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Thread: Some old Cdn over-the-board-chess issues to ponder again

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    Default Some old Cdn over-the-board-chess issues to ponder again

    Here are some old Canadian organized over the board chess issues that might be pondered yet again, while we await the end of the pandemic:

    1. How to get more adult members for the CFC - are there any fresh incentives/services that can be planned for, even if well down the road?

    2. How to get more elite strength CFC players to play more often at home (long ago Vlad Dobrich alluded to this on chess talk)?

    3. How to get more elite strength CFC players to play more often abroad?

    4. Note that in the past, regarding issues 2 and 3, some young Canadian players who became grandmasters quickly, just as quickly dropped out of chess, say in favour of going into business - any way(s) to make this less likely to happen?
    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
    Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio.

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    To get the ball rolling for any further discussion, here's some ideas I can think of off the cuff (yet haven't mentioned elsewhere, at least recently), for when the pandemic subsides:

    On issue #1 (or 2, or 4), besides attracting or waiting for more CFC rated tournament organizers to materialize one day, the odds of gaining more CFC adult members (for some time to come) might be improved if organizers can eventually arrange it so that Grand Prix style schedules of tournaments (local, regional or otherwise) come back into fashion, that is with cash prizes offered for class/top tier winners, by choosing their best x tournament results added up, from a schedule with at least x+1 events held over a year. On issue #1 alone, Class section tournaments that exclude elite players (also known as Amateur tournaments) might be provided more often (or again?) one day. I recognize that for some time the CFC will probably be unable to offer fresh services for adult members (at the least), especially due to the cost of the pandemic.

    Regarding just issues 3 and 4, the CFC may need to seek [Federal] Government sponsorship for top travelling Canadian grandmasters, perhaps awarding the funding at least partly on the results they obtain while abroad. In the past one Canadian GM who quit had some corporate sponsorship (perhaps of his own arrangement), but evidently it did not seem attractive enough to keep him from retiring from chess. Perhaps in the case of issue 2, similarly, provincial government funding could be sought to encourage elite players to play more than before inside of Canada.
    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
    Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio.

  3. #3
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    Here's another old Cdn over-the-board organized chess issue that may be worth pondering while the pandemic subsides:

    5. Is a CFC membership drive feasible anytime in the foreseeable future (or alternatively, is organized chess in Canada in a structure that goes against that)?

    Before the pandemic hit, CFC membership levels had been slowly rising month after month, for the most part, life seemed good, and so I kind of doubt anyone was thinking with any urgency (if at all) about accelerating the increase by means of some sort of membership drive. Indeed, after the pandemic is over, the hope may be that former, but otherwise recent, CFC members will largely return to the fold, and the membership levels will rise to what they were before the pandemic, eventually. So, with such a hope being so strong, I kind of think there will still not be a sense of urgency about doing a membership drive at some point, for a long time to come.

    However, if I were to try to be less realistic, and assumed instead that there is some interest in having a CFC membership drive sooner than later, I feel that the structure of organized chess in Canada would go against having a reasonably successful CFC membership drive, for the foreseeable future. The CFC is a shell organization for the provincial organizations, some of which are shell organizations for leagues, which in turn contain (but don't actually organize) chess clubs in their region. Some of these clubs do not run CFC-rated events at all, and may even be indifferent to the CFC (at best), but for the sake of argument let's assume most clubs do run at least some CFC-rated events - thus such clubs have for the most part the CFC organizers, the ones that the CFC would want to actually do a CFC membership drive.

    Let's say the CFC prints up brochures advertising chess and the CFC, along with something to write the address of a club's location and hours upon. The CFC's 'membership drive' in this example would consist of sending boxes full of brochures out to club contacts, and then hope that the CFC organizers at said clubs can sustain the time and interest to distribute the brochures somewhere out in parts of their neighbourhood. Well, at best after an initial flurry of interest (the CFC hopes), the box of brochures simply will stay at the clubs' locations along with the rest of their chess equipment (indeed, in the past I've been at a couple of clubs where the clubs' storage facilities included boxes of the CFC's old brochure, 'Passport to Chess'); not only that, but the CFC governance has no idea to what degree this happened across the country. Alternatively, to try to avoid the disadvantage of this structural problem, the CFC governance personnel might all volunteer to be the ones to distribute the brochures themselves, but then that's a smaller pool of people to start with, and the initial flurry of interest (if much) might once again die down.

    Back in the 1990s I sent a letter to the then-existing CFC print magazine for publication. In it I painted a picture of how a membership drive could lead to the CFC having more organizers (say 1 in 50 new members) and that would lead to more tournaments, and so on (not to mention for every 50 new members, 1 statistically would become a master+ level player). Back then the CFC had more resources, but I didn't realize that even then a membership drive was likely not to help much (for the reasons of the last two paragraphs). However, those were the early days of the internet. Nowadays, on the bright side, the CFC website (if up and running and not in a jumble) allows for at least a trickle of new members to come in by Googling 'Canada Chess' (if they think of it) and then looking for clubs listings on the CFC website (if they think of that, and if not turned off by e.g. the indecipherable-to-beginners CFC tournament advertising section; a guide for newbies would help maybe). Another way new CFC members may trickle in these days via the internet is chess message boards, if they are not turned off by them. Otherwise, the CFC is apparently much at the mercy of how good a job CFC-rated-events clubs (or tournament organizers) do of promoting themselves, especially to newbies - word-of-mouth about such clubs (and tournaments) can only do so much, and travel so fast.
    Last edited by Kevin Pacey; 07-26-2021 at 07:31 PM. Reason: Grammar
    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
    Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio.

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