Chess clubs by size

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
Paul Cooksey
Posts: 892
Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2016 4:15 pm

Re: Chess clubs by size

Post by Paul Cooksey » Sun May 16, 2021 10:38 pm

Maidenhead Juniors has a lot of turn over of course, as I suspect does any club with a lot of U11 and younger players.

I think everyone who appears against Maidenhead was a bona fide member at some point, but lag in the rating system means the number overstated against membership in a normal year.

Jack's observation about London makes sense, although I am surprised not to see more big clubs in other major cities. Perhaps the model we see in the sticks - many small clubs rather than a few big ones - is common in those areas too?

I did think about talking about the differences between the European and English model in reply to this:
John Foley wrote:
Wed May 12, 2021 8:13 pm
Suppose a wealthy individual wanted to set up a European Super Chess League and desired to include the top four clubs by size/strength, which English clubs (not teams) would be vying to apply?

I suppose John was making reference to the European Super League in Football. I'd expect English chess to have the same presence in a ESCL as Denmark do in a football one. None at all. Which is not to disrespect Danish football, they have won things and had some great players. But I doubt even the most optimistic FC Midtjylland supporter thought they were going to get an invite to the ESL

User avatar
Chris Goodall
Posts: 518
Joined: Sun Oct 10, 2010 6:40 pm
Contact:

Re: Chess clubs by size

Post by Chris Goodall » Sun May 16, 2021 11:39 pm

Paul Cooksey wrote:
Sun May 16, 2021 10:38 pm
Jack's observation about London makes sense, although I am surprised not to see more big clubs in other major cities. Perhaps the model we see in the sticks - many small clubs rather than a few big ones - is common in those areas too?
Why isn't there a Newcastle Chess Club with 100 members? I think it's partly that we wouldn't agree on what night to open, partly that there aren't free function rooms in the city centre any more, and partly that there are more than 5 people (Newcastle's A team) who would like to be in with a chance of winning the league.
Chris Goodall, formerly known as Chris Wardle. ECF Grader for Durham and the NCCU.
Newcastle is not in Scotland!

Ian Thompson
Posts: 2750
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2008 4:31 pm
Location: Awbridge, Hampshire

Re: Chess clubs by size

Post by Ian Thompson » Sun May 16, 2021 11:52 pm

Chris Goodall wrote:
Sun May 16, 2021 10:27 pm
So instead, I ranked all the clubs by the grade of their 10th-strongest player (EDIT - added Wood Green):
A question would be how many of those top 10 players are current, active, bona fide members?

If you were to look at the 10th best player from each club where you only count players who have the club as their primary club you'd get very different results. Sandhurst, for example, would drop from 2260 to 1248.

Alternatively, if you were to look at the 10th best player from each club where you only count players who have played for that club more often than any other club in the last 3 years, you'd also get very different results. Sandhurst, for example, wouldn't be on the list at all because they only have 6 players meeting that criterion.

MartinCarpenter
Posts: 2718
Joined: Tue May 24, 2011 10:58 am

Re: Chess clubs by size

Post by MartinCarpenter » Mon May 17, 2021 9:21 am

Paul Cooksey wrote:
Sun May 16, 2021 10:38 pm
Jack's observation about London makes sense, although I am surprised not to see more big clubs in other major cities. Perhaps the model we see in the sticks - many small clubs rather than a few big ones - is common in those areas too?
How do you definite a city? I don't think of there being any central Manchester chess clubs, but Wood Green say is probably no more part of central London than say Chorlton - or even Bolton etc - are of Manchester.

York RI in that list is a good example of the problem of defining a club. That's (mainly) York's Yorkshire Saturday league teams, which are city based. I'm actually slightly surprised that Sheffield isn't a bit higher up as they run loads of Yorkshire league teams too.

The 'actual clubs' in York (Sheffield, Bradford etc) are smaller and more spread out through the cities. Leeds hasn't even had a cohesive 'all city' Saturday league team for some time now. Some very sad history there.

I guess the North will also be suffering numerically from not having (m)any mass junior schemes going on. Those can really boost numbers.

