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  1. #1
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    How to increase chess participation.

    How to increase chess participation.


    On another thread, Ascaro (bobby 1972 and 1992) asked how to grow the membership of a chess club. I offered to provide some resource material. It was suggested he read the post on establishing 'recognise and reward 'as the culture within the club; and I hope he has done so. Ascaro?

    Now, here is a second resource; this time aimed at increasing junior participation. The report pasted in below is from one of the mums who recently visited the Aus. Junior in Perth. The report is compendium of ideas. The mum says she will give me the names for attribution later this week. In the mean-time, here are some thoughts on how to increase participation.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +++
    Report for the Whitehorse Junior Chess Club – January 2004
    How to Increase Numbers on Sunday Afternoon Chess
    Prepared by Kerry Lyall

    Aim

    To increase numbers of regular chess players at the Whitehorse Junior Chess Club between 40 – 80 players for Sunday Afternoon Chess.

    Method

    I spoke to a number of parents/organisers at the Australian Junior Chess Championships in Perth about how other states recruit and retain junior chess players. In particular, information from WA, ACT, NSW and SA was obtained.

    Recruitment - Advertising

    · Yellow Pages

    As a sport, the club is entitled to a free advertisement in the Yellow Pages. For about $150.00 the club could get a reasonable advertisement. I spoke to xxxxx’s Dad who works in the Yellow Pages about an advertisement. He is very happy to help advise the club on appropriate advertisement for the price the club wishes to pay (or a free ad if the club does not wish to pay.) Action needs to be taken quite soon – as the Yellow Pages are already preparing next year’s Yellow Pages.

    · Flyers to Schools

    Flyers should be sent to local state government, Catholic and private schools.

    In Canberra, flyers can be sent out free to all local schools, so the Chess Club don’t need a mailing list. They just give a bulk amount of flyers to a central repository. I will see if the Education Dept. can do this free, and whether the Catholic and Private Schools have a similar set – up. This would save on postage.

    · Flyers at the Victorian Junior Chess Championships

    This is a great opportunity to let children from all over Victoria know the dates for all games after the tournament.

    · Flyers at the Inter School Chess Championships

    Although these tend to be at the end of the year, this is still worthwhile. Perhaps the club could consider having a flyer with 2005 dates.

    · Advertisements in local newspapers

    As a sport, apparently, the club is entitled to free advertisements of match dates in the local newspapers.

    · Community Groups on line

    Apparently, it is possible to get a listing for the Whitehorse Chess Club under Community Groups.

    · Special campaign to attract girls to play chess

    ACT has a special campaign to get girls interested in chess. They run special girls only tournaments; have special coaching days for girls by girls who play chess. This is a tremendous idea. I have n’t got time to organise or run this – however, I have a friend who plays chess, has a daughter interested in playing chess, and is an excellent organiser. If the club wishes, I could approach her to see if she is interested in being involved in a special girl’s campaign.

    One suggestion from a former Melbournian was if Whitehorse Chess had a special campaign to attract more girls to play chess, a speaker could address such organizations as: Women’s View Club, Rotary, Lion’s Clubs, Masonic Lodges and then request a donation to the club.

    · Bring a friend for free the first time you play

    ACT believes this is the only way to get girls to come. Girls won’t come by themselves; they need support of a friend. If enough girls turned up to a Sunday Afternoon, ACT suggest you run the girls quite separate from the boys – even in another area. Apparently, boys are too noisy, aggressive and girls feel intimidated and won’t come again. Only when they become confident, it could be suggested that they play in mixed chess games. However, the club would need enough girls to make this viable.

    Retention

    · Note the two above points.

