Rapidplays for 11 to 18s

National developments, strategies and ideas.
LawrenceCooper
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Re: Rapidplays for 11 to 18s

Post by LawrenceCooper » Fri Jul 20, 2012 8:52 am

Peter Sowray wrote:
Mike Truran wrote:But the elephant in the room remains. Why do our juniors fare less well than their colleagues overseas?

Mike,

I don't want to cause any offence, but I suspect that a large part of the answer is that our juniors don't work hard enough by international standards.

Peter
Sadly our chess culture is far more amateurish than other countries. When I speak to people from Georgia, France, Holland, Norway etc it is clear how professional and serious they are. They are amazed that our leading players have to pay their own entry fees and expenses to play in events like the European Individual and that people like myself pay rather than be paid to do what we do. I think this also drops down to junior level, we have a huge sum of money in the John Robinson Trust and yet many of our top juniors receive little in the way of support apart from what their parents can and can't afford.

I also find a lot of parents and juniors ask me for guidance purely because they receive little advice on the type of events they should be playing in or how best to plan their child's chess development. Often all they need is a bit of encouragement and advice on the type of events to play and the kind of coaching they need but too much of what they hear is from people with self-interest. I find it very sad when I hear from parents that they have been warned not to play in certain events and feel pressured into having coaching off those with influence rather than going for who they are most comfortable with.

I think we have a lot of talented kids at a young age but for whatever reason we don't appear able to nurture them from 11-16 as well as other countries. Whilst it may be true that they don't work as hard I think it's more that they don't know how to work to maximise their potential in the time they have and have fewer opportunities than those in other comparable countries. Some countries have chess on the school curriculum which has to be an advantage but others don't and still seem to thrive.

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Peter D Williams
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Re: Rapidplays for 11 to 18s

Post by Peter D Williams » Fri Jul 20, 2012 9:52 am

LawrenceCooper wrote:
Peter Sowray wrote:
Mike Truran wrote:But the elephant in the room remains. Why do our juniors fare less well than their colleagues overseas?

Mike,

I don't want to cause any offence, but I suspect that a large part of the answer is that our juniors don't work hard enough by international standards.

Peter
Sadly our chess culture is far more amateurish than other countries. When I speak to people from Georgia, France, Holland, Norway etc it is clear how professional and serious they are. They are amazed that our leading players have to pay their own entry fees and expenses to play in events like the European Individual and that people like myself pay rather than be paid to do what we do. I think this also drops down to junior level, we have a huge sum of money in the John Robinson Trust and yet many of our top juniors receive little in the way of support apart from what their parents can and can't afford.

I also find a lot of parents and juniors ask me for guidance purely because they receive little advice on the type of events they should be playing in or how best to plan their child's chess development. Often all they need is a bit of encouragement and advice on the type of events to play and the kind of coaching they need but too much of what they hear is from people with self-interest. I find it very sad when I hear from parents that they have been warned not to play in certain events and feel pressured into having coaching off those with influence rather than going for who they are most comfortable with.

I think we have a lot of talented kids at a young age but for whatever reason we don't appear able to nurture them from 11-16 as well as other countries. Whilst it may be true that they don't work as hard I think it's more that they don't know how to work to maximise their potential in the time they have and have fewer opportunities than those in other comparable countries. Some countries have chess on the school curriculum which has to be an advantage but others don't and still seem to thrive.
I agree Lawrence. One receives very little advice as to how you should encourage your child with there chess what events to enter should you have coaching and who with.I think Peter will not play as much and may give up all together due to other things coming into his life such as college and all the other activities he does.He is going to play one more event this year which i would guess is no where near enough if you want to contine to improve.

Cost also play a part i would guess cost of staying away in hotel etc i belive people can apply to John Robinson Trust we never have as we prefer to pay for all of Peter chess ourself.I have no real idea what the trust does and who it helps is it for juniors and adults?
when you are successful many losers bark at you.

