Oct elections - Candidate statements

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
John Upham
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by John Upham » Sat Aug 14, 2010 8:15 pm

Andrew Farthing wrote: Due to Chris's work commitments, I have ended up covering the Chief Exec job for a total of about 4 months in the last year, so I have some experience now of what's involved and working with the rest of the Board.
Andrew,

What is your position on the CfS project?

Do you believe it would be correct to keep the relationship alive with HP (if indeed one still exists) or do you believe the ECF should sever its relationship with HP?
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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Sun Aug 15, 2010 1:04 am

John Upham wrote:
Andrew Farthing wrote: Due to Chris's work commitments, I have ended up covering the Chief Exec job for a total of about 4 months in the last year, so I have some experience now of what's involved and working with the rest of the Board.
Andrew,

What is your position on the CfS project?

Do you believe it would be correct to keep the relationship alive with HP (if indeed one still exists) or do you believe the ECF should sever its relationship with HP?
CfS = Chess for Schools
HP = Holloid Plastics (from memory)

[Someone should do a glossary...]

Andrew Farthing
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Andrew Farthing » Sun Aug 15, 2010 5:51 am

John Upham wrote:What is your position on the CfS project?

Do you believe it would be correct to keep the relationship alive with HP (if indeed one still exists) or do you believe the ECF should sever its relationship with HP?
See my original statement:
Andrew Farthing wrote:I’ve deliberately not commented on Chess for Schools, because I need to see what the situation is in October and talk to the parties involved.

Leonard Barden
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Leonard Barden » Wed Aug 18, 2010 1:07 pm

[quote="Andrew Farthing

DCMS = Department of Culture Media & Sport. Prior to this year, they gave the ECF an annual grant of £60,000 as part of their support for "elite sport" (i.e. they expected the money to support international successes by English players, e.g. in the Olympiad, and the development of junior players to create future generations of international-strength players). This year, the DCMS announced that the grant would be reduced to £45,000. The context for this is the Government search for spending cuts to tackle the budget deficit.
[/quote]

FACT: England currently has no GM, IM, WGM or WIM aged under 19. This is a worse position than any other major chess nation in Western Europe, let alone Eastern Europe, the US, China or India.

It is also the worst position as regards junior IMs+ in England since the early 1970s, that's the worst for nearly 40 years.

Meanwhile, the ECF via its junior director pursues aggressively anti-elitist policies, discouraging the best talents from proving themselves in older age groups.

Will this problem be addressed?
Last edited by Leonard Barden on Wed Aug 18, 2010 1:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Aug 18, 2010 1:13 pm

Leonard Barden wrote: It is also the worst position as regards junior IMs+ in England since the late 1960s, that's the worst for nearly 40 years.
Worse as well in terms of the numbers of university age players. The BUCAs of 40 years ago could attract nearly 32 teams of 8 players each - that's the size of divs 1/2 of the 4NCL. After Fischer, the numbers went even higher.

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Adam Raoof
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Adam Raoof » Wed Aug 18, 2010 2:48 pm

Leonard Barden wrote:Meanwhile, the ECF via its junior director pursues aggressively anti-elitist policies, discouraging the best talents from proving themselves in older age groups. Will this problem be addressed?
BUCA: Give Alex H a chance.

Junior Directorship: I would be more impressed with those who complain about the current Junior Director if they would put forward alternative strategies and a candidate for election to argue their case. Until there is a choice of candidates I am grateful that the incumbent does that role, and satisfied that he does his very best.
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Don’t stop playing chess!

John Upham
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by John Upham » Wed Aug 18, 2010 2:50 pm

Leonard Barden wrote:
Meanwhile, the ECF via its junior director pursues aggressively anti-elitist policies, discouraging the best talents from proving themselves in older age groups.

Will this problem be addressed?
Leonard,

If there were to be more than one candidate for the post of DoJCaE (Director of Junior Chess and Education) what would be the policies that you would endorse if you were able to vote?

Of course many persons on Council voting may well have no knowledge of the work done by the incumbent.
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Leonard Barden
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Leonard Barden » Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:00 pm

John Upham wrote:
Leonard Barden wrote:
Meanwhile, the ECF via its junior director pursues aggressively anti-elitist policies, discouraging the best talents from proving themselves in older age groups.

Will this problem be addressed?
Leonard,

If there were to be more than one candidate for the post of DoJCaE (Director of Junior Chess and Education) what would be the policies that you would endorse if you were able to vote?

Of course many persons on Council voting may well have no knowledge of the work done by the incumbent.

I'll do as you and Adam suggest, but it will take some time. I'll try to post at the weekend.

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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Alex Holowczak » Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:58 pm

Leonard Barden wrote: FACT: England currently has no GM, IM, WGM or WIM aged under 19. This is a worse position than any other major chess nation in Western Europe, let alone Eastern Europe, the US, China or India.

It is also the worst position as regards junior IMs+ in England since the early 1970s, that's the worst for nearly 40 years.
The number of juniors playing chess in England is also the lowest it has been since before the Fischer boom. I think the two problems are related.

