Decline of Evening Chess 17/18?

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Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Decline of Evening Chess 17/18?

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Thu Jul 13, 2017 2:17 pm

Michael Farthing wrote:
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.
Most town and county leagues tend to feature the same players year on year. You don't need to know their exact ages to know that the average age increases year on year. Also the leagues I'm involved with seem to be propped up by former players returning to chess rather than new players coming through. Like Martin I have a genuine fear of where we will be in ten years time.

Unfortunately I don't think there are any easy solutions, unless something happens to create a chess boom a few years from now.
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Ian Thompson
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Re: Decline of Evening Chess 17/18?

Post by Ian Thompson » Thu Jul 13, 2017 2:17 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:Anyone with access to raw grading data has dates of birth.
They do, but only for just over half the players in the master list. My guess would be that a greater proportion of younger players than older players are likely to have a DoB recorded because it has affected the grading calculation for juniors for quite a few years.

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

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Jul 13, 2017 2:41 pm

Ian Thompson wrote: They do, but only for just over half the players in the master list.
The master list goes back to 1994, so would contain players without dates of birth. From what I recall of the statistical surveys that used to be published with the printed lists, the coverage was rather better than 50%. If you just looked at "active" players, what sort of coverage do you get?

You can search the top 100 in the online grading list by 50+, 60+ and 70+

http://ecfgrading.org.uk/new/menu.php?f ... gelimit=50

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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 2:50 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Michael Farthing wrote:
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.
Most town and county leagues tend to feature the same players year on year. You don't need to know their exact ages to know that the average age increases year on year. Also the leagues I'm involved with seem to be propped up by former players returning to chess rather than new players coming through. Like Martin I have a genuine fear of where we will be in ten years time.
It's a bit hearsay. 60 players in the base year. 59 still there a year later (Age change +59). One, aged 80 has died. Replaced by an up and coming 15 year old (Age change -65). Average age has fallen by 0.1 years, but the pattern matches your scenario, Andrew. I see quite a lot of juniors at congresses - not vast numbers and many don't stay. But what is new? Of my fellow schoolmates who played seriously (8 of us at the 1966 BCF congress) I was the weakest. I am the only one still playing (and probably not much stronger). In 2000 none of us were playing: I'm a returning oldie. One day some of today's deserting juniors will be returning oldies.

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Decline of Evening Chess 17/18?

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:04 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Michael Farthing wrote:
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.
Most town and county leagues tend to feature the same players year on year. You don't need to know their exact ages to know that the average age increases year on year. Also the leagues I'm involved with seem to be propped up by former players returning to chess rather than new players coming through. Like Martin I have a genuine fear of where we will be in ten years time.

Unfortunately I don't think there are any easy solutions, unless something happens to create a chess boom a few years from now.
The "solution" is what it has always been - to get some of those playing online to join actual chess clubs and play in "real life" tournaments.

(even a relatively small proportion of them would be enough)

Now, how do you actually DO that?? I admit your guess is as good as mine.......
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Decline of Evening Chess 17/18?

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Thu Jul 13, 2017 5:29 pm

Michael Farthing wrote: It's a bit hearsay. 60 players in the base year. 59 still there a year later (Age change +59). One, aged 80 has died. Replaced by an up and coming 15 year old (Age change -65). Average age has fallen by 0.1 years, but the pattern matches your scenario, Andrew. I see quite a lot of juniors at congresses - not vast numbers and many don't stay. But what is new? Of my fellow schoolmates who played seriously (8 of us at the 1966 BCF congress) I was the weakest. I am the only one still playing (and probably not much stronger). In 2000 none of us were playing: I'm a returning oldie. One day some of today's deserting juniors will be returning oldies.
I think the key point is that 20-30 years ago there were more deserting juniors to provide a base for returning oldies. In some ways it is interesting that it is league chess rather than congress chess that has taken the hit; with the decline of the traditional Mon-Fri 9-5 job you'd think that evening chess would be better for potential players working in retail or hospitality as it's easier for them to get a quietish night off midweek rather than a busy weekend shift.
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David Robertson
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Re: Decline of Evening Chess 17/18?

Post by David Robertson » Thu Jul 13, 2017 8:48 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:you'd think that evening chess would be better for potential players working in retail or hospitality as it's easier for them to get a quietish night off midweek rather than a busy weekend shift.
They're all working for Deliveroo

Richard Thursby
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Re: Decline of Evening Chess 17/18?

