Chess in Schools and Communities

Discussions regarding the 70,000 Free Chess Sets for Schools in England.
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Carl Hibbard
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Chess in Schools and Communities

Post by Carl Hibbard » Tue Dec 08, 2009 1:27 pm

What effect is this going to have on the CFS project then?

More details from the London Chess Classic:

http://www.londonchessclassic.com/daily_reports.htm

Are the two totally unrelated and if so does this spell the end of the ECF offering?

Comments?
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Michele Clack
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Re: Chess in Schools and Communities

Post by Michele Clack » Tue Dec 08, 2009 1:56 pm

Let's hope the 2 are complimentary. Anything that gives children opportunities to play chess has got to be a good thing hasn't it? I think this is connected with the e-mail that was quoted on this forum from Charles Storey. Does anyone know anymore? From the name I suspect that they might have their eye on putting in a lottery bid.

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Re: Chess in Schools and Communities

Post by Michele Clack » Tue Dec 08, 2009 1:59 pm

OOPS! That should read complementary which completely changes the meaning.

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Rob Thompson
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Re: Chess in Schools and Communities

Post by Rob Thompson » Tue Dec 08, 2009 5:40 pm

michele clack wrote:OOPS! That should read complementary which completely changes the meaning.
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Re: Chess in Schools and Communities

Post by Neill Cooper » Sun Dec 20, 2009 11:32 am

Has there yet been any announcement beyond that on the LCC home page:

"The London Chess Classic is pleased to support the creation of a new charity: Chess in Schools and Communities. The charity will be dedicated to the development of Chess in state schools, youth clubs and the wider community. It will also support training of chess teachers and give assistance to talented young players."

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: Chess in Schools and Communities

Post by Carl Hibbard » Mon Dec 21, 2009 8:02 am

Some answers:
Ernie Lazenby wrote:1. Is the ECF free chess sets for schools project dead other than Holloid giving away some very 'cheap' sets and boards. Is there reason why it appears some schools are not bothering collecting their free gifts?
It has dragged on for so long it would appear that interest has been lost?
Ernie Lazenby wrote:2. Is the Charlie Storey scheme part of the new charity arising from the London Chess Classic.
Yes I believe so - although clearly this one does compete with the ECF and so I am not sure how that is going to work out?
Ernie Lazenby wrote:3. How does all this fit in with the Derbyshire scheme.
It doesn't this is separate
Ernie Lazenby wrote:4 Is the ECF COM scheme completley independant of any of the others? I noticed that CJ is supporting one of the other schemes.
This one I have no idea sorry...
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Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Chess in Schools and Communities

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Mon Dec 21, 2009 8:16 am

. Is the Charlie Storey scheme part of the new charity arising from the London Chess Classic.

Yes I believe so - although clearly this one does compete with the ECF and so I am not sure how that is going to work out?

------------
Charlie has been doing this sort of thing for some time. Surely competition is healthy? Or if juniors sign up with Charlie, will ECF refuse to select them for events?

We have had a problem in Surrey with supporters of one organisation getting upset with a more recent organisation taking "our juniors" as they put it. Luckily, most of the juniors seem oblivious to the politics and backstabbing and just play chess!
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Scott Freeman
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Re: Chess in Schools and Communities

Post by Scott Freeman » Wed Dec 23, 2009 3:23 pm

I think Kevin must be referring to Wey Valley (as the original organisation) and CCF (being the latter - my organisation). If Wey Valley are saying that we are "taking their players", it puzzles me, although it does explain why they fought against attempts to have the Surrey CCA (when I was junior coordinator) register with EPSCA to run as a county wide team - and then fight against CCF being allowed to join as CCF a year later. In the end, we have developed our own structures for junior chess until (and if ever) the politics change. Later this year, we are looking to do our own small county event of some sort. CCF's activities do not in any way "take players from anyone" although having said that, we don't have any links with Wey Valley and our trainees never get to hear about either them or EPSCA unless they find it for themselves. So simply put, they don't get (m)any of them - but they are not likely to have been playing chess if we hadn't started training in their schools so they are not really missing anything.

