WHERE IN THE UK TO PLAY CHESS?

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

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Wed Oct 21, 2015 5:51 pm

John Townsend wrote: For some reason, things were different when I joined my last club (roughly ten years ago), since there was then no club night ....
How do you know the changes you mention are to do with time and not location/club?


I started playing in Essex and there was a lot of social chess as well as matches at my club there. I moved to London and was surprised to find my local club didn’t do any 'casual chess' per se. It was only matches? A change due to changing times? Or change caused by moving to the big city? Neither really. Just down the road there’s a club that has an awful lot of social chess as well as matches.

I

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

Post by John Townsend » Wed Oct 21, 2015 6:03 pm

Jonanthan, I didn't say the changes "were to do with time and not location/club". However, the concept of a club without a club night was new to me then. For all I know, it may have been happening at that club for some time. You could perhaps view it as a sign of changing times.

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

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Oct 21, 2015 6:15 pm

John Townsend wrote:However, the concept of a club without a club night was new to me then.
Some London League and all 4NCL teams operate that way, although the 4NCL teams don't classify themselves as a club. It's a consequence of falling numbers that you may have enough players for a team, but not enough to be able to afford weekly hire of an expensive and underused home venue.

J T Melsom
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Re: WHERE IN THE UK TO PLAY CHESS?

Post by J T Melsom » Wed Oct 21, 2015 6:26 pm

There seem to me several separate issues in play here. First that with limited time for hobbies, many chess players prioritise match chess over more casual stuff. Second that many clubs have a single room. With the crowded schedule of matches, and in the case of some counties internal individual competitions played on club nights, it is difficult to find a spare evening for more social noisy chess. At my club the sense of club is partly maintained by scheduling first team matches alongside lower teams, so that you get to see who the top players are, and also by the running of the club championship, which whilst further reducing scope for a more social evening has a significant level of support from the top to bottom of the club. I'm not totally happy that this helps newcomers whose needs may not be dissimilar in some respects to juniors but with the constraints under which we operate including volunteer time, this may be the best we can do.

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

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Wed Oct 21, 2015 7:08 pm

John Townsend wrote:Jonanthan, I didn't say the changes "were to do with time and not location/club".
From your first post: "It used not to be so".

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

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Wed Oct 21, 2015 7:14 pm

J T Melsom wrote:... newcomers whose needs may not be dissimilar in some respects to juniors ....
Certainly yes in some ways, although in other ways no. Juniors are a whole different topic to this thread. I"m quite convinced that they need special provision and that their needs aren’t met by traditional chess clubs. I may or may not be universally correct in that assessment but i have started a - until now at least - successful junior club based on that principle.

I’m sure you’re quite right that what (most) clubs end up with is a kind of mix that’s the best possible in the circumstances but doesn’t particularly suit everybody (or perhaps anybody in the worst cases).

Funnily enough I was just reading an old - late 90s - interview with Adam Raoof when he suggested club membership fees should be £100 and that this figure would allow much better facilities. I wonder what £100 would be in today’s money. Certainly a much higher cost would allow longer opening hours/different opening days/employment of professional chess coaches etc etc.

Ultimately we get what we pay for.

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

Post by John Townsend » Wed Oct 21, 2015 7:28 pm

Jonathan, you are trying to equate two different things. Please do not try to put words in my mouth.

J T Melsom
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Re: WHERE IN THE UK TO PLAY CHESS?

Post by J T Melsom » Wed Oct 21, 2015 7:29 pm

Jonathan Bryant: I thought my statement re adults and juniors (by which I meant secondary school age) was sufficiently qualified to be uncontentious, but I may have rendered it meaningless at the same time. I had in mind the need to develop match techniques, and also for social players to bridge the gap to match chess. We all know weaker adult players who with encouragement would be better, but rarely are their needs addressed in any practical way.

I also agree that membership fees are an issue. I am certain that some of the smaller clubs compromise on the standard of venue to keep fees down - this is a deterrent to growth and pretty unpleasant for visiting teams.

