Southern Giga Final

National developments, strategies and ideas.
Richard James
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Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by Richard James » Tue Jul 17, 2012 10:51 am

Alex Holowczak wrote: I've read somewhere that Mike initially set up a UKCC style of competition within the junior clubs or schools he was involved with. So it had the furry mascots and the badges and so on. This brought people through the door, and so was deemed to be a good thing. After much effort (and not a lot of external help), it was rolled out nationally, and the county stage and beyond fell into place from there.
Peter Turner wrote:Hopefully Richard James will have some knowledge of the early days of what became the UK Chess Challenge. I think Rotary International in conjunction with The Richmond Junior Chess Initiative wished to support chess in schools. They encouraged Rotarians around the country to get involved with chess in their local schools. I did quite a bit in Lincolnshire schools on behalf of Rotary International. Mind I could be wrong!! :oops:
The Richmond Chess Initiative was founded in 1993 by the late Stanley Grundy, a local businessman and the late Anne Summers, then the Mayor of Richmond upon Thames. I was appointed their Chess Programme Manager.

Stanley had read this article and was keen to promote chess in schools throughout the country to improve academic standards.

One day Stanley summoned me into his office and said "Richard, I'm going to make you rich". He then visited Mike Basman, changed his mind about making me rich, and decided he'd make Mike Basman rich instead.

I think Alex is right that Mike already had this sort of thing going on in the schools where he was teaching and Stanley arranged funding, firstly through Rotary International and later through British Land, to roll out Mike's methods across the country.

If Stanley had decided to follow my route instead he'd have had something very different.

Richard James
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Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by Richard James » Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:01 am

Mike Truran wrote:My main questions were:

(a) do mass volume events like this do anything to retain children's interest in chess longer term? (and if they don't, does it matter anyway?)
(b) would conditions (venues, organisation etc) be better if more money was invested in the event rather than being diverted elsewhere (and if they would, does it matter anyway?)

I have a further question. Is there any connection between the growth of the UKCC and the decline of junior and schools league chess in England (and if there is, does it matter anyway?)

You're asking some very important questions here, Mike.

a) No, they don't, as you can see from the high dropout rate. Yes, it matters very much.

b) I wasn't at the venue so can't comment. I don't think children mind much about the venue. Parents sometimes do, though.

Your further question: I think the success of the UKCC (I believe numbers have declined slightly in the last few years) is symptomatic of the problems we face in junior chess and symptomatic of why we are so far behind the rest of Western Europe in terms of strength in depth. This is something that matters very much.

Richard James
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Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by Richard James » Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:06 am

Alex Holowczak wrote: The furry mascot thing might be part of why older children don't play in the UKCC as enthusiastically. They're undoubtedly great at getting 8 year olds through the door, but the 16-year olds wouldn't be seen dead with them. They perhaps perceive the event is something for primary school children, rather than for them.
Yes, partly. Also, this. If we promote mass participation in competitive chess for young children older children will perceive chess itself, not just the UKCC, as something for primary school children.

You can see this when children reach 13 or 14. Those who've been playing since they were 7, even if they're strong players, are very often starting to lose interest. Been there, done that, worn the t-shirt. But for those who are just starting competitive chess at this age it's something new and exciting: they want to play as much as they can, study as much as they can, do as well as they can.

Alan Burke

Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by Alan Burke » Tue Jul 17, 2012 12:35 pm

I just wish to point out that I wasn't totally disagreeing with the context of Mike Truran's original comment - it was the way he seem to be have an unnecessary dig at Mike Basman's efforts with a sarcastic comment and the laughing smiley instead of possibly trying to suggest alternatives.

From there he then didn't seem to want to listen or be willing to answer someone who asked him to provide any such positive feedback.

To Alex H who commented "I can't imagine many people have taken up chess just because they wanted to enter the UK Chess Challenge." Actually I can point to several of the young players currently at our local club whose first involvement with chess was through the UKCC and didn't even know 3Cs existed until they had played in that tournament. I am sure we would not have had 72 in attendance the other week if the UKCC had not been organised.

Yes, many youngsters do leave the game after a while, but that is certainly not unique to chess, it happens with all hobbies/pastimes/sports.

Again, Mike Basman has done more than most to get youngsters at least involved in chess, it is probably up to others to now try and maintain their involvement

Alex Holowczak
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Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by Alex Holowczak » Tue Jul 17, 2012 12:47 pm

Alan Burke wrote:To Alex H who commented "I can't imagine many people have taken up chess just because they wanted to enter the UK Chess Challenge." Actually I can point to several of the young players currently at our local club whose first involvement with chess was through the UKCC and didn't even know 3Cs existed until they had played in that tournament. I am sure we would not have had 72 in attendance the other week if the UKCC had not been organised.
You appear to be arguing against an argument I haven't made.