Alan Walton
Posts: 1343
Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2009 8:33 pm
Location: Oldham

Re: Chess clubs by size

Post by Alan Walton » Mon May 17, 2021 10:06 am

Regarding 3Cs, if you look at the top 10 with the a club identifier “3Cs” then you do get 2155 at number 10, but this includes a couple of guest players (Sophie Milliet for one, who plays the odd club match if visiting the area); but then we also have other members who play for other clubs due to where they live; some of these play in the “4NCL 3Cs”, a couple who a genuine 3Cs players from when they were juniors (Alex Longson & Stuart Clarke)

I did a list including all our inactive players a couple of years ago, many juniors who have given up playing; when you include these with there last active grade we could have nearly 50 players graded 170+ (maybe more)

Mick Norris
Posts: 8620
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 10:12 am
Location: Bolton, Greater Manchester

Re: Chess clubs by size

Post by Mick Norris » Mon May 17, 2021 10:38 am

MartinCarpenter wrote:
Mon May 17, 2021 9:21 am
Paul Cooksey wrote:
Sun May 16, 2021 10:38 pm
Jack's observation about London makes sense, although I am surprised not to see more big clubs in other major cities. Perhaps the model we see in the sticks - many small clubs rather than a few big ones - is common in those areas too?
How do you definite a city? I don't think of there being any central Manchester chess clubs
There's Manchester Social club that meets in the city centre and of course there's the University which has quite a few players now, but of the clubs in the Manchester League, none would say they are in the city as such, not have there been for over 40 years now

The difference now as opposed to 40 years ago is that there are lots of people living in the city centre, but the difficulty is finding a suitable venue
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

John Foley
Posts: 319
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 9:58 am
Location: Kingston-upon-Thames
Contact:

Re: Chess clubs by size

Post by John Foley » Mon May 17, 2021 11:12 am

Thanks to Chris Goodall for providing a useful initial list of clubs by size. Already we can see that there are important strategic issues being discussed about the distribution and viability of clubs. There are geographical gaps. Several strong clubs in the Goodall list have lost their venues in recent times including Wimbledon, Surbiton and Richmond. It is increasingly difficult to find and fund venues. This weekend we heard from Rob Willmoth, ECF Director of Membership, that ECF individual membership has dropped from 11k to 7k. If this is not reversed, the prognosis for chess in England is grim as we tumble down the international rankings. Some radical changes are needed in the way club chess is organised e.g. shift to weekend fixtures and more use of centralised venues such as the new London Mindsports Centre and the Ilkley Chess Centre. The times they are a-changin.

John Upham
Posts: 5296
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 10:29 am
Location: Cove, Hampshire, England.
Contact:

Re: Chess clubs by size

Post by John Upham » Mon May 17, 2021 11:26 am

Another possible consequence of a lack of OTB chess is that individuals may increasingly feel that they are aligned with or loyal to anonymous online playing platforms such as Lichess.org, chess.com and others rather than their traditional clubs, Leagues, Unions and NGBs such as the ECF.

Many years prior to Covid there were plenty of players whose only allegiance was to an online platform. They had no interest in OTB only bodies.

Clubs, Leagues, Unions and NGBs need to work increasingly harder to justify membership when they only offering is online chess.

A shining example within the gloom is that of the London League which reinvented itself as an online league.

Not many people would want to be a member of an organisation that bans people with no credible explanation. This would be a downside of say Lichess membership.
British Chess News : britishchessnews.com
Twitter: @BritishChess
Facebook: facebook.com/groups/britishchess :D

Thomas Rendle
Posts: 401
Joined: Tue Aug 10, 2010 8:31 am

Re: Chess clubs by size

Post by Thomas Rendle » Mon May 17, 2021 11:39 am

John Upham wrote:
Mon May 17, 2021 11:26 am
A shining example within the gloom is that of the London League which reinvented itself as an online league.

Not many people would want to be a member of an organisation that bans people with no credible explanation. This would be a downside of say Lichess membership.
The 4NCL (and J4NCL) seems pretty successful! 250 teams and 180 junior teams that don't mind playing on Lichess. Online chess isn't perfect but I don't think they (or London League) get enough credit for what they're doing!

User avatar
Chris Goodall
Posts: 518
Joined: Sun Oct 10, 2010 6:40 pm
Contact:

Re: Chess clubs by size

Post by Chris Goodall » Mon May 17, 2021 11:45 am

John Foley wrote:
Mon May 17, 2021 11:12 am
ECF individual membership has dropped from 11k to 7k. If this is not reversed, the prognosis for chess in England is grim as we tumble down the international rankings. Some radical changes are needed in the way club chess is organised
There's been this cold going round...

David Robertson, who has never been wrong about anything, revealed unto us in 2015 that evening league chess would wither and die out "over the next decade or so", and that the North-East would be the first to collapse. Halfway through that decade, the Northumbria League still had 30 teams in 3 divisions, so we're going to have to wither and die at a record-breaking pace to stay on track.