    · Obtain sponsorship from the following organisations and others

    · MacDonalds
    · Hungry Jacks
    · Pizza Hut
    · Wendys
    · Blockbuster Video
    · Hoyts
    · Zoo
    · Science Museum/Museum
    · Myer, Target, K Mart, Coles and DJ – request for samples from the buying departments
    · Local members of Parliament
    · State Government (Education Department, Office of Women’s Affairs, Department of Sport and Recreation)
    · Local Council (although I know that the City of Whitehorse already help sponsor one of the chess days)

    Vouchers and samples could be either given out via a raffle system or as encouragement awards. This is very popular with young players – even if they don’t win a game – they still go away with a positive feeling about chess and will want to try again.

    · Ribbons

    ACT gives out ribbons to all junior players, which are extremely popular. (This might be appropriate for all players who don’t get a trophy.) They have a supply of different colored ribbons.

    · Drink bottles

    The suggestion was that drink bottles with Whitehorse Chess clearly marked, with the web site address be sold at cost price (apparently about $2.00)

    There was a suggestion that drink bottles are cheaper than encouragement trophies and possibly a better marketing tool/ or could be used when encouragement trophies were not available.

    · Tee Shirts

    The Head of the ACF suggested that Tee Shirts are a great marketing device – and make children proud of playing chess. (He would like to make chess more "cool" so that good players are retained and not made to feel like "geeks".) He suggested that the club down load a digital picture from the web and sell the tee shirts with the Whitehorse Chess name and web address on it. He was actually wearing the tee shirt from last year’s tournament – it looked terrific! He said that the cost was about $10.00 per tee shirt.

    Colors – The Club should carefully consider the color of tee shirts: girls won’t wear blue apparently. The Adelaide tee shirt was on a white background, the Perth Junior Chess tee shirt was black – and cost $20.00. (I’ll try and get xxxxx to wear it on Friday night.)

    My only concern would be copyright. The club would have to be certain that it was not going to get sued for using someone else’ intellectual property without permission. (Geoff Saw is studying law – perhaps he could advise on this if the club goes ahead with tee – shirts.)

    · Polo Shirts

    ACT have gone done a different track to WA and SA. They offer a blue shirt (not girl – friendly) for which the children pay $20.00. It has the ACT Chess Club in gold writing on the collar of the shirt. However, the club then pays for special writing on the shirt. Eg: all children from ACT who attended the Junior Chess Tournament in Perth will have it listed on their shirt in gold writing. This costs about $10.00 per item – and could potentially be expensive.

    The ACT children wore their shirts every day. They were enormously proud of their shirts (and of course made it intimidating for their non – ACT opponents.)

    · Links with the Press

    This was seen as very important in raising the profile of chess – and of the clubs.

    The suggestion was to forge a relationship with the local newspaper – who are always looking for news items. This includes – providing the results of chess matches in local newspapers, writing articles as to why chess is good for children, providing photo opportunities of very young children playing chess. I was told that small girls ("cute") playing chess is wonderful in getting new players.

    WA go further than this. They actually prepare a weekly article for the West Australian that includes the results of games, a chess problem and assorted chess news including when and where tournaments are being held.

    · Free Coaching

    Some children might want to play chess but don’t know how. If the club started to get more children playing – it could use some of the money to pay for chess coaching prior to the games. It was even suggested that if the club approached some of the older players – that they might even do it for free.

    · Demonstration games

    Apparently the club could buy some larger chess pieces that could be used in demonstration games – eg at local shopping centres. This is supposed to be a good way of advertising the merits of the game/club.

    · Parent helpers

    The above looks quite daunting. It might be a good idea to have a flyer/form for interested parents to offer their telephone/email address at the desk where people pay to attend, requesting assistance from interested parents. This could also go on the web page. In particular, if the club is hosting the Victorian Junior Chess Championships, parent helpers could be very useful.

    For example: could you spare 10 minutes a month to put a flyer at your school and local library? Are you interested in promoting chess for girls? Could you spare 15 minutes a month? Most parents are very busy – but some might be quite happy to give a little time and many hands make light work. They might have different ideas for recruitment or retention of junior chess players.

    Summary

    There are many ways to attract and retain more junior chess players to play with the Whitehorse Chess Club.