Their first involvement with chess was not the UKCC. Their first involvement would have been being taught how to play chess by their father, or at a school chess club. Their first competitive involvement would have been with the UKCC, several months later. That they then went on to join 3Cs is fantastic, but ultimately, it's nothing to do with the point I was making.

Andrew Varney
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Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by Andrew Varney » Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:01 pm

I know from my own experience of running a primary school chess club, of supporting my two children as junior players who are progressing very well, and from what I see from contacts through those two activities, that the UKCC has introduced children to chess who would not have done so otherwise, has encouraged children to move on with their chess playing to higher levels and has encouraged continuity of playing when they may otherwise have given up. I think that is the beauty of it - it has something for players of every level and the links between the levels.

There were other factors, but without the UKCC, I do not believe that the primary school chess club I started around 4 years ago would have grown in numbers and strength as it has from around 6 regulars to between 20 to 30 of all years and abilities. I know for sure that my own two children would not have discovered county junior chess, we would not have joined a local adult chess club, etc, without it. I know that the UKCC, and the challenge of trying to reach the Gigafinal, has been a significant reason why one of the medium strength players has continued with chess when he has so many other sports he excels at. The UKCC has also played its part in spurring on and nurturing another junior from our school from pretty much a beginner to one of the top U11 players in Oxfordshire. In at least one other case, the children's experience of the Megafinal has encouraged the parents to look for other chances to play in tournaments locally that they previously did not consider.

I am sure that it is not the only way to do it, but I am also absolutely convinced in my experience that it is a good way to encourage chess at a junior level. As yet I have little experience of secondary school chess (well, not for 30 years, anyway), but I do not believe that it should over all detract from secondary school chess. Some tweaking would be good, I believe, for these age groups, and other events may be more important, but I do not believe from what I have seen that it detracts from the continuity at all, and may indeed help it.

Daniel Young
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Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by Daniel Young » Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:07 pm

Speaking as someone playing in the U-18 age group on Sunday, I felt that the venue was perfectly tolerable, with the exception of some quite spectacular queues to enter the playing hall whilst pairings were made. I suppose we probably had rather more room than the younger age groups; I didn't really pay attention to that at the time. Anyone who has had the dubious honour of sitting through a 10-minute Basman monologue advertising something at the bookstall ahead of every single round at both Megafinal and Gigafinal stage is perfectly aware of how high profit comes up his priorities, I should think...

My school's stage is perhaps unusual in that we have many entries from the younger year groups, then a huge decline in the GCSE year groups, but then the 6th-form is almost as well-represented as the youngest. This is without the lure of furry mascots, which always seem to get mysteriously lost (perhaps our headmaster has a secret affinity for them? :) ) so I'm sure that virtually everyone already plays chess when they enter it. Only a few of the 6th-formers weren't playing when they started here (and I agree with Richard that the exceptions are often the keenest) - but the difference now is that whilst they play at school level, not many enter the Megafinal or beyond, which is invariably attributed to exams. It would seem that this structural problem is here to stay though, as it's been mentioned often in the past.

One final point - I recall that it was mentioned around the time of the British Championship last year that the ECF and UKCC were to be co-operating more closely in future, to much head-scratching as to how. From the entry form for the Plate competition that I received: "WINNER will receive [...] invitation to represent England in the European School Chess Championship 2013." Well, this tournament was advertised to me as keenly as to anyone else, but I won't be at school by then, and anyway the top boys section is only U-17. The top girls section is only U-13! :?

Jim Wadsworth
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Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by Jim Wadsworth » Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:18 pm

Daniel Young wrote: One final point - I recall that it was mentioned around the time of the British Championship last year that the ECF and UKCC were to be co-operating more closely in future, to much head-scratching as to how. From the entry form for the Plate competition that I received: "WINNER will receive [...] invitation to represent England in the European School Chess Championship 2013." Well, this tournament was advertised to me as keenly as to anyone else, but I won't be at school by then, and anyway the top boys section is only U-17. The top girls section is only U-13! :?
One example of the co-operation in action is the very large team of juniors that the ECF sent to the World Schools Individual Championships earlier this year. (see http://englishchess.org.uk/Juniors/romania-results/ for more info). Invitations were issued to last year's Gigafinal winners.

