Where have all the juniors gone?

The page Sheffield Central Chess Club : How do we rejuvenate S&DCA? was started 18 months ago as a focus for significant interest in the problem of declining numbers of young newcomers to the Sheffield chess scene.

As the title of the web page implies a proposal was "kicked around" involving the concept of a chess venue separate from our league clubs, devoted to attracting and developing the skills of new, particularly younger people to the game. For a short time it seemed that such a flagship might be launched, but alas no skipper, no helmsperson, no crew materialised.

Almost two seasons later the issues relating to an aging and disappearing chess community have not been addressed. Will chess in Sheffield just continue to dwindle away?

In January this year a brief flurry of thoughts were added (in blue) to the same web page, in which Phill Beckett, Deputy National Secondary Schools Co-ordinator and Safeguarding Officer at ECF, reiterated the fundamental requirement for all chess development: "The situation in several areas of the country is different with vibrant schools chess leagues.The Key is staff involvement! (or parental)". The initiative and driving force don't necessarily have to arise in schools, of course, so perhaps we should add "or anybody keen and willing to do it tirelessly". Therein, surely, lies the rub. Andy Mort recently asked an old friend, Phil Adams, who is in Andy's words "the dynamo behind the most successful junior chess club in the country", the 3Cs in Oldham, for "a few key principles you could outline which might release the phoenix from the ashes". Phil's reply is copied to the top of the discussion page.


Have your say

The page Chessnuts and Beyond, is devoted to views on the future of Grading and League Management for Sheffield Chess Association as the possible end of the www.chessnuts.org.uk website draws close. Please submit your thoughts either via the "Guestbook" page (you're limited to 1,000 characters (200-ish words) there) or by email to me (address below). I'll do my best to upload them quickly. (BL)

S&DCA News Bulletin

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