Compared to where we were in 1996, roughly the same.Mick Norris wrote: Since it started in 1996, that is presumably long enough to know what difference the UKCC has made to English (junior) chess
In 2012, are we better, worse or roughly the same as in 1996?
Has this been because of the UKCC, despite it, or has it made no difference?
Compared to the rest of the world, we're much worse off.
Certainly the UKCC has introduced many children to competitive chess, some of whom have gone on to become very strong players, but in principle I think the way we're organising, teaching and promoting chess for young children is wrong. Children who have very supportive and proactive parents will come through and do well, but those who do not have that parental support stand little chance of making progress.
I'd say, though, that the UKCC is a symptom of our decline compared to the rest of the world rather than its cause.
For further information read this article, which was the subject of a thread on here when it was published on the Streatham blog. I sent a copy to both Phil Ehr and David Levens four months ago, but have not received a reply from either of them.
I would suggest that one of our problems is that many of the people involved in junior chess are only interested in the elite players, not what's happening at grass roots level. If you run tournaments what will happen is that the kids who are getting help at home will always beat the kids who are not getting help at home, even though the latter may be just as talented. The kids not getting help will enjoy winning their fluffy mascots in the short term but will quickly drop out.
Having recently returned to RJCC after several years I'm trying to be a lot more proactive in talking to parents, particularly those who are enquiring about membership. From several conversations I've had over the past few weeks I get the impression that there are lots of parents out there who are not very knowledgeable about chess themselves and would love to help their children, but have no idea how to go about doing so.
This is where we need to start. Which is why I'm spending the summer holidays writing a book for parents and teachers.