How to develop England Juniors?

National developments, strategies and ideas.
Richard Bates
Posts: 3123
Joined: Fri Nov 14, 2008 8:27 pm

Re: How to develop England Juniors?

Post by Richard Bates » Tue Oct 27, 2020 7:59 pm

Wadih Khoury wrote:
Tue Oct 27, 2020 7:42 pm
Alan Walton wrote:
Tue Oct 27, 2020 2:22 pm
Another factor could be the reducing strength of the junior events at the British; back when I was playing these (around 1990) the events where very strong; nowadays because they let any Tom, Dick or Harry into the championship has impacted this; back then it was extremely difficult to qualify, so we all played the junior events and thus automatically creates larger social groups within the age groups
I disagree. You don't get a stronger pool of players by gatekeeping. The more are allowed to discover the higher levels, the more likely you are to inspire them or to show them the efforts needed to reach said level. The same applies to international junior events (at least maybe the world/European schools ones) which ideally should be open to all.
You can't underestimate how playing the top of your age group or a Russian world champion can motivate and inspire.

Actually, as a case example, my own son had his first grade in Jan 19 of 78. If there had been a gating at the British, he would have never played in it nor won the U9. By that time, he was already beating 120+ players and had a July grade of 110. He is now 151 a year later.

I am not sure he would have persevered and progressed as much if he hadn't been allowed in stronger sections than his level in the tournaments leading to the British, or if he didn't experience the challenge, excitement and friendships at the British.

I can understand why the higher players may want to gate things, but as a community, the more players there are, the more likely we are to reveal and pick juniors with a deep passion for chess that will then push themselves and their peers upwards.
I think you've misunderstood Alan's argument. He wasn't suggesting that "any Tom, Dick or Harry" was being allowed into the junior events. He was saying that the weakening of the entry requirements of the Championship proper meant that all the juniors were playing in that, rather than their junior age groups.

I'm not sure he's right in his diagnosis for why the junior events became weaker over time (it happened long before the entry requirements for the British were being relaxed*, and was reversed to some extent when participation in junior events (without ability to play outside of your own age group) became a pre condition of International selection) but he certainly wasn't saying that there should be a "gate" to participation in the junior events.

*What actually happened I think for a fair period is players started rejecting the "weak" junior events in favour of participation in the Major Open and it became a bit of a vicious circle. There was a bit of a chicken and egg situation.

Alan Walton
Posts: 1318
Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2009 8:33 pm
Location: Oldham

Re: How to develop England Juniors?

Post by Alan Walton » Tue Oct 27, 2020 8:07 pm

Wadih Khoury wrote:
Tue Oct 27, 2020 7:42 pm
Alan Walton wrote:
Tue Oct 27, 2020 2:22 pm
Another factor could be the reducing strength of the junior events at the British; back when I was playing these (around 1990) the events where very strong; nowadays because they let any Tom, Dick or Harry into the championship has impacted this; back then it was extremely difficult to qualify, so we all played the junior events and thus automatically creates larger social groups within the age groups
I disagree. You don't get a stronger pool of players by gatekeeping. The more are allowed to discover the higher levels, the more likely you are to inspire them or to show them the efforts needed to reach said level. The same applies to international junior events (at least maybe the world/European schools ones) which ideally should be open to all.
You can't underestimate how playing the top of your age group or a Russian world champion can motivate and inspire.

Actually, as a case example, my own son had his first grade in Jan 19 of 78. If there had been a gating at the British, he would have never played in it nor won the U9. By that time, he was already beating 120+ players and had a July grade of 110. He is now 151 a year later.

I am not sure he would have persevered and progressed as much if he hadn't been allowed in stronger sections than his level in the tournaments leading to the British, or if he didn't experience the challenge, excitement and friendships at the British.

I can understand why the higher players may want to gate things, but as a community, the more players there are, the more likely we are to reveal and pick juniors with a deep passion for chess that will then push themselves and their peers upwards.
It was not gate-keeping, it was just a lot more difficult to qualify in the past (it took me until 2003 to eventually qualify) and this created a knock-on effect making junior events much stronger (because we couldn't qualify, in the U15 in 1990 I was around bottom seed out of 30-40 players graded 135J)

Over the years the qualifying criteria has been significantly watered down (in my view for financial reasons), but this has resulted in junior events also become less attractive, and if you look today many juniors decide not to bother with these events

I cannot say this is a factor, but may have something to do with keeping teenagers interested having a good group of similar aged people there

Wadih Khoury
Posts: 194
Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2020 8:14 pm

Re: How to develop England Juniors?

Post by Wadih Khoury » Tue Oct 27, 2020 8:18 pm

Oh ok, I misunderstood.
Thank you for clarifying.

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