    In addition, I repeat my offer of assistance if the Whitehorse Chess Club does host the Victorian Junior Chess Championships.

    Kerry Lyall (xxxxxxxxxxxx’s mum)

  2. #2
    Account Suspended jenni's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by starter
    How to increase chess participation.


    Eg: all children from ACT who attended the Junior Chess Tournament in Perth will have it listed on their shirt in gold writing. This costs about $10.00 per item – and could potentially be expensive.
    Not quite correct - $10 a frame. A frame is a square of about 10 cm - can fit about 9 items in it. So we do the embroidery twice a year and all achievements are put on at that time. e.g if a child only has one achievent it will cost $10, but if they have say gone to Perth, been selected for the ACT Dev Squad, won the Autumn Junior Reserves, won the Primary Allegro and been in the team that won the ANU Primary Schools, all these achievents will be done at the same time and still only cost $10. I am not sure what the embroidery is costing us per annum, but it would be around $500 and worth every cent in the pride and team spirit it creates.

  3. #3
    Account Suspended jenni's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by starter
    How to increase chess participation.



    · Bring a friend for free the first time you play

    ACT believes this is the only way to get girls to come. Girls won’t come by themselves; they need support of a friend.
    Hmm - I think a tiny misunderstanding of what we said. This is a tool we use to increase participation, but we still get plenty of girls who come on their own. We do feel girls are more likely to stay involved in chess if they have friends, as they are a just more sociable and this side is important to them.

    We feel that our strategies are working, as apart from winning the Aus Girls primary schools championships, the ACT also took 2nd girls under 12, 1st girls under 10 and 2nd girls under 10 in Perth. We do still have a major problem with our High School girls.

  4. #4
    Account Permanently Banned firegoat7's Avatar
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    To whom it may concern,

    Jenni wrote:
    We do feel girls are more likely to stay involved in chess if they have friends, as they are a just more sociable and this side is important to them.
    This is nothing but sexist stereotyping and ought to avoided. After all I thought all people needed friends and are you seriously infering that boys are anti-social?

    regards FG7

  5. #5
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by firegoat7
    This is nothing but sexist stereotyping and ought to avoided. After all I thought all people needed friends and are you seriously infering that boys are anti-social?
    It is sexist stereotyping to say firegoat is a boy, therefore firegoat is anti-social. That it you are applying a generalisation to an individual. To make generalisations about groups is a different matter altogether.

    BTW I don't think Jenni was saying boys are anti-social. Just the reason they engage is chess is not (in general) as a social outlet. I think girls are more motivated by the social aspect, boys are more motivated by the competitive side.

    There is no value judgement there. Neither is "better" than the other. Just different ways young people have of enjoying organised chess.
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

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    Account Suspended jenni's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by firegoat7
    To whom it may concern,

    Jenni wrote:

    This is nothing but sexist stereotyping and ought to avoided. After all I thought all people needed friends and are you seriously infering that boys are anti-social?

    regards FG7
    Well of course this is the sort of ignorant comment I would expect. No wonder MCC has so many women playing there....

    After many years of working with girls in chess we have analysed what is needed.

    There are some girls to whom these comments don't apply - for many of them they do.

    Go into a typical junior environment and take notice of how the young boys socialise and then look at how the girls socialise. I have never seen under 12 boys strolling under the trees and chatting for the entire time between rounds. Kicking a ball or bashing a clock in a lightning game is much more fun. Some girls enjoy this too - our girl who won the girls under 10, plays football and is more at home with the boys than the girls. We like to try to provide an environment that suits all our children and then leave them free to do what they like.

    A girl can choose to go straight into the mixed environment if that is what she wants to do. Our girls only environment is regarded as a beginner environment only - any girl with interest and talent is encouraged to move into a mixed environment as quickly as possible.

    I repeat - our strategies are working - we have a population of 300,000 and we had 300 girls play in the Primary schools comp - how many did Victoria have with a population 10 (12? 15?) times ours.

