WHERE IN THE UK TO PLAY CHESS?

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Steven DuCharme
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Re: WHERE IN THE UK TO PLAY CHESS?

Post by Steven DuCharme » Fri Oct 02, 2015 7:07 pm

I concur with Mr.Towers aka Benjamin Button
I float like a pawn island and sting like an ignored knight :mrgreen:

David Blower
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Re: WHERE IN THE UK TO PLAY CHESS?

Post by David Blower » Sat Oct 03, 2015 1:16 am

Peter Webber wrote:Could anybody recommend Chess Mentor or any other package as a fast-track route to progress, please?
No such thing exists.

If you have notated one of your games why not post it on here.

Peter Webber
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Re: WHERE IN THE UK TO PLAY CHESS?

Post by Peter Webber » Tue Oct 20, 2015 5:02 pm

Sorry Roger, but I'm having difficulty in understanding your reply. The only thing that's 'cool' about chess nowadays is the atmosphere inside the clubs. His Holiness the Tournament prevails. No help or encouragement for the casual player wishing to improve due to the surreal atmosphere of the prevailing silence. No opportunities for listening in on casual lectures, analysis, or demonstrations etc. - they don't seem to exist. No constructive feedback on my games, especially when I bring up the subject of disparity of grading; my club secretary tells me 'us higher rated players don't have a spare queen in our pocket' or 'at Christmas we usually have an odds tournament'. It's all about tournaments, matches and county championships. And, despite my wishes to not play in tournaments until I feel I can improve significantly, I've been directed towards leaflets with 'under 130' type tournaments advertised, with the comments '...you ought to go in for this/that.' So, why would I want to spend out money on travel and entrance fees etc trying to play at 129 rating when I would struggle to meet a 61 rating? What does the BCF do with the money from tournament entries? I doubt if it invests in opportunities to train and foster encouragement in the sport for newcomers, as I've yet to find any training/improvement courses or such like which I would welcome the opportunity to take part in, (sorry, did I mention 'sport' above: I should have said 'game' as 'sport' implies a contest where the opportunities are equal).

Mick Norris
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Re: WHERE IN THE UK TO PLAY CHESS?

Post by Mick Norris » Tue Oct 20, 2015 5:16 pm

Peter

We are trying to put together an initiative in Manchester to help adult players improve (as we feel there are opportunities for juniors) and if you lived in Greater Manchester I could happily point you to a club that could help you

I do recognise your description of some clubs, though (or at least some of the time e.g. when matches are taking place)

The only thing that springs to mind, and it may be wide of the mark, re training is:
residential chess holiday
and
tiger chess

There are lots of resources put into junior newcomers
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

Roger de Coverly
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Re: WHERE IN THE UK TO PLAY CHESS?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Oct 20, 2015 5:22 pm

Peter Webber wrote: So, why would I want to spend out money on travel and entrance fees etc trying to play at 129 rating when I would struggle to meet a 61 rating?
The lowest section of a tournament contains players from a near zero grade up to the maximum. The Scarborough tournament this weekend has a massive entry for its lowest section running from 10 to 120, but there are other tournaments with slightly lower limits for their bottom section who attract numerous players with grades well below 100.

http://www.scarboroughchesscongress.org ... tries.html

The nature of the pairing scheme "winners v winners", "losers v losers" means that a 61 grade player would meet at most one 129 player if at all, unless they showed that they were equal to the task by winning games. Beating a player or two graded 79 should be achievable.
Peter Webber wrote: What does the BCF do with the money from tournament entries?
Apart from the point that it's the ECF, by and large the ECF doesn't see any of it. The entry fees in tournaments pay for hiring the hall and funding the prize fund.

Most of the (older) chess players in the UK are essentially self taught. They learned from reading such books as "Logical Chess Move by Move" and Fischer's 60 Memorable Games. There's loads of study material out there, both in book form and electronic. There's no spoon fed way to success, a bit of self study is necessary.

Michael Flatt
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Re: WHERE IN THE UK TO PLAY CHESS?

Post by Michael Flatt » Tue Oct 20, 2015 5:46 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote: Most of the (older) chess players in the UK are essentially self taught. They learned from reading such books as "Logical Chess Move by Move" and Fischer's 60 Memorable Games. There's loads of study material out there, both in book form and electronic. There's no spoon fed way to success, a bit of self study is necessary.
Spot on, Roger.

I've got a 6 year player at the club who learned the moves watching his sister and father play. He doesn't like to be told how to play and enjoys finding things out for himself. He has discovered players Tal, Larsen and Fischer and tells me about their games.

YouTube videos and modern technology make so much available to anyone wanting to learn the game. My young student is getting to the stage where he needs a bit more guidance but his enthusiasm is boundless.

David Blower
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Re: WHERE IN THE UK TO PLAY CHESS?

Post by David Blower » Tue Oct 20, 2015 6:10 pm

Well at Brewood tonight we will be going over in detail the game contained in this thread: http://www.ecforum.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=7837

It will be a chance to see how I could have improved in general in the game.

The juniors at our club will have the chance to show me how they would have won against me as well!

Whilst our club does have ECF graded matches, (and yes I do take the ECF matches seriously) it also has a social atmosphere. There is no harm at our club just playing social matches, learning new and different openings, and going through various techniques required in the endgame, analysing previous games, and even takeback moves after obvious blunders (although that is only done in friendlies.)

Peter, if you have notated one of your games, I'll offer to go through it with you on the forum. I am only 105 graded, and I guess some others on the forum will have better analysis.

