Director of Women's Chess

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Director of Women's Chess

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:38 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:36 am
Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:11 am
What people are objecting to is the bashing of the ECF in the national press by people who don't have the foggiest idea of how the ECF is constituted.
You could be thankful that it's not the ECF President doing the bashing. Against that he's accused of the heinous crime of being a friend of Nigel Short.
I remember when a former ECF President was the one doing the bashing in the national press, also with a gross distortion of the actual facts.
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JustinHorton
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Re: Director of Women's Chess

Post by JustinHorton » Thu Jul 05, 2018 6:19 am

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:11 am
I don't think anybody here has any objection to initiatives to increase female participation in chess
Of course, nobody ever does. The big themes of this discussion have been that everybody's cool with this, the press coverage is totally unfair and why are the women complaining anyway?

(This was going on long before the Telegraph article, by the way.)
Last edited by JustinHorton on Thu Jul 05, 2018 8:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Chris Rice
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Re: Director of Women's Chess

Post by Chris Rice » Thu Jul 05, 2018 8:20 am

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:11 am
I don't think anybody here has any objection to initiatives to increase female participation in chess
Indeed. Here's an initiative from the Swedish Chess Federation who have given Pia Cramling her own invitational tournament. Something along the same lines could be done by the ECF.

Roger Lancaster
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Re: Director of Women's Chess

Post by Roger Lancaster » Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:07 pm

Paul McKeown wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 11:40 pm

At Richmond Juniors, I am aware that whilst we may have one hundred and twenty or so children on the books for our Saturday club at any given time, putting out a fully representative team of fifteen girls aged under eleven is often a bit of a struggle. When we had the luxury of having a female International Master running a regular class for girls, they flocked to see her, and attended regularly. Without her, it has always been more difficult. We have one regular female chess tutor, whom the kids all love, and this weekend we hope to have a second joining us. Girls do sometimes confide that they can find the huge mass of boys quite intimidating, particularly as they get older. It doesn't strike me at all unreasonable to believe that girls and young women are more likely to respond to strong female role models, and feel confident of their place in the world of chess, when they have someone like that to talk to, and even to look up to.

Teaching chess at City Lit, I get more women turning out than men, or at least an equal number. They all say one thing: they hate going to chess clubs, where it is wall to wall nerdy men, doing nerdy men things, and at best ignoring the female interloper, if not permanently putting her off.
I agree with Paul and believe, as I suspect he does, that a distinction should be drawn between girls and women. Of our junior club members, 15 to 20 per cent (the figure varies slightly from time to time) are girls. That's not good, and we're very aware of the fact, but it's a much higher percentage than we've ever achieved amongst our adult membership. We'd dearly love to have a female chess tutor, for all the reasons Paul mentions, but there's a vicious circle in that - if fewer adult women play chess - fewer will be available as tutors. The reference to "nerdy men" also chimes with me as I've spoken to several women who have spoken of most men chess players being seemingly devoid of almost all social skills.

Thomas Rendle
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Re: Director of Women's Chess

Post by Thomas Rendle » Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:30 pm

I do think the forum (and the ECF) would be more supportive if we had some proposals that had been thought through and properly costed - it's a shame Casual Chess didn't do a better job of that because I'm sure they're doing some excellent work.

Personally I hope a way can be found to move forward, either with Chris Fegan or a new elected official at the AGM. I don't really want to get into the politics of who this will be - I don't think it really matters so long as something gets done.

For what it's worth here is a summary of what I'd like to see:

1) We need a proper budget available for projects to support women/girls in chess.
2) Organisations can then apply for money from this budget if they have a clear and costed plan.

We see a big drop off in the number of girls playing when they go into secondary school and exams (this is also true for a lesser extent with boys, but that's not our concern here). So...

