"SavetheUKCC" petition

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: "SavetheUKCC" petition

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Mon Oct 03, 2016 4:50 pm

Both (obviously). Though the strong juniors tend to rise to the top, as long as they get the chance to play and don't develop other interests first before they find out how good they might be at chess (though obviously if they follow those other interests over chess, that is always their choice). It is about providing opportunity and choice.

Richard James
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Re: "SavetheUKCC" petition

Post by Richard James » Mon Oct 03, 2016 6:07 pm

Michael Farthing wrote:So which is more important? A few strong juniors or thousands of not so strong juniors?
Neither. The most important thing is to produce hundreds of juniors who reach a reasonable level (say grade 75+) and take a lifelong interest in chess.

Not a lot of point in producing thousands of weak juniors who will drop out within a year or two (which is more or less what we're doing at the moment). Producing a few strong players is great, but if you don't produce players who will spend money on chess and support the professionals they'll find more lucrative things to do with their time.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: "SavetheUKCC" petition

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Oct 03, 2016 6:23 pm

Richard James wrote:The most important thing is to produce hundreds of juniors who reach a reasonable level (say grade 75+) and take a lifelong interest in chess.
For the thirty year period between 1965 and 1995, the English chess scene achieved this. You might argue an earlier start date than 1965. It's the last twenty years where the seemingly endless flow has dwindled to a trickle. It might just be British social conditions have changed as other countries don't seem so affected.

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Re: "SavetheUKCC" petition

Post by Richard James » Mon Oct 03, 2016 6:33 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Richard James wrote:The most important thing is to produce hundreds of juniors who reach a reasonable level (say grade 75+) and take a lifelong interest in chess.
For the thirty year period between 1965 and 1995, the English chess scene achieved this. You might argue an earlier start date than 1965. It's the last twenty years where the seemingly endless flow has dwindled to a trickle. It might just be British social conditions have changed as other countries don't seem so affected.
I'd argue for an earlier start date and finish date - more like 1950-1980.

One important factor, I think, is that other culturally similar countries in Western Europe tend not to play club chess in the evenings.

This relates to another thread on this topic. Evening league chess was fine for teenagers 50 years ago, but not now. The academic pressures are much higher now. Evening league matches are too late for younger children and older children have too much homework.

We really need local inter-club leagues taking place at weekends in order to attract young players into adult chess clubs.

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Re: "SavetheUKCC" petition

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Oct 03, 2016 6:42 pm

Richard James wrote:The academic pressures are much higher now. Evening league matches are too late for younger children and older children have too much homework.
What used to exist but I doubt exists today is a network of inter school matches taking place on Friday evenings starting at an after school time like 5pm. That dealt with both points.

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Re: "SavetheUKCC" petition

Post by Richard James » Mon Oct 03, 2016 6:49 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Richard James wrote:The academic pressures are much higher now. Evening league matches are too late for younger children and older children have too much homework.
What used to exist but I doubt exists today is a network of inter school matches taking place on Friday evenings starting at an after school time like 5pm. That dealt with both points.
There's still a schools league in Surrey with matches on Friday evenings, but I'm not aware of anything anywhere else.

http://www.scca.co.uk/comps_sch/BP_tab.html

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Michael Farthing
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Re: "SavetheUKCC" petition

Post by Michael Farthing » Mon Oct 03, 2016 6:52 pm

Richard James wrote: Producing a few strong players is great, but if you don't produce players who will spend money on chess and support the professionals they'll find more lucrative things to do with their time.
Ah yes! The important thing is subsidising the professionals! Now I understand very clearly. Not.

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Re: "SavetheUKCC" petition

Post by Richard James » Mon Oct 03, 2016 7:14 pm

Michael Farthing wrote:
Richard James wrote: Producing a few strong players is great, but if you don't produce players who will spend money on chess and support the professionals they'll find more lucrative things to do with their time.
Ah yes! The important thing is subsidising the professionals! Now I understand very clearly. Not.
No. That's not what I said. The important thing is promoting chess culture, which means building a pyramid with a solid foundation of enthusiastic club (or online) players, right up to professional players at the top. Every time you buy a chess book or DVD or enter a tournament you are, in a small way, subsidising the professionals. If you buy a book or DVD the author and publisher makes some money out of it. If you enter a tournament your entry fee goes towards the first prize which might be won by Keith or Mark.

We have to take on board the fact that we've been getting junior chess wrong for the past 30 years or more. This is partly to do with a junior chess system based largely on competition and fluffy mascots at the expense of knowledge and skills development, and partly because, for various social and historical reasons, adult club chess is not suitable for today's young players.

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Re: "SavetheUKCC" petition

Post by Neill Cooper » Mon Oct 03, 2016 7:35 pm

Richard James wrote:
Roger de Coverly wrote:
Richard James wrote:The academic pressures are much higher now. Evening league matches are too late for younger children and older children have too much homework.
What used to exist but I doubt exists today is a network of inter school matches taking place on Friday evenings starting at an after school time like 5pm. That dealt with both points.
There's still a schools league in Surrey with matches on Friday evenings, but I'm not aware of anything anywhere else.

http://www.scca.co.uk/comps_sch/BP_tab.html
Most of the county secondary school leagues died a while ago when the organisers retired and there was no-one to take over running the league, and the number of schools were low. A couple of others remain, in Birmingham and Coventry.
The national school chess championships again has over 100 entries again this year, mainly secondary schools.
I have problems finding pupils to play in evening club matches despite having many to ask.

