English Primary Schools Chess Association

National developments, strategies and ideas.
Roger Lancaster
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English Primary Schools Chess Association

Post by Roger Lancaster » Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:14 pm

Can anyone explain a little puzzle for me? The English Primary Schools Chess Association undertakes, I am led to believe by others who know better than I, excellent work at the grass roots of under-11 chess.

However, on its website it makes the claim - and I quote verbatim - that "EPSCA runs the England Under 11 team and the England Girls’ Under 11 team". Yet when one looks at the Junior Selection Policy on the ECF website, mention of the EPSCA is conspicuous by its absence - instead, the ECF website indicates that it is the ECF that runs all (official) England teams.

I wouldn't wish to suggest that anyone is being economical with the truth but, even if these apparently opposing statements can somehow be reconciled, I can understand parents being confused. So can anyone please explain?

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: English Primary Schools Chess Association

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Thu Feb 23, 2017 11:01 pm

They're referring to the National Chess Junior Squad, which is an initiative run outside the ECF.

Roger Lancaster
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Re: English Primary Schools Chess Association

Post by Roger Lancaster » Thu Feb 23, 2017 11:13 pm

I'm sure (for the avoidance of doubt, no irony intended) that's very laudable, Jack, but am I correct in thinking it's not the same thing as "the England Under 11 team"?

Matt Bridgeman
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Re: English Primary Schools Chess Association

Post by Matt Bridgeman » Thu Feb 23, 2017 11:31 pm

As a chess parent, it's only recently I've discovered the difference. The ECF is responsible for the England junior team. EPSCA have created something called the National Junior Squad, which in extra confusing fashion runs the under 11 England Trials. However neither of these lead to the ECF England Junior team and FIDE international junior events at world and European level. Being on the EPSCA National Junior Squad and going through their 'England Trials' leads to opportunities to play in various locally organised events, some of which are abroad. Usually they are unrated competitions, but are popular as development opportunities for junior players none the less.

Ian Thompson
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Re: English Primary Schools Chess Association

Post by Ian Thompson » Thu Feb 23, 2017 11:50 pm

Anyone knowledgeable on the subject would immediately realise that something was amiss when they saw the ESPCA rules on age limits - under 11 on 31 August 2016, when the FIDE (and ECF) age limits are under the age limit on 1 January of the relevant year.

They do, in one place, refer to their team as the "EPSCA England Under 11 team". Even so, I'd expect the ECF to be telling them to make it clear that their team is not an ECF team, to avoid confusing parents.

Matt Bridgeman
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Re: English Primary Schools Chess Association

Post by Matt Bridgeman » Fri Feb 24, 2017 12:20 am

On the one hand it's great there is a variety of extra individual and team events under the EPSCA banner. And there are certainly juniors who miss these extra events when they move into their secondary school years. But I do think using branding such as 'England Trials' and 'National Junior Squad' isn't particularly helpful. I would speculate that probably half to two thirds of the parents of the 50+ children competing at the 'England under 11 Trials' in April won't be clear on the fact that it isn't the real England junior team at all ...unless they read this of course!

LawrenceCooper
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Re: English Primary Schools Chess Association

Post by LawrenceCooper » Fri Feb 24, 2017 8:59 am

It's actually more complicated than that. There are three:

ECF: http://englishchess.org.uk/Juniors/
EPSCA: http://www.epsca.org.uk/
National Chess Junior Squad: http://www.ncjs.co.uk/

Matt Bridgeman
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Re: English Primary Schools Chess Association

Post by Matt Bridgeman » Fri Feb 24, 2017 9:39 am

I think the under 11 EPSCA trials feed into the National Junior Squad. It is certainly confusing for a chess parent, especially as the junior section of ECF website contains a link to the National Junior Squad website. On the face of it you could assume they are part of the same organisation. However, when you dig down the truth is the ECF are sniffy about EPSCA, and they are reluctantly sharing the same space so to speak.

Alex Holowczak
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Re: English Primary Schools Chess Association

Post by Alex Holowczak » Fri Feb 24, 2017 10:01 am

I've only recently got involved with EPSCA, but by making the mistake of turning up to their AGM, I got put on its Council.

I attended their National Schools qualifier in Birmingham, which I found to be excellent. Game/25 + 10', and 5 matches in reasonable enough conditions. The only thing I didn't like was using gamepoints rather than matchpoints, which I don't think works in a team Swiss. But nothing really to complain about - it was a well-run enjoyable event, and well worth the day out.

