Chess in Nottinghamshire - Future developments and Ideas

This discussion paper aims to highlight and consider a range of different ideas that NCA members may want to support to improve competitive chess in the County. The ideas have been suggested by various people and sources in NCA. They are focussed on league and match play events but also take into account other factors. These brief notes lead to an online ‘Survey Monkey’ questionnaire, to identify the preferences of the clubs and people active in Nottinghamshire chess. Please draw your fellow players’ attention to this article and the survey

  1. League structure changes:
    1. Changes to league structure affect the number of matches each team has in the course of a season. Current normal structure of 8 teams per division = 14 matches over approx. 35 week season. Too many, too few or about right?
    2. We could have fewer divisions and a single fixture per season for each team, with home and away randomised
    3. We could have different sized teams, which would potentially alter the number of teams overall. Fewer boards would make extra teams more viable, more boards could lead to fewer teams and divisions
    4. There could be changes to the current 2-team promotion and relegation, e.g. only one per division or increase to 3 if the divisions were bigger
  2. Length of League Season:
    1. A longer season would allow for more matches, but commitment may drop off in summer months for some.
    2. A structure of two shorter leagues per season, with promotion/relegation at December and May. This would mean smaller divisions or groups and a very different method of organising the league.
  3. An ‘extra’ competition alongside established league chess:
    1. Could take place at weekends (Sunday afternoons?) or during summer months.
    2. Teams could be as small as 3 players, which would serve to encourage small groups interested (factory/company/pub/school teams) with effective promotion of the event
    3. Could be organised on swiss system basis, possibly at a single central venue on fixed dates.
    4. Could be a single game per player, or a faster time limit 2-game match.
  4. A Rapidplay League:
    1. Similar to above, with the intention of several games per fixture day over several weekends
    2. A regular summer competition for those clubs and players interested
    3. Alternatively a parallel rapidplay league during the winter season, alongside fewer standard play fixtures
  5. Encourage new/more chess clubs:
    1. Some towns and parts of the County are poorly covered or inactive. Should NCA take action to encourage and/or set up training and clubs in targetted locations?
    2. Actions could include:
      1. Adult beginners courses “learn to play chess” etc
      2. Promote establishment of new clubs with support for equipment, organisation/admin
      3. Course to train people how to teach chess
      4. Representation at local festivals, carnivals etc.
  6. Promote chess in secondary schools:
    1. Primary age chess is well developed and successful in Notts, but activity falls off for the majority of school-aged children at secondary level. Offers from NCA to provide coaching, equipment and admin may encourage these schools to establish chess clubs

There are many more options and ideas that could be considered. This is intended to be a starting point for discussion and debate on the future of organised chess in our County. Any changes that receive general support are likely to take some time to plan and implement. Unless it is a ‘quick fix’ they are likely to take effect from season 2020-21 at the earliest

Now please complete the survey! It should take you no more than 5 minutes or so to complete. Your opinion will be valuable in helping to shape the future of local chess.

Personal Data: the survey itself does not require you to submit any personal data. There are some questions that invite you to submit contact and location details if you wish to help in the points raised in [4] and [5] above. These will be made available only to NCA officers for the purpose of involving you in chess development in Notts and will be retained for a maximum period of 12 months only.

Best wishes
Nick London
(League Secretary, NCA Exec Cte member)