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Michael Farthing
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Re: "SavetheUKCC" petition

Post by Michael Farthing » Mon Oct 03, 2016 9:07 pm

Richard James wrote:
Michael Farthing wrote:
Richard James wrote: Producing a few strong players is great, but if you don't produce players who will spend money on chess and support the professionals they'll find more lucrative things to do with their time.
Ah yes! The important thing is subsidising the professionals! Now I understand very clearly. Not.
No. That's not what I said.{
It's what I heard
The important thing is promoting chess culture, which means building a pyramid with a solid foundation of enthusiastic club (or online) players, right up to professional players at the top. Every time you buy a chess book or DVD or enter a tournament you are, in a small way, subsidising the professionals. If you buy a book or DVD the author and publisher makes some money out of it. If you enter a tournament your entry fee goes towards the first prize which might be won by Keith or Mark.
It's still what I'm hearing.
The top of the pyramid is what matters. The bottom is merely there for support.

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Re: "SavetheUKCC" petition

Post by Alex Holowczak » Mon Oct 03, 2016 9:16 pm

Richard James wrote:
Roger de Coverly wrote:
Richard James wrote:The academic pressures are much higher now. Evening league matches are too late for younger children and older children have too much homework.
What used to exist but I doubt exists today is a network of inter school matches taking place on Friday evenings starting at an after school time like 5pm. That dealt with both points.
There's still a schools league in Surrey with matches on Friday evenings, but I'm not aware of anything anywhere else.

http://www.scca.co.uk/comps_sch/BP_tab.html
There is a schools league in Birmingham, and my impression of it is that it is slowly dying. There is a schools league in Coventry, I discovered on Saturday, but it is much smaller. Both meet on Friday evenings.

There has been a change of social attitude to these in the last 20 years. I remember going to fixtures in a teacher's car even as late as 2006. Nowadays, that can't happen for child safeguarding reasons. So instead, the option might be to use the school minibus, if it is available. However, for younger people, a driving licence doesn't automatically cover driving a minibus, unlike older people. So when an old teacher retires from doing it, a younger teacher can't drive the minibus. So now you sometimes have taxis or coaches instead, which can be quite expensive. In addition to that, children at one school seem to have to fill in consent forms to take them out of school to these matches.

The problem is that it falls outside the remit of sport; whereas PE teachers regularly give up time to do rugby, cricket and so on, and are contracted to do so, the same isn't true for non-PE school teachers. So they have to do give up a lot of time for not a lot of reward, and may not even be interested in chess. So it dies out, and I've seen this time and again in schools.

A lot of junior clubs also seem to meet on Saturday mornings, particularly in Warwickshire. (Some others do exist.) This always seems to clash with some other activity, and having an early evening club on a weekday may be the way to go these days. I'd investigated doing something like that in Birmingham, but I just don't have the time, or a venue in mind. In an ideal world, this club would be connected to an adult club, but most clubs in this area play in unsuitable venues.

Neill Cooper
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Re: "SavetheUKCC" petition

Post by Neill Cooper » Mon Oct 03, 2016 10:14 pm

On the positive side, we had over 300 play at the secondary school tournament at Eton College in September from over 40 schools. See http://englishchess.org.uk/Juniors/schools/schools/

Roger Lancaster
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Re: "SavetheUKCC" petition

Post by Roger Lancaster » Tue Oct 04, 2016 12:56 pm

At Watford, we're trying an experiment. It's been difficult to persuade the club juniors (with a few exceptions) to participate in inter-club league matches (which invariably occur Mondays to Thursdays, rather than Fridays) because late nights don't mix too well with school next morning. However, we've this season been able to agree with the Hertford & District League a match programme whereby all eight Watford fixtures take place either during half-term (and here we've had to take advantage of the fact that the independent schools tend to have longer half-terms than the others) or school holidays.

That looks workable for a league with eight matches, being more or less one match each relevant week, but we've yet to work out whether next season we can work something out with the bigger Hertfordshire League where teams typically have 12 or possibly even 14 fixtures over the year. Even the H&DL experiment is a work in progress, and it's possible we may have to get some adult club members to help out, but it suggests that - if one is prepared to be creative - possibilities exist.

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Re: "SavetheUKCC" petition

Post by John Upham » Tue Oct 04, 2016 2:10 pm

This is most definitely a step in the right direction and sends a strong signal that adults clubs and league are recognising the need to become more flexible if they want their clubs and leagues to survive.

Adults clubs need to become friendlier and more welcoming places for juniors.

I realise that many (of the more mature) adults see juniors as noisy and disruptive (which is simply not true). However, the more mature gentlemen are more concerned with the prospect of losing to an 11 year old who hasn't yet been afflicted with "London System syndrome": Let's have a nice game of chess in which some pieces get moved around, exchanged and no taxing calculation or endgames happen and we can agree a lovely draw.

Juniors don't take draws even in lost positions and many elderly members are quite scared of them.

I've had to deal with this fixed mindset (the opposite of a growth mindset) in my clubs and started a Sunday morning Junior club for this reason.
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Re: "SavetheUKCC" petition

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Oct 04, 2016 2:45 pm

John Upham wrote: Juniors don't take draws even in lost positions
I'm sure we've all faced juniors who have offered repeated draws in lost positions, although to be fair perhaps they were unaware they were lost.

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