Chess as a Sport in the UK

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
Roger de Coverly
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Chess as a Sport in the UK

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Sep 18, 2013 12:46 pm

I see the election address of Andrew Paulson resurrects this old chestnut. I thought the position was established by the late Tony Banks when Minister of Sport around fourteen years ago. There's an old law enacted by the Baldwin or Chamberlain governments of the late 1930s which defines a sport as requiring physical activity. In this context, physical activity goes beyond lifting a piece, rolling a dice or laying down cards.

Here's the reference
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/p ... 329-01.htm

The proposed change of legislation never happened.

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Greg Breed
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Re: Chess as a Sport in the UK

Post by Greg Breed » Wed Sep 18, 2013 12:50 pm

I think it needs to be redefined. To suggest Chess is not a Sport but something like Power Eating is simply because it is more physical is almost demeaning to me!
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Brendan O'Gorman
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Re: Chess as a Sport in the UK

Post by Brendan O'Gorman » Wed Sep 18, 2013 1:27 pm

I suppose a (difficult) plan of action might entail:

- form an All Party Parliamentary Group (as mentioned in AP's election address)
- prepare a draft Bill changing the definition of 'sport' in the relevant legislation so that chess became eligible for funding as a sport
- hope a member of the All Party Group were successful in the ballot for Private Members' Bills
- hope the successful MP preferred to introduce the 'chess is a sport' Bill to the many other worthy Bills he/she would be offered
- mount a public campaign to make it embarrassing for the government (of whichever party) to block the Bill

Lots of uncertainties there, but how else is the law to be changed against (I suspect) strong civil service resistance?

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Chess as a Sport in the UK

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Sep 18, 2013 1:33 pm

Brendan O'Gorman wrote: Lots of uncertainties there, but how else is the law to be changed against (I suspect) strong civil service resistance?
A long and lengthy process, with a pot of gold at the end of having drug testers turning up to harass players at the British Championships.

PeterTurland
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Re: Chess as a Sport in the UK

Post by PeterTurland » Wed Sep 18, 2013 1:35 pm

I've seen many instances of players losing weight after a tournament, one example I can clearly remember was when Short played Kasparov for the world title in the early 90s, and reading of him losing over two stone in three weeks.

Around 20% of our body's energy budget is consumed by the brain, if this figure rises during competitive chess, it is possible to prove that it burns calories, prove this and you have proved it is a sport.

It would be quite easy to prove as well, at the next London classic, have a defined entrance and exit, each containing a pad that weighs the person as they enter and leave. If the total weight of the leaving mat, was less than the total weight of the entry mat, then you will have proved that chess burns calories, ergo it is a form of exercise.
Last edited by PeterTurland on Wed Sep 18, 2013 5:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Brendan O'Gorman
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Re: Chess as a Sport in the UK

Post by Brendan O'Gorman » Wed Sep 18, 2013 1:36 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Brendan O'Gorman wrote: Lots of uncertainties there, but how else is the law to be changed against (I suspect) strong civil service resistance?
A long and lengthy process, with a pot of gold at the end of having drug testers turning up to harass players at the British Championships.
I don't see a necessary connection?

PeterFarr
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Re: Chess as a Sport in the UK

Post by PeterFarr » Wed Sep 18, 2013 1:42 pm

If I wasn't a chess player, I think I'd be pretty annoyed at Parliamentary time being used to re-define the notion of sport to include chess. George Osborne's name was mentioned - really? shouldn't he be spending his time managing the economy (ok maybe not, but as a point of principle).

Also, bearing in mind the high incidence of media references to the obesity of younger generations, lack of exercise etc., it feels like a very hard sell, in spite of Peter T's interesting points above.

I would prefer to see the charitable status plans worked through first, as that should be do-able and presumably could provide some tangible benefits.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Chess as a Sport in the UK

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Sep 18, 2013 1:51 pm

Brendan O'Gorman wrote:I don't see a necessary connection?
If you are a sport, or at any rate a competitive one, are you not expected to sign up to the national implementation of WADA (World Anti-Doping Association)?

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Re: Chess as a Sport in the UK

Post by Brendan O'Gorman » Wed Sep 18, 2013 1:56 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Brendan O'Gorman wrote:I don't see a necessary connection?
If you are a sport, or at any rate a competitive one, are you not expected to sign up to the national implementation of WADA (World Anti-Doping Association)?
If the operative verb is "expected' then that carries less force than "required".

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Re: Chess as a Sport in the UK

Post by Brendan O'Gorman » Wed Sep 18, 2013 2:03 pm

PeterFarr wrote:If I wasn't a chess player, I think I'd be pretty annoyed at Parliamentary time being used to re-define the notion of sport to include chess. -- text omitted --
Peter, I suspect you have been spared the horrors that occur during the time allotted for discussion of Private Members' Bills. Trust me when I say that far far worse has transpired during these Friday morning sessions, e.g. government supporters filibustering on a Bill that everyone wants with the aim of using up time that might otherwise have been available to make progress on a different Bill that the government wants to block but doesn't want to do so openly.

PeterFarr
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Re: Chess as a Sport in the UK

Post by PeterFarr » Wed Sep 18, 2013 2:06 pm

Brendan - yes, i'm sure you are right there.

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Paolo Casaschi
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Re: Chess as a Sport in the UK

Post by Paolo Casaschi » Wed Sep 18, 2013 2:20 pm

PeterFarr wrote:If I wasn't a chess player, I think I'd be pretty annoyed at Parliamentary time being used to re-define the notion of sport to include chess. George Osborne's name was mentioned - really? shouldn't he be spending his time managing the economy (ok maybe not, but as a point of principle).
As a chess player, aren't you equally annoyed with the amount of funding provided to some obscure sports? After all it's your money that the government gives away to archery, fencing and the likes.
PeterFarr wrote:Also, bearing in mind the high incidence of media references to the obesity of younger generations, lack of exercise etc., it feels like a very hard sell, in spite of Peter T's interesting points above.
I would not worry about that, in fact the ability to help development of children is probably the most important marketing argument in favor of chess.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Chess as a Sport in the UK

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Sep 18, 2013 2:25 pm

Brendan O'Gorman wrote: If the operative verb is "expected' then that carries less force than "required".
I think if you expect to get recognition and funding, you are required to sign for Anti-Doping.

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Re: Chess as a Sport in the UK

Post by David Robertson » Wed Sep 18, 2013 2:34 pm

For crying out loud! This isn't going to happen - not soon, not in our lifetime, and likely, not ever. Move on; nothing to see. Even if Parliamentary time were found (it won't be), the proposal would never survive the debate (it was ridiculed out of court last time - "what about sudoku?"). The biggest opposition to chess as a sport will come - that's right - from sport! End of. Paulson talks bilge. Ignore.

Paul Sanders
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Re: Chess as a Sport in the UK

Post by Paul Sanders » Wed Sep 18, 2013 2:36 pm

I did a bit of investigating around this a while ago, and my own conclusion was that the ECF would do far better to try to position Chess as a cultural activity, with international and cultural cohesion goals, than to try to persuade policy makers to do a reclassification and then cope with all the implications of competing with football.

A pragmatist right now would for instance be trying to make sure that at least some regional chess clubs met 'social inclusion' criteria for NEETS...

And making sure juniors could play in other EU countries is a no-brainer for a switched on EU grant applier.

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