Krishna Shiatis
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Re: Rapidplays for 11 to 18s

Post by Krishna Shiatis » Fri Jul 20, 2012 6:25 pm

LawrenceCooper wrote:
Sadly our chess culture is far more amateurish than other countries. When I speak to people from Georgia, France, Holland, Norway etc it is clear how professional and serious they are. They are amazed that our leading players have to pay their own entry fees and expenses to play in events like the European Individual and that people like myself pay rather than be paid to do what we do. I think this also drops down to junior level, we have a huge sum of money in the John Robinson Trust and yet many of our top juniors receive little in the way of support apart from what their parents can and can't afford.

I also find a lot of parents and juniors ask me for guidance purely because they receive little advice on the type of events they should be playing in or how best to plan their child's chess development. Often all they need is a bit of encouragement and advice on the type of events to play and the kind of coaching they need but too much of what they hear is from people with self-interest. I find it very sad when I hear from parents that they have been warned not to play in certain events and feel pressured into having coaching off those with influence rather than going for who they are most comfortable with.

I think we have a lot of talented kids at a young age but for whatever reason we don't appear able to nurture them from 11-16 as well as other countries. Whilst it may be true that they don't work as hard I think it's more that they don't know how to work to maximise their potential in the time they have and have fewer opportunities than those in other comparable countries. Some countries have chess on the school curriculum which has to be an advantage but others don't and still seem to thrive.
Hi Lawrence, Mike, Peter S, Neill, Roger, Alex and Peter W,

I think that you are all correct to a certain degree. I think that as Neill has said, there is a distinction between what happens with the elite and how to promote chess to all and we do need to understand this when we talk about chess for juniors because the needs of the two groups are different (though do overlap at certain times).

Our relative performance when compared to other countries is a measure of what happens with our elite and for advice on this I do think that Lawrence is spot on. I do feel sorry for our kids sometimes though, as they are not battling on an even playing field most of the time and that is not always obvious to the average on-looker. I do agree with Peter W; that if we need help, it is not always obvious how to get it or go about getting it. I also have no idea how the ECF junior funds are spent.

In terms of the fallout at the secondary age, it may well be that we have a structural problem in how we introduce children to chess (as Mike has suggested) and again Richard James seems to know more about this than most. I do think though that Neill is right and correct to look at how we might reverse that particular trend if we can or at least make a dent in it. I do like all the variety of chess competitions in this country and having such a pro-active JD at the moment means that things are looking positive anyway.

That is not to say that we can not and should not make it even better.

I strongly believe that we should take a long, hard, look at how teenagers perceive chess and make an effort on a national level to change the image of chess. This will IMO have a knock-on effect in the adult chess world as well as encourage many kids to stay on.

It really is an uphill battle (in the state sector in particular - which does represent the masses) to stop people's eyes glazing over at the mere mention of chess. Yet when I speak to people from Eastern Europe, India or China, people tend to look interested, impressed and even want to be involved.

I think that encouraging participation should be the goal of everyone in the ECF as it is our biggest problem. If we solve it, then it would help the ECF by having more money flowing in from memberships and tournaments. It would help event organisers, it would help adult chess to thrive and of course it would help our juniors.

Alan Burke

Re: Rapidplays for 11 to 18s

Post by Alan Burke » Fri Jul 20, 2012 6:39 pm

It seems that some chess people believe that it is just at their particular pastime that this drop-off of young talent occurs - it certainly isn't; it happens within many hobbies/sports.

I was involved at professional level in a sport which attracts a great deal of television coverage and is actively promoted within secondary schools, yet even though many youngsters played the game in their early years, there was a dramatic decline in the numbers who continued to compete later in life.

How many people used to do Airfix models in their younger years yet don't bother with them now or were in the Cubs/Scouts/Girl Guides but have left instead of continuing ? Many others maybe went to dance or drama classes but have decided to stop - I would assume that those involved in those activities will be wondering exactly the same as the chess people as to where that potential talent went.

