Southern Giga Final

National developments, strategies and ideas.
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David Shepherd
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Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by David Shepherd » Tue Jul 17, 2012 5:19 pm

Daniel Young wrote: 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...
Not sure - I was looking at this link for 2012 http://www.fide.com/index.php?option=co ... ew&aid=864 which just shows girls and open sections.

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David Shepherd
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Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by David Shepherd » Tue Jul 17, 2012 5:24 pm

One thing not shown on the photo's is the river Thames for anyone who ventured outside, although I suspect a number of parents will have just sat in the sports hall and not realised the building was by the river.

Neill Cooper
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Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by Neill Cooper » Tue Jul 17, 2012 5:37 pm

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.
As Daniel Young has already commented, some secondary schools hide the mascots! I did a quick poll at lunchtime chess club today - year 7 to 10s were all keen on the mascots. No older pupils were around but my recollection is the sixth form also enjoy them. A few pupils have declined them. So at least at Wilson's School they are appreciated. But I do hide the posters!
I'd estimate about half the Wilson's players at this year's Megafinal have taken up chess at secondary school. Obviously UKCC is only a part of their growing interest in chess, but it is a valuable part. For many of these new players the Megafinal is their first experience of playing in an individual chess competition outside school.

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Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by Mike Truran » Tue Jul 17, 2012 5:38 pm

what are the particular features of the venue that you think should be improved for the players?
Neill

I think Roger has hit the nail on the head with his comment about facilities for parents. Andrew Varney has rightly referred to Oxford 2010 as a bit of a low point (to say the least) for the J4NCL, and the main thing we learnt from that was the need for suitable rest areas for parents, siblings etc. We wouldn't claim to have always got it right since then, but where we haven't got it right it's not been for want of trying. Hopefully Andrew can confirm the huge improvement since that time.

I personally also believe that juniors should have a decent sq m allowance to play their games in (although to be fair I'm sure many parents are happy with the existing UKCC arrangements in this regard). It is of course at least partly a matter of finance as to what venues can and can't be afforded (hence my comment earlier about whether events that make significant profits for the organisers are necessarily the ones most conducive to player/spectator etc comfort). But as I said, opinions on this seem to differ radically.

Decent catering arrangements at reasonable prices and with sufficient people behind the counter to prevent large queues building up also help. Again, the J4NCL venues haven't always got this right, but we do give them a hard time if they don't.

As Roger implies, the thread from last year is quite helpful.

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Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by Neill Cooper » Tue Jul 17, 2012 5:56 pm

Thanks Mike. My personal experience of Gigafinals a long time ago (Sheffield) was that the focus of the arrangements was on the playing area and parents found that they were left to fend for themselves.
As Roger has commented, my situation with secondary school team events is much easier as normally I just have one teacher per 6 or so players. At some stage I might need to tackle catering, but my default is to say that there is none so bring your own food and drink.

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Peter D Williams
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Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by Peter D Williams » Tue Jul 17, 2012 7:29 pm

Richard James wrote:
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.
I agree wholeheartedly with Richard on this. Until we get to the root cause of the problem and address it we will not solve the issue - that is assuming that the will to solve it is there. Perhaps we could be bold enough to ask the teenagers why they stop playing and encourage them to give us ideas that would help keep them, we know all the obvious ones, exams, college, social life etc but we need to dig further than this.

With regards to the venues themselves I remember when Peter played in the Gigafinal in Sheffield when he was 6 it was very chaotic - there were several exits from the room quite a distance from each other and it was very difficult to see which exit your child was coming out of this combined with at least a couple of 200 children milling around was quite disconcerting both for parent and child I felt very uncomfortable with this and stayed in the room which wasn't well received - hopefully this has improved.
when you are successful many losers bark at you.

Alan Burke

Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by Alan Burke » Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:38 am

Alex H wrote .. "What the UK Chess Challenge has done, is introduce children to competitive chess. I see this as distinct from introducing them to chess."

OK Alex, perhaps you are splitting hairs a little but I'll agree with you that your summary is the more likely scenario. However, I know of at least one school who introduced chess into the timetable simply because they saw that entering the UKCC gave the kids a purpose for learning the game. If the UKCC had not been in operation the school would not have started teaching the game.

Mike Basman's events have still been responsible for nurturing many youngsters' interest in the game and if it hadn't been for those tournaments then I am sure that the drop-out of many young people from chess would have been a lot sooner than at present. As I said earlier, Mike Basman is akin to the local amateur football club which gives players a chance to show their ability at an early stage of their career - it is then up to the professional club scouts (ie local chess clubs) to take on board any potential players and further advance their skills.

