Junior chess in latest ECF board minutes

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
Neill Cooper
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Re: Junior chess in latest ECF board minutes

Post by Neill Cooper » Tue Jul 18, 2017 11:53 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:Building a database of schools and/ or negotiating a special grading deal for schools is unlikely to solve the main problem which is getting chess activity going in the first place, particularly from age 11 upwards. Where secondary school chess is at its strongest is within private schools who can afford to invest in chess as an activity and (on occasion) actually pay a suitably qualified teacher. In the state sector chess is less likely to happen unless there is a teacher with an interest in running a club. With schools facing budget challenges obtaining chess equipment might be difficult and certainly not a priority.
I am hoping that once we have a critical mass of chess between schools going on then we can look to innovative ways to market it to many other secondary schools, in a way that has already been done in Devon. The philosophy of Team Chess Challenge is that any school can enter and enjoy playing. But at present things are still very patchy - look at large gaps where no schools entered the national school chess championships last year - see Map. At least there is progress with state schools with almost half the teams at the national finals being from (selective) state schools.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Junior chess in latest ECF board minutes

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Jul 20, 2017 6:49 pm

Funding issues continue to exercise the ECF Board.

http://www.englishchess.org.uk/wp-conte ... -FINAL.pdf


Junior Membership Fees (JD)
The paper submitted by JD was discussed. Consideration was given to the effectiveness of the current free Junior Silver membership and the patchy take up across the country.
The Board noted there was anecdotal evidence that costs were a factor in a number of junior events not being submitted for grading. The potential increase in costs next season (e.g. from 30p per rapidplay half-
result to £3.75 pay to play fee in a congress or £9.50 Junior Bronze Membership Fee in a league) may exacerbate this.

A number of alternatives to the current structure were discussed, including promoting
the one year free membership much more intensively in partnership with junior chess organisations across England and replacing the current junior structure with a reduced
flat fee. The Board’s attention was drawn to an article written by Richard James on how to effectively teach and retain juniors.
It was agreed that the matter be given further consideration with options including
broad costings being presented for further discussion at the next Board meeting.
Any changes to the current structure would be put to Council before being implemented.
So the ECF Directors are concerned that membership requirements discourage event organisers from having their events graded. Who would have thought it?

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Junior chess in latest ECF board minutes

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Thu Jul 20, 2017 10:51 pm

The ECF has been working towards a membership only structure in recent years and the most recent funding reforms reflect that. In the case of junior players there are other ways to give them an incentive to join the ECF. With the lads I coach locally I could probably `sell` an ECF membership if there was (for example) a free playing program, a quarterly magazine exclusively for them and a few other bits and bobs, not least discounted entry should they wish to enter a tournament. I'm not going to bother suggesting they join the ECF simply so they can get a grade. I might be opening a can of worms with this one but the freebies could possibly be paid for out of the surplus that is allegedly being lost in corporation tax at present.

Thinking aloud but might there also be a case for doing away with bronze and silver junior membership and simply having a flat rate? Tournament chess tends to be the entry point for juniors rather than league chess.

In any case I am more interested in the article by Richard James (which I suspect is in the public domain, will dig when I have more time) than the number crunching.
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Junior chess in latest ECF board minutes

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:37 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:The ECF has been working towards a membership only structure in recent years and the most recent funding reforms reflect that. In the case of junior players there are other ways to give them an incentive to join the ECF.
Why though if it isn't to raise revenue and why make it a per head cost? It's not as if you can sell junior players car insurance. Those advocating membership schemes have been at pains to deny they were seeking a members only closed shop.

NickFaulks
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Re: Junior chess in latest ECF board minutes

Post by NickFaulks » Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:41 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:So the ECF Directors are concerned that membership requirements discourage event organisers from having their events graded. Who would have thought it?
If we wait a few more years, do you think they will notice that their proclaimed aim of seeing more FIDE rated events in England is not assisted by their membership fee structure?