Although many youngsters play chess at a young age, the vast majority are also involved with other activities at the same time and - as much as some chess people might wish to think so - they are probably no more committed to the game than they are to their other interests. As years advance they also become aware of new interests and it then becomes decision time for them with regard to how to spend their leisure time. Yes, chess people would love them to all remain in the game but with the vast number of alternatives out there - and especially those that can provide a simple way to enjoy themselves without too much effort - there is obviously going to be a reduction of those taking part.

I just think that people involved in the game shouldn't become too paranoid that it is only chess that is suffering from this drop-off of youngsters in their later years.

Krishna Shiatis
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Re: Rapidplays for 11 to 18s

Post by Krishna Shiatis » Fri Jul 20, 2012 6:51 pm

Hi Alan,

I don't think it is paranoia as such. I think it is because we have seen chess being 'big' in this country in the past (as Mike said). We can see how 'big' it is elsewhere. We understand that we can improve things here, but we are not 100% sure about how?

Hence the discussion; which I think is a good one to have. Other hobbies/sports do have a drop out rate as well, but I am not sure that they all have the same potential as chess. I can say this because on a worldwide level, chess is huge - certainly bigger than airfix modelling or cubs. It is a strong rival to football and many nations participate in it.

The question remains, how can we then recreate the 'glory years' of the past and improve participation amongst our juniors?

Peter Sowray
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Re: Rapidplays for 11 to 18s

Post by Peter Sowray » Fri Jul 20, 2012 7:06 pm

Krishna Shiatis wrote:
The question remains, how can we then recreate the 'glory years' of the past and improve participation amongst our juniors?

England had no chess culture until the early 70s. The fact that 10 years later we were the second strongest nation in the world was down to the efforts of half a dozen world class players plus two inspirational organisers, Leonard Barden and Bob Wade. They had a level of ambition and determination that currently seems lacking.

Krishna Shiatis
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Re: Rapidplays for 11 to 18s

Post by Krishna Shiatis » Fri Jul 20, 2012 7:13 pm

Peter Sowray wrote:
Krishna Shiatis wrote:
The question remains, how can we then recreate the 'glory years' of the past and improve participation amongst our juniors?

England had no chess culture until the early 70s. The fact that 10 years later we were the second strongest nation in the world was down to the efforts of half a dozen world class players plus two inspirational organisers, Leonard Barden and Bob Wade. They had a level of ambition and determination that currently seems lacking.
See! History proves it can be done. I would like to add that it also had some thing to do with a very interesting figure called Bobby Fischer who fought the supreme chess players from the top chess playing nations without fear and had a very good media machine who wittingly/unwittingly helped to bring chess to the masses.

Media is key.

Carol Williams
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Re: Rapidplays for 11 to 18s

Post by Carol Williams » Fri Jul 20, 2012 7:16 pm

Krishna Shiatis wrote:Hi Alan,

I don't think it is paranoia as such. I think it is because we have seen chess being 'big' in this country in the past (as Mike said). We can see how 'big' it is elsewhere. We understand that we can improve things here, but we are not 100% sure about how?

Hence the discussion; which I think is a good one to have. Other hobbies/sports do have a drop out rate as well, but I am not sure that they all have the same potential as chess. I can say this because on a worldwide level, chess is huge - certainly bigger than airfix modelling or cubs. It is a strong rival to football and many nations participate in it.

The question remains, how can we then recreate the 'glory years' of the past and improve participation amongst our juniors?
I agree, I think paranoid is far too strong a word. We are just trying to find out what the reasons are and then hopefully through positive input we can find the solutions.

There are good things that we can use from the football analogy ie Academies, working in the local community, top clubs put a lot of support into this, finance is only part of the picture, mentoring and emotional support are just two things that I can think of off the top of my head that are vital but I am sure there are many more. The system is proven and we should take some lessons from it.

