How many casual players?

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
J T Melsom
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by J T Melsom » Wed Dec 19, 2018 10:29 pm

What don't you accept? It is a direction of travel favoured by the board which would require changes to be approved by Council - see a post upthread from Mike Gunn. It does not apply at the present time. Nor does the declared objective of the Board mean that constituent units should give up on casual players.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Dec 19, 2018 10:35 pm

J T Melsom wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 10:29 pm
It is a direction of travel favoured by the board
Exactly. So with one hand they try to financially exclude or discourage casual players, whilst with the other hand they try to encourage them. Which side will win?

J T Melsom
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by J T Melsom » Wed Dec 19, 2018 10:41 pm

Don't know who will win, but we've not reached that point and you are placing other more immediate obstacles in the way of casual players making that next step. Its not all down to the ECF, officers of local clubs can assist by creating a suitable welcoming environment for casual player. Indeed it is in their interests to do so.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Dec 19, 2018 10:53 pm

J T Melsom wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 10:41 pm
you are placing other more immediate obstacles in the way of casual players making that next step.
I rather think it's the ECF.

If the ECF were to finance itself by a levy on local Counties or Leagues, it wouldn't matter whether a player is an established player or a "casual" substitute.

Under the rules as imposed it does.

J T Melsom
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by J T Melsom » Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:03 pm

There is no mandatory membership preventing casual players joining Bourne End or any other local club. It is far more likely that casual players don't join because chess clubs don't always know what to do with them. At my club we have several casual or returning players, the majority of those who have become repeat visitors have paid the club fees and joined the ECF. They have also joined our internal club championship which has fourteen players in it. This is graded, some clubs run ungraded events. This is a good competition because it has a good range of abilities and provides scope to iron out some of those issues that you referred to above, clock handling and limited experience of the rigours of the game. It has buy in from all but the busiest club members so nobody at Wycombe feels the first team are remote and only around on a match night. You could try such an event, maybe instead of one of your teams in the Berkshire league. Less matches would also I suspect increase the probability of there being somebody around to play casual players who might visit - it has been noted that apart from those involved in the match, you are quite thin on other regulars. These things can be tried without help from the ECF.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:07 pm

ECF paper wrote: All players wishing to play in graded competitions would be required to become members of the ECF.

The question is whether the current ECF Board endorse or dismiss this comment from a previous CEO.

Pete Morriss
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by Pete Morriss » Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:11 pm

Alistair Campbell wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:31 pm
Now for “casual” players. Look around you – how many people do you see that could be secret players? How many of your friends play on-line regularly, that you didn’t have marked down as a chesser? How many times have I seen people playing “casually” in the pub? Never.
Then you go to the wrong pubs. I have frequently seen people playing chess in pubs and cafes. Some pubs ban chess (maybe the pubs you go to?); others have chess sets hidden in a corner for patrons to use. They are usually missing a few pieces, but one can make them up using coins or stray objects. I also know (or have known) many people who would call themselves chess players, but have never set foot in a club or tournament, and have had no interest in doing so.

I think this discussion has misunderstood the mindset of a "casual player". Perhaps a different example would be helpful. A friend of mine is near-addicted to Scrabble: whenever anybody calls round she drags out the set and virtually forces them to play. Yet she has never played in any organized Scrabble event, and doesn't see any point in doing so. She also regards learning off strange words from approved Scrabble lists as destroying whatever the point of the game is for her. Similarly, a work colleague told me that he plays chess at home with a friend nearly every evening. When I invited him to the local club he refused, partly because he won't play with a clock, and partly because he regards studying the game in books as cheating - destroying the purity of the intellectual clash - and he doesn't want to play with cheats. It's a view, albeit not one I hold.

I suspect that most casual chess players are less competitive than we are, and play purely for enjoyment in the activity: they would think, for instance, that it is ridiculous to not allow their opponent to take a move back if a blunder ruined an otherwise interesting game. I doubt if people who play for those reasons will ever be attracted to organized, competitive, chess.

J T Melsom
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by J T Melsom » Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:15 pm

Roger

No that isn't the question - it is a question that you have become fixated on and tonight you have demonstrated that it is a fixation which is to the detriment of local chess. I have given you several chances to say something positive that might encourage the casual player and you have simply raised problems. I think you could find better things to do, but I see somewhat belatedly that I'm wrong, and Bourne End will continue to decline. Although this would increase the chance of somebody else winning the league, this is not really something that enthuses me.

J T Melsom
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by J T Melsom » Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:17 pm

Peter

I've seen two different pairs playing Scrabble in the pub in recent weeks, clearly I should be organising a casual games night. :)

Pete Morriss
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by Pete Morriss » Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:31 pm

J T Melsom wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:17 pm
Peter

I've seen two different pairs playing Scrabble in the pub in recent weeks, clearly I should be organising a casual games night. :)
You should! Though (in my experience) some "casual players" are repelled by organization of any kind.