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Junior chess in latest ECF board minutes

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:57 pm

NickFaulks wrote: If we wait a few more years, do you think they will notice that their proclaimed aim of seeing more FIDE rated events in England is not assisted by their membership fee structure?
ECF Directors don't last as long as members of ECF Council. Originally their predecessors as BCF and ECF Directors used FIDE rating as an excuse to force players into membership by claiming it was a FIDE requirement. They even went as far as claiming it was a FIDE requirement that players become guarantor members of the ECF and had a major row with "the North" because of it. The promotion of FIDE rated chess was that they gave away qualification places in the British Championship. That's now semi-rescinded.

Some ambiguous wording in FIDE rating requirements didn't help, but it was Chess Scotland who eventually clarified that when FIDE said "member of a national federation", all they really meant was that all players should have a national designation.

David Sedgwick
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Re: Junior chess in latest ECF board minutes

Post by David Sedgwick » Fri Jul 21, 2017 12:14 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:So the ECF Directors are concerned that membership requirements discourage event organisers from having their events graded. Who would have thought it?
NickFaulks wrote:If we wait a few more years, do you think they will notice that their proclaimed aim of seeing more FIDE rated events in England is not assisted by their membership fee structure?
If we wait a few more years, do you think that the FIDE Qualification Commission will notice that FIDE's proclaimed aim of seeing more events FIDE rated, in England and elsewhere, is not assisted by the provisions of the FIDE Rating Regulations?

NickFaulks
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Re: Junior chess in latest ECF board minutes

Post by NickFaulks » Fri Jul 21, 2017 12:33 am

David Sedgwick wrote:If we wait a few more years, do you think that the FIDE Qualification Commission will notice that FIDE's proclaimed aim of seeing more events FIDE rated, in England and elsewhere, is not assisted by the provisions of the FIDE Rating Regulations?
If you are referring to the 40 move rule ( and I can't think of anything else ), that survives only due to the strenuous lobbying efforts of the English arbiting community. It is particularly unfortunate in quicker games which are rated for lower rated players, where a first time control at move 40 is clearly inappropriate.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Junior chess in latest ECF board minutes

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Jul 21, 2017 12:50 am

NickFaulks wrote:( and I can't think of anything else )
Not rating games less than four hours for players over 2200, demands that those in an arbiter role should pay FIDE a license fee are at least two others. The physical presence of an arbiter is not required on at least some interpretations.

Mick Norris
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Re: Junior chess in latest ECF board minutes

Post by Mick Norris » Fri Jul 21, 2017 8:24 am

Andrew Zigmond wrote:In any case I am more interested in the article by Richard James (which I suspect is in the public domain, will dig when I have more time) than the number crunching.
Have a look at The Chess Improver articles

It may be this one?

As I have said before, it is quite simple in theory how to sort out junior chess; ask Richard what to do, and do what he says :wink: but no doubt the "silos" in junior chess won't brook interference from the ECF or anyone else, and will continue to do what they do
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

NickFaulks
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Re: Junior chess in latest ECF board minutes

Post by NickFaulks » Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:26 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:Not rating games less than four hours for players over 2200
That is a feature, not a bug. At the upper levels, the rating system is supposed to measure how good you are at proper chess, and I hope it continues to be so.
demands that those in an arbiter role should pay FIDE a license fee
Yes, that is an annoyance. It is the price you pay for the ( often good ) work done by the Arbiters Commission.
The physical presence of an arbiter is not required on at least some interpretations.
If you mean the "interpretation" that is actually applied, then you are correct. Your own may be different, but why would anyone care about that?

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Junior chess in latest ECF board minutes

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:36 am

NickFaulks wrote: At the upper levels, the rating system is supposed to measure how good you are at proper chess, and I hope it continues to be so.
FIDE are prepared to measure how good you are at improper chess such as 5-minute and games with less than an hour on the clock. Why then does it leave a gap in coverage when players have more than one hour but less than two? The practicalities of amateur play during evenings and weekends are such that a session of three or three and a half hours will remain a popular game length. It's even encroaching into the super-GM environment with 45 minutes with 30 second increments being tried.

NickFaulks
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Re: Junior chess in latest ECF board minutes

Post by NickFaulks » Fri Jul 21, 2017 10:09 am

Roger de Coverly wrote: FIDE are prepared to measure how good you are at improper chess such as 5-minute and games with less than an hour on the clock.