3) In particular I'd like to see money available for tournaments, team events and initiatives in general that support girls aged 12-18 (possibly something separate for Uni). Anecdotally I feel that once players reach the age of 18 even if they stop playing there's a decent chance of them returning later in life. You can see this in various leagues where there are very few 25-35 year olds but then players start to return!

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Re: Director of Women's Chess

Post by Thomas Rendle » Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:33 pm

I also think it's worth pointing out that this is not a problem that is likely to be 'solved' in the near future. For numbers to start to level out we'd need a change in the way society views boys/girls as well as chess (this is changing - slowly). This of course doesn't mean that we shouldn't try, it's just that progress is likely to be incremental!

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Re: Director of Women's Chess

Post by Brendan O'Gorman » Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:38 pm

Roger Lancaster wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:07 pm
--Text omitted-- The reference to "nerdy men" also chimes with me as I've spoken to several women who have spoken of most men chess players being seemingly devoid of almost all social skills.
Which is why we're drawn to chess - a social activity requiring silence. More should be done to sell the game to nerdy women.

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Director of Women's Chess

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:06 pm

Brendan O'Gorman wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:38 pm
Roger Lancaster wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:07 pm
--Text omitted-- The reference to "nerdy men" also chimes with me as I've spoken to several women who have spoken of most men chess players being seemingly devoid of almost all social skills.
Which is why we're drawn to chess - a social activity requiring silence. More should be done to sell the game to nerdy women.
Actually you're half right. But many men also enjoy a social game down the pub or in a cafe. And from a personal point of view those are where many of my best chess memories are these days, not those club and league games where I've misplayed the Grunfeld yet again.

If a group of silent morose men want to sit hunched over boards at the cheapest hovel they can afford and shh anybody who dares breathe we can't stop them. Instead we should focus on creating chess playing environments fit to attract new players.
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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Director of Women's Chess

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:07 pm

Brendan O'Gorman wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:38 pm
Roger Lancaster wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:07 pm
--Text omitted-- The reference to "nerdy men" also chimes with me as I've spoken to several women who have spoken of most men chess players being seemingly devoid of almost all social skills.
Which is why we're drawn to chess - a social activity requiring silence. More should be done to sell the game to nerdy women.
Who most certainly exist, by the way!
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Re: Director of Women's Chess

Post by Neill Cooper » Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:32 pm

Thomas Rendle wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:30 pm
We see a big drop off in the number of girls playing when they go into secondary school and exams (this is also true for a lesser extent with boys, but that's not our concern here). So...

3) In particular I'd like to see money available for tournaments, team events and initiatives in general that support girls aged 12-18 (possibly something separate for Uni). Anecdotally I feel that once players reach the age of 18 even if they stop playing there's a decent chance of them returning later in life. You can see this in various leagues where there are very few 25-35 year olds but then players start to return!
There are various ECF school events which do support girls (and boys) aged 12-18:

Andrew Martin runs an excellent girls team tournament for schools (open to mixed as well as girls schools). The teams are of 3 players. More details of the ECF National Schools Girls’ Under 19 Chess Championships (sponsored by St Catherine’s Bramley) can be found at https://www.englishchess.org.uk/NSCC/u19-girls/

Last year's ECF Secondary School rapidplay tournament at Eton College attracted 6 teams (of 6 players) from girls school (out of 52 teams in total), as well as about 12 more girls playing in mixed teams. More information about this years event, on Sunday 23rd September, can be found at https://www.englishchess.org.uk/Juniors/ssrs/

The final of the U19 Open Championship (sponsored by Winchester College) earlier this week saw just 5 girls among the 100 players, including 2 in the Brighton College team that won the plate competition, and the top 2 boards of St John's College, Cardiff.

So if you do know any chess playing girls in this age group do encourage them to see if they can form a school team of 3 (or more!) players and enter some of these events. One of the best ways to keep teenagers playing chess is for them to be in a school chess team.