I wonder how many chess club representatives attend the UKCC events to try and spot any potential talent and then maybe invite them to their local clubs ? I doubt that many do so; they just wait in case any players get in touch with them first - however, unless the clubs put in some effort of their own they can't complain for not reaping any rewards.

At 3Cs, several experienced players also go into local schools as coaches (rather than leave it to the teachers) and then invite any interested youngsters to the club where they can benefit from mixing with the other skilled players. By those players then learning the game more; they enjoy it more and are more likely to retain an interest. Simple !

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Wed Jul 18, 2012 6:41 am

Alan Burke wrote:I wonder how many chess club representatives attend the UKCC events to try and spot any potential talent and then maybe invite them to their local clubs ? I doubt that many do so; they just wait in case any players get in touch with them first - however, unless the clubs put in some effort of their own they can't complain for not reaping any rewards.
Talent spotting is an interesting question. I doubt many (or even any) clubs really do talent-spotting at any level, even at adult level. Though when putting together county teams, it makes sense to scan grading lists. For chess at club level, it makes sense to ensure that details are available in all the necessary places (including the relevant websites and having a club home page) and letting people chose the club that suits them. Whether the parents of juniors are aware of their local clubs is another matter. You would hope the organisers of junior events or clubs would encourage that onward step to clubs where adults play, but the transition can be tricky (type and location of venue can be a problem, as can time of week or day).

Even when adults arrive in an area for the first time, it can be easy to forget that they won't know all the details of chess in the area. I was talking last night to a chess player new to the area, and I got as far as naming a few local clubs and explaining the Thames Valley League, but didn't get as far as explaining the other leagues (London League and Middlesex League), let alone the various other options for chess (rapidplays, congresses, and so on). It can be easy to say it is all out there on various websites, but is there a one-stop site where people can enter a post-code and find out what chess is available within reasonable distances? I suppose nothing will ever replace talking to others and keeping an eye out for what is on - I've discovered events in and around London that I'd not heard of before that way.

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Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by Alex Holowczak » Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:34 am

Alan Burke wrote:I wonder how many chess club representatives attend the UKCC events to try and spot any potential talent and then maybe invite them to their local clubs ? I doubt that many do so; they just wait in case any players get in touch with them first - however, unless the clubs put in some effort of their own they can't complain for not reaping any rewards.
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:Talent spotting is an interesting question. I doubt many (or even any) clubs really do talent-spotting at any level, even at adult level. Though when putting together county teams, it makes sense to scan grading lists. For chess at club level, it makes sense to ensure that details are available in all the necessary places (including the relevant websites and having a club home page) and letting people chose the club that suits them. Whether the parents of juniors are aware of their local clubs is another matter. You would hope the organisers of junior events or clubs would encourage that onward step to clubs where adults play, but the transition can be tricky (type and location of venue can be a problem, as can time of week or day).
To sort of answer these points, when I put together junior county teams, for the older sections it was a case of looking up the grading list. Far more evidence to go on in terms of picking the best players.

I didn't have that luxury for the U14/12. So instead, I looked at the results of recent Warwickshire Megafinals and the Warwickshire Junior Championships, and also asked the coaches in my county for their opinion on whether they had any players who were worthy of selection. This usually got me to a full compliment of players.

In the same sort of way as 3Cs, I run a separate team for juniors in the Birmingham League. Our top team won promotion to Division Four last season (sadly, we had to default the Championship playoff because it clashed with exams). Our U115s have won Dudley Division Three for both of the last two seasons. I've had other children not involved asked to become involved, which is brilliant. It's not even dogged by the problem of transport, because parents are blissfully willing to transport their children around. In that respect, it's far easier to organise than an adult team.

In fact, the only problem is that I play for it, which rather hinders their winning chances. At least I should be able to do less damage on board 4 next season. :D

Mick Norris
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Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by Mick Norris » Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:56 am

Richard James wrote:
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.
http://www.ukchesschallenge.com/

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?
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

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Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by Mike Truran » Wed Jul 18, 2012 4:07 pm

alternatively do something positive and find a venue that you think is better.
http://void.printf.net/~heth/Glorney_Faber/
:D

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Wed Jul 18, 2012 4:21 pm

Mike Truran wrote:
alternatively do something positive and find a venue that you think is better.
http://void.printf.net/~heth/Glorney_Faber/
:D
That's the Daventry Court Hotel, a 4NCL venue, in case not everyone gets the point here.

