Decline of Evening Chess 17/18?

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Nick Grey
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Decline of Evening Chess 17/18?

Post by Nick Grey » Tue Jul 11, 2017 11:40 pm

I'm thinking that this may be a London SCCU area issue but just wonder?

E.g. London League division 1 - 10 boards from 12. I think there were 7 divisions when I first played and some very strong teams having to work their way through each season to get to the top.
London Commercial League - Only 1 division 6 boards not 7.
Thames Valley - Likely 2 less teams and possible less matches.

Friday nights are out - but that me be entirely due to the thriving Friday evening schools chess leagues and what was the Sunday Times tournament where juniors cut their teeth as part of the English Chess Explosion.

There are certainly more pressures workwise, and travel wise to and from matches than there ever used to be.

Will appreciate any responses. Nick

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Joey Stewart
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Re: Decline of Evening Chess 17/18?

Post by Joey Stewart » Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:29 pm

I imagine it could be for lots of reasons:

-adjournments: as few people these days want the extra time and expense of playing multiple sessions, and that is before we even start talking about engine influences.

-room hire cost: probably an especially major factor in london where space is at a premium and few cheap deals to be found

-transport: as public transport gets more expensive and less reliable more people are inclined to make unecessary journies.

-online chess: has grown to a point where we can watch or play chess from our own homes (i think it is now at the point where over the board chess is a clear minority) so those players who would have previously sought out clubs are now just drawn to the internet.

-greater availability of weekend events: these are everywhere now and tend to better suit anyone who finds it harder to play well in the evenings

-high barrier to entry: most new players, lets face it, are hopeless and really need some time invested in their game to be even minimum league standard. Unfortunately, there are club players see new players as a chance to get an easy win, giving them a sound thrashing and sending them away, never to be seen again.

-club management: i would wager a guess that at least 50% of chess "jobs" are not done willingly, but rather because they need doing and no one else would. Often this can have a snowball effect and one person ends up doing just about every job in their club, the only way to escape being to give up playing altogether.
Lose one queen and it is a disaster, Lose 1000 queens and it is just a statistic.

MartinCarpenter
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Re: Decline of Evening Chess 17/18?

Post by MartinCarpenter » Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:38 pm

Well on a directly year basis there's also simple bad luck.

In general though the demographics just aren't good from here on. Potentially very big crash due in 10-15 years.
(Well, maybe London manages to keep its player base younger.).

NickFaulks
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Re: Decline of Evening Chess 17/18?

Post by NickFaulks » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:32 pm

MartinCarpenter wrote:(Well, maybe London manages to keep its player base younger.)
I like the sound of that, but what evidence?

David Robertson
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Re: Decline of Evening Chess 17/18?

Post by David Robertson » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:48 pm

NickFaulks wrote:I like the sound of that, but what evidence?
Greater number of private schools (and residual grammars)

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Re: Decline of Evening Chess 17/18?

Post by NickFaulks » Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:38 pm

David Robertson wrote:
NickFaulks wrote:I like the sound of that, but what evidence?
Greater number of private schools (and residual grammars)
That's a theory, not evidence.

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Re: Decline of Evening Chess 17/18?

Post by David Robertson » Wed Jul 12, 2017 8:23 pm

I think the key lies in Martin's use of the word "potentially". But take your time

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Re: Decline of Evening Chess 17/18?

Post by John Upham » Wed Jul 12, 2017 8:57 pm

MartinCarpenter wrote:Well on a directly year basis there's also simple bad luck.

In general though the demographics just aren't good from here on. Potentially very big crash due in 10-15 years.
(Well, maybe London manages to keep its player base younger.).

London Chess League had 900 active players in 2016 - 2017 (players whose played at least one graded game)

739 in January of 2016 - 2017

880 in July of 2015 - 2016

686 in Jan of 2015 - 2016

874 in July of 2014 - 2015.

Thanks to Ian Thompson for the data which goes back further in time.

All the best,

John
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NickFaulks
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Re: Decline of Evening Chess 17/18?

Post by NickFaulks » Wed Jul 12, 2017 10:35 pm

David Robertson wrote:I think the key lies in Martin's use of the word "potentially". But take your time
I took "potentially" to refer to the words which followed it. Anyway, I'm sure you are far better informed regarding the London chess population than I am.

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Re: Decline of Evening Chess 17/18?

Post by MartinCarpenter » Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:21 am

Well I do know the player base everywhere I play in the North is getting steadily older, at a rate disturbingly close to ~1 year/year. At the moment a lot of the competitions are still doing rather well - there's a sizeable cohort returning to the game post retirement - but at some point it seems quite likely to implode.

London is obviously very different to the North of England in all sorts of ways, so I've no idea how things are there.

Given the numbers from John above, I presume the teams folding etc this year is basically dumb luck. It happens - Manchester league Div1 last season was a shocking mess due to a few teams losing organisation, strong players moving about etc.

Ian Thompson
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Re: Decline of Evening Chess 17/18?

Post by Ian Thompson » Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:54 am

John Upham wrote:London Chess League had 900 active players in 2016 - 2017 (players whose played at least one graded game)
880 in July of 2015 - 2016
874 in July of 2014 - 2015.
Also of interest is how active those players were. The answers are:
2016-17: average 7.1 games per player
2015-16: average 6.7 games per player
2014-15: average 7.1 games per player

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Decline of Evening Chess 17/18?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:06 am

Ian Thompson wrote: Also of interest is how active those players were.
Pretty much a steady state then with no dramatic increases or decreases. I wonder what the turnover looks like in terms of new players replacing those dropping out. I'd suggest measuring that by grading code, to count how many players with new codes are appearing in the London League. I'd imagine London chess can attract experienced players new to the UK, either temporary or permanent.

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Re: Decline of Evening Chess 17/18?

Post by Neill Cooper » Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:35 am

David Robertson wrote:
NickFaulks wrote:I like the sound of that, but what evidence?
Greater number of private schools (and residual grammars)
Whilst that might be a cause for the southern dominance of the national schools championships (this year the top 5 were all SCCU, 3 independent and 2 grammar), I do not think many of the pupils regularly play evening inter-club chess. I have not entered my mainly secondary school team in any Surrey CCA competition next year as I found I just could not get a team out on a weekday evening.

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Michael Farthing
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Re: Decline of Evening Chess 17/18?

Post by Michael Farthing » Thu Jul 13, 2017 1:09 pm

MartinCarpenter wrote:Well I do know the player base everywhere I play in the North is getting steadily older, at a rate disturbingly close to ~1 year/year
NME. Would you like to present the evidence? Quite difficult I would have thought as dates of birth are not readily available.

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Re: Decline of Evening Chess 17/18?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Jul 13, 2017 1:17 pm

Michael Farthing wrote: NME. Would you like to present the evidence? Quite difficult I would have thought as dates of birth are not readily available.
The ECF and the BCF before it has been collecting dates of birth for grading identification since the 1990s and perhaps earlier. In the latter days of printed grading books, there was often a summary by age for the majority of players where the dates of birth were known. When they carried out a survey in 1995, a typical result was that there were lots of players aged between 40 and 50. Ten years later, the observation was of lots of players between 50 and 60.

Anyone with access to raw grading data has dates of birth. Privacy issues mean the ECF is unwilling or unable to release data more generally.

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