However, no one who plays chess, is immune from blunders. Often you only notice a blunder straight after you have let go of the piece. There is no short cut that anyone knows to cut that out, and if anyone ever finds it, please can they let me know!

Roger de Coverly
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Re: WHERE IN THE UK TO PLAY CHESS?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Oct 20, 2015 6:50 pm

David Blower wrote:Well at Brewood tonight we will be going over in detail the game contained in this thread: http://www.ecforum.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=7837
Once you reach the position below, it becomes the question of how to win with a piece up. That is one thing which can determine relative grades, that higher graded players get better at finishing this sort of game off in a risk free manner. At a higher level, people just resign, but you need a reputation to be able to force resignation.



Looking at the position, in the actual game, White took the bishop, but that was after Kh7. If Black had played Kf8, I think White takes the Rook instead as the Knight on c6 is in danger of being trapped if Black plays .. a5 .

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Michael Farthing
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Re: WHERE IN THE UK TO PLAY CHESS?

Post by Michael Farthing » Tue Oct 20, 2015 9:27 pm

This last post must surely have left Peter behind given that he said, "So, why would I want to spend out money on travel and entrance fees etc trying to play at 129 rating when I would struggle to meet a 61 rating?" - particularly as the diagram starts from the wrong position. It might be interesting to review this game, but the topic is Peter's. Please, Roger, take your analysis elsewhere and give some thought to someone who is seeking help. Peter, take up David's offer, and avoid anyone with a higher grade who has fogotten the time when they had a lower one.

Edit: Do it by PM. You won't get distracted or hijacked then.

John Townsend
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Re: WHERE IN THE UK TO PLAY CHESS?

Post by John Townsend » Wed Oct 21, 2015 12:06 pm

It is a sad state of affairs if weaker players who visit clubs say they are neglected. It used not to be so. I put it down to the ECF's obsession with grading. They seem to provide few facilities to help our weaker brethren. It seems almost as if one of the few things the ECF wants to do with them is accept their money in exchange for over-priced grading services.

Of course, we want to excel at chess at the highest level as a nation, but I don't see that coming about until health at the grass roots level has been restored.

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Michael Farthing
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Re: WHERE IN THE UK TO PLAY CHESS?

Post by Michael Farthing » Wed Oct 21, 2015 12:16 pm

Indeed, John

Jonathan Bryant
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Re: WHERE IN THE UK TO PLAY CHESS?

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Wed Oct 21, 2015 12:54 pm

John Townsend wrote:It is a sad state of affairs if weaker players who visit clubs say they are neglected. It used not to be so.

When was it different, do you think?

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Michael Farthing
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Re: WHERE IN THE UK TO PLAY CHESS?

Post by Michael Farthing » Wed Oct 21, 2015 1:16 pm

It was different in the period I played chess before my long gap. I cannot speak for all clubs now, and I know that some clubs are very much the same now as my past memory of playing up to the 1980s. However, at my own club, we have installed enough formal competition to ensure that it is possible for members to have a graded game every week and that is on the whole the norm. Graded games used to be less usual on club nights as was, indeed, even playing with clocks. On my initial return to playing I can remember being quite proud of my gradeless status and almost enjoying the look of disappointment on the face of opponents when they realised my lowly untouchable state. I'm afraid to say the grading desire swept me up and I aim each week to have a graded game....

This way of thinking does make it harder for the weaker play to come in. Having said that, we have had two new players join us recently (father and daughter) and they are still coming - hopefully we have found sufficient time for them.

John Townsend
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Re: WHERE IN THE UK TO PLAY CHESS?

Post by John Townsend » Wed Oct 21, 2015 3:52 pm

I've played in chess clubs since the fifties. The atmosphere has normally been friendly to newcomers. At times when casual games have been in session, people have generally played others who are available, with matching according to strength where there is any choice.

For some reason, things were different when I joined my last club (roughly ten years ago), since there was then no club night; the players only met up for matches. Where this happens, I believe there is a loss to the local community because the people are deprived of a chess club to go to. I used my influence to persuade the officers to start a club night once a month, and I think it was successful because a handful of new players joined. They weren't easy to come by, but I couldn't see how else the club could be sustained in the future. However, I left the club a few years ago as a result of the ECF changes. Nowadays, not being a member of the ECF restricts my play a lot, but I prefer things that way.

David Blower
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Re: WHERE IN THE UK TO PLAY CHESS?

Post by David Blower » Wed Oct 21, 2015 5:20 pm

This is a very interesting topic.

I joined my local club Brewood, and as soon as I found out that the club played competitive matches in local leagues, I asked if I could play in these matches. At the time I first joined, I did not know about ECF grades, but I wanted to play in "leagues" against other clubs.

Pretty soon I was the webmaster, and then went onto the committee, and was a team captain.

Of course we do have ECF graded matches, and yes I play in them myself.

However the first Tuesday of the month is intended to be left clear of matches, to enable us to have a clubnight once a month.

We do have 4 juniors at our club, but the improvment coaching is not just limited to juniors. Many times games already played by adults are reviewed by others, and if anyone ever asks: "Can you go over a game I played" no one has ever said no. Last night I was checkmated by a junior in the match I previously described in the other topic.

On the scale between 0% social and 100% competitive, or 100% social and 0% competitive, do we have the balance right? Difficult to know really. We are not going to at the next club AGM for instance announce:

"We have decided we are now a 100% social chess club, and have therefore pulled out of all ECF graded leagues."

In fact such an announcement would be unpopular amongst the juniors, who have the aim of eventually playing in the club's teams.

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