I`ve very briefly looked at Andrews `Strategy doc`..as per first post on this thread, and would just make a few brief comments.
Firstly...you need to get the perspective right regarding chess in the seventies....
Its success was driven mainly by the Fischer phenomenon.......his mercurial talent & amazing antics galvanised the media into reporting all the exploits, which intrigued and amused the public, and brought chess to the attention of joe public...and to the younger generation. Sparked by this glorious period, when Fischer took on the mighty soviet block in a series of memorable encounters, people suddenly became inspired to learn more about this strange & mysterious game. So, a new era of budding chess players sprang up, became enthusiastic....and so we had a great period when the game boomed...congresses flourished...and English players suddenly took a quamtun leap forward....maybe not so suddenly.
Two areas need to be addressed..... Publicity & communications.
Various `Tin Godds` have stuck spanners in the works..seeking personal agendas above the `common good` in chess. Some of this might have been motivated by percieved `wrongs`...but all the `in-fighting` that seemed to happen in BCF circles absorbed much energy that could have been better directed....Im sure.
(I see Adam is talking about giving the Logo a `makeover`... Try BCF Rules OK!!!!)
So, at all levels...the focus needs to be on `attracting greater support`, and new members.....if we could boost numbers by 10% or more, it would improve finances...and results would improve over time.
We need all the various bodies to link & contribute to the collective success (ie, no opt outs..)....its a loosely linked organisation...multi-facited ..not really like your normal company. This includes close links with our national neighbours....I`d like to see a return of `Home Countries` matches....in banded grade groups..say an U2500, U2250, U2000..etc..maybe 8 boards per band group.
Greater targetted publicity could help achieve this....at all levels...National..Union...county...congress...league...and club...and schools/junior. And Professional/Tournament.....
But we will be pushed (or extremely lucky) to find another Fischer who could once again fire the imaginations of a whole generation across the world.
Better communications across the various chess bodies Im sure would help...and to focus on collective effort rather than confrontation and self interest. In other words...how can we use the current structures to produce a more effective team affort. Are we using our county, congress, league bodies/networks to ensure that the initiatives are put in place to drive things forward...can these bodies do more to get the `messages` across, drive forward the levels of membership and participation...ensure greater awareness amongst players/potential new players, etc...regarding events that are going on....
In the North..we have the Manchester Congress coming shortly...improved venue, prizes..details on the MCF website Newspage. We also have the Leek Congress a week later (w/e 11th September..) see ECF Calander. Then there is Sean Hewetts e2-e4 event at Runcorn. And of course...the new 4NCL Northern league kicks off (currently at least 9 teams have entered this, I believe).
In addition...the leagues start at the end of September...they need new players for many clubs in the north west..players of all standards from beginner upwards.....
At County level...the MCCU will again be running a whole series of well supported county events..for all grade bands, which attract a good level of entries. But all these bodies would welcome additional teams & new players.
So..we need to ensure our respective memberships are aware of all these things, and turn out in numbers to support the efforts. Its a colective effort that drives these things forward...starting at league/club level, with good Press contacts, to alert joe public to the fact that chess is alive and kicking in there area....and clubs welcome new players of all standards.
Our County, League & Congress networks need to be used to maximum effect to ensure that `awareness` is maintained. For too long chess has lived in the dark ages, because people havent made enough effort to ensure that key messages and events got the right level of publicity...and the right support from rank and file members/players.
One of the lessons from those glorious Fischer years is that success breads success.
By getting in new faces...inspiring participation...encouraging interest...you find that things start to `click`....and, as if by magic.....new talent emerges, and the `sport` starts to flourish once more.
But all of this requires the efforts of a large body of enthusiastic individual volunteers, to keep the wheels turning...so this is the time for players at all levels to consider what they can do...what posts they might fill...to help take things forward. Importantly, these players must not be shy to come forward.....in many cases a pair of willing hands is the main requirement (....and they will find plenty of support/assistance offered).... Ask, and help will be available. One of the key problems with all such bodies is not `lack of ideas`, its lack of volunteers to make things happen.
Word of caution....we need open accessable `bodies`, not closed shops. We need to ensure our `bodies` are responsive to the rank and file views and concerns & events/matters of interest. Some `puppets regimes` are too focused on there own private agendas, and try to shut out views that dont suit there agendas. Allienating the membership, pushing through `private agendas` before/against the wishes of rank & file membership, will only lead to antaginasition & more `aggro`....we need to ensure our organisations `listen` to there memberships, and are responsive to the legitimate wishes expressed...and not supress `free speaking` voices.........even when they can be sometimes percieved as `stupid or misguided`.
Funding & sponsorship are other key areas......