There is a much wider issue behind these discussions. In an ideal world, the ECF would be centrally coordinating and providing all these activities, but 30-40 years ago they did nothing and allowed these private organisations (such as ours) to start up and do the job. As such, anyone trying to set things up for the ECF now are going to be challenging organisations which have been running for years and, in some cases, where people are earning a living. It is natural that people in that situation will be nervous of any ECF scheme (which would, after all, be from a voluntary staffed body) if they feel it might put their livelihood under threat. I know little about all these trusts being referred to, although I did meet and briefly spoke to Charlie Storey 16 months ago (when he was here for an international) and he told me he was planning something then.

I totally agree with Ernie (above) that the ulimate goal has to be to see more juniors coming through and playing chess regardless of who does what - I like to think we have been quite successful at that. The adult club at Coulsdon now has 37 junior players (as of 1 Sep 09) out of 125 (over 20%) actively playing - and a number of them are quite useful (Yang-Fan Zhou, Callum Kilpatrick, Peter Williams, Robert Maguire, Jasdeep Gahir) with some potential in a few of the junior players lower down the club championship. But how many clubs actually provide a club structure that inspires the juniors to want to stay in chess? When I first joined the club in Coulsdon, nice club though it was, there was no structure at all for encouraging new members and especially juniors. It was something that had to be changed. Also, society is changing and people are getting busier and busier and under much more pressure. As such, league chess is not something everyone will go for because of the travelling to other venues and having to play away on "other" nights than your club night. We got around that by introducing the "World Cup" as an alternative and we saw a cut of around 80% of players wanting to play inter-club chess as they preferred the alternative. Basically, what I am saying is that you need good and meaningful internal structures in clubs if you want to really get and keep the youngsters playing.

That's my view anyway!

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Re: Chess in Schools and Communities

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Thu Dec 24, 2009 8:17 am

As far as I know, the individual I quoted was speaking personally, not officially for any organisation.

Going back a few years, I remember players not being picked for county teams, because they went to the "wrong" school. This happened in hockey and cricket as well, and doubtless elsewhere.

If I may digress momentarily, the hockey example involved Reigate Grammar School defeating a nearby public school, 9-2, with the centre forward, Dave Fenton, later to become lead singer with the Vapors (Turning Japanese etc.) and a lawyer, scoring six goals. As the opposing coach also coached Surrey and the entire Surrey defence came from his school, our coach offered Dave's contact details, to be told, "Don't bother, I know which forwards I'll use."

Presumably this attitude (whether bias against club or school) persists?
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Re: Chess in Schools and Communities

Post by Neill Cooper » Thu Dec 24, 2009 10:34 am

Kevin Thurlow wrote:Presumably this attitude (whether bias against club or school) persists?
I can't comment for sports teams but when I was running Surrey U14/U18 chess teams I went by grades and who wanted to play, and tried to ask for players from all schools and clubs which I knew had appropriate junior chess players. I hope that there was no-one saying they would like to play and were not invited (the website still says contact me if you would like to play for Surrey U18). When I have to find players to make up numbers at the last minute then I go to those I know well or see in the week before the event.

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Re: Chess in Schools and Communities

Post by Peter Rhodes » Thu Dec 24, 2009 12:53 pm

Scott Freeman wrote:As such, league chess is not something everyone will go for because of the travelling to other venues and having to play away on "other" nights than your club night. We got around that by introducing the "World Cup" as an alternative and we saw a cut of around 80% of players wanting to play inter-club chess as they preferred the alternative.

It's difficult to evaluate the demand of a product when that product has been taken away from the chess community. In this case - that product is county league chess. One way I would objectively measure this is to ask the simple question "how many Coulsdon players play for other Surrey clubs". The answer to that question is around 5 to 10 - so it brings into doubt the conclusion that 80% of players do not want to play county chess.

The world cup is a nice idea - but asking a junior graded 82 to player another player graded 175, who loses so quickly that he then gets to play another player (on the same night) graded over 50 points against him - is hardly the best way to foster junior talent.

I agree that you should give juniors tough games and they will often show suprising results - but playing them against opposition graded 100 points over them is not ideal.
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Re: Chess in Schools and Communities

Post by Neill Cooper » Thu Dec 24, 2009 2:14 pm

Scott Freeman wrote:..what I am saying is that you need good and meaningful internal structures in clubs if you want to really get and keep the youngsters playing.!
You probably also really need a reasonable number of youngsters at the same time. The odd individual junior can survive in senior chess alone, but most like the company of others their own age. When I started going to Maidenhead Chess club in the 1970s it was with a group from my school, and we then quite rapidly rose through the club and county (adult) teams. We were an integral part in Maidenhead winning all three Berkshire Leagues one year.

