How many casual players?

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
J T Melsom
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by J T Melsom » Mon Dec 17, 2018 9:31 am

I have initiated correspondence between myself and the ECF. I am happy for the exchange to be published but neither I nor the ECF are under any obligation to do so, nor is there a specific requirement to publish on this forum. I don't believe that publication/transparency is always the best way for a number of reasons that need not detain us, but then nor do I believe the current Board are bent on the destruction of chess in England, and needs to be evasive.

Mike Gunn
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by Mike Gunn » Mon Dec 17, 2018 10:57 am

In my view you couldn't introduce compulsory membership without changes to the bye laws which would have to be voted on by Council.

Changing to monthly grading could be done without reference to Council, but it would be advisable to consult the graders and local bodies who collect the results and submit them to the ECF. As a local grader the only consultation I have seen is Julie Denning's post on this forum (although possibly the ECF has sent me an email which I have missed because it went to the spam folder). I'm in two minds about this because (although I can see some advantage in monthly grades) I'm not sure I would want or would be able to submit a monthly grading return. If I step down my County could always find another grader or (I suppose) change the system for submitting results to the one recently offered by the ECF. There is a danger that there wouldn't be enough volunteers out there to do the work or make the changes to their websites etc so that monthly grading could fall flat on its face.

If people want to debate changes to the grading system at Council then this can be done by placing a motion on the Council agenda. As Chairman of Council I would be happy to advise on how to do this, suitable wordings of motions, etc.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Dec 17, 2018 11:42 am

Mike Gunn wrote:
Mon Dec 17, 2018 10:57 am

If people want to debate changes to the grading system at Council then this can be done by placing a motion on the Council agenda.
Why shouldn't the Directors do this as a matter of standing policy? Rhetorical question I know, as ECF boards have repeatedly claimed "operational issues" as reasons not to debate controversial decisions.

Mick Norris
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by Mick Norris » Mon Dec 17, 2018 11:43 am

Feedback from our grader
I personally don't see the point in, say monthly league submissions, as for most players this would only equate to one or two games. Congresses, however, submit as soon as possible after an event, where 5 or 6 results are significant.
which seems sensible
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JustinHorton
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by JustinHorton » Mon Dec 17, 2018 1:02 pm

Ian Thompson wrote:
Sun Dec 16, 2018 8:27 pm
Roger de Coverly wrote:
Sun Dec 16, 2018 7:29 pm

Where does he get that count from? Is it on the same scale as the 600 million worldwide, so popular with Agon and the ex FIDE president.
Who knows, but the YouGov survey figures said 2% of the adult UK population play chess (casually) at least once a week (either against a person or a computer), so that would justify a figure of just over a million. Is there any reason to disbelieve that figure? I suppose the obvious questions are whether the sample size (4161 adults) is large enough to extrapolate to the whole population and whether the demographics of those 4161 people who responded to the YouGov survey is representative of the whole population - probably not, so how was that dealt with to come up with the 2% figure?
I also wouldn't mind knowing where he's getting his numbers from, but I don't have the slightest interest in asking the question on behalf of a grading system.
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Paul Buswell
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by Paul Buswell » Mon Dec 17, 2018 2:24 pm

It is a long long time ago, and I have been caught out recently by failing memory, but I have a recollection of a big survey (NRS maybe?) in the early 80s that was showing 7 to 9% of the more-or-less-adult population playing, albeit casually, at least once a year.

PB

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JustinHorton
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by JustinHorton » Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:50 pm

Now that sounds interesting.
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

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Roger de Coverly
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Dec 17, 2018 6:38 pm

Paul Buswell wrote:
Mon Dec 17, 2018 2:24 pm
I have a recollection of a big survey (NRS maybe?) in the early 80s that was showing 7 to 9% of the more-or-less-adult population playing, albeit casually, at least once a year.
In more of less the same time period, wasn't the audience for the BBC's Master Game around a million, if not more?

Nick Grey
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by Nick Grey » Mon Dec 17, 2018 11:07 pm

That may have been the viewing figures.
I was a casual player at one time. Played once a year against an uncle on boxing day in the 70s. He died a few years back.
I have the odd casual game v the computer on our chess club website. Whether this encourages the visitor or not is a question worth posing.
The issue is not everyone in the UK is British or English & many surveys online excluding casual adults.
I suspect it is now less than 1% of adults which scores NIL on 'Pointless'.

Tim Spanton
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by Tim Spanton » Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:12 pm

"How many casual players?"
Millions sounds a perfectly reasonable figure to me.
In my experience it is extremely rare to come across someone who admits to not knowing how to play chess. Most people, on finding out I play in chess tournaments, say they know the rules but don't play very often.
Setting the bar for a casual player as at least "once a week" seems high. I regard myself as a casual pool player, a casual draughts player, a casual table-football player, a casual darts player, etc, but I certainly don't play any of those games every week.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:33 pm

Anecdotally, I see a fair number of people playing chess on their mobile phones/tablets while commuting. More people play the other games available on such devices. But does that make them a casual chess player? I can play pool, snooker, draughts, table-tennis, darts and so on. All of these are either pub games or have been made available in public spaces (e.g. table-tennis). But I only play them casually, not seriously. Maybe 'casual' means not at a set time and not playing within an organised competitive environment.

Tim Spanton
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by Tim Spanton » Tue Dec 18, 2018 1:23 pm

"the YouGov survey figures said 2% of the adult UK population play chess (casually) at least once a week (either against a person or a computer)"
I have a friend who plays chess overseas half-a-dozen or more times a year, but certainly does not play "at least once a week." Indeed, I doubt if Magnus Carlsen qualifies ...

Roger de Coverly
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Dec 18, 2018 1:33 pm

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:33 pm
But does that make them a casual chess player?
I would have thought that fell within the definition of "playing chess" as defined by the survey spuriously used to justify the 600 million worldwide count.

I don't know why they would want to pay the ECF a fiver though.
Mike proposed the creation of an 'English chess supporters' group for casual/ social chess players who would be offered the ECF newsletter and other resources TBC for a fee of £5 annually.
I don't know if there are any surviving statistics on the difference in headcount of active players between December 1971 and December 1972, but I do recall that the interest generated by the Fischer-Spassky match and a publicity drive by the Evening Standard attracted well over a thousand players to the Islington weekender that December. With the lowest section attracting nearly 500 of these, one might suppose previously "casual" players were sucked in. In those days though, it was commonplace amongst schools for chess to be a school supported team sport, with regular matches against other schools and other competitions.

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JustinHorton
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by JustinHorton » Tue Dec 18, 2018 5:33 pm

Tim Spanton wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 1:23 pm
"the YouGov survey figures said 2% of the adult UK population play chess (casually) at least once a week (either against a person or a computer)"
I have a friend who plays chess overseas half-a-dozen or more times a year, but certainly does not play "at least once a week." Indeed, I doubt if Magnus Carlsen qualifies ...
Given that it includes computer play, I wouldn't be so doubtful.
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

Neil Graham
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by Neil Graham » Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:00 am

Paul Buswell wrote:
Mon Dec 17, 2018 2:24 pm
It is a long long time ago, and I have been caught out recently by failing memory, but I have a recollection of a big survey (NRS maybe?) in the early 80s that was showing 7 to 9% of the more-or-less-adult population playing, albeit casually, at least once a year.

PB
My memory of this is that as General Secretary of the BCF you commissioned Market Research by a reputable PR company. The question asked was "Have you played chess in the last month?" and their results indicated that over 3 million people (3.3 if I remember correctly) had. This was, of course, before the Internet so the figure now would probably be in excess of that.

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