Precisely. They are separate rating systems. Nobody qualifies for the Candidates by getting a huge blitz rating.
Why then does it leave a gap in coverage when players have more than one hour but less than two?
That was a deliberate decision, making a clear division between serious chess and the more knockabout versions. I don't think the world really wants yet another rating system for this gap - perhaps they could be pushed into rapid, but that would cause new problems.
The practicalities of amateur play during evenings and weekends are such that a session of three or three and a half hours will remain a popular game length.
For less serious players (<2200) these can be rated. I can see a case for redefining "less serious players" up to <2400.
It's even encroaching into the super-GM environment with 45 minutes with 30 second increments being tried.
The players themselves said that the format was fun, but the standard of play was sub-par.

On a general note, we are overdue for a major review of the rating system, to assess how the big changes in recent years are working out. In particular, there is a rich vein of data to be mined on how performance in three hour games really does compare with the traditional version. Then these discussions would not have to be based on hypotheses.

Unfortunately, this would cost money, probably 5k - 10k euros. The Presidential Board, in its wisdom, decided last year that FIDE's depleted funds were better spent on giving huge fee rebates to large and wealthy federations, so if the rating system - which must be their most valuable asset - is running into the ditch we shall have no way of knowing.

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Junior chess in latest ECF board minutes

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Fri Jul 21, 2017 2:26 pm

I suppose that it was always too much to ask that this thread actually stayed on topic. FIDE regulations can be discussed elsewhere.
Roger de Coverly wrote: Why though if it isn't to raise revenue and why make it a per head cost? It's not as if you can sell junior players car insurance. Those advocating membership schemes have been at pains to deny they were seeking a members only closed shop.
You can possibly sell car insurance to the person paying the membership on behalf of the junior (ie the parent/ guardian). In any event I have yet to be asked by a parent about the workings of ECF membership or game fee and from next season I can blood a junior in the Harrogate C team without incurring a £2.50 charge. If they start playing regularly I will have to have a conversation about joining the ECF but I don't foresee any problems.
Mick Norris wrote:
Have a look at The Chess Improver articles

It may be this one?

As I have said before, it is quite simple in theory how to sort out junior chess; ask Richard what to do, and do what he says :wink: but no doubt the "silos" in junior chess won't brook interference from the ECF or anyone else, and will continue to do what they do
I suspect this may not be the relevant article as it doesn't really talk about retention and is a little too focused on the elite level but as usual Richard James makes some good points. It may go some way to explaining why younger players can be seen in the Open sections of most reasonably sized weekenders (never in vast number but they're there) but more rarely in the lower sections. Not every junior is going to play for England but it does seem that unless a junior is cherry picked for more advanced development there is nowhere for them to go; they outgrow junior clubs focused on primary school pupils, adult chess clubs don't want them and there is no incentive for them to keep playing. And from the perspective of somebody like myself who is never going to win any coach of the year awards but is trying to keep a group of 11/12 year olds enthused, you do find yourself working in a relative vacuum.

Which takes me back to the original quote from the May board minutes, or at least this part of it.
It was agreed that we should consider running pilots, to help and support the growth and development of
junior clubs.

The reintroduction of junior development officers was discussed. It was thought they
might be more successful if the role description was fully developed, and the right
person was fully supported.
It is this section we should be focusing on.

Finally regarding Mick's `silos`; no body has the authority to dictate to individual clubs how they run their activities, not even the ECF. All the ECF, or county associations/ unions for that matter, can do is share good practice and build networks where organisers are willing. If others want to do the wrong thing and keep failing, that's their privilege.
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All views expressed entirely my own

NickFaulks
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Re: Junior chess in latest ECF board minutes

Post by NickFaulks » Fri Jul 21, 2017 3:25 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:FIDE regulations can be discussed elsewhere.
No doubt we got into too much detail, but I do think that the paucity of FIDE rated events for juniors and others in England is a part of the reason why we lag so far behind our Continental neighbours in their development. The International Director has said the same, although he has done nothing about it.

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