Carol Williams
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Re: Rapidplays for 11 to 18s

Post by Carol Williams » Fri Jul 20, 2012 7:18 pm

Peter Sowray wrote:
Krishna Shiatis wrote:
The question remains, how can we then recreate the 'glory years' of the past and improve participation amongst our juniors?

England had no chess culture until the early 70s. The fact that 10 years later we were the second strongest nation in the world was down to the efforts of half a dozen world class players plus two inspirational organisers, Leonard Barden and Bob Wade. They had a level of ambition and determination that currently seems lacking.
Hit the nail on the head Peter

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Rapidplays for 11 to 18s

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Jul 20, 2012 7:26 pm

Peter Sowray wrote: England had no chess culture until the early 70s.
Depends what you mean by chess culture. The majority of boy's selective schools would have played chess matches against other schools in the 1960s. For that matter, even pre 1972 most Cambridge colleges had enough players to run at least two five board teams.

It would have been unknown to play chess at a Primary School level in the 1950s, but ten years later, local organisations were beginning to be set up. For that matter, larger employers ran chess teams as part of their sports and social activity.

Alan Burke

Re: Rapidplays for 11 to 18s

Post by Alan Burke » Fri Jul 20, 2012 7:49 pm

I will agree with the statement that " ...on a worldwide level, chess is huge - certainly bigger than airfix modelling or cubs." However, the key phrase there is "worldwide" - can that comment really be attributed to this country ? Again, I will refer to my former sporting involvement - in several other countries throughout the world it is the number one activity that most youngsters aspire to compete in, whereas in the UK it is just another "also ran" - but that's just down to the culture in this country.

Chess may have been big in this country at one time - but that era was really the exception rather than the rule and people often get involved with a particular trend which is popular at the time - just look how many people who don't normally read books are currently interested in "Shades of Grey" just because it is the in-thing at the moment.

The other comment of "Other hobbies/sports do have a drop out rate as well, but I am not sure that they all have the same potential as chess" is of course a subjective one from any person passionate about the game. However, those who are not involved with chess would probably totally disagree and point out the social advantages of their particular interest.

All I am trying to point out is that chess people shouldn't get too carried away with the idea that their particular interest is faring any worse than many others with regard to sustaining interest amongst its young players.

Krishna Shiatis
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Re: Rapidplays for 11 to 18s

Post by Krishna Shiatis » Fri Jul 20, 2012 8:00 pm

Alan Burke wrote:I will agree with the statement that " ...on a worldwide level, chess is huge - certainly bigger than airfix modelling or cubs." However, the key phrase there is "worldwide" - can that comment really be attributed to this country ? Again, I will refer to my former sporting involvement - in several other countries throughout the world it is the number one activity that most youngsters aspire to compete in, whereas in the UK it is just another "also ran" - but that's just down to the culture in this country.
I agree, it is the culture here. That does not mean that we can not change it. I think that Norway is a great example.

Magnus came along, was good at chess and pushed himself big time into the media spotlight. He is young, enthusiastic about chess and exudes confidence. Suddenly Norway has a proliferation of chess players - their culture changes albeit subtly at first, but change does happen.

Then suddenly, they have chess schools - something new to Norway and lots of kids wanting to play chess and a revival on the adult scene.

Why can we not have the same?

We have young, talented, good looking, confident GMs. Why not promote them and see what we can do? It has to be worth a shot. Media is a marvellous tool. There are lots of people out there self-promoting who have no talent whatsoever; surely we have a reason to shout about our chess players?

Paul Cooksey

Re: Rapidplays for 11 to 18s

Post by Paul Cooksey » Fri Jul 20, 2012 9:25 pm

Krishna Shiatis wrote:I think that Norway is a great example.
So do I, but for different reasons. :)

Magnus certainly seems to have popularised chess for young Norwegians. But he didn't come completely out of the blue, and didn't benefit from the media profile he created until he was already very strong. I don't know who the Norwegians credit for Magnus' emergence, but I suspect it might be the less glamorous Arnold J. Eikrem.