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Re: Director of Women's Chess

Post by Paul McKeown » Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:38 pm

Brendan O'Gorman wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:38 pm
Roger Lancaster wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:07 pm
--Text omitted-- The reference to "nerdy men" also chimes with me as I've spoken to several women who have spoken of most men chess players being seemingly devoid of almost all social skills.
Which is why we're drawn to chess - a social activity requiring silence. More should be done to sell the game to nerdy women.
May I recommend http://www.ocso.org/who-we-are/faqs/? Open to both men and women.

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Re: Director of Women's Chess

Post by Paul McKeown » Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:41 pm

Roger Lancaster wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:07 pm
I agree with Paul and believe, as I suspect he does, that a distinction should be drawn between girls and women.
Roger, can you explain what distinction you see that should be drawn?

I suspect that making the game more attractive to women would also make it more attractive to girls.

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Re: Director of Women's Chess

Post by Paul McKeown » Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:43 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:06 pm
If a group of silent morose men want to sit hunched over boards at the cheapest hovel they can afford and shh anybody who dares breathe we can't stop them. Instead we should focus on creating chess playing environments fit to attract new players.
I totally agree with you, that venues are a key factor, but if you have ever been to a typical chess club AGM, you ought to know by now that the Hovelist faction is generally strong.

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Re: Director of Women's Chess

Post by Paul McKeown » Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:49 pm

Neill Cooper wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:32 pm
There are various ECF school events which do support girls (and boys) aged 12-18:

Andrew Martin runs an excellent girls team tournament for schools (open to mixed as well as girls schools). The teams are of 3 players. More details of the ECF National Schools Girls’ Under 19 Chess Championships (sponsored by St Catherine’s Bramley) can be found at https://www.englishchess.org.uk/NSCC/u19-girls/

Last year's ECF Secondary School rapidplay tournament at Eton College attracted 6 teams (of 6 players) from girls school (out of 52 teams in total), as well as about 12 more girls playing in mixed teams. More information about this years event, on Sunday 23rd September, can be found at https://www.englishchess.org.uk/Juniors/ssrs/

The final of the U19 Open Championship (sponsored by Winchester College) earlier this week saw just 5 girls among the 100 players, including 2 in the Brighton College team that won the plate competition, and the top 2 boards of St John's College, Cardiff.

So if you do know any chess playing girls in this age group do encourage them to see if they can form a school team of 3 (or more!) players and enter some of these events. One of the best ways to keep teenagers playing chess is for them to be in a school chess team.
Neill, I would like to publicly record my thanks for all your efforts within the SCCU and wider to encourage chess amongst young people of secondary school age. You have made a marked difference, and if English (or British) chess is looking for someone to recognise, then I would happily raise or second any motion.

From the Richmond Juniors perspective, may I ask if any competitions are open to post-primary girls teams from junior clubs?

The rules of various competitions seem designed to thwart the efforts of junior clubs, recognising only teams from schools or counties...

NickFaulks
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Re: Director of Women's Chess

Post by NickFaulks » Thu Jul 05, 2018 2:28 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:06 pm
If a group of silent morose men want to sit hunched over boards at the cheapest hovel they can afford and shh anybody who dares breathe we can't stop them.
Full marks as always for emotive language, but what are you really saying? Taken point by point

Silent. Yes, serious chess is best played in quiet surroundings, a fact that female players understand just as well as their male counterparts.

Morose. Does that mean the same as silent? If they look fed up, perhaps their game is not going as planned.

Hunched over. Different players find it best to observe the board from different angles. I have noticed no distinction between the sexes in this regard.

The cheapest hovel they can afford. I suspect you mean the best hovel they can afford. Ideally it isn't even a hovel, but it is true that for some players the cost of the venue is a concern. If it is not for you, be thankful.

And shh anybody who dares breathe. Most clubs seem to have someone whose shh is far more disturbing than whatever noise they are trying to stop. However, if players whose game is over start an animated discussion, they do need to be reminded that there are still games going on around them.

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