Justin Hadi wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote:Most of my friends, and presumably most children, don't play for senior clubs until they get to 15/16 sort of age.
Why not? I have played chess in 3 counties plus London and there has always been provision for juniors under 15/16 to play in at least one club in each county. For example at my old club Warley Quinborne (which isn't at all far from bartley green) there was a junior under 13 playing when I was there. This holds If parents are prepared to give lifts (but you could probably catch a bus) - once a week isn't excessive to support your son/daughter playing.
Well, that is my current club! (Just lost a game for them tonight, as a matter of fact
) Anyway, they used to get juniors because of Birmingham Checkmate and Warley Quinborne sharing Quinborne Community Centre. Now, the "senior" club plays up the road at the Midland Red Social club. That, coupled with the death of Mike Fox, has meant that the previously existing link between the two has been lost. The senior clubs aren't advertised at the junior club, but more importantly, there aren't that many juniors there to advertise it to. That's pretty much what I had to do tonight to get to St. George's Church, I had to get the train from Rowley Regis -> Jewellery Quarter and walk to the venue. You can imagine why some parents would think it's a bit of a faff.
Justin Hadi wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote:Therefore, the only way they can play 30 games per season is to play 6 tournaments per season. In the Midlands area, there aren't 6 tournaments per season to play in.
You can also play in county matches and get lifts from other players, there are up to around 10 of these per season per county team, and you may get picked for more than one team. Even if you play 15 games per season you get a grade reflective over two seasons which is not that bad. If you play 6 games per season of course there will be accuracy issues on your grade.
This year, a few players started to play County chess. I only found out about it for Worcestershire a few weeks ago - I didn't even know they fielded a team (I have friends who play for Staffordshire and Warwickshire). I was aware of the setup, but had no way of finding out how to get involved.
Justin Hadi wrote:
The issues of travel are relevant to everyone, not just juniors. You do need supportive parents if you want to play a lot of games. Again, if you can get lifts or travel with people from a senior club you don't have a problem going a bit further out. There are plenty of tournaments in the Midlands - Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, etc, it should be easy to get 30 games. For example Birmingham New Street to Leicester is 1 hour on the train. It's not a fault of the grading system if you're not prepared to join a local chess club, or travel to adjacent counties to play.
You're right about the train, but try doing that on a Sunday morning. I'm going to stuggle to get to Catshill for Round 4 of the Sunday of the Worcestershire Open. I have to get the 126 to just outside Moor Street station, then walk down past New Street to catch the 144 at 0830. If I miss that, then the next 144 is at 1030. Later starts on Sundays would be a big help in this sort of thing for me. Warwick is sometimes out of bounds, because the earliest a train arrives at either Warwick station on a Sunday is about a quarter-to-ten. So if you arrive on time, you then have about a one mile walk to the venue, you're going to lose Round Four just because of the default time. When I played in the Warwickshire Championship, I had to go Rowley Regis -> Dorridge and back on the Saturday, then 126 + Moor Street -> Dorridge on Sunday morning, then Dorridge -> Rowley Regis on the Sunday afternoon. And catch a bus to/from Rowley Regis. Being a student, I could just use my pass, but it was a tiring journey. I got to Moor Street station on the Sunday at about 0800, and it was still locked!
You can see why this sort of thing can put people off entering tournaments. If parents aren't willing to lend a hand, it's tough.