He thinks chess players forget things.
Chris Goodall, formerly known as Chris Wardle. ECF Grader for Durham and the NCCU.
Newcastle is not in Scotland!

Ian Thompson
Posts: 2750
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2008 4:31 pm
Location: Awbridge, Hampshire

Re: Chess clubs by size

Post by Ian Thompson » Mon May 17, 2021 12:22 pm

John Foley wrote:
Mon May 17, 2021 11:12 am
Some radical changes are needed in the way club chess is organised e.g. shift to weekend fixtures ... The times they are a-changin.
That would be going back to what it used to be for me. Most of my club chess while at school and university was at the weekend (Kent and Devon county leagues, the National Club championship and the county championship). On weekdays there was only the occasional friendly match against other clubs in Kent and the Exeter and District League in Devon.

User avatar
Chris Goodall
Posts: 518
Joined: Sun Oct 10, 2010 6:40 pm
Contact:

Re: Chess clubs by size

Post by Chris Goodall » Mon May 17, 2021 4:35 pm

Ian Thompson wrote:
Sun May 16, 2021 11:52 pm
If you were to look at the 10th best player from each club where you only count players who have the club as their primary club you'd get very different results. Sandhurst, for example, would drop from 2260 to 1248.
Only problem there is the number of players who have a 4NCL team as their primary. I don't know which 4NCL Guildford players ought to be assigned to Guildford, likewise Wood Green.

Code: Select all

(4NCL Guildford		2673)
(4NCL Manx Liberty	2500)
(4NCL Wood Green	2433)
Wood Green		2328+
(4NCL White Rose	2215)

Battersea		2200
(4NCL Barbican		2178)
Hendon			2155
Hackney			2125
Hammersmith		2110

(4NCL Alba		2095)
Cavendish		2088
Guildford		2080+
Kings Head		2080
South Birmingham	2080

Surbiton		2080
Oxford University	2050
Hastings & St Leonards	2020
Wimbledon		2020
Atticus			2013

Chester			2013
Coulsdon CF		2013
Ealing			2013
Cambridge City		2008
Bedford			2005
If I had to pick four English clubs for the European Super League: Guildford, Wood Green, Battersea and Hendon. *ducks*
Chris Goodall, formerly known as Chris Wardle. ECF Grader for Durham and the NCCU.
Newcastle is not in Scotland!

LawrenceCooper
Posts: 5443
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:13 am

Re: Chess clubs by size

Post by LawrenceCooper » Mon May 17, 2021 5:04 pm

Chris Goodall wrote:
Mon May 17, 2021 4:35 pm
Ian Thompson wrote:
Sun May 16, 2021 11:52 pm
If you were to look at the 10th best player from each club where you only count players who have the club as their primary club you'd get very different results. Sandhurst, for example, would drop from 2260 to 1248.
Only problem there is the number of players who have a 4NCL team as their primary. I don't know which 4NCL Guildford players ought to be assigned to Guildford, likewise Wood Green.

Code: Select all

(4NCL Guildford		2673)
(4NCL Manx Liberty	2500)
(4NCL Wood Green	2433)
Wood Green		2328+
(4NCL White Rose	2215)

Battersea		2200
(4NCL Barbican		2178)
Hendon			2155
Hackney			2125
Hammersmith		2110

(4NCL Alba		2095)
Cavendish		2088
Guildford		2080+
Kings Head		2080
South Birmingham	2080

Surbiton		2080
Oxford University	2050
Hastings & St Leonards	2020
Wimbledon		2020
Atticus			2013

Chester			2013
Coulsdon CF		2013
Ealing			2013
Cambridge City		2008
Bedford			2005
If I had to pick four English clubs for the European Super League: Guildford, Wood Green, Battersea and Hendon. *ducks*
The Guildford 4NCL team and the Wood Green London league team are the strongest UK based teams over 8-10 boards that I know of.

Kevin Thurlow
Posts: 4467
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:28 pm

Re: Chess clubs by size

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Mon May 17, 2021 6:48 pm

"ECF individual membership has dropped from 11k to 7k. If this is not reversed, the prognosis for chess in England is grim as we tumble down the international rankings. Some radical changes are needed in the way club chess is organised

There's been this cold going round..."

Well, yes - doubtless some people decided not to waste money on membership when there was nothing happening. Obviously, some won't come back, but there should be some new members with a bit of luck...

Nick Ivell
Posts: 527
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2011 6:33 pm

Re: Chess clubs by size

Post by Nick Ivell » Mon May 17, 2021 7:03 pm

Don't stroke the tiger, Chris!

Post Reply