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

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Wed Oct 21, 2015 7:51 pm

J T Melsom wrote:Jonathan Bryant: I thought my statement re adults and juniors (by which I meant secondary school age) was sufficiently qualified to be uncontentious, but I may have rendered it meaningless at the same time. I had in mind the need to develop match techniques, and also for social players to bridge the gap to match chess. We all know weaker adult players who with encouragement would be better, but rarely are their needs addressed in any practical way.

I also agree that membership fees are an issue. I am certain that some of the smaller clubs compromise on the standard of venue to keep fees down - this is a deterrent to growth and pretty unpleasant for visiting teams.
Agree with everything you’re saying here. In particular the need to help build a bridge between playing chess and playing match chess as those of us who use this forum would understand it.

Secondary school aged juniors I would agree are much more similar to 'weaker adults' than younger. I was thinking of juniors as starting from under 11s which is a totally different kettle of pawns.

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

Post by John Townsend » Thu Oct 22, 2015 10:14 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Some London League and all 4NCL teams operate that way, although the 4NCL teams don't classify themselves as a club.
I feel sure these leagues enjoy a high standard of play, but what I don't understand is how the "clubs" are replenished to replace players lost through natural wastage. Surely, they will run out of steam after a few years. With a club night, there is an organic means of developing and maintaining a supply of fresh players.
It's a consequence of falling numbers that you may have enough players for a team, but not enough to be able to afford weekly hire of an expensive and underused home venue.
Clearly, accommodation is a major issue. I wonder if the solution sometimes may be to persuade the local authority that a physical chess club is something the local community benefits from, especially perhaps young people, and to obtain a subsidised room on the back of it. (I am mindful that chess players are not usually good persuaders - they are more "tellers"!)

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

Post by Michael Farthing » Thu Oct 22, 2015 10:57 am

We managed by some piece of magic before my time to persuade the local cricket club to give us use of a room once a week (and in practice whnenever it was free) on the basis that all our members became social members of the cricket club and helped to prop up its bar during the winter. Being a social member also gives discounts at the bar, so the effective membership fee of our club is negative!

[Edit: sorry if this should really bhave been posted in Adverts :? ]

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

Post by John McKenna » Thu Oct 22, 2015 11:48 am

Being a social member also gives discounts at the bar, so the effective membership fee of our club is negative!
Why's that, Michael?

Are you all on the way to skid row, perchance?
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

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

Post by Peter Webber » Mon Nov 30, 2015 9:55 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. 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.
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
I have just returned home in disgust from my local chess club. I didn't manage to get a single game with anyone because of county/championship/league matches taking place, and as previously mentioned, I've ruled myself out of tournaments because I know I'm not good enough. My crimes seem to be: I didn't take up chess when I was at school/many years ago; I'm too old for anyone to be interested
in helping or encouraging me like they seem to at schools nowadays. We have a young Polish player who can win against me regularly because he was fortunate enough to be born in a country where chess is encouraged. I've also visited my other local chess club where it is unusual for casual games to happen at all. Dan Heisman says in one of his books that you should be able to go to a chess club (referring to his native USA) and benefit from listening-in to stronger players analysing and evaluating games and positions; what a joke - in more than 12 weeks of going along to a chess club here i've had feedback of half a dozen words if that. I feel ashamed to be British or remotely associated in any way with a governing body of 'sport' which can treat inexperienced players as pariahs. The Great Unwashed get more help from the benefits system in this country than the ECF gives to anyone wishing to improve themselves in chess. It takes a lot more than reading 70 chess books or playing against Fritz to be successful in tournaments.

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

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Nov 30, 2015 10:12 pm

Peter Webber wrote:It takes a lot more than reading 70 chess books or playing against Fritz to be successful in tournaments.
Having the confidence to enter them is a good first step. As an alternative, attend as a spectator and see how good or bad you perceive the standard in the lowest section to be.

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

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Mon Nov 30, 2015 10:22 pm

Today:-
Peter Webber wrote: I'm too old for anyone to be interested
in helping or encouraging me ...
Some time ago:-
David Blower wrote:Peter if you have notated some previous games, why not post one on the forum, because I am sure some members would be happy to give you some analysis of the game.


Given your experiences out in the real world, why not take David up and post a game?

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