If you assume that all chessplayers' ratings and skill are normally distributed, then using probability you can say that if you get more players, then the probability of having more players who are really good also increases. This is the same reason that women aren't yet equally as strong as men globally at the top of the game.

It stands to reason that Andorra will always be worse than England at football, because England's pool of players is larger than Andorra's. If England's chessplayer pool had twice as many players as it does now, I'm sure there'd be many more stronger players.

So I think the emphasis should be on quantity, not quality.

Matthew Turner
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Matthew Turner » Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:15 pm

Alex,
Doesn't the UK Chess Challenge mean that there are more juniors playing than ever before? The problem is is that they are not continuing to play? I will be very interested to hear what Leonard has to say.

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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Richard James » Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:17 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:
The number of juniors playing chess in England is also the lowest it has been since before the Fischer boom.
Citation?

Anyway, it depends what exactly you mean by 'playing chess'. Do you mean playing fairly serious competitive chess, taking part in Mickey Mouse kiddichess events, or moving the pieces round the board in vaguely legal fashion?

The number of secondary school age juniors playing competitive chess possibly is the lowest since the 1950s. It's certainly much lower than in the 1960s, when the Keene/Hartston/Basman generation came to prominence as well.

We need to go for quality at primary school age and quantity at secondary school age, but with appropriate support for our most promising players at any age. At present we're going for quantity at primary school age, which does not translate into either quantity or quality at secondary school age and therefore does not translate into adult chess players (note Rob Thompson's comment elsewhere about the number of young adult players in a Dutch tournament).

I would also add, with regard to previous comments, that my impression over many years, is that many junior chess organisers, especially those involved with EPSCA, have always taken a disturbingly parochial view when it comes to providing advice and support for our top juniors.

Alex Holowczak
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Alex Holowczak » Wed Aug 18, 2010 6:05 pm

Matthew Turner wrote:Alex,
Doesn't the UK Chess Challenge mean that there are more juniors playing than ever before? The problem is is that they are not continuing to play?
I was referring to the 12-18 age-group rather than at primary school level.

The juniors playing in the junior sections of the British have roughly halved in the last 15 years. Entries to the National Schools has had a similar decline. Look at the Birmingham Junior League in 2002/3 to 2009/10: http://www.brumjuniorchess.co.uk/ - it's virtually dead now.

I don't think the UKCC does mean more juniors are playing than ever before. With the UKCC, they just happen to all be playing in the same tournament.

The citation (re: Richard's point) is from what other people have written here.

Neill Cooper
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Neill Cooper » Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:45 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:The juniors playing in the junior sections of the British have roughly halved in the last 15 years. Entries to the National Schools has had a similar decline. Look at the Birmingham Junior League in 2002/3 to 2009/10: http://www.brumjuniorchess.co.uk/ - it's virtually dead now.
The decline is actually worse if you compare with the peak of the mid-1970s:
The national schools tournament had 961 entries in 1973-4 - almost all one team from secondary schools. Last year there were 165 entries http://www.sccu.ndo.co.uk/schoolshist.htm, but only 100 secondary schools entered team(s), as there are now quite a few primary and prep schools. (Though this is up on the below 100 entries a few years ago)

The secondary school league in Kent seems to have folded http://www.sccu.ndo.co.uk/kscl/. Does any county apart from Surrey have an active secondary school league? (http://www.cchess.org.uk/SCCAJ/bp.html).

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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Alex Holowczak » Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:53 pm

I guess this is another part of the problem. At primary school level around here, most clubs are maintained by coaches who come in from outside to run chess clubs. This isn't prevalent at secondary school level, it's mostly left to a member of staff, who in most cases doesn't want to give up a Friday night to take children to play chess. As a result, only a dedicated few get chess clubs...

The BDJCL used to be similar in size to the Surrey version 10 years ago. It's still going - just. I can't see it for much longer though, if I'm honest.

Eoin Devane
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Eoin Devane » Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:41 pm

Neill Cooper wrote:The secondary school league in Kent seems to have folded http://www.sccu.ndo.co.uk/kscl/.
I'm very sad to hear that, but I can't say that I'm all that surprised. In my time at St. Olave's, as you can see from the results at the link you posted, both the Senior and U16 competitions declined from having three groups of four, followed by quarters, semis and finals, to simply being one group of four/five. The U13 went from thriving to virtually non-existant. In my final year, 5 of the 12 teams who actually played a match in the competitions (all of the Secondary School ones combined) were from St. Olave's. Unsurprisingly, then, we swept the titles. :) The year after that I see it's the same story, and then following that the league seems to have disappeared.

I have to say that I think the statistics above are a great credit to the excellent organisation of Hanna Cooley at St. Olave's. It's rare to find a person prepared to dedicate so much of her own time to organisation of any extra-curricular activity, let alone chess, but I think her example shows what can be achieved if people are prepared to help out with school chess. It's a shame more schools don't have people like her.

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