How many casual players?

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
Roger de Coverly
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Dec 30, 2018 8:31 pm

JustinHorton wrote:
Sun Dec 30, 2018 4:31 pm
- should they, in fact, know - how many people it actually is.
I would have thought it likely to be the number of distinct names registered on their servers. In a commonly used computer language a statement of the form "select count(*) from usernames" would enable them to find out.

As of now, they are quoting 26,228,558

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JustinHorton
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by JustinHorton » Sun Dec 30, 2018 9:35 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Sun Dec 30, 2018 8:31 pm
JustinHorton wrote:
Sun Dec 30, 2018 4:31 pm
- should they, in fact, know - how many people it actually is.
I would have thought it likely to be the number of distinct names registered on their servers.
That's my guess too, but I'd rather know than guess. Maybe I'll ask them.
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Tim Spanton
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by Tim Spanton » Mon Dec 31, 2018 8:42 am

Justin Horton wrote:
"My gut feeling is that if we were to divide players into three groups, with
•the first being OTB tournament and club players (regardless of whether or not we also play online)
•the second being online players who do not play tournament and club chess, and
•the third being casual OTB players who play neither online nor tournament and club chess
the third group would be the smallest. But I don't know that, and I would be pleased to be wrong."

I am pretty sure the third group would be by far the largest, and certainly larger than the first group, just as the number of casual Scrabble or darts players is far larger than the number of tournament/club-playing Scrabble or darts players

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JustinHorton
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by JustinHorton » Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:53 pm

Tim Spanton wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 8:42 am
just as the number of casual Scrabble or darts players is far larger than the number of tournament/club-playing Scrabble or darts players
However they may not be comparable activities, since, for instance, it is not at all hard to find people casually playing darts down the pub.
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NickFaulks
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by NickFaulks » Mon Dec 31, 2018 1:36 pm

Tim Spanton wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 8:42 am
I am pretty sure the third group would be by far the largest, and certainly larger than the first group
I'm with Tim. I'll bet there were a lot of friends and families playing at home over the holiday period. Also, lots of people play against their phone.

In most of these cases there is no chance that their federation will ever get hold of their debit card number, so perhaps they don't count.

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JustinHorton
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by JustinHorton » Mon Dec 31, 2018 5:32 pm

NickFaulks wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 1:36 pm
Tim Spanton wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 8:42 am
I am pretty sure the third group would be by far the largest, and certainly larger than the first group
Also, lots of people play against their phone.
They do, but do we have any reason to think they they are generally members of the third group rather than one od the first two?
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NickFaulks
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by NickFaulks » Mon Dec 31, 2018 6:45 pm

JustinHorton wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 5:32 pm
They do, but do we have any reason to think they they are generally members of the third group rather than one of the first two?
Based on my own small personal sample, yes.

Stewart Reuben
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by Stewart Reuben » Wed Jan 30, 2019 12:21 pm

I agree totally with Nick. There are far more casual chess players than competitive ones, be the latter otb, online, correspondence, etc.
I think an independent annual survey, the name of which I have forgotten, postulated 2-4 million people in Britain who played at least once every three months. That is not to suggest they knew the en passant rule, or how to castle correctly.
My late cousin, Roger, who taught me chess, used to enjoy playing againt his rather old chess computer
Then you have the people who do not play, but read chess columns, or kibbitz online, or read chess books. There used also to be those who watched TV programmes such as The Master Game. At its height, that used to attract enough viewers for it to be no longr classified as a minoity interest.

Alistair Campbell
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by Alistair Campbell » Fri Feb 01, 2019 12:27 am

Tim Spanton wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 8:42 am
Justin Horton wrote:
"My gut feeling is that if we were to divide players into three groups, with
•the first being OTB tournament and club players (regardless of whether or not we also play online)
•the second being online players who do not play tournament and club chess, and
•the third being casual OTB players who play neither online nor tournament and club chess
the third group would be the smallest. But I don't know that, and I would be pleased to be wrong."

I am pretty sure the third group would be by far the largest, and certainly larger than the first group, just as the number of casual Scrabble or darts players is far larger than the number of tournament/club-playing Scrabble or darts players
Interesting.

My gut feel would match Justin’s – the caveat being that my definition of “casual player” excludes ex-competitive players.

The counter-suggestion seems to be that there is a vast underground army of players who have taken up the game and play it on a regular basis but have had minimal contact with “the authorities”.

Where have these casual players come from? Where did they learn to play? When? Chess has a reputation for being relatively complex (which may be one of its attractions) compared to pool or darts, say.

It seems to me that this complexity, coupled with minimal media coverage, is quite a barrier to entry,and those reluctant to cross this barrier at school, say, are not hugely more likely to cross it as an adult on their own when alternatives are available.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Fri Feb 01, 2019 10:15 am

"Where have these casual players come from? Where did they learn to play? When? Chess has a reputation for being relatively complex (which may be one of its attractions) compared to pool or darts, say. "

I have spotted people playing in pubs and hotel receptions and the openings are frequently 1.h4 a5 or similar, so these people exist, but there's probably not 600 million of them.

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Adam Raoof
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by Adam Raoof » Fri Feb 01, 2019 10:22 am

Chess is easy to learn, but challenging and complex to master. This is one reason why people play chess for decades, irrespective of their ability.

Stewart Reuben
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by Stewart Reuben » Fri Feb 01, 2019 10:24 am

The 600 million is a worldwide count. Chess is not particularly popular in England, by comparison with Russia, or Spanish speaking countries. Try Washington Square. Union Square or Central Park in NY and you will see large numbers of casual players. We have virtually no such culture in Britain.
600 million may be a myth, but it is less a myth than the person who wrote earlier that there are more competitive players than casual ones.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Feb 01, 2019 10:39 am

Stewart Reuben wrote:
Fri Feb 01, 2019 10:24 am
The 600 million is a worldwide count.

It's a highly dubious extrapolation based on an attempt to estimate the number of "players" in the UK. The definition of "player" was loose and would probably give a similarly high count for any number of computer games, sports or pastimes.

http://streathambrixtonchess.blogspot.c ... index.html

Stewart Reuben
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by Stewart Reuben » Fri Feb 01, 2019 10:48 am

Roger, Try reading my four line posting.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Feb 01, 2019 10:54 am

Stewart Reuben wrote:
Fri Feb 01, 2019 10:48 am
Roger, Try reading my four line posting.
Do you believe the 605 million figure? I don't and any organisation basing its business plans on it is in fantasy land.

The headcounts of "serious" players have been known for many years thanks to rating and grading systems and they are several zeros short of the wilder estimates.

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