I think in our area (South London, East Surrey, West Kent) we have an unusual concentration of teenage chess players and youth chess activity, which includes lots of strong juniors. The Surrey Secondary Schools League has 5 Divisions, three schools regularly field over 30 players and there are two secondary schools who each have over 100 active players. There are 3 thriving junior clubs (Ashtead, CCF and Castles) all playing juniors in inter-club matches. There are lots of other junior activities in the area (Wey Valley, Kent Junior, Richmond Juniors, CCF activities).

In my 3 Croydon league matches this season I have only played against juniors, all graded over 190! Castles teams normally consist of juniors, adults new to inter-club chess and me! (Almost all our grading codes start with a 2. In our last match all our opponents began with a 1)

Whilst we have so many promising juniors we must continue to work together as best we can, for the juniors (and their parents) will tend to ignore any disputes we have and play chess where they want to. I see a strong potential for further growth of teenage chess in our area.

What is it that has happened here that could be repeated elsewhere? That is more difficult to say. The most important is having adults willing to give lots of time. The next most important thing I can think of is to be interested in ALL your juniors, and give less attention to the best. The best players should be winning your junior club events, doing well at junior tournaments, so they will get your attention then. They might start getting individual chess tuition, playing in adult tournaments and national junior events, and get more individual input there. But if you focus only on them at your junior club then the weaker players will not keep coming back. And one day those weaker players, if they are keen, will get stronger. And it is they who provide the numbers which make chess club so much more fun for everyone.

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Re: Chess in Schools and Communities

Post by Scott Freeman » Sat Dec 26, 2009 8:54 pm

Peter Rhodes wrote:
"The world cup is a nice idea - but asking a junior graded 82 to player another player graded 175, junior talent."

I do agree that this can be the one "downside" of the competition if you want to look at it that way, but I prefer to see the opportunity that a chess peasant (such as myself!!!) or an up-and-coming junior gets to challenge the "stronger" opponent if the draw of players allows them to. This event, unlike all the others in our club, provides the random potential opponent (something that can happen in an inter-club match it has to be said) and I believe gives the juniors in our club their "day in the sun" against a stronger player - where they have nothing to lose and can hopefully learn something. I like that.

Quickly to explain the background and idea of the competition: We had suggestions for a knock-out competition from a couple of members. The trouble with one of those is that you would effectively need (and this is assuming that only 64 of our members played in it) 6 weeks in the season to complete the event - and that was assuming there were no draws and everyone was available at the right moment ( - no chance of that!). Then, what do you do with the players (50%) that have been knocked out in the 1st round? It's over for the year and not worth it for the weaker players (especially juniors).

With our packed internal schedule, we couldn't justify another event in addition to inter-club chess as we couldn't fit it all in - unless it was a case of doing one event or the other. Also, with the inevitable problem we had of juniors (and some adults!) doing the "I only want to play home games" routine (no criticism - just explaining a nightmare fact of life every club must suffer from to a greater or lesser degree) and the fact that the CCF staff were captaining well over half the teams in the club AND the fact that the club was heavily financially supporting an organisation (SCCA) that we found was not being run for the good of chess across the whole county, we decided to re-assess what we were doing and offered a straight choice to all of our members. I came up with the World Cup event which gave the club something new and 80% of members individually went for it and ditched inter-club chess in the process. Nearly every junior was included in that 80%. The World Cup guarantees everyone at least 5 games: 4 group games before Christmas and at least 1 knock-out game after, as everyone goes into one of the 3 knock-out phases. So if you do well, you earn a crack at the players who have made the top knock-out event. If you lose all 4 group games, you go into the bottom section.

This in my opinion can only be good for the youngsters, although I understand that some people don't like the gap in standards. But let's not forget that a few years ago in the football world, Exeter City (non-league) drew 0-0 at Old Trafford against Manchester United. They called it the magic of the FA Cup - and there wasn't one Exeter player that wouldn't have been looking forward to the game. Why don't some chess players view it the same way?

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