Post by Richard Thursby » Thu Jul 13, 2017 11:34 pm

From my experience, I have reached the stage where, after an intense day of work, I can't face the prospect of travelling for maybe an hour, playing up to three hours of intense chess, travel back for another hour, getting home around midnight and then have to get up for work the next day. The only time I played competitively in 2016 was a week when I was off work. My line of work also means there is a higher than average chance if having to work late at short notice.

From the perspective of the London League, I have always thought that it was a bit unfair that one of the rewards for gaining promotion from division two to division one was having to find two extra players. If you don't have a large pool of players (so not Drunken Knights) that can make a huge difference.

NickFaulks
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Re: Decline of Evening Chess 17/18?

Post by NickFaulks » Thu Jul 13, 2017 11:42 pm

Richard Thursby wrote:From the perspective of the London League, I have always thought that it was a bit unfair that one of the rewards for gaining promotion from division two to division one was having to find two extra players.
That at least has now changed.

MartinCarpenter
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Re: Decline of Evening Chess 17/18?

Post by MartinCarpenter » Thu Jul 13, 2017 11:52 pm

Michael Farthing wrote:
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.
Apart from what Andrew Z said (very true), its basically very easy to check. You don't need DoB for anyone.

We've got ~10 years of electronic records, so you can tell how many 'new' regular players a given league has managed to add during that time. Also how many of those players are new to UK chess.

iirc This replenishment rate has been under 1 player/year for the Yorkshire league for quite a while now. That's made for a slow shrinkage but we'll very definitely start losing players faster in a little bit.

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

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Jul 14, 2017 12:08 am

Richard Thursby wrote:From my experience, I have reached the stage where, after an intense day of work, I can't face the prospect of travelling for maybe an hour, playing up to three hours of intense chess, travel back for another hour, getting home around midnight and then have to get up for work the next day.
The 4NCL when it started offered a valuable lifeline to those with these constraints. With a more relaxed schedule than a Weekend Congress, there wasn't the need to qualify to play the top players by rabbit bashing in the early rounds.

Attitudes may have changed over time, but the social nature of the weekends away may have contributed to the retention of those who were perhaps 10 when the 4NCL was being established and are now 30.

Nick Grey
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Re: Decline of Evening Chess 17/18?

Post by Nick Grey » Tue Jul 18, 2017 9:16 pm

I must admit it is the travelling times that have changed over the last 25 years. They have doubled.
Unable to get players to captain teams & also getting significant numbers to set up and put away.
On top of my own physical frailties that means what I could lift before I can no longer do so. I'm 55 in September.

As for work many players do not know what shifts or even where they do something comes up.
Reliant in influx & outflux for 6th form, university, education as well as players moving.

Ideally I would want to play one midweek match a week.

Kingston's best ever player John Nunn 1991 prediction about the downfall of chess in Britain has come to pass. July 2017 BCM.

As for work - going from the best council in the country to the worst and not fit for purpose or even public sector pay awards in a month is something that our leaders are challenged with. But seems worst community disaster since a welsh village in 1960s - Aberfan 1966.

NickFaulks
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Re: Decline of Evening Chess 17/18?

Post by NickFaulks » Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:11 am

Nick Grey wrote: Kingston's best ever player John Nunn 1991 prediction about the downfall of chess in Britain has come to pass. July 2017 BCM.
Can someone remind me what precisely GM Nunn was predicting?

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

Post by David Sedgwick » Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:39 am

Nick Grey wrote:Kingston's best ever player John Nunn 1991 prediction about the downfall of chess in Britain has come to pass. July 2017 BCM.
NickFaulks wrote:Can someone remind me what precisely GM Nunn was predicting?
Buy (or borrow) a copy of the July 2017 BCM, in which the original article is republished.

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

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Jul 19, 2017 2:12 pm

NickFaulks wrote: Can someone remind me what precisely GM Nunn was predicting?


I'm not sure he was actually predicting anything. What he was highlighting was a comparison between 1980 and 1988/89 both in the UK and other Western European countries. With an emphasis on FIDE rated tournaments and FIDE rated players, that introduced a distortion of the extent to which FIDE rated events penetrated the domestic scene. That aside, the observation was that there was more growth in rated events and players in Europe.

In the then absence of a national chess league, it could be difficult and expensive to acquire a FIDE rating, not least because you had to perform above 2200 and because organisers charged higher entry fees to the unrated. A better comparison would have been to look at head counts of players above 190 regardless of whether they had international ratings.

He didn't really look at the relative sizes of the "serious" chess population, other than to highlight the shrinkage or disappearance of the larger weekenders. They've continued to shrink of course. In 1990, the Herts Congress Open had enough players to require acceleration.

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