The Inter-Association events are disappointing though. Warwickshire is in the North Zone, so we have to travel to Chester twice for the qualifiers. When we paid our entry fees, the Finals were in Nottingham and Northampton; since then the Northampton one seems to have migrated to Oldham, and one of the Nottingham ones seems to have migrated to Twickenham. I gather these events will use analogue clocks, having asked one of the organisers directly. Given that all of Warwickshire's internal junior events this season, and the other events we've entered teams into (NYCA, J4NCL) have used digital clocks with an incremental time limit, we may end up travelling a long way to play what I personally consider to be worse chess than if I just invited some local counties to play a local graded county event (as we did last November). To be honest, I may not bother with it next year and just do exactly that.

Alex Holowczak
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Re: English Primary Schools Chess Association

Post by Alex Holowczak » Fri Feb 24, 2017 10:04 am

Matt Bridgeman wrote:I think the under 11 EPSCA trials feed into the National Junior Squad. It is certainly confusing for a chess parent, especially as the junior section of ECF website contains a link to the National Junior Squad website. On the face of it you could assume they are part of the same organisation. However, when you dig down the truth is the ECF are sniffy about EPSCA, and they are reluctantly sharing the same space so to speak.
The really confusing part is the Midlands v North v Wales v Scotland quadrangular, held in Liverpool. It isn't graded or FIDE-rated, so I've no real enthusiasm at all in sending Warwickshire players to Liverpool to play in it at what is a busy time of year for me. This is an event for Under 12, 14 and 18, from memory, but its organisers are ... EPSCA. :?

Matt Bridgeman
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Re: English Primary Schools Chess Association

Post by Matt Bridgeman » Fri Feb 24, 2017 10:35 am

The Quad match was a actually pretty reasonable. Lots of good chess players. The odd thing like you say is that just about all EPSCA events are unrated. Apart for the Squad Championship, which is on a date directly clashing with the next ECF Academy weekend. I find the whole system very 'silo' orientated. Clearly overall it is a system. It probably isn't exactly a model system! Lol

Mick Norris
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Re: English Primary Schools Chess Association

Post by Mick Norris » Fri Feb 24, 2017 10:46 am

Alex Holowczak wrote:I've only recently got involved with EPSCA, but by making the mistake of turning up to their AGM, I got put on its Council
Schoolboy error :lol:
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

Alex Holowczak
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Re: English Primary Schools Chess Association

Post by Alex Holowczak » Fri Feb 24, 2017 10:58 am

Matt Bridgeman wrote:The Quad match was a actually pretty reasonable. Lots of good chess players. The odd thing like you say is that just about all EPSCA events are unrated. Apart for the Squad Championship, which is on a date directly clashing with the next ECF Academy weekend. I find the whole system very 'silo' orientated. Clearly overall it is a system. It probably isn't exactly a model system! Lol
EPSCA is grading all of its Inter-Association events this year, so long as the new Council member who volunteered to do it gets sent the results and all of the information he requires. So I can't complain about that, actually. :)

But the whole system is indeed silo orientated. Lots of organisations doing their own things without an overall framework.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: English Primary Schools Chess Association

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Fri Feb 24, 2017 11:45 am

EPSCA has been acting outside ECF for a long time and people are claiming to be British Junior Champions or playing for England when they are not. Also games are not graded and naturally EPSCA doesn't play "Game Fee" (or the equivalent). The same applies to Mike Basman's former event also.

Obviously the players and parents and schools are unlikely to appreciate this and will assume they are playing ECF events. Perhaps ECF should demand either that their logo goes on entry forms for official events, or a statement appears saying that the event is recognized by ECF and will be graded.

I played a postal match for UK Civil Service vs European Community once, I think I'll call that representing UK!

Alex was very foolish attending an AGM (and obviously saying something)!

Nick Grey
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Re: English Primary Schools Chess Association

Post by Nick Grey » Fri Feb 24, 2017 7:26 pm

Perhaps ought to e-mail the representative that has the voting rights at the moment, before that may get all abolished.

Sounds like too much thinking going on. And anyway I do not think ECF actually helps organise things.

Personally I am playing for England when I play a fide tournament - particularly an international one. Otherwise how can ECF justify the difference between gold & silver membership I pay just to have a flag?

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