The Death of League Chess?

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: The Death of League Chess?

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Tue Apr 28, 2015 11:38 pm

My club has both standardplay and rapidplay internal events; it seems to suit us well.

Neill Cooper
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Re: The Death of League Chess?

Post by Neill Cooper » Wed Apr 29, 2015 12:00 am

Chris Wardle wrote: Chess in secondary schools is irrelevant.
It doesn't need to be. Most chess players went to secondary school. Many played school chess when at Secondary School.
If we can again get chess more popular at secondary schools then, in due course, we will have a wider pool of younger adult chess players.

Team Chess Challenge (and similar multi-school events, based on blitz rates of play are proving popular with schools who do not have a tradition of playing secondary school chess - see http://www.keverelchess.com/successful- ... 1-02-2015/ and http://www.sports.stjohnsprepandseniors ... or-school/ In due course we should be able to build on this and introduce more schools to slower chess.

John McKenna
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Re: The Death of League Chess?

Post by John McKenna » Thu Apr 30, 2015 12:35 pm

"The Surrey League is apparently doing ok... There is a "Main league", then a Minor Trophy for players under 145 (or players estimated as under 145 by the League, whatever their real strength.) Several clubs entered teams in the bottom division of the Main League and in the Minor Trophy and used exactly the same players... "

Kevin will be pleased to hear that the Surrey Minor Trophy is all but in the hands of Crystal Palace III. We did not enter the lowest division of the main league and used no players with estimated grades in the 6-board team (11 players played over the season). Not so pleasing to Kevin is that we have pipped his club's Redhill IV at the post.

[The occasional use of estimated players on board 1 (e144, e142 & e132) by a couple of Minor teams this season had little or no effect on the top places in the competition.]

In general, the relaxation of league rules, governing who can play for what club or team, is to maintain the number of teams and games despite a shrinking number of clubs and players. Somewhat desperate times require slightly desperate measures.
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

David Robertson
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Re: The Death of League Chess?

Post by David Robertson » Thu Apr 30, 2015 2:28 pm

Chris Wardle wrote:
David Robertson wrote:Matters are rather better where I currently play at Chester.
Are you just bashing the North East to make your own club look good?
No. My club looks good without needing to bash anyone.

And tidying up an earlier comment, our main junior team, Chester D, did indeed win promotion last night to Div 1 of the Wirral League. Several of us travelled into North Wales to support them. A happier bunch of young lads could not be found at the end. All five are aged 12-14; their grades: 165-145-145-140-110. Not world-beaters yet; but capable of knocking over far more experienced players. They're now looking for a youthful 'top board' to head them up in Division 1. Looks like it might be me :shock:

Chester kids in shock old f@arts triumph surge

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: The Death of League Chess?

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Fri May 01, 2015 7:45 am

"Kevin will be pleased to hear that the Surrey Minor Trophy is all but in the hands of Crystal Palace III. We did not enter the lowest division of the main league and used no players with estimated grades in the 6-board team (11 players played over the season). Not so pleasing to Kevin is that we have pipped his club's Redhill IV at the post."

A well-deserved victory for CP. They should have won last year as well as the winning team used an ineligible player but were allowed to get away with it! Redhill IV has the extraordinary (and refreshing) attitude that players are there to enjoy it and if they win trophies, it's a bonus.

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Re: The Death of League Chess? New life!

Post by David Pardoe » Fri May 01, 2015 11:07 am

This weekend is one of our top chess events for chess UK i.e., 4NCL Finals...featuring hundreds of our players from around the UK and beyond...
Are we publicising this enough...more regional Press coverage might be welcome...and some `snaps` in the Press....and a few stories, commentaries.

However, over in Birmingham this weekend its the Finals of a major board games event...!
Is it Mindsports....?
I have no other details...might include Bridge, Monopoly, cleudo, backgammon, etc...for all I know.
Maybe some of our chess clubs could look at the option of offering other board games and/or family nights... Bridge & chess could certainly go well...not to mention GO, which apparently is quite popular...
BRING BACK THE BCF

John McKenna
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Re: The Death of League Chess?

Post by John McKenna » Fri May 01, 2015 12:59 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:"Kevin will be pleased to hear that the Surrey Minor Trophy is all but in the hands of Crystal Palace III. We did not enter the lowest division of the main league and used no players with estimated grades in the 6-board team (11 players played over the season). Not so pleasing to Kevin is that we have pipped his club's Redhill IV at the post."

A well-deserved victory for CP. They should have won last year as well as the winning team used an ineligible player but were allowed to get away with it! Redhill IV has the extraordinary (and refreshing) attitude that players are there to enjoy it and if they win trophies, it's a bonus.
I couldn't agree more, Kevin.

Crystal Palace have also reached the final of the Lauder Cup (team grade under 841)
That's against S. Norwood - to be played over 6 boards on 7th May at Beckenham.

I see that Redhill will play CCF in the final of the Alexander Cup.
CCF I won the Surrey Premiership by half a match point from Redhill I.
The league match went Redhill I 3-5 CCF I, but the cup final is over 10 boards.

Best of luck!
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

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Chris Goodall
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Re: The Death of League Chess?

