Interesting discussion. I note that Ray played for Glocestershire some while ago...
I too played for them many years ago, when it was being run by Mike Binks...loved the days out to Devon & the South West...and I owe much to the good sports from Bristol & Clifton club, without whose generosity, transport & good company, these would not have been possible. In those days Glocestershire were a strong South West contender.
Yes, you need to have actually been a county captain to appreciate all the helter skelter and hard work needed to make a county team tick. Good volunteers to help with the organisation and transport are key.
Most important is good networking with clubs, leagues, players, websites, and various officers/secretaries, etc. Building up such contact lists and having various players giving support in finding players is essential.
Yes, I`m in favour of 16 - board matches...it makes it more worth while if you can be more inclusive & offer as many `local` players these county matches. Reasonable venues & refreshments also helps. I think many players enjoy the social side, so its worth getting to the venue about half an hour before match start time...good Saturday afternoon fayre. Also, these meetings are a good chance to circulate information..ie, about forthcoming congresses, chess news/gossip, etc.
Maybe even discuss possible candidates for filling potential vacancies for Union, county, club or other matters.
Not to mention the new 4 NCL Northern League..playing next w/e at the superb Harrogate Barcelo...Majestic.
See 4NCL website for more on that...but, as Mick said, a few more teams next year would be good...!
Its not an easy job being county captain...you need to start picking your team 3 - 4 weeks ahead of the match.
Some counties have an `easier` job, because they only play 1 or 2 qualifiers. Other counties are helped by shear size... eg, the County of Yorkshire (that 3 in one) mega zone...they might consider recognising the smaller county units..like West Yorkshire. And this might create more competition... Some trimming and rebranding of Lancs, based around Preston in central Lancs might also prove beneficial, and help rejuvinate interest....it might also encourage more support from across the region and Lancashire heartlands if they didnt have to travel to Manchester to play their home games.
But, these are just possibilities....I`m sure the good people of Lancs will have there own ideas for taking things forward.....but its important to create a sense of participation, where `genuine locals` really feel they can be involved.
Yes, there is a rich vein of chess activity, so looking out for potential `conflicts` is important. Maybe some restructuring is needed...but effective publicity for all the excellent offerings is vital. Will our Media/Press help get the message out to joe public that there is much going on in the chess scene...and you dont need to be GM standard to partake of these good things.
I`ve made my observations about the county chess scene previously..
I don`t like the ploy of `bussing in outside players` that various counties employ. I believe that county players should be `current locals`, and that others `bussed in`, etc..or long lost uncles/ghosts from the past, should be penalised..possibly by deducting a qtr point for each such player.
Some tidying up of the county rules is overdue....
BRING BACK THE BCF