Andrew Camp
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Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by Andrew Camp » Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:20 pm

Jim Wadsworth wrote:
Daniel Young wrote: One final point - I recall that it was mentioned around the time of the British Championship last year that the ECF and UKCC were to be co-operating more closely in future, to much head-scratching as to how. From the entry form for the Plate competition that I received: "WINNER will receive [...] invitation to represent England in the European School Chess Championship 2013." Well, this tournament was advertised to me as keenly as to anyone else, but I won't be at school by then, and anyway the top boys section is only U-17. The top girls section is only U-13! :?
One example of the co-operation in action is the very large team of juniors that the ECF sent to the World Schools Individual Championships earlier this year. (see http://englishchess.org.uk/Juniors/romania-results/ for more info). Invitations were issued to last year's Gigafinal winners.
Ah you beat me to it. I was thinking this throughout reading this thread.

I sometimes wonder that if total world peace was announced, how many people on this forum would find something negative to say about it.
Chairman of North Wales Junior Chess Association
northwaleschess@aol.com

Mike Truran
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Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by Mike Truran » Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:28 pm

Here's another one which Matthew has rightly alluded to on another thread:
@ 6-7 Apr Junior 4NCL Weekend 3, Barcelo Hotel, Daventry Court MAP Contact: Claire Summerscale Tel: 07807 806055
*simultaneous with the event below*
6-7 Apr National Chess Junior Squad Championships, Barcelo Hotel, Daventry Court MAP Contact: Glynis Purland Tel: 07590 608243 *simultaneous with the event above*

Daniel Young
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Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by Daniel Young » Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:38 pm

Jim Wadsworth wrote:
Daniel Young wrote: One final point - I recall that it was mentioned around the time of the British Championship last year that the ECF and UKCC were to be co-operating more closely in future, to much head-scratching as to how. From the entry form for the Plate competition that I received: "WINNER will receive [...] invitation to represent England in the European School Chess Championship 2013." Well, this tournament was advertised to me as keenly as to anyone else, but I won't be at school by then, and anyway the top boys section is only U-17. The top girls section is only U-13! :?
One example of the co-operation in action is the very large team of juniors that the ECF sent to the World Schools Individual Championships earlier this year. (see http://englishchess.org.uk/Juniors/romania-results/ for more info). Invitations were issued to last year's Gigafinal winners.
Ah, thanks for pointing that out - I didn't know that was the case. Despite my negative reaction, I do think it is a good idea for those who are eligible, and hopefully something many are enthused by.

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David Shepherd
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Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by David Shepherd » Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:01 pm

Daniel Young wrote:"WINNER will receive [...] invitation to represent England in the European School Chess Championship 2013." Well, this tournament was advertised to me as keenly as to anyone else, but I won't be at school by then, and anyway the top boys section is only U-17. The top girls section is only U-13! :?
I think there are no boys sections - just girls and open, so U17 girls do compete also.

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Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by Daniel Young » Tue Jul 17, 2012 4:25 pm

David Shepherd wrote:
Daniel Young wrote:"WINNER will receive [...] invitation to represent England in the European School Chess Championship 2013." Well, this tournament was advertised to me as keenly as to anyone else, but I won't be at school by then, and anyway the top boys section is only U-17. The top girls section is only U-13! :?
I think there are no boys sections - just girls and open, so U17 girls do compete also.
I took "SECTIONS: U9 boys, U9 girls, U11 boys, U11 girls, U13 boys, U13 girls, U15 boys and U17 boys (ages at 01/01/2012)" to be suggesting otherwise, but your suggestion would make sense...

Neill Cooper
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Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by Neill Cooper » Tue Jul 17, 2012 5:05 pm

Mike Truran wrote:The usual high quality playing venue for children and facilities for parents we have come to expect of Basman's events. :lol:
Mike, what are the particular features of the venue that you think should be improved for the players? I'd like to avoid making the same mistakes myself for the secondary school events I run.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Jul 17, 2012 5:17 pm

Neill Cooper wrote:
Mike Truran wrote:The usual high quality playing venue for children and facilities for parents we have come to expect of Basman's events. :lol:
Mike, what are the particular features of the venue that you think should be improved for the players? I'd like to avoid making the same mistakes myself for the secondary school events I run.

Looking at the pictures on John Upham's site, the staging looked little different from any event in a large sports hall. In other words comparable with the Counties Finals. Rereading the thread from last year, the problem seemed more to do with the number of accompanying persons to each player and what they did or where they sat during play. Presumably for a Secondary School event, the number of non-players alongside each team would be greatly reduced.

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