    Our girl who came second in the under 10 (ahead of Sally Yu, Chloe Lauder and Shu-yu), is a total product of the girls only beginner environment (and has never had any private coaching, only Dev squad coaching and group coaching). Of course for the last year she has been totally happy to move from the sheltered environment into playing against the boys, as well as at an adult club and also played at the Vikings weekender.

    We may be wrong - I wouldn't be arrogant enough to suggest that our way is the only way. However until such time as other states can show a girls development strategy that is more successful than ours, I think we will continue with what we have.

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    We appreciate your input

    Quote Originally Posted by jenni
    Hmm - I think a tiny misunderstanding of what we said. This is a tool we use to increase participation, but we still get plenty of girls who come on their own. We do feel girls are more likely to stay involved in chess if they have friends, as they are a just more sociable and this side is important to them.

    We feel that our strategies are working, as apart from winning the Aus Girls primary schools championships, the ACT also took 2nd girls under 12, 1st girls under 10 and 2nd girls under 10 in Perth. We do still have a major problem with our High School girls.
    hi jenni

    Any corrections needed to the first post are good to note; it was after all a compendium of the generous advice that was given to our first-tournament mum.
    I thought the whole collection was just terrific and it would have been a crime not to share with others.
    You have got success on your side so thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    starter

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    Account Suspended jenni's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by starter
    hi jenni

    Any corrections needed to the first post are good to note; it was after all a compendium of the generous advice that was given to our first-tournament mum.
    I thought the whole collection was just terrific and it would have been a crime not to share with others.
    You have got success on your side so thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    starter
    I thought Kerry was fantastic and so enthusiastic and we wish her (and you) every success.

  9. #9
    CC Candidate Master WBA's Avatar
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    Well of course this is the sort of ignorant comment I would expect. No wonder MCC has so many women playing there....
    Hang on just a second there Jenni. Let us get a few things straight for a minute

    a) Have you been to MCC, and if so when was the last time?
    b) As made clear FG7 is expressing his views, and NOT those of the MCC

    I never recall in my discussions with any of the committee members, nor in any meeting I have been present that the issue of sexes has come up, except in regards to facilities. Personally I think this was a good post by starter, and your comments added to that. Now I also only represent myself, but am a member of the MCC, so as you can see there are vairiances of opinion, please if you disagree with FG7 by all means have your debate with him, but I am not sure there is a need to take a cheap swipe at the MCC in the process.

    Now for the record I think the condition of the place before the renovations may well have been the key reason why most of our female members left the club. As the club gains in strength hopefully so will the women population at the Chess Club. I also hope the current committee take some of this post into account, as I think there is a lot to offer, you do not need to agree with every part of a post to gain something from it.

  10. #10
    CC International Master Cat's Avatar
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    Now for the record I think the condition of the place before the renovations may well have been the key reason why most of our female members left the club. As the club gains in strength hopefully so will the women population at the Chess Club.
    Why don't you ask them?

    I think what Jenni has been saying is that 'hope' may not be enough, one sometimes might need to be pro-active.

  11. #11
    Account Suspended jenni's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WBA
    Hang on just a second there Jenni. Let us get a few things straight for a minute

    a) Have you been to MCC, and if so when was the last time?
    b) As made clear FG7 is expressing his views, and NOT those of the MCC

    I never recall in my discussions with any of the committee members, nor in any meeting I have been present that the issue of sexes has come up, except in regards to facilities. Personally I think this was a good post by starter, and your comments added to that. Now I also only represent myself, but am a member of the MCC, so as you can see there are vairiances of opinion, please if you disagree with FG7 by all means have your debate with him, but I am not sure there is a need to take a cheap swipe at the MCC in the process.

    Now for the record I think the condition of the place before the renovations may well have been the key reason why most of our female members left the club. As the club gains in strength hopefully so will the women population at the Chess Club. I also hope the current committee take some of this post into account, as I think there is a lot to offer, you do not need to agree with every part of a post to gain something from it.
    Ok I admit it - I was using MCC to be mean to Firegoat. It was too good to resist.

