The problem is that Roger seems to think that the ECF are forcing all clubs to advertise themselves as, `New members welcome BUT YOU MUST JOIN THE ECF BEFORE YOU CAN PARTICIPATE IN ANYTHING`. Which would be silly if it was the case, but it isn't.Graham Borrowdale wrote: ↑Mon Dec 11, 2017 1:36 pm
Other than that, I don't think that Roger's comments about compulsory membership as a contributory factor should be brushed aside so dismissively. Had the scheme been in place when I was 16 I would never have taken up chess seriously, but the club I went along to was very welcoming, put me in the C-Team for a couple of matches, then the county captain put me in the B-Team, and it went from there. Had I been told that I had to join the ECF to play so much as a club championship game, I would not have returned the following week. I might be typical, or I might not.
Starting with a little boast; last weekend my club had five juniors (youngest aged 11, oldest aged 16) playing for us in the Yorkshire league. It may not sound like a lot but given that we fielded twenty four boards across three teams it accounts for over a fifth of those playing.Collectively they scored 60%. At least four of those players have been brought into the team (and in two cases the game) by myself; the 12 year old winning on top board for the B Team is perhaps a special case but it was me who first picked him as an eight year old just under five years ago. Experienced junior organisers can probably easily trump that but I didn't think it was too bad going for a `member of the controller arbiter nexus`, a `clown` or one of a `ragbag of clueless amateurs` to quote just three insults that have been hurled at me on this forum.
But I'll stop boasting as there is one hell of a lot more work I need to do. In fact I'm only up to 1% as things stand.
My point is that so far ECF membership fees have not been a problem, not do I anticipate them being so. The 12 year old top board (not a prodigy, just a really nice lad who plays a mean game when he's on form) is a member, as is another of the youngsters who played his first adult congress earlier this year. For the others I was able to blood them without having to worry about ECF membership fees until they'd played three games. One (the 16 year old) now has reached three games and I will need to have that conversation but the ECF is offering free junior membership so that's easily enough sorted; he just needs to fill out the form (and no rush either as it will backdate). It will be £11 for every year thereafter, going up when he turns 18 but not an excessive sum of money.
I didn't start this thread to talk about the ECF membership scheme so I'll pick on Graham and Alan's other points about what we do with adult newcomers when time permits.