J T Melsom
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by J T Melsom » Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:36 pm

You should! Though (in my experience) some "casual players" are repelled by organization of any kind.


Very true - one of my fellow committee members suggested in my keenness to get somebody involved in proper chess I may have misjudged the individuals enthusiasm to do so. I guess we've got to that stage where a new player is a relatively novelty and our best intentions are not always sufficiently sensitive. A pity as he's a more than decent player and keeps winning the casual games even without take-backs.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Thu Dec 20, 2018 6:25 pm

Interestingly, about 3 - 4 of us visit the pub after the club meeting, so that's roughly 50 % of the club's attendance. When we walk in, there's usually two boards set up with (not surprisingly) 4 people playing and (more surprisingly) about another half dozen kibitzing. The ringleader is a disaffected ex-member of Redhill, but he still talks to us. A friendly club has started in nearby Merstham (a suburb of Redhill) but they are said to have no interest in serious chess.

So there are casual players. There are also ex-players I know, who no longer play club chess for various reasons, (too busy with work, family, not playing as well as they used to, etc, one even said he objected to ECF Membership charges!), but still have an interest in chess.

Alistair Campbell
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by Alistair Campbell » Thu Dec 27, 2018 7:58 pm

Pete Morriss wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:11 pm
Alistair Campbell wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:31 pm
Now for “casual” players. Look around you – how many people do you see that could be secret players? How many of your friends play on-line regularly, that you didn’t have marked down as a chesser? How many times have I seen people playing “casually” in the pub? Never.
Then you go to the wrong pubs.
I wouldn’t dispute this. (And I have been reminded of the existence of erstwhile “casual” clubs that occasionally spring up, before disappearing again – but again in my experience, these are few and far between, and don’t last).

Some more stats – there appear to be 59 people listed on the latest SCCA grading list – just under half are also listed on the CS OTB list (and many of the others I reckon as former players). This suggests there are not many regular “exclusively correspondence” players.

Then there’s t’internet. Chess.com claims 24 million users. Is that verifiable? That’s about 0.3% of the world’s population. Could you pro-rate that to the population of the UK? What about other servers?

People playing regularly on an app (and not getting bored, or taking the game to another level)? Unknown.

I’m still having difficulty in the concept that for every current active player playing “officially” there are 50 playing regularly and secretly, but no matter.
Pete Morriss wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:11 pm
I think this discussion has misunderstood the mindset of a "casual player". Perhaps a different example would be helpful. A friend of mine is near-addicted to Scrabble: whenever anybody calls round she drags out the set and virtually forces them to play. Yet she has never played in any organized Scrabble event, and doesn't see any point in doing so. She also regards learning off strange words from approved Scrabble lists as destroying whatever the point of the game is for her. Similarly, a work colleague told me that he plays chess at home with a friend nearly every evening. When I invited him to the local club he refused, partly because he won't play with a clock, and partly because he regards studying the game in books as cheating - destroying the purity of the intellectual clash - and he doesn't want to play with cheats. It's a view, albeit not one I hold.

I suspect that most casual chess players are less competitive than we are, and play purely for enjoyment in the activity: they would think, for instance, that it is ridiculous to not allow their opponent to take a move back if a blunder ruined an otherwise interesting game. I doubt if people who play for those reasons will ever be attracted to organized, competitive, chess.
For sure, I am willing to believe that for most casual players it is the very “casuality” that is the attraction. Start to organise it, and you may take the fun out of it. Which begs the question of marketability. Even if 2% of the population are regular players, are you going to be able to sell them chess stuff, or engage them so they buy other stuff? Perhaps there are Marketing experts who can comment?

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JustinHorton
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by JustinHorton » Sun Dec 30, 2018 4:31 pm

Alistair Campbell wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 7:58 pm
. Chess.com claims 24 million users. Is that verifiable?
Yeah, I'd like to interrogate that figure a bit. I'm guessing it does not actually mean 24 million different individual people, but I'd be interested in having that confirmed, and finding out - should they, in fact, know - how many people it actually is.
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JustinHorton
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Re: How many casual players?

Post by JustinHorton » Sun Dec 30, 2018 4:43 pm

Pete Morriss wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:11 pm
Alistair Campbell wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:31 pm
Now for “casual” players. Look around you – how many people do you see that could be secret players? How many of your friends play on-line regularly, that you didn’t have marked down as a chesser? How many times have I seen people playing “casually” in the pub? Never.
Then you go to the wrong pubs. I have frequently seen people playing chess in pubs and cafes.
Maybe, but my experience would be closer to Alistair's, and we might differ over what we mean by "frequently".

My gut feeling is that if we were to divide players into three groups, with
  • the first being OTB tournament and club players (regardless of whether or not we also play online)
  • the second being online players who do not play tournament and club chess, and
  • the third being casual OTB players who play neither online nor tournament and club chess
the third group would be the smallest. But I don't know that, and I would be pleased to be wrong.
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

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