Post by Chris Goodall » Fri Sep 16, 2016 1:35 pm

David Robertson wrote:The state of the game is extremely serious. Evening league chess, and the clubs supporting it, will wither and die out completely over the next decade or so in certain parts of the country. I predict the NE will be the first to collapse, closely followed by Merseyside, Cheshire & North Wales, and Lancashire. Manchester will struggle on; Leeds and parts of Yorkshire too; but with diminished capacity. Leagues in London and the SE will continue to survive, perhaps reduced. Leagues around Birmingham will contract or merge.

Why the gloom? Very simple. I've said it many times: chess will survive where secondary schools play it. Chess in primary schools is utterly irrelevant. Utterly! And the secondary schools that play chess are, for the most part, in the private/independent sector or in the residual grammar schools. These are clustered overwhelmingly in London & the SE. To which must be added the impact of inward migration.

It's grim up North in terms of long-term prospects for the game, irrespective of the efforts of local organisers. If the thread develops sensibly (one can hope!), I'll give some examples from local leagues.
At last night's Northumbria League meeting, the number of teams entered increased by 4 to 32, which is the highest it's been in the 21st century. It's clear that consolidating the ~25 little clubs left over from the Fischer-Spassky era into 11 large clubs with active club nights has halted the decline. The Internet has stolen all the OTB players that it's going to steal, and with managing a simple website becoming ever more simple, now acts as a net driver of players towards club nights. Put that in your pipe and smoke it!
Chris Goodall, formerly known as Chris Wardle. Northumbria League hand-cranker; ECF Grader for Bernicia and the NCCU.
Newcastle is not in Scotland!

Mick Norris
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Re: The Death of League Chess?

Post by Mick Norris » Fri Sep 16, 2016 1:47 pm

The Manchester league has seen 6 clubs dropping a team, and 1 club adding a team, this season i.e. a net loss of 5, which is surprising as we have seen growth in team numbers over the last few seasons
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: The Death of League Chess?

Post by David Pardoe » Fri Sep 16, 2016 3:28 pm

I notice that Manchester lost its long standing webmaster in July..
Not sure who the new organiser is, but there doesn't seem to be much news coming through the website just now..
I presume that normal contacts with clubs and secretaries/league captains has continued.
I know of at least one club that has moved venues of late...

I`ve noticed an increase over recent years in the level of lesser graded players playing in the lower divisions, which is encouraging.. And that applies to other local leagues also..

As for junior chess.. I`d say its important to maintain good contacts with local school and college networks, which I`m sure we do, because I think our junior support has been very strong over the years..
Encouraging juniors, and the various specialist junior chess groups is vital, as is encouraging these groups to link up with the senior chess community. Parents have a strong role to play also, and should get actively involved, where possible.
Many youngsters leave school having played sports of all kinds, not realising that there are opportunities for them to progress there interests in the wider community. Better publicity and local Press coverage might help to alert parents and youngsters to the many opportunities..
Some occasional league news, results, comments, tables, etc might help.. It amazes me the way darts, snooker, dominoes, etc do get coverage in the local rags... but little mention of chess.
Should leagues appoint a Press officer to try to boost publicity...
Maybe our local societies should get out more newsletters to schools and colleges to welcome them to our clubs and societies..
Clubs themselves can do much to encourage new members, including the running of informal club competitions..
Teaching chess does not require master class chess skills.. quite often some encouraging words, advice, and informal hints, tips, etc can help players to make good progress. Presentations from senior players can also be a great help, and give new players some good pointers.
BRING BACK THE BCF

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Re: The Death of League Chess?

Post by Alex Holowczak » Fri Sep 16, 2016 3:54 pm

Chris Wardle wrote:At last night's Northumbria League meeting, the number of teams entered increased by 4 to 32, which is the highest it's been in the 21st century. It's clear that consolidating the ~25 little clubs left over from the Fischer-Spassky era into 11 large clubs with active club nights has halted the decline. The Internet has stolen all the OTB players that it's going to steal, and with managing a simple website becoming ever more simple, now acts as a net driver of players towards club nights. Put that in your pipe and smoke it!
Numbers going up, fine... But what are your chess clubs' average age?

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: The Death of League Chess?

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Fri Sep 16, 2016 4:35 pm

"But what are your chess clubs' average age?"

Our club was 124 years old last year, and now it's 125.

Oh, you meant the players? The younger players clear off to University, the older ones give up because of compulsory quickplay finish.

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: The Death of League Chess?

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Fri Sep 16, 2016 4:39 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:The younger players clear off to University, the older ones give up because of compulsory quickplay finish.
But not having those puts off others, of course.......
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

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Re: The Death of League Chess?

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Fri Sep 16, 2016 4:50 pm

"But not having those puts off others, of course......."

Of course! One thing Surrey does well is have a choice of finishes (Adjournment, adjudication, QP, Fischer) so if there is one finish you cannot stand, you can avoid it.

In the top division, it's mainly QP and an increasing number of Fischer. Ironically, when QP finishes were being proposed some of the SCCA officials were whining about them, but at the same time, adjudications were taking 7 months(!) to come back, so more people voted for QP.

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Re: The Death of League Chess?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Sep 16, 2016 6:26 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:One thing Surrey does well is have a choice of finishes (Adjournment, adjudication, QP, Fischer) so if there is one finish you cannot stand, you can avoid it.
But if there are two, you cannot. Not playing in Surrey or the Thames Valley leagues means that I haven't had to play half a game on a league evening for fifteen years or perhaps longer.

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