    I have heard gossip over the years that MCC was a bit of a hostile environment for females, but it was just third hand comments.

  12. #12
    CC Candidate Master WBA's Avatar
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    Why don't you ask them?

    I think what Jenni has been saying is that 'hope' may not be enough, one sometimes might need to be pro-active.
    Hi DR

    Actually a few of them I have, I have also had conversations with friends partners, and taken some friends in there myself, Overwhelmingly the condition of the building did stick out, now I realise more than a hope and a prayer is need to attract any player, including women, and I thought I made it reasonably clear, that I believe the MCC should read this thread, and extract useful information. As stated before, the MCC has gone through some very rough times previously, and no doubt probably will again. The cloub has always been able to recover from these times, and I believe this will be no exception. The MCC has addressed some problem areas, and I would like to stress they will address more this year, and hopefully continue to grow from strength to strength. Although I clearly do not agree with a number of decisions the club makes, I do back them as a whole. At the moment they are the perfect committee for the current situation, and as new challenges appear, others will step forward to carry the club to the next step.

    Give MCC a bit of a chance, they are on the way back, and just as we have happily supported the Chess Community through encouraging players to attend other clubs, so we expect people to either check the place out and make an informed opinion, or just advise people they are unaware of the what the place is like.

    Regards

    WBA

    PS Jenni

    If you are ever coming to Melbourne for a tournament let us know, and I will be more than happy to show you around the place. I am pretty sure something can be organised (if you come down with a squad), where the kids can come over to the MCC to visit the club and play for the day. You may find it is nowhere near as hostile as the rumours sometimes suggest.

  13. #13
    Account Permanently Banned firegoat7's Avatar
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    Dear Jenni,

    If you actually had a look at what I wrote you would notice that I said "sexist stereotyping". Now I have no problem with anything you organise or the way you run things. I was merely pointing out a social fact to you which you ought to retract.

    Firstly, all chessplayers ought to have friends not just girls or boys. I presume we agree on that point.

    Secondly, Are you seriously suggesting that girls are more social then boys? I am suggesting that this statement is false and amounts to sexism. Think about the arguement for a minute.

    If I was to suggest that men were more intelligent, or that women are irrational or that women are natural carers compared to men then I also would be propagating these type of social myths.

    The simple facts are that women and men are equal in intelligence, both men and women can be irrational aswell as rational, women and men are both capable of the same type of nurturing and caring.

    So when you say girls are more social then boys. I say "Bah Humbug" these comments just reinforce cultural myths.

    regards FG7

    P.S I thought W.Smith inspired you at chess, she is a MCC member!

  14. #14
    CC Grandmaster arosar's Avatar
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    Hilarious!! The thread barely got started and already it's off into sexism....Typical!

    AR

  15. #15
    Account Suspended jenni's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by firegoat7
    Dear Jenni,

    If you actually had a look at what I wrote you would notice that I said "sexist stereotyping". Now I have no problem with anything you organise or the way you run things. I was merely pointing out a social fact to you which you ought to retract.

    Firstly, all chessplayers ought to have friends not just girls or boys. I presume we agree on that point.

    Secondly, Are you seriously suggesting that girls are more social then boys? I am suggesting that this statement is false and amounts to sexism. Think about the arguement for a minute.

    If I was to suggest that men were more intelligent, or that women are irrational or that women are natural carers compared to men then I also would be propagating these type of social myths.

    The simple facts are that women and men are equal in intelligence, both men and women can be irrational aswell as rational, women and men are both capable of the same type of nurturing and caring.

    So when you say girls are more social then boys. I say "Bah Humbug" these comments just reinforce cultural myths.

    regards FG7

    P.S I thought W.Smith inspired you at chess, she is a MCC member!
    I subscribe to the "women are superior but different to men" school of thought.....

    And yes I am vey much aware that Wendy is a member of MCC.

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