Malcolm Clarke
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Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by Malcolm Clarke » Wed Jul 18, 2012 4:31 pm

Interesting to have diverging opinions on certain aspects of this competition. I do have after looking at the results taking particular interest in those of the Hampshire players have one question and that is which school does Alex Vanlint who finished first equal in the under 12 boys represent?

He appears in the list as Alex Vanlint (Lanbrook), but when I google Lanbrook I get Lambrook school, Berkshire, but other references to the same player suggests he is at Reading Grammar school.

On another thread it was suggested that if players could not make their own county megafinal they could enquire about playing in the megafinal of a neighbouring county. I expect that there are several junior players with links with more than one county, and at senior level I know of Chichester (Sussex) playing in the Portsmouth League, Salisbury (Wiltshire) playing in the Southampton League, and Basingstoke (Hampshire) playing in the Berkshire League, and Fleet and Farnborough (Hampshire) play in the Surrey Border League and there are no doubt many other examples of this.

Alan Burke

Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by Alan Burke » Wed Jul 18, 2012 6:20 pm

Alex, obviously you are to be congratulated on your efforts in promoting junior chess in your area. However, the "talent spotting" I was thinking about at the UKCC concerned youngsters who were not actually connected with any local clubs nor on the grading list. At our local Megafinal there are generally many young players who have qualified through their own school event but don't actually know that there are chess organisations out there - it is those players, rather than the established ones, whose potential could be tapped into by local clubs and thus attract more youngsters into the game.

On another note, it's nice to see that Mike Truran finally bothers to give any meaningful reply to my post concerning venues. It's a pity he couldn't do that straight away in his first reply - that would have saved many posts having to be made in this thread.

However, as he has apparently personally blocked my posts on here, it's a pity to see that someone of his supposed stature in the game wishes to still give his point of view but is not willing to listen to any response.

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Re: Southern Giga Final

Post by Richard James » Wed Jul 18, 2012 6:52 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote: In the same sort of way as 3Cs, I run a separate team for juniors in the Birmingham League. Our top team won promotion to Division Four last season (sadly, we had to default the Championship playoff because it clashed with exams). Our U115s have won Dudley Division Three for both of the last two seasons. I've had other children not involved asked to become involved, which is brilliant. It's not even dogged by the problem of transport, because parents are blissfully willing to transport their children around. In that respect, it's far easier to organise than an adult team.
We ran RJCC teams in the Thames Valley League between 1988 and 2002. In fact we ran a couple of junior teams under the R&TCC banner for a year or two before 1988. Our home matches were on Fridays (much to the annoyance of other teams in the league) but we could usually field representative teams for away matches as well.

At our peak, in 1994-95 we finished 2nd, well ahead of R&TCC's A team. Numerically, our peak was between between 1995 and 1998 when we ran four teams in the league (6 to 8 boards depending on division).

Eventually, though, we could no longer run even one team because of the increasing academic pressures here in Richmond. The matches were too late for the primary school age children and the secondary school age children had too much homework.

This appears to be a specific Richmond issue: other areas don't seem to have the same problem. This year there was an Ealing Juniors team in the TVL with which Mike Basman was involved in some way, which attracted players from a wide area of Surrey and Middlesex, some of whom would have had to travel a long way for the matches. Neill Cooper has told me he has no problem getting junior teams out for the Surrey League. But here in Richmond we'd got to the point where if you asked parents if their children could play outside school holidays they'd take offence and accuse you of jeopardising their children's education.

15-20 years ago Richmond was the ideal place to run junior chess, but this is no longer true.

We used to get dozens of bright children from local primary school chess clubs along to RJCC on Saturday mornings, but that completely dried up about 10 years ago. There was a dramatic increase in the number and seriousness of junior football clubs meeting on Saturday mornings and most children were doing that so were not able to come to chess. Sundays would have been no better - they were all at Rugby clubs. I'm now looking at running satellite clubs to RJCC on weekday evenings to circumvent this problem. I'm currently trying to set one up on Thursdays because I have time to kill between the end of school at 4:00 and the start of R&TCC at 7:30. I've just put the phone down after speaking to a parent who said "You do realise Thursday's a big evening for football, don't you?".

The other problem we have with primary schools in Richmond is that most bright primary school children are having 2 or 3 private tuition sessions a week to prepare them for the entrance exams they have to sit to get into the secondary school of their choice, so the parents tell me their children only have time to do chess once a week and certainly don't have any time to study the game.

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