to do that, but of course I am aware of the social side of it.
I didn't mean that. I meant that if you make chess clubs more attractive, more people will join. And that whatever is stopping more female players from joining is probably also stopping more male people from joining.

David Blower
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Re: Women at chess clubs

Post by David Blower » Sun Jun 22, 2014 7:10 pm

The issues in my mind are:

Chess is seeing as a bit of a "geeky" activity (clearly it does require brains,) with the typical chess player going mad over his games from 30+ years ago! (Sorry if thats true for anyone lol!)

Potential members may think they are too week to join a "proper" chess club!

stevencarr

Re: Women at chess clubs

Post by stevencarr » Sun Jun 22, 2014 7:15 pm

New members probably are very weak, and will be battered by the average club player.

Almost no clubs run coaching sessions for beginners.

I never understood why not. My impression is that Bridge clubs run classes, and that these are quite popular.

Michael Flatt
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Re: Women at chess clubs

Post by Michael Flatt » Sun Jun 22, 2014 7:20 pm

Most clubs (not only chess clubs) don't market themselves effectively. They just assume that prospective members will seek them out.

The focus often revolves around finding experienced well graded players to bolster the first team.

After all, most players join a club to participate in competitive competitions, such as the local league.

When potential members visit the club they need to feel welcome regardless of their gender or standard of play.

David Blower
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Re: Women at chess clubs

Post by David Blower » Sun Jun 22, 2014 7:26 pm

You are right Michael with regards to myself. I put off the issue of joining the chess club for years because I thought I would be too week! Turns out I am ECF graded over 100 and can compete, but I had no way of knowing that before I joined. I joined to play competitively though.

stevencarr

Re: Women at chess clubs

Post by stevencarr » Sun Jun 22, 2014 7:42 pm

See if you can get local league results published in the local free paper. That must be free publicity, and tells people there is such a thing as competitive chess in their area.

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Jon Mahony
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Re: Women at chess clubs

Post by Jon Mahony » Mon Jun 23, 2014 11:23 am

Leeds CC does have a very good and up to date website http://www.leedschessclub.org.uk/ run by my colleague Alan, but we do seem to suffer from a very limited new number of members turning up - I get a lot of email interest and reply with as much friendliness as I can muster to every one, I’d say about 1 in 5 of those actually show.

Then from the ones that do turn up, usually only do so once or twice, take a few battering’s and are never seen again. Consequently we may only get 1 new, regular member, out of say 10 people interested.

I personally blame the internet - for the causal player it’s a lot easier just to go on Chess.com or whatever. I have coached several players in the past and am happy to do it with any potential new members (not that I’m a great player, but I’m fine for helping beginners).

We have had a grand total of two women interested in joining the club - one, it turned out was doing an art project and was more interested in taking pictures of our hands moving the pieces, than actually playing.

The other seemed to loose interest pretty quickly when she discovered our former club secretary had a girlfriend! (she met him on Facebook and he invited her down) :roll:

Crying shame really, I think everybody wants to see more female players.
"When you see a good move, look for a better one!" - Lasker

Krishna Shiatis
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Re: Women at chess clubs

Post by Krishna Shiatis » Mon Jun 23, 2014 2:11 pm

I couldn't help but laugh when I read this. I am a female (my name does not give this away as Krishna can be a boy's or a girl's name).

There are a few things I can mention. I teach lots of girls and boys to play chess and they love it. Girls do enjoy playing chess.

If you want more girls to play then do the following:-

1) Invite them to play - set up facebook pages inviting your friends - explain that lessons will be given to beginners. Approach girl's schools and give demonstrations. Set up sessions at your local library - there are so many things you can try.
2) When they come, teach them to play.
3) Do not hit on them as soon as they come to play.
4) Make sure they know how to play before you throw them into playing competitively for the club.

Most importantly when someone like Sabrina Chevannes comes along and offers her services as Women's Director to help and encourage women's chess from the top down, jump at the chance and accept because women are needed in all various strata of chess, not just the playing, the managing, the teaching, but also at the top to help direct when there are not many women participating.

We did have a conversation about this a while ago and whilst many supported having a Women's Director role, there were many who opposed it. Sadly, those that opposed it won and now she is not Women's Director. Indeed there is no one there. Not sure if anyone would ever step up to touch that particular hot potato - but a missed opportunity I think.

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Jon Mahony
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Re: Women at chess clubs

Post by Jon Mahony » Mon Jun 23, 2014 2:59 pm

Its not so much getting them to stay interested, it’s attracting them in the first place, but yes the face book page is a good idea, I will have to pull my finger out and get one started for LCC. But let it be known, female players would be more than welcome with us :)

I'm always patient with new members and after ascertaining they can play, give them a load of practice games, allowing them to take moves back (and usually always have white) until they have found their feet a little more. Also explaining things like the en passant rule comes in handy!

You do get the odd potential new member who fancies himself as a bit of a hustler because he wins a lot of blitz online, and turns up thinking he will crush everyone - he needs to be taught a bit of respect :wink:

1.e4 c5 2.Qh4 d6 3.Bc4 e6 gets tried a lot against me by newbies :roll:
"When you see a good move, look for a better one!" - Lasker

MartinCarpenter
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Re: Women at chess clubs

Post by MartinCarpenter » Mon Jun 23, 2014 4:02 pm

You'd need to change all sorts of things. Much nicer venues for starters.
(See Bridge which has a much healthier mix at club/semi social level, although not quite so much so at higher levels.).

Paul Habershon
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Re: Women at chess clubs

Post by Paul Habershon » Mon Jun 23, 2014 5:47 pm

(See Bridge which has a much healthier mix at club/semi social level, although not quite so much so at higher levels.).

The problem is that in chess, a game for individuals, a beginner's weak play is harshly exposed, whereas in bridge the end result is not so immediately obvious. You also have a partner to share the pain and you play lots of hands at a session. At Rubber and Chicago you can have superficial success with good cards. That's why I play nothing but Duplicate. Generalising dangerously, I also believe that more women than men like the occasional chance to chat. This is possible even at duplicate clubs between hands, but difficult in most chess clubs unless they have more than one room.

MartinCarpenter
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Re: Women at chess clubs

Post by MartinCarpenter » Tue Jun 24, 2014 9:24 am

Yes the game is better for it, but so is the whole set up. You've got a dedicated, mostly fairly pleasant space for a bridge club, often a break for tea etc. Yorkshire bridge league is 2 sets then an (often) nice tea eaten over 30+ minutes then 2 more. Yorkshire chess league is one afternoon game right through, with relatively often no refreshments at all.

Chess clubs could in theory do something relatively beginner friendly etc if they had lots of informal quick plays with chat in between, a nice room etc but (unlike bridge) there probably just isn't enough money in it to sustain this.

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