He was running international tournaments at a time when Norway was not a notable chess nation. Indeed, when England was a power and Norway was not, many of our now titled players were seeking norms in Norway. His influence can be seen in giving Simen Agdestein the opportunity to develop into a GM capable of coaching a super-talent like Magnus, and inspiring other organisers, like Hans-Olav, who gave him the strong competitions necessary for a player to develop.

Those seem to me to be two key things, top class coaching and strong competition.

I'm less positive about the extent to which England provides these things. I think it is fair to say that Barden and Wade did play a role in identifying top talent, which is now a gap. But I think it is also fair to say they were interested in developing the elite players, and not encouraging mass participation. This does seem at odds with current ECF junior policy. I can't imagine how much criticism their London bias and elitism would generate from parents on this forum if they were active today :lol:

I think Roger's observation about the interruption to "one new titled player a year" can be attributed to the decline in strong competition. Nigel Short has spoken about the role that playing 150 games a year on the weekend circuit had in his develpment. Since the collapse of the grand prix, a junior could still play 150 games, but not against anything like the same strength of opposition.

That said e2e4 are providing regular strong opens now, so maybe we will see some improvement. It is notable that many of the better juniors are active in those events. My feeling is a strong teenage player does develop faster by playing adults in opens than by winning junior only events. I wonder if there is a case for the ECF/ JRT using such events as a basis for coached groups.

LawrenceCooper
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Re: Rapidplays for 11 to 18s

Post by LawrenceCooper » Fri Jul 20, 2012 9:41 pm

Paul Cooksey wrote:
That said e2e4 are providing regular strong opens now, so maybe we will see some improvement. It is notable that many of the better juniors are active in those events. My feeling is a strong teenage player does develop faster by playing adults in opens than by winning junior only events. I wonder if there is a case for the ECF/ JRT using such events as a basis for coached groups.
Sabrina has previously done this at e2e4 events albeit without support from the ECF and JRT.
Last edited by LawrenceCooper on Sat Jul 21, 2012 7:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Peter D Williams
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Re: Rapidplays for 11 to 18s

Post by Peter D Williams » Fri Jul 20, 2012 9:53 pm

Alan Burke wrote:I will agree with the statement that " ...on a worldwide level, chess is huge - certainly bigger than airfix modelling or cubs." However, the key phrase there is "worldwide" - can that comment really be attributed to this country ? Again, I will refer to my former sporting involvement - in several other countries throughout the world it is the number one activity that most youngsters aspire to compete in, whereas in the UK it is just another "also ran" - but that's just down to the culture in this country.

Chess may have been big in this country at one time - but that era was really the exception rather than the rule and people often get involved with a particular trend which is popular at the time - just look how many people who don't normally read books are currently interested in "Shades of Grey" just because it is the in-thing at the moment.

The other comment of "Other hobbies/sports do have a drop out rate as well, but I am not sure that they all have the same potential as chess" is of course a subjective one from any person passionate about the game. However, those who are not involved with chess would probably totally disagree and point out the social advantages of their particular interest.

All I am trying to point out is that chess people shouldn't get too carried away with the idea that their particular interest is faring any worse than many others with regard to sustaining interest amongst its young players.
Alan Burke wrote "Chess may have been big in this country at one time - but that era was really the exception rather than the rule and people often get involved with a particular trend which is popular at the time - just look how many people who don't normally read books are currently interested in "Shades of Grey" just because it is the in-thing at the moment."

Peter Williams wrote:
What evidence do you have for stating that "but that era was really the excption rather than the rule"
I am not sure why you mention Shades of Grey although you do seem to like to challenge female posters on this forum!
when you are successful many losers bark at you.

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